Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy by Ron Rhodes

Rhodes says he has written this book so readers can better understand various viewpoints on the end days. He has chosen to cover eight major areas of debate. He does honestly tell us that he will give his own personal position and defend that position.

It is important for readers to know that Rhodes writes this book from his own confirmed belief of pre-tribulational dispensationalism. When he presents interpretations not in line with his own, he is very critical. When he presents his own interpretation, he does not include its shortcomings. As one who does not believe Rhodes is correct in his interpretations, I found this book very biased and not an objective presentation by any means.

He begins with the topic of allegorical verses literal interpretation of prophetic Scripture. He advocate a literal interpretation. “Remember,” he writes, “that the prophecies that have already been fulfilled in Scripture...have been fulfilled literally.” In writing this, he ignores Jesus' words that John the Baptist was the promised Elijah (Matt. 11:14). Yet in John 1:21, John says he is not Elijah. Does this mean there is, in some sense, a non-literal fulfillment of a prophecy? Rhodes does not address this issue. He does say that we must still recognize figures of speech and admits that it is sometimes hard to determine when a passage should be taken literally or in its literary meaning. Nonetheless, he argues that we should expect prophecies of the end times to be fulfilled literally. His conclusion on that first debate is the foundation for the rest of this book and sets the stage for his defense of his own viewpoint.

His next debate topic covers covenant theology and dispensationalism. He ignores or explains away passages in Galatians such as 3:29 saying that believers are now the heirs to the promises of Abraham, and the latter half of 3:28 where Paul argues that we are all one, and 3:16 where Paul argues the promise to Abraham was actually to Abraham and his seed, Jesus. He ignores the “literal” interpretation of these Galatians passages and instead quotes another author. “Those joined to Christ by faith become spiritual descendants of Abraham and beneficiaries of some of God's promises to him.” That is certainly not taking the passage literally, but rather spiritualizing it and adding the word “some” to make it agreeable to the dispensational viewpoint.

He goes on to explore other topics, such as whether America is in prophecy, the invasion predicted by Ezekiel, view of the rapture (he ignores the view that there is no secret rapture), interpretations of Revelation and Daniel, Babylon, the 144,000, the two witnesses, the Antichrist and the “restrainer,” the mark of the beast, views on the millennium, and setting dates.

Readers of books on prophecy may not find much new here. If you have read no books on prophecy or are unfamiliar with terms like preterist, amillennial, or futurist, you will find out what they mean. I did find his section on the possibility of the Antichrist being the Muslim Mahdi informative and interesting. Otherwise this book is a clear defense of a pre-trib rapture and dispensationalism and is by no means an objective look at other viewpoints.

If you believe in a secret rapture before the tribulation, you'll love this book. If you hold any other view of the end times, you may find the book very biased and frustrating, as I did. Rhodes does remind his readers that we should not divide over views of the last days nor make them tests for orthodoxy or fellowship.

Ron Rhodes is president of Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and teaches there and at several other seminaries. Find out more at

Harvest House, 288 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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