Annotated Bibliography for the Book of Revelation


Muse, Robert L. The Book of Revelation: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland, 1996.

Muse is a good resource if you want to know what biblical scholars and theologians have written about Revelation. This includes both Revelation as a whole and in-depth articles on specific passages. Most of these articles assume a knowledge of the original languages, and many of them are in German, French, or some other language besides English.


Bullinger, E. W. Figures of Speech in the Bible. 1898. Reprint: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1968.

Despite its antiquated language and confusing terminology, Bullinger’s work remains one of the most comprehensive treatments of figures of speech in the Bible, well illustrated by biblical examples.

Carson, D. A. Exegetical Fallacies. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980.

This work is essential for understanding the mistakes all of us are prone to make when interpreting the Scriptures. It provides one or more examples for each of the fallacies described. Along with Carson, read Sire’s book, listed below.

Davis, John J. Biblical Numerology. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1968.

Erickson, Millard J. Evangelical Interpretation: Perspectives on Hermeneutical Issues. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1993.

Erickson’s main contribution is his examination of the process of determining significance in a biblical text for modern (post-modern) readers. He warns against the danger of making modern applications of the text that ignore the differences between the situation of the original readers and that of readers of today and outlines the step of making the transition from original intent to modern significance.

Fuller, Daniel P. Gospel & Law: Contrast or Continuum? The Hermeneutics of Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1980.

Fuller argues (rightly, in my view) for a continuity between the Old and New Covenants, attempting to demolish one of the foundational axioms of dispensational premillennialism. Fuller asserts that God’s fundamental way of saving humans (by grace, through obedient faith) remained basically the same from the Mosaic covenant to Christ’s. In opposition to the dispensationalists, Fuller also argues that Christ’s church is the legitimate heir of the promises to the nation of Israel.

Goodrick, Edward W. Do-It-Yourself Hebrew and Greek. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1981.

Not only can this book help you to learn Hebrew and Greek enough to use the study tools, but Goodrick also has an excellent section on how to study the Bible and on rules of hermeneutics.

Kaiser, Walter C., and Moisés Silva. An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics: The Search for Meaning. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994.

Kearley, F. Furman. “The Conditional Nature of Prophecy: A Vital Hermeneutical Principle.” Montgomery, AL: Apologetics, n.d.

Klein, William W.; Blomberg, Craig L.; and Hubbard, Robert L., Jr. Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. Dallas, TX: Word, 1993.

This is perhaps the best recent work on hermeneutics for the general reader. The introduction to the need and method of hermeneutics (3–20) is excellent. Their section on General Hermeneutics–Prose is 155–214, and hermeneutics specifically for Revelation is 366–374.

Mickelsen, A. Berkley. Interpreting the Bible. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1963.

Sire, James. Twisting Scripture: 20 Ways Cults Misread the Bible. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1980.

In a highly readable volume, Sire explains and illustrates the mistakes cults make in biblical interpretation—mistakes to which all of us are susceptible. Sire’s book supplements the material in Carson and is written on a slightly more popular level.

Scholem, Gershom. “Gematria,” 7:370–374 in Encyclopaedia Judaica. 1972 edition.


Arnold, Clinton E. The Colossian Syncretism: The Interface between Christianity and Folk Belief at Colossae. Grand Rapids, Baker, 1996.

Arnold has an extensive discussion on angel worship, in its association with first-century magic (32–59), with contemporary Judaism (61–88), and in the local area around Colossae (90–101). Since Colossae is a sister city to Laodicea Lycus River, this background is pertinent to John’s attempts to worship angels in Revelation 19 and 22.

Bouquet, A. C. Everyday Life in New Testament Times. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953.

Cline, Kenneth. “A Language to Wear: Anatolian Headdresses.” Catholic Near East Magazine. Spring 1986: 19–20.

Cline has a good discussion of the use of coins on women’s headdresses and includes several good photographs.

Cornell, Tim, and John Matthews. Atlas of the Roman World. New York: Facts on File, 1982.

This atlas provides what is perhaps the best map available of the ancient Roman province of Asia, including the ancient roads.

Deissmann, Adolf. Light from the Ancient East. English edition: London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1922. Reprint: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1978.

Deissmann, though dated, has a good discussion of the archaeological basis for an understanding of 666 based on genatria.

Ferguson, Everett. Backgrounds of Early Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987. Rev. ed., 1993.

Grant, Frederick C. Hellenistic Religions. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1953.

Grant provides an excellent introduction to both the traditional Greek religion and the mystery religions of Graeco-Roman syncretism.

