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Gospel of S. Mark. John the Presbyter does not say that he has heard this, or that he believed it. He says of his own knowledge, decisively, that “whatsoever he [S. Mark] recorded he wrote with great accuracy, but not, however, in the order in which it was spoken or done by our Lord,” Papias evidently accepted this statement of “ John the Presbyter" as coming from one whose evidence on the point was final. Only an eyewitness and constant follower of our Lord was qualified to make such a comment on the Gospel of S. Mark. There was no John but S. John the Evangelist, the constant companion of our Lord, who was in a position to make it.
The whole statement of “ John the Presbyter," as recorded by Papias, reveals the mind of one who was intimately associated with our Lord. Who else could say that S. Mark's records are not all related in the order in which it was spoken and done by our Lord, nevertheless he has not erred in anything, or stated anything falsely ?
From all of which it may be fairly argued that Papias had but one John in his mind, and that one S. John the Evangelist.
Dionysius notes that John of the Apocalypse mentions his name more than once, whereas the Evangelist in his Epistles simply calls himself “the Presbyter.” We have seen that " John the Presbyter” was the commonly acknowledged title of S. John the Evangelist (pp. 19, 31 f.).
The Apocalypse was an extraordinary production, requiring ample confirmation as to the authenticity of its character as a direct revelation from God to S. John. Accordingly we find that S. John mentions His name no less than five times, three times in the beginning of the book, and twice towards the end (Rev. i. 1; i. 4; i. 9; xxi. 2; xxii. 8). He sent it to Ephesus, where his disciples dwelt, in these terms, “I, John, your brother and sharer in tribulation and in the kingdom and patience in Christ Jesus” (Rev. i. 4). Such a message coming from Patmos, where S. John lived in exile, could only be attributed to one author, and that was S. John the Evangelist.
Another argument brought forward by Dionysius in favour of attributing “the Revelation” to an unknown John, is the difference of the Greek in the Gospel and in the Revelation. The latter is written in a Greek more akin to Hebrew than the former. It is distinctly Hebraic in some of its idioms and grammatical constructions.
If we take it as written during Nero's persecution, in the year 67, soon after S. John came to reside at Ephesus, we should expect the writing to be flavoured with Hebraicisms. If we admit that the Book was written at Patmos, where S. John was a prisoner, that it was written under the eyes of his
jailers, we should expect it to be veiled in Hebraic symbolism. If we admit the tradition that the Gospel was a later work, written at ease, at Ephesus, we should expect to find it written in more polished Greek (as, in fact, it is), yet on these natural differences of style rests the theory that S. John the Evangelist could not have written both books, the Gospel and the Revelation.
Dionysius, as quoted by Eusebius, says:
And, altogether, throughout, to attentive observers, it will be obvious that there is one and the same complexion and character in the Gospel and Epistle. Very different and remote from all this is the Apocalypse, not even tending, or even bordering upon them in the least, I might say not even containing a syllable in common with them."
“We may also notice how the phraseology of the Gospel and the Epistle differs from the Apocalypse. For the former are written not only irreprehensibly, as regards the Greek language, but are most elegant in diction, in the arguments and the whole structure of the style.
It would require much to discern any barbarism or solecism, or any odd peculiarity of expression at all in them; for, as is to be presumed, he was endued with all the requisites for his discourse, the Lord having granted him both that of knowledge and that of expression of style. That the latter, however, saw a revelation, and received knowledge as prophecy, I do not deny ; but I perceive that his dialect and language is not very accurate Greek, but that he uses barbarous idioms, and in some places solecisms, which it is now unnecessary to select” (Euseb. H. E. vii, 25).
Dionysius says that in complexion the Epistle and Gospel of S. John resemble each other, but the Apocalypse is very different and remote from them. “I might say not even containing a syllable in common with them.”
We shall see that this is not a fair estimate. In the Revelation, when our Lord appears leading His forces to the final battle which is to rout the armies of paganism, it is said, “ And he was clothed with a garment sprinkled with blood, and his name is called the Word of God” (Rev. xix. 13).
