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The fact that we have here the outward form of a Pauline letter helps us to grasp the essential thrust of the work. This is a classic statement of early Christian hope for the return of Jesus as apocalyptic judge and redeemer.It begins with a salutation in the Pauline style: "To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. But then it continues: "Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, every one who pierced him; and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Similarly, the closing benediction, "The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. It is a reminder that for all its surface strangeness, the book of Revelation is not to be separated from the rest of the New Testament.
200, Clement of Alexandria ( I.21) says that certain Egyptian theologians "over curiously" assign, not the year alone, but the day of Christ's birth, placing it on 25 Pachon (20 May) in the twenty-eighth year of Augustus. Clement, however, also tells us that the Basilidians celebrated the Epiphany, and with it, probably, the Nativity, on 15 or 11 Tybi (10 or 6 January). And He suffered in His thirty-third year [25 March, the parasceve, in the eighteenth year of Tiberius Cæsar, during the consulate of Rufus and Rubellio]." Interpolation is certain, and admitted by Funk, Bonwetsch, etc. Peter's, when, on , Ambrose' sister, Marcellina, took the veil. The earliest German Weihnachtslieder date from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the earliest noels from the eleventh, the earliest carols from the thirteenth.
L., IV, 963 sqq.), which places Christ's birth on 28 March, because on that day the material sun was created. Dindorf, 1860, II, 483) quotes an extraordinary semi-Gnostic ceremony at Alexandria in which, on the night of 5-6 January, a cross-stamped Korê was carried in procession round a crypt, to the chant, "Today at this hour Korê gave birth to the Eternal"; John Cassian records in his "Collations" (X, 2 in P. 101) she mentions as high festivals Easter and Epiphany alone. In the West, he says, the feast was thus kept, ; its introduction into Antioch he had always sought, conservatives always resisted. Though the sermon abounds in references appropriate to the Epiphany (the marriage at Cana, the multiplication of loaves, etc.), these seem due (Kellner, op. 109) to sequence of thought, and do not fix the sermon to 6 January, a feast unknown in Rome till much later. 272) that Liberius preached it on that day in 353, instituting the Nativity feast in the December of the same year; but Philocalus warrants our supposing that if preceded his pontificate by some time, though Duchesne's relegation of it to 243 (Bull. L., XXXIII, 200) omits it from a list of first-class festivals. 106, 107) shows how hopeless is the calculation of Zachary's week from any point before or after it. 1588), says: "Sed et dominus noster nascitur mense decembris . Pagan customs centering round the January calends gravitated to Christmas.
Also favoring the end of the first century as the time of origin of Rev is the fact that according to 2:8-11, the church of Smyrna has been persevering for a long time, while according to Polycarp (Phil 11:3), at the time of Paul it did not even exist; and describes the community of Laodicea as rich, while this city had been almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in A. 90-95, in Asia Minor, in order to encourage Christian communities threatened by a destructive persecution to endure and to make them confident of the imminent victory of Christ over the powers of the Antichrist.
That John of Patmos can be identified as a prophet is more important to understanding his work than identifying him with some other individual named John in the New Testament.
Thus it was precisely in the province of Asia, the classical land of the imperial cult, that at the time of Domitian all the prerequisites were present for a severe conflict between Christianity and the state cult, which is what Rev has in view (cf. The seer nowhere points directly to Domitian as the then reigning emperor, and the Antichrist, the "beast" (13:1 ff, etc.), does not bear the features of any specific ruler but rather those of the demonic form of Nero redivivus, which was still a popular expectation in that time.
But the temporal scene which Rev sketches fits no epoch of primitive Christianity so well as the time of the persecution under Domitian. In all likelihood, therefore, Rev was in fact written toward the end of the reign of Domitian, i.e., ca.
The book of Revelation as a whole has the external form of a letter in that it begins with an opening salutation (1:4-6) and closes with a benediction ().
The contrast in literary form between the direct address of the letters and the symbolic drama of the remainder of the book is startling, but no more so than the fact that an apocalyptic writer identifies himself and calls his work a prophecy.
In the province of Asia imperial cult was promoted with special zeal.
Under Domitian, Ephesus received a new imperial temple.
This is unparalleled in apocalyptic writing and has to be due ultimately to the impact that Paul's letter writing made on the New Testament church.