18 September 96 A.D. Emperor Domitian Assassinated; John on the Isle of Patmos.
John the Apostle was on the isle of Patmos, compliments of Domitian’s anti-Christ policies of repression.
Domitian was the 2nd son of Vespasian and brother of Titus. Vespasian commanded the Roman army against Judea in February 67 A.D. The campaign was successful in June 68.
On 9 June 68, Nero committed suicide.
There was a civil war of sorts in 69. Galba succeeded Nero who was then followed by Otho, Vitellius and then Vespasian. The Senate chose Vespasian as the next Caesar.
Vespasian turned the Judea-problem over to his son Titus. Titus played a major role alongside his father while his brother played minor roles and a second fiddle to the elder brother.
Vespasian died in 79. Titus succeeded his father. But, Titus took ill and died. Domitian became the next Caesar.
Domitian was autocratic and cruel demanding others call him “Lord and God.” If denied, persecution was appropriate, on his demented view.
Pliny the Younger, a provincial governor, wrote Emperor Domitian about how to handle Christians. We’ve enlarged on the letter and interaction elsewhere.
John the Apostle was exiled to the Isle of Patmos.
1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
9 [a]I John even your brother and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the [b]Isle called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the witnessing of Jesus Christ.
a. Revelation 1:9 The narration opening the way to the declaring of the authority and calling of Saint John the Evangelist in this singular Revelation, and to procure faith, and credit unto this prophecy. This is the second part of this Chapter consisting of a proposition and an exposition. The proposition showeth, first who was called unto this Revelation, in what place, and how occupied, verse 9. Then at what time and by what means, namely, by the spirit and the word, and that on the Lord’s day, which day ever since the resurrection of Christ, was consecrated for Christians unto the religion of the Sabbath: that is to say, to be a day of rest, verse 10. Thirdly, who is the author that calleth him, and what is the sum of his calling.
b. Revelation 1:9 Patmos is one of the isles of Sporas whither John was banished as some write.
Patmos was a desolate, volcanic island about 10 miles long, 6 miles wide, and about 37 miles from the western shores of Asia Minor.
Irenaeus, a bishop in Lyon, France, c. 175-195 A.D., wrote of John the Apostle “who beheld the Apocalypse. For it was seen not very long ago, but almost in our day, toward the end of Domitian’s reign.” Irenaeus is a very credible witness—he was disciplined and taught by Polycarp, another martyr, who was taught directly by John.
The end of Emperor Domitian’s reign was became increasingly intolerable even to non-Christians.
Domitian was assassinated on 18 September 96 A.D.
Nerva became the next Caesar. He issued that exiles be recalled.
It is believed that John the Apostle returned to Ephesus where he died.
1. What of persecution in Islamic countries?
2. Or, persecution of unborn infants in Western nations by chemical murders?
3. What of the Spanish Inquisition for over 300 years? Ala Torquemada? King Ferdinand II? Queen Isabella? With the support of varied occupants of the see of Rome?
4. What of the English Reformation? Civil Wars? The persecution of the Scots Covenanters?
5. What of the Spanish persecution of the Dutch?
6. What of the French persecutions of the Huguenots?
7. What of Miles Coverdale and his 3 exiles from England?
Aune, David E. Revelation 1-5. Vol. 52a of WBC. Dallas, TX: Word, 1997.
Beale, G.K. The Book of Revelation: A Commentary of the Greek Text. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999.
Carroll, Scott T. “Patmos.” ABC. 5: 178-9.
Jones, Brian W. “Domitian.” ABD. 2: 221-2.
------------“Titus.” ABC. 4: 580-1.
Milns, R.D. “Vespasian.” ABD. 4: 580-1.
Toon, Peter. “Domitian, Titus Flavius (A.D. 51-96).” NIDCC. 308.