The Revelation Of John: Origin, History And Authorship

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The most enigmatic book in the Christian Bible is arguably the book of Revelation. Over centuries, scholars have labored to interpret section of it, some even the entire twenty two chapters of cryptic and frightening imagery of doom, war and supra earthly visions with frustrations hopelessness. Some others, like the self-acclaimed English writer and atheist, George Bernard Shaw, dismisses it as the hallucinations of a drug addict. Yet its symbolism and prophetic values cannot be wished away. Quest for the understanding of specific parts of it for example, the issues of the Antichrist and the beast and its number has been appropriated by conspiracy buffs. So many fictional characters emerged and became so influential in the interpretation of the beast and its number that many Christians preachers adopted it. Example is Damien Thorn in the movie series, Omen. This movie was so influential that many tended to believe that the Antichrist would bear the name Damien and be the son of Satan himself. Many other movies followed suite, building on the same theme.

This has been the fascination with which the book of revelation was held. So far it is the least understood book of the Bible. But the book was actually meant to be a warning for us who are at what is described as the end time. For us to understand it for what it is – a warning about past and futuristic happenings – we must endeavor to understand it. This implies understanding the concepts explained in the book and the implication on present day humanity. To begin with, we need to look at history as it concerns the book.


In the beginning or the book of Revelations, the author wrote:

I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the Island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ…

With above he immediately identified the name and location: John and Patmos.

Christian authorities insist that the John in question was John the Disciple of Christ, usually called the beloved. It was said that, because of his fiery preaching, he was exiled into the Isle of Patmos in Asia Minor. There he stayed in a cave that is still in existence today as the cave where he lived and wrote the book of revelations. After writing the book, he emerged from the cave and went ahead to live up to a ripe old age.

This story has been accepted by most scholars as true. But there are other dissenting voices that indicate that it was a different John that was exiled to Patmos. To differentiate him from John the disciple and John the Baptist, they named him John the revelation.

And so the controversy rages. It was generally accepted that the exiling was done by the last of the Roman Emperors – Emperor Domitian. It was also believed that Domitian exiled John to Patmos somewhere between AD.90 to AD. 100. Many historians favor the middle date – AD. 95.

Domitian was the proconsul in the Roman Empirical consul of North Africa when his father, Vespasian, ruled as Emperor. He was there for years before he was sent to quell the uprising in Judea in Ad 69. This resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem and scattering of Jews into the Diaspora in AD 70 – 72. His brother Titus took over as Caesar, and shortly after, Domitian took over the reign of power.

Peter and Paul, already very old, died during the reign of Nero, before Vespasian took over. John the disciple, together with Mary of Bethany, passed away the same night in the family house of Mary of Bethany where they were living together with Phryge, their maid. Before then, they were the centre of Christian activities in Jerusalem.

When Mark, a Roman governor, turned disciple of the Lord, he decided to write down the account of the life of Christ as he sees it. This he was writing chapter by chapter, while he reads each written chapter to the duo of Mary and John for correction. But he passed on before he could write about the resurrection of Christ. Hence, their burial was done by Luke the Physician old Phryge, in the same tomb where Lazarus was buried.

The sixteenth chapter of the gospel of Mark is an additions by Bible scholars of later era. Some bible editions include three separate ending to the gospel Mark died in the arms of Mary of Bethany. By the time Paul was leaving for Rome, they were already very old, hence, it is difficult to situate John as preaching in Antioch before Domitian sent him to exile to Patmos. This argument brought about the next postulation: That the author of revelations must have been a younger John, referred to as John Mark. Still the same argument defeats the assumption of John Mark as the author of the book. By the time Domitian was in power, most of the disciples of Jesus have died. This leaves us with the idea that it must have been a younger convert to Christianity that must have written the book of revelation.

Another puzzle that surrounds the authorship of the book was the fact that chapter 4 and 22 of the book corresponds to portions of a deutero-canonical book – commonly called the book of Apocrypha – referred to as prophesies of John the Baptist. In as much as John the Baptist did not record any prophesies, it was clear that the work also originated from the same John. The epistles of John was said to have more affinity of style to the book of revelations than the gospel of john, which has been shown to be written by john the disciple. Some authorities believe that chapters 4 and 22 are actually the surviving chapters of the prophesy, which gives credence to the fact that whole book of revelation was once called the prophecies of John the Baptist.

How could this have been possible? One theory is that of channeling. John the Baptist, dead for over seventy years, was able to use another John as a channel for the book of revelations. This the author of the ultimate book of revelations, In The Light Of Truth The Grail Message by Abd -ru-shin, indicated was the case with book of revelations. According to the Grail Message, John received the revelation as the summit of the human spiritual, in an isle called Patmos. He recorded his experiences and at same time, another called for the purpose on earth was simply copying what John was writing which she was spiritually seeing.

