Christianity insists that the events of history are not the random effects of chaos; God’s invisible hand is guiding the ages toward a definite goal—a new heaven and new earth. Eschatology—the study of the end times—is largely concerned with future events, but it’s profoundly practical for the here and now. Eschatology reminds us that the conflicts of this age will one day pass away, and that in Christ, God is indeed making all things new (Rev 21:5).
Pastors and other Christians often turn to the books of Daniel and Revelation to understand what the Bible teaches about the end times. There are scores of interpretations to these important books, and none of them are without controversy. It’s easy to become so focused on decoding the meaning of the books’ startling imagery that we forget the essential hopefulness of the prophets’ messages. Thankfully, Christians have been exploring these biblical books for thousands of years. Solid biblical resources from a variety of viewpoints can provide sure theological footing in a treacherous interpretive landscape.
We’ve pulled together over 100 resources on eschatology to help you navigate the complexities of eschatological interpretation. Today we’re highlighting four of the best commentaries on Daniel and Revelation featured during this special event.
Stephen Miller’s entry in the New American Commentary series is one of the highest-rated commentaries on Daniel featured on BestCommentaries.com. Miller takes a premillennial approach to Daniel, but readers across the interpretive spectrum have appreciated his analysis; he offers practical application and devotional insight that’s great for sermon prep and personal study. His commentary has even been praised for being an enjoyable cover-to-cover read—no mean feat for a work as scholarly as this one. Miller takes a historical view of the interpretation of Daniel’s visions, and his analysis of those passages are helpful introductions to the dispensational perspective on the book of Daniel.
For a more academic and technical take on Daniel, James Montgomery’s classic commentary is a great choice. Part of the acclaimed International Critical Commentary series, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Daniel includes a detailed history of interpretation of this biblical book—perfect if you’re still orienting yourself to the range of viewpoints. Montgomery spends ample time in the original languages, so you’ll find this commentary most helpful if you have at least a basic understanding of Hebrew. Though first published in 1927, this commentary remains one of the most quoted commentaries on the book of Daniel and is considered a standard work for scholarly study.
Oftentimes, the first question people ask when looking for a commentary on Revelation is, “What is the the author’s viewpoint on the millennium? Amillennial? Postmillennial? Premillennial?” To a certain extent, those classifications are helpful, but Eugene Boring, the author of the Interpretation commentary on Revelation, finds that too often such labels limit our ability to enter into the original context of the book of Revelation. In an interview with the journal Leaven, Boring said:
Rather than asking whether on the basis of Revelation we should be pre-, post- or amillennial, one might better ponder what John wants to say to us by picturing a world that finally gets to be devil-free, by picturing this worldly redemption before picturing the new heaven and new earth, by pondering why he limits participation in the thousand years to those who had been beheaded, and other such questions.
Boring applies this principle to his commentary, providing a thoroughgoing analysis of the cultural context, historical situation, and significance of Revelation to John’s original audience. The result is a highly practical, devotional work that helps you look at Revelation with fresh eyes.
Choose this resource if you’re looking for a comprehensive, highly readable, and academically rigorous commentary on Revelation. The Anchor Yale Bible series has been a mainstay of serious biblical scholarship for years, and Craig Koester’s analysis of Revelation lives up to the standard of the series. The range of interpretations of Revelation is even more daunting than that of the book of Daniel, but Koester summarizes them clearly and fairly, giving you a strong starting point for your study.
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