International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
jon (Ioannes): The name of several persons mentioned in the Apocrypha:
(1) Father of Mattathias, grandfather of Judas Maccabeus and his brothers (1 Maccabees 2:1).
(2) Eldest son of Mattathias, surnamed GADDIS (which see).
(3) Father of Eupolemus, one of the envoys sent to Rome by Judas Maccabeus (1 Maccabees 8:17; 2 Maccabees 4:11).
(4) John Hyrcanus, "a valiant man," son of Simon, and nephew of Judas Maccabeus (1 Maccabees 13:53; 16:1).
See ASMONEANS; MACCABEES.
(5) One of the envoys sent to treat with Lysias (2 Maccabees 11:17).
(Ioannes): The name of 4 persons:
(1) JOHN THE BAPTIST (which see).
(2) The apostle, the son of Zebedee, and brother of James (see JOHN, THE APOSTLE).
(3) A relative of Annas the high priest, who sat in the Sanhedrin when Peter and John were tried (Acts 4:6). Lightfoot supposes him to be the Jochanan ben Zacchai of the Talmud, who, however, did not belong to the family of the high priest. Nothing is really known of him.
(4) JOHN MARK (which see).
(5) Father of Simon Peter (John 1:42; John 21:15, 17, margin "Greek Joanes: called in Matthew 16:17, Jonah").
S. F. Hunter
JOHN THE BAPTIST
III. EARLY LIFE
1. The Scene
2. His First Appearance
3. His Dress and Manner
4. His Message
5. His Severity
(1) Lustrations Required by the Levitical Law
(2) Anticipation of Messianic Lustrations Foretold by the Prophets
(3) Proselyte Baptism
2. Baptism of Jesus
VI. IMPRISONMENT AND DEATH
1. The Time
2. The Occasion
VII. JOHN AND HIS DISCIPLES
1. The Inner Circle
2. Their Training
3. Their Fidelity
VIII. JOHN AND JESUS
1. John's Relation to Jesus
2. Jesus' Estimate of John
The sources of first-hand information concerning the life and work of John the Baptist are limited to the New Testament and Josephus Luke and Matthew give the fuller notices, and these are in substantial agreement. The Fourth Gospel deals chiefly with the witness after the baptism. In his single notice (Ant., XVIII, v, 2), Josephus makes an interesting reference to the cause of John's imprisonment. See VI, 2, below.
John was of priestly descent. His mother, Elisabeth, was of the daughters of Aaron, while his father, Zacharias, was a priest of the course of Abija, and did service in the temple at Jerusalem. It is said of them that "they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless" (Luke 1:6). This priestly ancestry is in interesting contrast with his prophetic mission.
III. Early Life.
We infer from Luke's account that John was born about six months before the birth of Jesus. Of the place we know only that it was a city of the hill country of Judah. Our definite information concerning his youth is summed up in the angelic prophecy, "Many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb" (Luke 1:14-16), and in Luke's brief statement, "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel" (Luke 1:80). The character and spiritual insight of the parents shown in the incidents recorded are ample evidence that his training was a fitting preparation for his great mission.
1. The Scene:
The scene of the Baptist's ministry was partly in the wilderness of Southern Judea and partly in the Jordan valley. Two locations are mentioned, Bethany or Bethabara (John 1:28), and Aenon near Salim (John 3:23). Neither of these places can be positively identified. We may infer from John 3:2 that he also spent some time in Peraea beyond the Jordan.
2. His First Appearance:
The unusual array of dates with which Luke marks the beginning of John's ministry (Luke 3:1, 2) reveals his sense of the importance of the event as at once the beginning of his prophetic work and of the new dispensation. His first public appearance is assigned to the 15th year of Tiberius, probably 26 or 27 A.D., for the first Passover attended by Jesus can hardly have been later than 27 A.D. (John 2:20).
3. His Dress and Manner:
John's dress and habits were strikingly suggestive of Elijah, the old prophet of national judgment. His desert habits have led some to connect him with that strange company of Jews known as the Essenes. There is, however, little foundation for such a connection other than his ascetic habits and the fact that the chief settlement of this sect was near the home of his youth. It was natural that he should continue the manner of his youthful life in the desert, and it is not improbable that he intentionally copied his great prophetic model. It was fitting that the one who called men to repentance and the beginning of a self-denying life should show renunciation and self-denial in his own life. But there is no evidence in his teaching that he required such asceticism of those who accepted his baptism.
4. His Message:
The fundamental note in the message of John was the announcement of the near approach of the Messianic age. But while he announced himself as the herald voice preparing the way of the Lord, and because of this the expectant multitudes crowded to hear his word, his view of the nature of the kingdom was probably quite at variance with that of his hearers. Instead of the expected day of deliverance from the foreign oppressor, it was to be a day of judgment for Israel. It meant good for the penitent, but destruction for the ungodly. "He will gather his wheat into the garner, but the chaff he will burn up with.... fire" (Matthew 3:12). "The axe also lieth at the root of the trees: every tree therefore that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire" (Luke 3:9). Yet this idea was perhaps not entirely unfamiliar. That the delay in the Messiah's coming was due to the sinfulness of the people and their lack of repentance, was a commonplace in the message of their teachers (Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, I, 169).
The call to repentance was then a natural message of preparation for such a time of judgment. But to John repentance was a very real and radical thing. It meant a complete change of heart and life. "Bring forth.... fruits worthy of repentance" (Luke 3:8). What these fruits were he made clear in his answers to the inquiring multitudes and the publicans and soldiers (Luke 3:10-14). It is noticeable that there is no reference to the usual ceremonies of the law or to a change of occupation. Do good; be honest; refrain from extortion; be content with wages.
5. His Severity:
John used such violence in addressing the Pharisees and Sadducees doubtless to startle them from their self-complacency. How hopelessly they were blinded by their sense of security as the children of Abraham, and by their confidence in the merits of the law, is attested by the fact that these parties resisted the teachings of both John and Jesus to the very end.
With what vigor and fearlessness the Baptist pressed his demand for righteousness is shown by his stern reproof of the sin of Herod and Herodias, which led to his imprisonment and finally to his death.
The symbolic rite of baptism was such an essential part of the work of John that it not only gave him his distinctive title of "the Baptist" (ho baptistes), but also caused his message to be styled "preaching the baptism of repentance." That a special virtue was ascribed to this rite, and that it was regarded as a necessary part of the preparation for the coming of the Messiah, are shown by its important place in John's preaching, and by the eagerness with which it was sought by the multitudes. Its significance may best be understood by giving attention to its historical antecedents, for while John gave the rite new significance, it certainly appealed to ideas already familiar to the Jews.
(1) Lustrations Required by the Levitical Law.
The divers washings required by the law (Leviticus 11-15) have, without doubt, arcligious import. This is shown by the requirement of sacrifices in connection with the cleansing, especially the sin offering (Leviticus 14:8, 9, 19, 20; compare Mark 1:44 Luke 2:22). The designation of John's baptism by the word baptizein, which by New Testament times was used of ceremonial purification, also indicates some historical connection (compare Sirach 34:25).
(2) Anticipation of Messianic Lustrations Foretold by Prophets.
John understood that his baptism was a preparation for the Messianic baptism anticipated by the prophets, who saw that for a true cleansing the nation must wait until God should open in Israel a fountain for cleansing (Zechariah 13:1), and should sprinkle His people with clean water and give them a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:25, 26 Jeremiah 33:8). His baptism was at once a preparation and a promise of the spiritual cleansing which the Messiah would bestow. "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me.... shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Matthew 3:11 margin).
(3) Proselyte Baptism.
According to the teaching of later Judaism, a stranger who desired to be adopted into the family of Israel was required, along with circumcision, to receive the rite of baptism as a means of cleansing from the ceremonial uncleanness attributed to him as a Gentile. While it is not possible to prove the priority of this practice of proselyte baptism to the baptism of John, there can be no doubt of the fact, for it is inconceivable, in view of Jewish prejudice, that it would be borrowed from John or after this time.
While it seems clear that in the use of the rite of baptism John was influenced by the Jewish customs of ceremonial washings and proselyte baptism, his baptism differed very essentially from these. The Levitical washings restored an unclean person to his former condition, but baptism was a preparation for a new condition. On the other hand, proselyte baptism was administered only to Gentiles, while John required baptism of all Jews. At the same time his baptism was very different from Christian baptism, as he himself declared (Luke 3:16). His was a baptism of water only; a preparation for the baptism "in the Spirit" which was to follow. It is also to be observed that it was a rite complete in itself, and that it was offered to the nation as a preparation for a specific event, the advent of the Messiah.
We may say, then, that as a "baptism of repentance" it meant a renunciation of the past life; as a cleansing it symbolized the forgiveness of sins (Mark 1:4), and as preparation it implied a promise of loyalty to the kingdom of the Messiah. We have no reason to believe that Jesus experienced any sense of sin or felt any need of repentance or forgiveness; but as a Divinely appointed preparation for the Messianic kingdom His submission to it was appropriate.
2. Baptism of Jesus:
While the multitudes flocked to the Jordan, Jesus came also to be baptized with the rest. "John would have hindered him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? But Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:13-15). Wherein was this act a fulfillment of righteousness? We cannot believe that Jesus felt any need of repentance or change of life. May we not regard it rather as an identification of Himself with His people in the formal consecration of His life to the work of the kingdom?
VI. Imprisonment and Death.
1. The Time:
Neither the exact time of John's imprisonment nor the period of time between his imprisonment and his death can be determined. On the occasion of the unnamed feast of John 5:1, Jesus refers to John's witness as already past. At least, then, his arrest, if not his death, must have taken place prior to that incident, i.e. before the second Passover of Jesus' ministry.
2. The Occasion:
According to the Gospel accounts, John was imprisoned because of his reproof of Herod's marriage with Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip (Luke 3:19, 20; compare Matthew 14:3, 1 Mark 6:17, 18). Josephus says (Ant., XVIII, v, 2) that Herod was influenced to put John to death by the "fear lest his great influence over the people might put it in his power or inclination to raise a rebellion. Accordingly, he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod's suspicious temper, to Macherus, and was there put to death." This account of Josephus does not necessarily conflict with the tragic story of the Gospels. If Herod desired to punish or destroy him for the reasons assigned by the evangelists, he would doubtless wish to offer as the public reason some political charge, and the one named by Josephus would be near at hand.
VII. John and His Disciples.
1. The Inner Circle:
Frequent reference is made in the Gospel narrative to the disciples of John. As the multitudes crowded to his baptism, it was natural that he should gather about him an inner circle of men who should receive special instruction in the meaning of his work, and should aid him in the work of baptism, which must have soon increased beyond his power to perform alone. It was in the formation of this inner circle of immediate followers that he prepared a sure foundation for the work of the Messiah; for it was from this inner group that the disciples of Jesus were mainly drawn, and that with his consent and through his witness to the superior worth of the latter, and the temporary character of his own mission (John 1:29-44).
2. Their Training:
Concerning the substance of their training, we know from the disciples of Jesus (Luke 11:1) that it included forms of prayer, and from his own disciples (Matthew 9:14) we learn that frequent fastings were observed. We may be sure also that he taught them much concerning the Messiah and His work.
3. Their Fidelity:
There is abundant evidence of the great fidelity of these disciples to their master. This may be observed in their concern at the over-shadowing popularity of Jesus (John 3:26); in their loyalty to him in his imprisonment and in their reverent treatment of his body after his death (Mark 6:29). That John's work was extensive and his influence lasting is shown by the fact that 20 years afterward Paul found in far-off Ephesus certain disciples, including Apollos, the learned Alexandrian Jew, who knew no other baptism than that of John (Acts 19:1-7).
VIII. John and Jesus.
1. John's Relation to Jesus:
John assumed from the first the role of a herald preparing the way for the approaching Messianic age. He clearly regarded his work as Divinely appointed (John 1:33), but was well aware of his subordinate relation to the Messiah (Mark 1:7) and of the temporary character of his mission (John 3:30). The Baptist's work was twofold. In his preaching he warned the nation of the true character of the new kingdom as a reign of righteousness, and by his call to repentance and baptism he prepared at least a few hearts for a sympathetic response to the call and teaching of Jesus. He also formally announced and bore frequent personal testimony to Jesus as the Messiah.
There is no necessary discrepancy between the synoptic account and that of the Fourth Gospel in reference to the progress of John's knowledge of the Messianic character of Jesus. According to Matthew 3:14, John is represented as declining at first to baptize Jesus because he was conscious of His superiority, while in John 1:29-34 he is represented as claiming not to have known Jesus until He was manifested by the heavenly sign. The latter may mean only that He was not known to him definitely as the Messiah until the promised sign was given.
The message which John sent to Jesus from prison seems strange to some in view of the signal testimonies which he had previously borne to His character. This need not indicate that he had lost faith in the Messiahship of Jesus, but rather a perplexity at the course of events. The inquiry may have been in the interest of the faith of his disciples or his own relief from misgivings due to Jesus' delay in assuming the expected Messianic authority. John evidently held the prophetic view of a temporal Messianic kingdom, and some readjustment of view was necessary.
2. Jesus' Estimate of John:
Jesus was no less frank in His appreciation of John. If praise may be measured by the worth of the one by whose lips it is spoken, then no man ever received such praise as he who was called by Jesus a shining light (John 5:35), more than a prophet (Matthew 11:9), and of whom He said, "Among them that are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist" (Matthew 11:11). If, on the other hand, He rated him as less than the least in the kingdom of heaven, this was a limitation of circumstances, not of worth.