The controversy still rages: who wrote the book of revelations on earth? And is knowledge of who wrote the book of revelation relevant for the understanding of the deep symbolism and prophesies inherent therein? The tendency to cling to the brand of the author of a work always detracts from objective evaluation of a work. Hence the pursuit of who the author was should not detract from the actual values accruable therein.

Even after John emerged from the cave of Patmos, the book itself followed a tortuous path to the inclusion in Bible. Between 160 and 220 AD, after several critiques by bible scholars, Tertullian, a Christian author and critic who lived and worked in carthage or the present-day Tunisia, accepted it to be part of the African volume of the complied Bible.

Later, clement and the theologian origin, both of Alexandria, accepted it as to be included in the bible. But elsewhere, the book was rejected in Europe due to controversies over characterization, symbolism and apostolic authorship. The rejection lasted even until fourth century. It was at the end of the fourth century, as late as the 397 AD, that, during the conference at Carthage that it was finally accepted as part of the bible. Hence Africa some how played a role in the acceptance.

Thus was the chequered history of the book of revelation, written by an anonymous author, during the turbulent era of Domitian, emperor of Rome who called himself “Dominus et Deus” or Lord and God who banished him to Patmos because he was a fire brand preacher of another God; it has survived within the collection of works which has ended up being the greatest best seller of all times: The Christians Bible. As the Los Angeles Times of September 23, 1995 puts it, “whoever he was, Christians tradition hold that in AD. 95 a revered elder of the persecuted Christians community of Asia Minor emerged from a cave on the barren Greek island of Patmos to dictate details of an apocalyptic vision”. He most likely received the vision himself and dictated to his scribe Prochoros.


The book of revelations is simply visions and prophecies as seen from the spiritual point of view. John himself mentioned it when he stated that he was “in spirit on the Lord’s Day” (Rev.1:10), i.e., in the spiritual realm. Details of the divisions of Creation, with all their intermediary steps, are given to us in the Grail message. It shows that from the point where the Creative Will of the Almighty said: “Let there be light”, down to us in the physical world, there are three broad divisions of seven subdivisions each, making twenty -one, the physical world inclusive, apart from other finer subdivisions besides. This is actually a new knowledge only hinted at During the Biblical era. It is an extension of knowledge. Examples of such references abound. Paul, for example, in one of his letters to the Corinthians, stated that if he has to boost, he will boast of “a Man in Christ who fourteen years ago- whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of body I do not know, God knows – such a man was caught up in the third Heaven…. He was caught up into paradise and heard inexpressible words which it is not lawful for man to utter.” (2Cor.12:2 – 4).

Paul thereby indicated that there are two different bodies, the physical body and the spiritual body. Hence when John said “I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day” he referred to the fact that the Patmos he was talking about was not on physical earth, even through the person who physically received and channeled the message may have been on physical Patmos.

This brings up the issue: Are names duplicated both in the spiritual and physical? The answer seems to be yes. Hence the age old dictum: “As above, so below”. For example, a New Jerusalem came from heaven as opposed to the Jerusalem in the Middle East. The Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve were must be a different one from the earthly one in the Middle East where we have River Tigris and Euphrates flowing through, or we would be in a quandary of how the couple were evicted from Eden on earth and still had to remain on earth. But when “He who is, and who was and who is to come” addresses the Angels in charge of seven churches in Asia, it shows that the churches are material places. Actually they are world bodies, of which our earth belongs to the world body called Ephesus. But the angels themselves are not on the material plane out at the summit of creation, through each bears the name of the material world body it is on change if.

Each world body does not comprise of a celestial globe like the earth, but contain myriads of solar systems and planets, spirals, nebulas, etc. It follows that the earth is one of the planet in Ephesus that has life, and that others are in existed


Another major controversy deals with the identity of he who is “sited on the throne”. “Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned, I saw seven golden lamp-stands, and in the midst of the seven lamp-stands ONE like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.”(Rev. 1:12 – 13)

Hence the one on the throne is like the Son of Man, whom he went ahead to describe the appearance of. Now the question is: Who is this being that appears like the Son of Man? Is he Jesus Christ? Apparently not. He has already described himself as he who is, who was and who is to come. “Grace to you and peace from he who is and who was and who is to come, and from the Seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness…” (Rev. 1:4&5).

Since the greetings come from he who is sited in the throne and Jesus Christ, it follows that he who is sited on the throne is not Jesus Christ. Jesus was later identified in the book as “The Lamb that was slain” (Rev. 5:6). Who then is sited on the throne? Is it God the Father? Some authorities posit that it is God the Father. But on close scrutiny, it becomes clear that it cannot be. For he who is sited in the throne wrote the letters to the seven churches. In his letter to the people of Philadelphia, he concludes: “He who overcomes I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God. “(Rev. 3:12.) Hence it cannot be God the Father, because God the Father cannot call anyone his God, since he is the all highest. So who is sited on the throne?

