Perhaps no other eschatological doctrine has spurred more debate in modern Christianity than the timing of the Rapture. Volumes have been written concerning the details of Christ’s Second Coming. Where will the Church be during the Tribulation? Is the Rapture biblical? If so, what are the “proof-texts”?
John Hart has assembled with premiere pre-tribulation scholars in efforts to explain historically, exegetically, and theologically the cohesion of the position and prophecies of the Bible. These three categories (historical, exegetical, and theological) are necessary when discussing a broad and influential position that is the pre-tribulation rapture (in coherence with pre-millennial dispensationalism). There are a few things I appreciate from this book.
First is the breadth of scholarship. Not only in the contributors themselves but also the sources from which they garner their information and formulate conclusions. The number of endnotes displays the amount of research for each chapter. These contributors are academics who have researched the topic on which they write their chapter, and still, they provide resources for further investigation.
Second is the premise of the biblical text interpreting itself through other texts. This is key for these contributors because, as Hart states in the preface concerning 1 Corinthians 15, “without support from other prophetic passages that harmonize with 1 Corinthians 15, only a few hints can be gained for any rapture position” (20). Their hermeneutical goal, then, is to allow the Scripture to speak for itself. However, this hermeneutic is from the predisposition of premillennialism. For this, a reader might search outside resources (which are given in the preface) if s/he is unfamiliar with premillennialism. Yet, these authors should be commended for their consistency.
Finally, this book presents an evangelical heart for the Gospel and for the Second Coming of Christ. I would submit that the contributors’ goal would be to encourage Christians to a more passionate evangelism due to the “imminent” nature of these prophetic texts. I sense an amount of urgency in the understanding of these passages though it is not explicitly stated. Yet, one cannot help but garner this due to the nature of Christ’s return. For that reason, I appreciate this volume despite theological disagreements.
The word “rapture” does not appear verbatim in the Bible (as many of our terms do not), yet it seems we cannot come to a consensus. I think that is good because it allows Christians to discuss varying positions without, hopefully, disagreements causing enmity. When I firmly held a pre-tribulational view of the Rapture (not necessarily which view I hold now), this is a book I would have enjoyed. Sound exegesis; consistent hermeneutic; coherent theology.
Disclosure: I received this book free from Moody Press through the Moody Blogger Review Program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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