Jesus paid high tribute to the Divine character and worth of John's baptism; first, by submitting to it Himself as a step in the fulfillment of all righteousness; later, by repeated utterance, especially in associating it with the birth of the Spirit as a necessary condition of inheriting eternal life (John 3:5); and, finally, in adopting baptism as a symbol of Christian discipleship.
The relative sections in the Gospel Commentaries, in the Lives of Christ, and the articles on John the Baptist in the several Bible dictionaries. There are a number of monographs which treat more minutely of details: W.C. Duncan, The Life, Character and Acts of John the Baptist, New York, 1853; Erich Haupt, Johannes der Taufer, Gutersloh, 1874; H. Kohler, Johannes der Taufer, Halle, 1884; R.C. Houghton, John the Baptist: His Life and Work, New York, 1889; H.R. Reynolds, John the Baptist, London, 1890; J. Feather, John the Baptist, Edinburgh, 1894; George Matheson in Representative Men of the New Testament, 24-66, Edinburgh, 1905; T. Innitzer, Johannes der Taufer, Vienna, 1908; A.T. Robertson, John the Loyal, New York, 1911.
Russell Benjamin Miller
JOHN, GOSPEL OF
" I. INTRODUCTORY
1. Scope of Gospel
2. State of Opinion as to Date of Appearance, etc.
II. EXTERNAL EVIDENCE fOR THE FOURTH GOSPEL
1. At the End of 2nd Century
3. Middle of 2nd Century
4. Ignatius, etc.
5. John the Presbyter
III. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE GOSPEL: INTERNAL EVIDENCE
1. General Lines of Attack and Defence
2. Unwarrantable Critical Presuppositions
3. Real Aim of Gospel-Results
(1) Relation to Synoptics
(2) Time Occupied in the Gospel
(3) A Personal Record
(4) Reminiscences of an Eyewitness
(5) Reminiscence Illustrated
IV. PROGRESS AND DEVELOPMENT IN THE GOSPEL
1. The Presentation of Jesus in the Gospel
(1) Alleged Absence of Development in Character of Jesus
(2) Alleged "Autonomy" of Jesus
(3) "Inconceivability" of Logos-Presentation
2. The Logos-Doctrine of the Prologue
3. Growth of Faith and Development of Unbelief
(1) Early Confessions
(2) Growth of Faith in the Disciples
(3) Gradual Disclosure of Messiahship: Growth of Unbelief
1. Scope of Gospel:
The Fourth Gospel has a form peculiar to itself, as well as a characteristic style and attitude, which mark it as a unique document among the books of the New Testament.
(1) There is a prologue, consisting of John 1:1-18, of which something will be said later on.
(2) There is a series of scenes and discourses from the life of Jesus, descriptive of Himself and His work, and marking the gradual development of faith and unbelief in His hearers and in the nation (1:19-12:50).
(3) There is a more detailed account of the closing events of the Passion Week-of His farewell intercourse with His disciples (John 13-17), of His arrest, trials, crucifixion, death, and burial (John 18-19).
(4) There are the resurrection, and the manifestations of the risen Lord to His disciples on the resurrection day, and on another occasion eight days after (20:1-29). This is followed by a paragraph which describes the purpose of the Gospel, and the reason why it was written (John 20:30, 31).
(5) Finally, there is a supplementary chapter (21), which has all the characteristic marks of the Gospel as a whole, and which probably, therefore, proceeds from the same pen (thus Lightfoot, Meyer, Alford, etc.; some, as Zahn, prefer to take the chapter as the work of a disciple of John). The concluding verses (21:24, 25) read: "This is the disciple that beareth witness of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his witness is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did," etc. "We know that his witness is true" seems to be a testimony on the part of those who knew as to the identity of the disciple, and the trustworthiness of his witness. Nor has this earliest testimony been discredited by the attacks made on it, and the natural meaning has been vindicated by many competent writers. The present tense, "beareth witness," indicates that the "disciple" who wrote the Gospel was still alive when the testimony was given.
2. State of Opinion as to Date of Appearance, etc.:
As to the time of the appearance of the Johannine literature, apart from the question as to the authorship of these writings, there is now a growing consensus of opinion that it arose at the end of the 1st century, or at the beginning of the 2nd century. This is held by those who assign the authorship, not to any individual writer, but to a school at Ephesus, who partly worked up traditional material, and elaborated it into the form which the Johannine writings now have; by those also, as Spitta, who disintegrate the Gospel into a Grundschrift and a Bearbeitung (compare his Das Johannes-Evangelium als Quelle der Geschichte Jesu, 1910). Whether the Gospel is looked on as a compilation of a school of theologians, or as the outcome of an editor who utilizes traditional material, or as the final outcome of theological evolution of certain Pauline conceptions, with few exceptions the appearance of the Johannine writings is dated early in the 2nd century. One of the most distinguished of these exceptions is Schmiedel; another is the late Professor Pfleiderer. One may respect Pfleiderer in the region of philosophical inquiry, but in criticism he is a negligible quantity. And the writings of Schmiedel on the Johannine question are rapidly passing into the same category.
Thus, the appearance of the Johannine writings at the end of the 1st century may safely be accepted as a sound historical conclusion. Slowly the critics who assigned their appearance to the middle of the 2nd century, or later, have retraced their steps, and assign the emergence of the Johannine writings to the time mentioned. This does not, of course, settle the questions of the authorship, composition and trustworthiness of the Gospel, which must be determined on their merits, on the grounds of external, and still more of internal, evidence, but it does clear the way for a proper discussion of them, and gives us a terminus which must set a limit to all further speculation on matters of this kind.
II. External Evidence for the Fourth Gospel.
Only an outline of the external evidence for the Fourth Gospel, which concerns both date and authorship, can be given in this article. Fuller information may be sought in the Intros to the Commentaries on the Gospel, by Godet, Westcott, Luthardt, Meyer; in Ezra Abbot's The Fourth Gospel and Its Authorship; in Zahn's Introduction to the New Testament, III; in Sanday's The Criticism of the Fourth Gospel; in Drummond's The Character and Authorship of the Fourth Gospel. All these and many others defend the Johannine authorship. On the other side, reference may be made to the author of Supernatural Religion, of which many editions have appeared. Among recent works, Moffatt's Introduction to the New Testament, and B.W. Bacon's Fourth Gospel in Research and Debate, may be mentioned as denying the Johannine authorship.
1. At End of 2nd Century:
The external evidence is as follows. At the end of the 2nd century, the Christian church was in possession of four Gospels, which were used as sacred books, read in churches in public worship, held in honor as authoritative, and treated as part of a Canon of Scripture (see GOSPELS). One of these was the Fourth Gospel, universally ascribed to the apostle John as its author. We have the evidence on this point of Irenaeus, of Tertullian, of Clement of Alexandria, a little later of Origen. Clement is witness for the belief and practice of the church in Egypt and its neighborhood; Tertullian for the church in Africa; and Irenaeus, who was brought up in Asia Minor, was a teacher at Rome, and was bishop of Lyons in Gaul, for the churches in these lands. The belief was so unquestioned, that Irenaeus could give reasons for it which would of themselves have convinced no one who had not already had the conviction which the reasons were meant to sustain. To discount the evidence of Irenaeus, Tertullian and Clement on the ground of the desire to find apostolic authorship for their sacred books, is not argument but mere assertion. There may have been such a tendency, but in the case of the four Gospels there is no proof that there was necessity for this at the end of the 2nd century. For there is evidence of the belief in the apostolic authorship of two Gospels by apostles, and of two by companions of the apostles, as an existing fact in the churches long before the end of the 2nd century.
The importance of the testimony of Irenaeus is measured by the efforts which have been made to invalidate his witness. But these attempts fail in the presence of his historical position, and of the means at his command to ascertain the belief of the churches. There are many links of connection between Irenaeus and the apostolic age. There is specially his connection with Polycarp. He himself describes that relationship in his letter to Florinus, a fellow-disciple of Polycarp, who had lapsed into Gnosticism, in which he says, "I remember the events of that time more clearly than those of recent years. For what boys learn, growing with their mind, becomes joined with it; so that I am able to describe the very place in which the blessed Polycarp sat as he discoursed, and his goings out and comings in, and the manner of his life, and his physical appearance and his discourses to the people, and the accounts which he gave of his intercourse with John and the others who had seen the Lord" (Euseb., HE, V, 20: McGiffert's translation). We cannot say what was the age of Irenaeus at that time, but he was of sufficient age to receive the impressions which, after many years, he recorded. Polycarp was martyred in 155 A.D., and he had been a Christian for 86 years when he was martyred. Thus there was only one link between Irenaeus and the apostolic age. Another link was constituted by his association with Pothinus, his predecessor in Lyons. Pothinus was a very old man when he was martyred, and had in his possession the traditions of the church of Gaul. Thus, Irenaeus, through these and others, had the opportunity of knowing the belief of the churches, and what he records is not only his own personal testimony, but the universal tradition of the church.
With Irenaeus should be adduced the apologist Theophilus (circa 170), the earliest writer to mention John by name as the author of the Gospel. In prefacing a quotation from the commencement of the prologue, he says, "This is what we learn from the sacred writings, and from all men animated by the Spirit, amongst whom John says" (Ad Autol., ii.22). Theophilus is further stated by Jerome to have composed a Harmony of the four Gospels (De Viris Illustr., 25).
3. Middle of 2nd Century:
From Irenaeus and Theophilus we ascend nearer to the middle of the 2nd century, and here we encounter the Diatessaron of Tatian, on which much need not be said. The Diatessaron is likewise a Harmony of the four Gospels, and this Harmony dates not later than 170. It begins with the 1st verse of the Fourth Gospel, and ends with the last verse of the appendix to the Gospel. Tatian was a pupil of Justin Martyr, and that fact alone renders it probable that the "Memoirs of the Apostles," which Justin quotes so often, were those which his pupil afterward combined in the Diatessaron. That Justin knew the Fourth Gospel seems clear, though we cannot argue the question here. If he did, it follows that it was in existence about the year 130.
4. Ignatius, etc.:
But there is evidence that helps us to trace the influence of the Fourth Gospel back to the year 110. "The first clear traces of the Fourth Gospel upon the thought and language of the church are found in the Epistles of Ignatius (circa 110 A.D.). How unmistakable these traces are is shown by the fact that not infrequently this dependence of Ignatius upon John has been used as an argument against the genuineness of the Ignatian letters" (Zahn, Introduction, III, 176). This argument may now be safely used since the Epistles have been vindicated as historical documents by Lightfoot and by Zahn. If the Ignatian Epistles are saturated with the tone and spirit of the Johannine writings, that goes to show that this mode of thought and expression was prevalent in the church of the time of Ignatius. Thus at the beginning of the 2nd century, that distinctive mode of thought and speech which we call Johannine had an existence.
A further line of evidence in favor of the Gospel, which need only be referred to, lies in the use made of it by the Gnostics. That the Gospel was used by the Valentinians and Basilides has been shown by Dr. Drummond (op. cit., 265-343).
5. John the Presbyter:
To estimate aright the force of the above evidence, it is to be remembered that, as already observed, there were many disciples of the John of Ephesus, to whom the Johannine writings were ascribed, living far on in the 2nd century-bishops like Papias and Polycarp, the presbyters" so often mentioned by Irenaeus-forming a chain connecting the time of the origin of the Gospel with the latter half of the century. Here arises the question, recently so largely canvassed, as to the identity of "the presbyter John" in the well-known fragment of Papias preserved by Euseb. (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, 39). Were there, as most, with Eusebius, understand, two Johns-apostle and presbyter (compare e.g. Godet)-or was there only one? If only one, was he the son of Zebedee? On these points wide difference of opinion prevails. Harnack holds that the presbyter was not the son of Zebedee; Sanday is doubtful; Moffatt believes that the presbyter was the only John at Ephesus. Zahn and Dom J. Chapman (John the Presbyter and the Fourth Gospel, 1911) think also that there was only one John at Ephesus, but he was the son of Zebedee. It is hardly necessary to discuss the question here, for the tradition is explicit which connected the Gospel with the apostle John during the latter part of his residence in Ephesus-a residence which there is no sufficient ground for disputing (see JOHN, THE APOSTLE).
On a fair consideration of the external evidence, therefore, we find that it is unusually strong. It is very seldom the case that conclusive proof of the existence and influence of a writing can be brought so near to the time of its publication as in the case of the Fourth Gospel. The date of its publication is at the end of the 1st century, or at the latest in the beginning of the 2nd. Traces of its influence are found in the Epistles of Ignatius. The 1st Epistle of John is quoted in the Epistle of Polycarp (chapter 7). The thought and style of the Gospel had influenced Justin Martyr. It is one of the four interwoven in the Diatessaron of Tatian. It was quoted, commented on, and interpreted by the Gnostics. In truth the external evidence for the early date and Johannine authorship of the Fourth Gospel is as great both in extent and variety as it is for any book of the New Testament, and far greater than any that we possess for any work of classical antiquity.
