Book Write-Up: The Book of Revelation Made Clear

Tim LaHaye and Timothy E. Parker.  The Book of Revelation Made Clear: A Down-to-Earth Guide to Understanding the Most Mysterious Book of the Bible.  Nashville: Nelson Books (An Imprint of Thomas Nelson), 2014.

Tim LaHaye is a Christian author.  Timothy Parker is renowned in the field of puzzles.  I don’t think that Parker was consulted for this project out of the hope that his expertise with puzzles would help to decode the Book of Revelation.  In terms of its content about eschatology, the book largely reflects Tim LaHaye’s belief in a pretribulational rapture and Christ’s premillennial second advent.  My hunch is that Parker’s contribution is the format of the book.  Each quotation of the Book of Revelation and commentary on the text are preceded by a multiple-choice quiz about the coming text.  The idea seems to be that, if we try to answer a question and later encounter the answer in the course of our reading, we will retain the information better.  That makes some sense.  And I have to give credit to the quizzes: they were not ideologically loaded, but they focus on the text of the Book of Revelation itself.  You won’t answer wrongly if you believe in a post-tribulational rapture or hold to amillennialism, even though LaHaye defends contrary viewpoints in the commentary.

The book was pretty good when it addressed details of the text—-such as why Jesus’ feet are like brass, why the heavenly sea is of glass, or why the first horseman appears to have a bow without an arrow.  LaHaye’s explanations made a degree of sense to me, even though he mostly asserted them rather than supporting them.  LaHaye’s defense of the pretribulational rapture was all-right, too: it’s remarkable that there are people in heaven praising God throughout the course of the book.  Could at least some of them be the church?  My problem was that LaHaye did not attempt to clarify the details of the Book of Revelation enough.  What does 666 mean?  What is the hidden manna that Jesus talks about?  And what is the relationship between Jesus’ addresses to the first century churches in Asia and the rest of the Book of Revelation?  So much was unaddressed in this book.  Sure, it’s probably intended to be introductory, but, if I were a new learner, I would like to read more details.

Note: I received a complimentary review copy of this book through the BookLook Bloggers (http://booklookbloggers.com/) book review bloggers program.  The program does not require for my review to be positive, and my review reflects my honest reaction to the book.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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3 Responses to Book Write-Up: The Book of Revelation Made Clear

  1. I’ve not read any of the “Left Behind” series or other things by LaHaye… because I left behind pre-trib/pre-mill (etc.) theology long ago, after being raised and then theologically trained within that system. I flirted with an amillennial approach for a brief time, while still studying biblical prophesy in some depth… now about 25 years ago (well after M.Div. studies). The last 25 years, in which I’ve continued study of the Bible, its backgrounds and context, canonization, along with related human sciences, have led me to a firm conclusion that biblical prophecy is NOT “special revelation” and, while fascinating and “revelatory” of certain things, is not worth major time and concern to “interpret” for its complex symbolism and supposed predictive dynamic. That is especially the case for the book of Revelation. The OT prophets served a somewhat different role and reveal human progress toward a more inclusive concept of God and a strong humanitarian concern often absent in other parts of the Bible.

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  2. jamesbradfordpate says:

    I understand and respect your perspective, Howard. Eschatology is still an interest of mine, though. Maybe that overlaps with the part of me that likes fantasy and science fiction!

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  3. Very good review James!

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