Vol. 1 - No. 1
The Book Review
by Byron Gage
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT THE END TIME: Russell Boatman, College Press Publishing Co., Joplin, Missouri.
This book is enjoyable and informative being candidly written and well researched. Mr. Boatman in the introduction, says "What would it take to set forth what the Bible says about the end time? Actually not much in terms of time and space…What would it take to set forth what people have been led to believe the Bible has to say about the end-time? Ah, that is another question. That take volumes." Further, he states "To know the difference between the two - what the Bible says and what the populace has been led to believe it says – and to prefer the one to the other, what an assignment that is." And so it is, but the author does an admirable job of contrasting popular speculations and imaginations with the truth of God on the subject of the end-time or, events leading up to and including the end of the present order of things.
The order of presentation is good and makes for the kind of reading you hate to put down. This book is neither dry nor boring, but is written in a fast‑moving style that I thoroughly enjoyed. The documentation and explanations, which would otherwise be somewhat tedious are broken up with dry humor properly used. More importantly, I believe this is the best abbreviated statement of the doctrines and origins of the Millennialists (pre-and post-) that I have and deals with the motivation and psychology of the proponents of the doctrines.
The book begins by "De-escalating, Defining and Demythologizing Eschatology" (eschatology being a study of the last or latter things). The close kinship that exists between Millennialism and heathenism (primarily and especially astrology) is revealing in that the ridiculous date-setting of the end-time speculators has its base right at this point. The influence upon the Jewish rabbinical theology by the pagan star gazers with regard to the supposed world time table (according to which we are approaching a seventh unit or World Sabbath, each unit being a thousand years in duration) has had its inroads into "Christianity" as well. Here we see the reasons for the prominence of the Jews in end-time speculative theories.
In the chapter designated "History of Millennialism In The Christian Era" Mr. Boatman rightly concludes that "The most that can be said of it is that Christian (?) millennialism is grounded in the socio-historical perspective rather than in Biblical exegesis." "Premillennialism depends on an ensuing or eminent world crisis for its credence and popular appeal. Postmillennialism requires an extended period of peace and progress for its credibility." This explains why the Premillennialists are having a heyday at the present time with current world events being what they are.
The "Outline of Millennial Theories" is a compendium of various positions taken and should be carefully noted. Many common elements exist among most Millennial positions and these must be learned in order to effectively deal with the false doctrines.
Chapters 4, 5, and 6 deal with what the Bible actually says and does not say in view of what is currently being taught and is excellent material for the most part. Such headings as Revelation Twenty the Kingdom of the Messiah, Signs of the Times, and the Appearing of the Antichrist are dealt with. Chapters 8-12 are placed under the headings of The Rupture of the Rapture, When He Cometh, Significant and Not So Significant End-Time Topics, Concerning Death and Dying, and the Interim State of the Dead.
Appendix A, The Big Lie, is an Excursus on Original Sin, and Appendix B, The Nature of Man (the latter being written by Don DeWelt) are interesting and informative. Both are pertinent in discussions of the end‑time.
Overall, I was impressed with the book and welcome it as a valuable addition to my library. The book is very readable, interesting and informative. As any other book should be, this one also should be studied with Bible in hand and open. In view of the sensational and fanatical interpretations (?) of Scripture by the Millennialists, and their phenomenal propensity for wild speculation, books like this one are needed to help stem the tide of popular acceptance of the doctrines of Millennialism.