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Let's have a look at the people who mention Revelation first and tell us more about when it was written. We encountered Irenaeus last in our consideration of the date and authorship of Luke.

Irey also had something to say about Revelation, but it was not as clear as what he said about Luke: We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of the Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him who beheld the apocalyptic vision. Domitianists (as we will call late-daters) naturally say it was the vision, but Ireneaus presents some ambiguities.

Eusebius also cites Irenaeus as saying that "..number is found in all the approved and ancient copies, and those who saw John face to face confirm it..." The emphasis on personal knowledge of John corresponds better with the referent being back to John in the main quote, rather than to his vision. Elsewhere Irenaeus says that John "continued with the Elders until the time of Trajan." It is argued that this means that Irenaeus would not refer to John as being seen until the time of Domitian; hence the referent in question must be the vision.

This is countered by the point that Irenaeus only says that John was seen until Domitian's reign, not that he died at the time.

By the same token, the activities Clement ascribes to John -- running all over Asia, riding a horse chasing after an apostate church leader -- make more sense attributed to a man in his 50s or 60s than they do to a man in his 90s or 100s.

Finally, elsewhere Clement states that the teaching of the Apostles was completed at the time of Nero.

With Nero there was "widespread general rejoicing" as "citizens ran through the streets wearing caps of liberty." A few oddballs still supported Nero, but not many.

At the same time, if the works of Tacitus are found referred to in other documents, this may be taken as evidence for the date of Tacitus' works, in accordance with the dates of the works quoted.

(Absence of such quotes would not necessarily prove a later date, but it would add suspicions if other reasons to be suspicious were present.) The latter factor, reference by other writers, is of no issue here, for all would agree that Revelation was written prior to the earliest patristic quotes of it. A range of suggestions have been made (even one as early as Claudius, 40 AD) but most favor one of two dates: In or near the reign of Nero (54-68) or that of Domitian (81-96).

If written in Domitian's reign, then Revelation offers nothing for the preterist at all.

External Testimony After due consideration of the leading work proposing a pre-70 date for Revelation (Gentry's Before Jerusalem Fell, 45-107) I have been surprised to find so far that the external evidence points slightly to a pre-70 date; but there is nevertheless a great deal of conflicting evidence.

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