We’re continuing on with the commentaries of the 18th century. Here’s the first one:
“The Latin Fathers term it the Revelation, and they do so with propriety: for matters before covered are revealed in this book. No prophecy in the Old Testament has this title: it was reserved for the Revelation of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, (and for it) alone. It is a Manifesto, as the term is, and that of the kingdom of Christ…of Jesus Christ. The title is prefixed by [uninspired] men…[The Revelation of John the Divine] This title is ancient indeed, but it presupposes doubts respecting the writer of the Apocalypse, which arose a long time after the age of the apostles; it also presupposes the introduction into the Church of the surname, ‘ the Divine,’ and its being assigned to John; and it implies that there were other Apocalypses, from which this true one was to be distinguished. The surname, Divine (as attributed to John), almost supersedes that of Apostle. It is indeed John, the apostle, who wrote this book; but the Author is Jesus Christ. By prefixing the name John, the ancients wished to distinguish the true Apocalypse from the many apocryphal books. Apocryphal gospels and epistles presuppose others that are canonical, and so apocryphal apocalypses presuppose a genuine Apocalypse.” [from GNOMON OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, by John Albert Bengal, 1742]
This is an interesting take on the origin of John ‘the Divine.’ It sounds like speculation rather than researched facts, but interesting all the same.
On to the next one:
“This Book contains a Discovery or Revelation of many Secrets, which Christ made known concerning the present and future State of his Church in this World.” [from A PARAPHRASE AND NOTES ONTHE REVELATION OF ST JOHN, by Moses Lowman, 1745]
As we’ve seen elsewhere, and will see again, the word revelation means a disclosing of things hidden or previously unknown. I really don’t like the word “secrets” used about the Bible: some things are less obvious, or even hidden, but “secrets” implies an intentional hiding and whispering behind closed doors. Also, after looking at the state of the church in John’s time in Chapters 2 and 3, it is about prophecy rather than “secrets”. And again, I don’t think we will conclude that it is about the future of the Church.Continue reading