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The Book of Revelation (New International Greek Testament Commentary) Hardcover – October, 1998
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About the Author
Dr. Gregory K. Beale is Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.
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The fact that God has often used certain "remote" OT scriptures to reexpress Himself again in Revelation should give us due "signs" that the Beale way is the right way to understand Revelation.
Beale's documentation and logic are very strong. He has done the yeoman's work to identify corresponding words, ideas, and expressions through out the ancient literature; therefore, we are all benefited. I would say that having read Beale I have no major "questions" about the message of Revelation which is a satisfying feeling worth the effort of reading this monumental work describing God's grand plan & His final future judgments.
My only criticism is when a few verses in Revelation did not support Beale's Calvinistic bent that he felt "duty bound" to spend 6 pages defending Calvinist politics.
I read through this entire book in preparing a study on Revelation and found that it was an excellent choice for such use. I think Beale approaches Revelation with a sound theological foundation, understanding of Biblical theology, appreciation for historical, literary and religious contexts, and awareness of various views and arguments for the big and small pictures of Revelation.
Beale writes for the highest level of academia, as this is often a text used by seminary classes, and he is accessible for the seasoned lay reader. In other words, this book does not require a seminary education to understand and appreciate. It does require a passion to gain understanding and wisdom of the Book of Revelation and God's salvation.
Like all good commentaries on Revelation, Beale introduces and discusses the several approaches to interpreting the book. I think Beale's method and approach to interpreting Revelation are correct theologically, historically and Scripturally. He describes his approach as Eclectic or Redemptive-Historical. He recognizes historically relevant texts without limiting them to one historical reality. He recognizes those texts that refer to future events as relevant to Christians in all ages. He takes up the crucial and challenging task to identify through careful exegesis how texts pertain to the past, present and future. He sees most symbols as applicable to realities throughout the "church age" until the New Jerusalem descends at the return of Jesus. This approach allows for the "Already-Not Yet" reality of God's Kingdom and Christ's rule. Beale identifies the various genres in Revelation and interprets them appropriately.
Beale writes, "The book portrays an end-time new creation which has irrupted into the present old world through the death and resurrection of Christ, as well as through the sending of the Spirit at Pentecost." He often restates themes of Revelation emphasized to the original audience and to the church in all times.
Throughout the book, Beale will cite differing views on texts and then offer his interpretation and why. I found this process helpful. Those who approach Revelation with a different interpreation such as a futurist view would be well served to read this and examine Beale's interpretation against their own.
Beale has contributed the chapter on Revelation to the book Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament And in this commentary on Revelation, he provides many references and connections between Revelation and the Old Testament. This is a necessity to understanding and interpreting Revelation correctly. Beale stays faithful to New Testament and Old Testament teachings in his interpretation of Revelation. What Beale writes concerning the "millenium" in Revelation 20 reveals his approach: "the only hope of obtaining any clarity about this segment is to interpret it primarily in the light of its closest parallels elsewhere in the [Book of Revelation] and in the New Testament and Old Testament." BEale also references extra-canonical sources and traditions when helpful.
Ultimately, Beale's interpretation centers on the gospel of Jesus Christ -- the cross, resurrection, ascension, pouring out of the Holy Spirit and his promised return and consummating his kingdom. Beale writes the following concerning the suffering of saints revealed in the book: "Suffering of Christians is a sign, not of Satan's victory, but of the saints' victory over Satan because of their belief in the triumph of the cross, with which their suffering identifies them." As Jesus Christ, the Lamb who was slain and is alive, is the center of Revelation, He is the center of this commentary, too.
I can fully recommend this book to help readers gain the correct message of Revelation, its purposes, truths, warnings, confrontations, etc. The message of Revelation is an imperative for the church, and it is important for the church to study the message and teach it correctly. This book is a great tool for that purpose.
But please be prepared. Lots of materials are there. It may take time to digest them.