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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Author and Date.

The author of Revelation was a Christian prophet named John ( 1:1, 4; 22:8 ), of whom we know only that he was familiar with the Christian communities in the Roman province of Asia and at the time of writing was exiled on the island of Patmos. John was one of the most common of Jewish names in the period, and there is no reason to identify him with the apostle John, though this identification was made from the end of the second century onwards. Also from that time onwards he has been thought to have written his work late in the reign of the Roman emperor Domitian (81–96 CE), and this is still the most commonly proposed date, though some scholars would date it earlier. If the interpretation of the allusions to the emperor Nero in chs. 13 and 17 , proposed below in the commentary, is correct, Revelation could not have been written before the reign of Vespasian (69–79 CE). The precise date is not important for interpretation, especially since the common view that Revelation reflects a time of widespread and serious persecution of Christianity is not correct. The seven messages show that persecution was sporadic and dependent on local conditions. Revelation anticipates very serious persecution to come because it sees an escalating conflict resulting from faithful Christian witness with its necessary refusal to compromise with idolatry in any area of life.

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