Timothy P. Smith – The Chamberlain Key

Book Review:
13 Letters –

In my lifetime I can remember several books which claim to have found secret codes or hidden messages in the underlying Hebrew text of the Bible. Some have been credible other have not. Into this intriguing subject Timothy P. Smith steps with the story of a personal quest to understand an improbable message found in the 30th chapter of the book of Genesis.

The story begins with a clandestine visit to his parent’s attic to inspect the forbidden treasures stored there in its dusty eaves. As Mr. Smith retells, one particular object caught his attention that night. That night he found a heavy iron star which in the flickering candle light sparked a passion for antiquities which set his life on path of exploration and discovery. Years later he would learn that the star his hands had held that night was one of 13 which had adored the nation’s capital in an earlier era. The irony of this does not escape the reader because as you will learn Mr. Smith’s book, The Chamberlain Key most likely would not have been written had it not been for just 13 Hebrew letters.

This is a book which is hard to dismiss. To be honest I’m skeptical, but I want to believe. I’ve never had a vivid dream or vision telling me to do something or go somewhere so that aspect of the story is the hardest for me to accept or believe. Not that it couldn’t be true, the Bible is full of such encounters and tells of more to come in the future.

– – – Spoiler Alert – – – Although this is a nonfiction work, in many places it reads like a thrilling novel with a plot that builds to an amazing conclusion. As a nonfiction work which deals with a religious theme any thorough review should touch on the nature of the subject discussed. If you want to read this book without any such information please do not read any further. – – – –

The easiest part of this book for me to accept is the authors belief, nay his compelling proof, that there is an underlying design to the Biblical text that is divinely ordered. An order that is deeper and more complex than just the inspired words on the surface of the each page. An order which tells of YHWH’s redemptive love for mankind through the promised Messiah.

To me an important test of any book which deals with subjects of prophecy or hidden information in the Bible is the test found in Revelation 19:10. That test is whether the spirit of this information is a testimony of Yeshua (YHWH’s Salvation). I was pleased, actually thrilled to learn that the underlying thrust of this book is indeed evidence that shows the spirit of Revelation 19:10.

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the inexplicable link between the author’s personal story and that found in Genesis 30. The story seems well, fantastic. In any ,in reading his story I could help but think of Jacobs 6 sons and a daughter and his love for Rachel. 6 and 7 has an important symbolic place in the Scripture and it is often related to the number 13. In consideration of the important role these numbers play in the author’s story I couldn’t help but think of other places in the Bible where these numbers are found and the symbolism associated with them. Who knows they might be additional lines of investigation upon which to apply the Chamberlain Key. Here are a few examples:

In Genesis 29 it describes Jacob’s love for Rachel and his willingness to serve 7 years for her. The Hebrew word used for love is the word ahabah and means love or to love. This is the first occurrence of the word in the Bible and its numerical value is 13.

To many Jewish people the Shema Yisrael are the most sacred words in the Bible. YHWH is One! In the Bible the Hebrew word for one is echad which has a numerical value of 13. YHWH, the proper name of the living God of the Bible has a numerical value of 26 (2×13). The Shema Yisrael, that YHWH is One, is equal to (3×13) or 39.

And for those who appreciate multilevel meaning encoded into Biblical text I would be remiss if I did not mentioned the lineage of Yeshua found in Matthew 1. Matthew created this lineage of Yeshua by leaving out 4 Old Testament kings thus making precisely 41 names. (13th prime) Further you can prove these omissions were intentional by the location where he left them out. Three of the names were left out between the 6th & 7th generation and one was left out between the 13th & 14th generation. This in effect then made Yeshua both the 13th & 14th generation in the 3rd generational grouping found in Matthew 1. As the Jewish reader would understand this then also makes a connection between the 7 sacred Biblical holydays and the 13 or 14 sacrifices that were required to be made on each of those days. Keep in mind those holydays were ordered based upon a lunar calendar which was internally regulated each month by 13 or 14 days of visible waxing light followed by 13 or 14 days of waning light.

At least to me, it is thrilling to realize that the catalyst for this story to be written, a story which is ultimately about Yeshua Mashiach, was because of 13 Hebrew letters and it is retold in the 14th chapter of this book. To really appreciate the thrilling nature of this irony you’ll have to read Mr. Smiths fascinating journey of discovery for yourself.

“Do not hide Elohim’s truth” Indeed!

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In closing, this is the most unusual book I’ve read this year. It was stimulating, challenging and left plenty of unanswered questions and some healthy skepticism but why shouldn’t it? As they say, life is indeed often stranger and more thrilling than fiction.

Thanks for taking the leap of faith Mr. Smith, risking the ridicule and criticism that is sure to come in order to honor the message found in those 13 letters in the 30th chapter of Genesis.

Author: Timothy P. Smith
Book Title: The Chamberlain Key: Unlocking the God Code to Reveal Divine Messages Hidden in the Bible
Author Website:
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn
Book Reviewed by: William Struse

Dr. Michael S. Heiser – Reversing Hermon

Book Review:
Reversing Hermon in Matthew 1 –

I have to admit this is the first book I’ve read by Dr. Michael Heiser and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Frankly, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to read this book, that is, until pursuing C.C. Fenn’s review on Amazon. For sure one of the best reviews I’ve read in a long time.

