Book review: The Book of Revelation and the Coming Judgment

by Dale Tolmasoff


Here is a well-researched guide to Revelation that seems to combine the best of futurist and preterist views. Tolmasoff draws strongly on Beale’s exposition of Revelation, and makes a serious effort to accommodate Revelation’s first-century atmosphere without compromising his belief in a Second Coming. He writes from the perspective of a “fallen Jehovah’s Witness,” which is intriguing in itself; I’ve long felt J/W’s have a better handle on Revelation than most of us.

Some of Revelation’s simplest images, such as the New Jerusalem descending to earth rather than remaining in heaven, are presented faithfully by Tolmasoff. Earth is our real home, not heaven, Tolmasoff rightfully insists. On the other hand, when he writes of the ten kings of the earth, he indicates that they will be fighting against Satan. I don’t think this is Revelation’s teaching, it’s actually a first-century legend regarding the return of Nero Caesar (the beast of the sea in Revelation) to battle Rome, so how did this idea make it into Tolmasoff’s book? It leaves me a little confused about Tolmasoff’s loyalties. [EDIT: Dale contacted me and explained that I misunderstood his reference. The “kings from the east” in chapter 16 are not to be equated with the ten kings in chapter 17. Thus, chapter 16’s kings are spiritual in nature and fight against Satan; chapter 17’s kings fight against the lamb.]

Anyway, the key to understanding Tolmasoff’s perspective is tied up in his perception of the three series of seven: the seals, trumpets, and bowls. The first series describes the siege of Jerusalem; the second is against Rome; and the third, Christ’s Second Coming. Quite fascinating, really, and far more logical than many expositions.

I have to confess that from my perspective, where Tolmasoff mixes in traditional views they seem less supported, but that’s probably personal opinion. For example, Jesus spoke of the war of 70 AD as the worst event history will ever record, but Daniel promised an even greater calamity. I found Tolmasoff’s response quite revealing: “So we have a dilemma. If these descriptions are to be taken literally, then the Bible cannot be trusted.” An untrustworthy Bible is apparently unacceptable, as is the idea that Daniel and Jesus speak of the same event, for this would preclude yet another Armageddon. Ergo, one or both biblical claims can’t be taken literally.

Haha…I know I’m being pedantic here, this book really is a strong bit of research that taught me quite a few new insights into Revelation. I loved the discussion of the origins of the thousand-year length of the Messiah’s reign, and of the River of Life. (I happen to be reviewing this book just as my latest book, coincidentally titled The River of Life, reached publication).

I strongly recommend this book for readers of Revelation wanting a balanced approach, one that takes seriously the words of the Bible but preserves your faith in a future climactic Armageddon.

© 2014, e-book by Dale Tolmasoff

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