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own town of Pepuza, lying to the east of those cities, he claimed as the seat of the throne of the new kingdom.
The avoidance of marriage would seem to flow as a precept from the vision of the followers of the Lamb, in R. xiv. 4: “These are they who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins."
"Montanism” spread rapidly in the East and developed into a serious heresy, threatening the Church with schism.
Orthodox leaders of the Eastern Churches were revolted by the sensuality of Montanist aspirations, its egotistical pretensions, its exaggerated spiritualism, its withdrawal of Christians from missionary work, and its arrest of the development of the Christian family. Moreover, on the death of Montanus, the movement passed into the hands of female leaders, who had trances, and pretended to be inspired. It fell into disreputable ways (Euseb. H. E. v. 18).
Montanism continued to flourish, however; and in the long run it led to the rejection of the Revelation of S. John by the Eastern churches. The Western church was not much affected by it. The Bishop of Rome with the majority of the Bishops were against it, and opposed it more and more effectively as they gained in authority, and the organisation of the Church crystallised into form.
Justin Martyr, born c. 100 A.D. visited Ephesus, and wrote there, according to Eusebius, his “Dialogue with Trypho the Jew.” In this he argued in favour of a spiritual millennium as opposed to Cerinthian Chiliasm. “Moreover, since even among us, a certain man, John by name, one of the Apostles of Christ, in the Revelation made to him, prophesied that those who believed in our Messias, should spend a thousand years in Jerusalem.” He quotes S. Luke against the nuptial views of Cerinthus. “And of the resurrection from the dead, shall neither be married nor take wives" (Luke xx. 35).
Melito, Bishop of Sardis, c. 170 A.D., wrote two books on "The Devil,” and “The Apocalypse of S. John,” according to Eusebius (H. E. iv. 26). His books have perished, but it may be inferred that he found Antichrist in “the Beast," as did S. Irenæus, a few years later. His views of the Millennium are not known. We get the date from the only surviving fragment of his writings, an Apologia addressed to Marcus Aurelius, c. 170 A.D.
Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, c. 170 A.D., made use of testimony from the Revelation in his book. “Against the heresy of Hermogenis” (Euseb. H. E. iv. 24). Eusebius does not give any extracts from this work.
Apollonius, Bishop of Ephesus (?) wrote against the Montanists, c. 190 A.D.
Eusebius writes of him as follows. “He
quotes also the Revelation of John as testimony, and relates also that a dead man was raised by the Divine power, through the same John, at Ephesus" (H. E. v. 18). Eusebius quotes Apollonius at considerable length as against Montanus," that called Pepuza and Tymium, little places in Phrygia, 'a Jerusalem,' in order to collect men from every quarter thither, etc. Who provided salaries for those that preached his doctrine, that it might grow strong by gormandising and gluttony" (H. E. v. 18). Apollonius says many scathing things of the venal prophetesses of Montanism, “receiving both gold and silver and precious garments.” His writings have disappeared with the exception of those quoted by Eusebius (H. E. V. 18).
S. Irenæus, Bishop of Lyons, C. 185 A.D., wrote a book against Heresies, in five volumes, in Greek. In the fourth volume he gives an extract from the first Chapter of Revelation, and says that S. John the disciple of the Lord saw these things in the Apocalypse (xx. II). He repeats this formula several times practically in the same words (v. 26. iv. 24. 3, v. 35. 2, v. 36. 3). That he attributed the authorship of the Book to S. John the Evangelist is made clear in iii. 1. where he says "S. John wrote his Gospel afterwards.”
In his fifth volume he recapitulates the heresies he has refuted, and goes on to make some remarks about Antichrist, whom he assumed to be the Beast of the Apocalypse. He noticed that some copies of the Book gave the number of the Beast as 616, instead of 666, but considered the latter number distinctive of genuine copies. “As matters are thus and the number is thus found in all the genuine and ancient copies, and as they who saw John attest, reason itself shows that the number of the name of the Beast is indicated by the Greek letters which it contains ” (Hæres. v. 33). He proposes three names as possible solutions of the gematrial value of the number 666. ETANOAE, AATEINOE, and TEITAN. The first he does not defend. The second he thinks probable as referring to the Roman Empire. But the third he prefers, because it consists of six letters; it has two syllables of three letters each ; and because Teitan was a giant who assaulted the Gods, and might therefore be put for Antichrist.