In any case, I purchased Reversing Hermon: Enoch, The Watchers & the Forgotten Mission of Jesus Christ and really appreciated seeing the subject through Dr. Heiser’s eyes. In this book Dr. Heiser elevated the discussion of Genesis 6 from the oft sensationalist speculation to a historical and Biblical grounding which provides answers to several of the Bible’s more challenging passages.

More importantly Dr. Heiser looked at the subject in light of the Spirit of Prophecy, that is, as it relates to YHWH’s redemptive plan through Yeshua (YHWH’s Salvation). In short Dr. Heiser makes the case that Yeshua’s messianic mission included not only the rectification of Adam and Eve’s sin, but also the evil wrought by those of the angelic host who left their intended estate and sowed their rebellious evil on this earth.

In terms of scholarship Dr. Heiser did something in this book which is rather rare today. Dr. Heiser looked at this complex subject in light of its 2nd temple era context. The 2nd temple era and it influence on Biblical history and Bible prophecy (in my opinion) is far too often ignored when trying to understand some of the Bible’s most important prophetic passages.

The book is organized into four parts:

PART I – Genesis 6:1-4 in its Original Ancient Contexts
• Chapter 1 – The Sons of God and Nephilim
• Chapter 2 – The Sin of the Watchers in 1 Enoch and Other Enochian Tests
• Chapter 3 – The Mesopotamian Apkallu, the Watchers, and the Nephilim

PART II – Reversing Hermon in the Gospels
• Chapter 4 – The Sin of the Watchers and the Birth of Jesus
• Chapter 5 – The Sin of the Watchers and the Genealogy of Jesus
• Chapter 6 – The Sin of the Watchers and the Ministry of Jesus

PART III – Reversing Hermon in the Epistles
• Chapter 7 – The Sin of the Watchers and Human Depravity
• Chapter 8 – The Sin of the Watchers and the Head Covering of 1 Corrintians 11
• Chapter 9 – The Sin of the Watchers and Baptism

PART IV – Reversing Hermon in the Book of Revelation
• Chapter 10 – The Sin of the Watchers, the Nephilim, and the Antichrist
• Chapter 11 – The Sin of the Watchers and the Apocalypse

Of these chapters 2, 5, 7, 9 really stood to me. I especially appreciated learning about the congruency of the Enochian narrative in Biblical and the historical record. I frankly had no idea the subject was as well testified to in ancient history.

Dr. Heisers discussion of the Mosaic law in Chapter 7 was especially interesting. It provided a new and intriguing angle from which to view the Torah and its purpose. This subject provided me with much food for future thought and reflection.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

The weakest part of the book, in my opinion, were the authors speculation regarding Revelation 12 as an astronomical sign which dates the birth of Yeshua to the 1st of Tishri in 3 BC. I admit up front I don’t know enough about astronomical signs to test Dr. Heiser’s theory but Biblical and historically speaking Tishri 1 3 BC as the birth of the Messiah is problematic for several reasons. First, the prophecy of Daniel 9 dates the coming of the Messiah to 5-4 BC. A 4 BC date for the Birth of Yeshua also best fits the chronological evidence of Matthew, Luke and Josephus.

The most unsettling aspect of the book was the Dr. Heiser’s exploration of 1 Cor. 11 and the subject of a woman’s head covering and its 2nd temple historical context. Not that it couldn’t be true but it is certainly outside my comfort zone.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

By far my favorite part of the book was the Dr. Heiser’s exploration of the lineage of Jesus in Matthew 1. Dr. Heiser opens Chapter 5 with the following quote:

“Admit it. You think genealogies are boring. While I wouldn’t claim that all biblical genealogies are filled with theological insights, I can promise you that the genealogy of Jesus is different. As we’ll see, it has some amazing features that link it with the expectation of a messianic reversal of sin of the Watchers.”

You have to admit that his is a pretty bold statement. But Dr. Heiser goes on to explain, based upon the work of New Testament scholar Amy Richter, that the four women mentioned or implied in Matthew 1 are connected to Yeshua redemptive purpose as it relates to reversing the evil brought into this world by the fallen angelic host. He further explains that these women by their inclusion, would emphasis in the Jewish readers mind the events of Genesis 6, events and their implications which are only understood within the context of the 2nd temple era Jewish reader.

This Enochian angle of Yeshua lineage did indeed seem a bit farfetched to me at first glance but after some reflection I realized Dr. Heiser may have more of a point than even he may realize. This relates to a statement Dr. Heiser made earlier in chapter 4 regarding “astral prophecy”. I quote,

“In briefest terms, and with respect to a biblical perspective ( as opposed to pagan polytheism’s conception), astral theology was the idea that the One who made the celestial objects in the heavens (sun, moon, stars) to be for “signs and seasons” and to mark time (Genesis 1:14) could use those object to communicate.”

