J O H N.
concerning the time when
Apocalypse was written.
introduced an opinion that the Apocalypse was written in the
time of Domitian; but then he also postponed the writing of
some others of the sacred books, and was to place the Apocalypse
after them: he might perhaps have heard from his master Polycarp
that he had received this book from John about the time of
Domitian’s death; or indeed John 
might himself at that time have made a new publication of it, from
whence Irenaeus might imagine it was then but newly written.
Eusebius in his Chronicle and Ecclesiastical History
follows Irenaeus; but afterwards ai
in his Evangelical Demonstrations, he conjoins the banishment
of John into Patmos, with the death’s of Peter
and Paul: and so do bii
Tertullian and Pseudo-Prochorus, as well as the
first author, whoever he was, of that very antient fable, that John
was put by Nero into a vessel of hot oil, and coming out
unhurt, was banished by him into Patmos. Tho this story be no
more than a fiction,
it was founded on a tradition of the first Churches, that John
was banished into Patmos in the days of Nero.
Epiphanius represents the Gospel of John as written in
the time of Domitian, and the Apocalypse even before
that of Nero. ciii
Arethas in the beginning of his Commentary quotes the opinion
of Irenaeus from Eusebius, but follows it not: for he
afterwards affirms the Apocalypse was written before the
destruction of Jerusalem, and that former commentators had
expounded the sixth seal of that destruction.
the opinion of the first Commentators agrees the tradition of the
Churches of Syria, preserved to this day in the title of the
Syriac Version of the Apocalypse, which title is this:
 The Revelation which was made to John the
Evangelist by God in the Island Patmos, into which he was
banished by Nero the Caesar. The same is confirmed by a
story told by div
Eusebius out of Clemens Alexandrinus, and other
antient authors, concerning a youth, whom John some time after
his return from Patmos committed to the care of the Bishop of
a certain city. The Bishop educated, instructed, and at length
baptized him; but then remitting of his care, the young man thereupon
got into ill company, and began by degrees first to revel and grow
vitious, then to abuse and spoil those he met in the night; and at
last grew so desperate, that his companions turning a band of
high-way men, made him their Captain: and, saith ev
Chrysostom, he continued their Captain a long time. At length
John returning to that city, and hearing what was done, rode
to the thief; and, when he out of reverence to his old master fled,
John rode after him, recalled him, and restored him to the
Church. This is a story of many years, and requires that John
should have returned from Patmos rather at the death of Nero
than at that of Domitian; because between the death of
Domitian and that of John there were but two years and
an half; and John in his old age was fvi
so infirm as to be carried to Church, dying above 90 years 
old, and therefore could not be then suppos’d able to ride
after the thief.
opinion is further supported by the allusions in the Apocalypse
to the Temple and Altar, and holy City, as then standing; and to the
Gentiles, who were after to tread under foot the holy City and
outward Court. ’Tis confirmed also by the style of the
Apocalypse itself, which is fuller of Hebraisms than
his Gospel. For thence it may be gathered, that it was written when
John was newly come out of Judea, where he had been
used to the Syriac tongue; and that he did not write his
Gospel, till by long converse with the Asiatick Greeks he had
left off most of the Hebraisms. It is confirmed also by the
many false Apocalypses, as those of Peter, Paul,
Thomas, Stephen, Elias and, Cerinthus,
written in imitation of the true one. For as the many false Gospels,
false Acts, and false Epistles were occasioned by true ones; and the
writing many false Apocalypses, and ascribing them to Apostles
and Prophets, argues that there was a true Apostolic one in great
request with the first Christians: so this true one may well
be suppos’d to have been written early, that there may be room
in the Apostolic age for the writing of so many false ones
afterwards, and fathering them upon Peter, Paul,
Thomas, and others, who were dead before John. Caius,
 who was contemporary with Tertullian, gvii
tells us that Cerinthus wrote his Revelations as a great
Apostle, and pretended the visions were shewn him by Angels,
asserting a millennium of carnal pleasures at Jerusalem
after the resurrection; so that his Apocalypse was plainly
written in imitation of John’s: and yet he lived so
early, that hviii
he resisted the Apostles at Jerusalem in or before the first
year of Claudius, that is, 26 years before the death of Nero,
died before John.
reasons may suffice for determining the time; and yet there is one
more, which to considering men may seem a good reason, to others not.
I’ll propound it, and leave it to every man’s judgment.
