A Simple Guide to the Book of Revelation

Foreword by Jon Paulien

For a Seventh-day Adventist pastor, elder, deacon, or Sabbath School teacher, teaching Revelation is a staple of ministry—or at least it ought to be, considering the mission given to Seventh-day Adventists in Revelation 10. I grew up listening to standard Adventist Revelation meetings, but I had a problem: I could never keep everything straight. I was constantly re-learning the same symbols again and again in an abstract way, only to forget or confuse them with other symbols. Therefore, when it was time for me to start teaching, I recognized that I did not truly understand Revelation for myself. And, of course, teaching what you do not understand well is not only difficult but hypocritical as well. So I realized that I must embark on my own journey to really learn Revelation for myself—in a way that I could remember it.

I set myself several parameters for the journey:

1. Ignore history. Because I had grown up learning the interpretation of Revelation’s symbols in terms of historical fulfillment, I decided to save historical fulfillments for the very end of the study, thus ensuring that my interpretation arose only out of the Bible.

2. Do not use Ellen G. White’s writings. Even though I consider White’s writings to be inspired, I decided not to use them so that I could teach Revelation from the Bible alone to those who do not acknowledge her prophetic gift.

3. Work through the entire book phrase by phrase. Requiring myself to search for the significance of every word ensured that I did not miss or skip over any detail.

4. Explain Revelation in simple terms. I wanted to be able to explain the material in a way that anyone with basic biblical literacy could understand and use it in his or her own study and teaching.

After a number of years of work and testing on my church members, A Simple Guide to the Book of Revelation was born—a verse-by-verse, phrase-by-phrase expedition through the book of Revelation. Unlike a technical commentary, this is a book you can simply read through. And since it is arranged to follow Revelation by chapter and verse, you can also use it as a reference book when you need to look up a specific passage.

The first thing people comment on when opening the book is the format, which is clean and easy to read, compared to the complicated format of many commentary-style books. In fact, Dr. Jon Paulien, dean of the Loma Linda University School of Religion, who kindly wrote the foreword for the book, said he liked the format so much that he is considering using the same style for a book he is writing on the same subject.

In the book, each verse is broken into phrases and explored. For example, the whole verse of Revelation 1:1 is written at the beginning of the section, then the first phrase, “The revelation of Jesus Christ,” is explored in detail. The next phrase, “which God gave him,” is explored next, followed by, “to show his servants what must soon take place.” Every phrase, and sometimes a single word, if necessary, is explored in detail, with particular attention being paid to how the Bible itself leads us to a correct understanding of the phrase.

As a bonus, the last chapter of the book briefly summarizes the entire study. And finally, the last page features a timeline of the book of Revelation, to help you keep the events straight in broad and general terms.

A Simple Guide to the Book of Revelation has recently been released and is available at the lowest price from Skapto.org or by calling (240) 381-4513 to order. The book is also available at many Adventist Book Centers around the United States and online from Amazon.com. Internationally, the book is available in English in digital format from Skapto.org or through Amazon.com and Apple’s Book Store.

Jeff Scoggins is Global Mission Planning Director at the General Conference World Headquarters in Silver Spring, MD, USA.