R. Jeff Collene. The Unveiling: The Book of Sevens. WestBow, 2016. See here to purchase the book.
R. Jeff Collene is a pastor. This book is about the Book of Revelation. Here are some thoughts.
A. In terms of the author’s perspective, it seems to be that the millennium and the last days cover the time from Christ’s death to Christ’s second coming. The Man of Sin represents demonically-supported government throughout history. The first century specifically, however, is especially significant in Collene’s thought. One reason, of course, is that this is when John wrote Revelation. But Collene also believes that the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE in a key element of the Book of Revelation, and he refers to sources that highlight a high amount of earthquakes and famines in the first century CE, the sorts of things that Jesus predicted in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 24. What is Collene’s perspective? Perhaps it is a combination of amillennialism, preterism, and idealism. And yet, Collene in one isolated comment states that there will be increased chaos prior to Jesus’ second coming, which sounds somewhat like futurism. He does not flesh that out, though.
B. There are other loose ends. For example, there is the date of Revelation. Collene seems to go with a pre-70 date, since Revelation depicts the Temple as still standing. Yet, he acknowledges the validity of arguments for a post-70 date: Christianity has spread to Asia Minor and is a Gentile movement there, which had to have taken time. Of course, how much of a challenge is that to a pre-70 date? Paul established churches in Asia Minor, and he was pre-70. There is also the issue of the Sabbath. Collene seems to advocate its observance. He disputes that the Lord’s Day of Revelation 1:10 is Sunday, maintaining that Christianity at this time was Jewish and observed the Sabbath. Yet, he pastors a church that meets on Sunday. Also, he appeared to contradict himself in his paragraph on Revelation 1:10, for he denied that Christians kept Sunday until the fourth century, while also referring to biblical passages about first century Christians meeting on the first day of the week, which he believes was for celebration. Did they observe Sunday or not? Collene’s discussion of kairos and chronos had potential and may be one way to illuminate the parts of Revelation that seem to imply an imminent end in John’s time, but that discussion could have been developed more.
C. The book is informative, in places. For instance, Collene’s discussion of the Nicolaitans referred to patristic interpretations; he mostly did not cite the exact references, and the discussion would have been better had he done so, but he still referred to church fathers by name. Collene is aware of scholars who question the apostle John’s authorship on the basis of Revelation’s style, and he offers a way to account for the style; his knowledge and engagement of scholarship is a plus. His articulation of the different positions on Revelation was also informative, especially when he referred to examples of adherents. A disadvantage to the last discussion, however, is that its purpose was not clear. It seemed to be thrown in for the sake of being thrown in. Perhaps more evaluation of the positions would have made that discussion better.
D. Occasionally, the book had a thought that was new to me. Collene does not interpret the Lord’s Day, for example, as Sunday or even the Sabbath. Rather, he states it was the day on which people were to proclaim that Caesar was Lord. It was on this day that Jesus chose to reveal his own ultimate Lordship.
E. The book is homiletical, as it aims to be a Christ-centered, spiritually-edifying book about Revelation. A lot of parts sounded like cheerleading, yet Collene did cite a lot of Scripture. The anecdotes and historical allusions could be appealing. I think of the story of the grandson who learned that the Bible purified his mind, even if he did not retain much of what he read. It was like a basket that leaks water: the basket is still clean.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through BookLook Bloggers. My review is honest.