Testimony of Jesus Christ, Vols 1 & 2: A Commentary on the Book
By Tony Garland (Camano Island, WA: SpiritAndTruth.org, 2004), 1150 pp., $61.00
This commentary set on the Book of Revelation is one of the finest on the market today. Although it originally came out in 2004, it has been updated as recently as 2006. Garland holds degrees from Louisiana Baptist University and Tyndale Seminary. He administers the website SpiritAndTruth.org. There is an online course which corresponds to the set.
The work opens with a 145-page Introduction containing a huge amount of significant information. It covers topics such as Audience and Purpose, Theme, Genre, Authorship, Date, Systems of Interpretation, and Acceptance into the Canon, among others. For Revelation in particular this information is especially helpful.
Garland than launches into a verse-by-verse and phrase-by-phrase examination of the Apocalypse. The books are somewhat technical but one does not have to be a master of Greek in order to benefit from them. The average Christian will be able to glean much from the two volumes.
Some specifics will follow. The author comes to the conclusion that the 'angel of the church' (Rev. 1:20, etc.) is a human leader or messenger of the churches in that region. The 'overcomers' (2:7, etc.) are not special Christians but true Christians among all those claiming to be the church (p. 2:345). Revelation 4:1 cannot be unquestionably a reference to the Rapture but it very likely is a type of it (p. 1:285-86). The two witnesses may be Moses and Elijah yet other suggestions are described.
This set is very useful because of its various features. As just noted, different viewpoints are explained and evaluated. It is liberally sprinkled with charts and black-and-white pictures. In addition to the information presented in the introduction, the second volume concludes with nineteen appendices (the Beast, the Book of Life, Armageddon, Marriage of the Lamb, the Nicolaitans, etc.). Best of all, Garland writes from a premillennial, pretribulational point of view. A Testimony of Jesus Christ should be found on the bookshelf of every believer.
-- Journal of Dispensational Theology, December 2007
Reviewed by Charles Ray