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Revelation: Four Views: A Parallel Commentary Hardcover – May 12, 1997
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About the Author
Steve Gregg hosts "The Narrow Path" radio talk show nationally, and is also author of "All You Want To Know About Hell: Three Christian Views of God's Final Solution for the Problem of Sin." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
I ca't say that I agree with one particular view presented, but having all of this information and insight from men and women who have spent years coming through scripture and other data is incredibly helpful when studying Revelation. I think one of the best reasons to give this book a shot is that anyone who starts a conversation about Revelation is inevitably going to come across someone with a different (sometimes wildly different) viewpoint. Being able to research these viewpoints ahead of time helps one to prepare for such discussion (I say discussion because it is always best to avoid letting them become arguments when possible) so as to be able to better understand where the person you are speaking with is coming from, theologically speaking.
Whether or not we agree with each other, we should always strive for civility and understanding in our discussion/debating.
Beyond the discussion aspect, it really is a great book for personal use and/or small group study prep.
That being said, there are some misgivings I have with the book. First, as one or two reviews have mentioned, the author does seem to have a slant towards the Preterist view which comes out a little from time to time. I don't fault him for this, because it's difficult to hide one's subjectivity completely, but I wouldn't say the book is %100 unbiased.
Second, while the author does endeavor to give varying interpretations within each view, one may still feel that their particular position is not as well represented as it could have been. I noticed that one past reviewer gave several examples of how he believed his view (Futurism) was misrepresented. I am a Historicist and a Seventh-day Adventist (this shouldn't be TOO surprising since the Seventh-day Adventist church is the only organized body of Christians which continues to uphold the Historicist view). And, while I think the way Gregg handled this view makes for a good start, it is nowhere near complete. For one thing, he mainly draws from expositors from the nineteenth century or earlier (Albert Barnes, E.B. Elliot, Matthew Henry, Adam Clarke, etc.). While it's true that these were great scholars who wrote admirable commentaries for their time, the Historicist approach has really evolved a lot since this time.
I feel that excluding Adventist commentators from this volume (with the exception of two or three references) was a mistake. In order to see how Historicism has come to be in our modern time, some of these more modern commentators really should have been included. Including them would not, of course, have been an indicator that he subscribes to our view. It would have merely completed the picture. For this reason, he gets some things wrong. Here are a few examples:
1. Gregg states, "Futurists, like historicists, often understand Revelation to be chronologically continuous" (p. 40.). Though he is speaking of Futurism, he implies that Historicists see Revelation as being a chronological book. While this is true of some Historicists, such as Barnes, many modern Historicists view the book as being cyclical. For instance, we believe that the seven churches, the seven seals, and the seven trumpets are three parallel timelines that stretch from the first advent of Christ down to the second advent. I can't think of any modern Historicists off the top of my head who still view Revelation as written in chronological order.
2. Later on he states, "As in the sixth trumpet, he [Barnes] believed that the Euphrates (v. 12) points to the Turkish power. In this identification, he represents the views of all historicists" (pp. 376, 378). Granted this was mostly true at one time, but things have changed. Most modern expositors believe simply that the drying up of the Euphrates represents the withdrawing of Spiritual Babylon's support (see Revelation 17:15 where the waters upon which the harlot sits represents peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. The drying up of the river, then, symbolizes the withdrawing of the support of the people. See also verse 16). Thus, it is a perfect parallel for when the literal river was turned aside, thus withdrawing its support and protection from literal Babylon and making the way for Cyrus, the king of the east, to come and conquer it. This was also the view of some older Historicists, such as Joseph Lathrop, who said:
"the symbolical Babylon, or the Babylon of the Apocalypse, is the Romish spiritual Empire. The symbolical Euphrates, here mentioned is a source of wealth, strength, and safety, to that empire. To dry up this Euphrates, is to diminish, or destroy, that source of wealth, strength, and safety."
-Joseph Lathrop, A Sermon on the Dangers of the Times, p. 8. Cited in The Prophetic Faith of our Fathers by LeRoy Froom, vol. 3., p. 237.
One modern Historicist scholar actually refutes the notion that the river Euphrates in the sixth plague symbolizes its geographical location:
"Those who insist that the 'Euphrates' represents only the people who live in the actual geographic location of the Euphrates, are bound to follow the same interpretation with 'Babylon,' 'Israel,' 'Mount Zion,' etc. Such fail, however, to grasp the Christ-centered nature of the biblical antitype. The gospel of Jesus Christ releases us from the restrictions of ethnic and geographic literalism for the messianic era."
-Hans K. LaRondelle, "Armageddon: Sixth and Seventh Plagues," Symposium on Revelation, bk II., p. 386.
In conclusion, though I would correct these and some other minor mistakes that I found, I still found Gregg's "Four Views" Revelation Commentary to be a solid work overall. I've been studying eschatology for a while and I still picked up on several gems of truth I hadn't thought of before, some of which were presented by expositors who hold different views than I do. For those who are interested in learning more about the book of Revelation, this is a good place to start. Especially for those who are only familiar with the Futurist/Dispensationalist view of prophecy. But, for those who want to be deep students of prophecy, you won't want to end here, as this book only gives a glimpse of what these four views have to offer. For those who would be interested in seeing how the Historicist view of prophecy has evolved since the mid-nineteenth century, some books I would recommend reading are Daniel and the Revelation by Uriah Smith, the God Cares set by C.M. Maxwell, and Secrets of Revelation by Jacques Doukhan.
Another benefit from this book has been that it invites people who see me reading it to beging thinking about why they believe what they believe about Revelation and by extension the entire Bible. This has been very helpful for encouraging fellow believers to "love the Lord their God with all of their mind", as well as their hearts and strenght, by thinking for themselves.
Most recent customer reviews
Very rich in delineating bib facts.