The dating of revelation
John could have revealed the name of the Antichrist, because John was seen alive until very recently.b.
John could have revealed the name of the Antichrist, because John saw the apocalyptic vision very recently.
For it was seen not a long time back, but almost in my own lifetime, at the end of Domitian’s reign’” (The History of the Church, 3.18).
We need to remember that Eusebius himself was very unsure about the authenticity and authority of Revelation.
(In the larger context, Eusebius is speaking about the many victims of Domitian’s cruelty.) And this fact alone would support the late date of Revelation (Rev. But the Irenaeus quote doesn’t say anything about John’s confinement on Patmos.
So why does Eusebius appeal to this statement from Irenaeus? It seems to me that the only way for the Irenaeus quote to count as “ample evidence” for John’s exile to Patmos under Domitian is if Eusebius were assuming two things: (1) that ἑωράθη (“it was seen”) refers to the apocalyptic vision itself, rather than to John himself, contrary to what I argued above; and (2) that the testimony of Revelation 1:9 is authentic: “I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” In other words, Eusebius would be reasoning as follows: 1.
So bear in mind that when Eusebius produces this quote from Irenaeus, he’s not doing so in order to make a point about the date of Revelation.
However, if Eusebius was also seeking to provide evidence for the more specific claim that John was exiled to Patmos during Domitian’s reign, then he does appear to interpret Irenaeus differently than I do.
Specifically he’s asserting that John was alive during (and affected by) the reign of Domitian.
That said, Eusebius does claim that John’s confinement on Patmos occurred during the reign of Domitian.
What Eusebius Thought Irenaeus Said Here’s how Eusebius utilized Irenaeus’s statements: “There is ample evidence that at that time the apostle and evangelist John was still alive, and because of his testimony to the word of God was sentenced to confinement on the island of Patmos.
Writing about the number of the name given to antichrist in what is called the Revelation of John, Irenaeus has this to say about John in Book V of his Heresies Answered: ‘Had there been any need for his name to be openly announced at the present time, it would have been stated by the one who saw the actual revelation.