I have been arguing that the author of the Fourth Gospel and the author of the book of Revelation could not have been the same person, and in looking back at my posts I realize that I have left out an important point, one of the strongest arguments that we are dealing with two different people.   The theology of these two books is radically different on an issue that is completely central to both of them: their understanding of “eternal life.”

It is true that in some respects these two books have similar theological views.  I have already mentioned, for example, that both see Christ as the “Word” of God (no other NT author expresses this view) and as the “Lamb” who was slain (again: these two books alone use that image).   But both of them are very much interested in views of eschatology, and on these views they differ radically.

The term “eschatology” means the “understanding of the end times.”  Just about everyone has a view about what happens at “the end.”  Some think we die and that is the end of the story (that’s my personal view); others think we die and our souls go to heaven or to hell; others think that Jesus is returning very soon to bring in the millennium here on earth; others think that we are going to blast ourselves off the planet and into oblivion, sooner or later, depending on the outcome of November 8; etc..

Both the Gospel of John and the Apocalypse of John are very much focused on questions of eschatology.  But they differ significantly in…

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