REVELATION by Richard D. Phillips [ Reformed Expository Commentary Series] – P & R Publishing (2017)

Richard Phillips’ commentary REVELATION is the newest volume in the “Reformed Expository Commentary” series by P & R Publishing.  The design of the series of this wonderfully helpful series is to be biblical in exposition, doctrinal (in line with the Westminster Confession of Faith, etc.), redemptive-historical in orientation, and utterly practical in application.  With that goal, pastor-theologian Richard Phillips has produced a very complete (over 700 pages), yet thoroughly accessible and practical commentary.

Of course, the book of Revelation itself is probably the most difficult book to understand and interpret out of the entire Bible — leading to several schools of interpretation and innumerable commentaries (both very good and very bad) that attempt to make sense of this vital yet challenging book for the church today.  Phillips handles this task with aplomb and an even-handed approach.  Although he comes down thoroughly in the camp of those interpreters who see the book as a message of hope to John’s immediate audience in a time of rising persecution and difficulty, but also as a symbolic description of the entire church (from Christ’s ascension to His Second Coming and the end of history).  Phillips addresses all the main schools of interpretation in a fair-minded manner, but is clear in his opinion that Revelation is symbolic of all churches and events that are present in this world between the first and second Advents of Christ, with the over-arching theme that God is completely sovereign over the entire universe, of history, and of all people and events in the earth; and His plan of redemption is assured and nonrevocable.

This book is written primarily for pastors who do not want to slog through lengthy and pithier works that spend an abundance of print on minutia of etymology and addressing critical commentaries.  Rather, it is meant to give pastors a wealth of information and illustrations that will aid in both understanding and communication truths to their congregations.  At the same time, many laymen would be strongly encouraged by me to bypass any of the more sensational works that are questionable (to put it kindly) in their exegesis and presuppositions, and to obtain a copy of this commentary for their libraries.

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