Books on the Idealist Interpretation of Revelation?

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TheThirdandReformedAdam

Puritan Board Freshman
Pretty simple: Just looking for a good book or two on the idealist view of Revelation. I would prefer to avoid an extremely expansive commentary, as I need to be able to read through the books in a short period of time.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
You are correct, David. I had Poythress in seminary on Revelation, and his approach was fairly eclectic. From the historicist position, he would positively glean that Revelation does have application to all of history; however, a too-rigid history-as-roadmap approach ignores other important things.

From the preterist position, Poythress would point out that Revelation has to apply to the first-century readers. Otherwise, it would not have been written at that time and to those readers. However, even a non-full preterism has problems, in that it seems to limit the relevance (or most of it) to the first century, therefore calling into question its status as a canonical book.

From the futurist position, it is certain that Revelation does indeed apply to the final days before Christ comes back. However, if Revelation is all about the future, it would seem that it wouldn't have made a lot of sense to give the book to first-century believers.

From the idealist position, Poythress draws the useful lesson that God does indeed work similarly in history, a sort of spiral that has familiar elements, and yet not a circular path leading nowhere, but a spiral leading to a firm destination. The errors of an over-emphasis on idealism tend to detach Revelation from history. God works in familiar ways, and the best approach, therefore, is to see the "stuff" of Revelation applying to the first-century Christians, the whole church, and to the end of time. This does not mean that every passage has to be equally relevant to those three theaters of operation. However, Poythress's outline of seven sevens treating the whole of history from first to second coming has a lot to be said for it. I found it very helpful, and very simple as I preached through the book.

Revelation really is a very simple book with a very simple message. Most Christians, however, complicate things rather drastically. They are wondering what the ninth horn on the sixth head means, when they are supposed to react, "Ooh, a monster!" The message of Revelation is simple: Jesus is going to win, and we therefore have a clear opportunity to be on the winning side.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
You are correct, David. I had Poythress in seminary on Revelation, and his approach was fairly eclectic. From the historicist position, he would positively glean that Revelation does have application to all of history; however, a too-rigid history-as-roadmap approach ignores other important things.

From the preterist position, Poythress would point out that Revelation has to apply to the first-century readers. Otherwise, it would not have been written at that time and to those readers. However, even a non-full preterism has problems, in that it seems to limit the relevance (or most of it) to the first century, therefore calling into question its status as a canonical book.

From the futurist position, it is certain that Revelation does indeed apply to the final days before Christ comes back. However, if Revelation is all about the future, it would seem that it wouldn't have made a lot of sense to give the book to first-century believers.

From the idealist position, Poythress draws the useful lesson that God does indeed work similarly in history, a sort of spiral that has familiar elements, and yet not a circular path leading nowhere, but a spiral leading to a firm destination. The errors of an over-emphasis on idealism tend to detach Revelation from history. God works in familiar ways, and the best approach, therefore, is to see the "stuff" of Revelation applying to the first-century Christians, the whole church, and to the end of time. This does not mean that every passage has to be equally relevant to those three theaters of operation. However, Poythress's outline of seven sevens treating the whole of history from first to second coming has a lot to be said for it. I found it very helpful, and very simple as I preached through the book.

Revelation really is a very simple book with a very simple message. Most Christians, however, complicate things rather drastically. They are wondering what the ninth horn on the sixth head means, when they are supposed to react, "Ooh, a monster!" The message of Revelation is simple: Jesus is going to win, and we therefore have a clear opportunity to be on the winning side.
There does indeed seem to be all 4 ways to view the revelation in play in different areas, as it indeed spoke to the reader of time of John, but also to all since than, and while there are tough times that have come and yet to come, we have that hope of the Second Coming event yet to come.
 
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