You see as Dr. Heiser notes repeatedly in this book, the New Testament must be understood with the context of the 2nd temple. No place in the Bible better illustrates this fact than the lineage of Yeshua in Matthew 1. Indeed Matthew’s genealogy of Yeshua is far from boring. I’ll get back to the four women in Yeshua lineage in a moment but to really understand their importance you must see the lineage of Yeshua from a 2nd temple perspective that the Jewish reader would have intuitively grasp.

First, if you list the names as given by Matthew you will find there are 41 generation between Abraham and Yeshua. Now arrange them into the three generation groupings described by Matthew in verse 17. What you will find is that while Matthew implied that Yeshua was the 14th generation he is actually the 13th as given. Matthew cleverly shows that Yeshua is both the 13th and 14th generation.

To a Jewish reader they would have immediately made the connection to the Bible’s calendar as described in Gen. 1:14. You see the lunar side of the Biblical calendar, which orders the divine appointment or “signs and seasons” of Genesis 1:14 as described by Dr. Heiser, are governed by two internal lunar cycles of 13 or 14 days of waxing and waning light each month. Further, during the 7 sacred Biblical festival’s each year 13 or 14 sacrifices are commanded to be offered. That the apostle Paul understood this messianic symbolism is shown in Ephesian’s 2:13-14 where he describes the middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles which Yeshua’s death and resurrection abolished. This wall during the 2nd temple era which prevented Gentiles from accessing the temple proper (and by implication the presence of YHWH) was accessed by 14 steps and entry to the temple granted by one of 13 gates.

What this demonstrates is that indeed Matthew had a redemptive message woven into the lineage of Yeshua in Matthew 1 which supports in a fascinating way Dr. Heiser position that the women of Matthew 1, may also fit into this redemptive “matrix”.

Further to Dr. Heiser’s point is the fact that the 41 generations between Abraham and Yeshua and the 3 generational groupings of Yeshua’s ancestors has a larger chronological context that some of his Jewish readers would have likely understood. You see, a reasonable case could be made that there were 41 jubilee cycles between Abraham and Yeshua (as represent by the 41 generations). But more importantly, using the chronology of the MT text of the Old Testament there were in fact 41 jubilee cycles between Adam and Abraham. (For those who appreciate a bit of irony its worth noting that we are living in the 41st jubilee from Yeshua.)

So Matthew, by arranging Yeshua’s lineage into 41 generations (he left out four kings to do this) linked the Messianic redemptive symbolism of the sacrificial system with the Old Testament chronology between Adam and Abraham. But here is the intriguing part which I hadn’t realized until reading Dr. Heiser’s book.

If we take the three generational groupings of Yeshua’s ancestors as representative of the 3 Biblical ages of 41 jubilee cycles each, you’ll find that the offspring of the women mentioned in Matthew 1 have a direct connection to the Enochian events and thus prove beyond reasonable doubt that there is a connection between these women and the events Enoch, the fallen angel’s and YHWH’s redemptive plan.

The four offspring of the women mentioned in Matthew 1 are as follows:

• Phares the 5th generation
• Booz (Boaz) the 11th generation
• Obed the 12th generation
• Solomon the 15th generation (1st of the 2nd generational grouping)

If each of the three 14 generational groupings represent 41 jubilee cycles in a larger chronological context then the each generation in the three groups (of 14) is equal to 2.928 jubilee cycles.


• Pares falls in the 5th generation which represents the 12th, 13th and 14th jubilee cycle from Adam. It was during the 13th jubilee cycle from Adam (the 623rd yr.) that Enoch was taken to heaven.

• Boaz was the 11th generation representing the 29th, 30th and 31st jubilee cycles from Adam. It was during the 29th jubilee cycle form Adam, in the 365th year of Noah’s life that Jared died. As Dr. Heiser explains according to the book of Enoch it was during the days of Jared that the fallen angel’s (on Mt. Hermon) made their agreement to defile the women of earth.

• Obed was the 12th generation representing the 33rd, 34th and 35 jubilee cycles from Adam. It was during this period of time that Shem was born during the 32nd jubilee cycle form Adam. It was through Shem, the son of Noah that YHWH’s would work out His redemptive plan for mankind by bringing forth Yeshua, the promised righteous seed. Then during the 34th jubilee in the 600th year of Abraham’s life the Deluge took place cleansing the earth of evil which the fallen angles had wrought.

• Solomon was the 15th generation from Abraham or the 1st generation in Matthew 2nd grouping of 14. This 15th generation represented the 42nd, 43rd, and 44th jubilee cycle from Adam. It was during this period of time that YHWH made all of His covenants with Abraham which promised that through his “seed” all nations of the earth would be blessed. Further it was in the 100th year of Abraham’s life exactly on the 43rd jubilee cycle from Adam that Isaac was born. It was also during the 44th jubilee cycle from Adam that YHWH honored Abraham’s faith (in his willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac) by swearing (shaba) the first oath He, the living God of the Bible, swore with any man in the Bible. It was this oath that Moses mentions in Due. 7:9, Daniel mentions in Daniel 9:4, and Zechariah mentions in Luke 1.

