Did Adam lose the world to the devil?

(c) Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D. 2016

Some misguided Christians today think that Satan is now the ruler of this world, and that it is not for Christians to have dominion on earth. Perhaps that could be possible when Jesus returns, but not now. They cite such passages as Satan is the “god of this world.” Yet the expression that Satan is the “god of this world” does not mean he is lord of lords, but that he is the god of this world in the sense that many worship him—not that he is almighty. His work is primarily in blinding the minds of people to the Gospel (2 Cor. 4:4; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Eph. 2:2; 1 John 5:19), but even that blindness is stripped away when the mighty grace of Jesus brings one to belief in Himself (Matt. 11:27; Acts 13:48; 16:14; Phil. 1:29).

Furthermore, that Satan is called by the Lord Jesus “the ruler of this world” (John 14:30) does not mean that there is not a Ruler above him, Who is Ruler of the universe and the Ruler of all rulers. Because there is a governor of Tennessee, do we conclude that there is not also a President of the United States who has greater authority than the governor? Besides, the Lord also stated: “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out” (John 12:31). What else does the expression “Lord of lords” mean except that Jesus is the ultimate Ruler and that NOW?

And was it not true that during the temptation when Jesus commanded Satan to leave Him in Matthew 4:10-11 that Satan did so immediately without a word? Did not the demons obey the Lord every time He commanded them and without hesitation? Where do the health and wealth people get the idea that Satan owns this world? Here is how Frederick K. C. Price reasons.[1] God gave Adam dominion over the earth. This dominion was a legal dominion, much like we would deed someone property. The earth was deeded to Adam by God; it was his [Adam’s] to do with as he pleased. This dominion included not only the animals but also the mineral rights so that he owned all the gold, silver, diamonds, oil, and so forth. When Adam sinned, he gave his property to Satan, and God no longer had a legal right to the earth. Now the planet is Satan’s, and even God must honor this agreement. Redeemed man can reclaim his original inheritance and be rich. Capps agrees: “It’s illegal for God to come to earth and destroy the work of the devil with His divine Godhead powers.”[2]

Yet the truth is that though Adam came under Satan’s dominion to some extent, primarily Adam was under God’s curse for sinning. God never indicated that the land or earth at that time was not His. Indeed, He cursed it to bring forth thorns, but he never gave it up. Kenneth Hagin says: “If God is running everything, He does have things in a mess.”[3] Fred Price is even more blatant:

“God can’t legally do anything in this earth realm except what we allow Him to do.” He also says, “God does not have physical possession of the earth, Satan does,” and “If God came here, He would be arrested as a trespasser.” Price goes on to condition his audience to accept these blasphemies with such statements as these:

“Evangelicals consider this heresy, and they would never say this.” “Tradition and theology reject this.” “I hope you don’t think God is running this world, evangelicals think that.” “If this is an example of how God runs things, I don’t want to go to heaven.” They distance themselves from the evangelical community with such statements (“we” versus the “evangelicals”), thereby separating themselves from the body of Christ, and establishing themselves as a cult.

Price uses two other passages to promote the idea that the world is Satan’s: Luke 4:1-8 and Matthew 9:35-38. The major passage for Price is: “And the devil said to Him, ‘All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish’” (Luke 4:6).

Our first response must be that Satan is a liar (John 8:44). Price says that Satan is telling the truth since Jesus did not rebuke him, which is also a common dispensational argument from this passage. But it is an argument from silence that leads Price to the deafening conclusion that Satan was for once telling the truth. But even if the Lord had not answered the devil, the inference is not valid. In the most elementary logic class one learns that he can conclude anything or nothing from what is not stated. But the Lord did answer Satan: “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve’” (v. 8). The Lord answered the real point behind Satan’s pseudo-offer: worship reveals Who the real God is, and we are to worship the Triune God only. If the Lord had said the kingdoms did not belong to Satan, He would not have been confronting the point of the offer, admitting perhaps he was right. Observe also that Satan instantly obeyed the Lord when He commanded him to leave, which showed Who was really in authority.

Secondly, God the Father made the same offer to Christ. Psalm 2 is a Messianic Psalm, using the name “Messiah” in verse two (sometimes translated “anointed”) and the word “Son” in verse twelve. In verse seven the Son quotes the Father:

“I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’”

This verse is quoted several times in the New Testament of the resurrection of Jesus. The Father raised Him from the dead, and, to the consternation of the nations (vv. 1-3), He made Jesus King of kings. In other words, even though the nations did not want Him ruling over them, and even though they sought to cast off His “bonds” (vv. 1-3; bonds=His law, see Jer. 2:20; 5:5), the Father laughed and made Him King over them anyway. In light of this, the Father says to His only Son: “Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession” (v. 8).

Now who has made the genuine offer of the world to Jesus, the Father or Satan? Who is the liar, God the Father or the devil? Who really owns the world and could offer it to Jesus, the Father or Satan? In the verses that follow the Father’s offer, it is obvious that the Son did ask and the Father gave Him the nations, for He shall rule them with a rod of iron (v. 9), and the rulers must repent (vv. 10, 11) or perish under the Son’s wrath (v. 12). The Lord Jesus emphatically stated that “all authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” at the resurrection (Matt. 28:18; see also Dan. 7:14).24 Of course, all these things are speaking of Christ in His Messianic office, not in His essence. In His essence as God, He has always had dominion over the earth (Ps. 24:1).

We Christians have already won, now let’s face down our ancient foe in the NAME of our eternal Savior who rules by omnipotent power not only inherent in Himself but also inherent in the words of the Gospel. AMEN.

[1] 04/27/92 broadcast, WPTY-TV Memphis, TN, 12 p. m.

[2] Charles Capps, God’s Image of You (Tulsa: Harrison House, 1985), p. 50.

[3] Kenneth E. Hagin, The Interceding Christian (Tulsa: Faith Publication Library, 1991), p. 13

G. K. Beale, The New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Book of Revelation, 1999 (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)

Beale_BookRevelationAnother Beale tome. The man does not sleep; he must be like Mr. Spock who only slept once a month for 24 hours. Good grief and praise the Lord for such a productive servant.

