The Book of Revelation is the last book in the canon of the New Testament, and its only apocalyptic document, though there are short apocalyptic passages in various places in the gospels and the epistles. These two volumes on Revelation offer systematic and thorough interpretation of the book of Revelation. Revelation brings together the worlds of heaven, earth and hell in a final confrontation between the forces of good and evil. Its characters and images are both real and symbolic, spiritual and material, and it is frequently difficult to know the difference between them.
Revelation’s cryptic nature has ensured that it would always be a source of controversy. This commentary focuses on the theological content, gleaning the best from both the classical and modern commentary traditions and showing the doctrinal development of Scriptural truths. Scholarship on the book of Revelation has nonetheless not only endured, but even captured the imagination of generations of Bible students, both professionals and laypeople alike. Through its focus on the message of the book through scholarly analysis, this International Theological Commentary reconnects to the ecclesial tradition of biblical commentary as an effort in ressourcement, though not slavish repetition.
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“Reading Revelation is difficult enough. Reading Revelation responsibly in such a highly charged atmosphere brings peculiar challenges. The perennial temptation to assume that John is talking about us becomes nearly overwhelming. Christians have often succumbed to the temptation, pinning apocalyptic labels on the characters and crises of their own times.” (Volume 1, Page 3)
“This gives us four basic divisions of the book: The first vision is from 1:10 to 3:22, a vision from Patmos. The second runs from 4:1 to 16:21, a vision in heaven. The third goes from 17:1 to 21:8; it is a vision from the wilderness. The final vision is from 21:9 to 22:21, a vision from the mountain.” (Volume 1, Page 44)
“Revelation is framed with an epistolary introduction and a concluding blessing. Within the overall epistolary frame, chapters 2–3 contain seven messages to the angels of the churches of Asia Minor, and the rest of the book is an eighth letter to another church, the church in the city that John describes as ‘Babylon.’ It is a prophetic pastoral letter.” (Volume 1, Page 43)
“According to Daniel, ‘God has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what must take place in the last days.’ The crucial difference is the time reference. Daniel predicts the distant future; John sees and hears things that will happen ‘soon.’ What was sealed in the time of Daniel is unsealed for John.” (Volume 1, Page 71)
“John’s Gospel records the signs that Jesus began to do. Revelation records the signs that Jesus continued to perform after his exaltation.” (Volume 1, Page 81)
Peter Leithart is President of Theopolis Institute and serves as Teacher at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Birmingham. He is the author of many books, including a two-volume commentary on Revelation (T&T Clark, 2018), God of Hope (Athanasius, 2022), On Earth As In Heaven (Lexham, 2022), and a forthcoming book on God the Creator (IVP). He writes a fortnightly column at FirstThings.com, and has published articles in many periodicals, both popular and academic.
Leithart has served in two pastorates: He was pastor of Reformed Heritage Presbyterian Church (now Trinity Presbyterian Church), Birmingham, Alabama from 1989 to 1995, and was pastor of Trinity Reformed Church, Moscow, Idaho, from 2003-2013. From 1998 and 2013 he taught theology and literature fulltime at New St. Andrews College, Moscow, Idaho. He received an A.B. in English and History from Hillsdale College in 1981, and a Master of Arts in Religion and a Master of Theology from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia in 1986 and 1987. In 1998 he received his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in England.
He and his wife, Noel, have ten children and fifteen grandchildren.