Grant, Michael. The Army of the Caesars. New York: Carles Scribner’s Sons, 1974.

Grant describes the relationship between Rome and Parthia, including their battles and diplomatic engagements. This is also a great source for the role the legions had in selecting and sustaining emperors, as well as their place in the daily life within the empire.

Grinal, Pierre, ed. Hellenism and the Rise of Rome. A. M. Sheridan-Smith, trans. New York: Delacorte, 1968.

Levine, Lee L., ed. Ancient Synagogues Revealed. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1982.

Levine has a good discussion of the Sardis synagogue.

Mason, Caroline, and Pat Alexander. Picture Archive of the Bible. Batavia, IL: Lion, 1987.

This excellent resource provides good, full-color photographs of some of the Seven Cities as they appear to today’s visitor.

Murphy-O’Connor, Jerome. St. Paul’s Corinth: Text and Archaeology. Wilmington, DE: Michael Glazier, 1983.

Murphy-O’Connor provides important cultural background for understanding the worship of first-century house churches as well as the issues of syncretism primitive Christians confronted, as illustrated by the controversy over eating meats offered to idols.

Ramsay, William M. The Church in the Roman Empire Before a.d. 170. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1897. Reprint: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1979.

Sandmel, Samuel. The First Christian Century in Judaism and Christianity: Certainties and Unvertainties. New York: Oxford, 1969.

Stauffer, Ethelbert. Christ and the Caesars. K. & R. G. Smith, trans. London: SCM, 1955.

In a masterful and beautifully written volume, Stauffer surveys the nature of the conflict between the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of men, especially as manifested by the Roman emperors who first confronted Christianity. His technical discussion of 666 (found above under “Special Studies on the Apocalypse”) is here summarized on a more popular level.

Willis, Wendell. Idol Meat at Corinth: The Pauline Argument in 1 Corinthians 8 and 10. Chico, CA: Scholars, 1985.

This is one of the most detailed and helpful treatments of the first-century controversy over the syncretism of Christianity with paganism.

Yamauchi, Edwin A. New Testament Cities in Western Asia Minor. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1980.

This earlier volume is still an excellent and up-to-date resource for the history and archaeology of the Seven Cities of Asia. Yamauchi puts the reader in touch with the important sources for doing additional research.


Aune, David E. Revelation. Word Biblical Commentary. 3 vols. Dallas, TX: Word, 1997.

This is perhaps the most extensive commentary on Revelation in the English language, replete with extensive notes and references. This commentary assumes a knowledge of the original languages. Aune is especially good for historical and cultural background.

Barclay, William. The Revelation of John. Daily Study Bible. 2 vols. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1976.

Barclay is one of the best commentaries on a popular level. He is particularly good for historical and cultural background, as well as word studies of the Greek. Barclay is careful to make practical applications for each section. The entire text is divided into segments that can be read in about 15 minutes each.

Beale, G. K. The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text. The New International Greek Testament Commentary. I. Howard Marshall and Donald A. Hagner, eds. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999.

Beale holds to what he calls an eclectic interpretation but is primarily idealist. Revelation, he believes, portrays the perennial conflict between good and evil. He tends to agree with the preterists regarding the meaning for the original readers but affirms that they book has a greater meaning for all ages. Amen!

Beasley-Murray, G. R. The Book of Revelation. New Century Bible Commentary. London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1974. Reprint: Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1981.

Beasley-Murray emphasizes the meaning for the original readers but also sees Revelation as in some way a prophecy of the end times. Yet Beasley-Murray is much more reserved about this than many are. His commentary is intended for the serious Bible student, but no knowledge of the original languages is necessary.

Beckwith, Ibson T. The Apocalypse of John: Studies in Introduction, with a Critical and Exegetical Commentary. London: Macmillan, 1919. Reprint: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1979.

Beckwith is a detailed treatment of the Greek text with extensive notes and references. The reader needs a knowledge of Hebrew and Greek to use it to its fullest potential. It is also nearly 100 years old, and therefore it lacks information that has only come to light more recently, particularly in the fields of lexicography and archaeology.

Caird, G. B. A Commentary on the Revelation of St. John the Divine. Harper’s New Testament Commentaries. New York: Harper & Row, 1966.

Caird has written an excellent commentary that uses the original languages in a way that makes them accessible to the nonexpert. This is a good resource to find out what is the range of viewpoints on any passage in the Apocalypse. Unfortunately, however, it does not have as many references and notes as Mounce, but it is on about the same level of difficulty.