Beale leaves no stone unturned in his research for this 1,200 page tome. My only complaint is that he “only” averages about five footnotes per page!

It seems to me that he leaves no problem unanswered, no text not exegeted, and brings to bear every scholar who has ever commented on it, both ancient and modern. Moreover, he is exceptional in connecting with the Old Testament. This is truly a remarkable conservative work. His remarkable interpretation of Rev. 19 and 20 is worth the price of this moderately expensive work. No serious library should be without it, whether formal library, scholar’s personal library, or pastor. It appears from a quick survey that Beale is amil.

He has indexes of modern authors and of scripture. He has no quotes from Lewis Sperry Chafer (found of our Dallas Theological Seminary), from C. I. Scofield, Charles Ryrie, but many quotes from John Walvoord, the late president of DTS who wrote a commentary on Revelation.

Highly recommended.

There is one caveat: it is a very technical work, not for those who have limited training in Greek. AMEN.

If the Enthronement of Messiah at the Ascension Is True, Why Are Things So Bad?

(© May 2015, Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.)

The average Joe watching the national news will develop a headache from his blood pressure. If you drag your carcass to the TV to subject yourself to the national news day after day without discernment, you’ll be ready to hire ten psychiatrists! Sometimes the news reminds me of the Road Runner cartoon, where Wiley Fox is always trying to catch Road Runner, and when he almost has him, something happens. Wiley Fox is conservatives, and Road Runner is the liberals.

Moreover, recall Hee-Haw’s theme song:

Gloom, despair, and agony on me;

Deep dark depression, excessive misery.

If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all;

Gloom, despair, and agony on me.

Enter today’s Church Calendar celebration of ASCENSION. Growing up Baptist, then in the Bible Church movement until I graduated from seminary, then in Presbyterianism, I never heard a sermon on Ascension. At every church I attended or was pastor, we believed in the Ascension, but we just did not preach it. It was after I became Anglican and followed the church year calendar that I both heard and preached sermons on the Ascension. Our despair and pessimism kept us from the Ascension.

In my short life so far of 70 years, I’ve never seen such turmoil in the world in general and in the USA in particular. Is it any wonder that doom’s day dispensationalists are writing end time books and making millions, with such recent titles as Left Behind (LaHaye), The Harbinger (Cahn), Four Blood Moons (Hagee), and too many to list. And what plays into their hands is the news, from which they get much of their ammunition. In my circles, that is called newspaper interpretation. Find the worst news you can, and find a passage in the Bible that seems to fit. Woola! You can make a book if you do this enough. They all have one theme: the devil wins and Jesus and the Church loses—which means Jesus loses–so the Church has to raptured out of a defeated world. I cannot fathom how the Church with basically obedience to Christ will lose to Satan who promotes disobedience. Worship of the true God brings loss while worship of Satan brings victory. Go figure.

BUT it is my contention that we do not see with the Lord God’s eyes; we tend to filter the world through sinful eyes of unbelief. It is idolatry to enthrone Satan and dethrone the Lord Christ. What was His resurrection and Ascension all about if not His coronation? Does He not rule NOW? Here are a few texts that give us the opposite view of modern dooms day “prophets”:

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s

AT HIS COMING.

24 Then comes THE END,

whenHe delivers the kingdom to God the Father,

when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.

25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.

26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. (1 Cor. 15:22-26).

Notice that we have the Son’s “coming,” which word nearly always means the Second Coming in Paul’s writings. Paul defines the “coming” as “the end,” but the end of what? He gives two temporal clauses that define “the end,” each clause beginning with “when.” “When” He (Jesus) delivers a conquered kingdom to His Father, and “when” He (Jesus) has “put an end to all rule and authority and power,” meaning, of course, all wicked rule. Then he concludes with an explanation of how He wins: In the interim between His Ascension and current rule, He is “put[ing] all enemies under His feet.” Thus, when the Lord comes, it is not to establish a 1,000 year reign, but to deliver to His Father a conquered kingdom. How does He do that? By His Holy Spirit in the preaching of the Gospel through His chosen men:

18And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,

baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

20teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;

and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matt. 28:18-20)

Do you see it? In the beginning, the Triune God created the world, “heavens and earth.” Mankind lost the same in the fall in Genesis 3, through a man, Adam, but one Man, Jesus, will regain it. He is the Second or Last Adam. The first Adam lost it through the temptation of the devil, now the Last Adam regains “heaven and earth” through His righteous obedience, death on the cross, bodily resurrection, and Ascension. We win, the world loses; Jesus is Lord and has won, we are His servants and we win also:

And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Rom. 16:20).

Just as in the Great Commission from Matthew just given, Paul says Jesus Christ will be with us to “crush Satan under [our] feet shortly,” which is from Genesis 3:15 regarding the First Adam:

And I will put enmity

Between you [the devil] and the woman,

And between your seed and her Seed;

He [Christ] shall crush [so the Hebrew] your head,

And you shall crush His heel (Gen. 3:15).

Obviously Christ crushes Satan in His Incarnation, death, resurrection, and Ascension. Moreover, because we are identified with Him, we also crush the devil’s head—how, by the Gospel. Consider these quotes from modern church historians who are top scholars in their fields:

. . . in modern Africa, where the number of Christians [has] increased, staggeringly, from 10 million in 1900 to 360 million by 2000. If that growth does not represent the largest quantitative change in the whole of religious history, I am at a loss to think of a rival. [emphasis added; Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom, p. 4.]

At the beginning of the 20th century, the only predominantly Christian nation in Asia was the Philippines, which was a strongly Catholic country with a small Protestant ministry. At the end of the 20th century, Korea has established itself as a largely Christian nation, with Protestantism—especially Presbyterianism—being by far the largest Christian group. [Alister McGrath, Christianity’s Dangerous Idea, p. 447ff.]

