Külli Tõniste


This article focuses on how John Wesley interpreted the Book of Revelation, especially within his Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament, published in late 1755. In particular, the central concern here is the interpretation of the middle of the book, especially chapter 12 of Revelation. Wesley does not approach the task of interpreting the Apocalypse lightly. He states that while the beginning and end of the book of Revelation are rather evident, he had for years been “utterly despairing” of understanding its intermediate parts. As a result, he relied heavily on the works of the German Lutheran Pietist theologian and biblical scholar Johann Albrecht Bengel (John Albert Bengel) (1687-1752). Bengel’s complex mathematics and chronology provided an historical interpretation of Revelation which was focused on European history, and this led to some unusual interpretations in Wesley’s understanding of the book. Yet, the function of prophecy does not appear to be a mere curiosity for Wesley. His concern is more pastoral, for he believed that awareness of the signs and the nature of the time provided believers with necessary strength. its this practical application and reading of Revelation which ultimately emerges from Wesley’s work.


DOI: 10.7252/Journal.02.2021F.05