Charles, R. H. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Revelation of St. John. The International Critical Commentary. 2 vols. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1920.

This is another critical commentary on the Greek text, written by an acknowledged expert in apocalyptic literature. Charles will provide you with as much depth as you need. His introduction is extensive, especially his work on Revelation’s use of the Old Testament. This commentary is dated, however, because of all of the archaeology and lexicography that has been done since 1920. If you must study only one critical commentary, Aune is a much more up-to-date choice.

Chilton, David. The Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation. Ft. Worth, TX: Dominion, 1987.

Chilton is the most recent of a number of commentaries that interpret Revelation as concerning the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in a.d. 70. Childton is part of the Reconstruction Movement, also know as the Dominion Movement, which appears to be postmillennial is its eschatology.

Düsterdieck, Friedrich. Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Revelation of John. 6th ed. Henry E. Jacobs, trans. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1884. Reprint: Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1983.

Düsterdieck contains much useful information, but everything true about Beckwith applies here as well.

Graham, Billy. Approaching Hoofbeats: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Waco, TX: Word, 1987.

Graham writes on a popular level, assuming but neither explaining nor defending the dispensational viewpoint.

Gregg, Steve, ed. Revelation: four views: a parallel commentary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997.

Gregg provides us with an excellent way to compare these four interpretations of the text, chapter by chapter: preterist, hitoricist, futurist, and spiritual. He quotes a variety of representatives for each view throughout the book. No knowledge of the original languages is necessary. This kind of commentary obviously hits the highlights only. One could wish that Gregg were more careful in identifying his sources.

Hailey, Homer. Revelation: An Introduction and Commentary. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979.

Hailey is a well-respected Bible preacher and teacher within the Restoration Movement. His commentary is on a popular level, though it is clear he consulted some of the best commentaries available in English. There is no need for Hebrew or Greek to use this volume. Hailey provides a good introduction to the historical background. Hailey provides a good refutation of the destruction of Jerusalem viewpoint (Hailey focuses on Wallace in this regard).

Hendriksen, William. More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1940.

This is an excellent popular commentary. Hendriksen is especially good at explain the principle of recapitulation, which is vital to understanding Revelation properly. His interpretation, however, tends to focus on the broad picture. He is not the one to consult when you want specific and detailed information.

King, Max R. The Spirit of Prophecy. [Warren, OH]: Max R. King, 1971.

The first half of this book written by a preacher of the Restoration Movement explains the author’s eschatology. The last half is his commentary on the Book of Revelation, interpreting it as a prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in a.d. 70. See McGuiggan’s debate with him, listed below, for a detailed refutation of the viewpoint King shares with David Chilton and Foy E. Wallace, Jr., among others.

LaHaye, Tim. Revelation Illustrated and Made Plain. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1973. Revised and republished in 1999 as Revelation Unveiled.

LaHaye is a leading representative of the dispensational point of view whose “Left Behind” series of novels have done much to renew interest in eschatology, though they mislead an uninformed public. See my extensive analysis of his commentaries and the book he recently co-authored with Jerry Jenkins, Are We Living in the End Times?

Lindsey, Hal. There’s a New World Coming: A Prophetic Odyssey. Santa Ana, CA: Vision House, [1973].

Lindsey presents the dispensational point of view on Revelation. He understands the seven churches as symbols, though they should be understood literally, and he takes many of the images in the Apocalypse literally when they are really symbolic. All is presented in a newsy, matter-of-fact manner, as if this were the proven results of biblical scholarship!

Massyngberde-Ford, J. Revelation: Introduction, Translation and Commentary. The Anchor Bible. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1975.

Massynberde-Ford believes that the Apocalypse is a patchwork of editing based on a pre-Christian apocalypse originating from John the Baptizer and his disciples. Her theories have been rejected by virtually all Revelation scholars. The value of the book lies in its fresh, idiomatic paraphrase of the Greek text.

McGuiggan, Jim. The Book of Revelation. W. Monroe, LA: William C. Johnson, [1976].

I owe much to McGuiggan’s refutation of both the dispensational and the destruction of Jerusalem viewpoints. He writes on a popular level, with strong emphasis on practical application. Read this in conjunction with his other books listed below.

Morris, Leon. The Book of Revelation: an Introduction and Commentary. The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987.