So there you have it. As Amy Richter and Dr. Heiser claim, and incredible as their claims may sound, Matthew did indeed have the story of the Enoch, the fallen angels, the flood, and YHWH’s redemptive plan of Reversing Hermon in mind when he penned that inspired list nearly two thousand years ago. Who said genealogies were boring?

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This review has gone on far too long but in closing for those who would like to see confirmation for another one of Dr. Heiser’s points in Chapter 9 regarding Baptism, its redemptive context and its relationship to the events of Flood, you’ll find it in Daniel 9:26 where it describes the Messiah as “cut off”. This cutting off or “karath” would have harkened the Jewish reader back to the first occurrence of this word where it is used to described the waters of the flood which karath mankind from the face of the earth. Thus one again showing that it was the promised messiah the seed of Adam, Shem and Abraham that reversed the effects of not only the sin of Adam and Even but also the corrupting evil wrought by the fallen angelic hoard in the days leading up to the flood.

– – – – – – – – – – –

In summary, I can’t say that I agree with all of Dr. Heiser’s points but he sure has given me food for thought. I started the book skeptical but finished it convinced that there is far more to the Genesis 6 than I ever understood. Dr. Heiser has made a compelling case that part of Yeshua’s redemptive purpose was in fact to combat the angelic evil which has been corrupting mankind since the flood. After you read this book I’d encourage you to open your Bible’s and see if these things be so.

Author: Dr. Michael S. Heiser
Book Title: Reversing Hermon: Enoch, the Wachers & the Forgotten Mission of Jesus Christ
Author Website:
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn
Book Reviewed by: William Struse

Mark Hitchcock & Jeff Kinley – The Coming Apostasy

Book Review:
Apostasy in the Church Today –

What is apostasy?

Most of us have an idea of what apostasy means even if we can’t provide a dictionary definition. In a Biblical sense as explained by popular Christian authors Mark Hitchcock and Jeff Kinley in their new book, – “Christian apostasy in its broadest terms is defection or departure from the truth of Scripture.”

To be sure sometimes this departure is can be an overt act of rebellion but often it is a simple and gradual process over time which takes you to a destination which at the beginning of your journey you would not have thought possible.

Here is how the authors explain it: “Apostasy represents an abandonment of faith, and it can happen over time without a person realizing it.”

They go on to explain that there is a flip side to this coin of apostasy. “In fact, just the opposite may occur, as pride mixed with false doctrine leads to an attitude of superiority, complacency, and self-righteousness.”

As Hitchcock and Kinley soberly access, Christianity as it understood by many in western culture today has indeed crossed the threshold of apostasy and taken up residence in the home of rebellion. Rebellion that is against the moral absolutes of Scripture. I must admit it was both challenging and refreshing to read a book which did not apologize for using the “law” of God as guide to moral conduct. In today’s increasingly hyper-grace environment, charges of legalism are more often than not used as a cloak for lawlessness. Hitchcock and Kinley make it clear that salvation is in fact by the grace of YHWH through faith in Yeshua’s atoning blood but once saved we as believers should not abuse that grace by living in a manner which is contrary to the Bible. This is how they explain it:

“Some today argue, “What difference does it make what you believe as long as you love God and others? Aren’t those the greatest commandments?” yes, those are the greatest commandments, but if that were the sum total of all God wanted us to know, believe, and do, the sixty-six books of the Bible would be reduced to two verses. There is a greatest commandment, but it in no way diminishes our responsibility to all the others. “

In ten well written chapters Hitchcock and Kinley explore the devastation apostasy has wrought in the Christian church of our generation. But they don’t leave you without hope nor practical Scriptural advice to counter this evil. Here is a sample of the topics included in this book:

• Chapter 1: God and Ghost Ships
• Chapter 2: The Fifth Column
• Chapter 3: Faith of Our Fathers
• Chapter 4: Culture of Compromise
• Chapter 5: When Tolerance Is Intolerable
• Chapter 6: Moral Freefall
• Chapter 7: The Watershed Moment for the Church
• Chapter 8: Will the Real Jesus Stand Up?
• Chapter 9: Acts of the Apostates
• Chapters 10: Surviving the Last Days of Apostasy

– – – – – – – – – – – –

For clarities sake there were a couple of place where I would like to have a better understanding of the Scriptural basis for the authors interpretation:

Chapter 2 (Kindle loc. 373) the authors describe the ratification of a peace treaty between Israel and the Anti-Christ. This eschatological belief is based upon an interpretation of Daniel 9 which has as it basis a “commandment to restore and build Jerusalem” given by the Persian king Longimanus. In order for this interpretation to work though, Hitchcock and Kinley must stretch the chronology of 2nd temple era by nearly 60 years.

In their new book Charting the Bible Chronologically: A Visual Guide to God’s Unfolding Plan, Hindson and Ice explain that after the flood mankind was subject to an exponential decay curve which lowered the lifespan mankind to about 70-80 years. Yet implied in their interpretation, Hitchcock and Kinley’s must maintain a lifespan for Ezra and many of the priests and Levites which is nearly a quarter century older than Moses. This requires some chronological gymnastics regarding the chronology as described in Ezra 1-7, and Nehemiah. I would like to better understand the authors reasoning for the incongruous approach to the 2nd temple era. Hopefully in some future publication they will address this important subject as it has profound implications for our view of the coming tribulation and the return of Yeshua.