McGrath goes on to say that this Buddhist nation, speaking of South Korea, had increased from only a handful of Protestant and Catholic churches in 1901 to explosive growth today (McGrath, p. 447ff):

  • There were very few Christians in Korea in 1900, only about one percent. In the whole of Korea (before the split between North and South), there were 300,000 Christians in 1920, but has now risen to 12 million, over one quarter of the national population (Jenkins, p. 2), with Presbyterians dominating. The nation has been converted from Buddhism to Christ, and Korean Protestants outnumber Roman Catholics by three to one.
  • The 1907 Pyongyang revival came, which was mainly Pentecostal but the Presbyterians were coming on strong also.
  • In 1957 there were about 800,000 Protestants in S. Korea; by 1968 there were 1,873,000 Protestants; by 1978 5,294,000! South Korea today is about 70% Christian, with Presbyterians leading the way. Here is a predominantly Buddhist country that has been completely turned around in only 100 years.

Turning to N. Korea, we see every sign of its imminent collapse; as recently as this past week the chubby dictator had another fellow ruler shot. Complete information about the state of the Church there is difficult to obtain, but “anecdotal evidence suggests that Christianity has already made deep inroads among the population. . . .” (McGrath, p. 448). The same is happening in China where there are two churches, the underground one and the government controlled one, both full of believers. Estimates run as high as 100 million have been converted, but no one knows for sure.

I can’t begin to do justice to all the stats so get the two books (Jenkins and McGrath mentioned above). It is not without reason that the Church at large has been praying the Lord’s Prayer since the Church’s beginning in AD 30, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” That is not an empty prayer that applies to some far away millennium, and just about all Christendom prays it each Lord’s Day.

Don’t forget that the Lord taught us the Gospel is leaven: it works silently out of view, and then suddenly it blossoms. Moreover, the enemy has never learned that death does not stop the Church but grows it. Read Hebrews: 2:14-18, and here is v.14:

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.

Those in power think they can promote their kingdoms by murdering their enemies, but for the Christian, that is only a change of geography, and he/she continues to advance the kingdom with the Lord on His throne (Rev. 6:9-11)! It is not missionaries who are evangelizing the African countries, but the Africans themselves. Here are some more stats:

  • There were few if any Pentecostals in 1900; today of the 2.2 billion Christians in the world, about 500 million are Pentecostals, and by 2050 it is predicted they will a third. We must get over our divisions regarding the charismatic movement. I’m not one, but at least I can say with Paul I’m glad when Christians preach the gospel, if they are basically orthodox (Phil. 1:18). The United Pentecostals are different; denying the Holy Trinity, they put themselves outside any orthodoxy.
  • In 1900, there were virtually no Anglicans in Uganda, but now they compose about 35 percent of the total population (McGrath, p. 69), and Uganda is exploding in population growth, having about 30 million. In 1977 Anglican archbishop Janani Luwum was martyred by despot Idi Amin, which caused many more people to be converted to Christ! (Tertullian, died AD 225: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”) Uganda has gone from a few in 1900 to 10 million today, and still going strong. They recently tried to enact the death penalty for those homosexuals who are spreading AIDS. The West, especially the USA, put a stop to it. Our immorality knows no debths.
  • In 2003 when Episcopal Church USA consecrated an homosexual as a bishop, they threatened to cut off the large sums of annual money to the Anglicans in Nigeria who were opposing the liberal Anglicans in the USA. The USA church had consecrated an active homosexual bishop. To his eternal credit, the Presiding Anglican Bishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, essentially told them that their money could perish with them! Until his recent retirement, he was the head bishop of about 20 million Anglicans in Nigeria, which does not count other Christians there. I could continue for pages, but here is one summary (Jenkins, p. 70).
  • I have not even touched Pentecostalism in Brazil, south of our border, and the incredible millions of Pentecostals in Africa.

We give the number of worldwide Christians in millions:

Dates 2005 2025
Roman Catholics 1,119 1,336
Independents 427 613
Protestants 376 491
Orthodox 220 236
Anglicans 80 108

The centers of Christianity 100 years ago were the USA, Europe, and the UK; now they are Africa, Latin America, S. Korea, etc. More particularly, the West is in serious decline. I used to say we’re in a free fall, but it is worse than that; instead, we’re wearing jet packs on our backs pointed down. We’re under judgment, now.

There is a tsunami of Holy Spirit Gospel flooding taking place right before our eyes, but because we are willfully blinded. We do not see it. Materialistic Americans will compromise anything—anything—to keep our toys and our personal peace. While we are declining (read, the Lord is removing His Holy Spirit from us), He is pouring out another Pentecost in other parts of the world. In 1900 approximately 90% of Christians were in the West; today about 80% are outside the West, and counting.

When you see on the news that Christians are being persecuted all over the world, know that Jesus is behind that. It is judgment of those nations who are losing the gospel salt, and favor on those nations where the Christians are going. Moreover, it is an indirect blessing on the Church, for we see in God’s word that the Church is like a gas fire: stomp it, it spreads; leave it alone, it burns out.

The only things the media and politicians see in places like the Middle East is guns, bombs, mass murders, military might, who is rising to power and who is being dethroned. Denying the Ascension and thus denying Christ, we think that with our military might we are invincible, forgetting that Jesus is omnipotent. He could take us down with mosquitoes, if He so willed it. If our leaders really want to change the Muslims and Arabs, they should open those countries to Christians. Instead, former strongholds to Christians are being shut, such as Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, etc. In AD 30 to now, Christians have increased proportionally from about one in 200,000 to about 2 out of 6.5.

Don’t look at what the devil is doing, look at what Jesus is doing. Stop the doom and despair; stop buying books that speak low of Christ and high of the devil; look up; tell your neighbor about the Sovereign Lord. I’ve read the Book—we’ve won! We won at His resurrection; we’ve been winning since then by the power of His Ascension in the Holy Spirit, and we are winning NOW. AMEN.

The Harbinger

Jonathan Cahn, The Harbinger

The Harbinger: The ancient mystery that holds the secret of America's future

Many of the things Cahn says that are wrong with the USA are on target, but it does not take a “secret” prophecy to reveal them.  I have most of the same things―and many more―in my book on the ten commandments (go here). The USA is in serious trouble BECAUSE the Church has apostatized, mostly, in the West. The Church controls the light, not the politicians in Wash, DC, or anywhere else. The parallels between Northern Israel in Isaiah 9:10-11 and our situation are interesting, but they are not prophecies of the USA. If there are parallels, it is because of moral principles, not prophecies, and Cahn has to stretch the Hebrew out of shape to make it say such. How many people have to be wrong in their end time predictions before we stop listening to them? Of course, we are in serious trouble, but that is because the Church has been disobedient to her covenant, and to His Ten Commandments. Our disobedience spills over into the society as a whole, but that is not a specific prophecy but what happens to any country where the Church is disobedient. The Church controls the light and the darkness, not the culture.