Morris is an excellent scholar who has made particular study of apocalyptic literature (see his other publications under “Special Works on the Apocalypse” and “Studies on Biblical Prophecy”). Despite his depth, he is able to keep his commentary understandable for the non-expert. My two criticisms of his commentary are both due to mandates from the editors of the Tyndale series. His commentary is based on the King James Version, whose translators, unfortunately, only had access to the later manuscripts. The earlier manuscripts differ from the later ones in numerous places, and are often more likely original. Morris is capable of detailed commentaries (see his treatment of Thessalonians and the Fourth Gospel in the New International New Testament Commentary series). But he was forced to keep this one short, which makes it disappointing in places.

Mounce, Robert H. The Book of Revelation. New International New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1977.

This is one of the best commentaries on Revelation for the non-expert. Even though it is not necessary to know the original languages to use this volume, the scholar can also benefit from its insights and careful notes. If you want more than an overview and do not know the original languages, this one would be hard to beat.

Roberts, J. W. The Revelation of John (The Apocalypse). The Living Word Commentary. Austin, TX: Sweet, 1974.

Roberts was a first-class Greek scholar, and it shows in his excellent commentary, which nevertheless is intended for preachers and teachers of the Restoration Movement. Only the most important sources are mentioned here, however. If you use Roberts, you will often wish he had said more on specific, puzzling passages.

Stuart, Moses. A Commentary on the Apocalypse. 2 vols. Andover, MA: Allen, Morrill & Wardwell, 1845.

Of course, Stuart is out of date, but it was an excellent commentary for its day and still provides many insights. He does assume some knowledge of the original languages. His discussion of the history of the interpretation of 666 is one of the most thorough up to his own day.

Summers, Ray. Worthy is the Lamb: An Interpretation of Revelation. Nashville, TN: Broadman, 1951.

Summers is a good commentary written on a popular level. He has an especially good chapter on interpretive methods for Revelation. He constantly (and correctly) asks, “What would this have meant for the original readers?” Because Summers concentrates on the big picture, he refuses to discuss many of the details.

Sweet, John. Revelation. TPI New Testament Commentaries. London: SCM, 1979.

Sweet’s approach—starting with hermeneutics and seeking to understand Revelation form the viewpoint of the original readers—is very similar to mine. His commentary begins with an excellent synopsis of Revelation, chapter by chapter. No acquaintance with the original languages is needed. You might be disappointed if you want a full discussion of a particular passage, but this commentary is worth reading.

Swete, Henry B. The Apocalypse of St. John. London: Macmillan, 1908. Reprint: Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, n.d.

This is another excellent commentary on the Greek text. Comments on Beckwith, however, would also apply to Swete.

Wallace, Foy E., Jr. The Book of Revelation: Consisting of a Commentary on the Apocalypse of the New Testament. Nashville, TN: F. E. Wallace, 1966.

This famous preacher of the Restoration Movement wrote a large commentary to defend the destruction of Jerusalem interpretation. His point of view experienced a revival in the commentaries of Max R. King and David Chilton.


Aune, David E. “The Influence of the Roman Imperial Court Ceremonial on the Apocalypse of John.” Papers of the Chicago Society of Biblical Research 28 (1983): 5–26.

Aune demonstrates that the background of the Roman imperial court may be nearly as important as the Old Testament worship background for understanding the throneroom scenes in Revelation. Particularly relevant are the constant acclamations given to the emperor, as compared to the acclamations both Father and Son receive in the Apocalypse.

Barrett, C. K. “Gnosis and the Apocalypse of John,” 125–137 in The New Testament and Gnosis. A.H.B. Logan and A. J. M. Wedderburn, eds. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1983.

Bauckham, Richard. The Climax of Prophecy: Studies on the Book of Revelation. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1993.

_________. The Theology of the Book of Revelation. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1993.

Beasley-Murray, G. R.; Hobbs, H. H.; and Robbins, R. H. Revelation: Three Viewpoints. Nashville, TN: Broadman, 1977.

This book is the record of an oral exchange between these three respected Bible teachers. It illustrates how people can disagree over interpreting the Apocalypse without being disagreeable.

Baines, W. G. “The Number of the Beast in Revelation.” Heythrop Journal 16 (1975): 195–196.

Boring, M. E. “Narrative Christology in the Apocalypse.” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 54, 4 (1992): 702–723.

Carnegie, David R. “Worthy is the Lamb: The Hymns in Revelation,” 243–256 in Christ the Lord: Studies in Christology presented to Donald Guthrie. Harold H. Rowdon, ed. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1982.

Clarke, John E. “Notes on chap. xiii,” 2:1015–1027 in The New Testament: A Commentary and Critical Notes by Adam Clarke. Reprint: Nashville, TN: Abingdon, n.d.

