The Revelation of St. John “in the Light of the Temple”:
a New Commentary
In the following commentary, the new approach proposed in The Apocalypse in the Light of the Temple (Jerusalem: Beit Yochanan, 2003) is applied verse by verse to the text of the Book of Revelation. There is therefore a special emphasis on identifying and explaining the temple and liturgical imagery in the text. Since this imagery lies at the very heart of the author’s visions, unifying their narrative structure from beginning to end (see link 6), it is hoped that this approach will contribute to a greater understanding of the text as a whole. Your comments on this would be very welcome. On a more detailed level, particular effort has been invested in exposing and explaining the considerable amount of information in the text about the ‘Mystery of Iniquity’, which is to say, how the devil continues to operate in heaven and on earth (Rev 12–13; 17–18), despite being chained in the Abyss (Rev 20). The present work was started in September 2008, completed in March 2012, and brings together more than 25 years of study and reflection on the Book of Revelation.
At this point I would like to acknowledge my debt to many scholars in the field, but especially to Fr. Ugo Vanni, S.J., whose direction at an early stage in our work was inspiring, instructive and Providential. For the commentary itself, I am grateful for the reference works of four scholars in particular: “The Book of Revelation” by Robert H. Mounce (Revised Edition, Grand Rapids/Cambridge UK: Eerdmans 1998); “Commentary on the Apocalypse of St. John” by Pierre Prigent (English Trans. by Wendy Pradels, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2001); “The Book of Revelation” by G.K. Beale (Grand Rapids/Cambridge UK: Eerdmans 1999) and “The Word Biblical Commentary” by David Aune (in 3 vols; Dallas: Word Books 1997 and Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1998). Of these publications, the works of Robert Mounce and Pierre Prigent have been especially useful. However, as they are not quoted directly in this commentary, this is my opportunity to acknowledge these works with gratitude and appreciation.
Above all thanks and praise are due to that invisible source of inspiration which constantly accompanies students of Scripture, but whose presence is especially felt at those precious moments of insight when the intellect has reached its limits. In the study of the Book of Revelation, this can be quite often. Working up close on the text has helped us to verify, and depend upon, the meticulous unity of John’s Book of Revelation—a unity which, one quickly discovers, reaches outwards to embrace the entire Canon of Old and New Testaments, as well as many non-canonical writings of the intertestamental period. Studying this book at close range leaves one in no doubt about its worthiness to occupy the final place in the Canon, bringing the Biblical Revelation to its most blessed consummation and conclusion. It has also helped to confirm the impression that it is the most important document ever written by and for the people of God, for their faith in this Word will bring them safely through the most crucial moments in their history. To God be the Glory!
In the love of Christ, His Word and His Church,
John and Gloria, Jerusalem, Lent 2012.