Simojoki, Apocalypse Interpreted

Simojoki, Anssi. Apocalypse Interpreted: The Types of Interpretation of the Book of Revelation in Finland 1944-1995, From the Second World War to the Post-Cold War World. Åbo: Åbo Akademi University Press, 1997. 220 pp.

Through the lens of semiotic theory, Simojoki analyses the interpretation/use of Revelation in Finland in the period 1944-1995. Apocalypse Interpreted is the author’s doctoral thesis in systematic theology, written under the supervision of professor Fredric Cleve.

Finnish interpretation of Revelation is heavily influenced by earlier and foreign interpretations. Therefore, Simojoki outlines these influences and analyses the Finnish interpretations in the light of his findings.

I found this volume very helpful as an introduction to Finnish interpretations and, to some degree, Finnish research on Revelation.

The author’s methodology

In pursuit of the comprehensive characteristics of each type of interpretation I shall employ a ‘combing’ method; the source material is ‘combed’ with 10 questions on the central themes or images of the Book of Revelation:

  1. The origin and author of the book
  2. The nature of the prophecy in Revelation
  3. The role of contemporary history and present day
  4. The true and false Church
  5. The apocalyptic plagues
  6. Antichrist
  7. The rapture
  8. The Jews and Israel
  9. Armageddon, Gog and Magog
  10. The Millennium” (p. 23)

Table of Contents (abbreviated)

  1. Preface
  2. Introduction (pp. 10-34)
  3. A Historical Tradition as a Basis – Martin Luther’s View on the Book of Revelation (pp. 35-52)
  4. The History in a Prophetic Chronology – Traditional Adventist Interpretation of the Book of Revelation (pp. 53-66)
  5. The Secret Rapture – Rescue from the Coming Tribulation (pp. 67-98)
  6. The Quest for Present Day Relevance of the Book of Revelation – Biblical Outlines (pp. 99-111)
  7. Armageddon and Utopia Around the Corner – Interpretations of Jehovah’s Witnesses (pp. 112-124)
  8. Myths Revisited – the Book of Revelation as a Mythological Compendium (pp. 125-138)
  9. Scholars on the Book of Revelation [especially A. T. Nikolainen, pp. 139-146] (pp. 139-165)
  10. Conclusions (pp. 166-187)
  11. Bibliography (pp. 188-214)
  12. Index [of names and subjects] (pp. 215-220)

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