Answers to the Most Important Questions about the End Times. By John Hart. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2016. 189 pp. Paper, $10.99.
This easy to read book on eschatology starts off by asking the question: “Why should I be interested in Bible Prophecy?” (chapter 1). Hart points out that around 25% of the Bible contains predictions, and half of them have not been fulfilled yet (p. 12). Jesus’ teachings about prophecy “probably” cover more space than any other single topic He addressed (p. 16). Hart says if we study NT eschatology, it can impact us in many different ways. It can give us comfort, make us more generous, and help us avoid a judgmental attitude (p. 19).
Hart accurately explains how the “coming” of Christ involves a series of events. It starts with no signs and the Rapture of the Church. This event happens before the seven-year Tribulation that will engulf the world. At the end of the seven years, Christ will return to earth and set up His kingdom. He points out that those who try to set a date for the Rapture are in error (pp. 25-32).
The book has a good discussion on Daniel’s 70th Week. Hart follows a premillennial, dispensational framework on this important prophecy, as he does throughout the whole book. He also points out how the first 69 weeks in Daniel’s prophecy have already been fulfilled exactly as foretold. We can expect that the last week of the prophecy will be as well (pp. 42-48).
When it comes to the Book of Revelation, Hart says that we can indeed understand it. Many times the book interprets itself, and we should follow the principle that the correct interpretation is usually the plain, normal way of understanding the text. In addition, Rev 1:19 gives us an outline of the book (pp. 64-73).
Hart gives his opinion of issues about eschatology in which there are areas of disagreement. He believes that the Antichrist will be a Gentile from the area of the old Roman Empire. This person is also called the Beast and the Man of Sin in the Bible, and some believe that another man in the future, the False Prophet, is the one the New Testament labels as the Antichrist. Whether the Beast or the False Prophet is the one called the Antichrist, the Beast will rule over this revived empire. Hart also thinks that this future world leader will actually be killed and raised from the dead (pp. 82-86).
According to Hart, there is a difference between Israel and the Church. The Tribulation period will be a time when the Jewish remnant will be purified and prepared to call upon the name of the Lord. At the end of the Tribulation, God will deliver the believing Jewish nation from their enemies after they call upon Him (p. 106).
There are, according to Hart, different resurrections. Church age believers will be resurrected at the Rapture. Old Testament believers will be resurrected after the Tribulation, along with those who became believers during the Tribulation. Unbelievers of all ages will be resurrected after the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. Hart believes there will be a 75 day delay after the Second Coming of Christ before the Millennial Kingdom begins (pp. 152-55).
This reviewer appreciated Hart’s presentation of the gospel. Those who believe in Jesus for eternal life are those who will go in the Rapture (p. 25). He quotes John 5:24 and says that the person who believes in Jesus already has eternal life. It is a present possession (pp. 20, 171, 188). Hart also recognizes that works in the Christian’s life have no impact on having eternal life. The believer will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ to determine his rewards in the kingdom. One of these rewards involves ruling with Christ in His kingdom. Not all believers in the kingdom will rule with Christ. The eternal life of the believer, however, is never in doubt (pp. 20, 173-74).
Any book on eschatology will contain details with which many others will disagree. However, if somebody is looking for a pretribulational, dispensational treatment of the topic for a layman, this is an excellent resource. An extra bonus is that it keeps the free offer of eternal life by faith alone in Christ separate from the need to do good works. Good works are important, but they deal with rewards. It is difficult to find all of these good points in a book today. It would make a good book to use in a Sunday school class on the end times. I highly recommend the book.
Kenneth W. Yates
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society