Power to Make War By Zane C. Hodges. Dallas, TX: Redención Viva, 1995. 135 pp. Paper, $8.95.
Those who have read the writings of Zane Hodges have come to expect certain things. One of those things is that Hodges will carefully look at the Scriptures, often pointing out things that the reader may not have noticed before. Another expected aspect of Hodges’ writings is that he will present the gospel from a free grace perspective. In Power to Make War Hodges does not disappoint on either count.
Power to Make War deals with the coming world ruler that the Bible calls the man of sin. Not surprisingly, Hodges comes from a premillennial and pretribulational perspective. However, his study of the texts that deal with this coming world leader have led him to certain conclusions that most premillennialists do not hold. Hodges takes the view that the King of the North in Daniel 11 is the man of sin Paul refers to in 2 Thessalonians 2. As a result, the man of sin will be from the Middle East, and not Europe.
Another commonly held position that Hodges disagrees with concerns the “prince who is to come” in Daniel 9:26. Many identify this prince with the man of sin. Hodges, however, suggests it refers to Titus who destroyed the Temple in AD 70. He concludes from this that the treaty in the Tribulation will not be between the man of sin and Israel, but between nations that were part of the Roman Empire (modern Europe) and Israel. These European nations are the “people” of the prince to come.
Hodges also suggests that Rev 17:11-18 gives us certain information about the man of sin. When he receives his mortal wound (Rev 13:3) he is revived by the spirit of a dead ancient Roman emperor. This is similar to demon possession. This turns the man of sin into the Beast with supernatural powers.
In chapter six of the book, Hodges points out that evangelicals use the wrong word to identify the man of sin. Most call him by the title Antichrist. In 1 John 2:18 and 4:1, John identifies the “many antichrists” with the “many false prophets.” As a result, Hodges says the Antichrist is not the coming world leader, but the false prophet that serves as the man of sin’s right hand man. He points out that the Bible never calls the coming world leader the Antichrist, but does call him the man of sin and the Beast.
Not only does Hodges cause us to look at the Scriptures more closely in these and other areas, He also presents a very clear gospel. He points out that the eternal security of the believer will also be a reality during the Tribulation period. Revelation 14:9-11 does not mean that believers who take the mark of the Beast will lose their salvation. Believers will not be able to take the mark during the Tribulation because they are eternally secure and God will give them grace to refuse it in every situation. Even during the Tribulation faith in Christ saves.
I also liked how he suggested ways in which the man of sin will be able to deceive the world, such as claiming that God is only the God of the skies, but Satan and the man of sin can defeat Him on the earth at Armageddon. The enemies of Israel made a similar claim in 2 Kings 20:27-28. With this and other examples, Hodges gives the reader vivid pictures of how things might occur during the Tribulation.
Hodges closes the book with a clear free grace presentation of the saving message. He addresses the reader of the book and says that eternal life is offered to all who will believe in Christ for that free gift. He adds that this gift can never be lost.
There is something for everybody in this book. For those who have studied eschatology, it will cause them to look at certain aspects more carefully. The book is written in an easy to read style, so it is also very appropriate for those who are new students of the subject. With the immense popularity of the Left Behind series, I often give Power to Make War to unbelievers who are interested in what the Bible says about eschatology because it clearly presents the gospel. There is something for everybody in Power to Make War. I highly recommend it.
Lt. Col. (Ret) Ken Yates
Honey Grove, TX