As for stretching the Hebrew, he looks up the Hebrew word for stone in Isa. 9:10, which he says means a “hewn stone,” which is possible, but one of the latest Hebrew lexicons translates “dressed stone” (HALOT). From that Cahn concludes that it must have been hewn from a mountain, and from that it must have been a mountain close to ground zero and from that the stone was the stone laid for the new tower. That’s too many if’s for me.

My personal opinion is that in the USA we have crossed the line, and all we have waiting for us is final judgment, but I’m not going to make that a prophecy to sell a million books.  In fact, if you have eyes to see, His judgment has begun and is all around us. (See the link above and my book on the Ten Commandments.)  Yet Jesus is infinitely more merciful than we think. After all, I’m not in hell, and I don’t mean that as a joke. When or if the Lord God may lower the whammy on us with some cataclysmic judgment (or slowly let us boil to death in the water as the proverbial frog), no one knows, not even Cahn.  The northern ten tribes were taken into captivity by Assyria in 722 B.C., as Cahn said. Judah was taken away twice, first in 605, when most likely Daniel and Ezekiel were taken to Babylon, and again in 586. That is over 100 years from the time of 722 to 605, and Jeremiah kept talking about it. No one listened, but God’s patience waited for over a century. Cahn is saying we might have 20 years from the original 9/11, but that will be an embarrassment if it does not come true. It is presumptuous to set dates. It sells books, though, and makes big money. I could not tell you for sure that we’ll have a severe judgment, but I can tell you that His judgment is already here, all around us and happening now, if you have eyes to see.  To keep saying it is future puts people to sleep.

One can tell that Cahn is not a dispensational scholar for they don’t set dates. The lay people with little theological understanding set dates, such as Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye, and the man who set the exact day several times. End time hysteria sells, especially if you set a date, or at least set a  time period.

Another point, God is not in the secret business but in the revealing business. I deny all books that talk about “secrets” that God has just now revealed. Christianity is the transparent religion, not the secret one. We have a Book open to all. We are not Masons with secret handshakes and secret doctrines. The prophecy of America has apparently been locked up in Isa. 9:10-11 for all these centuries, but now Cahn has finally unlocked the mystery. He does so by stretching the meanings of Hebrew words and by doing what all the other end time prophets do: reading the news back into the Bible. This is called eisegesis, not exegesis. If we read it as fiction with some principles of judgment that apply to all nations, it has some profit; but if you read it as prophecy, you’re dealing with another nut.

Moreover, the whole book is predicated on the USA government being in covenant with God (p. 19), but we are not. The founding fathers of the USA could not have made a national covenant with God if they had wanted to, because that is over. I just think they wanted a nation founded on the Gospel and Holy Scripture. The national covenant with Israel has become the “national” covenant with the Church (1 Peter 2:1-10). Israel has been upgraded to the Church, and the church is in every political nation on earth, and now the Church is the holy nation, as Peter explicitly states (1 Peter 2:9). As I said in my book on the Ten Commandments, and as I said recently (few Sundays ago) in one of my sermons, the USA is not in covenant with God; the Church is. Israel’s national covenant was unique. I wrote a whole book on this that has been out of print (refutation of dispensationalism), but I’m trying to update it and republish it.  They are back in the land as apostates who deny the Triune God and deny their Messiah and persecute Christians.  We are now the fulfillment of Israel, whereas modern day dispensationalists make the Church the replacement of Israel, and then after the so-called rapture, they make Israel replace the Church. I’m not into replacement theology but fulfillment theology. Our kingdom is not politics, but the Gospel and the Church are the kingdom, and as I’ve said in many sermons and in the latest pastoral letter (on this blog, titled “Obama Won―So What?”), the man in the Oval Office does not rule, Jesus does, NOW, by virtue of His Ascension.  He does not have to be on earth to rule. He said just before His Ascension that “all authority had been given to Him in heaven and on earth,” NOW (Matt. 28:18-20). He was enthroned at His resurrection and Ascension, as we specifically see in Psalm 2 and Acts 1 and 2.

Whether anything more happens to the USA is determined by the Church, whether we will stand for righteousness or not.  The Church is in process of being judged, and the culture hates us, and we deserve it. Sutton’s recent meeting with the Pope and with the number two Russian Orthodox bishop in Russia (representing the ACNA) recently was because they see what we see: the West is heading for destruction. They are very concerned to preserve the West, but it does not take a secret prophecy to see this. It just takes discernment. The discernment is written for all to see in God’s Book. I’ve been talking about it for 20 years, and especially the last 10 years. We are in free fall, and God won’t rapture us out.

Another concern is that though I did not read the whole book, yet I searched the book on Google books, and there were only three times the name Jesus was mentioned and none for the Holy Trinity.

Bottom line is that I can’t really recommend The Harbinger.

How God Became King

N. T. Wright, How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels, hard cover, 280 pages, published 2012 by HarperOne. This is an easy read yet very thorough in presenting Jesus as Messiah in progressive revelation, from Genesis to the Gospels, and even some in Paul’s letters and Revelation. I must admit that I was a little taken back by the title, and one significant person said, “I thought God was always king.” True, but we must see that the Bible presents the Messiah Jesus as becoming king progressively throughout the pages of the Bible, until finally we meet Him as establishing the kingdom of God in His Incarnation, life, death, cross, resurrection, and especially the Ascension. In other words, “since by man came death by Man came also the resurrection of the dead” (1 Cor. 15:21). But that did not happened immediately when Adam sinned. It is progressively unfolded over the centuries. It is an excellent thesis with a lot of thought and biblical support for it. I’ve wanted to write one something like this. Mine would be titled We Win!, or perhaps, We Won! If you want―and you need it―this is a presentation of a biblical, theological work that ties all the Bible together.

