These reasons may suffice for determining the time; and yet there is one more, which to considering men may seem a good reason, to others not.
I’ll propound it, and leave it to every man’s judgment. The Apocalypse seems to be alluded to in the Epistles of Peter and that to the Hebrews and therefore to have been written before them. Such allusions in the Epistle to the Hebrews, I take to be the discourses concerning the High-Priest in the heavenly Tabernacle, who is both Priest and King, as was Melchisedec; and those concerning the word of God, with the sharp two-edged sword, the *, or millennial rest, the earth whose end is to be burned, suppose by the lake of fire, the judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries, the heavenly City which hath foundations whose builder and maker is God, the cloud of witnesses, mount Sion, heavenly Jerusalem, general assembly, spirits of just men made perfect, viz. by the resurrection, and the shaking of heaven and earth, and removing them, that the new heaven, new earth and new kingdom which cannot be shaken, may remain. In the first of Peter occur these: The Revelation of Jesus Christ, twice or thrice repeated; the blood of Christ as of a Lamb foreordained before the foundation of the world; the spiritual building in heaven, I Pet. 2:5. an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us, who are kept unto the salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time, I Pet. 1:4, 5. the royal Priesthood, the holy Priesthood, the judgment beginning at the house of God, and the Church at Babylon. These are indeed obscurer allusions; but the second Epistle, from the 19th verse of the first Chapter to the end, seems to be a continued Commentary upon the Apocalypse. There, in writing to the Churches in Asia, to whom John was commanded to send this Prophecy, he tells them, they have a more sure word of Prophecy, to be heeded by them, as a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in their hearts, that is, until they begin to understand it: for no Prophecy, saith he, of the Scripture is of any private interpretation; the Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake, as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Daniel himself professes that he understood not his own Prophecies; and therefore the Churches were not to expect the interpretation from their Prophet John, but to study the Prophecies themselves. This is the substance of what Peter says in the first chapter; and then in the second he proceeds to describe, out of this sure word of Prophecy, how there should arise in the Church false Prophets, or false teachers, expressed collectively in the Apocalypse by the name of the false Prophet; who should bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, which is the character of Antichrist: And many, saith he, shall follow their lusts; they that dwell on the earth shall be deceived by the false Prophet, and be made drunk with the wine of the Whore’s fornication, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be blasphemed; for the Beast is full of blasphemy: and through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you; for these are the Merchants of the Earth, who trade with the great Whore, and their merchandise is all things of price, with the bodies and souls of men: whose judgment — lingereth not, and their damnation slumbreth not, but shall surely come upon them at the last day suddenly, as the flood upon the old world, and fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrha, when the just shall be delivered like Lot; for the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished, in the lake of fire; but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, being made drunk with the wine of the Whore’s fornication; who despise dominion, and are not afraid to blaspheme glories; for the beast opened his mouth against God to blaspheme his name and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.