A Gospel Pageant: A Reader’s Guide to the Book of Revelation (Review)

Published: RTR 74, no. 2, 2015

A Gospel Pageant: A Reader’s Guide to the Book of Revelation

Allan Chapple, Preston, Vic: Mosaic Press, 2013. 89pp isbn 9781742340120

Can the whole of Revelation be explained in a small booklet? Chapple gives a guidebook to the ‘big picture’, with the aim of getting ‘Revelation back into our lives’ (p. 5). There is no formal, biblical introduction (will readers be disorientated?). The notoriously difficult question of structure is not initially raised (but see p. 24), but divisions are made thus: Rev 1:1 – 3:22; 4:1 –7:17; 8:1 –11:18; 11:19 – 15:4; 15:5 – 19:10; 19:11 – 22:21. The sections are titled: ‘Stop, look and listen!’; ‘The heavenly perspective’; ‘For all nations’; ‘The war of the trinities’; ‘The tale of two cities – part one’; ‘The tale of two cities – part two’. These are ‘gospel pageants’, implying recapitulation (cf. Hendriksen, who has seven sections), which is explained half-way through the booklet (p. 41, in terms of a printer laying down one colour at a time). One might infer a preterist view from the word, ‘Gospel’, in the title (looking back to Christ and the apostles), but it is idealist—judgements poured out across the Church age (the millennium), etc. The booklet covers much ground, and necessarily leaves more to be explored. As pre-reading for bible study groups or certificate level students, it would generate focussed, intelligent discussion.