Gale, Stanley D. Re: velation: Seeing Jesus, Seeing Self, Standing Firm. Reformation Heritage Books, 2021. 152 pp.
Ailbe columnist and Board Member Stan Gale has written what may be described as the definitive hermeneutical key for understanding the book of Revelation. This is a book about Jesus – His sovereignty, lovingkindness, and care for His Church. It’s also a book about discipleship – what Jesus calls us to focus on and do as we await His return in glory. Dr. Gale writes,
“One of the purposes of Revelation is to show us Jesus. The brushstrokes of these seven letters are spread on the canvas of the book as a whole to help us understand His glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. This display is to fill our eyes with awe, to hold our attention, to bolster our faith, to stir our longing, and to embolden our spirit.”
Dr. Gale’s pastoral examination of Jesus’ letters to the seven churches focuses on how Jesus reveals Himself (portrait), what the churches need to address (practice), and what Jesus holds out to them who hear and obey His words (promise). Each letter boils down to a single disciple-ship concept per church: love, suffering, repentance, faith, abiding, humility, and wisdom. Throughout these summary studies of the seven churches, Stan takes us back and forth through the rest of Revelation (the title tells us that this is a book about [Re:] things veiled and unseen [Velation]) and many other parts of Scripture, to show us how the letters to the churches are intended to prepare them and us for what’s to come in the course of history.
By far the most thrilling – and I think, most important – chapter is that which deals with the “eighth church” in the book of Revelation – the city to come. Here Stan Gale paints with a broad brush to excite us with hope for the coming new heavens and new earth. He shows us that “Redemption involves more than people and more than our salvation. It involves a new created order.” What a great and glorious view of our great salvation is summarized here!
The book includes a study guide for personal or group use, and I highly recommend using it as you read through the book. It will lead you to reflect on the fact that these letters to the churches are intended for our discipleship, that we might grow in grace and love for Jesus, that we might be strengthened with might by His inward working in our lives, and that we might live for Him each day with confidence, courage, and hope.
I said this book provides a hermeneutical key to the book of Revelation. Here is no speculation, just honest exposition of the plan and difficult text of the Apocalypse. But this book also serves as a hermeneutical key to understanding all of Scripture and to living the Kingdom life to which Jesus has called us. Let the exegetical approach and themes presented in Re: Velation guide all your study of God’s Word, and you won’t go wrong.
Throughout, Stan Gale’s pastoral and winsome writing style shines through (who would think of comparing a team jersey to the white linen robes of the saints?). This is a book to go back to every year or so, just to make sure you’re still on the right bearings in your reading of Scripture and your walk with and work for the Lord.
T. M. Moore is is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition, and dean of the Centurions Program. He serves as Content Manager for The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and as General Editor for The Worldview Church.
Re: velation by Stanley D. Gale
"All's Well That Ends Well" by Leland and Philip Ryken
Revelation: The Sovereign Reign of the Exalted Christ, with Philip Ryken, Derek Thomas, Joel Beeke, Richard Phillips, and Cornelis Venema.
Revelation (Reformed Expository Commentary) by Richard Phillips
Seven Churches, Four Horsemen, One Lord by James Boice
This review was originally published by The Fellowship of Ailbe. Used with permission.