Revelation resources -- Revelation and its eschatology

Most recent revision May 26th, 2002

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Description: This page provides references to the topic Revelation and its eschatology, although there is a specialised page on the millennium topic. Included will be scholarly research on the use of eschatological terms and concepts. As I have seen some not especially scholarly treatments of the relationship between the content of Revelation and contemporary churches or theological views, I reserve the right to modify this description in order to exlude any such discussions. This does not, of course, apply to strictly scholarly research on the history of such phenomena (May 19th, 2002)


Eschatology – the teaching on the Second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and the Last Judgment – plays a major role in the interpretation of Revelation, either positively as a specific and usually central topic or negatively in that it is denied that it plays a major role. There is no agreement, however, as to the precise role it plays.
     In the chiliastic and premillennial interpretations the parousia is conceived of as the event which initiated the millennium. Consequently, a considerable time span passes between the parousia and the Last Judgment.
     In the church-historical (e.g., Luther) and the postmillennial interpretation the parousia closes the millennial period. While it was Luther's firm conviction that the parousia was imminent, among other things because the Turks was attacking Christianity and because of the Papacy's vehement opposition to the Gospel, modern postmillennial theologians believe that the pessimism of premilennialism is totally wrong. Instead, they are convinced that the millennium is a blissful period brought force by the Gospel and the Christians' activities which will increasinly permeate society. It will be concluded by the parousia.
      The various types of contemporary-historical interpretations usually accept that at least some passages refer to the parousia. However, a number of scholars from the 19th and the end of the 20th Century argue that the coming of Christ to which Revelation refers is not the parousia, but rather a coming of Christ against Jerusalem in AD 70.
      The idealistic or existentialistic interpretation is also eschatological, but in a sense which is quite different. Although it employs the same terms to a considerable degree (see, e.g., Lohmeyer's commentary from 1926/1953), it is often difficult to determine whether the conceptual content has been been changed. This elusiveness is in my view not coincidentanl, but reflects either a certain uneasiness about a traditional Christian interpretation of eschatology (as expressed, e.g., in the Apostolic and Lutheran Creeds) or perhaps about a millennial interpretation.
      However, some recent interpretive approaches do not fit easily into the aforementioned categories. Feministic interpretations may serve as an example.

The chronology and conceptualisation of the parousia

Adamsen, Georg Stubkjśr: Parousia and Pareneses: The Parousia Motif and Its Paraenetic Use in the Book of Revelation. Unpublished doctoral dissertation submitted to the Norwegian Lutheran School of Theology in Oslo, Norway. October 2001. xi + 369 pp.

This thesis analyses the parousia concept, including the chronological issues. It argues that Revelation portrays not only the parouisa of Christ, but also of God. The parousian Christ is the coming of the divine Warrior-Judge and Bridegroom, which explains the pervasive use of judicial, martial, and love language. For a more detailed presentantion, see the author's abstract at this site. (May 19th, 2002)

Hutchison, Dennis A. "The Nature of Christ's Comings in Revelation 2--3." Th.D.-dissertation, Grace Theological Seminary, 1986.

This unpublished thesis is primarily concerned with the analysis of the chronological aspect of Christ's coming in Revelation 2--3. Hutchison argues that the context, e.g. the rewards, strongly suggests an eschatological interpretation. This thesis seems to be the first monograph devoted specifically to this issue. (May 19th, 2002)

The chronology and conceptualisation of the judgments

McCormack, Philip. "The Nature of Judgment in the Book of the Revelation." D.Phil.-thesis, Queen's University of Belfast, 2001. 272 pp.

McCormack argues that the nature of judgment in Revelation is primarily punitive upon the unregenerate at the eschaton. A similar conclusion has been reached independently by Georg S. Adamsen (see above). For a more detailed presentantion, see the author's abstract at this site. (May 19th, 2002)

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© 1996-2002 Georg S. Adamsen Opdateret d. 26.5.2002