Comments from the webmaster: In my opinion this is one of the most insightful commentaries of the Book of Revelation I have ever read! There may be points that the reader will find disagreement with, but considering all the other numerous interpretations of the Book of Revelation that I have read, I hope you will nevertheless find Jim Gibson’s insights interesting and food for thought. In the light of history, they all sound to be reasonable interpretations to me.
Introduction by the Author
If you are looking for another book of prophecy describing sensational events that will happen in the very near future, then this commentary is not for you. However, if you are searching for a balanced and scriptural interpretation of the book of Revelation that emphasizes the historical context, then this commentary will prove helpful.
This work is based on the premise that the apocalypse was written specifically to the Christians of the first century who were suffering during the infamous Neronian persecution. The moving force behind this persecution was the apostate Jews. Moreover, the bulk of the visions that John records describes the Jewish revolt against Rome, and, the subsequent destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 70 A.D.
In order to properly and, I think, correctly interpret this much discussed book, then the date of its writing becomes critical. As the reader will discover as he reads the Appendix, there are essentially only two views as to the date of its writing: (1) a Neronian date of 64 to 66 A.D. and (2) a Domitian date of 94 to 96 A.D. If one accepts the late date position, then he will invariably enter into a veritable quagmire of suppositions and interpretational quandaries. If, however, he adopts an early date approach, then many of the difficult visions begin to make sense and will come together in a more cogent and lucid story.
A quote from the learned Adam Clarke from his commentaries would be appropriate: “An explanation which is conformable to the present circumstances of the prophet, and of the people to whom he is sent, as well as to the nature of the things which he is called upon to say to them, is incomparably more probable than those explanations which go in quest of past or future events, which have no connection with the immediate circumstances of the prophet or to his hearers”.
With this premise in mind, we will endeavor to ascertain what John has to reveal in his apocalypse.