Sunday, March 4, 2018

Revelation: A Testimony of Jesus Christ

I'm regularly alerted to all kinds of eschatological (and other) teachings on YouTube. Some of it isn't bad and some highly commendable. Other material ought to be avoided. Bad examples can be found in all groups. On the pretribulational side I can cite the Sep 23, 2017 fiasco, and more.

I was made aware of a popular posttrib ministry which seeks to correct myths regarding Revelation and end times through its teaching series and books. It infers that people believe what they believe because they've not bothered checking their Bibles. And perhaps their pastors haven't either. On the other hand, this ministry purports to have diligently studied Scripture. After some samplings, I'm not impressed.

Two pretrib "myths" highlighted were: only the first four chapters of Revelation are intended "for the church"; and the church isn't present for most of the time span of the book.

Whether the church is present or not during the bad stuff is a hotly debated issue. A well-argued differing point of view should be engaged rather than relegated to the myth pile. Revelation was written for everyone, regardless of their eschatological position. It is Jesus' testimony and warning to the world. Jesus is its focus. Believers throughout the centuries have gone to be with the Lord. While many weren't premillennial, most would have still drawn comfort from God's revealed plan for the redeemed.

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Rev 21:3-4

While I have several commentaries on Revelation, the one I most often go to is Tony Garland's A Testimony of Jesus Christ. It is from a pretribulational standpoint. The fact that it can be read online for free, isn't a testimony to its value (no pun intended). I may not necessarily agree with everything, but he frames his arguments very well. The work is a goldmine of notes and resources. It stands shoulder to shoulder against Robert L. Thomas' Two Volume Commentary.

The same cannot be said for most of these YouTube commentaries. I can hear some complain that this is just another pretrib commentary. Well, Tony has put a lot of work into it and it deserves attention. My suggestion to those who gripe that their points of views aren't presented is to to roll up their sleeves and produce something worthy of consideration. YouTube just doesn't cut it. Moreover the one or two online written commentaries I've seen don't have the depth (IMO) of Tony Garland's work. Depth alone doesn't guarantee correctness. But it does demonstrate the effort expended.

Read A Testimony of Jesus Christ (Tony is also working on a commentary on Daniel)

P.S. Rev 4 is sometimes offered as a proof text for pretribulationism. I disagree. Even so, I thought this Triablogue article was uplifting - especially coming from a CT person.


Anonymous said...

I fully concur with your estimate of Dr Garland's work

drk said...

May I suggest as an interesting look at Revelation on the web, also free 👍. The author has put his heart and soul into the work and produces many insights (with which, of course, I don’t always agree). I especially like his theory of why all the trumpets, seals, etc. in “Revelation Overview”. To my mind, the overview provides the best explanation.


Alf Cengia said...

Thanks for commenting, Paul. I value both Dr. Thomas' work and Dr. Garland's works. They're like a tag team match. I found myself agreeing with Tony more often, though. Not that it makes us right of course.

Alf Cengia said...

Thanks for the input and link, DRK. Yes, there are a few passionate free commentaries on Revelation out there. Here's one from the prewrath perspective:

It is encouraging that the author of your link acknowledges a future for Israel and Christ's millennial reign. Overall the work gives a nice premil outline from a posttrib perspective.

Everyone brings some assumptions into their works, and this author is no different. One of these is that God's wrath doesn't occur until the bowls-trumpets. Yet there is good evidence that God's wrath is contained in the 4th seal (which Tony's commentary mentions by citing Showers' work in the Footnotes).

Also the rebuttal to Rev 3:10 seems scanty and dated. It may rely on Gundry's arguments which have been challenged.

Notably, prominent prewrath leader Charles Cooper has produced a booklet on Rev 3:10 called Revelation Bombshell. It purports to finally deal with the pretrib claim to Rev 3:10. Ironically, Cooper cites a number of pretrib scholarly opinions...and agrees! He then finishes off by agreeing that it is a rapture passage, but that it therefore must support prewrath. Of course this conclusion assumes he's correct about when God's wrath begins.