In Chapter 1 & 2 (Kindle loc. 142 & 382) the authors briefly describe what may be the precursor to the predicted invasion of Israel by Russia (Gog & Magog). In the authors investigation of the subject I would like to better understand how they arrived at the conclusion that Israel’s dwelling safely (yashab betach) is a condition of Israel which proceeds the Millennial reign of Yeshua.

According to Levitcus 25 & 26 the original promise of Israel dwelling safely (yashab betach) is a promise contingent upon obedience to the Torah. As the Scripture is clear, Israel will not fully turn back to the ways of YHWH until just before the 2nd coming when they acknowledge “blessed is He who comes in the name of YHWH.” (Matt. 23:39) Further Jeremiah 32, Ezekiel 28, 34, and Zech. 14 all congruently describe this yashab betach as taking place during the Millennial reign of Yeshua. Not to be ignored is Rev. 20 where it describes the future millennial reign of Yeshua and Israel dwelling safely in the land. At that time Gog and Magog come up against Jerusalem as described in Ezekiel 38 & 39.

I would like better understand the reasoning the authors use to conclude that Gog and Magog of Ezekiel 38 & 39 refers not to the millennial reign of Yeshua as congruently described throughout the Biblical text, but instead to a period of time preceding the 2nd coming for which there seems to be no clear contextual justification.

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In summary my questions notwithstanding, this book is a much needed exploration of apostasy in the church today. Its sobering message and more importantly its Scriptural solutions are a must read for believers. I’d encourage every Berean to read this book and then open your Bible’s and see if these things be so. In conclusion I leave you with some valuable advice from Mr. Hitchcock and Mr. Kinley:

“When you look at the sources of our faith and why we choose to embrace a certain doctrine or truth as our own, it becomes clear that only one source is 100 percent reliable. The bottom line of any belief is that if it can’t be backed up by Scripture, it’s nothing more than wishful thinking, speculation, or theory.”

Maranatha!

Author: Mark Hitchcock & Jeff Kinley
Book Title: The Coming Apostasy: Exposing the Sabotage of Christianity from Within
Author Website:
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Book Reviewed by: William Struse

Joel Rosenberg – Without Warning

Book Review:
An Entertaining Read to the Last Page –

This was Joel Rosenberg in his finest form!

I started Without Warning this evening with the idea of reading just a few chapters. It’s now 3am, I’m bleary eyed and wondering where the past 6 hours have gone. I’ve read many of Mr. Rosenberg’s books over the years and next to the Copper Scroll this was my favorite. Honestly, I was a little disappointed with Book II but Without Warning was a fantastic and believable read to the very end. Talk about a page turner. Wow.

For this third and final installment in the J.B. Collins series Mr. Rosenberg, in his unique way, takes current events and weaves a heart pounding thriller which makes you think seriously about the issues of our day. Even if you are not interested in politics, terrorism, international relations, Israel or spiritual issues this was just a well written and entertaining read.

And just about the time you think you’ve figured out the plot, Mr. Rosenberg throws in a twist that will leave you speechless.

Author: Joel Rosenberg
Book Title: Without Warning
Author Website:
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn
Book Reviewed by: William Struse

Rabbi K. A. Schneider – The Book of Revelation Decoded

Book Review:
The Spirit of Prophecy –

When I saw the title of this book and read its description, I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical. I’d never heard of the idea that the Passover foreshadowed the great tribulation, but I appreciate seeing Bible prophecy through other believers eyes, so I pick up a copy.

 The book is well and passionately written with the unique perspective of a Jewish believer in Yeshua. Rabbi K. A. Schneider does a good job of providing a glorious and sobering picture of the events describe in the book of Revelation. But here is the unique part of the book, Rabbi Schneider illuminates the book of Revelation by showing how much of it is but confirmation of some of the Old Testaments most important prophecies concerning the end of this age and the return of Yeshua.

 Through twelve compelling chapters Rabbi Schneider explores some of the most well know aspects of Revelation. In each chapter he points the reader back to the Old Testament context thus showing the congruency of both the Old and New Testaments.  I quote Rabbi Schneider:

 “In addition, the B’rit Hadashah [New Testament] was never written to be detached from the Tanakh [Old Testament]. If we want to interpret the Bible correctly, then we must interpret it as a whole, starting with Genesis and continuing all the way through the last chapter of Revelation. This is why Jesus frequently quoted from the Tanakh, validating its authenticity as the Word of God. The apostle and the early church writers constantly referenced the Hebrew prophets of the Old Testament for the same reasons.” (Kindle p. 83 [insertions] added by WS for clarity)

 Each of the following twelve chapters applies this interpretational approach to good effect:

