Things That Must Take Place: A Commentary On Revelation Chapters 4-22, by Tony Kessinger
[Note: This book was provided by Author Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.]
This book is the second volume of a set of commentaries on the book of Revelation by the author , and for the most part it continues much along the lines of the first volume, for the most part. The large “must” on the book’s cover points to the book’s pretribulationist and futurist perspective, which makes this a book that would have some appeal to particularly dogmatic conservative evangelicals who share the author’s assumptions about the rapture and the Trinity (the author spends a lot of time talking about the unholy Trinity of the beast, the false prophet, and Satan, not recognizing that there is no biblical Trinity, since the Godhead is not closed, but rather waiting for many sons and daughters to be raised into glory). Although the author is very good about separating speculations from firm conclusions, most of the firm conclusions of this book and its interpretation come from unexamined and often mistaken premises.
Given that I come from a religious background where the book of Revelation is often a favorite for both sound exegesis as well as wild speculation, I do not know if this particular work has a great deal of competition or not, as Revelation is a book that is often ignored because of its prophetic content. In comparison to the previous volume, this commentary shares the dogmatism and worldview of the previous one, its general good editing (with some minor copyediting errors in spacing and formatting) along with its rigorously deductive approach, which it shares with a few other works . This book is remarkably full of unexamined premises, including a bias of Greek thinking that tends to avoid looking at multiple meanings that apply to a given text by trying to force meanings into false dilemmas, an approach that is not terribly surprising given the Hellenistic Christianity the author believes in.
One of the most striking elements of this work is what it includes as well as what it neglects. In looking at Revelation 15, for example, the work spends far more time talking about a commentary of the ten plagues on Egypt rather than the seven bowl plagues that are actually described in the chapter. Likewise, the book includes the imaginary rapture as an event in Revelation even though it is nowhere described in scripture (like the Trinity, it must be noted). Additionally, the book has a strong focus on judgment without a great deal of attention on God’s mercy, while simultaneously managing to write an entire chapter about the collapse of economic Babylon while completely ignoring the social exploitation of selling souls involving slavery and prostitution and other evils of exploitation while focusing mainly on issues of personal morality like a few literary examples of Faustian intellectuals supposedly selling their souls to Satan for one thing or another. Likewise, this book entirely neglects the role of the Roman Catholic Church as the false prophet/woman, because of its unpleasant implications for the author’s own position with regards to God’s judgment, since the author does not recognize the influence of gnosticism on his own approach to scripture and practice .
There is much to appreciate in this book, as it deals honestly and openly with a book that many people neglect for no good reason. The book thoughtfully includes a lot of scriptural parallels, and manages to include some closing chapters that would be better served as appendices on such matters as the chronological order of Revelation (which, as mentioned earlier, adds the rapture to the material that is actually included in the scriptures, a violation of the final command of Revelation not to add or subtract anything), a commentary on the battles against Gog and Magog, as well as a revised version of Revelation written in what the author considers to be its chronological order. Even where one has much to disagree with concerning this book and its interpretation, it is still always appreciated to have books that deal thoughtfully and seriously with Revelation as a text.
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