When was the Book of Revelation Written?

(5.) In Revelation 22:7, Jesus said “Behold, I am coming quickly.”

(6.) In Revelation 22:10 John was told by the angel, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.”

(7.) In Revelation 22:12, Jesus further told these disciples of the 1st century: “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (See also Matthew 16:27-28).

(8.) In Revelation 22:20, again, Jesus closes by saying to them, “…Surely, I come quickly.”

Under Item No. 6 above, there is something I find very interesting about verse 10 as it relates to the time-frame for the fulfillment of “all the things” Jesus and the angels have shown John throughout this marvelous epistle. I believe a comparison of this prophecy to a prophecy found in Daniel 8:23-26, would be helpful in establishing the time-frame for the fulfillment of all the prophecies in the Apocalypse, including our Lord’s promised coming (parousia). Here is that comparison:

The fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel 8:23-26:

(Daniel 8:26—KJV-King James Version) “…shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.”

(Daniel 8:26—NASB-New American Standard Bible) “…But keep the vision secret, for it pertains to many days in the future.”

The fulfillment for all the prophecies in Revelation 22:10:

(Revelation 22:10—KJV)” Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.”

(Revelation 22:10—NASB)“…Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.”

Brothers and sisters, when juxtaposing these two prophecies, there emerges a most conspicuous and salient point when comparing the time-span covered by each of the two prophecies. First, most scholars agree that the prophecy of Daniel 8:23-26 is a prophecy of the Seleucid King, Antiochus Epiphanes, who reigned from 175-164 B.C.

In vs. 26 of this prophecy, Daniel is told by the angel to, “seal up the vision.” And as we can see, the reason for this was because, “it would be for many days in the future” (vs. 26). What’s so interesting here is that the time period for this vision, that is, from the time the angel showed it to Daniel till its fulfillment, covered a time-span of approximately 386 years. This fact is very important as we shall see shortly!

Now, please let us contrast this with what the angel in Revelation 22:10 said to John, “Do not seal up the vision.” The angel then gives John the reason for this command; it was because, “the time is (was) at hand” at the time John penned the Apocalypse! There was a time in my past when I understood the fulfillment of all the things in Revelation to be yet in our future. This was in spite of the fact that more than 2,000 years have passed, and in spite of the fact that the angel told John, “Do not seal up the vision, for the time is (was) at hand.” However, I now believe that my former reasoning was flawed and inconsistent with our Father’s word! For example, how could it be possible for 386 years in the Daniel 8:23-26 prophecy to be considered, “many days in the future” from the time it was prophesied; and yet the 2,000+ years (and counting) in the Revelation 22:10 prophecy considered as, “the time is at hand?” I’m sure you can see my point! This is the reason that I believe the Apocalypse and the things written therein, came to pass in the 1st century, by 70 A.D. And I further believe that God’s Judgment on Jerusalem and the unbelieving Jews is central to the message in the book, and not the judgment on the Roman Empire, as I once believed.

Please bear with me as I give a little illustration similar to one I heard many years ago. Let’s just imagine ourselves back about 2,000 years in the past, O. K? So, here we are, living in the days of the apostle John. As a matter of fact, we know the beloved apostle very well having both seen and heard him speak on a number of occasions. You see, we are among those seven churches of Asia. So not only do we know John quite well, but we have read all four of his other books! 

And so there we are on a Sunday morning in one of our little assemblies, singing, praying, and studying our Father’s word. Now let’s just suppose that while we are standing and singing, the front door suddenly opens, and in comes an elderly figure. We can see now that it’s the beloved apostle! Obviously, we’re all both excited as well as shocked at what we see! And so, while we are singing, John slowly makes his way down the aisle to one of the front pews. He continues to stand there and sings along with us until the song is finished. But after the song, instead of sitting down, John remains standing and he turns around to face the audience, and immediately begins to address us disciples.

As he begins to speak, he unrolls a big role of parchment and begins to read to us many truly marvelous, yet frightening things that the Lord has shown him! John informs us that these are things from the Master Himself, and that Jesus had instructed him to pass this information on to us. As you can well imagine, John really has our undivided attention by this time! We are all just excited beyond belief! And now, as every eye in the building is riveted on John, he says to us that Jesus had His angel to communicate to him, that these things he has written to us are things, “which must shortly come to pass.” And the angel said that we were to “read those things and take heed to them, because the time for all these things to come to pass “is near; yes, it is truly at hand!”

