Revelation Date and Occasion

John was exiled to the Island of Patmos around 95 AD perhaps during the writing of this Epistle. The Church was undergoing the beginnings of more severe persecution than what they initially went through in James’ and Peter’s time when the Roman Emperor Nero was blaming the Christians for the burning of Rome, (which he had caused) making them the scapegoat (54-68 AD). At this time, the Emperor Domitian (81-96 AD) had stepped up the persecutions severely, perhaps being the worst ever seen in Church history (Rev. 1:9; 2:9-13; 13:7-10).

  • There are two opposing schools of thought for the date of Revelation. First is an “early date,” approximately 64-68 AD, during the reign of Nero.
  • The second is a “late date,” approximately 95-96 AD, during the reign of Emperor Domitian.
  • The main arguments for an early date are that the Temple, which was destroyed in 70 AD, seems to be still standing (Rev. 11:1-14).

One of the main themes of the Book is support for the early Christians. Then we find the eight “kings” (Rev. 13: 3-14; 17:9-11). If these “kings” were the Roman Emperors that I listed in the Background and Setting, this would place the events as current to the First Century. The rebuttal to this is that these are given to us in a figurative sense, and/or that history repeats what they went through and will be repetitive.

However, the witness of the Early Church Fathers, confirmed by Irenaeus (185 AD), church tradition, and the Gospel of John as well as his comments in Revelation indicates that John was old and at the end of his life here. This sets up the possibility for the writing having been done as late as 95 AD, making it the last Scripture penned. However, since the 19th century, there has been contention against this view, arguing for an earlier date of 60 to 69 AD, prior to the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.

The contention is that the 90-95 AD view is very problematic, mainly due to the fact that the destruction of the Temple is the singular most climatic and important Jewish historical event since the Exodus of Egypt. It would be like writing a history of the 20th century and not mentioning the two world wars. It just seems problematical, as John make no assertion that the Temple has already been destroyed. The counter is that the Temple‘s destruction was so obvious, no mention was needed.

The problem for an earlier date is that the Roman Emperors were in violent opposition to the Christians, so an earlier date after Nero’s death seems unlikely when the great persecutions arose later in Domitian’s rule in the 90s. Also, the Churches in Asia Minor were more in fruition in the 90s; in the 60s, many of them may not have even been planted yet. Further testimony of a late date is it is what the Early Church Fathers said. The date is significant, because an early date would support a Preterist or Partial-Preterist view whereas a late date would support a Futurist view.

What is the truth? It is hard to tell since there is evidence on both sides, but the veracity of the evidence seems to indicate an early date, because of the temple imagery and the historic situation of the Church in Asia Minor going through that persecution.


8 thoughts on “Revelation Date and Occasion

  1. The Temple of God is Heaven, His Throne as written. The earth is His Footstool whereby The Lord Said to My Lord sit at My Right Hand until I make you enemies a footstool for your feet. For The Lord Almighty will bring all things into subjugation of The Son of Man as written.

    The Prophet Ezekiel and The Apostle of God are in Heaven at Visions as written.

    The earthly Temple of God was that The Kingdom had come to earth in fulfillment of Jacobs vision. These are a mere shadow of the things Spiritual in Heaven.

    Thereby, The Most Gracious God gave these visions all at one ‘time’ as written, for God stands outside of the constraints of mankinds reckonings for time accounting. For one stood on the shore with Daniel as written along with which was Ezekiel, and the other spoke Greek which was John The Apostle. Across the divide of the waters dividing the advancement of The Kingdom of God through The New Covenant of The Gospel preached through John the Apostle and unto to these days.

    He who began a new Work in These Will be faithful to complete it.

    It is only hard to tell when one does not believe.

  2. The Most Merciful God had told us after the destruction of The Temple of God on earth so that The People of God would be readily able to discern that some persecutions must come to pass, at times. These are the begininng of birth pangs, leading up to the fulfillment of the Coming of The Lord Jesus into The Millennium Reign for one thousand years.

    These did not understand The Prophecy until Christ opened them to all that was written in The Gospels of The Prophets. This was to be so that none would confuse that the time coming would go as written following the flood of the war of the battles of The Spiritual Realms struggle regarding the world and mankinds peoples over which Christ had seals Domination as written.

    Therefore, the time will come to pass as written and cannot be relegated to the presupposed comfortings of the flesh, but rather to be believed upon and preparing for The Day of The Lord will come.

    See that none is deceived for the end will come as the appointed time as written.

    One can see the news every day, and understand that what was written must come.

  3. “It would be like writing a history of the 20th century and not mentioning the two world wars.” This comparison only would be appropriate if Revelation were a history of the first century, which it is not. The opening (and closing) of the book clearly state that it deals with events that are future. Since the setting of the scenes of the temple are clearly in heaven, the presence or absense of the earthly temple is entirely moot. Since there is no early evidence of an early date, and there is some early evidence (however scant) for a late date, it seems that “early date” theory exists only to allow for a preteristic interpretation. This seems like the interpretation forcing the date, rather than vice versa (the “dogma” is wagging the “tale”).

  4. Thanks for the comments…

    Yes, the “date” theories do greatly influence the “wag,” if a Futurist or a Preterist views is at hand.. However, I would not say the early view is “scant”…I used to think that until I investigated it more…

  5. I’m curious (and not totally hostile to at least a partial preterist view). Aside from the lack of a mention of the destruction of Jerusalem (which I wouldn’t expect to find in prophecy if it is already past) and John’s seeing the temple (which seems to be a vision set in heaven, not an observation of the physical temple in Jerusalem), what other evidence is there, either internal or external, that the Revelation takes place prior to 70 AD? You don’t need to take the time develop the arguments, but can you list key points and maybe point me in a direction for further research? Thanks for the input.

  6. John not mentioning the destruction of the Temple is moot. There was no reason for John to mention the destruction of Herod’s Temple to the Christian Church in Asia Minor circa AD 95-98. Why should he have mentioned this?

    John along with the congregations in Asia Minor were Christian; they were under the New Covenant: Jesus. They had left Judaism a long time ago. It was not obligatory for John to mention a Temple that no longer had any meaning for him. The Temple represented Judaism, not Christianity. John was a Christian! Not a Judaizer!

    John mentions that in the New Jerusalem there is No Temple because God Almighty and the Lamb Jesus are its Temple.

    Those who believe in an early date for the book of Revelation because they believe Revelation 11:1-3 speaks of a literal and physical Temple that is still standing miss the entire point! John is speaking of a symbolic Temple, an eschatological one, not a physical one.

    The Apostle John [much like Paul] counts all of Judaism as worthless:
    Philippians 3:5-7 These things that I once considered valuable [including Judaism], I now consider worthless for Christ.

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