  •  1. Chapter 1 – Jacob’s Trouble: From Turmoil to the Great Tribulation
  • 2. Chapter 2 – When the Antichrist Will Rise
  • 3. Chapter 3 – How the Antichrist Will Rise
  • 4. Chapter 4 – God’s Wrath
  • 5. Chapter 5 – The Rapture
  • 6. Chapter 6 – Armageddon and the Messiah’s Return
  • 7. Chapter 7 – The Marriage Between God and His People
  • 8. Chapter 8 – All Israel Will be Saved
  • 9. Chapter 9 – God’s Judgement and Rewards
  • 10. Chapter 10 – The Reality of Hell
  • 11. Chapter 11 – The Millennial Reign of the Messiah
  • 12. Chapter 12 – The New Heaven and the New

Of these chapters I thought 11 & 12 were the most thrilling, providing the believer hope to counterbalance the sobering events described in Chapters 4, 9, & 10.  Chapter 4 on the Rapture was the most challenging aspect of the book to contemplate. The authors view of the Rapture and its relationship to the events of the Exodus are ( as far as I’m aware) unique. I had often heard how the fall Feast of YHWH were shadow or types of events related to the 2nd coming but this is the first time I’ve read how the Passover provides its own shadows and type for these events as well. Definitely something for further consideration and study.

 One my favorite parts of the book is when Rabbi Schneider explains how, “Matthew’s genealogy is not just a long, boring list of names; those names are the actual historic links between the Old and New Testaments.”

 Though not mentioned by Rabbi Schneider, but buttressing his well made points is the fact that Matthew’s lineage of Yeshua was purposely arranged so that it would emphasize in his Jewish readers mind the connection between Yeshua as the promised Messiah and sacrificial symbolism of the Tanakh. You see Matthew purposely left out four of Yeshua’s ancestors. This omission combined with Matthew’s arrangement of the list into  three 14 generational groupings, then had the unique effect of showing that Yeshua was both the 13th and 14th generation in this famous list.

 As the Jewish reader would know, each year during each of the seven Feast of YHWH, the Jewish people were required to make 13 or 14 sacrifices. These sacrifices in turn where governed by the lunar side of the Bible’s calendar which included two cycles of 13 or 14 days of (visible) waxing light followed by 13 or 14 days of waning light. And just to make sure we didn’t think his list was an accident Matthew left out one of the Kings between the 6th & 7th generation and other three kings between the 13th & 14th generation (in the second 14 generational grouping).

 That the apostle Paul understood this symbolism is confirmed in Ephesians 2:13-14 where he told the Ephesians that Yeshua broke down the “middle wall of partition” between Jews and Gentiles. Keep in mind that during the 2nd temple era, that middle wall of partition was an actual barrier build between the court of the Gentiles and the temple proper which kept Gentiles form the presence of YHWH. During the 2nd temple era any gentile caught trespassing beyond that barrier was killed. Thrillingly, when Yeshua and Paul walk those ancient stones that wall (according to Josephus) was access by 14 steps and the entry to the temple was granted through 13 gates (according to Rabbinic traditions).

 As you can see Rabbi Schneider is most certainly correct when he rhetorically asks regarding Matthew’s list as it relates to the Old and New Testaments: “And what is the main thread that binds them? Yeshua HaMashiach.” Indeed as Revelation 19:10 tells us the, “the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Yeshua” (Yeshua = YHWH’s Salvation).

                  

In closing I will say there were a few parts of this book that I didn’t agree with or at least where I will need to further investigate the scripture for myself, but overall I really appreciated the way the Rabbi Schneider showed the congruency between the prophecies of the Old and New Testament. His view of the Rapture was challenging (in a good way) and he provided many wonderful insights which I appreciated. This is a book worth reading and when you’ve finished I’d encourage you to open your Bible’s and see if these things be so.

 Maranatha!

Author: Rabbi K.A. Schneider
Book Title: The Book of Revelation Decoded: Your Guide to Understanding the End Times Through the Eyes of the Prophets
Author Website:
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Book Reviewed by: William Struse

Ron Rhodes – Bible Prophecy Answer Book

Book Review:
Questions About Bible Prophecy –

Do you have questions about Bible prophecy? I know I do. Well I’m please to say that you are likely to find answers to some of those questions in Ron Rhodes latest offering – Bible Prophecy Answer Book: Everything You Need to Know About the End Times. Written from a dispensational – pretribulation perspective, Mr. Rhodes applies his considerable knowledge and straightforward style to answering some of the most commonly asked questions about the Bible’s prophetic record.

 In this book Mr. Rhodes looks at 24 prophetic themes or topics, devoting a chapter to each. The chapters then explore these themes in a question and answer style. Here’s a taste of some of the topics covered in the book:

  • Chapter 2: God and Prophecy
  • Chapter 5: The Covenants and Biblical Prophecy
  • Chapter 9: America in Prophecy
  • Chapter 10: The Ezekiel Invasion
  • Chapter 11: The Rapture of the Church
  • Chapter 16: Religion During the Tribulation Period
  • Chapter 19: The Millennial Kingdom
  • Chapter 22: The New Heavens, New Earth, and New Jerusalem

There is a wealth of Biblical knowledge in this book which is explained in plain terms that anyone can appreciate. I’ve read several of Mr. Rhodes books over the years and I’ve come to respect his appreciation for Bible prophecy and the straight forward way of exploring the subject without hype or needless sensationalism.

