It is my opinion that John wrote the Book of Revelation before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70. The subject matter of The Revelation is all about the prophesied Neronian persecution of Christians between AD 64 to June of 68, the Roman Civil War in AD 68 to 69, the destruction of the Old Jerusalem in AD 70, the end of the Old Covenant, and the coming of the New Jerusalem (first and foremost, a new spiritual reality). Peter, Paul, and James (the Lord’s brother) all died during the AD 60s. In AD 62, James was stoned to death by the Jewish religious leaders in Jerusalem. Later, in Rome, Peter was crucified and Paul was decapitated by the Romans. The leadership of the burgeoning Church was executed and eliminated. The enigmatic elder John, after his exile on Patmos, emerged as the new face and conscience of the Jesus Movement. John’s ministry was focused in Asia Minor. However, as we will discuss in our next blog, John’s life and true identity were shrouded in mystery.
The destruction of Jerusalem settled the debate between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The debate had raged for about 40 years, and much of Paul’s letters focused on this debate. The destruction of Jerusalem abruptly ended all Levitical sacrifices, even to this day. Those with any spiritual sensitivity understood that God had spoken. The sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, had ended the need for the Levitical sacrificial system. The requirements for things like circumcision, dietary laws, Old Covenant feast days, and sabbath observance also came to an end. We humans are often very slow to learn the implications of certain mega events like the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on a Roman cross around AD 30.
After the Book of Revelation, the rest of John’s writings (the Gospel of John, along with First, Second, and Third John) were all written subsequent to the destruction of Jerusalem. These post-AD 70 writings reveal the beautiful simplicity of humanity’s new way of being, which was summed up by John as “believing and loving.” John wrote, “This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commandments remains in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He remains in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us” (1 John 3:23-24).
In other words, we are commanded to walk by the Spirt, trust in Christ Jesus, wherein the Word is a light to our feet, while having no confidence in our fleshly capacity to live this new, supernatural way of being. The Word of God provides us the principles by which we live. The Spirit directs and guides us. This new way of being is summed up in loving God and loving your neighbor. Lust (inordinate desire) and pride (arrogance) are our enemies (1 John 2:16-17). Our new way of being is a conscientious way of being. However, we must not live by our emotions or feelings. Emotions and feelings often distort and deceive our thinking. Conscientious living must take precedence over feelings and emotions.
Consistent with John, the Elder, Paul often taught about conscientious living. To live conscientiously, we must live in obedience to God. When Paul appeared before the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, he said, “Brothers, I have lived my life with an entirely good conscience before God up to this day” (Acts 23:1). Paul used the Greek word syneidesis, which describes “the soul as distinguishing between what is morally good and bad, prompting to do the former and shun the latter, commending the one and condemning the latter.” Before the Roman Governor Felix, Paul explained that according to his faith, he sought to serve God (Acts 24:14). He stated, “In view of this I also do my best to maintain a blameless conscience both before God and other people…” (Acts 24:16). To the Churches in Rome, Paul wrote, “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit…” (Rom. 9:1). Writing to Timothy, Paul explained that “the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from a sincere faith” (1 Tim. 1:5). Paul further explained to Timothy that we are charged with “keeping faith with a good conscience” (1 Tim. 1:19) and “holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience” (1 Tim. 3:9). In his last letter, Paul wrote to Timothy, “I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers day and night” (2 Tim. 1:3).
Every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. There is an interaction between our conscience and the Holy Spirit. Peace is the result when there is harmony between our conscience and the Holy Spirit. At Colossians 3:15, Paul taught, “Let the peace of Christ, to which you were indeed called in one body, rule [brabeuo] in your hearts, and be thankful.” The Greek word brabeuo means to “govern or rule.” Peace can function like an umpire in our souls. As we seek peace, the Holy Spirit teaches us. Yes, sometimes our lives seem overwhelmed by chaos, confusion, and instability. However, we must have perseverance in the seeking of God’s will. It is incumbent upon us to seek peace with God with a clear conscience.
As John explained, our new way of being is in Christ and He in us (1 John 3:23-24). There is a double indwelling. We are in God, and God is in us. Humanity is called to this new reality. We should no longer seek autonomy or independence from our Creator. In fact, to do so is the very definition of evil. The Greek preposition en means “by, with, and in.” Our new existence en Christos encompasses the totality of our existence and our new way of being. This is how humanity can find true experiential righteousness and peace. We are called to a new existence in God and God in us. To live in God is to live in obedience and love. It is a conscientious way of being. As shown in the writings of John (particularly the Gospel of John), Jesus Christ modeled this new way of being.
Photo credit: St. John the Evangelist at Patmos by Alonzo Cano, c. 1645; Spain, public domain https://www.wikiart.org/en/alonzo-cano/st-john-the-evangelist-at-patmos
 “G4893 – syneidēsis – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 7 Sep, 2021. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g4893/nasb20/mgnt/0-1/>.
 “G1018 – brabeuō – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 7 Sep, 2021. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g1018/nasb20/mgnt/0-1/>.
 “G1722 – en – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 7 Sep, 2021. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g1722/nasb20/mgnt/0-1/>.