Torm, Johannes’ Åbenbaring

Torm, Frederik. Johannes’ Aabenbaring: En populær fortolkning [The Book of Revelation: A Popular Commentary]. København: G. E. C. Gads Forlag, 1941. 162 pp.

Norwegian translation (Johannes’ åpenbaring: En populær fortolkning) published by Lutherstiftelsens forlag, Oslo, 1942. 160 pp.


Frederik Torm (1870-1953), professor of New Testament at the University of Copenhagen (1909-1940), was a conservative, anti-liberal theologian. He was also a sharp critic of the anti-Semitism of the German Nazism.

The wars and the unrest during the inter-war period and the Second World War gave rise to a renewed interest in the Book of Revelation. Torm was one of at least four theologians who published on Revelation at that time (cf. Skovgaard-Petersen; Torm’s younger colleague, Holger Mosbech, and Aage Krohn, Det femte Evangelium). Torm’s commentary was reprinted already in the year of publication.

Professor Torm’s popular commentary was based on several academic courses and a series of popular lectures. He referred the readers to his introduction to the NT (Indledning til Det Nye Testamente. 3rd ed. 1940, 498 pp.) for more technical discussions.

According to Torm, Revelation is a prophetic rather than a apocalyptic book in the form of a letter and a book of revelation. The author was probably the apostle John who wrote from Patmos against the imperial cult and persecutions. The content was genuine visions that accurately describe both the heaven of God and the situation of the churches in Asia.

Torm rejected the church-historical approach and argues that one must combine the contemporary-historical and the eschatological approaches. However, Revelation is relevant for all times and places. John is not really interested in “time.”

The key theme is the announcement of the Second Advent of Christ and the emphasis on the eternity and omnipotence of God that will be revealed through the coming of Christ (p. 33). Torm seems to accept a premillennial interpretation of Rev 20:1-10, but refrains from giving details (p. 153).


Under indtryk af krigstilstandene og uroen i mellemkrigstiden og under 2. verdenskrig blussede interessen for Johannes’ Åbenbaring op, således hos professor i NT ved Københavns Universitet, Frederik Torm. Torm var en konservativ, lærd og anti-liberal teolog og i øvrigt i stærk opposition til nazismen og dens antisemitisme.


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