What a treasure! Thank you Mr Gregg for all your hard work in piecing together and laying out side-by-side the four main understandings of The Revelation. Whilst I do not have absolute hard and fast opinions of how The Revelation should be interpreted I am continually concerned about the excessive dogma and combined ignorance of so many people where this most difficult book of The Bible is concerned.
I, in my generation, like so many others, ventured several years into my Christian life never hearing of any but one view of The Revelation – albeit a view that has many variants. That view, which is by far the most popular view nowadays is called ‘futurism’ – i.e. the belief that The Revelation is mostly concerned with a seven year period which has yet to commence – hence, ‘futurism’. As I say, there are many variants of this theme, including: ‘pre-tribulation rapture’, mid-tribulation-rapture’, ‘post-tribulation rapture’ and many other more specific details but seldom does one hear people say that they don’t believe in any of the above!
When I was at school (many years ago now!) I was taught “The Theory of Evolution”, in more recent years I have noted that the word “Theory” is mostly dropped now and the discussion is simply called, “Evolution” – as though it was a fact! This is what has, in large measure, happened to discussion about The Revelation. Most proponents of the futurist view simply talk about a seven year period (yet to commence) as though it was a plain stated fact – the only acknowledgement of other points of view is confined only to whether or not the ‘rapture’ takes place before, during or after the seven year period. Now, I am not necessarily ruling out any of the theories of futurism but I am greatly concerned that it is being taught as ‘fact’ when there are in actual fact four very different views of The Revelation (each with variations on the main theme) – all held by godly, intelligent saints of both the past and present.
Revelation, Four Views, by Steve Gregg, provides a parallel commentary on all of these four major views without any apparent bias. Background information, origins, sources, pros and cons are all provided in introductions and side-by-side analysis. This is not only a great resource for studying The Revelation but in my view a great object lesson in Bible study in general.
Incidentally, if you don’t know the four views already here’s a summary for you (this summary and the main differences in the four views concern chapters 4 – 19 of The revelation):
- Preterist – It’s mainly about past events – the destruction of Jerusalem and possibly also the destruction of Rome.
- Historicist – It’s an unfolding of all the major world/church events in history – from then till now.
- Futurist – It’s all concerned with a seven year period and a tribulation yet to come (probably soon).
- Idealist – Also called the ‘spiritual’ interpretation. It’s not about specific events as such but general repeated cycles of world and church troubles/spiritual principles.
Given the above four summaries I personally cannot imagine any other possible contender. I think that must cover every direction.
If you are not already familiar with the above four views this volume will furnish you with an in-depth understanding of all of them. If you do know the four views this book will provide you with the most ready reference to them. If you’re quite sure about one particular view (along with whichever variation you’re convinced about) this book will help you to at least see that there are good, honest and intelligent reasons why some other Christians have arrived at very different conclusions. This book is a valuable and unique resource to the body of Christ regardless of your current point of view.
Related Reading ~ Article: His Waiting Bride (A Historicist’s perspective)