The Bible talks about many things that will take place in the “end times.” However, a multitude of questions remain about the how, when and why of many of these things/people/events. In 40 Questions About the End Times, Eckhard Schnabel (PhD, University of Aberdeen – Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) addresses 40 of those most pressing questions.
The 40 questions addressed in the book are divided into four main categories: 1) General Questions About the Future; 2) The Return of Jesus Christ; 3) The Millennium and the Last Judgment; and 4) Interpreting the End Times. There are several reasons I would recommend this book:
It is thorough – I cannot immediately think of an eschatological stone that has been left unturned by the author. While the discussion of each question is somewhat limited (approx. 7-8 pages per question), the author addresses most, if not all, of the major questions regarding End Times. For this reason, this book will serve as a great resource for pastors and church members alike. The footnoting in the book will also lead the reader to many other sources for further personal reading and research.
It is accessible – Schnabel has written this book in a way that makes it accessible to most people. The language is not unnecessarily technical. In fact, he defines some of the most common eschatological categories/terms at the beginning of the book – A-, Pre- and Post-Millennialism; Dispensationalism (Classic and Progressive); etc. – and rarely uses the terms thereafter, opting instead for simply explaining concepts rather than using labels.
It is fresh – Schnabel opted to start with a fresh look at the text of Scripture, rather than offering explanations, critiques, or comparisons of the existing, historical eschatological paradigms.
It is practically relevant – This book helps the Christian understand why he/she should care about End Times questions. Though Question 40 is specifically dedicated to addressing the practical relevance issue, Schnabel utilizes opportunities in his discussion of other questions to help Christians answer the “so what” question.
This book will no doubt challenge the reader in many ways. It will challenge the reader to be a better student of Scripture with regard to the End Times. It will challenge beliefs the reader holds that are based, perhaps, more on opinion or tradition than Scripture. It will challenge the reader to do further research and study.
Some may claim that the author is too committed simply to finding to an immediate, first-century fulfillment of “end time” prophecies. Others may feel that the author is inconsistent in determining where a literal or symbolic interpretation of an End Time prophecy is applicable. Still others may think the author has taken a cop-out perspective on some of the questions, failing to give as definitive an explanation as could be offered. I believe the author has offered a balanced and biblical perspective, noting the available options for answering these questions and showing the benefits and/or challenges of each option.
My hope is that readers of this book will be challenged to follow the author’s counsel for thinking and living Christianly with regard to these end times questions and discussions of them. He encourages his readers to let the Scripture be their guide, counsel which the author models in his approach. He encourages being gracious when discussing these matters with others. And most importantly, he reminds his readers that, because no man knows the day or time of Christ’s certain return, we must live with our eyes fixed on Jesus; serving Christ faithfully and sharing the message of Christ with those who are lost and need to know Him.
(FTC Disclaimer – I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for writing this review.)