S. Irenæus's testimony as to the authorship of the book, a matter of fact within the knowledge of his early friend S. Polycarp, is very strong. His testimony as to the meaning of the book shows very clearly that the Key to the book was lost.
From the above quoted writings of S. Irenæus the following conclusions with regard to Revelation were drawn by Medieval writers. A. A personal Antichrist will appear on earth, whose name is contained in the number 666 in Greek letters. B. The
Revelation was given to S. John about the end of Domitian's reign. C. (consequent upon B) There was a severe persecution of the Church about the end of Domitian's reign.
These conclusions rest, in the last resort, on the above quoted words of S. Irenæus. There is no other authority for any of them. They have had an obscuring influence on the elucidation of the Apocalypse.
Clement of Alexandria was a contemporary of S. Irenæus, and wrote about the same time. He frequently quotes the Apocalypse in his “ Stromata.” We have seen that he shows in his “Who is the rich man who shall be saved,” that he is a firm believer in the Neronian date of the Book. (See p. 16.)
The A logi. In the last quarter of the second century, a sect of men arose in Asia Minor, who denied the manifestation of the Paraclete and rejected the logos teaching of the Gospel of S. John and of the Apocalypse. Hence they were called the Alogi. They were strongly opposed to the Montanists. Seeing that Montanism was based on the Revelation, they decried the Book. They denied the existence of Thyatira, one of the seven Churches of Asia, to which a special letter in the Apocalypse is addressed. And they attributed the authorship of the Book to Cerinthus, the heretic! (Epiphanius, Hær. I. I. 3).
Caius, a Roman, who wrote against Montanism at the beginning of the third century (202-210) took the same polemical line, denying S. John's authorship of the Apocalypse. He disputed with the Montanist, Proclus, in the time of Pope Zepherinus (See Euseb. H. E. iii. 28). His views are gathered from certain passages of the work of Hippolytus “ Contra Caium," published by Dr. Gwynn. These show that Caius also attributed the Book to Cerinthus.
The Epistle of the Churches of Vienne and Lyons to the Churches of Asia (c. 177), refers to the Apocalypse five times as canonical scripture (Euseb. H. E. v. 1). This reflects the Western or Roman view of the period.
Tertullian, of Carthage, who wrote about the beginning of the third century, made liberal use of the Revelation of S. John in many of his controversial works. In “Advers Marcion” he shows that Marcion rejected the Book, partly, on account of its Old Testament style (iv. 5). In all his works he showed that he accepted and upheld the Johannine authorship of the Book. According to S. Jerome, he referred S. John's exile to Nero (Adv. Jovin i. 26). In his later years Tertullian, alarmed by the laxity of the Church, fell under the influence of rigorous Montanism. But many of his works, “ De Pudicitia," "De Resurrect," " De Anima," " Præscript Hæres," “ Advers Judæos,"
were written before that time. He looked upon Babylon as Rome, and the Beast as Antichrist.
The Muratorian Fragment. A Latin fragment published by Muratori in his “ Antiq. Ital.” (iii. 854), attributed to the early part of the third century, writes of the Apocalypse of S. John as being received in the Canon of the Church.
It says that “ Paulus sequens praedecessoris sui, Johannis, ordinem, nonnisi nominatim septem ecclesiis scribit ordini tali” (C.F. Schmid. Offenbarung Johannis, p. 101, f.), showing that at that period S. Paul was supposed to have followed the model of the Apocalypse in writing his Epistles. But as S. Paul died towards the close of Nero's persecution, 67 A.D., it follows that in the opinion of the author of the fragment, S. John wrote the Apocalypse before that date.