Wright tends to make me nervous in his writings, sometimes saying things that seem off the wall, at least to me, and I kept waiting for the shoe to drop with this one. I did not encounter such.

There is one thing that will make some dislike the book: he seems to disparage the creeds. But he actually does not. If you’re patient, you’ll see that he very much supports the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, but he regrets that they jump from Incarnation to the cross, leaving out most of the content in the four gospels about the founding of the kingdom of God. Wright ties together the kingdom with the cross, resurrection, and Ascension, stating emphatically that Jesus became king, inaugurated the kingdom, through his life, and is now enthroned as King of kings.

There is a side benefit to the book: all through the book there is only one king, one kingdom, and He is sovereign now, not for some millennium to come. There are not two kings, Satan now and Jesus later, and not two kingdoms, one for Israel and another for the Church. In other words, this is a thorough eschatology of victory with one king and one kingdom, which is greatly needed in today’s pessimistic Christian world with its two kings and two kingdoms. Christians today, especially in the USA, tend to identify the kingdom of America with the kingdom of God, or the reverse, the kingdom of God with America. But there is one who rules the oval office, rules it now, and His name is Jesus. This is not replacement theology, as some say (but so what?), but fulfillment theology, the bud of Israel’s failed kingdom blossoming into the flower of the Church’s fulfilled kingdom. It is the dispensationalists who have replacement theology: replacing Israel with the Church so that the Church is a parenthesis, and then replacing the Church with Israel in the so-called millennium, resulting in two kingdoms. Rather, Wright, following the Bible closely, presents one king and one kingdom, developing it until we come to Messiah Jesus. Highly recommended. AMEN.

Predicting the End Without Predicting the End

Review of John Hagee, Can America Survive?

(Also, regarding Harold Camping, Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye)

(Free to disseminate: Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.M., Th.D.)

(click here to get the free pdf file of the whole article if you want to send it to someone.)

There are various ways Christians have to predict the end of the world.  First, there is the absolute nut, Harold Camping, who says May 21st, 2011 will be the end of the world with judgments, especially earthquakes.  I’m not sure how many times he has predicted and been wrong (more than once), but May 21st is just three days from now.  He is an embarrassment to all Christians.  We rightly distance ourselves from him.  Even the end time guru and popular writer of the Left Behind series, Tim LaHaye, rejects Camping’s nonsense.  He says:

Is Harold Camping Right This Time?  [He has the] well advertised claim that Jesus Christ will come to rapture believers on May 21, 2011―this is not only wrong but dangerous.  [He] also claims that God will destroy this world on October 21, 2011―this is not only bizarre but 100% wrong!

Our Lord Jesus Himself said of the time when He will return to rapture His church to Heaven “. . . that no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36).  These words were preceded with verse 35, when He also said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (from:

http://www.leftbehind.com/05_news/is_harold_camping_right_this_time.asp).

Yet, LaHaye also predicts the end.  On the same web page just given, LaHaye has this advertizement: Three Signs of the End, by himself and his popular co-writer Jerry Jenkins.  LaHaye goes on to say: “In our book Are We Living in the End Times? we list many of the signs of the times apparent in our generation. We believe that while no one knows the day or the hour when Christ will return, we have more reason to believe He could come in our lifetime than any generation before us.”

In one sense, every generation could say that it has “more reason to believe He could come in our lifetime than any generation” because we’re one generation closer to His return.  But LaHaye is doing what I call predicting the end without predicting the end.  He and Jenkins hype things up, talk about all the so-called prophecies about the end, sell millions of books, and then make a disclaimer, once in a while.  The only difference between Camping and LaHaye when it comes to prophecy is that LaHaye is not as specific on the date of His return―Camping says it will be in three days, May 21, 2011, and LaHaye says in our lifetimes.  Both are date setters.

Prior to both Camping and LaHaye is Hal Lindsey who wrote Late Great Planet Earth.  In his last chapter of the book, “Polishing the Crystal Ball,” he quoted Daniel 12:9 and interpreted it to mean that prophecy would be shut up until the “last days”.  There is now a great interest in prophecy, which means we’re in the last days.  So how do we know we’re in the last days? Because there is a lot of interest in prophecy.  How do we know there won’t be more interest in another generation, say in another 1,000 years when people hype another millennium?  Given their understanding of Daniel 12:9―which I don’t―one can only say the interest in prophecy in our generation is the greatest of all generations if we know in advance the posture of all generations.  Moreover, it strikes me as a circular to say, “Hyped interest in prophecy indicates the last days, and in the last days there will be hyped interest in prophecy.”  They become the cause of one another: last days because of hyped interest in prophecy, and hyped interest in prophecy because we’re in the last days.

But what does “last days” means, or its equivalent.  It is interesting to me that few of the doomsdayers have checked the Bible’s usage regarding the term “last days” or its equivalent to see what it means.  Here are most of the places where these terms are used and what they mean in context:

  • Gen. 49:1―Jacob was describing the events that would happen in the lives of his sons and in the history of the tribes of Israel in the Old Testament
  • Num. 24:14―a prediction of the first coming with the star out of Jacob and the scepter from Israel
  • Deut. 4:30―judgments of the exiles of Israel to Assyria and Judah to Babylon (need more study on this one)
  • Isa. 2:2―In light of Isaiah 11:4 that echoes this passage and also 2:4, it would seem that this is the Messianic age, between the two comings
  • Jer. 23:20; 30:24; 48:47; 49:39; Ezekiel 38:16; Daniel 2:28―(this last verse is clearly not the absolute end as Daniel says the prophecy applies to the king and also the four world empires, the fifth being Christ and His kingdom at His incarnation; Daniel 10:14 may be the same thing); Micah 4:1 is most likely the Messianic age also, for in the imagery of Scripture “mountain of the Lord” often refers to God’s people, the church, to the Lord and His place of refuge (Isa. 2:3; Deut. 1:41; 5:22; Ps. 48:1; 11:9; Isa 25:6; 30:29; 65:11; 66:20; Jer. 26:18; 21:23; Ez. 20:40; Micah 4:2).  At least we are seeing how the Bible uses these terms, not just using our imaginations and the newspaper
  • Acts 2:17 Peter quoted Joel 2:28-32 on Pentecost “in the last days I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.”  This was fulfilled as he spoke, and the rest of the quote indicates that “last days” was applied to the Messianic age, between the two comings.  Likewise with 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1; Heb. 1:2 (especially here: “God has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things; James 5:3; 1 Peter 1:20 (“He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,” obviously meaning the current age); 2 Peter 3:3; 1 John 2:18 (by the many anti-christis already in the world, we know that it IS, present tense, right now, the last hour)

John Hagee’s Book: Can America Survive?

