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.