It is universally recognised that we have here a very important literary idiom, connecting the Apocalypse with the Gospel and Epistle of S. John (1 Jhn. ii. 14; 1 Jhn. v. 7). The Gospel begins, “In the beginning was the word, and the word was God.”
Again, the Lamb of God is a peculiarly Johannine form of expression, found only in the Revelation and in the Gospel of S. John as an emblem of our Lord.
In the most dramatic scene of the Revelation, the opening of
the book with the seven seals, Christ appears as a Lamb, and takes the book and opens the seals. Thereafter the Lamb appears at frequent intervals as a figure of Christ (R.v. 8, 12, 13; vi. I, 16; vii. 9, 14, 17; xii. 11; xiii. 8; xiv. I, 4, 10; xv. 3 ; xvii. 14; xix. 9; xxi. 9, 14, 22, 23, 27; xxii. I, 3, 14).
In S. John's Gospel we have the same symbolism. “Behold the Lamb of God” (Jhn. i. 29, 36). These expressions, the “ Word of God," and the “Lamb of God," are peculiar to S. John. They are found only in his writings, and their occurrence in the Revelation and in his Gospel seems to many modern critics to place him in an unassailable position as the writer of both books. Again, S. John's is the only received Gospel which mentions the piercing of our Lord's side, “ But one of his soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it hath given testimony, and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true that you may believe. For these things were done that the scriptures might be fulfilled. ... They shall look on him whom they pierced” (Jhn. xix. 34, 36). S. John himself, as he says, witnessed the piercing of our Lord's side with the spear, and, remembering the prophecy in the Hebrew Scriptures (Zach. xii. 10), solemnly testifies to its fulfilment. The same event is noted in the Apocalypse as a mark of identification of our Lord, “Every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him” (Rev. i. 7).
Professor Moses Stuart makes the following comment on verse eleven in the first chapter of the Revelation. The verse begins, “ Saying, what thou seest write in a book.” He says, with regard to είς βιβλιον, R. I. II:
“We say copied into a book but written in a book, and in accordance with the latter phrase is the usual idiom of the Greek; but in Jhn. viii. 6, 8 (if the genuineness be allowed), we have two cases of Eypapev eľs—showing, at least, a resemblance in minutiæ between the Gospel and the Apocalypse, for the idiom is found nowhere else in the New Testament" (Com. on the Apoc. Vol. ii., p. 41).
Again he says: “The syntax of the verb and participle, it has often been alleged, is frequently violated in the Apocalypse. (a) The Present tense is put for the Praeterite. ... The historic Present (as grammarians call it) belongs, of course, to all animated narration ; and it is to be found unusually often, both in the Gospel of John and in the Apocalypse. In reading through both these books, I have noted one hundred cases in which it is employed in the Gospel, and forty cases in the Apocalypse. Of the one hundred, however, some sixty-five belong merely to the word Néyel, singular or plural; and a large portion of the others to
ěpxetai and some other common verbs of motion. The numerous cases of Méryel belong almost entirely to the frequent dialogues which the Gospel exhibits. In the Apocalypse, but few dialogistic passages occur; and in these there is just the same frequency of Néyel as in the Gospel. As to other cases, I have noted thirtyfive in the Gospel, and thirty in the Apocalypse, which exhibit a similarity of usage in both, that deserves special notice, inasmuch as they are some indication of the same hand in both. For the rest, I would merely remark, that although the historic Present is everywhere to be found in the New Testament, yet nowhere is it employed with so much frequency as in the writings of John. As the Hebrew has no appropriate form for the Present, this must be put to the account of the Greek, and not of the Hebrew idiom.” (Op. cit., i. 388.)
Dionysius says, we do not find in the Apocalypse the Johannine words ζωή, φωσ, αληθέια, χάρις and κρισις ; all of which are found in the Apocalypse, aindéia being replaced by its adjective åandévós. (See “ Historical introduction to Study of N.T,” G. Salmon, D.D.)