The Apocalypse seems to be alluded to in the Epistles of Peter
and that to the Hebrews, and therefore to have been written
before them. Such allusion in the Epistle to the Hebrews, I
take to be the discourses concerning the High-Priest in the heavenly
Tabernacle, who is both Priest and King, as was Melchisedec;
and those concerning the word of God, with the sharp
two-edged sword, the &____*_&_(, or millennial
rest, the earth whose end is to be burned, suppose by the lake
of fire, the judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the
adversaries, the heavenly City which hath foundations whose
builder and maker is  God, the cloud of
witnesses, mount Sion, heavenly Jerusalem, general
assembly, spirits of just men made perfect, viz. by
the resurrection, and the shaking of heaven and earth, and
removing them, that the new heaven, new earth and new
kingdom which cannot be shaken, may remain. In the first
of Peter occur these: kx
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, twice or thrice repeated; lxi
the blood of Christ as of a Lamb foreordained before the
foundation of the world; mxii
the spiritual building in heaven, 1 Pet. ii. 5. an
inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that fadeth not away,
reserved in heaven for us, who are kept unto the salvation,
ready to be revealed in the last time, 1 Pet. i. 4, 5. nxiii
the royal Priesthood, oxiv
the holy Priesthood, pxv
the judgment beginning at the house of God, and qxvi
the Church at Babylon. These are indeed obscurer allusions;
but the second Epistle, from the 19th verse of the first Chapter to
the end, seems to be a continued Commentary upon the Apocalypse.
There, in writing to the Churches in Asia, to whom John
was commanded to send this Prophecy, he tells them, they have a
more sure word of Prophecy, to be heeded by them, as a light
that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and
the day-star arise in their hearts, that is, until they begin to
understand it: for no Prophecy, saith he, of the scripture
is of any private  interpretation; the
Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men
of God spake, as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Daniel
himself professes that he understood not his own Prophecies;
and therefore the Churches were not to expect the interpretation from
their Prophet John, but to study the Prophecies themselves.
This is the substance of what Peter says in the first chapter;
and then in the second he proceeds to describe, out of this sure
word of Prophecy, how there should arise in the Church false
Prophets, or false teachers, expressed collectively in the
Apocalypse by the name of the false Prophet; who should bring
in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them,
which is the character of Antichrist: And many, saith
he, shall follow their lusts bxviii;
they that dwell on the earth cxix
shall be deceived by the false Prophet, and be made drunk with the
wine of the Whore’s fornication, by reason of whom the way
of truth shall be blasphemed; for dxx
the Beast is full of blasphemy: and thro’ covetousness
shall they with feigned words make merchandize of you; for these
are the Merchants of the Earth, who trade with the great Whore, and
their merchandize exxi
is all things of price, with the bodies and souls of men: whose
judgment——lingreth not, and their damnation
slumbreth not, but shall surely  come upon them at
the last day suddenly, as the flood upon the old world, and
fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrha, when the
just shall be delivered gxxiii
like Lot; for the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out
of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of
judgment to be punished, in the lake of fire; but chiefly them
that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, hxxiv
being made drunk with the wine of the Whore’s fornication; who
despise dominion, and are not afraid to blaspheme glories;
for the beast opened his mouth against God ixxv
to blaspheme his name and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in
heaven. These, as natural brute beasts, the ten-horned
beast and two-horned beast, or false Prophet, made to be taken and
destroyed, in the lake of fire, blaspheme the things they
understand not:——they count it pleasure to riot in
the day-time——sporting themselves with their own
deceivings, while they feast kxxvi
with you, having eyes full of an lxxvii
Adulteress: for the kingdoms of the beast live deliciously
with the great Whore, and the nations are made drunk with the wine of
her fornication. They are gone astray, following the way of
Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of
unrighteousness, the false Prophet mxxviii
who taught Balak to cast a stumbling-block before the children
of Israel. These are, not  fountains of
living water, but wells without water; not such clouds of
Saints as the two witnesses ascend in, but clouds that are carried
with a tempest, &c. Thus does the author of this Epistle
spend all the second Chapter in describing the qualities of the
Apocalyptic Beasts and false Prophet: and then in the third he
goes on to describe their destruction more fully, and the future
kingdom. He saith, that because the coming of Christ should be
long deferred, they should scoff, saying, where is the promise of
his coming? Then he describes the sudden coming of the day of the
Lord upon them, as a thief in the night, which is the
Apocalyptic phrase; and the millennium, or thousand
years, which are with God but as a day; the passing
away of the old heavens and earth, by a conflagration in the lake
of fire, and our looking for new heavens and a new earth,
wherein dwelleth righteousness.
