Behold, He Cometh! An Exposition of the Book of Revelation by Herman Hoeksema. 772 pp. Hdbk. $32.
Reformed Free Publishing Association
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Many of our readers probably have the book Behold, He Cometh! An Exposition of the Book of Revelation on a shelf in their homes. If you have not yet read it, you do not realize what a gem has been sitting there collecting dust. We can be very thankful for the work of the Reformed Free Publishing Association who have provided this gem, as well as many others for our homes. These books have been reviewed in our own Protestant Reformed publications, as well as others around the world. Sometimes it is when others desire what we have right under our nose, that we take renewed interest in what we have. Perhaps the following reviews will inspire you to take up Behold He Cometh for another read, or for the first time.
Review in Peace and Truth: 2001 #4 (magazine of the Sovereign Grace Union)
Sovereign Grace Union
5 Rosier Crescent
Derbyshire DE55 1RS
This commentary, preached before it was published, is too significant to be skimped over in review. It is the best work on Revelation known to this reviewer (bearing in mind the excellent works of Hengstenberg, Durham and Hendriksen, to name no others). This is not surprising, as its author spared no pains in prayer and study to ascertain the mind of the Spirit from it without imposing on it such ridiculous and far-fetched schemes of prophecy as some have devised. Its 53 short chapters give it an essay form, rather than a verse-by-verse commentary. Its lucid, simple style is admirably calculated to demonstrate just how perfectly the message of this final book of the canon accords with everything else in Holy Scripture. Its author, a redoubtable theologian in his own right—see his Triple Knowledge (already available) and his Reformed Dogmatics (to be published, DV, in 2002)—expressly eschews every attempt to satisfy the itching ears of those who make the study of this wonderful book a hobby. Instead, he is determined that his readers grasp the key to it; namely, that Christ as sovereign will irresistibly establish His Father’s kingdom on the ruins of the kingdom of Antichrist and Satan. This will be to the unspeakable comfort of all who suffer for Jesus’ sake. Accordingly, Hoeksema wastes no time in what the ponderous John Owen calls Prolegomena, discussing such matters as authorship, dating, textual accuracy, etc. Since “the canonicity of the book does not depend on the apostolic authorship,” his main concern is to elucidate and apply its message.
In so doing, Hoeksema rejects the view that Revelation’s various visions refer to distinct historical persons and/or events. Rather, they apply to the entire history of the present Gospel dispensation. For whatever their symbolism, they all enshrine the principle of world conflict between the forces of Antichrist and those of Christ, both earthly and spiritual. (Accordingly, such notable figures as Napoleon and Hitler are to be seen as examples of the principle of opposition to the kingdom of God, rather than as persons cryptically referred to in the text. Similarly, the Dark Ages and the Reformation are to be viewed as typical periods covered by the symbolism, rather than specific movements darkly alluded to.)
In interpreting the symbolism, the author is refreshingly sane. So much so that after reading his explanations one wonders why they were not obvious before. The lukewarm water, the hidden manna, the white stone, the new name, the four horsemen, the 144,000, are all made as clear as crystal. Everything falls into place, once the ultimate purpose of God in giving the original promise of Christ in Genesis 3:15 is known.
With all glory being given to God alone for both the destruction of His enemies and the salvation of His people, not the slightest doubt remains as to the ultimate outcome: it is Victory for the Lamb that was slain, who is now in the midst of the throne. Hoeksema’s treatment of the Final Judgment of the ungodly and the blessedness of the New Jerusalem is a joy to read. May this superb work goad us to long, pray and work for the second coming of our savior, when the cosmic conflict shall end, when Christ shall yield up the kingdom to His Father, and God shall be all and in all.
Reviewed by Rev. Jerome Julien (Stated Clerk for URC) in The Outlook (devoted to the exposition & defense of the Reformed Faith) June 2002.
Address of Publication:
Editor Rev. Wybren Oord
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When this book first appeared in 1969 Dr. William Hendriksen, renowned amillennial expositor of the Book of Revelation and minister in the Christian Reformed Church wrote in a review that appeared in The Banner: “The treatment of the text is definitely Reformed in character in that it always ascribes all the glory to God and traces his way in history… I warmly recommend the book.”
With its republication, the text has not changed. It is the same book we have been using through the last thirty-three years. What makes it different—and more usable—is the addition of forty-four pages of indices: Scripture and subjects.
First, for those not acquainted with this fine volume, here is a bit of background. Rev. Hoeksema preached through the Book of Revelation twice in his ministry, once soon after World War I and the second time during World War II, the latter time to very large crowds of hearers. The series of messages in this volume—fifty-three in number—thoroughly expounds the comforting truth in this last book of the Bible. At one time, these appeared as articles in The Standard Bearer. The approach to the Bible text is clearly amillennial. A student of the Book of Revelation can hardly do better than this!
The new feature of the book—new in this edition, is the index. This is a very fine and valuable addition, one that will be of great help to anyone who studies this last book of Scripture. Actually, there are two indices, one of Scripture texts referred to in the exposition, and one listing the many subjects discussed. Such a large and complete volume is not useful without this kind of index. Numerology is central in the symbolism found in Revelation. The index shows clearly where there are discussions of the numbers used by inspiration. Other very important imagery used, and the continual references to the Old Testament, are listed in the indices.
If you have an interest in studying this comforting and timely book (and every believer should), by all means get a copy of it. It’s more than worth the trip to the bookstore! The words of Hendriksen still ring from this reviewer: “I warmly recommend the book.”