The history of the controversy on the Johannine authorship is not here entered into. Apart from the obscure sect of the Alogi (who attributed the Gospel to Cerinthus!) in the 2nd century, no voice was heard in challenge of the authorship of John till the close of the 17th century, and serious assault did not begin till the 19th century (Bretschneider, 1820, Strauss, 1835, Weisse, 1838, Baur and his school, 1844 and after, Keim, 1865, etc.). The attacks were vigorously repelled by other scholars (Olshausen, Tholuck, Neander, Ebrard, Bleek, etc.). Some adopted, in various forms and degrees, the hypothesis of an apostolic basis for the Gospel, regarded as the work of a later hand (Weizsacker, Renan, etc.). From this point the controversy has proceeded with an increasing dogmatism on the side of the opponents of the genuineness and trustworthiness of the Gospel, but not less firmness on the part of its defenders. The present state of opinion is indicated in the text.
III. Characteristics of the Gospel: Internal Evidence.
1. General Lines of Attack and Defence:
The external evidence for the Fourth Gospel is criticized, but it is chiefly on internal grounds that the opposition to the Johannine authorship and historical trustworthiness of the Gospel is based. Stress is laid on the broad contrast which admittedly exists in style, character and plan, between the Fourth Gospel and the Synoptics; on its supposed philosophical dress (the Logos-doctrine); on alleged errors and contradictions; on the absence of progress in the narrative, etc. The defense of the Gospel is usually conducted by pointing out the different aims of the Gospel, rebutting exaggerations in the above objections, and showing that in a multitude of ways the author of the Gospel reveals his identity with the apostle John. He was, e.g., a Jew, a Palestinian Jew, one familiar with the topography of Jerusalem, etc., an apostle, an eyewitness, the disciple whom Jesus loved (13:23; 20:02; 21:7, 20). The attestation in 21:24 of those who knew the author in his lifetime is of the greatest weight in this connection. Instead of following these familiar lines of argument (for which see Godet, Luthardt, Westcott, Ez. Abbot, Drummond, etc., in works cited), a confirmation is here sought on the lines of a fresh comprehensive study.
2. Unwarrantable Critical Presuppositions:
The study of the Johannine writings in general, and of the Fourth Gospel in particular, has been approached in many ways and from various points of view. One of the most common of these ways, in recent works, is that which assumes that here we have the product of Christian reflection on the facts disclosed in the other Gospels, and that these facts have been modified by the experience of the church, and reflect the consciousness of the church at the end of the 1st century or the beginning of the 2nd century. By this time, it is assumed that the church, now mainly a Gentilechurch, has been greatly influenced by Greek-Roman culture, that she has been reflecting on the wonder of her own history, and has so modified the original tradition as to assimilate it to the new environment. In the Fourth Gospel, it is said, we have the highest and most elaborate presentation of the outcome of the process. Starting with Paul and his influence, Professor B.W. Bacon traces for us the whole process until a school of theologians at Ephesus produced the Johannine writings, and the consciousness of the church was satisfied with the completeness of the new presentation of Christianity (compare his Fourth Gospel in Research and Debate). Hellenistic ideas in Hebrew form, the facts of the Gospel so transformed as to be acceptable to the Hellenistic mind-this is what scholars of this class find in the Fourth Gospel.
Others again come to the Gospel with the presupposition that it is intended to present to the reader a complete view of the life of Jesus, that it is intended to supplement and to correct the statements of the Synoptics and to present Christ in such a form as to meet the new needs of the church at the beginning of the 2nd century. Others find a polemical aim in the Gospel. Weizsacker, e.g. finds a strong polemic aim against the Jews. He says, "There are the objections raised by the Jews against the church after its secession has been consummated, and after the development of the person of its Christ has passed through its most essential stages. It is not a controversy of the lifetime, but that of the school carried back into the history of the life" (Apostolic Age, II, 222). One would have expected that a statement so forcibly put would have been supported by some evidence; that we might have some historical evidence regarding a controversy between Jew and church beyond what we have in the Fourth Gospel itself. But nothing is offered by Weizsacker except the dictum that these are controversial topics carried on in the school, and that they are anachronisms as they stand. As it happens, we know from the Dial. between Justin Martyr and Trypho what were the topics discussed between Jew and Christian in the middle of the 2nd century, and it is sufficient to say that these topics, as reported by Justin, mainly regarded the interpretation of the Old Testament, and are not those which are discussed in the Fourth Gospel.
Perhaps the most surprising of all the presuppositions with regard to the Fourth Gospel is that which lays great stress on the supposition that the book was largely intended to vindicate a Christian doctrine of the sacraments which flourished at the beginning of the 2nd century. According to this presupposition, the Fourth Gospel set forth a doctrine of the sacraments which placed them in a unique position as a means of salvation. While scarcely contending that the doctrine of the sacraments held by the church of the 2nd century had reached that stage of development which meets us in the medieval church, it is, according to this view, far on the way toward that goal afterward reached. We do not dwell on this view, for the exegesis that finds sacramentarianism in the Fourth Gospel is hopeless. That Gospel does not put the sacraments in the place of Christ. Finally, we do not find the contention of those who affirm that the Fourth Gospel was written with a view of making the gospel of Jesus more acceptable to the Gentiles any more satisfactory. As a matter of fact, the Gospel which was most acceptable to the Gentiles was the Gospel according to Matthew. It is more frequently quoted than any other. In the writings of the early church, it is quoted as often as all the other Gospels put together. The Fourth Gospel did not come into prominence in the Christian church until the rise of the Christological controversies in the 3rd century.
3. Real Aim of Gospel-Results:
When, after dwelling on these ways of approaching the Fourth Gospel, and reading the demands made on the Gospel by those who approach it with these presuppositions and demands, we turn to the Gospel itself, and ask regarding its aim and purpose, we find a simple answer. The writer of it expressly says: "Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name" (John 20:30, 31). Pursuing this clue, and putting away all the presuppositions which bulk so largely in introductions, exegeses, histories of the apostolic and sub-apostolic ages, one meets with many surprises.
(1) Relation to Synoptics.
In relation to the Synoptics, the differences are great, but more surprising is the fact that the points of contact between these Gospels and the Fourth Gospel are so few. The critics to whom reference has been made are unanimous that the writer or the school who compiled the Johannine writings was indebted to the Synoptics for almost all the facts embodied in the Fourth Gospel. Apart, however, from the Passion Week, only two points of contact are found so obvious that they cannot be doubted, namely, the feeding of the 5,000, and the walking on the sea (John 6:4-21). The healing of the child of the royal officer (John 4:46-53) can scarcely be identified with the healing of the centurion's servant (Matthew, Luke); but even if the identification were allowed, this is all we have in the Fourth Gospel of the events of the ministry in Galilee. There is a ministry in Galilee, but the earlier ministry in Judea and in Galilee began before John was cast into prison (3:24), and it has no parallel in the Synoptics. In fact, the Fourth Gospel assumes the existence of the other three, and does not anew convey the knowledge which can be gathered from them. It takes its own way, makes its own selections, and sets these forth from its own point of view. It has its own principle of selection: that plainly indicated in the passage already quoted. The scenes depicted, the works done, the words spoken, and the reflections made by the writer, are all directed toward the aim of enabling the readers to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. In the writer's view this would issue in their obtaining life in His name.
(2) Time Occupied in the Gospel.
Accepting this principle for our guidance, we turn to the Gospel, and the first thing that strikes the reader is the small amount of the real time filled up, or occupied, by the scenes described in the Gospel. We take the night of the betrayal, and the day of the crucifixion. The things done and the words spoken on that day, from one sunset to another, occupy no fewer than 7 chapters of the Gospel (John 13-19). Apart from the supplementary chapter (21), there are 20 chapters in the Gospel, containing 697 vs, and these 7 chapters have 257 verses. More than one-third of the whole given to the ministry is thus occupied with the events of one day.
Again, according to Acts 1:3, there was a ministry of the risen Lord which lasted for 40 days, and of all that happened during those days John records only what happened on the day of the resurrection, and on another day 8 days after (John 20). The incidents recorded in the other Gospels fall into the background, are taken for granted, and only the signs done on these two days are recorded here. They are recorded because they are of significance for the purpose he has in hand, of inducing belief in the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. If we continue to follow the clue thus afforded, we shall be surprised at the fewness of the days on which anything was transacted. As we read the story of the Fourth Gospel, there are many indications of the passing of time, and many precise statements of date. We learn from the Gospel that the ministry of Jesus probably lasted for 3 years. We gather this from the number of the feasts which He attended at Jerusalem. We have notes of time spent in journeys, but no account of anything that happened during them. The days on which anything was done or anything said are very few. We are told precisely that "six days before the passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was" (12:1;), and with regard to these 6 days we are told only of the supper and the anointing of the feet of Jesus by Mary, of the entry into Jerusalem, the visit of the Greeks, and of the impression which that visit made on Jesus. We have also the reflections of the evangelist on the unbelief of the Jews, but nothing further. We know that many other things did happen on these days, but they are not recorded in this Gospel. Apart from the two days during which Jesus dwelt in the place where he was, of which days nothing is recorded, the time occupied with the raising of Lazarus is the story of one day (John 11). So it is also with the healing of the blind man. The healing is done one day, and the controversy regarding the significance of that healing is all that is recorded of another day (John 9). What is recorded in John 10 is the story of two days. The story of the 7th and 8th chapters, interrupted by the episode of the woman taken in adultery, which does not belong to the Gospel, is the story of not more than two days. The story of the feeding of the 5,000 and of the subsequent discourse (John 6) is the story of two days. It is not necessary to enter into fuller detail. Yet the writer, as remarked, is very exact in his notes of time. He notes the days, the number of days on which anything was done, or when anything was said. We make these remarks, which will be obvious to every reader who attends to them, mainly for the purpose of showing that the Gospel on the face of it does not intend to, at least does not, set forth a complete account of the life and work of Jesus. It gives at the utmost an account of 20 days out of the 1,000 days of our Lord's ministry. This is of itself sufficient to set aside the idea of those who deal with the Fourth Gospel as if it were meant to set aside, to supplement, or to correct, the accounts in the Synoptics. Plainly it was not written with that purpose.
(3) A Personal Record.
Obviously the book professes to be reminiscences of one who had personal experience of the ministry which he describes. The personal note is in evidence all through the book. It is present even in the prologue, for in that verse in which he describes the great fact of the incarnation he uses the personal note, "We beheld his glory" (John 1:14). This might be taken as the keynote of the Gospel. In all the scenes set forth in the Gospel the writer believes that in them Jesus manifested forth His glory and deepened the faith of His disciples. If we were to ask him, when did he behold the glory of the incarnate Word, the answer would be, in all these scenes which are described in the Gospel. If we read the Gospel from this point of view, we find that the writer had a different conception of the glory of the incarnate Word from that which his critics ascribe to him. He sees a glory of the Word in the fact that He was wearied with His journey (John 4:6), that He made clay of the spittle and anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay (John 9:6), that He wept at the grave of Lazarus (John 11:35), that He groaned in the spirit and was troubled (John 11:38), and that He could sorrow with a sorrow unspeakable, as He did after the interview with the Greeks (John 12:27). For he records all these things, and evidently thinks them quite consistent with the glory of the incarnate Word. A fair exegesis does not explain these things away, but must take them as of the essence of the manifested glory of the Word.
The Gospel then is professedly reminiscences of an eyewitness, of one who was personally present at all the scenes which he describes. No doubt the reminiscences often pass into reflections on the meaning and significance of what he describes. He often pauses to remark that the disciples, and he himself among them, did not understand at the time the meaning of some saying, or the significance of some deed, of Jesus (John 2:22; John 12:16, etc.). At other times we can hardly distinguish between the words of the Master and the reflections of the disciple. But in other writings we often meet with the same phenomenon. In the Epistle to the Galatians, e.g., Paul writes what he had said to Peter at Antioch: "If thou, being a Jew, livest as do the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, how compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?" (Galatians 2:14). Shortly after, he passes into reflections on the situation, and it is impossible to ascertain where the direct speech ends and the reflections begin. So it is in the Fourth Gospel. It is impossible in many instances to say where the words of Jesus end and the reflections of the writer begin. So it is, e.g., with his record of the witness of the Baptist in John 3. The record of the Baptist's words may end with the sentence, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (3:30), and the rest may be the reflections of the writer on the situation.
(4) Reminiscences of an Eyewitness.
The phenomena of the Gospel are thus, apparently at least, reminiscences of an eyewitness, with his reflections on the meaning of what he has experienced. He was present at the scenes which he describes. He was present on the night on which the Master was betrayed; he was present in the hall of the high priest; he was present at the cross, and bears testimony to the reality of the death of Jesus (John 18:15; John 19:35). As we read the Gospel we note the stress he lays on "witness." The term frequently occurs (John 1:7, 8, 19; John 3:11, 26, 33; 5:31; 12:17; 21:24, etc.), and is used to set forth the verified facts of experience. In these testimonies we have an unusual combination of elevated thought and minute observation. At one time the evangelist soars aloft into a spiritual world, and moves with ease among the richest and highest elements of spiritual experience.
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JOHN, THE APOSTLE
Sources of the Life of John:
The sources for the life of the apostle John are of various kinds, and of different degrees of trustworthiness. There are the references in the Synoptic Gospels, which may be used simply and easily without any preliminary critical inquiry into their worth as sources; for these Gospels contain the common tradition of the early church, and for the present purpose may be accepted as trustworthy. Further, there are the statements in Acts and in Galatians, which we may use without discussion as a source for the life of John. There is next the universal tradition of the 2nd century, which we may use, if we can show that the John of Ephesus, who bulks so largely in the Christian literature of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, is identical with the son of Zebedee. Further, on the supposition that the son of Zebedee is the author of the Johannine writings of the New Testament, there is another source of unequaled value for the estimate of the life and character of the son of Zebedee in these writings. Finally, there is the considerable volume of tradition which gathered around the name of John of Ephesus, of which, picturesque and interesting though the traditions be, only sparing use can be made.
