With so many religious books on the topic of future prophecy and interpretation of future events, the other book on the same subject will normally trigger a yawn. However, this book is an unusual gem as it tries to strike a balance between pessimistic fundamentalists and naysayers rubbishing prophetic qualities of the Bible. While doomsayers believe that the world is full of satanic conspiracies, those on the opposite side discuss the prophetic capacity of the Bible. The book affirms the eschatological themes of the Bible. It also acknowledges of some inconsistencies that need attention to be paid to. The book proves that the Bible predictions have to be put in the context of their historical perspectives and original meanings. It brings the relief to the faithful ones that have been crestfallen by the controversies of the topic. Craig Hill has written a book appealing to Christians, religious scholars, or anyone seeking for some light put on this subject.
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The book’s main thrust is to separate the facts from the mere claims. It clearly establishes what is found in the Bible, and what has been embellished over the time. With the constant reference to the Bible, in the terms of examples and anecdotes derived from daily life, the author’s thoughts, ideas, and assertions can easily be ascertained. There is the concise and comprehensive analysis of the Bible and the narration of the history of prophecies. This helps in understanding the apocalypse and interpretation of the books of Daniel and Revelation. The aspiration of early churches clearly affected their thoughts on the rapture and the Kingdom beyond.
With the reference to many books devoted to the apocalyptic end of times and Armageddon, such Hal Lindsey’s bestseller, as The Late Great Planet Earth of 1970’s and Tim LaHaye’s book End of Time are much appreciated. Hill shows that predictions on the demise of earth impact on the anxieties associated with uncertain times, such as economic hardships or unexplainable phenomena. However, the failure of these predictions does not in any way diminish the power of God’s triumph, as depicted in the Bible. He asserts that the concept of God’s triumph is central to the Christian faith and crucial for understanding the Bible.
It is Hill’s belief that the Bible prophecies should not be separated from their historical perspectives as this distorts their interpretation. The Book of Revelation may be referring to the ancient apocalypses as the New Testament writers were waiting for the second coming of Jesus Christ within their lifetime. At the same time, he disapproves modern authors and scholars denigrating eschatology, which is the belief for God’s triumph over evil, to be as an outdated concept. Therefore, In God’s Time, he tries to reconcile the prophecies of the Bible in the serious scholarly discourse without losing spiritual hope related to the prophecies.
Hill’s advice for the rigid fundamentalist, who takes the Bible literally, is that the Bible is more subtle in its predictions. He states that the message contained in the Holy Book is selected well that is shown by the thorough study of the book. By presenting the book in a scholarly fashion without alienating a layman, he accomplishes the task of accommodating academics and theologians, but, at the same time, passing the important messages to common parishioners or churchgoers. This opens the debate that the subject has been reserved to the Bible scholars and researchers as the majority of Christians were paralyzed with the claims and predictions of these elite groups. The book is full with humor that may seem to be not serious on such a serious issue as eschatology; though this makes the presentations lively and engrossing.
By presenting the history on the belief in the apocalypses and Jewish roots, Hill does not assume any prior knowledge on these issues. Thus, anyone can pick a book and, after reading it, be informed about the issues discussed as the real expert. Hence, the book reveals many inaccuracies being written in the Bible but which have been preserved by theologians, preachers, and other interested parties. With Hill’s book, In God’s Time, everyone is free to study the Bible, its teachings, and issues related to the second coming of Jesus without depending on other interpretations. This good book clearly states: “A man is not always his brother’s keeper, and the interpretations are sometimes biased.
The author does not go away from addressing difficulties arising with some aspects of the Bible. The issue on the inconsistencies in the Bible is concerned here. Hill takes the middle part between the inerrantists that believe in the infallibility of the Bible and those that use these inconsistencies to dismiss the whole Bible as a good fairy tale. Maintaining the Bible is God’s words, where he is explaining the inconsistencies to be the mistakes of the imperfect human authors influenced in their times. He suggests that these inconsistencies should not be overlooked as the inconvenient problems but faced directly. On the other hand, the focus should not be centered only on these inconsistencies. A frank study and discussion related to these inconsistencies is necessary to be made.
Craig Hill calls the proponents of the end of times to be escapists using every opportunity to scare people. He laments that the eschatological issue has been turned into the commercial and mass media circle. He supposes that the prophecies of the New Testament should be treated theologically, and not literally. They should form a basis for the discussion of the human destiny as the Old Testament reflects the human theological thinking of his origin (McGrath, 2008). However, his arguments on the context can be used against him as well. Just as the Biblical authors were influenced by their time and environment around them, Craig Hill cannot run away from the fact that he is also being a man of his time. The lens he uses to examine and interpret the Bible is affected by the modern times.
Nevertheless, the book is a profound addition to the debate on eschatology. It should act as the catalyst for the discussion on various eschatological messages of the Bible without any noise caused by such subject. As the author underlines the triumph of God over evil powers as an integral part of salvation, the second coming of Jesus, and heaven. This, in turn, is the foundation of Christianity.
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