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There is no New Testament writer who has given that prominence that John has to the metaphor of blood, to represent the cleansing power of divine truth. There is scarce any mention of blood, in this sense, by any other writer. It is the purifying power of the truth to which John refers, when he says, “ And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one;" 1 John v. 8. Being "born of water and the spirit,” John iii. 5, was being cleansed by divine truth. John further testifies, 1 Epis. i. 7, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." How often do we find this metaphor in the Apocalypse : " Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood ;" i. 5. “ And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof : for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;" v. 9. “ These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb ;" vii. 14. Is there not a striking similarity between the style of the Apocalypse and the style of the undisputed writings of John ?
Matthew records the words of Jesus, “ Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness;" v. 6. With this exception, John is the only evangelist who uses hunger and thirst as metaphors to represent the need which the human soul hath for the truth of Christ. The revelator says, of those who have entered the new Jerusalem, “ They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat;" vii. 16. To this agrees the metaphor in John's Gospel : “ And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst ;” vi. 35.
We have thus brought to a close our remarks on the points of resemblance between the Apocalypse and the undisputed writings of John. Many strong points may have been omitted. We have purposely avoided any comparisons in points of doctrine, because we believe that the New Testament writers all agree essentially with each other in those respects; but if any one would take the labor to compare the manner in which the doctrine of judgment is stated in the Apocalypse with the manner in which it is stated in the Gospel of John, he would find a strong confirmation of the opinion we have expressed, viz., that the Apocalypse had an apostolic origin, and that it was written by John. Previously, however, to closing up entirely this part of our subject, we shall take time to notice several objections which have been urged against the hypothesis, that John was the author of the Apocalypse.
1. It is said, the author of the Gospel and of the Epistles has not named himself, in a single instance, whereas the writer of the Apocalypse has named himself repeatedly.
We cannot think this objection well founded. Is the case uncommon for men to avow themselves the authors of certain books, and to publish others anonymously? and must we suppose, on that account, that they could not have been the authors both of the avowed works and the anonymous ? It seems to us this would be strange reasoning. We should remember that John was a much younger man when he wrote the Apocalypse than he was when he wrote the Gospel and Epistles; and there may
have been reasons unknown to us why he affixed his name to the first, and omitted it from the two last. Besides, although he has not named himself in the Gospel, he has described himself in such a manner, that the church from the beginning was never puzzled to know the author. We think the objection we have named has but very little weight.
2. It is also objected, that although the author of the Apocalypse calls himself John, he does not show that he is the apostle of that name.
And why needed he to state that, since he was preëminently the
JOHN of the church ? If it had been any other John, it would have been necessary for him to have described himself more particularly, that he might not be mistaken by any person for him who was preëminently known by that name. When we speak of Washington, we do not need to add a circumlocution to show that we mean the first President of the United States; but if we spoke of some person of that name of less distinction, it would be necessary that we should show in some way what individual we meant. The fact, therefore, that the John who was the author of the Apocalypse simply gave his name, should weigh nothing against the presumption that he was the apostle.
3. It is said, the Apocalypse does not mention the Epistle, nor the Epistle the Apocalypse.
Is there any force in this objection? How could the writer of the Apocalypse name the catholic Epistle, since when the former was written the latter had not been even contemplated that we know of ? And are we so sure that there was a necessity for John to name the Apocalypse in his subsequent writings as to conclude from the omission that he was not the author of it ? Was it the custom of Paul, for instance, when he wrote an epistle, to name the works he had previously written? We all know that he did not do so. When he wrote a second time to the same church, it was very
natural that he should name his first communication but not when he wrote to different persons. As Dr. Lardner says, Paul in his epistle to the Romans was utterly silent in regard to all his epistles, although at the time he had written several.
4. Again, it is objected, that there is a great resemblance in sentiment, manner and expression, between the Gospel and the first Epistle of St. John; but the Apocalypse is altogether different, without any affinity or resemblance whatever.
In the first place, we remark, that this objection is founded on a false basis. It is not true that the Apocalypse is altogether different from the Gospel and Epistle, and without any affinity or
resemblance whatever. We have shown satisfactorily, we think, that, although there are strong points of difference between the Apocalypse and the undisputed writings of John, there are also strong points of resemblance. We can account for the points of difference consistently with the belief that John was the author of the Apocalypse ; but on the ground that he was not the author, how can we account for the points of resemblance which we have described ? In the first place, let it be remembered, that the Apocalypse was written (as we shall show) thirty or forty years before the Gospel and Epistles; and in that time John's mind may have lost somewhat of its vigor and soaring tendency. And it is worthy of remark, too, that the object of the Apocalypse required a different style from an epistle, or a history. The Gospel is a biographical history; the Epistles are didactic addresses; but the Apocalypse is a prophecy. The Apocalypse is in the style of the ancient prophecies; we should not of course expect it to be in the style of a history or epistle.' We see, therefore, that the objection we have stated is without force.
But, 5, It is said, the Gospel and Epistles of John are written in elegant Greek; but the writer of the Apocalypse proves that he had not an accurate knowledge of that language; on the contrary, the Apocalypse abounds with barbarisms and solecisms.
Allowing to its full extent the allegation here made, viz., as to the different style of the Gospel and the Apocalypse, we are very far from thinking it proves that the same hand did not write both books. May not an author's style be very different at one time from what it is at another ? We know that the style of a writer is sometimes greatly changed, even in a few years, by his associations or his studies. If it be borne in mind that the Apocalypse was written twenty or thirty years earlier than the Gospel, we shall see that there was time enough for John's style to be greatly changed between the writing of the two works. The Apocalypse was John's first production, and was written when he was not so much accustomed to the Greek language as he became in after life. So that the objection above noticed has no force at all ; it utterly vanishes upon examination.
The last objection which we shall notice is
6. That the Apocalypse is so obscure as to be unintelligible, and is therefore not proper to be called a revelation from God.
If the allegation here were true, the objection might have some force. But it is not true; the book is not unintelligible. As to the interpretation, the difficulty has existed more in the minds of men than in the book itself. There is no book, let it be remembered, in the Bible, that has been so much perverted as this. Men have almost exhausted their powers of conception in contriving meanings for it. The wild and enthusiastic have given a loose rein to their imaginations in respect to it. The book has been too much given up into their hands. It has been buried, we had almost said, beneath the load of strange and contradictory interpretations which have been given of it. But we maintain this is more the fault of men than of the book. Of late we have seen a class who have been so fully persuaded the Apocalypse cannot be understood, that they have not sought to understand it. Would it not be well to make an honest attempt first, before they pass so rash. a decision against a portion of the word of God ? One great bar to the proper understanding of the book has been the mistake that has prevailed in regard to its date. If men settle down in the impression that the Apocalypse was not written until about the year A. D. 96,- -a quarter of a century after the destruction of Jerusalem, we see not how they can either rationally interpret it, or suppose it to have been written by John. That section of the book included in chapters vi. — xi. is so manifestly a prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, that if we supposed the work were written after that event, we should not have any facts to guide us in the interpretation. Place the date of the book previously, and many difficulties are at once solved.
To understand the Apocalypse, a person must learn to apply