I. Witness of the New Testament.
Addressing ourselves first to the Synoptic Gospels, to Acts and to Galatians, we ask, What, from these sources, can we know of the apostle John? A glance only need be taken at the Johannine writings, more fully discussed elsewhere in relation to their author.
1. The Synoptic Gospels:
That John was one of the two sons of Zebedee, that he became one of the disciples of Jesus, that at His call he forsook all and followed Jesus, and was thereafter continuously with Jesus to the end, are facts familiar to every reader of the Synoptic Gospels. The call was given to John and to his brother James at the Sea of Galilee, while in a boat with their father Zebedee, "mending their nets" (Matthew 4:21, 22, and parallel passages). "Come ye after me," said Jesus, "and I will make you to become fishers of men" (Mark 1:17; on the earlier call in Judea, John 1:35, see below). That Zebedee was a man of considerable wealth may be inferred from the fact that he had "hired servants" with him (Mark 1:20), and that his wife was one of those women who ministered of their substance to Jesus and His disciples (Matthew 27:55, 56). Comparison of the latter passage with Mark 15:40, 41 identifies the wife of Zebedee, John's mother, with Salome, and it seems a fair inference from John 19:25, though all do not accept it, that Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Salome, the wife of Zebedee, were sisters. On this view, James and John were cousins of Jesus, and were also related to the family of John the Baptist. The name of John appears in all the lists of the apostles given in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 10:2 and parallels). While his name appears rarely in a position by itself, he is still one of the most prominent of the disciples. With Peter and James he is present at the raising of the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:37 Luke 8:51). These three were also present at the transfiguration (Matthew 17 Mark 9 Luke 9). They were nearest to the Lord at the agony of Gethsemane. In all these cases nothing characteristic of John is to be noted. He is simply present as one of the three, and therefore one of the most intimate of the disciples. But there is something characteristic in an incident recorded by Luke (9:54), in which James and John are represented as wishing to call down fire on a Sam village, which had refused them hospitality. From this can be inferred something of the earnestness, zeal, and enthusiasm of the brothers, and of their high sense of what was due to their Master. Peter, James, John, and Andrew are the four who asked Jesus about the prophecies He had uttered: "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when these things are all about to be accomplished?" (Mark 13:4). Then there is the request of their mother as to the place she desired for her sons in the coming kingdom (Mark 10:35). To Peter and John was entrusted the task of preparation for the keeping of the Passover (Luke 22:8). Once John stands alone, and asks what we may consider a characteristic question: "Teacher, we saw one casting out demons in thy name; and we forbade him, because he followed not us" (Mark 9:38 Luke 9:49). From these notices we see that John was in the front rank of the disciples, and we see also that he was so far conscious of the position he held, and of the intimate connection he had with the Master. We note further that John was a young man of fiery zeal, and of a tendency toward intolerance and exclusiveness. The zeal and the intolerance are in evidence in the desire to call down fire upon the Samaritan village, and the tendency toward exclusiveness is manifested in the request of his mother as to the place her sons were to occupy in the kingdom. They desire to have the highest positions. These tendencies were not encouraged by Jesus. They were rebuked by Him once and again, but the tendencies reveal the men. In harmony with these notices of character and temperament is the name given to the brothers by Jesus, "Boanerges," "Sons of thunder" (Mark 3:17), which, whatever else may be meant by it, means strength, unexpectedness, and zeal approaching to methods of violence.
2. Acts and Galatians:
John is found in company with Peter in the opening scenes in Acts. He is with Peter while the man at the gate was healed (3:1;). He is with Peter on the mission to Samaria (8:14;). He is with Peter and James, the Lord's brother, at the interview with Paul recorded in Galatians 2, and the three are described by Paul as the pillar apostles (2:9). This interview is of importance because it proves that John had survived his brother James, whose death is recorded in Acts 12; at all events that John and James were not killed by the Jews at the same time, as some now contend that they were. This contention is considered below.
3. The Johannine Writings: Gospel and Revelation:
Much is to be learned of the apostle John from the Fourth Gospel, assuming the Gospel to have been written by him. We learn from it that he was a disciple of John the Baptist (1:35), that he was one of the first six disciples called by Jesus in His early ministry in Judea (1:37-51), and that he was present at all the scenes which he describes in the Gospel. We find later that he had a home in Jerusalem, and was acquainted with many there. To that home he took Mary, the mother of Jesus, whom the dying Saviour entrusted to his care (19:26, 27). Much more also we learn of him and of his history, for the Gospel is a spiritual biography, a record of the growth of faith on the part of the writer, and of the way in which his eyes were opened to see the glory of the Lord, until faith seems to have become vision. He was in the inner circle of the disciples, indeed, nearest of all to Jesus, "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (13:23; 19:26; 20:02; 21:7, 20), and, because of that love, became the apostle of love (see, further, JOHN, GOSPEL OF; JOHN, THE EPISTLES OF; JOHANNINE THEOLOGY).
The Book of Revelation, likewise traditionally ascribed to John, bears important witness to the apostle's banishment in later life to the isle of Patmos in the Aegean (1:9). There he received the visions recorded in the book. The banishment probably took place in the reign of Domitian (see REVELATION), with whose practice it was entirely in consonance (on the severity of such exile, compare Sir W.M. Ramsay, Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia, chapter viii). The testimony is of high importance in its bearing on the disputed question of John's residence in Asia, a point now to be discussed.
II. Alleged Early Martyrdom of John: Criticism of Evidence.
1. Recent Denial of John's Residence in Ephesus:
The consentient testimony of the church of the 2nd century is that the later years of John were spent at Ephesus, where he wrote his Gospel, and gathered round him many disciples (see the evidence drawn out in detail in Godet, Commentary on Gospel of John, 43;; compare also Lightfoot, "The School of Ephesus," in Essays on the Work Entitled "Supernatural Religion"). Before, however, we can use the traditions connected with this residence at Ephesus, it is needful to inquire into the statement alleged to be made by Papias that John, the son of Zebedee, was killed by the Jews at an early date. It is plain, that, if this statement is correct, the apostle could not be the author of the Johannine writings in the New Testament, universally dated near the end of the 1st century.
2. Grounds of Denial:
The evidence for the statement that John was early killed by the Jews is thus summed up by Dr. Moffatt: "The evidence for the early martyrdom of John the son of Zebedee is, in fact, threefold: (a) a prophecy of Jesus preserved in Mark 10:39 = Matthew 20:23, (b) the witness of Papias, and (c) the calendars of the church" (Intro to Lit. of New Testament, 602). Our limits do not admit of an exhaustive examination of this so-called evidence, but, happily, an exhaustive examination is not needed.
(a) The first head proceeds on an assumption which is not warranted, namely, that a prophecy of Jesus would not be allowed to stand, if it were not evidently fulfilled. In the present instance, a literal fulfillment of the prophecy ("The cup that I drink ye shall drink," etc.) is out of the question, for there is no hint that either James or John was crucified. We must therefore fall back on the primary meaning of martyrdom, and recognize a fulfillment of the prophecy in the sufferings John endured and the testimony he bore for the Master's sake (thus Origen, etc.).
(b) Dr. Moffatt lays great stress on what he calls the testimony of Papias. But the alleged testimony of Papias is not found in any early authority, and then occurs in writers not of any great value from the point of view of critical investigation. It is found in a passage of Georgius Hamartolus (9th century), and is held to be corroborated by a fragment of an epitome (7th or 8th century) of the Chronicle of Philip Sidetes (5th century), a thoroughly untrustworthy writer. The passage from Georgius may be seen in convenient form in Lightfoot's Apostolic Fathers, 513-19. It tells that John survived to the time of Nerva, quotes a saying of Papias that he was killed by the Jews, states that this was in fulfillment of the prophecy of Jesus above referred to, and goes on to say, "So the learned Origen affirms in his interpretation of Matthew's Gospel, that John was martyred, declaring that he had learnt the last from the successors of the apostles" (Lightfoot, op. cit., 531). Fortunately, the statement of Origen can be tested, and it by no means, as Moffatt admits (op. cit., 604), bears out the meaning attached to it. Origen is of opinion that the prophecy of Jesus was sufficiently fulfilled by the fact of John's banishment to Patmos and his sufferings there. This, according to him, is what tradition taught and what the prophecy meant. From the whole statement of Georgius, which expressly declares that John survived till the time of Nerva, nothing can be inferred in support of the so-called quotation from Papias. It is to be remembered that the writings of Papias were known to Irenaeus and to Eusebius, and it is inconceivable that, if such a statement was to be found in these, they would have ignored it, and have given currency to a statement contradictory to it. No stress, therefore, can be laid on the alleged quotation. We do not know its context, nor is there anything in the literature of the first 3 centuries corroborative of it. In the citation in the epitome of Philip, Papias is made to speak of "John the divine" (ho theologos). This title is not applied to John till the close of the 4th century.
(c) As regards the 3rd line of evidence instanced by Dr. Moffatt-church calendars, in which James and John are commemorated together as martyrs-it is even more worthless than the other two. On the nature and origin of these martyrologies, Dr. J. Drummond may be quoted: "They were constructed in process of time out of local calendars. At some period in the 2nd half of the 5th century, a martyrology was formed by welding together a number of provincial calendars, Roman, Italian, Spanish, and Gallic, into what was in effect a general martyrology of Western Europe. At Nicomedia, about the year 350, a similar eastern martyrology was formed out of the local calendars, and this was translated with curtailments into Syriac at Edessa about the year 400. It is a copy of this, made in 411, which is now in the British Museum" (Inquiry into Character and Authorship of the Fourth Gospel, 232). If this is a true account of the rise and origin of martyrologies we need not be surprised that Sir W. M. Ramsay speaks as follows: "That James and John, who were not slain at the same time, should be commemorated together, is the flimsiest conceivable evidence that John was killed early in Jerusalem. The bracketing together of the memory of apostles who had some historical connection in life, but none in death, must be regarded as the worst side, historically speaking, of the martyrologies" (The First Christian Century, 49, note).
III. The Ephesian Traditions.
1. John the Apostle, and John the Presbyter:
Thus the early traditions of the churches are available for the life of John the son of Zebedee. But there still remain many blank spaces in that life. After the reference to the pillar apostles in Galatians, silence falls on the life of John, and we know nothing of his life and activity until we read of his banishment to Patmos, and meet with those references to the old man at Ephesus, which occur in the Christian literature of the 2nd century. One point of interest relates to the (genuine) quotation from Papias, preserved by Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, 39), regarding a "Presbyter John," a disciple of the Lord, who was one of his living authorities. Were there two Johns at Ephesus? Or was there only one? Or, if there was only one, was he John the Evangelist, or only John the Presbyter? Here there is every possible variety of opinion. Many hold that there were two, and many that there was only one. Many who hold that there was only one, hold that the one was John the son of Zebedee; others hold, with equal assurance, that he was a distinct person. Obviously, it is impossible to discuss the question adequately here. After due consideration, we lean to the conclusion that there was only one John at Ephesus, and he the son of Zebedee. For the proof of this, impossible within our limits, we refer to the learned argument of John Chapman, in his work John the Presbyter and the Fourth Gospel (1911).
2. Characteristic Traditions:
Into the traditions which cluster round John in Ephesus it is not necessary to enter in detail (compare Godet, op. cit., 57;). According to the tradition universally accepted in the church, John survived till the time of Trajan (98 A.D.). Striking and characteristic things are told of him in harmony with the touches we find in the Synoptic Gospels. The story of his rushing forth from the bath when Cerinthus, the heretic, entered it (Irenaeus, Adv. Haer., iii.3, 4) recalls the characteristics of him whom Jesus called "son of thunder." The same tone of exclusiveness, modified by larger experience, is found in the 1st Epistle, which so frequently and so decisively discriminates between those who believe in Jesus and those who do not.
IV. The Character of John.
The general character of this great apostle is already sufficiently apparent. While we recall the illustrative facts found in the Synoptics, that James and John were the two who wished to call down fire from heaven on the inhospitable village, that John was one of those who desired one of the chief places in the kingdom, that he it was who forbade the man to cast out demons in the name of Jesus because he followed not with them, we do not forget that on each of these occasions he was corrected and rebuked by the Master, and he was not the kind of man who could not profit by the rebuke of Jesus. So that vehemence of disposition was held in check, and, while still in existence, was under control, and allowed to have vent only on occasions when it was permissible, and even necessary. So in his writings, and in the reflections in the Gospel, we note the vehemence displayed, but now directed only against those who refused to believe in, and to acknowledge, Jesus.
"A quiet and thoughtful temperament is by no means inconsistent with a certain vehemence, when, on occasions, the pent-up fire flashes forth; indeed, the very violence of feeling may help to foster an habitual quietude, lest word or deed should betray too deep an emotion. Then it is not without significance that, in the three narratives which are cited from the Gospels to prove the overbearing temper of John, we are expressly told that Jesus corrected him. Are we to suppose that these rebukes made no impression? Is it not more likely that they sank deep into his heart, and that the agony of beholding his Master's crucifixion made them ineffaceable? Then, if not before, began that long development which changed the youthful son of thunder into the aged apostle of love" (Drummond, op. cit, 410, 411).