Instead of interpreting the Bible from within, by seeing how terms are used in the Bible, Hagee and others interpret the Bible from without: they read into it today’s news, and they have an active imagination in doing so.  Anytime anything happens in the Mid-East, one of these writers produces a new book about the terminal generation, such as John Hagee’s recent book, Can American Survive―10 Prophetic Signs That We Are the Terminal Generation.  The subtitle on the book cover is 10 Prophetic Signs That We Are the Terminal Generation, but only one chapter mentions them. The rest of the book is fluff, irrelevant.  Later, I will do a longer review of this book and also of his In Defense of Israel, a most horrendous book in its view of salvation, but for now here is Hagee’s introduction to his 10 signs of the end (chapter 9 in his book):

“In this chapter, we will look at ten prophetic signs that clearly indicate that we are the terminal generation and that we are well on our way on the road to Armageddon.  If you listen closely, you can hear the hoof beats of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, racing toward the battle” (Can American Survive, chapter 9, p. 182).

Here are his ten signs that our kids will never live to give us grandkids:

  1. Oil―He quotes Ezekiel 38:4 where God says to invading armies that He would put “hooks into your jaws,” and Hagee says Ezekiel “is referring to oil.”  That’s all the exegesis you’re going to get!  A bare assertion that “hooks” is oil. If there was ever a case of theology in search of a text, this is it.  There is no competent Hebrew scholar that would say “hooks” is oil. The Hebrew (HaHîm) just means something literal, as a physical device in an animal, or something non-literal that controls another.  Of course, Hagee does not mean “hooks” is literally oil but that oil is the hook in some nations’ mouths.  But there is nothing in the context to connect this with the 21st century or with oil.  I’m sorry, but his bare assertion is not enough.  He engages in all kinds of newspaper gymnastics to show who controls the oil, wanting us to read that back into Ezekiel. We would have to identify “Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal” of verse two with nations in the middle east, which cannot be done and is too involved for this short review.
  2. Knowledge explosion―Hagee quotes Daniel 12:4 where Daniel is told to “shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”  The end of what time?  The absolute end of time just prior to the Second Coming (as Hagee assumes) or the end of an age, as in the Old Testament age, the Old Covenant ending and the New Covenant beginning?  Moreover, we have the same circular fallacy as mentioned above.  There is now an alleged increase knowledge, which means we’re in the last days.  So how do we know we’re in the last days? Because there is an alleged increase knowledge.  How do we know there won’t be more knowledge in another generation, say in another 1,000 years when people hype another millennium?  Also, what kind of knowledge did Daniel have in view?  Was it our information age, was it about God through more insights into Holy Scripture, or what?
  3. Massive radiation blast―Hagee quotes Zechariah 14:12-15 about “their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets” and concludes that this is a nuclear bomb of some kind, but Zechariah says this is a “plague.”  I know of no place in Old Testament Hebrew where plague means bomb; it always refers to some kind of disease or plague.  Hagee is engaging in allegory, or something.  This is a belief in search of a text, reading into Zechariah from our 21st century culture.  Of course, that is not to say it will not happen.  If the apocalyptic leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has his way, he’ll do it.
  4. Rebirth of Israel―Does it not occur to anyone that we are in the second generation since Israel became a nation again in 1948?  I thought the Second Coming was to occur by 1988, one generation from their renewal in the Middle East.  When I was a dispensationalists, I was taught that one generation was 40 years.  Thus 40 + 1948 = 1988, the year of the Second Coming.  One man, Edgar Whisenant wrote 88 Reasons for the Rapture in 88, then corrected himself for 89 reasons for the rapture in 89, and was wrong, of course, both times.  Moreover, as Dr. John Walvoord said to the student body in chapel when I was a student at Dallas Theological Seminary, “Men, do not say this is the fulfillment of prophecy for Israel to be back in the land.  We don’t know.  They may be taken out of the land only to return 1,000 years later.”  For people to say this is a fulfillment of prophecy is to assume that can see all the way to Second Coming, that we will not have a repeat.  Also, as I’ll document in the next version of my book, Dispensationalism Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow (will be the seventh printing and fourth edition), there is no such prophecy for Israel to go back to the land.  Every prophecy the end time fanatics give from the Old Testament is a prophecy that has already fulfilled with the return under Ezra and Nehemiah from the dispersion.  Then I also ask the question, who is Israel?  The twelve tribes are gone so how would we recognize them?  There has been 2,000 years of inter-marrying.  We have no genealogical roles of the tribes.  Here is what one current professor at one prominent dispensational seminary has said about the definition of Israel, and it is significant since he believes in a future for “Israel” in the land:

There are these “Israels” in the Bible and one extra:

1. Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel.

2. Jacob’s biological descendents.

3. Jacob’s biological descendents who share(d) his faith.

4. The nation constituted by Jacob’s descendents.

5. The nation constituted by Jacob’s descendents and others not biologically descended from Jacob.

6. Those within the nation that shared the faith of Jacob.

7. Jesus

8. The land between the rivers inhabited by the seed of Abraham eschatologically.

9. [This one is not in the Bible] The secular, political, anti-Christian state in the Middle East today.

I reject number 8 because I see the land as now the whole world, but the others seem legitimate to me.  The point is how do we determine who Israel is?  But the man who gave this list is an honest scholar who believes in a future of “Israel” in the land, and recognizes that we have a problem in the definition.  Hagee seems to assume that anyone who claims to be a Jew is legitimate.  But is that a blood claim?  If so, where are the twelve tribes and the genealogies?  If it includes faith, then anyone can make a legitimate claim to be a Jew, so what’s the point?

