Lay people often assume this date to be correct. After all, isn't this what the marginal notes in their Bibles report? They never suspect that the same teachers who interpret the book wrong, date it wrong also.
However, the evidence for this date is so equivocal and ambiguous, its probative value is practically nothing and, in fact, is assigned more by tradition than by solid evidence.
As we shall see, the better view is that the book was written sometime between A. Evidence For 96 A. As wide spread as agreement for the date of 96 A.
Nothing could be further from the truth. It is like the doubt the New International Version throws upon Mark Yet, by sheer weight of the editors' assertion, many are duped into believing that the last 12 verses of Mark are not authentic.
Similarly, by the assertion of marginal notes in their Bibles, the date of 96 A. The evidence in favor of 96 A. The whole tradition is similar to the oral tradition among the Catholic church that Peter was once bishop of the church at Rome: Not one verse of scripture or reliable piece of historical evidence can be cited to support it.
Jerome states that John was seen in 96 A. Age And Condition of The Church In Asia The notion that the churches of Asia would not be in the state of apostasy the book of Revelation seems to describe earlier that the reign of Domitian rests upon pure supposition. That the churches of Galatia were "so soon removed" from the gospel proves that there is no substantial basis for the claim that the churches of Asia could not have apostatized early on. Indeed, Paul affirms that the apostasy associated with the latter times was well under way when he wrote Timothy.
John also wrote of this apostasy as a present fact saying "They went out from us, but there were not of us Statement Of Irenaeus This is the only evidence of any value, and it is so slight as to be nearly worthless.
Irenaeus was a church father of the second century, many of whose letters have come down to us. Concerning the mystic number of the beast given Revelation To argue as do some that the subject of the verb is the apocalypse is purely arbitrary. In fairness, either John or the apocalypse may be the subject. But what is the point of saying the vision was seen in recent times? The nearness of the vision cannot not open the symbols of the book.
It was the author John to whom it belonged to expound the meaning of the mystic name. Thus if the reference is to anything, it would seem to be to John. However, even if Irenaeus' statement is granted to mean what advocates of the 96 A. But did Irenaeus refer to Domitian? Robert Young, author of Young's Analytical Concordance, wrote a commentary on Revelation published prior to wherein he makes the following statement: The internal testimony is wholly in favor of the early date.
Thus the whole of the evidence favoring the date of 96 A. Moreover there is no internal evidence in the book itself upon which to corroborate this date, but much against. Therefore, let us proceed to examine the evidence for an earlier dating. The oldest of these is dated to within about one hundred years of the pens of the inspired writers.
There are several versions of the Syriac in our possession, including the Peshitto "simple" , the Curetonian, the Philoexenian, and Harclean. How happy is its church, on which the apostles poured forth all their doctrine along with their blood! Furthermore, the manner of death boiling in oil is consistent with the cruel deaths and tortures devised by Nero for Christians reported by Tactitus. Arethas makes similar comments, and states concerning Rev.
Internal Evidence Imminence Of The Impending Events Despite the impressive array of external authorities that may be cited for the earlier date, it is the internal testimony of the book itself that is most important for it bears clear and unequivocal evidence that it was written before the siege of Jerusalem.
Because of limited space we cannot cover each of these, so we must limit our discussion to those that are most important. The book makes numerous reference to the imminence of the predicted events.
The exhortation to "read, hear and keep" the contents "for the time is at hand" Rev. Over and over, Jesus gave personal warning to the churches that he would come upon them quickly in the events of the vision and catch them unawares if they failed to repent. Application of these time elements and allusions to events thousands of years later, and to centuries yet to come, does violence to the text. Jesus had told the apostles that before they had opportunity to preach in all the towns of Israel he would return: Why search for fulfillment in the myriad pages of medieval history when abundant testimony exists showing Christ's return in vengeance upon the Jews of that generation?
Paul complained of these Judaizers during his ministry, calling them a "thorn in the flesh," messengers of Satan to buffet him. Revelation refers to these saying the church at Ephesus had tried them "which say they are apostles, and are not and hast found them liars. To the church at Philadelphia Jesus says he will make them "of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews and are not, but do lie" to come and worship before their feet.
John is told to measure the temple and altar and them that worship therein. The apostles asked when these things would be fulfilled, what would be the sign of his coming and of the end of the mosaic age.
Since the temple and city were both destroyed in 70 A. Like the reference to the city and temple, this internal evidence cannot reasonably be disputed. The reign of Nero extended from 54 A. Therefore the book was almost assuredly written sometime between these dates. Alternatively, if Julius is omitted upon the premise he was not among the emperors the empire really began under Augustus , then the sixth emperor would be Vespasian, the Roman general Nero commanded to prosecute the war against the Jews and who came to the throne of the empire after Nero's death.
In favor of this it is argued that the beast that "was and is not and yet is" Rev. Advocates of this interpretation also point to the language of Rev.
Either way, a pre-destruction of Jerusalem dating of the Revelation is easily sustained. One arose from the sea the other arose from the earth. In the book of Daniel, the sea beast is represented as the fourth world empire Dan. The land beast is probably referred to by the "little horn" in the forth beast of Daniel chapter seven. John identifies the beast in Revelation chapter The variant spelling of "Neron" as "Nero" is believed to account for the variant readings in some manuscripts giving the number of the beast as - the "n" being equal to 50, the change being introduced to reflect the Latin spelling of Nero, versus the Hebrew Neron.
This fact, when coupled with the identifying information of chapter Jesus' Imminent Return Jesus stated many times, in many ways that he would return before that generation had passed to exact vengeance upon the Jews and to close out the mosaic age. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go into captivity, and residue shall not be cut off from the city.
Clearly, the only reasonable view is that the harlot depicts the city Jerusalem. Of Jerusalem Isaiah decried: In another place he said: Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.
How can "at hand" have such different meanings? World Condition A final consideration that should be mentioned in passing is that the events of Revelation are more consistent with the world condition under Nero, the civil wars that followed his death, and the siege of Jerusalem than any other time in history.
No other period witnessed such moral depravity, license and wanton abandon as did the empire under Nero. Certainly, there is nothing in the reign of Domitian that was of eschatological significance, such as the extinction of the Jewish state and the destruction of the city and temple. The world condition under Nero, the persecution he waged against the church, and the eschatological events culminating in the destruction of the Jewish state, coupled with the imminence of the events prophesied in Revelation, all point to date of composition under Nero, not subsequent emperors.
Conclusion These are not all the evidences that point to an early date of composition, but they are among the most critical and most concise. The book of Revelation is about the consummation of the ages - the bringing to fruition God's plan of redemption by closing out the national kingdom of apostate Judaism and bringing in the new, Heavenly Jerusalem, the Bride and church of Christ.
The events depicted belonged to the generation of those to whom the book was addressed, the seven churches of Asia. Those who are looking for future fulfillment are certain to be disappointed. No substantial or credible evidence exists in support of the traditional date of 96 A. Every reliable indication is that it was composed prior to 70 A. End Notes  " The whole is given as follows: Terry, Biblical Hermeneutics , pp. Concerning the fragment Stuart states: It may, however, be regarded as conveying the common impression of that part of the church where the author lived, that Paul, as a writer of seven epistles, was preceded by John, who wrote to the seven churches of Asia Minor.
Terry, Biblical Hermeneutics , p.