But love itself has its side of vehemence, and the intensity of love toward a person or a cause may be measured by the intensity of aversion and of hatred toward their contradictories. There are many reflections in the Gospel and in the Epistles which display this energy of hatred toward the work of the devil, and toward those dispositions which are under the influence of the father of lies. We simply notice these, for they prove that the fervent youth who was devoted to his Master carried with him to the end the same disposition which was characteristic of him from the beginning.
In addition to books mentioned in article, see the list of works appended to article on JOHN, GOSPEL OF.
JOHN, THE EPISTLES OF
" I. GENERAL CHARACTER
1. A True Letter
3. Characteristics of the Writer
4. Style and Diction
II. POLEMICAL AIM
III. STRUCTURE AND SUMMARY
1. The Prologue, 1 John 1:1-4
2. First Cycle, 1 John 1:5-2:28
The Christian Life as Fellowship with God (Walking in the Light) Tested by Righteousness, Love and Belief
(a) Paragraph A, 1 John 1:8-2:6
(b) Paragraph B, 1 John 2:7-17
(c) Paragraph C, 1 John 2:18-28
3. Second Cycle, 1 John 2:29-4:6
Divine Sonship Tested by Righteousness, Love and Belief
(a) Paragraph A, 1 John 2:29-3:10a
(b) Paragraph B, 1 John 3:10b-24b
(c) Paragraph C, 1 John 3:24b through 4:6
4. Third Cycle, 1 John 4:7-5:21
Closer Correlation of Righteousness, Love and Belief
(a) Section I, 1 John 4:7-5:3a
(i) Paragraph A, 1 John 4:7-12
(ii) Paragraph B, 1 John 4:13-16
(iii) Paragraph C, 1 John 4:17-5:3a
(b) Section II, 1 John 5:3b-21
(i) Paragraph A, 1 John 5:3b-12
(ii) Paragraph B, 1 John 5:13-21
IV. CANONICITY AND AUTHORSHIP
1. Traditional View
2. Critical Views
3. Internal Evidence
V. RELATIONSHIP TO THE FOURTH GOSPEL
1. Common Characteristics
2. Coincidences of Vocabulary
3. Divergences of Vocabulary
4. Arguments against Unity of Authorship
6. Question of Priority
Among the 7 New Testament epistles which from ancient times have been called "catholic" (universal) there is a smaller group of three in which the style alike of thought and language points to a common authorship, and which are traditionally associated with the name of the apostle John. Of these, again, the first differs widely from the other two in respect not only of intrinsic importance, but of its early reception in the church and unquestioned canonicity.
THE FIRST EPISTLE
I. General Character.
1. A True Letter:
Not only is the Epistle an anonymous writing; one of its unique features among the books of the New Testament is that it does not contain a single proper name (except our Lord's), or a single definite allusion, personal, historical, or geographical. It is a composition, however, which a person calling himself "I" sends to certain other persons whom he calls "you," and is, in form at least, a letter. The criticism which has denied that it is more than formally so is unwarranted. It does not fall under either of Deissmann's categories-the true letter, intended only for the perusal of the person or persons to whom it is addressed, and the epistle, written with literary art and with an eye to the public. But it does possess that character of the New Testament epistles in general which is well described by Sir William Ramsay (Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia, 24): "They spring from the heart of the writer and speak direct to the heart of the readers. They were often called forth by some special crisis in the history of the persons addressed, so that they rise out of the actual situation in which the writer conceives the readers to be placed; they express the writer's keen and living sympathy with and participation in the fortunes of the whole class addressed, and are not affected by any thought of a wider public..... On the other hand, the letters of this class express general principles of life and conduct, religion and ethics, applicable to a wider range of circumstances than those which called them forth; and they appeal as emphatically and intimately to all Christians in all time as they did to those addressed in the first instance." The 1st Epistle of John could not be more exactly characterized than by these words. Though its main features are didactic and controversial, the personal note is frequently struck, and with much tenderness and depth of feeling. Under special stress of emotion, the writer's paternal love, sympathy and solicitude break out in the affectionate appellation, "little children," or, yet more endearingly, "my little children." Elsewhere the prefatory "beloved" shows how deeply he is stirred by the sublimity of his theme and the sense of its supreme importance to his readers. He shows himself intimately acquainted with their religious environment (1 John 2:19; 1 John 4:1), dangers (1 John 2:26; 1 John 3:7; 1 John 5:21), attainments (1 John 2:12-14, 21), achievements (1 John 4:4) and needs (1 John 3:19; 1 John 5:13). Further, the Epistle is addressed primarily to the circle of those among whom the author has habitually exercised his ministry as evangelist and teacher. He has been wont to announce to them the things concerning the Word of Life (1 John 1:1, 2), that they might have fellowship with him (1 John 1:3), and now, that his (or their) joy may be full, he writes these things unto them (1 John 1:4). He writes as light shines. Love makes the task a necessity, but also a delight.
There is no New Testament writing which is throughout more vigorously controversial: for the satisfactory interpretation of the Epistle as a whole, recognition of the polemical aim that pervades it is indispensable. But it is true also that there is no such writing in which the presentation of the truth more widely overflows the limits of the immediate occasion. The writer so constantly lifts up against the error he combats, the simple, sublime and satisfying facts and principles of the Christian revelation, so lifts up every question at issue into the light of eternal truth, that the Epistle pursues its course through the ages, bringing to the church of God the vision and the inspiration of the Divine. The influence of the immediate polemical purpose, however, is manifest, not only in the contents of the Epistle, but in its limitations as well. In a sense it may be said that the field of thought is a narrow one. God is seen exclusively as the Father of Spirits, the Light and Life of the universe of souls. His creatorship and government of the world, the providential aspects and agencies of salvation, the joys and sorrows, hopes and fears that spring from the terrestrial conditions and changes of human life, their disciplinary purpose and effect-to all this the Epistle contains no reference. The themes are exclusively theological and ethical. The writer's immediate interest is confined to that region in which the Divine and human vitally and directly meet-to that in God which is communicable to man, to that in man by which he is capax Dei. The Divine nature as life and light, and love and righteousness; the Incarnation of this Divine nature in Jesus, with its presuppositions and consequences, metaphysical and ethical; the imparting of this Divine nature to men by regeneration; the antithesis to it-sin-and its removal by propitiation; the work of the Holy Spirit; the Christian life, the mutual indwelling of God and man, as tested by its beliefs, its antagonism to sin, its inevitable debt of love-such are the fundamental themes to which every idea in the Epistle is directly related. The topics, if few, are supremely great; and the limitations of the field of vision are more than compensated by the profundity and intensity of spiritual perception.
3. Characteristics of the Writer:
The Epistle is in a sense impersonal to the last degree, offering a strange contrast to that frankness of self-revelation which gives such charm to Paul's letters; yet few writings so clearly reveal the deepest characteristics of the writer. We feel in it the high serenity of a mind that lives in constant fellowship with the greatest thoughts and is nourished at the eternal fountain-head; but also the fervent indignation and vehement recoil of such a mind in contact with what is false and evil. It has been truly called "the most passionate" book in the New Testament. Popular instinct has not erred in giving to its author the title, "Apostle of Love." Of the various themes which are so wonderfully intertwined in it, that to which it most of all owes its unfading charm and imperishable value is love. It rises to its sublimest height, to the apex of all revelation, in those passages in which its author is so divinely inspired to write of the eternal life, in God and man, as love.
But it is an inveterate misconception which regards him solely as the exponent of love. Equally he reveals himself as one whose mind is dominated by the sense of truth. There are no words more characteristic of him than "true" (alethinos, denoting that which both ideally and really corresponds to the name it bears) and "the truth" (aletheia, the reality of things sub specie aeternitatis). To him Christianity is not only a principle of ethics, or even a way of salvation; it is both of them, because it is primarily the truth, the one true disclosure of the realities of the spiritual and eternal world. Thus it is that his thought so constantly develops itself by antithesis. Each conception has its fundamental opposite: light, darkness; life, death; love, hate; truth, falsehood; the Father, the world; God, the devil. There is no shading, no gradation in the picture. No sentence is more characteristic of the writer than this: "Ye know that no lie is of the truth" (1 John 2:21 margin). But again, his sense of these radical antagonisms is essentially moral, rather than intellectual. It seems impossible that any writing could display a more impassioned sense, than this Epistle does, of the tremendous imperative of righteousness, a more rigorous intolerance of all sin (1 John 2:4; 1 John 3:4, 8, 9, 10). The absolute antagonism and incompatibility between the Christian life and sin of whatsoever kind or degree is maintained with a vehemence of utterance that verges at times upon the paradoxical (1 John 3:9; 1 John 5:18). So long as the church lays up this Epistle in its heart, it can never lack a moral tonic of wholesome severity.
4. Style and Diction:
The style is closely, though perhaps unconsciously, molded upon the Hebrew model, and especially upon the parallelistic forms of the Wisdom literature. One has only to read the Epistle with an attentive ear to perceive that, though using another language, the writer had in his own car, all the time, the swing and cadences of Hebrew verse. The diction is inartificial and unadorned. Not a simile, not a metaphor (except the most fundamental, like "walking in the light") occurs. The limitations in the range of ideas are matched by those of vocabulary and by the unvarying simplicity of syntactical form. Yet limited and austere as the literary medium is, the writer handles its resources often with consummate skill. The crystalline simplicity of the style perfectly expresses the simple profundity of the thought. Great spiritual intuitions shine like stars in sentences of clear-cut gnomic terseness. Historical (1 John 1:1) and theological (1 John 1:2; 1 John 4:2) statements are made with exquisite precision. The frequent reiteration of nearly the same thoughts in nearly the same language, though always with variation and enrichment, gives a cumulative effect which is singularly impressive. Such passages as 1 John 2:14-17, with its calm challenge to the arrogant materialism of the world-"And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever"-or the closing verses of the Epistle, with their thrice-repeated triumphant "we know" and their last word of tender, urgent admonition, have a solemn magnificence of effect which nothing but such simplicity of language, carrying such weight of thought, could produce. If it has been true of any writer that "le style est l'homme," it is true of the author of this Epistle.
II. Polemical Aim.
The polemical intention of the Epistle has been universally recognized; but there has been diversity of opinion as to its actual object. By the older commentators, generally, this was found in the perilous state of the church or churches addressed, which had left their first love and lapsed into Laodicean lukewarmness. But the Epistle gives no sign of this, and it contains many passages that are inconsistent with it (1 John 2:13, 14, 20, 21, 27; 1 John 4:4; 1 John 5:18-20). The danger which immediately threatens the church is from without, not from within. There is a "spirit of error" (1 John 4:6) abroad in the world. From the church itself (1 John 2:18), many "false prophets" have gone forth (1 John 4:1), corrupters of the gospel, veritable antichrists (1 John 2:18). And it may be asserted as beyond question that the peril against which the Epistle was intended to arm the church was the spreading influence of some form of Gnosticism.
The pretensions of Gnosticism to a higher esoteric knowledge of Divine things seems to be clearly referred to in several passages. In 1 John 2:4, 6, 9, e.g. one might suppose that they are almost verbally quoted ("He that saith"; "I know Him"; "I abide in Him"; "I am in the light"). When we observe, moreover, the prominence given throughout to the idea of knowledge and the special significance of some of these passages, the conviction grows that the writer's purpose is not only to refute the false, but to exhibit apostolic Christianity, believed and lived, as the true Gnosis-the Divine reality of which Gnosticism was but a fantastic caricature. The confidence he has concerning his readers is that they "know him who is from the beginning," that they "know the Father" (2:13). "Every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God" (4:7); and the final note upon which the Epistle closes is: "We know him that is true, and we are in him that is true" (5:20). The knowledge of the ultimate Reality, the Being who is the eternal life, is for Christian and Gnostic alike the goal of aspiration.
But it is against two closely related developments of Gnostic tendency, a docetic view of the incarnation, and an antinomian view of morals, that the Epistle is specifically directed. Both of these sprang naturally from the dualism which was the fundamental and formative principle of Gnosticism in all its many forms. According to the dualistic conception of existence, the moral schism of which we are conscious in experience is original, eternal, inherent in the nature of beings. There are two independent and antagonistic principles of being from which severally come all the good and all the evil that exist. The source and the seat of evil were found in the material element, in the body with its senses and appetites, and in its sensuous earthly environment; and it was held inconceivable that the Divine nature should have immediate contact with the material side of existence, or influence upon it.
To such a view of the universe Christianity could be adjusted only by a docetic interpretation of the Person of Christ. A real incarnation was unthinkable. The Divine could enter into no actual union with a corporeal organism. The human nature of Christ and the incidents of His earthly career were more or less an illusion. And it is with this docetic subversion of the truth of the incarnation that the "antichrists" are specially identified (1 John 2:22, 23; 1 John 4:2, 3), and against it that John directs with wholehearted fervor his central thesis-the complete, permanent, personal identification of the historical Jesus with the Divine Being who is the Word of Life (1 John 1:1), the Christ (1 John 4:2) and the Son of God (1 John 5:5): "Jesus is the Christ come in the flesh." In John 5:6 there is a still more definite reference to the special form which Gnostic Christology assumed in the teaching of Cerinthus and his school. According to Irenaeus (Adv. Haer., i.26, 1) this Cerinthus, who was John's prime antagonist in Ephesus, taught that Jesus was the son of Joseph and Mary, and was distinguished from other men only by superiority in justice, prudence and wisdom; that at His baptism the heavenly Christ descended upon Him in the form of a dove; that on the eve of His Passion, the Christ again left Jesus, so that Jesus died and rose again, but the Christ, being spiritual, did not suffer. That is to say, that, in the language of the Epistle, the Christ "came by water," but not, as John strenuously affirms, "by water and blood.... not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood" (1 John 5:6). He who was baptized of John in Jordan, and He whose life-blood was shed on Calvary, is the same Jesus and the same Christ, the same Son of God eternally.
