Book Review: “Triumph of the Lamb” by Dennis Johnson

Triumph of the Lamb by Dennis Johnson, published by Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 2001, clothbound, 384 pages.

 

It has been a while since I have enjoyed a commentary like this one. Dennis Johnson, who teaches at Westminster Theological Seminary in California, has written a commentary on the book of Revelation from an amillennial point of view. This commentary is not difficult to read or to follow. Dennis does an excellent job in showing how the book of Revelation reveals God’s plan for the end in the form of visions. These visions, by there very nature, are not to be taken literally. He shows how the apostle John took imagery from Ezekiel, Zechariah, Daniel and the plagues of Egypt to teach us about the fulfillment of history from Pentecost to the 2nd Coming, the New Covenant era. It is true that Johnson, who is an advocate of Covenant Theology, is at times a bit handicapped in his understanding of how the Old relates to the New and especially the role of Israel in the plan of God. It would be better if he understood Israel as a temporary unbelieving picture of the people of God. But, do not let this criticism deter you from this quality commentary. 

One of the great strengths of Triumph of the Lamb is its handling of the book of Revelation as literature. Once you grasp that Revelation is a series of visions that are not meant to be taken literally and there order of appearance is not necessarily chronological you will begin to see the wonders of the unfolding plan of God.

I see the book of Revelation as first and foremost a devotional book. We live as it were in the “cheap seats.” Our ability to see the big picture is handicapped by our point of view. The book of Revelation gives us a glimpse behind the scenes. What we see is that our God has all of history under his control and that his plan is infolding right on schedule, a German train schedule. The children of God are protected and only experience what their Father in heaven, in his love, has determined for them. The wicked, contrary to what we typically see, do not get away with their sin. There eternal judgment is guaranteed and none get away.