The Two Messiahs

Since 1945 when scrolls belonging to the Essence Jewish sect that lived in Qumran cave was discovered, (Generally referred to as the Qumran scrolls) the ways of looking at the Bible had changed significantly. Notable among the scrolls found and translated was the complete book of Isaiah. But of far more significance is the fact that the Essenes were discovered to be a messianic group. By this is meant that they were living their lives in full expectancy of the coming of the Two Messiahs – the messiah of Isaac, a kingly warrior who will also bring judgment on enemies of Israel, and a priestly messiah, or messiah of Aaron. In one of their documents, called the Damascus Document, the following is found: “Those who heed him are the poor of the flock. They will be saved at the time of the visitation. But others will be delivered up to the sword at the coming of messiah of Aaron and Israel.” (The Damascus Document 19:9-11). They indicate that, contrary to the belief that the Jews were/are expecting one messiah, they were actually expecting two. According to these expectations the initial plan was for the priestly messiah, the messiah of Aaron, to appear first as the ultimate high priest, to prepare the way for the messiah of Israel, the kingly messiah. At the time of Christ, they have tended to revise this expectation to the effect that they have expected both messiahs to arrive at the same time. Naturally they believed the messiahs would appear among them. They even, in the Damascus document, detailed the sitting arrangements for both messiahs during meal. The two messiahs are expected to be sons of God.

With the advent of Christ, Christians believe that the prophecy of the messiah of Aaron has been fulfilled. With the controversy of the Disciples on whether Christ will come back for Judgment or whether he will send confusion again set in resulting in Christians believing that Christ and the coming judge are one and the same. The synoptic gospels share the same opinion on the issue.. Only John maintained what he believes to be true – that another will come. This may easily be equated to the messiah of Israel. John indicating the individuality of this messiah quoted Christ as saying that he will implore the father, and he will send them the spirit of truth. “But when the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom my father will send in my name comes, he will teach you all things that I send to you” (John 14:26 – 27). Here the third person of the trinity the Holy Spirit is regarded as a person, who will be sent in the name of Christ.

Some Church theologians and astrologers believe in the Trinitarian ages. According to them, the Creator, God the father, is part of the trinity with the son and the Holy Spirit. They occupy certain ages in their rule. Each rules for about two thousand years. From Abraham to Jesus Christ spans a period about two thousand years. This is the age of the Father, the age that the existence of a supreme God, the creator of heaven and earth, permeated the earth. This was the time that a people were chosen as the people that, as a race, have been called as the most spiritually high people known in earth. It corresponded to the astrological age of Aries, the Ram. Next followed the next two thousand years, the age of Pisces, the age of the son of God Jesus Christ, the age of the fish. Early Christians also use the fish as symbol of identification. According to them, the next age, the age of Aquarius, or water bearer, follows the next two thousand years which is just beginning now. This depicts a man pouring out water from a pot he carries. This he interpreted to mean the out pouring of power by the Holy Spirit as was done during Pentecost. All there indicates one thing: that, apart from Jesus Christ, another is expected by most religions. This is the holy spirit of the Christians. The fact that Christ indicated he shall be sent to man on earth means he will be physically born on earth, otherwise he will not bring down the Judgment on earth. And that is the one sited on the throne who told John “I am coming soon”. He is the one going to come as “Our Lord”. To reign with Christ for one thousand years, the one over whom it is written. “The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he (our Lord) shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev.11:15). For him it was also written: “blessing and honor, glory and power be unto him, that sited upon the throne and upon the lamb forever and ever”, the lamb being our Lord Jesus Christ.

Even other religions have prophecies talking about the one who is to come. Islam, for example, expects the coming of the Mahdi, the guided one. But that is just one aspect that Islamic scholars differ so much about. Some Islamic groups believe the Mahdi is to come with Isa, or Jesus Christ to clear the earth of evil man. In Iran, Zoroastrianism believes in the coming of the Shaoshyant who will Judge the world. In India they talk of the coming of the yoga. And in the book of revelations, the coming of the son of man into the world of matter is indicated as the white horse rider, who rode into the earth with a bow and crown, conquering and to conquer (Rev. 6:1). He may also be the angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on earth (Rev. 14:6&7). This indicates that the son of man will come on earth first before the catastrophe can befall mankind to awaken them for the judgment. Since catastrophe, natural disasters, economic and political crisis have become rampant, and those are the trumpet sounds while his coming indicate the opening of the seals, it means he must have been on earth and probably gone back – to kick start these events as expressed in the opening of the first seal.

write by carl burris

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