Who Wrote The Book Of Revelation? (rev.4:1-2)

Who wrote the Book of Revelation? (Rev.4:1-2)

1 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.  

Although John’s Revelation falls into a category that can be called Jewish apocalyptic literature, there are number of distinctive features here. In this case, John gets immediate and unmediated access to the throne room of God, something that is not usually the case in other prominent Jewish apocalyptic works such as for example, The Testament of Levi and 1 Enoch.

It has been a matter of consensus that John’s Revelation displays significant literary dependence on another Jewish apocalyptic text – the Book of Ezekiel. As an interesting side note, in my earlier book “The Jewish Gospel of John” I argue (and some say convincingly) that whoever wrote John’s Gospel was very interested in the Book of Ezekiel. The amount of literary and thematic parallels is too great to deny such a connection. (But what am I doing you should buy and read the book!!!!)

The book of Revelation, authored by a person named John (a common Jewish name – Yohanan in Hebrew), also has obvious interest in the Book of Ezekiel. It was a very common thing to name an apocalyptic Jewish work by the name of some great Biblical character (for example, Apocalypse of Elijah, Apocalypse of Daniel, Apocalypse of Moses and the list can go on and on). What is unusual here is that this apocalypse is attributed to someone named Yohanan (John) seemingly without any prior notoriety, except if indeed John, the Apostle, is in fact in view.

Although evidence is certainly inconclusive (and John’s Gospel does a very good job of remaining an anonymous document although with occasional hints as to its author) it may have been John, the Son of Zebedee, who authored it. There are some very good arguments that show he belonged to a priestly lineage. If this is correct, his preoccupation with the Book of Ezekiel makes a lot of sense. One of the major arguments, however, against the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation being written by the same person (no such problem exists between Gospel of John and John’s letters) is that the Greek of John’s Gospel and that of Revelation is dramatically different. To put it another way the Greek of John’s Gospel is clearly better than the Greek of Revelation. But given that most literature was not written, but dictated to a scribe, the difference in the level of linguistic sophistication could be accounted for by different scribes doing the work, not to mention the genre adaptation from historic narrative (Gospel of John) to apocalyptic literature (Book of Revelation). In other words, if John wrote his Gospel from Ephesus (as some early traditions specify) it would make sense that he would have had access to some of the best scribes, while when he was on the Island of Patmos, even though it was not technically a prison, it is reasonable to assume that his choice of scribes was severely limited, if available at all.

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  1. Kat H

    This is a Hebrew language question I hope to find in Eli’s future books. In Joel 2:12 the Hebrew word repent was defined as “ turn to the beginning”. Could John 1:1 “in the beginning” and Revelation 1:9 “for the logos of God” imply repentance? Would be interesting to understand this from a Hebrew perspective. Most of my circle repents from sin. I repented to… God

  2. Lloyd Dale

    I am having a very hard time understanding how it is possible to read through the article by Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg and all of the comments herein and not find one suggestion that the NT Scriptures never refer to John as the disciple whom Jesus loved. However, there are several references in the fourth Gospel that Lazarus was a disciple whom Jesus loved. It would appear from the information which we have in the NT that Lazarus may have come from a wealthy family. It is also suggested that the disciple whom Jesus loved was known by the high priest (fourth Gospel 18:16). From the evidence present herein and much more not presented, it should be suggested that Lazarus was the man with priestly ties and may very well be the author of the fourth Gospel. For more on this view see ” The disciple whom Jesus loved ” on the internet.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Lloyd, I agree that it could be Lazarus. But I don’t know if you are aware of an argument that says that John the Son of Zabedee was from a levitical family too.

  3. Kat H

    If I am correct and the author of the Book of John & Revelation used the Lord’s Prayer as a PATTERN then the Samaritan Woman (page 61 in your book) would indeed have been receiving the Holy Spirit for suffering rather than sinning: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them.” Is this called circumcision of the heart?

    Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
    Your kingdom come, your will be done,
    • My kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36) has become the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ.
    • The one who sat on the throne, Jesus, looked like 2 tribes (jasper & sardine) and the everlasting covenant (rainbow) looked like God’s will (emerald)

    on earth as it is in heaven.
    • 1 King (looking like 2 tribes) 12 apostles, 12 tribes = 24 seats

    Give us this day our daily bread,
    • hunger (Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God)
    • “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger” John 6:35 (Page 112 in book)
    • God’s voice
    • 7 spirits of God (Psalm 103:20) (Hebrews 1:14)

    and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
    • Thirst (and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”)
    • “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” John 20:22 (page 260 in book) ****healing after circumcision of the heart???
    • Transmitting light(sea of glass) like healing(crystals)

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      The model prayer that Jesus gave to his disciples lays at the foundation of Jewish spirituality – the same idea as Amidah prayer. It is a summary statement of several powerful theological understandings. No wonder it resounds in so many many places. Its actually to be expected.

  4. Kat H

    Seems to me like both authors are following a pattern using the the Lord’s prayer
    Book of John
    our daily bread– John 6:13 12 – loaves (page 103 in book)
    Forgive us our debts– John 20:22 – (page 260 in book)
    lead us not into temptation – John 19:30? cup of restoration? (page 253)

    The number 24 looks like “on earth as it is in heaven” (earth-12 apostles/Jasper/rainbow in clouds) (heaven -12 tribes/sardius/rainbow encircling the throne like a live coal)

  5. jane z. mazzola

    Thank you gents both, for the information. Dr. Eli, I’ll look up the reference in your book’s Bibliography & good clarification of the other question. Dr. van den Berg, I appreciate the NT analogy of Christ, the Bridegroom & the Church as His Bride. But this other Rabbinical law for the bride(woman) in particular, to be immersed for “sins” is just typical. Could have been worse……. I understand your point though, that it shows that immersion was in practice. Thanks again.