Book review: Revelation, Four Views–A Parallel Commentary
by Steve Gregg
If you begin with the premise that Revelation is inspired scripture, and wish to understand or choose from the four primary interpretations, then you won’t find a better book out there than this one. This was definitely a favorite during my research. Dare I say so myself: if you couple my book, which takes a historical look at Revelation and does not presume it’s inspired, with this book, which details the various ways believers read Revelation, you’ll get a well-rounded picture.
Gregg goes verse-by-verse through Revelation and, with four columns side-by-side, describes how proponents of the four interpretive methods read the scripture. These four types are as follows:
The Historicist approach sees Revelation as surveying the entire church history, from Christ through today and beyond. Events described in Revelation reach fulfillment gradually, through the centuries.
The Preterist approach assumes fulfillment in the first century, and usually assumes an early writing of Revelation (before the war of 70 AD.) Revelation prophecies this “war to end of wars” in which Jerusalem is overrun and the Temple destroyed. This is closest to my own treatment, though a better label for my perspective would be contemporary-historical.
The Futurist approach awaits fulfillment in the future. This needs no further introduction; among today’s Christians, this is by far the most popular interpretation, though it wasn’t necessarily so throughout Christian history.
The Spiritual approach is Gregg’s label for those who do not look for a literal interpretation, but rather see spiritual lessons and principles in the symbolism that runs rampant through this mysterious scripture.
All four interpretations are illuminating, and many readers, upon completion of this study, conclude that Revelation must be a complex combination of the above. Certainly, Revelation is revealed to be a book of deep meaning, seldom contemplated in its entirety by most Christians.