« Prev 9. The Author John the Elder? Next »

9. THE AUTHOR JOHN THE ELDER?

It is different if we think of John the Elder (p. 172 f.) as the final editor of the Apocalypse. This would explain the fact (which would also be appropriate if the author 230were the Apostle John) that the Jews are always represented as the chosen people of God (vii. 1-8), and that it is forbidden to eat flesh taken from a victim offered to a heathen idol (ii. 14, 20), though Paul declared it to have been allowed in principle (1 Cor. x. 25-27, 29b, 30) and only forbids it when a sensitive Christian who thought it for bidden might be offended by it (1 Cor. viii. 7-13; x. 28, 29 a), or when people, by sharing in the festivities, recognised the idol as a real god (1 Cor. x. 20 f .) In this matter a strongly Jewish sentiment in favour of the Law of the Old Testament still pervades the Apocalypse.

We know further, as regards John the Elder (but not also as regards the Apostle), that he was very much interested in prophecies of the end of the world, and imagined, for example, that after the resurrection of the dead there would be on earth a millennial kingdom full of peace and happiness and ruled by Christ, exactly as it is described in Rev. xx. 1-6.

When we remember, finally, that John the Elder of Ephesus was leader of the Church of Western Asia Minor, we can easily see how well his position suits the tone in which the seven Epistles to the seven Communities in that region are composed in Rev. ii. f. They were certainly not sent separately to each one of those communities, and grouped together only at a later date. The way in which they are all written round the same circle of ideas, and almost modelled on one pattern, indicates far rather that from the very first they were only intended for publication in the book of Revelation. They make a weighty impression precisely because the same turns of expression recur so continually. They must, therefore, in any case, have been composed by the last contributor to the book, with the idea of recommending a definite circle 231of readers to take due note of the prophecies which follow in iv. 1-xxii. 5.

We must not persist, however, in thinking that it was John the Elder who wrote the seven letters, and in this way, as well as by other embellishments which we can no longer specify exactly, brought the Apocalypse to a close. The description of Jesus tells against this, even if John him self only heard him for a short time. The work may also have been composed by another person in his name, just as well as the Second and Third Epistles of John.

« Prev 9. The Author John the Elder? Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |