Good morning! Today we’ll start with Johann David Michaelis’ INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW TESTAMENT, first published in 1750. Michaelis was Prussian by some accounts, and German by others; he was also a Lutheran, and a very well-known scholar of his time. He was specifically a scholar in Hebrew and Arabic, and through the study of these languages and the customs of the people who spoke them, he attempted to throw some additional light on interpreting Scripture. Also, he is claimed as a Preterist by preteristarchive.org .

I have quite a bit of his material I want to share. It comes from chapter 33 of the fourth volume:

“…The various questions, which here present themselves for examination, whether they relate to the style of the Apocalypse, or the year in which it was published, or the qualifications, which every man must necessarily possess, who attempts to expound it, depend entirely on the main question, whether it is a genuine work of St. John the Evangelist, or not.  And on the main question I candidly confess, that I have not been able to obtain that certainty, which I have obtained in respect to other books of the New Testament…

“Irenaeus undoubtedly received the Apocalypse as a genuine work of St. John the Apostle; and like wise asserted, at least according to the common interpretation of his words, that the visions were seen by St. John, in the reign of Domitian. This last assertion would in my opinion, extremely weaken the testimony of Irenaeus, the Apocalypse can hardly be a canonical work, if it was written so late, as the reign of Domitian…”

I don’t really understand his logic here regarding “the weakness” of Irenaeus’ argument, and while he goes on to talk about someone else’s refutation of this problem, he doesn’t give any details of what those refutations are. More than that, Irenaeus is a very respected source, so it’s odd that the only reason Michaelis gave for doubting him involved his own preterist leanings and no other, more scholarly debate.

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We’re in the 17th century, looking at some of the general comments about Revelation found in the introductions or prologues of the books of that time.  The first one we’ll look at is a short one from Hugh Broughton’s A REVELATION OF THE HOLY APOCALYPSE from 1610. The introduction is called “The Summary of the Apocalyps”, and is mostly a summary of the Apocalypse. Here’s the first sentence:

“John’s Apocalypse tells, that Christ showed the state to come, to the end of the world; and a vision of himself: as unto Daniel, chapter 10, this does he, chapter 1.”

That’s definitely what the Apocalypse is. The next one has some more meat to it. It’s A COMMENTARIE UPON THE NEW TESTAMENT” by John Mayer from 1631. This from the chapter entitled “The Revelation of St. John”:

“Because it has been questioned what John wrote this Book, and of what authority it is, and also what the scope of it is, it will be necessary before we enter upon the particular obscurities occurring herein to discuss these things. And first touching the Author, Pareus…out of Eusebius, that it was sometime held to be written by Cerinthus the Heretic, for the maintenance of a fond opinion, that the faithful should live here with Christ in all manner of pleasure a thousand years. But the Greeks  were never of that opinion, neither can it possibly stand, seeing nothing is more plainly in this Book set forth than the eternity of Christ, which was by Cerinthus impugned, holding that Christ was not before the Virgin Mary. The same Eusebius also writes of another John, a Divine, whose Monument was seen as Ephesus, together with the Monuments of John the Apostle, whom to have been the Author of the two last Epistles of John and of the Revelation, Dionysius Alexandrisus consents to the third year of Trajan, which was 102 from the birth of Christ according to Jeremiah, which was six years after he wrote this Book [Revelation], which was written Anno 96. And for this cause it is placed after all other books of holy Scripture, because it was written after them all in time, and is as it were the seal of them all, being fenced with a charge of adding no more, as the first Books written by Moses were.

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