                 

 In what I intend to be respectful and hopefully constructive criticism there were two topics in this book where I felt Mr. Rhodes did not provide a reasonable level of Biblical evidence for his interpretation of specific prophecies. This book is billed as an answer to “everything” you need to know about Bible prophecy. I know this is just the title of a book but in the following two areas I don’t think the book lives up this bold claim.

  • Daniel’s 70 Weeks
  • The Ezekiel Invasion

The reason I bring this up is that both topics are incredibly important to Mr. Rhodes eschatological framework of end times events. These topics are pillars upon which Mr. Rhodes then interprets other aspects of Bible prophecy in this book. Because of their central role to Mr. Rhodes eschatological world view, the reader deserves to understand how Mr. Rhodes arrived at his interpretation of the prophecies related to Ezekiel 38-39 and Daniel 9.  Here are a few examples of unanswered questions which the reader needs to be aware of so that they evaluate the strength or weakness of Mr. Rhodes interpretation.

 

~~Regarding Daniel 9 –

  • Why is the death of Ezra’s father important to the prophecy of 70 Weeks?
  • Why do Biblical scholars insert an unjustified 60 years gap in the chronology between Ezra 6 & 7?
  • Who is the “Artaxerxes” of Ezra 6 & 7?
  • How is the Exponential Decay Curve (as explained by [[ASIN:0736964371 Hindson and Ice]]) taken into account as it relates to the age of Ezra, Nehemiah and the Priests and Levites of the 2nd temple era?
  • Why isn’t the “commandment” (dabar) of YHWH the living God of the Bible (Hag. 1, Zech. 1, Ezra 6) used to begin Daniel 9:25 and the countdown to the Messiah?
  • Why is a Biblical reckoning of time (365.24/29.53) not used when interpreting the prophecy of Daniel 9?
  • Does the Bible really use two calendars? (360/30 & 365.24/29.53)
  • What does the “covenant” of Daniel 9:4 tell us about the “covenant” of Daniel 9:27?
  • Why do scholars believe the messianic focus of the prophecy of 70 Weeks changes to the Anti-Christ for the last 1.4% of the prophecy?

 ~~Regarding the Ezekiel Invasion:

  • Why is the context of Israel dwelling securely (yashab betach) as seen in Leviticus 26, Jer. 32, Eze. 28, 34, and Zech. 14 not explored as it relates to the timing of the Gog and Magog invasion.
  • What are the only two places in the Scripture that described Israel dwelling securely with “none to make them afraid”?
  • Why are these verses important to determining when this invasion takes place?

 – –                   

In summary, even though I don’t agree with Mr. Rhodes on every aspect of Bible prophecy, this book is a wonderful resource on the Bible’s prophetic record. Any student of the subject would be well served in exploring this book. When you are done I’d encourage you to open your own Bible and see if these things be so.

 Maranatha!

Author: Ron Rhodes
Book Title: – Bible Propehcy Answer Book: Everything You Need to Know About the End Times
Author Website:
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn
Book Reviewed by: William Struse

Brian Godawa – Israel in Bible Propehcy

Book Review:
– A Literal 1st Coming & Spiritualized 2nd

The question of Israel in Bible prophecy is one that I’ve thought a lot about over the years. Of late there seems to be a growing consensus among believers that the church supersedes the covenants and promises given to the physical descendants of Israel. I’d admit up front in this review that I’m a futurist but I still appreciate seeing the subject through my historicist brethren’s eyes because none of us have a perfect understanding of theology or Bible prophecy. For those willing to look, opposing points of view often help identify weaknesses or errors in our understanding of these complex subjects.

Popular novelist and screenwriter Brian Godawa jumps into this controversial subject with a new book entitled Israel in Bible Prophecy: The New Testament Fulfillment of the Promise to Abraham. Mr. Godawa opens his discussion of Israel in Bible prophecy with a rather broad attack on “merchandisers” of the “Bible Prophecy Industrial Complex.” This criticism, while valid in far too many cases, rings hallow as a preface to a book which itself is for sale.

Later Mr. Godawa rightly observed:

“This kind of big business Bible preaching can be corrupting, through blurring motives and creating a need for constant sensationalism, that often vulgarizes the real intent of prophetic passages, completely out of their original contexts.” Again a valid criticism, but one that not just futurists can be guilty of.

Frankly, I felt that Mr. Godawa’s opening tone serves to raise a barrier to those with an opposing point of view who are trying to see the subject through his eyes. Thus the book ends up reaching a more limited audience, one which probably already agrees with his perspective. I believe many of the subjects raised in this book are important to discuss openly and in the spirit of genuine Christian good will. I think Mr. Godawa’s exploration of the subject would have been better served if he had used a bit softer tone.

