Where to Begin Studying Prophecy?

end_of_the_roadThe study of eschatology is a long process that takes much more effort than most people realize. This is exactly the reason why many individuals simply don’t bother with addressing what the bible says about the last days. They feel intimidated by the many subjects that need to be addressed in the study of eschatology and how to bring them all together in a systematic way. Many people simply settle with whatever view their church teaches and accept that was the biblical teaching on eschatology.  I have actually met folks who simply don’t know that any other view exists and they are content with their church’s view or the Left Behind book series.

Needless to say, the bible is saturated in eschatology and hence the study of this important subject is relevant in many other areas of our theology. The question is:  where to begin?  There are numerous books written by various individuals on the subject of prophecy and honestly who has enough time to filter through all these books?

When I was beginning to look at the subject of biblical eschatology, I got some advice from a brother on which books to purchase in order to get a better understanding of what the bible teaches regarding prophecy. The books were fantastic but they only gave me one specific eschatological view and I wanted to explore many. Throughout the years I have picked up several books on various different positions. I thought it might be useful to share some of these books with my readers especially for those who would like to get a better grasp of the different positions available. I understand that I have an entire section on this website on eschatology however this is representing mainly the Amillennial position.  With that said, the recommendations I am making are of the more well-known eschatological positions and my readers should be aware that there are varying views outside of these.

I understand that not everyone wants to delve as deep into the subject as some others and also that not everyone has the time to do so. I thought it would be a good idea to divide the recommendations into three categories mainly an introductory category & intermediate reading. The book descriptions are taken from various website and not my own.

Introductory

The Millennial Maze (Stanley Grenz)- Jesus is coming back! On this issue Evangelicals are united.But ask, “When will he return? Before or after the millennium? What will the millennium be like? What exactly is our hope?” and you enter a bewildering maze of options all claiming to be the right one.In this book Stanley J. Grenz provides historical and biblical, as well as theological, perspective on the four major positions help by evangelicals–postmillennialism, dispensational premillennialism, historic premillennialism and amillennialism. Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each position, he seeks to cut a new path through the maze that reaffirms the valid insights of each and sounds a fresh note of hope in an age of shattered illusions.

The Meaning of the Millennium: 4 Views (Ladd, Hoekema, Hoyt & Boettner) – Four major views on the millennium have had both a long history and a host of Christian adherents. In this book Robert G. Clouse brings together proponents of each view: George Eldon Ladd on historic premillenniallism, Herman A. Hoyt on dispensational premillennialism, Loraine Boettner on post-millennialism and Anthony A. Hoekema on amillennialism.

 

Intermediate

Historic Premillennialism (Craig Bloomberg & Sung Wook Chung editors)- Many evangelical readers who have learned the basics of eschatology from popular authors and more recently from novelists assume that dispensational premillennialism, with its distinctive teachings about the pretribulation rapture of the church, is the only reliable view of the end times and the return of Christ. This volume, however, offers a compelling case for an alternative perspective–one that was widely prevalent throughout church history. The contributors, all respected scholars in their respective fields, suggest that classic premillennialism offers believers a more coherent and viable approach to understanding eschatology.Their studies, which examine eschatology from biblical, theological, historical, and missiological approaches, provide a broadly accessible argument for returning to the perspectives of historic premillennial eschatology.

Dispensationalism (Charles Ryrie)-  Dispensationalism continues to provoke heated debate within the Christian world. Highly acclaimed theologian Dr. Charles C. Ryrie addresses this crucial issue from the perspective of classic dispensationalism. He confronts the views of covenant theology, historical premillennialism, ultradispensationalism, and in this revised edition, the increasingly popular progressive dispensationalism. In his best-selling book, Dispensationalism Today, written more than thirty years ago, Dr. Ryrie made this complex subject more understandable for thousands worldwide. This revised and expanded version of that book will prove to be an invaluable reference tool for your library.

The Case for Amillennialism (Kim Riddlebarger)- This study defends amillennialism as the historic Protestant understanding of the millennial age. Amillennarians believe that the millennium of Christ’s heavenly reign is a present reality, not a future hope to come after his return.
Recognizing that eschatology, the study of future things, is a complicated and controversial subject, Riddlebarger provides definitions of key terms and a helpful overview of various viewpoints. He examines related biblical topics as a backdrop to understanding the subject and discusses important passages of Scripture that bear upon the millennial age, including Daniel 9, Matthew 24, Romans 11, and Revelation 20. Regardless of their stance, readers will find helpful insight as Riddlebarger evaluates the main problems facing each of the major millennial positions and cautions readers to be aware of the spiraling consequences of each view.

Last Days Madness (Gary Demar)- The end is here…again. At every calendar milestone, self-proclaimed modern-day “prophets” arise to stir up a furor rivaled only by the impending apocalypse they predict. This doom-and-gloom prognostication is not only spread by a few fanatics, but millions of Christians, including some of the most recognized names in mainstream Christianity who are caught up in the latest “last days” frenzy. Seduced by the popular craze, they are driven not to action, but to radical inactivity, ineffectiveness, and lethargy while waiting for the easy-out “end.” In this authoritative book, Gary DeMar clears the haze regarding “end-times” themes by explaining in clear language the interpretation of the time texts, the Olivet Discourse, the rebuilt temple, the abomination of desolation, the man of lawlessness, 666, the return of Christ, the cursed fig tree, the passing away of heaven and earth, the antichrist, armageddon, the rapture, the identity of “mystery Babylon,” and more. He sheds light on the most difficult and studied prophetic passages in the Bible, including Daniel 7:13-14; 9:24-27; Matt. 16:27-28; 24-25; Thess. 2; 2 Peter 3:3-13… In this book DeMar tests your views and renews your zeal for the living truth. This is the most thoroughly documented and comprehensive study of Bible prophecy ever written! Last Days Madness will be your survival guide and spiritual compass to insure you escape the paralysis of…last days madness.

Obviously there are a number of other books that I could have recommended in light of a beginners eschatology study however I feel that these would be beneficial. I also welcome your recommendations for the readers of this blog as I’m sure your insight might be useful.

 

 

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