The author of the Apocalypse refers to himself as John (Rev.
1:1, 4 and 9, and 22:8). In the opinion of all the Holy Fathers of the Church,
he was the Apostle John, the beloved disciple of Christ, who had received the
distinctive name "Theologian" because of the extent of his
studies regarding the Word of God. His authorship of the Apocalypse is
substantiated in factual basis in the Apocalypse itself, as well as by many
internal and external signs. To the inspired pen of John the Theologian belongs
one of the Gospels and also three Epistles to the churches. The author of the
Apocalypse states that he was on the island
of Patmos "for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus
Christ" (Rev. 1:9). It is known from
Church history that of all the Apostles, only St. John the
Theologian was subjected to incarceration on this island.
The proof of authorship of the Apocalypse by St. John the Theologian is in the similarity of this book with his
Gospel and the Epistles, similarity not only in spirit, but also in the writing
style, and especially in certain characteristic expressions. Thus, for example,
the Apostolic sermon is referred to here as "witnessing" or
"testimony" (Rev. 1:2-9; 20:4; also see John 1:7; 3:11; 21:24; 1
John 5:9-11). The Lord Jesus Christ is referred to as "the Word" (Rev.
19:13 and John 1:1-14 and 1 John 1:1) and "the Lamb" (Rev. 5:6
and ; also see John ). The
prophetic words of Zechariah, "Then they will look on Me Whom they have pierced" (Zech. ), both in the Gospel and in the Apocalypse are quoted in
the same manner, according to the Greek translation of the "Seventy"
(Rev. 1:7 and John , Septuagint
translation). Some differences can be seen in the language between the
Apocalypse and other writings by the Holy Apostle John. They are explained as
being differences in context as well as in circumstances of origin of the Holy
Apostle's writings. St. John, being a Jew by birth and, although having a
command of the Greek language, finding himself incarcerated and away from
living, spoken Greek, naturally imprinted on the Apocalypse the influence of
his native tongue. It is evident to the unbiased reader of the Apocalypse that
its total content bears the mark of the Apostle's great spirit of love and
St. John's disciple St. Papias of Hierapolis refers to the writer of the Apocalypse as "John
the Elder," just as the Apostle refers to himself in his Epistles
(2 John 1:1 and 3 John 1:1). Of great importance is also the opinion of St.
Justin Martyr, who lived in Ephesus prior
to his conversion to Christianity, where the Apostle John had also lived many
years before him. Many Holy Fathers of the second and third centuries quote
from the Apocalypse, as from a God-inspired book written by St. John the Theologian. One of them was St. Hippolytus, a Roman
pope and student of Irenaeus of Lyons, who wrote an apologia on the Apocalypse.
Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Origen also acknowledge St. John as the author of the Apocalypse. Other, later Fathers of
the Church are equally convinced in this: Sts. Ephraem the Syrian, Epiphanius,
Basil the Great, Hillary, Athanasius the Great, Gregory the Theologian,
Didymus, Ambrose of Milan, Augustine the Blessed, and Jerome the Blessed. The
thirty-third canon of the Council of Carthage, by attributing the Apocalypse to
St. John the Theologian, places it in the ranks of other canonical
books of Holy Scripture. Especially of great value is the attestation of
Irenaeus of Lyons regarding the authorship as being that of St. John the
Theologian because St. Irenaeus was a student of St. Polycarp of Smyrna, who in
turn was a student of St. John the Theologian, heading, under his Apostolic
guidance, the Church of Smyrna.