5. Exodus II―The Russian Jews return to Israel.  Hagee quotes Jeremiah 23:7-8 about the tribes of Israel and Judah returning from the “north,” but that has been fulfilled under Nehemiah and the Bible never mentions Russia; that is read into the text.  The nations to the north where the Lord drove them were Babylon, Assyria, and such, and they came back under Nehemiah.

6. Jerusalem no longer under Gentile rule―According to Hagee, the Gentiles had control of Jerusalem from A.D. 70 to the Six Day War of 1967, and that this fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy that it would be “trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).  (If that is true, by the way, President Obama just announced that Israel should give that up.)   Assuming this has anything to do with today, it is difficult to say we have seen the fulfillment of the verse.  As noted above, it may come around again in 1,000 years; we just don’t know what the end will look like.  It appears the Gentiles still have a lot of control over Jerusalem, especially with the masque on the dome of the rock, the traditional temple site, and many in Jerusalem being Muslims.

7. Worldwide Television―This would be funny if it were not so ridiculous.  He quotes Revelation 11:9: “Then thosefrom the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days” and concludes that the whole world, “at the same time,” “at one time,” will be able to see the two witnesses. But it does not say “at the same time.”  John the Apostle says they will see the dead bodies for three and a half days, not “at the same time.”  John says “those” from peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see them, which is a Greek expression that means “some” will see them, not all.  Even if we supply the word “those,” as most translations do, still the idea is not “all.”  The Greek preposition ek followed by the genitive means “some,” not “all.”  This is definitely a belief in search of a text, and highly imaginative.

8. Days of deception―Hagee quotes Matthew 24:4 that deception is going to come on the terminal generation.  Of course, we have had heretics since the Apostles and the early church as witness the New Testament and the early fathers.  Once again he goes to our culture to find secular humanism, neopaganism, ignoring debt, and mocking the Bible as fulfillments.  I can add to the list of heresies, not the least of which is the word-faith one that says the Son of God gave up His divine powers while on earth and only functioned as a man.  (There went the Trinity, incarnation by deicide, and condemned at the Council of Ephesus, AD 431.)  I’m not saying Hagee is word-faith (or that he’s not), but others are saying he is.  These heresies have been around in some form for hundreds of years, and some for thousands.

9. Famines, pestilences, and earthquakes―Hagee took this from Matthew 24:7 where Jesus said: “there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places,” but that has been fulfilled in A.D. 70 and before.  Of course, it is true in every age, and he interprets “pestilence” to mean an “incurable disease,” which is not a necessary meaning in Greek or English.  Once again, he goes to culture to interpret the text and mentions AIDS, cancer, and other incurable diseases, none of which has anything necessarily to do with Matthew 24:7.

10. As in the days of Noah―This connection is even more tenuous than the others, if possible.  Jesus said that in the days of Noah, they “did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:39).  So?  He feels the pungency of “they did not know” so his comment about Jesus saying no one would know “the day nor the hour” is this: “This is a statement of a twenty-four hour period,” apparently meaning we might not know the exact hour of the day, but other than that, we can know, which is just so much twisting of Scripture.  The standard Greek lexicon (BDAG) defines “hour” and “day” as an “undefined period of time” in this passage, not to be taken literally.

The next chapter is titled “What’s Going to Happen Next?”, which, of course, is the rapture.  Surprise!  We get out of all the judgments by being taken away seven years before they occur.  This is a theology of pessimism to the extreme, on the one hand, and of escapism, on the other hand.  Is it any wonder that people buy these books when they are being told they will escape?  There is nothing but doom awaiting the world, but we Christians get out of it.  Actually, I agree with some of his events that he said may happen, such as financial ruin, nuclear bomb, EMP (electromatic magnetic pulse), and so forth, but we don’t get out of them.  Christians all over the world have suffered terribly in the last 100 years, so why should Christians in the USA be delivered?  That is arrogance exponential.  We Christians in the USA have no theology of suffering; He shall teach us.  Recently I heard Jim Daly, new head of Focus on the Family since James Dobson retired, on Huckabee say that he had visited pastors in China.  As he was leaving to embark on an airplane, they said something like, “We’ll be praying for you.”  Daly asked: “What will you pray for?”  They responded, “For your persecution.  You have it too soft in the USA.”  They are right.  And with the word-faith movement telling USA Christians that they can make their own providence by speaking good words into the air, we are ripe for judgment.  I strongly agree with Hagee’s (and the others) that judgment is coming, but the implication they are saying is that it is not already here.  Indeed, judgment is already here if we have eyes to see.  Read my book that details the judgments and solutions we have in the USA regarding the Triune God and judgment in the West, and His moral law, NOT Ten Suggestions, and another one I wrote on the word-faith movement, Man as God: The Word of Faith Movement.

Is it any wonder that we Christians have been impotent in bringing God’s morality to bear when we believe there is no use in it?  The devil wins by disobedience to God’s law, and we lose by obedience.  What is wrong with that picture?  Of course, true obedience to God’s law is only a product of faith in Messiah, for “faith without works is dead.”  No one can be perfectly obedient to God’s commandments, but if we confess our sins, trusting in the death and resurrection of Messiah, we shall be forgiven, and the obedience that follows from that will change the culture.

At each point, Hagee looks for something different or unique or wrong in our culture, and then looks for a text in the Bible that will support this thing.  At all points he has a theology in search of a text, reading the culture back into the Bible, embarrassing all Christians with his predicting the end without predicting the exact end.  (Is too much to say that if he predicted the exact end as Camping has done, the book selling would be up once the date came and went?  Better to keep the readers hanging on for one more book with a few more clues.)

