The Apocalypse, or Revelation, of Jesus Christ is the most enigmatic book in the New Testament. Its cryptic imagery, other-worldly symbolism, and dramatic visions often create an interpretive quagmire that biblical scholars and theologians have attempted to navigate for centuries. Sometimes such endeavors lead to sensationalistic views of the “end-times” or historicist perspectives of God’s acts of judgment in the past. But in recent years, a significant amount of scholarship focuses on the theology of Revelation as seen in its intertextual reliance on the Old Testament and development of early Christian themes. Because of such trends, our Fall 2019 edition of the Criswell Theological Review is dedicated to studies on this important part of the New Testament corpus.
Our lead article is written by Buist Fanning who serves as Professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, TX. Fanning argues that the narrative of Revelation not only shows how redemptive history will culminate with Christ’s return. It also reviews the entire storyline of Scripture to show how all the Old Testament’s hopes and expectations ultimately intersect on the cosmic platform of impending eschatological events.
Our second article is by J. Scott Duvall who serves as Professor of New Testament at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR. Duvall proposes that the theme of God’s relational presence among his people is at the heart of the New Testament message. To support this thesis, Duvall analyzes how this motif unfolds throughout the storyline of Revelation.
The third article is written by Alexander Stewart who is Associate Professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Tyndale Theological Seminary in Badhoevedorp, the Netherlands. Stewart examines the ethics behind fear appeals as they are used in the book of Revelation. Specifically, he wrestles with whether they are justifiable for the purposes of motivating people to repent and/or remain loyal to Christ so they avoid divine judgment.
Our fourth contributor is C. Marvin Pate who is Professor of Christian Theology at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR. Pate contends that much of the symbolism in Revelation creates a parody, or subversive counter, against the imperial forces of Rome. He makes the case that John couches his visionary accounts in language that reflects the triumphant processional of a Roman conqueror. Yet John does so to describe the victory of heaven through Christ.
The fifth contributor is Mark Wilson who is Associate Professor of New Testament at Stellenbosch University in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Wilson surveys some of the complex language that is used in Revelation to describe the Holy Spirit and gives special attention to how the metaphors of a cloud and smoke are possible pneumatic references as well.
Finally, our last entry is by Douglas Estes who is Associate Professor of New Testament and Practical Theology at South University–Columbia, in Columbia, SC. Estes addresses the complex question of the literary structure of Revelation. In doing so, he proposes that the concluding visions of the book have a critical role to play in properly interpreting the introduction of Revelation as well as all its subsequent symbolism and storyline.
Following these articles are sixteen book reviews that inform readers about works which can improve their theological libraries. And also remember that past issues of CTR are accessible at atla.com. Your local university or seminary can provide you with a password.