John continues to read and speak to us for the next couple of hours or so, showing us the things in the great scroll. Finally, he reaches the end of his letter and begins to roll up the scroll, leaves it on the table up front and then begins to make his way up the aisle and out the door. However, before any one of us can say anything, the door suddenly opens once again. And wouldn’t ya know it; it’s John again! He sticks his head through the door jam and says in a very stern but loving voice and says, “Now don’t you folks forget that these are things that must shortly take place. And don’t you forget that Jesus said, ‘Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me! And I want you to know that you are not to seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because as the Lord has already said, ‘the time is at hand. It’s near!”

Good folks, I said all of that simply to ask this: If you and I had really been there, and these things had happened in our presence, do you believe for one minute that we would have reasoned: “Oh well, there’s really nothing that we should be all that concerned about. After all, the things John just showed us, well, surely, they’re not going to happen in our lifetimes anyway. In fact, they won’t happen for at least another 20 centuries or more!” Folks, what do you think? Do you really think anything like that would have even crossed our minds? Why, of course not! Never in a million years would we have reasoned in such a fashion! If you’re anything like myself, you would have been trembling! Why, there would have been no question that we would have understood that John was speaking of things that were going to happen soon; in our own lifetime; in our1st century generation for sure! Would you not agree? This I believe, begs the question: If we don’t believe, that had we lived back then, and received this letter from John, that we would have been so foolish as to reason in that manner, then why should we not recognize the fact that those 1st century disciples would have been no different? They certainly knew that the epistle was written “to them!”

One more question: If John wanted the disciples to understand that their Master was indeed coming in their generation (that 1st century generation), and that all the things he was shown by the Lord were also going to come to pass in that generation, just what would you suppose John could have said to convey such a message? Well folks, please don’t think I’m trying to be cute here, but wouldn’t he most probably say something like, “the time is near, or the time is at hand, or Yes, I am coming quickly, or these are things that must shortly come to pass!” I’m sure you can see my point! Yes, good folks, you judge for yourself, but as for me, I am fully persuaded that all the things written in this marvelous epistle were both written and fulfilled in the 1st century!

Before closing, I would like to proffer just one more little illustration, which I believe further bolsters my conviction that the Apocalypse was in fact written during the early date (65-68 A.D.). In other words, it was written and fulfilled prior to the 70 A. D. “Judgment (destruction) brought on Jerusalem, the temple, fleshly priesthood, Judaism, and the Jewish nation.” Moreover, it is my understanding that the Judgments mentioned above, were central to the message in the Apocalypse. Now, would you please consider that illustration with me?

Let us use our sanctified imaginations and once again project ourselves back into the 1st century. Only this time, we find ourselves in the year 94 A.D. I’m using 94 because that would be midway of that later time-frame date of 92-96 A.D, when many disciples think the book was written. As I’m sure you have already surmised, this date would have been “after” the destruction of Jerusalem, the temple, Judaism, the fleshly priesthood, and the Jewish nation. Yes, all of those things are now “no more”; they’re all “gone; they have ceased to exist!

Now let’s just say that John goes through the same procedure we used in the first illustration. He thoroughly explains to us just what the Lord and the angel had shown him, the results of which would be no different from sending out the epistle. And let’s just say that after spending that long two hours explaining these things to us so that we can clearly understand the message, he says goodbye, and departs. Good folks, totally setting aside all of the things that John explained to us that were written in the book, here is the big question I have: For those who do insist that the book was written in 92-96 A.D, just what do you suppose the odds would be, that John would have spent all that time teaching us on all of these many things, and yet not once mention anything whatsoever about the holy city, Jerusalem, the temple, or the Jewish nation having all been destroyed? I really believe that to ask that question is also to answer it! I hope you can truly see now, why I believe the book was written in the early date (65-68 A. D.).

I would like to close now by saying that in all of the above 8 passages from the last chapter of the Book of Revelation, we have seen the great “urgency” in the words of The Lord, the angel, and the apostle John. And we have also seen that every one of these passages express an “imminent” coming (Parousia) of Jesus. But please let us not be mistaken; this urgency and these warnings were spoken to 1st century disciples and not to us in the 21st century. The apostle John and all the other apostles were told by Jesus, personally, while He was yet with them, that He would be returning soon. He had forewarned them in Matthew 16:27-28:

“For the Son of Man is going to (Gr. mello; “about to”) come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to His deeds. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here, who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

He had further told them in Matt. 10:23:

“But whenever they persecute you in this city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you (apostles-jg), you shall not finish going through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes.”

My dear friends, I wish to thank you for investigating these things with me, and I hope that you will simply consider them, and judge for yourself if they are consistent with our Father’s marvelous word. May the Lord richly bless you all with His grace and peace.

Yours in Him,

Jim Gunter

 

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