DeMar, Gary. “The Mark of the Beast Revisited.” Biblical Worldview 11, 3 (March 1995): 7-8.

This is an excellent and detailed discussion concerning why the UPC bar code cannot possible have anything to do with the 666 of Rev. 13.

Ellwanger, W. H. “The Christology of the Apocalypse.” Concordia Theological Monthly 1 (1930): 512–528.

Gagniers, Jean des, et al. Laodicée du Lycos: Le Nymphée, Campagnes, 1961–1963. Quebec: l’Université Laval, 1969.

This is written entirely in French, but it features excellent maps and diagrams of the archaeological work at Laodicea.

Goulder, M.D. “The Apocalypse as an Annual Cycle of Prophecies,” New Testament Studies 27 (1981): 342–367.

Goulder does an excellent job of show the parallels between Revelation and Ezekiel. Whether Goulder is right about the use of Revelation in a cycle of liturgical readers is another issue that I prefer to ignore as relatively unimportant.

Gundry, Robert. “The New Jerusalem: People as Place, Not Place for People.” New Testament Studies 29, 3 (1987): 254-264.

Gundry, a chiliast, presents much that is valuable about the symbolism involved in the New Jerusalem of Rev. 21:1 – 22:5. Unfortunately, however, he advocates taking the opulence of the city literally, suggesting that Christians of the new earth will be fabulously wealthy. If the city is symbolic, so are the precious metals and precious stones—symbolic of the immeasurable spiritual wealth that we have in Christ.

Guthrie, Donald. “The Christology of Revelation,” 397–409 in Jesus of Nazareth: Lord and Christ: Essays ion the Historical Jesus and New Testament Christology. Joel B. Green and Max Turner, eds. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994.

_________. “The Lamb in the Structure of the Book of Revelation.” Vox Evangelica 2 (1981): 64–71.

Hemer, Colin J. The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting. Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 11. Sheffield, England: JSOT, 1986.

This important work updates the books by William Ramsay on the historical, cultural, and archaeological background for the seven churches of Asia. Hemer attempts to relate all of this background to the text of Rev. 2 and 3. Perhaps he goes too far in places, but his work is helpful nonetheless.

Hillyer, Norman. “‘The Lamb’ in the Apocalypse.” Evangelical Quarterly 39 (1967):228–236.

Hurtado, Larry W. “Revelation 4–5 in the Light of Jewish Apocalyptic Analogies.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 25 (1985): 105–124.

Keith, Michael. “The Bar-Code Beast.” Skeptical Inquirer 12, 2 (1988): 416–418.

Khn’g, Yeo Khiok. “Christ the End of History and the Hope of the Suffering: Revelation 5 in the Light of Pannenberg’s Christology.” Asia Journal of Theology 8 (1994): 308–334.

Marlin, J. T. The Seven Churches of Asia Minor. Duncan, OK: Williams, 1980.

This is a travel guide to the Seven Cities, with good maps, diagrams, and photographs. It also makes some spiritual applications.

McElwaine, Robert E. “MARK-OF-THE-BEA$T bar-code$/scanner$.” Posting on the Internet newsgroup alt.peace-corps, dated Feb. 24, 1993.

McKnight, W. J. “The Letter to the Laodiceans.” Biblical Review 16 (1931): 519–535.

Meinardes, Otto F. St. John of Patmos and the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse. Athens, Greece: Lycabettus, 1979.

This is a good tour guide for Patmos and the Seven Cities. It includes maps, diagrams, and photographs.

Metzger, Bruce M. Breaking the Code: Understanding the Book of Revelation. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1993.

This is an excellent and readable short book summarizing Metzger’s understanding of the Apocalypse. I like it so much that I have used it as a supplementary text when I taught Revelation as a university course. In this book, Metzger does not assume that you know Hebrew and Greek.

Mounce, Robert H. “The Christology of the Apocalypse.” Foundations 11 (1969): 42–45.

Moyise, Steve. The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic, 1995.

Moyise devotes a chapter each to Revelation’s use of Ezekiel and Daniel. His conclusion is noteworthy: Revelation employs the imagery and often even the wording of the Hebrew Bible, through it also transforms the meaning behind the images and the words.

Paher, Stanley W. Identity of Babylon and the Dating of the Book of Revelation. Las Vegas, NV: Nevada Publications, 1997.

Paher argues in favor of an early dating for the writing of Revelation and favors an amillennial, preterist interpretation applied to the destruction of Jerusalem. His forté is in providing historical background.

