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Revelation: Two Theories (Pt 5)

5

Several teachers and scholars have suggested the construction of the four gospels points to an early date for the writing. One of the first to do so was Dr. Philip Schaaf a renowned linguist and historian of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century. Another, the late Luther W. Martin, evangelist and author, published an article on this subject in Faith and Facts Quarterly in April 1992. The basics of the theory were that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke differ considerably from John’s in their construction because they were written much earlier. Mr. Martin suggested that the events covered, the use of parables, and other simple teachings in the synoptic gospels, indicated they were meant to convey the earlier teachings of Christ. While John’s lack of use of such teachings indicated his was written later when the meanings of the earlier lessons had become commonly known.

Mr. Martin stated that the differences in language also are suggested to point to different audiences being addressed at different times. The synoptic gospels offer many examples of repetition in the passages, while John’s gospel is more direct, narrow in its time frame and very concise. He concluded, “I suggest that John’s Revelation was written just before the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred in 70 AD, and that John’s gospel was written in the AD 90’s. During the span of time from the establishment of the Lord’s kingdom (AD 33), until John’s gospel, so many things had been accomplished and changed, that this brought about Inspiration’s changes that John recorded, making John’s gospel record so different from the synoptics, Matthew, Mark, and Luke.”

Other teachers and scholars, prior to and since, have offered similar suggestions and conclusions.

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Considering these simple points, an earlier date has solid scriptural support and is in keeping with the overall tone of the book. I would suggest that the evidence is overwhelming for concluding all of the books and letters of the New Testament had been written prior to the destruction of Jerusalem. There is not a single passage in the Bible that deals with the destruction of either Jerusalem or its Temple in the past tense. It was a seminal event following Jesus’ resurrection in the history of the early Churches.

It was my intention here to offer a clear alternative to the prevailing schools of thought principally based upon the chronicle of Scripture and the record of history. I could easily have left off the historical records, and passages and gone straight to the last two sentences in the paragraph above, drawing an inescapable conclusion. However, you should read things for yourself and then formulate your own opinions.