therefore Peter and John were Apostles of the
circumcision, it seems to me that they staid with their Churches in
Judea and Syria till the Romans made war upon
their nation, that is, till the twelfth year of Nero; that
they then followed the main body of their flying Churches into Asia,
and that Peter, went thence by Corinth to Rome;
that the Roman Empire looked upon those Churches as enemies,
because  Jews by birth; and therefore to prevent
insurrections, secured their leaders, and banished John into
Patmos. It seems also probable to me that the Apocalypse
was there composed, and that soon after the Epistle to the Hebrews
and those of Peter were written to these Churches, with
reference to this Prophecy as what they were particularly concerned
in. For it appears by these Epistles, that they were written in times
of general affliction and tribulation under the heathens, and by
consequence when the Empire made war upon the Jews; for till
then the heathens were at peace with the Christian Jews,
as well as with the rest. The Epistle to the Hebrews, since it
mentions Timothy as related to those Hebrews, must be
written to them after their flight into Asia, where Timothy
was Bishop; and by consequence after the war began, the Hebrews
in Judea being strangers to Timothy. Peter seems
also to call Rome Babylon, as well with respect to the
war made upon Judea, and the approaching captivity, like that
under old Babylon, as with respect to that name in the
Apocalypse: and in writing to the strangers scattered
thro’out Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and
Bithynia, he seems to intimate that they were the strangers newly
scattered by the Roman wars; for those were the only strangers
there belonging to his care. 
account of things agrees best with history when duly rectified. For
Justin and oxxx
Irenaeus say, that Simon Magus came to Rome
in the reign of Clavdius, and exercised juggling tricks there.
Pseudo-Clemens adds, that he endeavoured there to fly,
but broke his neck thro’ the prayers of Peter. Whence pxxxi
Eusebius, or rather his interpolator Jerom, has
recorded, that Peter came to Rome in the second year of
Claudius: but qxxxii
Cyril Bishop of Jerusalem, Philastrius,
Sulpitius, Prosper, Maximus Taurinensis,
and Hegesippus junior, place this victory of Peter in
the time of Nero. Indeed the antienter tradition was, that
Peter came to Rome in the days of this Emperor, as may
be seen in rxxxiii
Lactantius. Chrysostom sxxxiv
tells us, that the Apostles continued long in Judea, and that
then being driven out by the Jews they went to the Gentiles.
This dispersion was in the first year of the Jewish war, when
the Jews, as Josephus tells us, began to be tumultuous
and violent in all places. For all agree that the Apostles were
dispersed into several regions at once; and Origen has set
down the time, txxxv
telling us that in the beginning of the Judaic War, the
Apostles and disciples of our Lord were scattered into all nations;
Thomas into Parthia, Andrew into Scythia,
John into Asia, and Peter first into Asia,
where he preacht to the dispersion, and  thence into
Dionysius Corinthius saith, that Peter went from
Asia by Corinth to Rome, and all antiquity
agrees that Peter and Paul were martyred there in the
end of Nero’s reign. Mark went with Timothy
to Rome, 2 Tim. iv. 11. Colos. iv. 10. Sylvanus
was Paul’s assistant; and by the companions of Peter,
mentioned in his first Epistle, we may know that he wrote from Rome;
and the Antients generally agree, that in this Epistle he understood
Rome by Babylon. His second Epistle was writ to the
same dispersed strangers with the first, 2 Pet. iii. 1. and
therein he saith, that Paul had writ of the same things to
them, and also in his other Epistles, ver. 15, 16. Now as
there is no Epistle of Paul to these strangers besides that to
the Hebrews, so in this Epistle, chap. x. 11, 12. we find at
large all those things which Peter had been speaking of, and
here refers to; particularly the passing away of the old heavens
and earth, and establishing an inheritance immoveable,
with an exhortation to grace, because God, to the wicked, is
a consuming fire, Heb. xii. 25, 26, 28, 29.
determined the time of writing the Apocalypse, I need not say
much about the truth of it, since it was in such request with the
first ages, that many endeavoured to imitate it, by feigning
Apocalypses under the Apostles names;  and the
Apostles themselves, as I have just now shewed, studied it, and used
its phrases; by which means the style of the Epistle to the Hebrews
became more mystical than that of Paul’s other Epistles,
and the style of John’s Gospel more figurative and
majestical than that of the other Gospels. I do not apprehend that
Christ was called the word of God in any book of the New
Testament written before the Apocalypse; and therefore am of
opinion, the language was taken from this Prophecy, as were also many
other phrases in this Gospel, such as those of Christ’s
being the light which enlightens the world, the lamb of God
which taketh away the sins of the world, the bridegroom,
he that testifieth, he that came down from heaven, the
Son of God, &c. Justin Martyr, who within
thirty years after John’s death became a Christian,
writes expressly that a certain man among the Christians whose
name was John, one of the twelve Apostles of Christ, in
the Revelation which was shewed him, prophesied that those who
believed in Christ should live a thousand years at
Jerusalem. And a few lines before he saith: But I, and as
many as are Christians, in all things right in their opinions,
believe both that there shall be a resurrection of the flesh,
and a thousand years life at Jerusalem built, adorned
and enlarged. Which is as much as to  say, that all
true Christians in that early age received this Prophecy: for
in all ages, as many as believed the thousand years, received the
Apocalypse as the foundation of their opinion: and I do not
know one instance to the contrary. Papias Bishop of
Hierapolis, a man of the Apostolic age, and one of John’s
own disciples, did not only teach the doctrine of the thousand years,
but also wxxxvii
asserted the Apocalypse, as written by divine inspiration.