A further consequence of the dualistic interpretation of existence is that sin, in the Christian meaning of sin, disappears. It is no longer a moral opposition (anomia), in the human personality, to good; it is a physical principle inherent in all nonspiritual being. Not the soul, but the flesh is its organ; and redemption consists, not in the renewal of the moral nature, but in its emancipation from the flesh. Thus it is no mere general contingency, but a definite tendency that is contemplated in the repeated warning: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us..... If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us" (1 John 1:8, 10).
With the nobler and more earnest spirits the practical corollary of this irreconcilable dualism in human nature was the ascetic life; but to others the same principle readily suggested an opposite method of achieving the soul's deliverance from the yoke of the material-an attitude of moral indifference toward the deeds of the body. Let the duality of nature be boldly reduced to practice. Let body and spirit be regarded as separate entities, each obeying its own laws and acting according to its own nature, without mutual interference; the spiritual nature could not be involved in, nor affected by, the deeds of the flesh. Vehement opposition to this deadly doctrine is prominent in the Epistle-in such utterances as "Sin is lawlessness" (1 John 3:4) and its converse "All unrighteousness is sin" (1 John 5:17), but especially in the stringent emphasis laid upon actual conduct, "doing" righteousness or "doing" sin. The false spiritualism which regards the contemplation of heavenly things as of far superior importance to the requirements of commonplace morality is sternly reprobated: "Little children, let no man lead you astray: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous" (1 John 3:7); and the converse application of the same doctrine, that the mere "doing" of sin is of little or no moment to the "spiritual" man, is met with the trenchant declaration, "He that doeth sin is of the devil" (1 John 3:8). The whole passage (1 John 2:29-3:10) presupposes, as familiar to its readers, a doctrine of moral indifferentism according to which the status of the spiritual man is not to be tested by the commonplace facts of moral conduct. It is only as a passionate contradiction of this hateful tenet that the paradoxical language of 1 John 3:6, 9 and 5:18 can be understood.
To the same polemical necessity is due the uniquely reiterated emphasis which the Epistle lays upon brotherly love, and the almost fierce tone in which the new commandment is promulgated. To the Gnostic, knowledge was the sum of attainment. "They give no heed to love," says Ignatius, "caring not for the widow, the orphan or the afflicted, neither for those who are in bonds nor for those who are released from bonds, neither for the hungry nor the thirsty." That a religion which banished or neglected love should call itself Christian or claim affinity with Christianity excites John's hottest indignation; against it he lifts up his supreme truth, God is love, with its immediate consequence that to be without love is to be without capacity for knowing God (1 John 4:7, 8). The assumption of a lofty mystical piety apart from dutiful conduct in the ordinary relations of life is ruthlessly underlined as the vaunt of a self-deceiver (1 John 4:20); and the crucial test by which we may assure our self-accusing hearts that we are "of the truth" is love "not in word, neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth" (1 John 3:18).
The question is raised whether the polemic of the Epistle is directed against the same persons throughout or whether in its two branches, the Christological and the ethical, it has different objects of attack. The latter view is maintained on the ground that no charge of libertine teaching or conduct is brought against the "antichrists," and there is no proof that docetism in Asia Minor lay open to such a charge. But the other view has greater probability. The Epistle suggests nothing else than that the same spirit of error which is assailing the faith of the church (1 John 4:6) is also a peril to the moral integrity of its life (1 John 3:7). And if there is no proof that docetism in Asia Minor was also antinomian, there is no proof that it was not. The probability is that it was. Docetism and the emancipation of the flesh were both natural fruits of the dualistic theory of life.
The name, which unvarying tradition associates with the Epistle, as John's chief antagonist in Ephesus, is that of Cerinthus. Unfortunately the accounts which have come down to us of Cerinthus and his teaching are fragmentary and confused, and those of his character, though unambiguous, come only from his opponents. But it is certain that he held a docetic view of the incarnation, and, according to the only accounts we possess, his character was that of a voluptuary. So far as they go, the historical data harmonize with the internal evidence of the Epistle itself in giving the impression that the different tendencies it combats are such as would be naturally evolved in the thought and practice of those who held, as Cerinthus did, that the material creation, and even the moral law, had its origin, not in the Supreme God, but in an inferior power.
III. Structure and Summary.
In the judgment of many critics, the Epistle possesses nothing that can be called an articulate structure of thought, its aphoristic method admitting of no logical development; and this estimate has a large measure of support in the fact that there is no New Testament writing regarding the plan of which there has been greater variety of opinion. The present writer believes, nevertheless, that it is erroneous, and that, in its own unique way, the Epistle is a finely articulated composition. The word that best describes the author's mode of thinking is "spiral." The course of thought does not move from point to point in a straight line. It is like a winding staircase-always revolving around the same center, always recurring to the same topics, but at a higher level.
Carefully following the topical order, one finds, e.g., a paragraph (1 John 2:3-6) insisting upon practical righteousness as a guaranty of the Christian life; then one finds this treated a second time in 1 John 2:29-3:10 a; and yet again in 5:3 and 5:18. Similarly, we find a paragraph on the necessity of love in 2:7-11, and again in 3:10b-20, and yet again in 4:7-13, and also in 4:17-5:2. So also, a paragraph concerning the necessity of holding the true belief in the incarnate Son of God in 2:18-28, in 4:1-6, and the same subject recurring in 4:13-16 and 5:4-12. And we shall observe that everywhere these indispensable characteristics of the Christian life are applied as tests; that in effect the Epistle is an apparatus of tests, its definite object being to furnish its readers with the necessary criteria by which they may sift the false from the true, and satisfy themselves of their being "begotten of God." "These things have I written unto you, that ye may know that ye have eternal life" (5:13). These fundamental tests of the Christian life-doing righteousness, loving one another, believing that Jesus is the Christ come in the flesh-are the connecting themes that bind together the whole structure of the Epistle. Thus, if we divide the Epistle into 3 main sections, the first ending at 2:28, the second at 4:6, the result is that in the first and second of these sections we find precisely the same topics coming in precisely the same order; while in the third section (4:7-5:21), though the sequence is somewhat different, the thought-material is exactly the same. The leading themes, the tests of righteousness, love, and belief, are all present; and they alone are present. There is, therefore, a natural division of the Epistle into these three main sections, or, as they might be descriptively called, "cycles," in each of which the same fundamental themes appear. On this basis we shall now give a brief analysis of its structure and summary of its contents.
1. The Prologue, 1 John 1:1-4:
The writer announces the source of the Christian revelation-the historical manifestation of the eternal Divine life in Jesus Christ-and declares himself a personal witness of the facts in which this manifestation has been given. Here, at the outset, he hoists the flag under which he fights. The incarnation is not seeming or temporary, but real. That which was from the beginning-"the eternal life, which was with the Father"-is identical with "that which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we beheld, and our hands handled."
2. First Cycle, 1 John 1:5-2:28:
The Christian life, as fellowship with God (walking in the Light) tested by righteousness, love and belief.-The basis of the whole section is the announcement: "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). What God is at once determines the condition of fellowship with Him; and this, therefore, is set forth: first, negatively (1 John 1:6): "if we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness"; then, positively (1 John 1:7): "if we walk in the light, as he is in the light." What, then, is it to walk in the light, and what to walk in darkness? The answer is given in what follows.
(a) Paragraph A, 1 John 1:8-2:6:
(Walking in the Light tested by righteousness): First, in confession of sin (1 John 1:8-2:2), then in actual obedience (1 John 2:3-6). The first fact upon which the light of God impinges in human life is sin; and the first test of walking in the light is the recognition and confession of this fact. Such confession is the first step into fellowship with God, because it brings us under the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus, His Son (1 John 1:7), and makes His intercession available for us (1 John 2:1). But the light not only reveals sin; its greater function is to reveal duty; and to walk in the light is to keep God's commandments (1 John 2:3), His word (1 John 2:5), and to walk even as Christ walked (1 John 2:6).
(b) Paragraph B, 1 John 2:7-17:
(Walking in the Light tested by love):
The old-new commandment (1 John 2:7-11). Love is the commandment which is "old," because familiar to the readers of the Epistle from their first acquaintance with the rudiments of Christianity (1 John 2:7); but also "new," because ever fresh and living to those who have fellowship with Christ in the true light which is now shining for them (1 John 2:8). On the contrary, "He that saith he is in the light and hateth his brother, is in the darkness" (1 John 2:9). The antithesis is then repeated with variation and enrichment of thought (1 John 2:10, 11). (Then follows a parenthetical address to the readers (1 John 2:12-14). This being treated as a parenthesis, the unity of the paragraph at once becomes apparent.)
If walking in the light has its guaranty in loving one's "brother," it is tested no less by not loving "the world." One cannot at the same time participate in the life of God and in a moral life which is governed by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the vain-glory of the world.
(c) Paragraph C, 1 John 2:18-28:
(Walking in the Light tested by belief): The light of God not only reveals sin and duty, the children of God (our "brother") and "the world" in their true character; it also reveals Jesus in His true character, as the Christ, the incarnate Son of God. And all that calls itself Christianity is to be tested by its reception or rejection of that truth. In this paragraph light and darkness are not expressly referred to; but the continuity of thought with the preceding paragraphs is unmistakable. Throughout this first division of the Epistle the point of view is that of fellowship with God, through receiving and acting according to the light which His self-revelation sheds upon all things in the spiritual realm. Unreal Christianity in every form is comprehensively a "lie." It may be the antinomian "lie" of him who says he has no sin (1 John 1:8) yet is indifferent to keeping God's commandments (1 John 2:4), the lie of lovelessness (1 John 2:9), or the lie of Antichrist, who, claiming spiritual enlightenment, yet denies that Jesus is the Christ (1 John 2:22).
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mark, John (Ioannes) represents his Jewish, Mark (Markos) his Roman name. Why the latter was assumed we do not know.
1. Name and Family: Perhaps the aorist participle in Acts 12:25 may be intended to intimate that it dated from the time when, in company with Barnabas and Saul, he turned to service in the great Gentilecity of Antioch. Possibly it was the badge of Roman citizenship, as in the case of Paul. The standing of the family would be quite consistent with such a supposition.
His mother's name was Mary (Acts 12:12). The home is spoken of as hers. The father was probably dead. The description of the house (with its large room and porch) and the mention of the Greek slave, suggest a family of wealth. They were probably among the many zealous Jews who, having become rich in the great world outside, retired to Jerusalem, the center of their nation and faith. Mark was "cousin" to Barnabas of Cyprus (Colossians 4:10) who also seems to have been a man of means (Acts 4:36). Possibly Cyprus was also Mark's former home.
2. His History as Known from the New Testament:
When first mentioned, Mark and his mother are already Christians (44 A.D.). He had been converted through Peter's personal influence (1 Peter 5:13) and had already won a large place in the esteem of the brethren, as is shown by his being chosen to accompany Barnabas and Saul to Antioch, a little later. The home was a resort for Christians, so that Mark had every opportunity to become acquainted with other leaders such as James and John, and James the brother of the Lord. It was perhaps from the latter James that he learned the incident of Mark 3:21 which Peter would be less likely to mention.
His kinship with Barnabas, knowledge of Christian history and teaching, and proved efficiency account for his being taken along on the first missionary journey as "minister" (huperetes) to Barnabas and Saul (Acts 13:5). Just what that term implies is not clear. Chase (HDB) conjectures the meaning to be that he had been huperetes, "attendant" or chazzan in the synagogue (compare Luke 4:20), and was known as such an official. Wright (English translation, February, 1910) suggests that he was to render in newly founded churches a teaching service similar to that of the synagogue chazzan. Hackett thought that the kai of this verse implies that he was to be doing the same kind of work as Barnabas and Saul and so to be their "helper" in preaching and teaching. The more common view has been (Meyer, Swete, et al.) that he was to perform "personal service not evangelistic," "official service but not of the menial kind"-to be a sort of business agent. The view that he was to be a teacher, a catechist for converts, seems to fit best all the facts.
Why did he turn back from the work (Acts 13:13)? Not because of homesickness, or anxiety for his mother's safety, or home duties, or the desire to rejoin Peter, or fear of the perils incident to the journey, but rather because he objected to the offer of salvation to the Gentiles on condition of faith alone. There are hints that Mark's family, like Paul's, were Hebrews of the Hebrews, and it is not without significance that in both verses (Acts 13:5, 13) he is given only his Hebrew name. The terms of Paul's remonstrance are very strong (Acts 15:38), and we know that nothing stirred Paul's feelings more deeply than this very question. The explanation of it all may be found in what happened at Paphos when the Roman Sergius Paulus became a believer. At that time Paul (the change of name is here noted by Luke) stepped to the front, and henceforth, with the exception of 15:12, 25, where naturally enough the old order is maintained, Luke speaks of Paul and Barnabas, not Barnabas and Saul. We must remember that, at that time, Paul stood almost alone in his conviction. Barnabas, even later than that, had misgivings (Galatians 2:13). Perhaps, too, Mark was less able than Barnabas himself to see the latter take second place.
