The Popular Dictionary of Bible Prophecy: More Than 350 Terms and Concepts Defined. By Ron Rhodes. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2010. 340 pp. Paper, $14.99.
During a seminary class on eschatology I once heard a graduating student exclaim in frustration, “I just don’t know what I believe!” Ron Rhodes has sought to solve such predicaments with this helpful and engaging dictionary for terms relating to the end times.
Equipped with a Th.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary, Rhodes approaches each definition alphabetically from a premillennial, pretribulational viewpoint. His book explains biblical terms (ex. Book of Life, Lampstands, Parousia), names (ex. Matthew, Antichrist), and locations (ex. Gehenna, Patmos, Armageddon, New Jerusalem) as well as theological words (ex. Amillennialism, Tribulation Saints,
Dispensations) and ideas (ex. Martyrdom During Tribulation, Regathering of Jews to Homeland, Rapture Distinct from Second Coming). Each entry includes roughly one page of discussion with sufficient Scripture references listed. Though Rhodes is writing a dictionary and not an encyclopedia, on select terms he does find it beneficial to list various viewpoints (ex. Overcomers, Church and Israel Distinctions, Eclectic View of Revelation) as well as their strengths and deficiencies. This is very helpful for readers who have never interacted with differing opinions. Still, one will not walk away thinking Rhodes is anything but a premillennial, pretribulational Dispensationalist.
Some phrases require more than one page of explanation. Items like this which I found helpful include Preterism, Millennial Temple and Sacrifices, Parables of the Kingdom, and Replacement Theology. Also beneficial were the inclusion of nonbiblical terms relevant to our culture, such as Purgatory, Nostradomus, Reincarnation, etc.
Free Grace readers will be encouraged that Rhodes includes within his entry for the Gospel of John the fact that the term believe occurs around 100 times and is the purpose for John’s writing (p. 158). Also, when discussing the Judgment Seat of Christ, eternal security is stressed along with the Bema’s correct purpose, which is the believer’s reception or loss of rewards (p. 163). While some readers may disagree with his definition for Repentance (“to change one’s mind,” yet also carrying the idea of “changing one’s way of life” p. 256), Rhodes follows both Jesus’ and the Apostle John’s examples in keeping this term out of his entry for Eternal Life (p. 90). While Rhodes does take the approach that all Christians will reign with Christ (see Reign with Christ, p. 252), when discussing Overcomers he nonetheless communicates that the Scriptural instructions to “overcome” do not allow for a loss of eternal life but rather of rewards at the Bema (pp. 218-219).
His bibliography includes over fifty works, most of which are written by well-known Premillennial Dispensationalists, and serves as a great source for further study. Rhodes’s work is recommended both for your personal library as well as to be given as a gift!
Minneola Community Church