Pate, C. Marvin, ed. Four Views on the Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998.

Pate provides us with a good resource for comparing competing and often contradictory interpretations. Keep hermeneutics in mind as you read this and similar books.

Ramsay, William M. The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia, and Their Place in the Plan of the Apocalypse. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1904. Reprint: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1963.

Ramsay was a classical scholar who spent his academic holidays exploring Turkey and Greece to gain insight into the biblical text. His book is good for cultural and geographical background for the Seven Churches, but it is out of date. Much archaeological work on this area has been done since Ramsay’s time. Use this along with Yamauchi and Hemer’s more recent books.

Reader, William W. “The Twelve Jewels of Revelation 21:19–20: Tradition, History, and Modern Interpretations.” Journal of Biblical Literature 100 (1981): 433–457.

Reader examines the three major lines scholars have followed to explain the meaning of the precious stones listed as part of the foundations of the New Jerusalem. Reader concludes that none of them adequately explains Revelation’s use of the stones, though he does suggest that its connotations must spring from Judaism. His article provides access to the many resources available for a thorough study of this perplexing passage.

Rowland, Christopher. “The Visions of God in Apocalyptic Literature.” Journal for the Study of Judaism 10 (1979): 137–154.

Sanders, Henry. “The Number of the Beast in Revelation.” Journal of Biblical Literature 37 (1918): 95–99.

Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church: Vol. 1: Apostolic Christianity, a.d. 1–100. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1910. Reprint: Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1988.

Schaff has an excellent discussion of 666.

Stauffer, Ethelbert. “666 (Apoc. 13,18),” 237-241 in Coniectanea Neotestamentica. Lund: Gleerup, 1947.

Stauffer’s suggestion that 666 represents the numerical values of the inscribed abbreviations on a coin of Domitian. Each of the abbreviations in Stauffer’s proposed inscription is attested on surviving coins of Domitian. The required combination of all of them on one coin, however, has not yet been discovered.

Stone, Tom. Patmos. Athens, Greece: Lycabettus, 1981.

This is another tour guide of Patmos, featuring the history, maps, diagrams, and photographs. Stone goes into more depth about Patmos than Meinardes does.

Stott, John. What Christ Thinks of the Church: Insights from Revelation 2 and 3. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1972.

This is an eminently practical series of sermons on the Letters to the Seven Churches. Stott’s modern applications are a model of hermeneutics properly applied.

“The Number of the Beast.” Science Digest (July 1985): 66–67.

“The Unofficial 666 FAQ” website:

Thomas, Robert L. “The Chronological Interpretation of Revelation 2–3.” Bibliotheca Sacra 124, 4966 (Oct. 1967): 321–324.

Thomas shows how taking the Seven Churches of Asia as symbols of seven successive ages of church history has no foundation in the text and flies in the face of what is present in chapters 2–3 and elsewhere.

Thompson, Leonard L. The Book of Revelation: Apocalypse and Empire. Oxford: Oxford University, 1990.

Thompson takes a highly creative and original approach to the Apocalypse. His work on the history of Domitian’s reign is particularly valuable because it relies less on the contemporary historians Tacitus and Suetonius (biased against Domitian) and more on other evidence, such as inscriptions and official decrees from Domitian’s reign.

Trench, Richard Chevenix. Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia. 6th ed. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1897. Reprint: Minneapolis, MN: Klock & Klock, 1978.

Underwood, Dudley. Numerology, or What Pythagoras Wrought. Washington, D.C.: Mathematical Association of America, 1997.

Underwood provides us with a good discussion on 666, not as a biblical scholar or theologian but as a mathematician. Underwood also discusses the bar code as well as why the number 666 comes up so often in daily life. All of this and more constitutes his attempt to dispel superstition and quell fears.

Van Unnick, W. C. “Worthy is the Lamb”: The Background of Apoc 5,” 445–461 in Mélanges: Bibliques en hommage au R. P. Béda Rigaux. A Descamps and A. De Halleux, eds. Genbloux: Duculot, 1970.


Aldrich, Roy. “Can the End of the Age be Computed by the Day-Year Theory?” Bibliotheca Sacra 115, 458 (April 1958): 159–165.

Allis, Oswald T. Prophecy and the Church. Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1945.

Allis has provided an excellent critique of the hermeneutics of dispensationalism, especially its principle of literalness.

Barfield, Kenny. The Prophet Motive: Examining the Reliability of the Biblical Prophets. Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate, 1995.

