Book Reviews

The End Times Controversy

Tim LaHaye, Thomas Ice, editors Eugene, OR 2003-05-01

According to preterists many prophecies recorded in the Old Testament, foretold by Jesus, and written in the New Testament epistles and Revelation have been fulfilled in the past. Preterists argue that prophecies about the tribulation and Jesus’ second coming were fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

In this volume ten authors point up serious weaknesses in this approach to the Scriptures, an approach championed in recent years by Greg Bahnsen, John Bray, David Chilton, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, and Gary North.

Thomas Ice, coeditor and well-known advocate of pretribulationalism, has written eight of the seventeen chapters, including “What Is Preterism?” “The History of Preterism,” “Preterist ‘Time Texts,’ ” and “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel.” Some of the other chapters are “Signs in the Sky,” by John MacArthur; “How Preterists Misuse History to Advance Their View of Prophecy,” by Larry Spargimino; “Was ‘Babylon’ Destroyed When Jerusalem Fell in A.D. 70?” by Gordon Franz; and “Historical Problems with a First-Century Fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse,” by J. Randall Price. Other chapters discuss Zechariah 12–14, the date of the Book of Revelation, Revelation 13, and hermeneutics and Bible prophecy.

In the introduction coeditor Tim LaHaye raises seventeen probing questions that preterists cannot answer adequately. These are some of those questions: How can preterists possibly prove Jesus came back in A.D. 70? How do they prove Satan was bound for a “thousand years”? How do preterists explain that none of the events of the “end of the age” have ever happened, including the cataclysmic events that are supposed to take place in the heavens? What evidence do preterists have that the tragic seige of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 was indeed a fulfillment of Jesus’ description of the Great Tribulation? How can preterists possibly prove that Nero was the Antichrist, as they claim? How can preterists prove from historical evidence that the judgments of the Tribulation occurred during the seven years prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70? If Christ returned in A.D. 70, when did the church go up in the rapture?

These and other questions show the prfound difficulties preterism faces. This book packs a solid wallop against a defenseless approach to biblical prophecy while building a strong case for futurism.

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Roy B. Zuck
Roy B. Zuck, was senior professor emeritus of Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary and editor of Bibliotheca Sacra.
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