We hear nothing further of Mark until the beginning of the second missionary journey 2 years later, when Paul's unwillingness to take him with them led to the rupture between Paul and Barnabas and to the mission of Barnabas and Mark to Cyprus (Acts 15:39). He is here called Mark, and in that quiet way Luke may indicate his own conviction that Mark's mind had changed on the great question, as indeed his willingness to accompany Paul might suggest. He had learned from the discussions in the council at Jerusalem and from subsequent events at Antioch.
About 11 years elapse before we hear of him again (Colossians 4:10 Philemon 1:24). He is at Rome with Paul. The breach is healed. He is now one of the faithful few among Jewish Christians who stand by Paul. He is Paul's honored "fellowworker" and a great "comfort" to him.
The Colossian passage may imply a contemplated visit by Mark to Asia Minor. It may be that it was carried out, that he met Peter and went with him to Babylon. In 1 Peter 5:13 the apostle sends Mark's greeting along with that of the church in Babylon. Thence Mark returns to Asia Minor, and in 2 Timothy 4:11 Paul asks Timothy, who is at Ephesus, to come to him, pick up Mark by the way, and bring him along. In that connection Paul pays Mark his final tribute; he is "useful for ministering" (euchrestos eis diakonian), so useful that his ministry is a joy to the veteran's heart.
3. His History as Known from Other Sources:
The most important and reliable tradition is that he was the close attendant and interpreter of Peter, and has given us in the Gospel that bears his name account of Peter's teaching. For that comradeship the New Testament facts furnish a basis, and the gaps in the New Testament history leave plenty of room. An examination of the tradition will be found in MARK, THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO (which see).
Other traditions add but little that is reliable. It is said that Mark had been a priest, and that after becoming a Christian he amputated a finger to disqualify himself for that service. Hence, the nickname kolobo-daktulos, which, however, is sometimes otherwise explained. He is represented as having remained in Cyprus until after the death of Barnabas (who was living in 57 A.D. according to 1 Corinthians 9:5) and then to have gone to Alexandria, founded the church there, become its first bishop and there died (or was marthyred) in the 8th year of Nero (62-63). They add that in 815 A.D. Venetian soldiers stole his remains from Alexandria and placed them under the church of Mark at Venice.
Chase, HDB, III, 245;; Rae, DCG, II, 119 f; Harnack, Encyclopedia Brit; Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament, II, 427-56; Lindsay, Salmond, Morison and Swete in their Comms.
J. H. Farmer
REVELATION OF JOHN
I. TITLE AND GENERAL CHARACTER OF BOOK
2. Uniqueness and Reality of Visions
II. CANONICITY AND AUTHORSHIP
1. Patristic Testimony
2. Testimony of Book Itself
3. Objections to Johannine Authorship-Relation to Fourth Gospel
III. DATE AND UNITY OF THE BOOK
1. Traditional Date under Domitian
2. The Nero-Theory
3. Composite Hypotheses-Babylonian Theory
IV. PLAN AND ANALYSIS OF THE BOOK
1. General Scope
2. Detailed Analysis
V. PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION
1. General Scheme of Interpretation
2. The Newer Theories
3. The Book a True Prophecy
VI. THEOLOGY OF THE BOOK
The last book of the New Testament. It professes to be the record of prophetic visions given by Jesus Christ to John, while the latter was a prisoner, "for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus" (Revelation 1:9), in PATMOS (which see), a small rocky island in the Aegean, about 15 miles West of Ephesus. Its precursor in the Old Testament is the Book of Dnl, with the symbolic visions and mystical numbers of which it stands in close affinity. The peculiar form of the book, its relation to other "apocalyptic" writings, and to the Fourth Gospel, likewise attributed to John, the interpretation of its symbols, with disputed questions of its date, of worship, unity, relations to contemporary history, etc., have made it one of the most difficult books in the New Testament to explain satisfactorily.
I. Title and General Character of Book.
"Revelation" answers to apokalupsis, in Revelation 1:1. The oldest form of the title would seem to be simply, "Apocalypse of John," the appended words "the divine" (theologos, i.e. "theologian") not being older than the 4th century (compare the title given to Gregory of Nazianzus, "Gregory theologian"). The book belongs to the class of works commonly named "apocalyptic," as containing visions and revelations of the future, frequently in symbolical form (e.g. the Book of Enoch, the Apocalypse of Bar, the Apocalypse of Ezra; see APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE), but it is doubtful if the word here bears this technical sense. The tendency at present is to group the New Testament Apocalypse with these others, and attribute to it the same kind of origin as theirs, namely, in the unbridled play of religious fantasy, clothing itself in unreal visional form.
2. Uniqueness and Reality of Visions:
But there is a wide distinction. These other works are pseudonymous-fictitious; on the face of them products of imagination; betraying that this is their origin in their crude, confused, unedifying character. The Apocalypse bears on it the name of its author-an apostle of Jesus Christ (see below); claims to rest on real visions; rings with the accent of sincerity; is orderly, serious, sublime, purposeful, in its conceptions; deals with the most solemn and momentous of themes. On the modern Nerotheory, to which most recent expositors give adherence, it is a farrago of baseless fantasies, no one of which came true. On its own claim it is a product of true prophecy (Revelation 1:3; Revelation 22:18 f), and has or will have sure fulfillment. Parallels here and there are sought between it and the Book of Enoch or the Apocalypse of Ezra. As a rule the resemblances arise from the fact that these works draw from the same store of the ideas and imagery of the Old Testament. It is there the key is chiefly to be sought to the symbolism of John. The Apocalypse is steeped in the thoughts, the images, even the language of the Old Testament (compare the illustrations in Lightfoot, Galatians, 361, where it is remarked: "The whole book is saturated with illustrations from the Old Testament. It speaks not the language of Paul, but of Isaiah and Ezekiel and Daniel"). These remarks will receive elucidation in what follows.
II. Canonicity and Authority.
1. Patristic Testimony:
The two questions of canonicity and authorship are closely connected. Eusebius states that opinion in his day was divided on the book, and he himself wavers between placing it among the disputed books or ranking it with the acknowledged (homologoumena). "Among these," he says, "if such a view seem correct, we must place the Apocalypse of John" (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, 25). That it was rightly so placed appears from a survey of the evidence. The first to refer to the book expressly is Justin Martyr (circa 140 A.D.), who speaks of it as the work of "a certain man, whose name was John, one of the apostles of Christ" (Dial, 81). Irenaeus (circa 180 A.D.) repeatedly and decisively declares that the Apocalypse was written by John, a disciple of the Lord (Adv. Haer., iv.20, 11; 30, 4; v.26, 1; 35, 2, etc.), and comments on the number 666 (v.30, 1). In his case there can be no doubt that the apostle John is meant. Andreas of Cappadocia (5th century) in a Commentary on the Apocalypse states that Papias (circa 130 A.D.) bore witness to its credibility, and cites a comment by him on Revelation 12:7-9. The book is quoted in the Epistle on the martyrs of Vienne and Lyons (177 A.D.); had a commentary written on it by Melito of Sardis (circa 170 A.D.), one of the churches of the Apocalypse (Euseb., HE, IV, 26); was used by Theophilus of Antioch (circa 168 A.D.) and by Apollonius (circa 210 A.D.; HE, V, 25)-in these cases being cited as the Apocalypse of John. It is included as John's in the Canon of Muratori (circa 200 A.D.). The Johannine authorship (apostolic) is abundantly attested by Tertullian (circa 200 A.D.; Adv. Mar., iii.14, 24, etc.); by Hippolytus (circa 240 A.D.), who wrote a work upon it; by Clement of Alexandria (circa 200 A.D.); by Origen (circa 230 A.D.), and other writers. Doubt about the authorship of the book is first heard of in the obscure sect of the Alogi (end of the 2nd century), who, with Caius, a Roman presbyter (circa 205 A.D.), attributed it to Cerinthus. More serious was the criticism of Dionysius of Alexandria (circa 250 A.D.), who, on internal grounds, held that the Fourth Gospel and the Apocalypse could not have come from the same pen (Euseb., HE, VII, 25). He granted, however, that it was the work of a holy and inspired man-another John. The result was that, while "in the Western church," as Bousset grants, "the Apocalypse was accepted unanimously from the first" (EB, I, 193), a certain doubt attached to it for a time in sections of the Greek and Syrian churches. It is not found in the Peshitta, and a citation from it in Ephraim the Syrian (circa 373) seems not to be genuine. Cyril of Jerusalem (circa 386 A.D.) omits it from his list, and it is unmentioned by the Antiochian writers (Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret). The Canon attributed to the Council of Laodicea (circa 360 A.D.) does not name it, but it is doubtful whether this document is not of later date (compare Westcott; also Bousset, Die Offenb. Joh., 28). On the other hand, the book is acknowledged by Methodius, Pamphilus, Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa, Cyril Alex., Epiphanius, etc.
2. Testimony of Book Itself:
The testimony to the canonicity, and also to the Johannine authorship, of the Apocalypse is thus exceptionally strong. In full accordance with it is the claim of the book itself. It proclaims itself to be the work of John (Revelation 1:1, 4, 9; Revelation 22:8), who does not, indeed, name himself an apostle, yet, in his inspired character, position of authority in the Asian churches, and selection as the medium of these revelations, can hardly be thought of as other than the well-known John of the Gospels and of consentient church tradition. The alternative view, first suggested as a possibility by Eusebius, now largely favored by modern writers, is that the John intended is the "presbyter John" of a well-known passage cited by Eusebius from Papias (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, 39). Without entering into the intricate questions connected with this "presbyter John"-whether he was really a distinct person from the apostle (Zahn and others dispute it), or whether, if he was, he resided at Ephesus (see JOHN, GOSPEL OF)-it is enough here to say that the reason already given, viz: the importance and place of authority of the author of the Apocalypse in the Asian churches, and the emphatic testimony above cited connecting him with the apostle, forbid the attribution of the book to a writer wholly unknown to church tradition, save for this casual reference to him in Papias. Had the assumed presbyter really been the author, he could not have dropped so completely out of the knowledge of the church, and had his place taken all but immediately by the apostle.
3. Objections to Johannine Authorship-Relation to Fourth Gospel:
One cause of the hesitancy regarding the Apocalypse in early circles was dislike of its millenarianism; but the chief reason, set forth with much critical skill by Dionysius of Alexandria (Euseb., HE, VII, 25), was the undoubted contrast in character and style between this work and the Fourth Gospel, likewise claiming to be from the pen of John. Two works so diverse in character-the Gospel calm, spiritual, mystical, abounding in characteristic expressions as "life," "light," "love," etc., written in idiomatic Greek; the Apocalypse abrupt, mysterious, material in its imagery, inexact and barbarous in its idioms, sometimes employing solecisms-could not, it was argued, proceed from the same author. Not much, beyond amplification of detail, has been added to the force of the arguments of Dionysius. There were three possibilities-either first, admitting the Johannine authorship of the Apocalypse, to assail the genuineness of the Gospel-this was the method of the school of Baur; or, second, accepting the Gospel, to seek a different author for the Apocalypse-John the presbyter, or another: thus not a few reverent scholars (Bleek, Neander, etc.); or, third, with most moderns, to deny the Johannine authorship of both Gospel and Apocalypse, with a leaning to the "presbyter" as the author of the latter (Harnack, Bousset, Moffatt, etc.). Singularly there has been of late in the advanced school itself a movement in the direction of recognizing that this difficulty of style is less formidable than it looks-that, in fact, beneath the surface difference, there is a strong body of resemblances pointing to a close relationship of Gospel and Apocalypse. This had long been argued by the older writers (Godet, Luthardt, Alford, Salmon, etc.), but it is now more freely acknowledged. As instances among many may be noted the use of the term "Logos" (Revelation 19:13), the image of the "Lamb," figures like "water of life" words and phrases as "true," "he that overcometh," "keep the commandments," etc. A striking coincidence is the form of quotation of Zechariah 12:10 in John 19:37 and Revelation 1:7. If the Greek in parts shows a certain abruptness and roughness, it is plainly evidenced by the use of the correct constructions in other passages that this is not due to want of knowledge of the language. "The very rules which he breaks in one place he observes in others" (Salmon). There are, besides, subtle affinities in the Greek usage of the two books, and some of the very irregularities complained of are found in the Gospel (for ample details consult Bousset, op. cit.; Godet, Commentary on John, I, 267-70, English translation; Alford, Greek Test., IV, 224-28; Salmon, Introduction to the New Testament, 233-43, 2nd edition; the last-named writer says: "I have produced instances enough to establish decisively that there is the closest possible affinity between the Revelation and the other Johannine books"). Great differences in character and style no doubt still remain. Some, to leave room for these, favor an early date for the Apocalypse (68-69 B.C.; on this below); the trend of opinion, however, now seems, as will be shown, to be moving back to the traditional date in the reign of Domitian, in which case the Gospel will be the earlier, and the Apocalypse the later work. This, likewise, seems to yield the better explanation. The tremendous experiences of Patmos, bursting through all ordinary and calmer states of consciousness, must have produced startling changes in thought and style of composition. The "rapt seer" will not speak and write like the selfcollected, calmly brooding evangelist.
