Mini Book Review of “The End Times in Chronological Order” by Ron Rhodes

EndTimesChronPaul Lee Tan defines a literal interoperation of Scripture as “… explain[ing] the original sense of the Bible according to the normal and customary uses of its language … consider[ing] the accepted rules of grammar and rhetoric, as well as the factual historical and cultural data of Biblical times.” Author Ron Rhodes begins this book by defending and defining such interpretation (the same method I was taught and adhere to) and then applies the method to lay out Biblical Eschatology in chronological order. This book is excellently written in a manner that is easy to understand. As such, I think it is a great tool to supplement Bible study. Having read through it once, my goal is to now go back and scrutinize and study particular points. I am certain this will be a book I turn to often in the future and I am looking forward to reading more by this author.

Having given this book a 5 Star review on Goodreads, I will be adding it to my list of recommended reading.

Brief Review of "What in the World is Going On?" by David Jeremiah

jeremiahTitle: What in the World is Going On? 10 Prophetic Clues You Cannot Afford to Ignore
Author: David Jeremiah

As a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, Jeremiah writes from a Dispensational Premillennial interpretation of Scripture and I feel this book stands as the perfect example of why such an interpretation is the clearest and most sensible interpretation of eschatology. Jeremiah offers the following ten chapters:

1. The Israel Connect
2. The Crude Awakening
3. Modern Europe… Ancient Rome
4. Islamic Terrorism
5. Vanished Without a Trace
6. Does America Have a Role in Prophecy?
7. When One Man Rules the World
8. The New Axis of Evil
9. Arming for Armageddon
10. The Return of the King

This book cuts through the confusion that often accompanies eschatology and guides the reader through Scripture in a manner than is easy to follow and engage. I highly recommend this book to those studying end-times Scripture.

Review of "Millennialism" by John Holland

millennialismTitle: Millenialism
Author: John Holland

I downloaded this book thinking I was getting a fair treatment of different eschatological viewpoints concerning Christ’s Millennial reign. What I got, however, was a sustained argument for the amillennial position juxtaposed with shallow treatments of all others. I do not recommend this book for readers who wish to compare and contrast the different views Biblically. However, if you are interested in the amillennia view, this book will be informative.

At the time of this review, this book was available for free on the Kindle.

The 70 Weeks of Daniel: A Dispensational Premillennial View

End TimesWhat follows is a brief examination of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel from a Dispensational Premillennial perspective. I don’t often write about eschatology on this blog for a variety of reasons. First, it is understood that many good Christians disagree somewhat over the particulars of eschatology and I don’t want to be mistaken as being overly critical of opposing interpretations. And secondly, I don’t want anything I write to replace your private study. Eschatology can be a labor-intensive pursuit and nothing can replace your own heart-felt study of the Word. The following is meant simply as a guide to understanding the Seventy Weeks of Daniel. In my opinion, when seen from a Dispensational Premillennial perspective, the Seventy Weeks of Daniel is one of the most amazing prophecies in all of Scripture!

While deep in prayer, Daniel received the following vision from the angel Gabriel:

24 Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. 25 So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. 26 Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. 27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate. (Daniel 9:24-27)

In this passage it is important to remember that the word translated as “weeks” is the Hebrew word “shabu-im.” It can stand for a period of seven days or seven years. In this case, we talking about a period of seven years. Thus, 70 weeks = 490 years.

In verses 25-26, Gabriel reveals that from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, there will be a period of 7 weeks (49 years) and a period of 62 weeks (434 years) until the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is cut off. 49 years + 434 years = 483 years.

In  Nehemiah 2:1-8, we learn it was King Artaxerxes (of Persia) that issued the decree to rebuild Jerusalem at the request of Nehemiah. The text tells us this decree was issued in the 20th year of Artaxerxes’ reign and history teaches us that this places the decree in 445-444 B.C. Remember, in the vision of the seventy weeks, Gabriel revels there will be a 483 years from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem that the Messiah is cut off. If Artaxerxes issued this decree in 444 and we jump ahead 483 years, we arrive in 39 A.D. However, if adjust for the fact the ancient Jewish/Babylonian calendars followed years of 360 days rather than 365 days, we arrive in 33 A.D. Gabriel revealed that the Messiah would be cut off in 33 A.D. (verse 26). This is the precise year that most scholars place the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Clearly, Gabriel is referring to the crucifixion of Jesus that wouldn’t occur for another 483 years! Most conservative Biblical scholars acknowledge that Christ’s death on the cross occurred at the end of these 69 weeks (483 years) even if they differ somewhat in the chronology.

This places us at the end of the first 69 weeks (483 years) of Gabriel’s revelation to Daniel. It is important to understand there is a gap of time between the first 69 weeks (483 years) and the last week (7 years). This is essentially a gap between the Christ’s work on the cross and the Rapture. The gap represents a time period commonly called the Church Age.

The Final (70th) week of Daniel (The Tribulation)

The final week of Daniel will begin with the Rapture as described in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17:

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

It is at the Rapture that the Restrainer (Holy Spirit) who is currently holding back the beginning of the 70th week will be removed:

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. (2 Thessalonians 2:7)

It is then that the seventieth week of Daniel as described by Gabriel will begin:

27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” (Daniel 9:27)

The “he” referenced in this passage is the “prince who is to come” (Daniel 9:26) also known as the antichrist. He will make a covenant with “the many” (Daniel’s people – the Jews – see v. 24) and will allow them to make sacrifices in a rebuilt temple until halfway through the final week (3 1/2 years or 42 months). This is described in Revelation 13:4-5:

they worshiped the dragon (Satan) because he gave his authority to the beast (antichrist); and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.

