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The Returning King: A Guide to the Book of Revelation Paperback – November 1, 2000
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About the Author
Poythress is Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary.
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Poythress states one of the reasons many people are challenged with the last book of the Bible is because we attempt to over analyze it. He describes Revelations as a `picture' book, not a `puzzle' book, meaning that it's not intended to be shrouded in symbolic mystery; rather it's to elucidate events and truths at the end of history. In fact, Poythress suggests that children should be encouraged to read it because they will likely have an easier time understanding it.
Several themes are identified by Poythress in his work. For example, one is the resolution of spiritual warfare between God and Satan. Another is Satan's attempts to counterfeit God's nature in the form of the unholy trinity: The Dragon, The Beast, and the False Prophet. Also, there is God's victory ultimate and final renewal of the world.
Poythress offers various theories regarding the historical context of the work. He delivers plain explanations about how the images correlate with events throughout the Bible. Poythress admits that there are parts of Revelations he does not understand; therefore some of his commentary is interpretive. Because interpretation is not the same as an explanation or a translation some may be put off by his conclusions finding them unsubstantiated. Regardless, his commentary is consistently sensible.
The book's strength rests in its ability to clarify the meaning of much of the imagery in Revelations and identifying patterns that help make reading the work more comprehensible. Additionally Poythress' writing is very accessible and he efficiently includes a great deal of information in a slim volume.
This work is highly recommended to anyone who wishes to enhance their Bible study experience.
Dr. Beale (2004's E.T.S. President) recommends this book as part of his course recommended reading on Revelation at Wheaton. Of the 8 or so books he recommends, this one sports a number of great visual concepts that do empower bible teachers and pastors. As a pastor who is preaching through Revelation from the Greek text, I found his material helpful on the application side of things.
For example, on the four major views on Revelation Poythress supplies a great little visual diagram of how the four views look. Just the diagram alone can help many people understand the four different view (Preterist, Futurist, Historical, and Idealist) more than most commentaries would.
The weakness is that you will not have comments of substance on every question in Revelation. It's not meant to be an exhaustive commentary on Revelation.
Enjoy it. It's well written and worth owning a copy.
I was also impressed with the quality of analysis that went in to the various outlines provided for the book of Revelation. There are actually three different outlines included. They will help people of any interpretive approach make better sense of the book.
Since the author is an Amillennialist, I wish he'd spent more time pitching the theoretical strengths of that system. When, towards the end of the book, the millennium is addressed, it is quickly brushed aside as just another example of how God will win. While this is true in a sense, there was no attempt to refer to the literally hundreds of Old Testament references to it, and how they can be explained as allegories (as opposed to literal fulfillment).
His argument that most people get more hung up on the puzzle than the pictures is an excellent one. For that reason, I'd suggest this book to anyone studying the book of Revelation.
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