My book is a new interpretation of Revelation in
which I view the visions from a different perspective than most other
authors. I found a clue to interpret many of the visions from J.
Massyngberde Ford in the Anchor Bible Series. Ford stated that many
biblical scholars believe some visions came from the preaching of John
the Baptist. Ford reviewed the evidence showing which visions came from
John the Baptist. If true, then the early visions are the Baptist´s
announcement that the Messiah has arrived and the Baptist´s warnings
what would happen should his listeners not accept the Messiah and oppose
Some scholars claim that the earliest visions
(Chapters four through eleven), were preached for about thirty years. A
Christian disciple of John the Baptist revised and added more visions
just before A.D. 66. Finally in A.D. 96, John the Evangelist added the
letters to the churches and made the final redaction that we have today.
This caught my imagination. If many visions
originated with John the Baptist warning the Judeans, then our
perception of the historical events predicted by the visions would shift
from modern times to a much earlier period.
All commentaries interpret Revelation from a
futurist, preterist, spiritual, or allegorical viewpoint. In addition,
they also view the visions from a premillennial, postmillennial, or
amillennial perspective. Plus the author´s own Christian faith
influences what he thinks. This triple layer of conflicting viewpoints
results in widespread disagreement on any concrete historical events
that might have been predicted by the visions.
This frustrates the average reader, who then picks an
interpretation that appeals to him based on what he sees happening
today. The result is that futurist, premillennial interpretations are
the most popular and the most widely read commentaries.
I show that Judea suffered a terrible tribulation through the four winds
and three woes. I show that the four winds compare very well with
historical events between the crucifixion of Christ and late A.D. 66,
when Vespasian conquered all Judea except Jerusalem.
The Judeans trapped in Jerusalem suffered even more
acutely during the first woe when their three-year civil war destroyed
all the stored food in Jerusalem, stripping them of their sustenance,
just like a plague of locusts would. Disaster came during the second woe
when Titus reinforced the Roman army with local allies. In A.D. 70, this
army brutally conquered the starving people. The soldiers demolished the
Temple and most of Jerusalem.
The third woe destroys Judea as an independent nation
when Bar Kochba leads the Judeans to total defeat and exile. I provide
more information about Bar Kochba and the war of A.D. 131-5 than any
other book interpreting Revelation.
All of this is so harsh on Judea that, before I
discuss the third woe, I try to get the reader to view Jerusalem through
the eyes of history. I then describe seven important historical events
that occurred on Mount Moriah, including the restoration of Israel, as
God promised through Old Testament prophets.
My book then describes how the Judeans who survived
Jerusalem´s destruction (the second woe) rebuild their nation over the
next sixty years. While they are rebuilding their nation, Christianity
spreads. The unbelieving Judeans once again try eradicating
Christianity. At the same time, they accept someone who, in his own
name, claimed to be the Messiah.
Under his, Bar Kochba´s, leadership, the Judeans ,
with 400,000 fighting men, defeat two Roman legions, liberate Palestine,
and establish a fully-independent Judean commonwealth.
Rome sends Septimus Severus to reconquer Judea.
Severus destroys every fort and city that harbors Judean fighting men.
Severus defeats the last remnant at Bethar. The dead are left to rot
unburied, most survivors flee or are forcibly deported. Other peoples
immigrate to occupy the land. A temple to Jupiter rises where the
Israelite Temple once stood. Jerusalem is renamed “Aelia Capitolina” in
honor of Hadrian and Jupiter. So total is this defeat that, even as late
as 1856, only 10,500 Jews reside in all of Palestine (Harel, p. 147).
My book shows, in detail, (with long quotes from
original sources) historical events that match Revelation 4 through 16,
bringing the unbelieving Judeans into a condition where they no longer
can frustrate the mission of the promised one. Judea then enters the
“times of the Gentiles” until, as I outline in my book, the Jewish
nation is restored.
Are we now approaching the end of the “times of the Gentiles?” I wonder
if the Gentile nations will be any more accepting of Christ when Christ
comes the second time as the unbelieving Judeans were when Christ came
the first time.
My last chapter presents an overview of previous
I review many interpretations and many cults and
sects that have derived from various interpretations of Revelation. I
start with Victorinus, Tyconius, and Saint Augustine. Augustine
interpreted Revelation in his City of God. I go on to Joachim of Fiore
and to Martin Luther, who wrote two interpretations of Revelation.
I continue with a review of 19th century
interpretations: Adam Clarke, J. G. Wetstein, and Fr. Leo G. Haydock. I
also describe 19th century millennial movements like the Mormons, the
Millerites, the Seventh Day Adventists, and Jehovah´s Witnesses. I
reviewed Babylon the Great has Fallen, an interpretation by Jehovah´s
I continue with 20th century interpretations by
Catholic and non-Catholic authors: Robert Baldwin, William Barclay,
Adela Collins, Billy Graham, Richard Jeske, Alan Johnson, Tim LeHaye,
Hal Lindsey, H. M. Morris, Robert Mounce, Pheme Perkims, Patrick K.
Sena, and Fr. John Tickle, to name a few. I finished researching my
manuscript in the mid-eighties. I noticed that, from 1970 to the 1990´s,
at least forty more commentaries have been published. This shows the
average reader´s enormous interest in this subject. It also shows that,
after so many conflicting interpretations, no one has come up with a
believable idea of what might have been the original intent of
I reviewed the interpretation of David Chilton and an
interpretation of the signs contained in Fr. Stefano Gobbi´s book about
locutions he claims to have received from the Mother of Jesus. I also
comment on an Islamic interpretation and secular interpretations by D.
H. Lawrence, Carl G. Jung, and Edgar Cayce.
I tried to present a scholarly and thorough overview
of all these interpretations. Many references show my source materials.
I make my observations in a fair-minded, unbiased fashion.
I am the only author that shows, in depth, that
Revelation can be interpreted in view of first and second century
events. I am the only author to describe the early war with Rome in A.D.
60 to 66 and the final war in A.D. 131 to 135.
I am the only author to outline the history of Israel
and Judea before Christ and the demise of Judea after Christ. I am the
only author to outline the history of the Church before, during, and
after the Reformation. I am the only author to show how the Jewish
people, after seemingly total destruction, came back to their ancestral
homeland, and, unparalleled in history, resurrected their original
language that was already a dead language during Christ´s time.
I am the only author to outline the growth of Islam
to show that all the descendants of Abraham eventually came to worship
the God Abraham worshipped. I am the only author who prepared an
easy-to-read, sensible, and logical linking of Revelation to the
preaching of John the Baptist.
Maurice A. Williams