Is “Consistent Preterism” Really Consistent?

Our church is working through I and II Thessalonians, and I recently had the privilege of preaching on II Thessalonians 2:1-12, which is the passage about the infamous “man of lawlessness” whom most people identify more popularly as the “anti-Christ” (terminology from I John) and often also as the “Beast” of Revelation 13. My general strategy for the purposes of preaching was to emphasize application of the principles rather than speculation about the details, although I did wrestle a bit in my study with the more contested issues, particularly the identity of the man of lawlessness and the nature of…

The Book of Revelation

At some point after my doctorate, I would like to make studying the book of Revelation one of my life projects. It coheres with some of my other interests, like the doctrine of heaven, and its a book that continually fascinates me. I would like to study it because: 1) Its probably the most misunderstood and perhaps the most difficult book in the Bible. Partly for that reason, I think its often neglected. For instance, John Calvin wrote commentaries on almost every book in the New Testament except Revelation (and 2 and 3 John), and Martin Luther once said of…

Reflections on Revelation (6): The praise songs

Revelation paints a glorious picture of the worship of God in heaven. I have compiled a list of seven of the more prominent praise songs that are sung in the book of Revelation. 1) The worship portrayed in Revelation 4 is reminiscent of Isaiah 6 and Ezekiel 1. John sees a vision of God sitting on his heavenly throne and being worshiped by mighty creatures whom he calls “elders” and “living creatures.” The text is full of imagery. Picture this: -“around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald” (3) -“before the throne there was as…

Reflections on Revelation (5): Why I disagree with Gentry on 21:1-22:5

I have been heavily using Gentry throughout my study of Revelation, and I owe him a great deal of debt for all I have learned from him. I had to part ways with him, however, when I got to 21:1-22:5 and read his interpretation of this glorious vision of the New Jerusalem. After acknowledging that 20:7-15 predict the (still future) second coming of Christ, Gentry claims that 21:1-22:5 revert back to the first century and describe (in highly poetic language) the glory of the church and salvation. Gentry argues that John’s major theme is the replacement of the old Jerusalem…

Reflections on Revelation (3): The Names of Jesus Christ

In my first post, I noted two theological emphases that come through very forcefully in the book of Revelation, regardless of the hermenuetical approach that one adopts in reading Revelation: (1) a high Christology and (2) a glorious vision of heaven. Stated negatively, this means that the book of Revelation is a strong corrective for two very serious and very common theological errors: (1) a wimpy Jesus and (2) a boring heaven. As I have continued reading, I would add at least two more emphases to this list: (3) a call for Christian perseverance amidst suffering; and (4) God’s sovereignty…

Reflections on Revelation (2): A Brief Introduction to Preterism

Preterism is well defined at theopedia.com as “a view in Christian eschatology which holds that some or all of the biblical prophecies concerning the Last Days refer to events which took place in the first century after Christ’s birth, especially associated with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The term preterism comes from the Latin praeter, meaning past, since this view deems certain biblical prophecies as past, or already fulfilled.” There are two main kinds of preterism: full preterism and partial preterism (though these labels are disputed by each side). Partial preterism is also called moderate preterism and orthodox…