MF Blume

A popular notion concerning the dating of the book of Revelation has been 96 A.D. or thereabouts.  The only grounds anyone has for purporting this date are a single statement, quite obscure, written by  Eusebius Pamphilus, Bishop of Cesarea .  He quoted Irenaues, who lived from 130 AD to 202 AD.  

The bottom line is that there is some degree of uncertainty regarding what Irenaeus meant. Was it Domitian or Domitius (Nero) that Irenaeus was referring to? Where the book of Revelation is included in the Syriac versions it is referred to as "The Revelation which was made by God to John the evangelist in the island of Patmos, into which he was thrown by Nero Caesar."

At any rate, here is what Eusebius quoted:

"In this persecution [of Christians under Domitian], it is handed down by tradition, that the apostle and evangelist John, who was yet living, in consequence of his testimony to the divine word, was condemned to dwell on the island of Patmos. Irenaeus, indeed, in his fifth book against the heresies, ...speaks in the following manner respecting him: 'If, however, it were necessary to proclaim [the name of the Anti-Christ], ... it would have been declared by him who saw the revelation, for it is not long since it was seen, but almost in our own generation, at the close of Domitian's reign." (Eusebius, III, XVII)

Irenaues did not speak from firsthand experience, but heard this thought from Polycarp.  Polycarp allegedly knew John personally.  

Notice the statement:  "it is not long since it was seen."

The problem here is that the word "it" in the Greek could refer to the visions John saw, the book he wrote, or John himself.  He could have meant, "John, who saw the revelation, was seen," or he could have meant, "John experienced the visions," or thirdly, that "the revelation document that John wrote was seen."  And even if he was talking about the book of Revelation being seen at that time, this does not demand the book to  have been written then.  John did live until the time of Domitian.  

At any rate, it is absolutely inconclusive to say the book was written then.  We cannot tell if he meant that he saw John then, or saw the book at the time.  And we cannot tell if he meant the book was written at the time.  

Why grasp for this straw to propose that Revelation was written in 96 AD?  Its to ambiguous.  It's certainly not something to put your interpretive stocks in.  Even if tradition has ascertained that this is what Irenaeus meant, we still have no grounds for anything solid along those lines.

Irenaeus is infamous, anyhow, for error in dates and times.  He wrote a very strange and ridiculous dating for the age of Jesus Christ.  Irenaeus taught that Jesus lived to the age of 50 years.

From: Irenaeus Against Heresies

Chapter 22 is headed as follows:
"Chapter XXII.-The Thirty Aeons are Not Typified by the Fact that Christ Was Baptized in His Thirtieth Year: He Did Not Suffer in the Twelfth Month After His Baptism, But Was More Than Fifty Years Old When He Died."
"...but they mentioned a period near His real age , whether they had truly ascertained this out of the entry in the public register, or simply made a conjecture from what they observed that He was above forty years old, and that He certainly was not one of only thirty years of age. For it is altogether unreasonable to suppose that they were mistaken by twenty years, when they wished to prove Him younger than the times of Abraham. For what they saw, that they also expressed; and He whom they beheld was not a mere phantasm, but an actual being of flesh and blood. He did not then wont much of being fifty years old ..."

If Irenaeus did imply the book was written in 96 A.D., how reliable is his dating anyway? Saying Jesus died at fifty years of age is a similar type of dating error that Irenaeus proposed.

The bible is it's own best reference for interpretation.  Internal evidence -- words found in the book of Revelation, itself, prove it to be pre-70 AD in dating.
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;   (Rev. 3:14).
Laodicea was destroyed by a mighty earthquake in 60 B.C.  It was hit again in 65 AD.  

One source says:  "
It was destroyed by an earthquake (A.D. 66, or earlier) and rebuilt by Marcus Aurelius. "  Strong's Lexicon agrees.  Aurelius was not even born until 121 AD, and died in 161 A.D.  So how could there have been a church there if it was destroyed by an earthquake in the mid 60's and not rebuilt until decades later?

Also, we see the precise time of Jerusalem's destruction (3.5 years) noted in this book:
But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. (Rev 11:2).

All the pieces fit together. Read my studies concerning Jesus' statements about the Jerusalem of His day that correlate with Revelation's references to the harlot. Revelation was not written in 96 AD. It was written before 70 AD.