The antichrist is referred to by Paul in 2 Thessalonians as “the man of lawlessness” and the “son of destruction” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). In fact, Paul describes the 70th week of Daniel:

Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:3-9).

Paul is teaching that the second coming of Christ will not occur until after the 70th week of Daniel has played out. This seven-year period of tribulation will end when Christ returns to “… slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8). This is the even described in Revelation chapter 19:

11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:11-16).

This brief study barely scratches the surface of Biblical eschatology. It is amazing, however, to see how different books of the Bible written hundreds of years apart by different authors all work together to provide us with a clear picture of the end times. The Seventy Weeks of Daniel when understood from a Dispensational Premillennial vantage point reveals just how amazingly accurate Biblical prophecy can be. Regardless of how you interpret the details concerning eschatology, the Seventy Weeks Daniel should serve to bolster you confidence in the accuracy and reliability of Scripture!

Book Review: Antichrist: Islam's Awaited Messiah by Joel Richardson

Book Review: Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah by Joel Richardson
Rating:
9 out of 10

Several years ago I took a class about Islam. I recall at the time being startled when learning about Islamic Eschatology (end times teaching). I couldn’t help but wonder how Muslim beliefs about the end times fit into the Christian end of the world scenarios I was more familiar with. As I learned about the coming of the Mahdi (the Islamic savior), I remember thinking there were striking similarities between the Christian Antichrist and the way the Mahdi is depicted in Islamic tradition. I briefly considered writing a work of fiction on the topic. My plan was to write a book about the Antichrist appearing on Earth in the form of the Mahdi. As it turns out, I was not the only person to have such thoughts.

Joel Richardson did not write a peace of fiction, but he did write an incredibly well researched book that compares the eschatology of Islam and Christianity. Richardson quotes the Bible, the Quaran, and other Islamic sources to compare the Mahdi with the Antichrist. He then takes his study one step further and compares the Muslim version of Jesus with the False Prophet that is depicted in the Bible. To further solidify his thesis, Richardson then compares the Biblical Jesus with the Dajjal (Islam’s Antichrist). Richardson then analyzes other aspects of Islam to see how it fits into Biblical eschatology.

I want to point out that this book is not anti-Islam. Richardson seems to have a genuine love for Muslim people and does not seem to harbor any ill-will towards Islam as a religion. His book is well researched and well written. Many people who study or write about eschatology are portrayed as “nut jobs” or “zealots,” Richardson is neither. His book is a scholarly study of the two faiths. I must say that while I enjoyed Joel Rosenberg’s Epicenter tremendously, I find that certain aspects of Richardson’s work makes more sense intellectually.

I highly recommend this book for anyone that is interested in eschatology or Islam. It is a fantastic book.

Book Review: Epicenter by Joel Rosenberg

Book Review: Epicenter 2.0 by Joel Rosenberg
Publisher:
Tyndale House, 2006
Rating:
9 out of 10

Joel Rosenberg was recommended to me by a fiend at church and being the Amazon.com junkie I am, I immediately checked him out. I am incredibly glad I did! In one simple word, this guy is amazing. Rosenberg has written a series of highly acclaimed political thrillers that have an uncanny way of predicting real life occurrences. I am not sure how I missed him because his books are so unnervingly prophetic that he is constantly being interviewed on television. He has conducted high level briefings for people in our government as well as other countries and has worked for such notables as Benjamin Netanyaho and Steve Forbes. In reality though, Mister Rosenberg is not a prophet. He simply reads the Bible and writes fiction stories that fit into the prophecy revealed in Scripture. His books will freak you out a little.

Epicenter is Rosenberg’s first nonfiction work. In this book, he details the meaning of such prophetic passages as Ezekiel Chapters 38 and 39 and illustrates how these prophecies are playing out in the world around us. Rosenberg also spells out some of the headlines we can expect to see in the future as these prophecies come to pass. It is incredible just how knowledgeable Rosenberg is.

I’ll be honest, Bible prophecy is one of those things that I have always felt some people focus on too much. I have always preferred to know that God is in control and that He has a plan for us all. The only Bible prophecy I have ever spent much time meditating on is that Jesus will return someday. I always thought the details were best left to God. After reading this book and spending some time studying the Scriptures that Rosenberg references, I am completely convinced that God has spelled out in amazing detail the way in which He will bring about the end times. I am also further convinced that we are watching it come to pass right now. I realize that Christians have been saying the end is near for 2000 years now. I also realize that saying I believe the end is really near is liable to get me labeled as some kind of zealot of something, but I don’t really care. I can’t tell you if it will happen in my lifetime or not, but Jesus Christ is coming back … this I know for sure. Rosenberg’s work has served to convince me of this.

This book should be read by everyone. If you are a Christian, you will be very happy you have decided to believe in Scripture after reading this. If you are not a Christian, this book may very well give you reason to reconsider.

At the risk of sounding blunt and offensive, if you read this book, study the Scriptures that Rosenberg references, and then can’t admit the Bible is a special text that is inspired by God … you are a fool.

Clark