Bass, Clarence. Backgrounds to Dispensationalism: Its Historical Genesis and Ecclesiastical Implications. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1960. Reprint: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1977.

This work demonstrates the relatively recent origins of dispensationalism and also clearly exposes its wrong assumptions and hermeneutical weaknesses. See my section on dispensationalism for frequent references to Bass.

Camp, Gregory S. Selling Fear: conspiracy theories and end-times paranoia. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1997.

Camp takes end-times teachers and various date-setters to task for irresponsibly exploiting latent fears about the future and ill-informed suspicions about hidden conspiracies. Camp is excellent for his historical survey of end-times teachers from World War II to the end of the Cold War.

Clouse, Robert G., ed. The Millennium: Four Views. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1977.

This is one of the best resources available for studying about the millennium, because you each hear an advocate of each position present his position, and then defend it against the responses of the other participants. The four views are presented by leading advocates of each: historic premillennialism – George Eldon Ladd, dispensational premillennialism – Herman A. Hoyt, postmillennialism – Loraine Boettner, and amillennialism – Anthony A. Hoekema.

Crenshaw, Curtis I., and Grover E. Gunn, III. Dispensationalism: Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow. Memphis, TN: Footstool, 1985. Reprint with minor changes, 1987.

As former dispensational premillennialists, Crenshaw and Gunn provide a careful and balanced refutation of the hermeneutics of the dispensational movement. Their book is an excellent resource for helping a dispensationalist to examine the weaknesses of the teaching and the strengths of its alternatives.

Crockett, William V., ed. Four Views on Hell. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992.

The four views are: purgatorial (Zachary Hayes), metaphorical (William V. Crockett), conditional (Clark W. Pinnock), and literal (John F. Walvoord). Following the presentation of each view, each of the other scholars offers a critique. This is perhaps the best book to read if you are interested in exploring the biblical teaching of the eternal fate of the wicked.

Crutchfield, Larry. Origins of Dispensationalism: The Darby Factor. New York: University Press of America, 1992.

Froom, Leroy E. The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers. Washington, D.C.: Review & Herald, 1966.

Froom has written perhaps the most extensive book in English on conditional immortality. He is presenting the understanding of most Seventh-Day Adventists.

Fudge, Edward. The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of Final Punishment. Fallbrook, CA: Verdict, 1982.

This is a carefully written and well-documented defense of conditional immortality and the ultimate annihilation of the wicked. His book has helped to reawaken interest in the eternal destiny of the wicked (see Robert A. Morey’s book, which attempts to answer Fudge’s arguments). Fudge is an elder in a church within the Restoration Movement.

Ha, Bank-Ik. “Rapture!” (pamphlet published by Taberah World Mission).

Hoekema, Anthony A. The Bible and the Future. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1979.

This is an excellent resource for evaluating the different views of the millennium. Hoekema himself is an amillennialist.

King, Max R., and Jim McGuiggan. The McGuiggan-King Debate (Jim McGuiggan – Lubbock, Texas, Max R. King – Waren, Ohio). Warren, OH: Parkman Road Church of Christ, [1975].

This discussion ranges over all of eschatology and much of the New Testament, not just the Book of Revelation. King believes that the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in a.d. 70 constitutes the second coming of Christ that nearly every book of the New Testament mentions in prospect. McGuiggan agrees with King that a.d. 70 was an important “coming” of Christ, but denies (I believe rightly) that it is the ultimate one. Their major point of difference involves the general resurrection. King claims that the resurrection is a symbol for the churhc’s escape from Jewish persecution, represented by the raising of the ‘body’ (referring to the church, not the physical corpse). McGuiggan argues that the raising and glorifying of the physical body is a sure and unconditional promise of God yet awaiting its fulfillment.

LaHaye, Tim. No Fear of the Storm. Portland, OR: Multnomah, [1992].

The author attempts to defend the dispensational (pre-tribulational) premillennial position, primarily against post-tribulational premillennialism. In the process of supporting a premillennial “rapture,” LaHaye fall into several hermeneutical fallacies.

LaHaye, Tim, and Jerry B. Jenkins. Are We Living in the End Times? Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1999.

This is the primary book to which I respond in the section, “Revelation and Fiction.” Because of their “Left Behind” novels, LaHaye and Jenkins have made a new generation familiar with the dispensational point of view. Unfortunately, however, their theology is riddled with hermeneutical errors.

Lindsey, Hal, with C. C. Carlson. The Late Great Planet Earth. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, [1970].