III. Date and Unity of the Book.
1. Traditional Date under Domitian:
Eusebius, in summing up the tradition of the Church on this subject, assigns John's exile to Patmos, and consequently the composition of the Apocalypse, to the latter part of the reign of Domitian (81-96 A.D.). Irenaeus (circa 180 A.D.) says of the book, "For it was seen, not a long time ago, but almost in our own generation, at the end of the reign of Domitian" (Adv. Haer., v.30, 3). This testimony is confirmed by Clement of Alexandria (who speaks of "the tyrant"), Origen, and later writers. Epiphanius (4th century), indeed, puts (Haer., li.12, 233) the exile to Patmos in the reign of Claudius (41-54 A.D.); but as, in the same sentence, he speaks of the apostle as 90 years of age, it is plain there is a strange blunder in the name of the emperor. The former date answers to the conditions of the book (decadence of the churches; widespread and severe persecution), and to the predilection of Domitian for this mode of banishment (compare Tacitus, History i0.2; Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, III, 18).
2. The Nero-Theory:
This, accordingly, may be regarded as the traditional date of composition of the Apocalypse, though good writers, influenced partly by the desire to give time for the later composition of the Gospel, have signified a preference for an earlier date (e.g. Westcott, Salmon). It is by no means to be assumed, however, that the Apocalypse is the earlier production. The tendency of recent criticism, it will be seen immediately, is to revert to the traditional date (Bousset, etc.); but for a decade or two, through the prevalence of what may be called the "Nero-theory" of the book, the pendulum swung strongly in favor of its composition shortly after the death of Nero, and before the destruction of Jerusalem (held to be shown to be still standing by Revelation 11), i.e. about 68-69 A.D. This date was even held to be demonstrated beyond all question. Reuss may be taken as an example. According to him (Christian Theology of the Apostolic Age, I, 369;, English translation), apart from the ridiculous preconceptions of theologians, the Apocalypse is "the most simple, most transparent book that prophet ever penned." "There is no other apostolical writing the chronology of which can be more exactly fixed." "It was written before the destruction of Jerusalem, under the emperor Galba-that is to say, in the second half of the year 68 of our era." He proceeds to discuss "the irrefutable proofs" of this. The proof, in brief, is found in the beast (not introduced till Revelation 13) with seven heads, one of which has been mortally wounded, but is for the present healed (Revelation 13:3). "This is the Roman empire, with its first 7 emperors, one of whom is killed, but is to live again as Antichrist" (compare Revelation 17:10 ff). The key to the whole book is said to be given in Revelation 13:18, where the number of the beast is declared to be 666. Applying the method of numerical values (the Jewish Gematria), this number is found to correspond with the name "Nero Caesar" in Hebrew letters (omitting the yodh, the Hebrew letter "y"). Nero then is the 5th head that is to live again; an interpretation confirmed by rumors prevalent at that time that Nero was not really dead, but only hidden, and was soon to return to claim his throne. As if to make assurance doubly sure, it is found that by dropping the final "n" in "Neron," the number becomes 616-a number which Irenaeus in his comments on the subject (v.30, 1) tells us was actually found in some ancient copies. The meaning therefore is thought to be clear. Writing under the emperor Galba, the 6th emperor (reckoning from Augustus), the author anticipates, after a short reign of a 7th emperor (Revelation 17:10), the return of the Antichrist Nero-an 8th, but of the 7, with whom is to come the end. Jerusalem is to be miraculously preserved (Revelation 11), but Rome is to perish. This is to happen within the space of 3 1/2 years. "The final catastrophe, which was to destroy the city and empire, was to take place in three years and a half..... The writer knows.... that Rome will in three years and a half perish finally, never to rise again." It does not matter for this theory that not one of the things predicted happened-that every anticipation was falsified. Nero did not return; Jerusalem was not saved; Rome did not perish; 3 1/2 years did not see the end of all things. Yet the Christian-church, though the failure of every one of these predictions had been decisively demonstrated, received the book as of divine inspiration, apparently without the least idea that such things had been intended (see the form of theory in Renan, with a keen criticism in Salmon's Introduction to the New Testament, lecture xiv).
3. Composite Hypotheses-Babylonian Theory:
What is to be said with reference to this "Nero-theory" belongs to subsequent sections: meanwhile it is to be observed that, while portions of theory are retained, significant changes have since taken place in the view entertained of the book as a whole, and with this of the date to be assigned to it. First, after 1882, came a flood of disintegrating hypotheses, based on the idea that the Apocalypse was not a unity, but was either a working up of one or more Jewish apocalypses by Christian hands, or at least incorporated fragments of such apocalypses (Uslter, Vischer, Weizsacker, Weyland, Pfieiderer, Spitta, etc.). Harnack lent his influential support to the form of this theory advocated by Vischer, and for a time the idea had vogue. Very soon, however, it fell into discredit through its own excesses (for details on the different views, see Bousset, or Moffatt's Introduction to the New Testament, 489;), and through increasing appreciation of the internal evidence for the unity of the book. Gunkel, in his Schopfung und Chaos (1895), started another line of criticism in his derivation of the conceptions of the book, not from Jewish apocalypse, but from Babylonian mythology. He assailed with sharp criticism the "contemporary history" school of interpretation (the "Nero-theory" above), and declared its "bankruptcy." The number of the beast, with him, found its solution, not in Nero, but in the Hebrew name for the primeval chaos. This theory, too, has failed in general acceptance, though elements in it are adopted by most recent interpreters. The modified view most in favor now is that the Apocalypse is, indeed, the work of a Christian writer of the end of the 1st century, but embodies certain sections borrowed from Jewish apocalypse (as Revelation 7:1-8, the 144,000; Revelation 11, measuring of the temple and the two witnesses; especially Revelation 12, the woman and red dragon-this, in turn, reminiscent of Babylonian mythology). These supposed Jewish sections are, however, without real support in anything that is known, and the symbolism admits as easily of a Christian interpretation as any other part of the book. We are left, therefore, as before, with the book as a unity, and the tide of opinion flows back to the age of Domitian as the time of its origin. Moffatt (connecting it mistakenly, as it seems to us, with Domitian's emphasis on the imperial cult, but giving also other reasons) goes so far as to say that "any earlier date for the book is hardly possible" (Expository Greek Testament, V, 317). The list of authorities for the Domitianie date may be seen in Moffatt, Introduction, 508.
IV. Plan and Analysis of the Book.
1. General Scope:
The method of the book may thus be indicated. After an introduction, and letters to the seven churches (Revelation 1-3), the properly prophetic part of the book commences with a vision of heaven (Revelation 4; Revelation 5), following upon which are two series of visions of the future, parallel, it would appear, to each other-the first, the 7 seals, and under the 7th seal, the 7 trumpets (Revelation 6:1-11:19, with interludes in Revelation 7 and again in Revelation 10; Revelation 11:1-12:1); the second, the woman and her child (Revelation 12), the 2 beasts (Revelation 13), and, after new interludes (Revelation 14), the bowls and 7 last plagues (Revelation 15; Revelation 16). The expansion of the last judgments is given in separate pictures (the scarlet woman, doom of Babylon, Har-Magedon, Revelation 17-19); then come the closing scenes of the millennium, the last apostasy, resurrection and judgment (Revelation 20), followed by the new heavens and new earth, with the descending new Jerusalem (Revelation 21; Revelation 22). The theme of the book is the conflict of Christ and His church with anti-Christian powers (the devil, the beast, the false prophet, Revelation 16:13), and the ultimate and decisive defeat of the latter; its keynote is in the words, "Come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20; compare Revelation 1:7); but it is to be noticed, as characteristic of the book, that while this "coming" is represented as, in manner, ever near, the end, as the crisis approaches, is again always postponed by a fresh development of events. Thus, under the 6th seal, the end seems reached (Revelation 6:12-17), but a pause ensues (Revelation 7), and on the opening of the seventh seal, a new series begins with the trumpets (Revelation 8:2). Similarly, at the sounding of the 6th trumpet, the end seems at hand (Revelation 9:12-21), but a new pause is introduced before the last sounding takes place (Revelation 11:15). Then is announced the final victory, but as yet only in summary. A new series of visions begins, opening into large perspectives, till, after fresh interludes, and the pouring out of 6 of the bowls of judgment, Har-Magedon itself is reached; but though, at the outpouring of the 7th bowl, it is proclaimed, "It is done" (Revelation 16:17), the end is again held over till these final judgments are shown in detail. At length, surely, in Revelation 19, with the appearance of the white horseman-"The Word of God" (19:13)-and the decisive overthrow of all his adversaries (19:18-21), the climax is touched; but just then, to our surprise, intervenes the announcement of the binding of Satan for 1,000 years, and the reign of Jesus and His saints upon the earth (the interpretation is not here discussed), followed by a fresh apostasy, and the general resurrection and judgment (Revelation 20). Precise time-measures evidently fail in dealing with a book so constructed: the 3 1/2 years of the Nero-interpreters sink into insignificance in its crowded panorama of events. The symbolic numbers that chiefly rule in the book are "seven," the number of completeness (7 spirits, seals, trumpets, bowls, heads of beasts); "ten," the number of worldly power (10 horns); "four," the earthly number (4 living creatures, corners of earth, winds, etc.); 3 1/2 years-42 months-"time, and times, and half a time" (Revelation 12:14) = 1,260 days, the period, borrowed from Daniel (7:25; 12:7), of anti-Christian ascendancy.
2. Detailed Analysis:
The following is a more detailed analysis:
1. Title and Address (Revelation 1:1-8)
2. Vision of Jesus and Message to the Seven Churches of the Province of Asia (Revelation 1:9-20)
3. The Letters to the Seven Churches (Revelation 2; Revelation 3)
(1) Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7)
(2) Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11)
(3) Pergamos (Revelation 2:12-17)
(4) Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29)
(5) Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6)
(6) Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13)
(7) Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22)
II. THE THINGS TO COME. FIRST SERIES OF VISIONS: THE SEALS AND TRUMPETS
1. The Vision of Heaven
(1) Adoration of the Creator (Revelation 4)
(2) The 7-Sealed Book; Adoration of God and the Lamb (Revelation 5)
2. Opening of Six Seals (Revelation 6)
(1) The White Horse (Revelation 6:1, 2)
(2) The Red Horse (Revelation 6:3, 4)
(3) The Black Horse (Revelation 6:5, 6)
(4) The Pale Horse (Revelation 6:7, 8)
(5) Souls under the Altar (Revelation 6:9-11)
(6) The Wrath of the Lamb (Revelation 6:12-17)
3. Interludes (Revelation 7)
(1) Sealing of 144,000 on Earth (Revelation 7:1-8)
(2) Triumphant Multitude in Heaven (Revelation 7:9-17)
4. Opening of Seventh Seal: under This Seven Trumpets, of Which Six Now Sounded (Revelation 8; Revelation 9)
(1) Hail and Fire on Earth (Revelation 8:7)
(2) Burning Mountain in Sea (Revelation 8:8, 9)
(3) Burning Star on Rivers and Fountains (Revelation 8:10, 11)
(4) One-third Sun, Moon, and Stars Darkened (Revelation 8:12). "Woe"-Trumpets (Revelation 8:13)
(5) The Fallen Star-Locusts (Revelation 9:1-11)
(6) Angels Loosed from Euphrates-the Horseman (Revelation 9:12-21)
(1) Angel with Little Book (Revelation 10)
(2) Measuring of Temple and Altar-the Two Witnesses (Revelation 11:1-13)
6. Seventh Trumpet Sounded-Final Victory (Revelation 11:14-19)
III. SECOND SERIES OF VISIONS: THE WOMAN AND THE RED DRAGON; THE TWO BEASTS; THE BOWLS AND LAST PLAGUES
1. The Woman and Child; the Red Dragon and His Persecutions (Revelation 12)
2. The Beast from the Sea, Seven-headed, Ten-horned (Revelation 13:1-10); the Two-horned Beast (Revelation 13:11-18)
3. Interludes (Revelation 14)
(1) The Lamb on Mt. Zion; the 144,000 (Revelation 14:1-5)
(2) The Angel with "an Eternal Gospel" (Revelation 14:6, 7)
(3) Second Angel-(Anticipatory) Proclamation of Fall of Babylon (Revelation 14:8)
(4) Third Angel-Doom of Worshippers of the Beast (Revelation 14:9-12)
(5) Blessedness of the Dead in the Lord (Revelation 14:13)
(6) The Son of Man and the Great Vintage (Revelation 14:14-20)
4. The Seven Last Plagues-the Angels and Their Bowls: the Preparation in heaven (Revelation 15)-the Outpouring (Revelation 16)
(1) On Earth (Revelation 16:2)
(2) On Sea (Revelation 16:3)
(3) On Rivers and Fountains (Revelation 16:4-7)
(4) On Sun (Revelation 16:8, 9)
(5) On Seat of Beast (Revelation 16:10, 11)
(6) On Euphrates-Har-Magedon (Revelation 16:12-16)
(7) In the Air-Victory and Fall of Babylon (Revelation 16:17-21)
IV. EXPANSION OF LAST JUDGMENTS (Revelation 17-19)
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See MARK, JOHN.
JOHN, THE REVELATION OF
See REVELATION OF JOHN.