A Church History
A problem with the churches. Eusebius mentions six of the seven churches of the Apocalypse but never associates them with the Apocalypse. He doesn’t mention Antipas. All this would be consistent with an earlier version of the Apocalypse written by John the Baptist. Victorinus has a similar problem.
A reasonable explanation to address what is not settled. Who wrote it? When was it written? Why was the Apocalypse written? The Apocalypse has “a decidedly Jewish complexion” and it was suggested that John the Baptist was the first writer. Others have suggested multiple writers.
A Date for the Apocalypse
A bishop, John Chrysostom, is the writer according to the astronomer Nikolai Alexandrovich Morozov who sets the date as 395. At this time five of the seven dynasties of Rome had fallen. Chrysostom was in Ephesus at the end of the fourth century. Would he not look for evidence of the most famous book of the bible?
A canon that only considers apostles. So why did they think John wasn’t the apostle? The apostle wouldn’t use his name five times. He wouldn’t say lamb more times then Jesus. The Baptist would since he didn’t know Jesus was the Lamb. The apostle knew who “bare record” and Jesus.
A writer. It was written by John on Patmos. Don’t know when or which John. Are there three of them? Why does John introduce himself three or four times? These questions have not been answered so we are forced to speculate based on what was written by those who read what no longer exists. What were they looking at?
A few have suggested multiple writers of the Apocalypse. Vischer held that the Apocalypse was “originally a purely Jewish composition”. – Josephine Massyngbaerde Ford may have been the first to suggest it was first written by John the Baptist. Considering these possibilities can lead to a better understanding.
A Third John
A writer on the isle called Patmos. Many said it wasn’t written by John the Apostle. Others said it didn’t belong in the bible. Someone had to convince Jerome it was written by the Apostle because he included it in the Vulgate. John Chrysostom was the right person, at the right place, and at the right time. Really.
A Third John
A key piece of the puzzle. Only John Chrysostom could say, “five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come”. He was talking about the seven dynasties of the Roman Empire. Only an astronomer could say John Chrysostom, who was in Ephesus at the beginning of the fifth century, wrote the Apocalypse. Only R. H. Charles would include something like this in his book”Studies in the Apocalypse”. Really.
A Reasonable Explanation
A need to understand. A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for something that doesn’t make sense. It must be tested. Is it consistent with what we do know for sure? How do you explain John introducing himself three times? There are three different writers named John who had something to do with the Apocalypse.
A Purely Jewish Composition
A revelation that there may have been more than one version of the Apocalypse by more than one writer. A reasonable speculation that may address all the questions concerning when, who, and why. What actually happened is unsettled and warrants continued consideration into what may have happened. If you have an ear.