Book Review by
David H. Rogers
Over the course of years of exposure to preaching and teaching, we absorb many traditions of interpretation, so much so, that we may develop instant subconscious negative reactions to interpretations different from that of familiar acquaintance. The new presentation may flow from intensive analysis of biblical texts, but sometimes we prefer the comfort and consistency of the customary. We assume the tradition we have always heard to be a trump card. Further biblical study that introduces other ways of understanding is often strongly resisted since the answers have been determined.
Eckhard Schnabel’s “40 Questions About the End Times,” Kregel Publications, 2011, is one of a series of volumes that examines Christian issues through a format of answering 40 questions on selected biblical, theological and practical topics. The book is divided into four parts: “General Questions about the Future,” “The Return of Jesus Christ,” “The Millennium and the Last Judgment” and “Interpreting the End Times.” Subsections of these parts address the questions, including: “When Do the End Times Begin?” “Will the Church Disappear in a Rapture to Heaven?” “Does National Israel Have a Special Destiny?” “Who Is the Antichrist?” “Will Jesus Return Soon?” “When Will the Day of Judgment Take Place?” and “Why Should I Care about the End Times?” Each chapter ends with reflection and review questions for the reader.
Some of his answers may bother those with locked-in assumptions. Whether one agrees with Schnabel or not, a careful reader will be challenged and deepened in understanding the issues by processing what is presented. Schnabel does not introduce any interpretations that are foreign to other well-studied conservative interpreters.
While he attempts to explain some matters for beginning readers, my impression is that it will be most accessible to those who have some previous exposure to the terminology in biblical scholarship and end times studies. However, even a new student to the topic willing to make the commitment to work through the material will be richly rewarded. This book will serve as an excellent resource for pastors and Bible study leaders.