Hagee begins his book with the story of the Titanic with all the doomsday emphasis he can muster, not because he says that was in prophecy, but because it lends credence to his book with its doomsday predictions.  It makes the rest of the prophecies in the book seem real if you prepare for possible sensationalism with actual sensationalism.  I will also point out that Hagee is extremely caustic toward anyone who disagrees with him, especially Christians.  The bitterness he accuses Christians of having toward Jews is not as bad as the vitriolic spirit he has towards early Christians, Martin Luther, and modern Christians who do not take his view.  He is not able to say anything civil about us, but I get the impression he had just as soon see us miss the so-called rapture.  He has so emotionally charged his following that I doubt that any could seriously entertain what has been the Church’s view for 2,000 years.  He has already poisoned the wells by quoting (out of context) early fathers who were not pro Jewish and castigated them, and has done the same with modern scholars.  Anyone who denies his view is engaging in “replacement theology” while he engages in dual covenants and two ways of salvation, as I’ll demonstrate next time.  We are written off as of the devil―period.  I will explore this more in the larger reviews of his In Defense of Israel, which he had to rewrite because it was heretical on Jesus as Messiah, basically saying Moses was the Messiah of the Jews and Jesus the Messiah of the Gentiles.  But that is for next time.

It is a commentary on American culture where the rapture generation exists and virtually nowhere else in the world, that such nonsense could be so popular.  As John Hannah, the head of the church history department at Dallas Theological Seminary, has recently stated about dispensationalism, it is primarily a USA phenomenon (John Hannah, An Uncommon Union, p. 20).  In my limited travels, and in talking to others outside the USA, especially those in seminaries and church leadership positions (Germany, England, Australia, Canada, etc), I’m told that the rapture doctrine all but disappears once outside the USA.  That is rather ironic sense it began with Darby in England in the mid 1800s, but now is basically dead there; indeed, Christianity is dead there.  Our version of evangelical Christianity here is barely recognizable.  From the mid 1800s on back, the rapture doctrine completely disappears from church history, not a whiff.  Even today, if we take all of Christianity, Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestant, there is only a small number of evangelicals, and those residing in the USA, who hold it, but they are very vocal and think you do not believe the Bible if you don’t believe their way.

It is a commentary on our Christian culture that so many people would buy into predicting the end without predicting the end.  How gullible can we be?  How can Christian people think that Hagee’s connections from the culture to the Bible are really exegesis (lifting out of the text its meaning) and not eisegesis (reading into the text)?  He makes bare assertions without proof.  It seems clear that he has no knowledge of Greek or Hebrew and yet claims to be a Bible scholar.  Lord have mercy on him to show him a better way.

There may be an anti-Christ at the end whom the Lord may slay with the breath of His mouth (2 Thess. 2:8), or perhaps my reading of that could be improved.  John speaks of a coming anti-Christ and that many are anti-Christs are already in the world (1 John 2:18).  But the one who denies the Holy Trinity, the Incarnation of the Son of God who remained and functioned as God on earth, is both the anti-Christ and the spirit of anti-Christ (1 John 4:1-3), not in the future, but now.

What is wrong with this picture?  One can sell millions of books about the anti-Christ (Camping, Lindsey, LaHaye, Hagee), but one cannot give away books on the person of Christ.  I hope to write a book on the person of Christ, but from what others have said (such as R. C. Sproul who also wrote one on Christ), it will not sell.  What is wrong with those Christians who prefer to have their curiosities tickled about the “end times,” who want to know who the anti-Christ is, and what will happen at the end, but do not want to hear about the glories of Christ?  This is a sick church.

I haven’t said anything about supporting Israel in the Mid-East, but I will in the larger review of Hagee’s works and in my work on dispensationalism that I hope to have out again.  Only I’ll say this much.  I’m in favor of supporting Israel politically because they are a great ally to the USA in the Mid-East, but religiously they are still Christ-haters, denying that Jesus is the Messiah, persecuting Christians there, which puts them outside the Christian faith and thus non-Christians.  We owe them a huge debt of love for giving us the Gospel and the Old Testament, and we must give them the Gospel as we would Muslims.  There is only one faith, the Christian faith, and there are several Christian heresies: Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, and perhaps some others.  All these have copied Christianity to some extent (Judaism has reacted and changed its Old Testament understanding since Christ came) but changed its essence.  We are indebted to all, but especially to the Jews to whom Christ first came, if we can determine who a Jew is; otherwise, we just give everyone the Gospel.

I believe in the infallibility of Holy Scripture, but not in the infallibility of so-called modern day prophets or their predictions.  I believe in the Nicene Creed, that talks about the Second Coming, the same Creed that goes back to Nicaea (325) and Chalcedon (451), the same one Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants all believe.  It gives us the Holy Trinity, creation, Incarnation, resurrection, Ascension, the Church, and the Second Coming, without defining the details of that coming.  If the “Jews” are taken out of the land again, it would not in the least affect my theology or my belief in the infallibility of the Bible.  I cannot delve into what the Church and the Bible has historically said about these things here, but I will later.  So what do I think about the Second Coming?  I’ll be safe and infallible: Jesus will return.  That is safe, and because our Lord said it, it is infallible.  Also, another infallible statement: I don’t know when He’ll come, which is what He said (Mark 13:32), but I’d better be ready.  So had you.  AMEN.

(click here to get the free pdf file of the whole article if you want to send it to someone.)

The Temple and the Church’s Mission, Greg Beale, Ph.D.

Beale_TempleBp Ray Sutton (Th.D., Ph.D.) and I were in seminary at Dallas Theological Seminary with Greg Beale, who now teaches New Testament at Wheaton, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. He has written a number of fine works, one of which is a commentary on Revelation (amillennial approach). Like Sutton and me, he read his way out of dispensationalism. Just recently I came across his The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God. This is one of the best works I’ve read in a long time, and is especially good for us Anglicans who love worship. Beale traces the concept of temple and the dwelling of God from Genesis one through Revelation 22, quite literally, dealing with the garden of Eden as God’s dwelling place. He then makes connections with the tabernacle, the temple, and especially in the Gospels with Christ as the final temple (John 2:19ff), Acts, and Hebrews. He has long chapters on Paul’s approach in his epistles, and one chapter alone on the man of sin in the temple in 2 Thess 2, demonstrating that the “temple” where this man claims his own divinity is none other than the New Testament church—not the city of Jerusalem! Very well done with many connections from the New Testament Greek back to the Septuagint and to the Hebrew, though you don’t have to be proficient in those languages to understand 90 percent of it. This is truly what a redemptive-historical approach to the Bible should look like. AMEN.