Book Reviews

Dictionary of Biblical Prophecy and End Times

J. Daniel Hays, J. Scott Duvall, C. Marvin Pate Grand Rapids 2007-11-13

This is a welcome book in view of increased interest in future things. The authors, all members of the faculty of Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas, touch on more than three hundred prophetic topics, ranging from Abomination of Desolation to Zionism. They write in their preface that “the goal for this book is to provide a solid explanation for and defense of all serious views on prophecy held by evangelicals, along with an appropriate critique pointing out each view’s weaknesses as well” (p. 8).

In many topics the views of premillennialists and amillennialists are clearly presented. However, at times the book seems to lean toward amillennialism. For example in the essay “Dispensationalism, Classical” they write that classic dispensationalism “fails to come to grips with New Testament passages . . . that many understand to teach that the church is the true Israel” (p. 119). This fails to acknowledge, however, that classical dispensationalists have interacted with these verses. In addition this essay refers to the “two second comings of Christ” (i.e., the rapture and His return) as “a novel suggestion” which is “a difficult point to defend exegetically” (ibid.). Premillennialist scholars disagree with this observation.

In the article “People of God” the statement is made that “the church was present in some sense in Israel in the Old  Testament” (p. 329). Also “the church . . . is the eschatological Israel” and “what was promised to Israel has now been fulfilled in the church” (p. 330).

The lengthy article on “Posttribulation Rapture” says little about the weaknesses of that view and instead speaks almost entirely of its strengths (pp. 337–40). Also historic premillennialism (with its posttribulationalism) is lauded as “adapting the most natural reading of biblical texts” (p. 343).

The essay “Prince” challenges the common premillennial view that the prince, the Messiah, in Daniel 9:25 is Jesus “whose death in A.D. 33 completed the 434 years (the sixty-two weeks of sevens)” (p. 352). The essay suggests instead that the prince is Cyrus.

Several essays are devoted to specific Bible books, including sixteen from the Old Testament and seven from the New Testament. The article on the Book of Revelation extends for sixteen pages.

While this book is a comprehensive reference tool for studying biblical prophecy, readers need to be aware that while the authors seek to point out the strengths and weaknesses of differing views, occasionally an antidispensational or antipremillennial bias seeps through.

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