Revelations 1-7: An Exegetical Commentary

By Robert L. Thomas
Chicago, IL : Moody (1992). 524 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Richard Mayhue
6.2 (Fall 1995) : 261-262

Dr. Robert L. Thomas, Professor of New Testament at The Master's Seminary and past president of the Evangelical Theological Society, has recently completed his long-awaited two volume commentary set on John's Apocalypse. This monumental work results from over thirty years of study; its 1200 plus pages represent the most detailed, exegetically oriented, dispensationally directed commentary on Revelation known to this reviewer. In the truest sense of the phrase, this two volume set represents Thomas' magnum opus.

The central emphasis in this work is an in-depth exegesis using a historical, grammatical hermeneutic which results in a conservative, evangelical theology. The reader, however, will not get a narrow view of problem passages as the commentary interacts with a range of major views, both evangelical and non-evangelical.

The author targets the informed laymen, serious students, pastors and the scholar. All exegesis and exposition is based on the original language of Revelation and the translations used are those of the author. Textual criticism and word studies are included where appropriate. For the scholar, Dr. Thomas has also included additional grammatical notes of a more detailed nature at the end of each major section.

An extensive introduction is provided (1:1-46). It includes discussions of: (1) authorship, (2) writing date, (3) prophetic writing style, (4) apocalyptic language, (5) the Greek text, (6) literary structure, (7) hermeneutics and (8) John's use of the OT. Also, an extensive bibliography is included (1:xvii-xxvii).

 Five excursuses conclude these volumes—two in Volume 1 and three in Volume 2. They include: (1) The Chronological Interpretation of Revelation 2-3. (2) The Imprecatory Prayers of the Apocalypse. (3) The Structure of the Apocalypse: Recapitulation or Progression? (4) The Kingdom of Christ and the Apocalypse. (5) An Analysis of the Seventh Bowl of the Apocalypse. Additionally, there are four helpful indices at the end of Volume 2 which catalog the materials in both volumes. These include: (1) subject, (2) Scripture, (3) ancient literature and (4) modern authors. Throughout both volumes the reader will find extensive documentation for further research.

Every preacher, teacher, and serious student of Revelation will want to own these volumes. Without them, one's treatment of Revelation will be lacking; with them, one's preparation will be enhanced.