As a kid growing up in South Dakota, I remember our Sunday School class bringing up the Book of Revelation to various teachers over the years and wondering why we read all the books of the Bible, but stayed away from this one! Hmmmm. We never got a really good answer about that question, but I am guessing the teachers did not want to touch the symbolism and likely were not equipped with the knowledge to help a bunch of pre-teens and teens know what it says. So any knowledge I gained of this book was as an adult reader and student of the Word.
Fast forward thirty or so years (yes, I know I am dating myself). Vicki and I are excited to visit Greece and Turkey this fall to follow Paul’s journey in Asia Minor. This will be an exploration trip with the hope of leading a trip next year for Biblical travel (more details to come after the trip!). One of our stops this fall will be the Grecian Island of Patmos— which is the island where John received the Revelation. I am super excited to go.
So with these two tidbits you likely can understand my interest in reading Alun Ebenezer’s newest book and commentary on the book of Revelation called Revelation. Let’s face it, he had some high expectations to meet from this South Dakota farm boy!
As you likely know, Revelation is the last book in the Bible and certainly not the easiest book to read or understand. It is often considered controversial. Critics may think its riddled with conjecture and interpretation rather than a book that’s more straight forward like John. Ebenezer states the book’s purpose is to give hope and comfort to the people who follow Jesus Christ ( p. 11). This book of the Bible is a letter (1:4, 11; 22:21) , a prophecy (1:3; 22:10: 18-19), and a revelation (1:1). God revealed the events in Revelation to the apostle John near the end of his life when he had been banished to the island of Patmos. Apparently, Rome sent people there when they didn’t want them to stir up trouble. Judging by the impact of Revelation, I’m thinking that didn’t work so well!
Ebenezer suggests the book of Revelation should be taken as a whole, but it can be divided into seven sections:
1. The Lord Jesus in the midst of the Church (Chapters 1-3)
2. A throne and seven seals (Chapters 4-7)
3. Seven trumpets (Chapters 8-11)
4. The woman and the child persecuted by the dragon and his helpers (Chapters 12-14)
5. Seven bowls (Chapters 15-16)
6. The fall of Babylon (Chapters 17-19)
7. The great consummation (Chapters 20-22)
Then the book can also be divided in half with chapters 1-11 as the struggle between the believers and unbelievers. The world attacks the church but the church is protected. The second part is chapters 12-22 which is a behind the scenes look on why unbelievers hate believers and the end of the world. Ebenezer uses these sections and divisions to structure his book. Within the sections combined, he has 20 chapters and 224 pages.
This is not light material, right? However, Ebenezer is a master at laying out the book Revelation. He details its symbolism and cuts to the core of scripture and its meaning. He provides the background of this biblical book in a succinct manner that easily helps its reader understand a difficult scripture. Ebenezer is the head teacher at an all boys school in England; his gifting as a teacher and writer are easily showcased in this commentary.
This book is for anyone who wants to know about the book of Revelation. It is meant to accompany the Bible. So I would recommend reading the chapter in scripture at least once before the commentary. I believe this book could accompany individual or group study of the Bible as well as serve as a reference to the book of Revelation. It is simply excellent! I particularly like the format of the book. Each chapter is devoted to a chapter in the Bible. I need to be honest, I am not a commentary kind of guy. I don’t go out reading or buying commentaries. However, I do like studying and knowing my Bible. Ebenezer hits this mark in his book Revelation– both for study and for reference.
Why buy this book? Not only is Revelation an important book in the Bible, as Christians we need to be aware that this is a timely book of the Bible. I believe knowing more about the revelation of John will help each of us discern what is going on around us and in our world. Hope and encouragement was part of God’s plan in delivering this revelation to his people. I think we could all use some of that in these days. I give Ebenezer’s Revelation five stars out of five.
About the Book
Revelation is the last book in the Bible. It may appear at first to be a very difficult book to understand and full of puzzling symbols. But far from trying to confuse its readers, the purpose of Revelation was, and is, to comfort and give hope to people who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a letter (1. 4, 11; 22. 21), a prophecy (1. 3; 22.10, 18, 19) and a revelation (1.1).
As a letter it was intended for specific people at a specific time in history. In the letter the writer wants to comfort the church in its struggle against the forces of evil. He wants them to know that God sees their tears (7.17; 21:4); that their prayers are influential in world affairs (8.3, 4). He wants them to know that the death of their fellow Christians was precious in his sight and that the final victory of Jesus Christ and his people is assured (15.2). He wants them to know that Christ lives and reigns for ever; he governs the world in the interest of his church (5.7, 8); He is coming again to take his people to himself and live with them forever (21.22) and He is also with them now. (1.12-20)
Publisher: Evangelical Press (September 1, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
Retail Price: $15.95
Available to purchase on Amazon!
About the Author
Alun Ebenezer MA Ed. is Deputy Headteacher of a large 11-18 school in Cardiff, and a youth leader at the Heath Evangelical Church, Cardiff. He is married to Liz and they have a little boy called Jack.