On the Revelation of Yahshua Christ, Part 2: The Revelation of Christ as God
In our opening presentation in this series, we offered a description of the antiquity of the oldest extant manuscripts of the Revelation, and also sought to establish the approximate time and place of the authorship of the work, including the fact that it was written by the apostle John, the son of Zebedee, who also wrote the Gospel bearing his name, and the epistles which have been attributed to him from the earliest times. Doing that, we cited Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Hippolytus of Rome, Victorinus of Pettau, and the Acts of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John. Our purpose was to exhibit the fact that from these eight ancient second and third-century Christian sources, a rather consistent narrative is presented in which it may be determined that the apostle John wrote his Gospel account, was imprisoned in exile on Patmos at an undetermined time in the reign of the emperor Domitian, and upon the death of Domitian he returned to Ephesus, where he penned the Revelation of Yahshua Christ. It is not certain when he may have written his three surviving epistles.
While doing that we also presented and discussed the arguments of one of the earliest skeptics of John’s authorship of the Revelation, Dionysius of Alexandria. So we hope to have also convincingly explained how the arguments of Dionysius are all faulty or without merit, and after the faults are elucidated he really has no arguments remaining to provide a substantial basis for his doubt.
Furthermore, there are some tales found in the early Christian writers of which we ourselves must be skeptical. Presenting our witnesses, one tale that we encountered from Tertullian described John’s having been boiled in oil without injury before his exile to Patmos. In the Acts of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John, a work which is esteemed to predate Tertullian by at least several decades, although John’s exile is recorded no such story of his having been boiled in oil is found. Rather, in that record it is attested that John was banished to Patmos instead of being executed on account of a miracle where he had raised a dead woman to life. Outside of the Book of Acts, I do not necessarily credit the writings which purport to record the acts of the apostles, but this does indicate that not all accounts found in the so-called “Church Fathers” are trustworthy or even consistent.
However when there are eight ancient witnesses to a particular historical narrative, such as the exile of John and his writing of the Revelation after his exile had ended, then the records are difficult to simply brush aside. Then, as we shall see, when the text of the Revelation itself supports that same narrative, then we must accept it as relative truth.