CHARTS ON THE BOOK OF REVELATION: Literary, Historical, and Theological Perspectives. By Mark Wilson.
CHARTS ON THE BOOK OF REVELATION: Literary, Historical, and Theological Perspectives. By Mark Wilson. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2007. 136 pages. Paper. $21.99.
Reviewed by Dr. Joel Heck, Concordia University, Austin, Texas
Mark Wilson, director of the Asia Minor Research Center in Izmir, Turkey, has compiled seventy-nine charts that relate to the book of Revelation, garnering endorsements from a variety of New Testament scholars, including University of St. Andrews professor Richard Bauckham, Yale professor Adela Yarbro Collins, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School professor Grant Osborne. Asbury Theological Seminary professor Ben Witherington III has written, “I know of no better collection of materials that illuminates Revelation than these resources.”
Most people will want to know the bias of the author/compiler, and probably no chart demonstrates Wilson’s position better than chart 64: “Interpretations of the 1,000 Years from Revelation 20:1-6.” He charts five positions, preferring none to the others, at least not in this book: Historic Premillenialism, Dispensational Premillenialism, Postmillenialism, Amillenialism, and Messianic Age. His nineteenth chart, “Theories of Interpretation of Revelation,” also shows his attempt to take no stand in this work on the hermeneutical question. Readers who want to know more about Wilson’s own seemingly balanced position can read his article on “Revelation” in the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentary, 2002.
All of the expected topics are addressed, from the symbols and numbers in Revelation to the varying views of the rapture, but one will also find many unexpected topics, such as “Figures of Speech in Revelation,” “Five Senses in Revelation” (i.e. sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste), and “Identification of the Four Living Creatures with the Gospels.”
The book closes with five maps: (1) Map of Roman Province of Asia, (2) Map of Imperial Cult Temples of Asia Minor, (3) Map of the Myth of Nero Redivivus, or Nero Redux, (4) Map of Rome: City of Seven Hills, and (5) Map of Trade in the Roman Empire. The sources of each chart are described in a final “appendix,” indicating that his published doctoral research (A Pie in a Very Bleak Sky?), an extensive bibliography, and much study of the text of Revelation in both Greek and English are the bases for his charts. In my opinion, people of any particular commitment on the interpretation of Revelation will find useful information in this book. If you have an interest in Revelation, you should have this book.