Book review: The Beast of Revelation

by Kenneth L. Gentry Jr.


I believe this is the book  (I read the first version, before its reprint in 2002) that first introduced me to the preterist way of interpreting Revelation. This interpretation posits that most, if not all, of Revelation’s promises were fulfilled in the first century.  I was utterly fascinated, and this book still holds a special place in my library.

The book is a condensation of a much larger work by Gentry: Before Jerusalem Fell. It’s broken into two parts. The first half is a description of Nero Caesar and how he fits the beast of Revelation to a T. The second half is an analysis of the dating of Revelation.

Gentry concludes Revelation was written before the great war of 70 A.D., when Jerusalem was destroyed and the Temple leveled by the Romans. I came to disagree with him, as you may know from my own book. Gentry describes his approach: “Holding to an unshakable conviction regarding Scripture’s divine inspiration, I also afford its inherent authority, infallibility, and inerrancy.” Well, there you go, of course a person who studies the first-century message of Revelation, and begins with the assumption that it prophesies the events it describes, would have to conclude that it was written beforehand.

Nevertheless, Gentry is an interesting writer with a fascinating message. That adds up to a very readable book, and earns it five stars.

Gentry, himself, remains for me an enigma who refuses contact. It’s possible I’ve offended him by contradicting his conclusions in my own book, but for whatever the reason, he won’t entertain, for debate or even discussion, theories that contradict his own interpretation. Because he pursues his scholarship in a bubble, his writings must be taken with a grain of salt, yet his perspective definitely deserves attention. This is a book I’m certain will make you think.

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