This is the tremendously popular and often inconsistent presentation of the dispensational viewpoint.

McCall, Thomas S., and Zola Levitt. Coming: The End! Russia and Israel in Prophecy. Chicago: Moody, 1992.

McCall and Levitt assume but do not attempt to prove the dispensational viewpoint.

McGuiggan, Jim. The Kingdom of God and the Planet Earth. Lubbock, TX: International Bible Resources, [1978].

McGuiggan wrote this book to answer Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth. He is very successful in pointing out holes in Lindsey’s reasoning and the inconsistencies in his interpretive methodology.

_________. The McGuiggan-King Debate (see under King, Max R.).

Morey, Robert A. Death and the Afterlife. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1984.

Takes Edward Fudge (see separate reference) to task for denying the traditional view of the eternal, conscious torment of the wicked. Read Morey for a good presentation of the traditional viewpoint.

Morris, Leon. Apocalyptic. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1972.

Morris provides an examination of the meaning of apocalyptic and its characteristics. He is careful to point out the similarities and dissimilarities between the Book of Revelation and other apocalyptic literature. For a more detailed treatment of this subject, but sadly lacking Morris’s conservative approach, see D. S. Russell.

Noē, John. The Apocalypse Conspiracy. Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1991.

Noē is by profession a corporate trainer, but he is also a careful student of biblical prophecy. His book sets out to debunk many of the popular, sensational approaches to Revelation and end-times prophecy. Chapters include: How You Can Be Raptured Right Now, Why You Won’t Find the Battle of Armageddon in the Middle East, and Why Seven Years Don’t Make a Week nor a Thousand Years a Millennium. I especially like his chapter entitled, Why You Won’t Find the New Jerusalem in the Middle East (he believes, as I do, that Revelation’s New Jerusalem is describing the church).

Richard R. Reiter, ed. The Rapture: Pre-, Mid-, or Post-Tribulational? Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984.

In this book, advocates of each of the premillennial positions—pre-tribulational (Paul D. Feinberg), mid-tribulational (Gleason L. Archer, Jr.), and post-tribulational (Douglas J. Moo)—presents his view, while the other two offer a short response.

Robertson, Pat. The End of the Age. Dallas, TX: Word, 1995.

Robertson’s novel plays out his understanding of Revelation: post-tribulational premillennialism (also called Chiliasm).

Russell, D. S. The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic: 200 b.c. – a.d. 100. Old Testament Library. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1964.

Russell provides a careful examination of Jewish apocalyptic literature, demonstrating the distinctive characteristics these documents share. The Book of Revelation fits into this category, but does not have all of the characteristics Russell delineates. See also Morris’s much more succinct treatment of the same subject.

Ryrie, Charles C. Dispensationalism Today. Chicago: Moody, [1965].

As one of the leading proponents of dispensational (pre-tribulational) premillennialism, Ryrie attempts to provide the hermeneutical and exegetical basis for this understanding.

Schmitt, John W., and J. Carl Laney. Messiah’s Coming Temple: Ezekiel’s Prophetic Vision of the Future Temple. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1997.

As dispensationalists, Schmitt and Laney are enthusiastic about the building of a third temple in Jerusalem. Their book is a detailed description of the temple of Ezekiel’s prophecy (which is considerably different from either Solomon’s or Herod’s), as well as a report of the movement among orthodox Jews to rebuild a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount. This book includes many diagrams as well as photographs of a scale model of Ezekiel’s temple one of the authors built with painstaking care.

Shank, Robert. Until: The Coming of the Messiah and His Kingdom. Springfield, MO: Westcott, 1982.

This is a scholarly presentation of the dispensational point of view. Shank, who left the Baptists to join the Restoration Movement, avoids the sensationalism and extremely literal positions of Hal Lindsey and others.

Tanner, J. Paul. “Daniel’s ‘King of the North’: Do we owe Russia an apology?” Journal of the Evangelical Society 35, 3 (September 1992): 315–328.

Walvoord, John F. Armageddon, Oil and the Middle East Crisis. Revised ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990.

Yamauchi, Edwin A. Foes from the Northern Frontier: Invading Hordes from the Russian Steppes. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1982.

This expert on the ancient Middle East provides a detailed discussion about what is known of “Gog,” “Meshech,” and “Tubal,” providing archaeological and historical settings for each and thereby refuting dispensational claims.

_________. “Meshech, Tubal, and Company: A Review Article.” Journal of Evangelical Theological Society 19, 3 (Summer 1976): 239–247.