Monday, April 23, 2012

40 Questions About The End Times by Eckhard Schnabel

Schnabel lays some ground wok for his book in the Introduction. (The two pages of term definitions are great.) First, the primary text is the New Testament. “In other words, the prophecies of the Old Testament must be integrated into the framework of New Testament prophecy.” (11) Second, Jesus said no one knows the day or hour of his return. Third, early Christians believed the “end times” began with Jesus' coming, death, and resurrection. Fourth, early Christians believed Jesus might return during their lifetime. “This means that the apostles interpreted biblical prophecy … concerning the end times as either fulfilled or as about to be fulfilled in the near future.” (12) Fifth, the same principles of interpretation we apply when we study the other parts of Scripture must be followed when we study prophecy.
With this informative Introduction, Schnabel addresses the 40 questions. The first ones are general.
The next section of questions deal with the future of the church. He shows that the period of the “great tribulation” belongs to the period between Jesus' first and second comings. Therefore, “Christians do live through the period of great distress or tribulation.” (77) (He dismantles the “pre-trib” view.)
Next he covers the future of Israel. Schnabel systematically goes through all of the Old and New Testament Scriptures on the subject. His conclusion regarding Rom. 11:26 may surprise some. “What is clear … is the fact that Paul does not speak of a future of Israel in nationalistic or territorial terms.” (126)
He next covers the return of Jesus, first noting the events before his return. He investigates the Antichrist, 666, the beast, the harlot, Gog and Magog, Armageddon, etc.
He ends with why we should care about the end times.

Schnabel is careful to cover every Scripture on each subject, at times looking at the original language. He reviews the possible answers to each question, evaluates them and then gives his own conclusion. He ends each section with a summary and reflective questions.

Schnabel has done excellent research, presenting all sides of an issue with clarity. The writing is such that general readers will have no difficulty with this often confusing subject. This is a great book for anyone who has been asking questions about the end times and is looking for answers.

Eckhard Schnabel is professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Kregel Publications, 352 pages. Publisher product page.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

[Thanks, Joan. Enjoy this snippet I found on Google today. Amanda]

Christ's return is NOT imminent !

by Bruce Rockwell

(Pretrib rapturists claim that Christ's return is imminent, that is, capable of occurring at any moment. Theologian and pastor Norman MacPherson, in his excellent book "Triumph Through Tribulation," offers proof that the Bible has never taught an any-moment return of Christ. Here are the points discussed at length by MacPherson:)

1. Great Commission fulfillment implies a long period of time.
2. Seed growth in Matt. 13 is a time-consuming process.
3. Paul expected death, not rapture, in II Tim. 4:6-8.
4. Jesus predicted Peter's martyrdom in John 21:18-19.
5. Matt. 24 teaches that signs must come first.
6. Many passages speak of a large interval between Christ's ascension and return: Jewish dispersion into "all nations" (Luke 21); "man traveling into a far country," "after a long time the lord of those servants cometh" (Matt. 25).
7. Apostasy of last days takes time to develop.
8. Bridegroom tarried in parable of virgins.
9. Pastoral epistles teach Church's continuing ministry, which involves time.
10. Paul says Christ's coming is not imminent (II Thess. 2:1-3), for apostasy and Antichrist must come first.
11. View of seven phases of church history (seven churches of Revelation) involves big lapse of time and imminence difficulties for pretribs; could Christ have come before the last phase?
12. Exhortations to watch and be ready are tied to what pretrib teachers regard as the second stage (which is necessarily non-imminent) in Matt. 24 and 25, I Cor. 1:7, Col. 3:4, I Thess. 3:13, II Thess. 1:7-10, I Pet. 1:13 and 4:13, and I John 2:28.

And Acts 2:34-35 and Acts 3:21 clinch non-imminence! Would anyone dare assert that the Father's throne (at which Jesus now is) will descend with Jesus into our atmosphere to destroy His "foes" and restore "all things" BEFORE THE TRIBULATION?
How can an "imminent" return of Christ have a greater practical effect on us than the indwelling of the Holy Spirit already has, or should have, on us? For more on pretrib beliefs and history, Google "Pretrib Rapture Secrets," "Pretrib Rapture Diehards," "X-Raying Margaret," "Edward Irving in Unnerving," "Deceiving and Being Deceived" (by D.M.), "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty," "Walvoord Melts Ice," "Thomas Ice (Bloopers)," "Roots of Warlike Christian Zionism," "Pretrib Rapture Secrecy," "Letter from Mrs. Billy Graham," "Islam Will Purify Jews and Christians," "Appendix F: Thou Shalt Not Steal," and - with the 2012 election in mind - "Pretrib Rapture Politics."