Preface to the Book of Revelation

Having just concluded my commentary on Philippians, I’m now ready to start another book of the New Testament. For sometime, I’ve been very focused on prophecy, the Kingdom of God, the Church and Israel, and the book of Revelation….so much so, that I was slow to finish Philippians. As I considered which book to start next, it occurred to me that with my preoccupation with all of the above, now would be a good time to write a commentary on Revelation. Thus I could accomplish two things at the same time. Sensing the Lord’s will in this, I shall proceed accordingly.

This commentary on Revelation will be a very long process. Even before the actual discussion of the book itself begins, there is a great deal of groundwork that needs to be laid. This groundwork will form the basis for how this book is to be interpreted. A building is only as strong as its foundation. Properly interpreting the book of Revelation is no different. To correctly interpret this book, one must have the correct starting point. If the foundation that we begin with is incorrect, then the structure of our interpretation will also be incorrect.

Therefore, great care will be taken in providing a solid foundation to build our interpretation from. I believe the keys to correctly understanding Revelation are as follows:

  1. We must interpret the Old Testament according to the New Testament. If we try to do this the other way around, we will be sunk from the very beginning.

  1. We must identify when the resurrection/rapture occurs.

  1. We must have a proper understanding of the relationship between Israel and the Church.

  1. We must have a correct understanding of the Kingdom of God.

  1. We must correctly interpret Matthew 24 (along with Mark 13 and Luke 21).

  1. We must correctly determine the date when the book of Revelation was written.

  1. We must approach this study without a positional bias. We must be honest about what reading in any given text. We must allow God’s Word to form our position, rather than allowing our position to interpret God’s Word. When we approach God’s Word with a positional bias, we end up seeing all passages of Scripture through theological glasses, rather than allowing those passages to form our theological positions.

These are the primary keys that will form our foundation for the book of Revelation. I may discover a lesser key or two along the way, but these are far and away the most important. If we get these wrong, then everything else falls apart.

Therefore, much study and discussion needs to go into this preliminary work. It’s not something we can rush through, or we may not get the whole picture as we should. In light of the thoroughness that will be required for this study, I’m anticipating this commentary to take at least a year, probably more. But once we’re finished, I believe we’ll have an accurate interpretation of prophecy. It’s really a matter of building one truth upon another that will lead us to an ultimate conclusion.