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Andreas, Bishop of Caesarea , in the prologue to his commentary on the Apocalypse, informs us that Papias admitted its inspired character. From the Apocalypse undoubtedly Papias derived his ideas of the millennium , on which account Eusebius decries his authority, declaring him to have been a man of limited understanding. The apostolic writings which are extant furnish no evidence for the authenticity of the book. Arguments against its authenticity The Alogi , about A.

Caius, a presbyter in Rome , of about the same time, holds a similar opinion. Eusebius quotes his words taken from his Disputation: The most formidable antagonist of the authority of the Apocalypse is Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria, disciple of Origen. He is not opposed to the supposition that Cerinthus is the writer of the Apocalypse. He himself did not adopt the view that Cerinthus was the writer. During the fourth and fifth centuries the tendency to exclude the Apocalypse from the list of sacred books continued to increase in the Syro-Palestinian churches.

Eusebius expresses no definite opinion. He contents himself with the statement: Cyril of Jerusalem does not name it among the canonical books Catechesis IV. Perhaps the most telling argument against the apostolic authorship of the book is its omission from the Peshito, the Syrian Vulgate. But although the authorities giving evidence against the authenticity of the Apocalypse deserve full consideration they cannot annul or impair the older and unanimous testimony of the churches. The opinion of its opponents, moreover, was not free from bias.

From the manner in which Dionysius argued the question, it is evident that he thought the book dangerous as occasioning crude and sensual notions concerning the resurrection. In the West the Church persevered in its tradition of apostolic authorship. Jerome alone seemed to have been influenced by the doubts of the East. The Apocalypse compared with the Fourth Gospel The relation between the Apocalypse and the Fourth Gospel has been discussed by authors, both ancient and modern.

Some affirm and others deny their mutual resemblance. The learned Alexandrine Bishop, Dionysius , drew up in his time a list of differences to which modern authors have had little to add. He begins by observing that whereas the Gospel is anonymous, the writer of the Apocalypse prefixes his name, John. He next points out how the characteristic terminology of the Fourth Gospel , so essential to the Joannine doctrine, is absent in the Apocalypse.

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The terms, "life", "light", "grace", "truth", do not occur in the latter. Nor did the crudeness of diction on the part of the Apocalypse escape him. The Greek of the Gospel he pronounces correct as to grammar, and he even gives its author credit for a certain elegance of style. But the language of the Apocalypse appeared to him barbarous and disfigured by solecisms. The upholders of a common authorship reply that these differences may be accounted for by bearing in mind the peculiar nature and aim of each work. The Apocalypse contains visions and revelations. In conformity with other books of the same kind, e.

The Gospel on the other hand is written in the form of an historical record. In the Bible , works of that kind do not bear the signature of their authors. So also as regards the absence of Joannine terminology in the Apocalypse. The object of the Gospel is to prove that Jesus is the life and the light of the world, the fullness of truth and grace.

But in the Apocalypse Jesus is the conqueror of Satan and his kingdom. The defects of grammar in the Apocalypse are conceded. Some of them are quite obvious. Let the reader but notice the habit of the author to add an apposition in the nominative to a word in an oblique case; e. It further contains some Hebrew idioms: But it should be borne in mind that when the Apostle first came to Ephesus he was, probably wholly ignorant of the Greek tongue. The comparative purity and smoothness of diction in the Gospel may be adequately accounted for by the plausible conjecture that its literary composition was not the work of St.

John but of one of his pupils. The defenders of the identity of authorship further appeal to the striking fact that in both works Jesus is called the Lamb and the Word. The idea of the lamb making atonement for sin by its blood is taken from Isaiah Throughout the Apocalypse the portraiture of Jesus is that of the lamb. Through the shedding of its blood it has opened the book with seven seals and has triumphed over Satan. Some of the circumstances of His death resemble the rite observed in the eating of the paschal lamb , the symbol of redemption.

His crucifixion takes place on the selfsame day on which the Passover was eaten John Whilst hanging on the cross, His executioners did not break the bones in His body, that the prophecy might be fulfilled: The first epistle of St. John begins, "That which was from the beginning which we have heard. So also in the Apocalypse, "And his name is called the Word of God " Time and place The Seer himself testifies that the visions he is about to narrate were seen by him whilst in Patmos.

Patmos is one of the group of small islands close to the coast of Asia Minor , about twelve geographical miles from Ephesus. He obviously refers to the passage "for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus " 1: It is true that the more probable meaning of this phrase is, "in order to hear the word of God ", etc. But it was quite natural that the Seer should have regarded his banishment to Patmos as prearranged by Divine Providence that in the solitude of the island he might hear God's word.

The tradition recorded by Eusebius finds confirmation in the words of the Seer describing himself as "a brother and partaker in tribulation" 1: Irenaeus places the Seer's exile in Patmos at the end of Domitian's reign. The Emperor Domitian reigned A. In all matters of Joannine tradition Irenaeus deserves exceptional credit. His lifetime bordered upon the Apostolic age and his master, St. Polycarp , had been among the disciples of St. Eusebius , chronicling the statement of Irenaeus without any misgivings, adds as the year of the Seer's exile the fourteenth of Domitian's reign.

Jerome also, without reserve or hesitation, follows the same tradition. Against the united testimony of these three witnesses of tradition the statement of Epiphanius placing the Seer's banishment in the reign of Claudius, A. Contents The seven Churches Title and description of the book 1: The vision of Jesus as the Son of Man 1: The epistles to the seven Churches 2: The Epistles are short exhortations to the Christians to remain steadfast in their faith , to beware of false apostles and to abstain from fornication and from meat offered to idols.