The Shepherd of Hermas was written about this time: The Muratorian fragment refers to it as having been written in Rome, "nuperrime temporibus nostris.” It uses a symbolism which appears to have been taken from the Apocalypse. The expression ý Oriyıs ń ueryán, taken from Rev. vii. 14, occurs twice in it (Vis. ii. 2, 7, iv. I. 3).
Hippolytus, a Roman Bishop, who lived in the early part of the third century, wrote a work on Christ and Antichrist, in which he quotes extensively from the Apocalypse. Like S. Irenæus, and probably Melito of Sardis, he looked upon the Apocalypse as relating to an anthropomorphic Antichrist tradition. He recognised the Beast from the Sea as the Roman Empire; the woman in Rev. xii. 1-3, as the Church ; Babylon as Rome; and the two witnesses (R. xi. 3) as Enoch and Elias. He also expressed millenarian views. This book S. Jerome names in his catalogue of the works of Hippolytus (Cat. 61). Photius also says that he read it. It shows an advance in exegesis.
S. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage c. 250 A.D., was a pupil of Tertullian. He made frequent references to the Apocalypse of S. John in his writings and treated it as a part of the Canon of Scripture.
Origen (c. 185-254), was a pupil of Clement of Alexandria. His reputation as a teacher stands high. He took a mystical view of the Apocalypse generally, and objected to Chiliasm as Jewish. He studied Hebrew for the purpose of his Hexapla (Euseb. H. E. vi. 16). In his exposition of the Gospel of S. Matthew he remarks, “What shall we say of him who reclined upon the breast of Jesus, I mean John? who has left one Gospel, in which he confesses that he could write so many that the whole world could not contain them. He also wrote the Apocalypse, commanded as he was, to conceal, and not to write the voices of the seven thunders” (Euseb. H. E. vi. 25).
In a Commentary on S. Matthew he says, “ The King of the Romans, as tradition teaches, condemned John, who bore testimony on account of the word of truth, to the island of Patmos. John moreover teaches what concerns his testimony, not saying who condemned him, for he speaks thus in the Apocalypse,” then follows a quotation Rev. 1-9 (Edt. Wirccp. p. 300 f.). This was written, probably, between the years 230 and 250. The phrase “The King of the Romans as tradition teaches us,” shows that Origen had Nero in view, or he would not have written “The King.” Throughout the East the Julian Cæsars were looked upon as a royal line and hailed as Kings. The Cæsars from Julius Cæsar to Nero the sixth, King of the Apocalypse (R. xvii. 10), were blood relations. Nero was the last of them. After him came the successful generals raised to the purple by their legions. They took the title of Cæsar, but prefixed it to their own names. They reigned by virtue of their leadership of the Army. The official title of Domitian illustrates both these points—“ Imperator Cæsar Domitianus Augustus." Origen was à pupil of Clement of Alexandria, who taught that S. John was exiled in Nero's reign. He would naturally accept the Neronian tradition so clearly set forth in Clement's tradition of " Who is the rich man who shall be saved ?" Origen's further expression that S. John does not say“ who condemned him," may have reference to his condemnation and exile from Ephesus. He was tried and condemned at Ephesus by the Provincial Governor, or Asiarch. There is no mention of him in the Revelation.
Origen read books with avidity and dwelt for many years in Palestine. If there had been a Domitian tradition of S. John's exile, he would have heard of it. He would have observed that it was at variance with the teaching of the school of Alexandria, of which he was so great an ornament. And in all probability he would have taken some notice of it when penning the above lines.
Victorinus, Bishop of Pettau in Upper Pannonia, about the middle of the 2nd century, wrote a Commentary on the Apocalypse in Latin. It has been preserved to our day in an expurgated recension, said to have been made by S. Jerome (Biblioth. Max Palt. vol. iii.). It still retains traces of Chiliasm.
Nepos, a learned and pious Bishop of the Egyptian Church, wrote, in the first half of the third century, a book called the “ Refutation of the Allegorisers.” This was written in defence of the literal chiliastic interpretation of the Apocalypse, as against the mysticism of the Alexandrian school. He quoted the Apocalypse extensively in support of his views, which were gaining many adherents in Egypt (Euseb. H. E. vii. 24).