Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 130:518 (Apr 1973)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

A Commentary on the Revelation of John. By George Eldon Ladd. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1972. 308 pp. $ 6.95.

The well known Professor of New Testament Theology and Exegesis at Fuller Theological Seminary has selected for his first commentary the difficult book of Revelation. He writes for intelligent students of Scripture. This commentary has a number of commendable features.

Dr. Ladd recognizes the genuineness of this last book of the Bible as written by John the Apostle and as an inspired book of the Bible. In general, he follows the futurist interpretation of the prophetic portions beginning in chapter four combining it at times with the preterist interpretation. He supports the premillennial and posttribulational view of the second coming of Christ. Readers will find new insights into this difficult book which climaxes the New Testament, and will profit generally by a careful reading of this commentary.

Along with the commendable features, there are some surprising shortcomings. The introduction of seven pages, while dealing with the subject of authorship, date, and theories of interpretation, is quite inadequate for a difficult book such as the book of Revelation. While he holds that John the Apostle is the author, it is weakly supported. Little is said about inspiration and canonicity of the book and the theories of interpretation are treated only in outline form. Important considerations such as the apocalyptic character of the book, the problem of interpreting both the symbolic and literal portions, important problems of numbers and the overall theology of the book, are only mentioned. Readers will have to go elsewhere for a competent introduction to this commentary.

In his major interpretation of the seals, trumpets, and vials, Dr. Ladd follows the traditional Scofield futurist position, namely, that these symbolic presentations refer to the end of the age preceding the second coming of Christ, and that seven trumpets are all included in the seventh seal, and that the seven vials are all included in the seventh trumpet. The reviewer agrees with Dr. Ladd that this is by far the best interpretation.

Dr. Ladd’s use of the futurist form of interpretation is hindered by posttribulationism which in many respects is incompatible with the

futurist view. For instance, in his exposition of Revelation 13:5 (p. 180) he states, “The forty-two months is a symbolic number for the entire period of persecution of the church, but particularly the end of this period-the time of the great tribulation.” The sweeping affirmation that forty-two months is t...

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