The book with the seven seals The vision of God enthroned upon the cherubim chapters 4 and 5 The throne is surrounded by twenty-four elders. In the right hand of God is a scroll sealed with seven seals. In the midst of the Cherubim and the elders the Seer beholds a lamb , "agnus tamquam occisus", having on its throat the scar of the gash by which it was slain. The Seer weeps because no one either in heaven or on earth can break the seals.

He is comforted on hearing that the lamb was worthy to do so because of the redemption it had wrought by its blood. The portrait of the throne is taken from Ezechiel 1. Compare in both accounts the description of the four beasts.

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Apocalypse

They resemble a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle. Their bodies are full of eyes cf. The twenty-four elders were probably suggested by the twenty-four courses of priests ministering in the Temple. The lamb slain for the sins of mankind is from Isaias The seven seals and the numbering of the saints chapters 6 and 7 At the opening of four seals , four horses appear.

Their colour is white, black, red, and sallow, or green chloros , piebald. They signify conquest, slaughter, dearth and death. The vision is taken from Zechariah 6: At the opening of the fifth seal the Seer beholds the martyrs that were slain and hears their prayers for the final triumph. At the opening of the sixth seal the predestined to glory are numbered and marked. The Seer beholds them divided into two classes. First, , Jews , 12, of every tribe.

Then a numberless multitude chosen from all nations and tongues. The seventh seal chapters 8 and 9 After the interval of about half an hour, the seventh seal is broken; seven angels issue forth, each one holding a trumpet.

The sounding of the first four trumpets causes a partial destruction of the elements of nature. One-third of the earth is burned, as also one-third of the trees and all the grass. One-third of the sea becomes blood cf. One-third of the rivers is turned into water of wormwood. One-third of the sun, moon, and stars is obscured, causing one-third of the day to be dark cf. At the sounding of the fifth trumpet locusts ascend from the abyss. Their work is to torment men for five months, They are specially charged not to touch the grass. Their shape is that of horses Joel 2: They have the tails of scorpions where with to chastise man.

The command over them is held by the Angel of the Abyss , named Abaddon , the destroyer. At the sound of the sixth trumpet the four angels chained at the Euphrates are let loose. They lead forth an army of horsemen. By the fire which the horses spit out and by their tails which are like serpents, one-third of mankind is killed. After the sixth trumpet there are two digressions. He swears that at the sound of the seventh trumpet the mystery will be completed. He hands to the Seer a little book. When eaten by him it is found sweet to taste, but bitter when once devoured. Taken from Ezekiel 2: It lasts three and a half years.

Taken from Daniel 7: During that time two witnesses are sent to preach in Jerusalem. They are the two olive-trees foretold by Zechariah 4: At the end of their mission they are slain by the beast. The seventh trumpet is now sounded, the nations are judged and the kingdom of Christ is established. The divine drama First act chapters The lamb, the woman, and her seed; and opposed to them, the dragon, the beast from the sea, and the beast from the land.

The main idea is taken from Genesis 3: The woman is arrayed in heavenly splendour; a crown of twelve stars on her head and the sun and the moon under her feet cf. She is in travail. Her first-born is destined to rule all the nation Psalm 2: She herself, and her other seed, are persecuted for three and a half years by the great dragon who tries to kill them. The great dragon is Satan Genesis 3: He is cast out of heaven. With his tail he drags after him one-third of the stars. Taken from Daniel 8: The fallen stars are the fallen angels. The beast from the sea is in great part taken from Daniel's description of the four beasts.

It arises from the sea Daniel 7: It had also ten horns, like the fourth beast of Daniel 7: The great dragon gives full power unto the beast, whereupon all the world worship it viz. The followers of the beast have its mark on their head and hand. The beast from the land has two horns like a ram. Its power lies in its art of deceiving by means of tokens and miracles.

Throughout the remainder of the book it is called the false prophet. Its office is to assist the beast from the sea, and to induce men to adore its image. The first act of the drama concludes with a promise of victory over the beast by the lamb of God. Second act chapters The seven vials. They are the seven plagues preceding the destruction of the great city, Babylon. They were for the greater part suggested by the Egyptian plagues. The first vial is poured out on the earth.

Men and beasts are smitten with ulcers Exodus 9: The second and third vial upon the seas and rivers. They become blood Exodus 7: The fourth vial upon the sun. It burns men to death. The fifth vial upon the throne of the beast. It causes great darkness Exodus The sixth vial upon the Euphrates.

Arguments against its authenticity

Its waters are dried up and form a passage for the kings of the East Exodus The seventh upon the air. Storm and earthquake destroy Babylon. Third act chapters The great harlot. She is seated upon the scarlet beast with the seven heads and ten horns. She is robed in scarlet and decked with gold. On her head is written: Mystery, Babylon the great. The kings of the earth commit fornication with her.

But the day of her visitation has come. She is made a desolate place, the habitation of unclean animals Leviticus Her fall is lamented by the rulers and merchants of the earth. Fourth act chapters The victory over the beast and the great dragon. A knight appears mounted on a white horse. His name is "The word of God". He defeats the beast and the false prophet.

They are cast alive in the pool of fire. Their defeat is followed by the first resurrection and the reign of Christ for a thousand years. The martyrs rise to life and partake with Christ in glory and happiness. During these thousand years the great dragon is held in chains. At their completion he is once more set at large to torment the earth. He deceives the nations Gog and Magog. These two names are taken from Ezekiel 28 and 39 , where however Gog is the king of Magog. At last he also is cast for all eternity in the pool of fire.

Hereupon the general judgement and the resurrection take place. Fifth act chapters The new Jerusalem cf. God dwells in the midst of His saints who enjoy complete happiness. The new Jerusalem is the spouse of the lamb. The names of the Twelve Tribes and the Twelve Apostles are written on its gates. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the [ a ] earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood.

And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter. And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened.


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