As I was setting out to begin a new Sunday school series on The Revelation of Jesus Christ, I realized how important it would be for me to have a copy of Dr. John Walvoord’s commentary in my possession. The former president of Dallas Theological Seminary (he retired in 1986) had dedicated over seventy years of his life expositing the Bible—and named Revelation as one of his most labor-intensive studies.
Walvoord’s original commentary on this book was published in 1966. Dr. Jim Rosscup (The Master’s Seminary Faculty Associate Emeritus) writes in his excellent guide Commentaries for Biblical Expositors that it is “the best broad dispensational work to appear in recent years” (350). I wholeheartedly agree, and not simply because we are both Pre-Mil Futurists. There is much that has been jam-packed into this work. Walvoord makes great use of a wide range of resources, often quoting from men who differed with his own interpretations.
What a thrill it was to learn that Moody Publishers had decided to pick up this commentary again (they were “Moody Press” at the time) and republish it as part of a new series: The John Walvoord Prophecy Commentaries. Revelation, along with Daniel, Matthew, and 1-2 Thessalonians are all available for purchase.
His son John Edward Walvoord gives us a glimpse into his father’s dream in the foreword:
In the last few weeks before my father died we had time to celebrate his life, tell stories about past events, and dream a little about the future… His dream in those final conversations was that his work and biblical insights would live on after him. He remembered how the commentaries and works of some of the great teachers of the Bible lived on for generation after generation. Would his commentaries survive to teach others after his death? …almost a decade after my father’s death, his legacy will live on in this new series of biblical commentaries. I am sure he would have been proud of the men who have taken up his torch and are passing it on to a new generation of Bible students. As a great man of “The Book,” my father is greater still because those who follow in his footsteps remain true to his vision and faithful to the exposition of God’s Word.
Last week I sat down and read through the first 100 pages. His insights on the messages to the seven churches were insightful and instructive. Specifically, Walvoord took the time to describe how “many Bible teachers also believe the conditions in these seven churches represent the chronological development of church history viewed spiritually” (52). While I don’t land there, I loved reading about it.
If you are looking for a strong, literal, and concise commentary on the book of Revelation, may I recommend two: John MacArthur’s Because the Time is Near and this helpful edition from Walvoord. I plan to make good use of it in my personal studies.