It’s great when a first rank scholar tackles a New Testament document, say Romans or in this case, Revelation, the Apocalypse.
Okay, let me get right to it. In his new commentary on the book of Revelation, John’s Apocalypse, Gordon Fee says a word or two about interpretation, which includes the oft used “the analogy of Scripture” principle when tackling the John’s Apocalypse, the book of Revelation:
“Furthermore, one must be careful in this case about using the concept of “the analogy of Scripure” (=Scripture should be interpreted in light of other Scripture). This is indeed a valid principle; but in the case of John’s Apocalypse the other Scripture is almost always other eschatological passages, which themselves are often interpreted poorly. One must always be aware that John does what other apocalyptists did: he reinterpreted earlier images so that they have new meaning, precisely because in John’s case he is also speaking as a Christian prophet.” (Revelation, p. xxi)
Before coming to the above passage (which is the above quote) Fee notes how many of his students had “to shed some lamentable readings they have brought to the text” [Revelation]. Then he adds this about the interpreters of the more popular stuff on Revelation: “Such interpreters usually begin with a previously worked out eschatological scheme that they bring to the text, a scheme into which they then spend an extraordinary amount of energy trying to make everything in the text fit, and which they then attempt to defend, but with very little sucess” (p. xx).
Of course by “popular stuff” Fee has in mind works of Dispensationalists, as is suggested by his mention Hal Lindsay’s The Late Great Planet Earth in the Preface (p. 1x).
So it’s with great excitement I’m sitting at the feet of Gordon Fee—willing to rethink—as I plow through his commentary on John’s Apocalypse, the book of Revelation.