Pros: Pertinent, Excellent resource, Well written, Understanding
Cons: Needs more readers!
Revelation, by H Ironside (2004)
This is part of an excellent series of Bible commentaries by Henry A Ironside, who was one of the great Bible teachers of the 20th century. The commentaries have been long out of print but have recently become available again through reprints from Kregel. Ironside's Bible commentaries span the entire New Testament and 24 books of the Old Testament.
This commentary on the Book of Revelation was first published in 1920 so it is almost 100 years old, yet Ironside had a level of insight that is refreshing to see. He says, this is the Revelation of Jesus Christ - just like it says in the first sentence. How many commentators have goofed up that point? If you have read any other commentaries, you will be refreshed by the common sense approach found in Ironside's narratives.
My own beliefs stemmed from a desire to know why I was. I was raised a Catholic and attended all the CCD classes up through high school, but early could sense that something was missing in the explanations I was offered. I began to read an old Bible that my mom had around the house; I was probably around age 10 or 12 when I first became interested enough to look into the matter.
In those days the Catholic Church did not emphasize Bible reading; they had missals - books with excerpts from the Bible that were read in the Mass, various prayers, etc. I don't know what else the missals had because that was years ago and I stopped being a devout Catholic when I read through that Bible and realized they had not told me of its importance.
The Bible claimed its own authority and warned the reader to let no man steal your crown. Rev 3.11. This indicated to me that the religious authorities I knew either withheld the truth or more likely that they didn't even know it. This realization was my unlocking or calling, if you will, to understand salvation; which is the great message of the Bible. Other passages led me to realize each believer is responsible for their own beliefs so I got reading.
The Bible is one of the most widely available books yet is one of the least understood. One of the most helpful means I've found of understanding the often confusing passages is the writings of Henry A Ironside.
Ironside points out the circular structure of the Bible starting with Genesis - the beginning and ending with Revelation - the book of last things. Genesis starts with Adam, the first man, and Revelation starts with Jesus Christ, the new man who will reign over a redeemed world.
Ironside also states that most of the happenings in Revelation are yet to come. The first few chapters refer to things past or present and the rest have not yet occurred. This short article cannot cover the teachings of this book but a few points include:
The Bible interprets itself. The Bible should be read as a whole and similar writings compared to gain deeper understanding. There are several passages that indicate this important principle, one of which is -
Isaiah 28:10 states" For precept must be upon precept... line upon line... here a little, and there a little" - this scripture indicates you must hunt around for similar scriptures and compare them coming to a fuller understanding as more bits are put together. A Bible Concordance, which lists all occurrences of various words and where they are found allows you to quickly make comparisons. It is a great help and would also be a good tool to write a review on.
Thus, every symbol in Revelation or any other book is described somewhere in the Bible itself. The Seven Spirits of the Lord, the Beast, the False Prophet, Babylon the Great, all are described elsewhere in scripture.
Another principle states that Biblical prophecy is not to be privately interpreted -
2 Peter 1:20 "... no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation." Nobody has any private or inside information other than what is in the Bible itself. The Bible claims its own authority. You should not heed somebody who claims to have hidden information. Alert study of the various books of the Bible using your own eyes and brain will yield its fruit in enhancing your understanding of the other parts.
The Ironside Commentary on Revelation is hard cover and consists of 210 pages of text. If you are interested in the meaning of the Bible, I recommend a commentary by Ironside as an excellent resource to build your understanding.