Dr. Swete, Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, points out several resemblances between the Gospel of S. John and the Apocalypse.
The book begins, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to make known to his servants.” “ That the Son receives what he is and has from the Father is the constant teaching of the Gospel of S. John (iii. 35; V. 20, 26; vii. 16; viii. 28; xii. 49; xvi. 15; xvii. 2). Bede says, Johannes more suo filli gloriam ad patrem referens. Μάρτυς, μαρτυρείν, Maptupla are frequent in the Apocalypse as in other Johannine books, “νικών is a characteristically Johannine word (Jhn. xvi. 33; 1 Jhn. ii. 13; iv. 4; V. 4), and specially frequent in the Apocalypse (ii. 7, 11, 17, 26; iii. 5, 12, 21; v. 5; xii. II; xv. 2; xvii
. 14; xxi. 7). ... Tnpeîv (a Johannine word, Ev. 18, Ep. i. 7, Apoc. 11)” (See The Apocalypse of S. John, pp. 1, 2, 29, 46).
Dionysius concludes that " he [St. John] uses barbarous idioms, and in some places solecisms, which it is now unnecessary to select."
It is admitted by all that the Greek of the Apocalypse is not so scholarly as that of the Gospel. From the pedagogic point of view it is an inferior Greek composition. This tells very much in favour of its having been written in the year 67 A.D.
A very complete command of Greek was required to deal with the visions of Revelation. Accordingly we find the strange visions of the book described in language full of fire and emotion, which breaks through the trammels of unaccustomed Greek and falls back upon Hebraic linguistic constructions.
Dr. Swete writes:
“Whatever may be thought of the explanations which are offered in his defence, it is evident that he has not erred in all cases through ignorance, and it is possible that he has not done so in any instance. His eccentricities of syntax are probably due to more than one cause, some to the habit which he may have retained from early years of thinking in a Semitic language, some to the desire of giving movement and vivid reality to his visions, which leads him to report them after the manner of shorthand notes, jotted down at the time; some to the circumstances in which the book was written. But from whatever cause or concurrence of causes, it cannot be denied that the Apocalypse of John stands alone among Greek literary writings in its disregard of the ordinary rules of syntax, and the success with which syntax is set aside without loss of perspicuity, or even of literary power. The book seems openly and deliberately to defy the grammarian, and yet, even as literature, it is in its own field unsurpassed. No judge who compared it with any other Greek apocalyptic work would hesitate to give the palm to the Canonical Apocalypse." (Op. cit., p. cxxiii.)
The Hebraic mind of S. John is seen in both his Scriptures, by his habit of introducing Hebrew names with their Greek equivalents. Thus in his Gospel, “ Who said Rabbi, which is to say, being interpreted master” (Jhn. i. 38). “Thou shalt be called Cephas, which is interpreted Peter” (Jhn. i. 42). Pilate . . . sat down in the judgment seat in the place that is called Lithostratos, and in Hebrew Gabbatha. “ He went forth to that place which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew, Golgotha " (Jhn. xix. 13, 17). And in the Apocalypse, “And all the tribes of the earth shall bewail themselves because of him, even so=(val). Amen " (R. i. 7). In which, vai, Greek, is interpreted by its Hebrew equivalent, Amen. “ The angel of the bottomless pit whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon” (R. ix. 11). “And the great dragon was cast out, the old serpent who is called the Devil and Satan"
(R. xii. 9), where Eatavās is Hebrew, and Aláßolos, Greek. ** And he shall gather them together into a place which is called in Hebrew, Armagedon” (R. xvi. 16). Armagedon, a Hebrew proper name, had no Greek equivalent. Finally the number of the Beast εξακόσιοι εξήκοντα έξ (χξς), though written in Greek, has to be converted into Hebrew for the purpose of its gematrial interpretation.
All this leaves out of account the fact that the book was purposely obscured by the use of Old Testament symbolism to form a Hebraic cipher. Though written in Greek, it was not intended to be read or understood by the Greek-speaking Asiarchs of Asia Minor,
gematrialeaves orthy the use with written the Gre