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TANATA is devoted to discussing the paradoxes and the mysteries of life, among which is the paradox of the coexistence of good and evil. “God is love,” John tells us. Evil exists, we would suggest, not because God is detached or unconcerned, but because free will exists which is required for true, unforced love to exist. Still, it is painfully hard to reconcile this paradox. We believe that all evil one day will be judged and destroyed, until then we must pray.

DANIEL 7:13-14

13 “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.

14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.

REVELATION 1:7

7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

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Friday
Oct022009

« Could All Three Disciples Named John Have Been Martyred? »

If all three of the men named John in the Gospels — the apostle John, John the Baptist and John Mark — were martyred, which man named John lived to write Revelation?

We know John the Baptist was beheaded. Jesus told the apostle John that he and his brother James would drink from the same cup as Jesus, suggesting martyrdom lied ahead for the brothers in the minds of some scholars. James, the brother of John, was beheaded by Herod. Early church patriarch Papias reports that the apostle John was martyred “by the Jews at an early date.”

According to church tradition, John Mark is believed to have been martyred in Alexandria, Egypt by being tied to a rope and drug through the streets of Alexandria.

So which man named John lived to an old age to the end of the 1st century, when most scholars believe that Revelation was written by a man who identifies himself as John?

Tantalizingly, Jesus suggests that there was a man presumably named John who would not taste death, and this would be the Beloved Disciple, “the other disciple, the one Jesus loved,” who on the testimony of church patriarch Irenaeus may have been the man John who wrote the Gospel of John and likely lived on to write Revelation. 

If we take into account this scene in the final chapter of John’s Gospel when Jesus suggests to Peter that a man presumably named John will not taste death — therefore making him eligible to write Revelation toward the end of the 1st century — we may conclude by the somewhat impersonal way in which Peter refers to “this man” presumably named John that Peter does not know him very well. Peter, having heard rumors that one disciple of Jesus will not die, looks back behind him as he is walking with Jesus in this scene, sees a man presumably named John and impersonally asks Jesus, “What about this man?”

If Peter was referring to his friend John, the son of Zebedee, i.e. the apostle John, would he have used the impersonal identifier “this man” within earshot of his fishing partner to ask Jesus whether John was the one disciple apparently rumored to be the one disciple who would not die? And, if “this man” was the apostle John, is it likely that he would have been chosen above his brother James to live while James went on to be martyred as James was just as Jesus had arguably predicted?

If all of the men named John in the Gospels were martyred, which disciple and follower of Jesus named John lived to the end of the 1st century to write Revelation? The only conclusion that we can come to is that either the tradition which says the apostle John was martyred or the tradition that says John Mark was martyred … is false. Or, there is another disciple of Jesus named John somewhere who wrote the Gospel of John and Revelation, which is not likely. 

Is one of these accounts of martyrdom wrong, false? If so, which one is false? Which disciple named John was not martyred, though we’re told that all of the disciples named John in the Gospels were martyred?

Why would someone lie and say that a disciple of Jesus named John died a martyr when he might not have been put to death, when not all of the disciples named John in the Gospels could have died as martyrs?

We either have a serious misrepresentation of the truth, a very significant fabrication, an important error on our hands … or we must come up with another disciple of Jesus named John to be the man who lived to write Revelation.

If there has been deceit pertaining to a disciple named John and his martyrdom, are there other areas where deceit has been used to obscure from us the identity of the Beloved Disciple and the writer of the fourth Gospel and Revelation? 

 

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