Melito who flourished next after Justin, xxxxviii
wrote a commentary upon this Prophecy; and he, being Bishop of Sardis
one of the seven Churches, could neither be ignorant of their
tradition about it, nor impose upon them. Irenaeus, who was
contemporary with Melito, wrote much upon it, and said, that
the number 666 was in all the antient and approved copies; and
that he had it also confirmed to him by those who had seen John
face to face, meaning no doubt his master Polycarp for
one. At the same time yxxxix
Theophilus Bishop of Antioch asserted it, and so did
Tertullian, Clemens Alexandrinus, and Origen
soon after; and their contemporary Hippolytus the Martyr,
Metropolitan of the Arabians, zxl
wrote a commentary upon it. All these were antient men, flourishing
within a hundred and twenty years after John’s death,
and of greatest note in the Churches of those times. Soon after did
Victorinus  Pictaviensis write another
commentary upon it; and he lived in the time of Dioclesian.
This may surely suffice to shew how the Apocalypse was
received and studied in the first ages: and I do not indeed find any
other book of the New Testament so strongly attested, or commented
upon so early as this. The Prophecy said: Blessed is he that
readeth, and they that hear the words of this Prophecy,
and keep the things which are written therein. This animated
the first Christians to study it so much, till the difficulty
made them remit, and comment more upon the other books of the New
Testament. This was the state of the Apocalypse, till the
thousand years being misunderstood, brought a prejudice against it:
and Dionysius of Alexandria, noting how it abounded
with barbarisms, that is with Hebraisms, promoted that
prejudice so far, as to cause many Greeks in the fourth
century to doubt of the book. But whilst the Latins, and a
great part of the Greeks, always retained the Apocalypse,
and the rest doubted only out of prejudice, it makes nothing against
Prophecy is called the Revelation, with respect to the
scripture of truth, which Daniel was commanded to shut
up and seal, till the time of the end. Daniel
sealed it until the time of the end [Dan. x. 21. xii. 4, 9.];
and until that time comes,  the Lamb is opening the
seals: and afterwards the two Witnesses prophesy out of it a long
time in sack-cloth, before they ascend up to heaven in a cloud. All
which is as much as to say, that these Prophecies of Daniel
and John should not be understood till the time of the end:
but then some should prophesy out of them in an afflicted and
mournful state for a long time, and that but darkly, so as to convert
but few. But in the very end, the Prophecy should be so far
interpreted as to convince many. Then, saith Daniel,
many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be
encreased. For the Gospel must be preached in all the nations
before the great tribulation, and end of the world. The palm-bearing
multitude, which come out of this great tribulation, cannot be
innumerable out of all nations, unless they be made so by the
preaching of the Gospel before it comes. There must be a stone cut
out of a mountain without hands, before it can fall upon the toes of
the Image, and become a great mountain and fill the earth. An Angel
must fly thro’ the midst of heaven with the everlasting Gospel
to preach to all nations, before Babylon falls, and the Son of
man reaps his harvest. The two Prophets must ascend up to heaven in a
cloud, before the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of
Christ. ’Tis therefore a part of this Prophecy, that it
should  not be understood before the last age of the
world; and therefore it makes for the credit of the Prophecy, that it
is not yet understood. But if the last age, the age of opening these
things, be now approaching, as by the great successes of late
Interpreters it seems to be, we have more encouragement than ever to
look into these things. If the general preaching of the Gospel be
approaching, it is to us and our posterity that those words mainly
belong: In the time of the end the wise shall understand, but
none of the wicked shall understand [Dan. xii. 4. 10.].
