TC is doing a series of posts on why he’s no longer in the dispensational camp. I can agree with him on many points. I came across J. Ramsey Michaels’ IVP commentary on the book of Revelation over at the IVP Website and really appreciated the publisher’s blurb about his commentary which reads:
Interpretations of the book of Revelation are numerous and varied. The preterist view focuses on first-century social analysis of John’s environment. The church-historical view sees the Revelation as a prophetic survey of the history of the church. The futurist view sees the book as a precise prediction of unfolding events in the yet-to-come end of the world.
The trouble with all three, argues J. Ramsey Michaels, is that they make the Revelation of John irrelevant to Christians throughout much of history. Failing to take seriously what John saw, such interpreters do not comprehend the value of the Revelation to Christians in any age. Michaels strives to recapture the Revelation as a prophetic letter of testimony, a testimony as relevant to today’s church as it was to John’s as it faces evil and looks for the victory of the Lamb.
Now, I haven’t read this commentary but I like the gist of it. I think this is it. This is a big reason why like TC, I am done with dispensationalism – in the overall scheme of things it misses the point and that by a mile! The Revelation isn’t about desciphering when the end of the world will come or how; it’s not a road map to end times; it’s not future, preterist, history and all that, but instead it is about the hope of God’s presence with us in the midst of suffering and persecution. I think a key verse in the Revelation is 1:9 where John says in part:
9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
or Revelation 14:12 where it reads:
12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.
Seen through this situation I think the Book of Revelation becomes much more readable and understandable and relevant in the life of the church than when it is distorted into some effort to soley discern the future.