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of
this Prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein
[Apoc. i. 3.].
folly of Interpreters has been, to foretel times and things by this
Prophecy, as if God designed to make them Prophets. By this rashness
they have not only exposed themselves, but brought the Prophecy also
into contempt. The design of God was much otherwise. He gave this and
the Prophecies of the Old Testament, not to gratify men’s
curiosities by enabling them to foreknow things, but that after they
were fulfilled they might be interpreted by the event, and his own
Providence, not the Interpreters, he then manifested thereby to the
world. For the event of things predicted many ages before, will then
be a convincing argument that the world  is governed by
providence. For as the few and obscure Prophecies concerning Christ’s
first coming were for setting up the Christian religion, which
all nations have since corrupted; so the many and clear Prophecies
concerning the things to be done at Christ’s second
coming, are not only for predicting but also for effecting a recovery
and re-establishment of the long-lost truth, and setting up a kingdom
wherein dwells righteousness. The event will prove the Apocalypse;
and this Prophecy, thus proved and understood, will open the old
Prophets, and all together will make known the true religion, and
establish it. For he that will understand the old Prophets, must
begin with this; but the time is not yet come for understanding them
perfectly, because the main revolution predicted in them is not yet
come to pass. In the days of the voice of the seventh Angel,
when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God shall be
finished, as he hath declared to his servants the Prophets:
and then the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of
our Lord and his Christ, and he shall reign for ever,
Apoc. x. 7. xi. 15. There is already so much of the Prophecy
fulfilled, that as many as will take pains in this study, may see
sufficient instances of God’s providence: but then the signal
revolutions predicted by all the holy Prophets, will at once 
both turn men’s eyes upon considering the predictions, and
plainly interpret them. Till then we must content ourselves with
interpreting what hath been already fulfilled.
the Interpreters of the last age there to scarce one of note who hath
not made some discovery worth knowing; and thence I seem to gather
that God is about opening these mysteries. The success of others put
me upon considering it; and if I have done any thing which may be
useful to following writers, I have my design. 
Newton’s note a: Dem. Evang. l. 8.
Newton’s note b: Vid. Pamelium in notis ad Tertull.
de Praescritionibus, n. 215. & Hieron. l. 1. contra
Jovinianum, c. 14. Edit. Erasmi.
Newton’s note c: Areth. c. 18, 19.
Newton’s note d: Hist. Eccl. l. 3. c. 23.
Newton’s note e: Chrysost. ad. Theodorum lapsum.
Newton’s note f: Hieron. in Epist. ad Gal. l. 3. c. 6.
Newton’s note g: Apud Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 28. Edit.
Newton’s note h: Epiphan. Haeres. 28.
Newton’s note i: Hieron. adv. Lucif.
Newton’s note k (j omitted): 1 Pet. i. 7, 13. iv. 13. & v.
Newton’s note l: Apoc. xiii. 8.
Newton’s note m: Apoc. xxi.
Newton’s note n: Apoc. i. 6. & v. 10.
Newton’s note o: Apoc. xx. 6.
Newton’s note p: Apoc. xx. 4, 12.
Newton’s note q: Apoc. xvii.
Newton’s note a: Dan. viii. 15, 16, 27. & xii. 8. 9.
Newton’s note b: t&____<_(, in many of the best MSS.
Newton’s note c: Apoc. xiii. 7, 12.
Newton’s note d: Apoc. xiii. 1, 5, 6.
Newton’s note e: Apoc. xviii. 12, 13.
Newton’s note f: Apoc. xix. 20.
Newton’s note g: Apoc. xxi. 3, 4.
Newton’s note h: Apoc. ix. 21. and xvii. 2.
Newton’s note i: Apoc. xiii. 6.
Newton’s note k (j omitted) Apoc. xviii. 3, 7, 9.
Newton’s note l: _ _0__< (.
Newton’s note m: Apoc. ii. 14.
Newton’s note n: Apol. ad Antonin. Pium.
Newton’s note o: Haeres. l. 1. c. 20. Vide etiam,
Tertullianum, Apol. c. 13.
Newton’s note p: Euseb. Chron.
Newton’s note q: Cyril. Catech. 6. Philaster. de haeres. cap.
30. Sulp. Hist. l. 2. Prosper de promiss. dimid. tempt. cap. 13.
Maximus serm. 5. in Natal. Apost. Hegesip. l. 2. c. 2.
Newton’s note r: Lactant. de mortib. Perfec. c. 2.
Newton’s note s: Hom. 70. in Matt. c. 22.
Newton’s note t: Apud Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 2. c. 25.
Newton’s note v (u omitted): Euseb. Hist. l. 2. c. 25.
Newton’s note w: Arethas in Proaem. comment. in Apoc.
Newton’s note x: Euseb. Hist. l. 4. cap. 26. Hieron.
Newton’s note y: Euseb. Hist. l. 4. c. 24.
Newton’s note z: Hieron.