The meat of Mr. Godawa’s argument, that the church has inherited the covenants and promises given to Abraham is found in the following six points:

1. Father of Many Nations
2. Children of Abraham
3. Everlasting Covenant
4. Land Promise
5. Conditional Covenant
6. Circumcision

Mr. Godawa attempts to show that each of these six points have been fulfilled in the church. Some of the finer points of this discussion are indeed complex and by necessity it takes a great deal of effort to nail down the context and applicable passages. This would have to be one my biggest criticism of the book in that it was rather short and dealt with some of the more controversial aspects of the subject without really digging into the deeper context. Had Mr. Godawa given the complete context of the Old and New Testament passage from which he quoted in part, the reader might have reached an entirely different conclusion.

Here are a few examples which could have been better served with a fuller context. Mr. Godawa had this to say about the terms Mount Zion and Jerusalem as mentioned in Romans 11:26:

“In Scripture, these terms are used, very often together, as symbolic references to the Kingdom of God, and the city of God, or God’s reign.”

Mr Godawa then quotes Zechariah 8:3 and Micah 4:2 as follows:

(Zechariah 8:3)
“Thus says the Lord, ‘I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.’

(Micah 4:2-7)
And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

Mr .Godawa goes on to says this about the passages:

“As you can readily see, I’ve chosen some specific verses that use Zion and Jerusalem in reference to Messiah, which of course, is Jesus Christ. Dispensationalists claim that these are all literal references to literal Mount Zion and Jerusalem. But the New Testament defines the concepts of Zion and Jerusalem as transcendent, which means they are terms that use literal locations as a metaphor for a more important spiritual idea.”

Respectfully, a careful reading of Roman’s 11, Isaiah 59 & 60 (from which Paul quotes), and all of Zechariah 8 which Mr. Godawa quotes in part, leads not to a transcendent but literal understanding of the passage. Both Old Testament passages tell of a time when the gentiles nations will come up to Jerusalem. In fact if you take Mr. Godawa’s passage from Zechariah 8 and read it to the final verse this is what it has to say:

“Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek YHWH of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before YHWH. Thus saith YHWH of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Another example where a deeper context would have been helpful for the reader is found in the following quote from Mr. Godawa:

“There is no longer a physical Jewish priesthood before God. In fact , God calls the Church his chosen race, a holy nation, people for his own possession, all terms that were applied to Israel in the Old Covenant.” (Kindle loc. 758)

Mr. Godawa then quotes 1 Peter 2:9-10 to prove his point. The problem with this statement is apparent when the fuller context of Peter’s Epistles are taken into account. Peter was the apostle to the circumcision (Gal. 2:8 (the Jewish people)). If you read just a couple more verse further in the passage Mr. Godawa quoted you see that Peter is in fact addressing the Jewish people. First, Peter address them as “which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God.” This is a quote from the book of Hosea which discusses Israel’s disobedience and their eventual restoration. Then in verse 12 of Peter warns his Jewish brethren to have their conversation “honest among the Gentiles.” Clearly Peter is not addressing the Church in general here but in fact Jewish believers in Yeshua, a people who he sees as still distinct from the Gentiles.

(1 Peter 2:7-12)
Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, {precious: or, an honour} And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: {peculiar: or, purchased} {praises: or, virtues} Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. {whereas: or, wherein}

Also note that Peter mentions the “stone which the builders disallowed.” This is quote from Yeshua in Matthew 21 in which Yeshua addressed His hard hearted Jewish brethren. Thus confirming that Peter’s audience was the Jewish people.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – — – – – – –

When discussing Ephesian’s 2:13-14 Mr. Godawa said the following:

“We simply cannot divide the Jew from the Gentile in God’s promise or plan as the Dispensationalists would want. Jew and Gentiles are one in Christ and cannot be separated because that which separated them (The Laws of separation in the OT) has been abolished.”

I think it would have been helpful if Mr. Godawa had explained here that Pauls “middle wall of partition” was an actual barrier build during the 2nd temple era which separated the court of the Gentiles form the temple proper. During the 2nd temple era any Gentile caught crossing this manmade barrier with the intent to approach the temple proper and the by extension the presence of YHWH was killed. Yeshua’s death and resurrection did indeed remove this barrier thus allowing both Jew and Gentiles the right to approach the presences of God.

Interestingly during the 2nd temple era this wall was accessed by 14 steps and entry granted by one of 13 gates. Matthew in His lineage of Yeshua (Mat. 1) even alludes to this symbolically by showing that Yeshua was the 13th and 14th generation in his 3rd generational grouping. Matthew’s Jewish reader would have also made the connection to the 13 or 14 sacrificial rights required during most of the Biblical holy days, holy days which were governed by a lunar cycle of visible light which waxes for 13 or 14 days and then wanes for the same.

Personally, I don’t believe the Jewish reader would have understood Paul’s statement of Eph. 2:13-14 as a blurring of the distinctiveness of the Jew and Gentile but rather as showing that both become part of the same family. In like manner when Paul in Gal. 3:8 stated:

(Galatians 3:28-29)
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Paul in this passage was not telling his reader that men and women, Jew and Greeks lose their physical identities when they become believers. He was simply telling them they become one body of believers.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

In closing I appreciated seeing this subject through the author’s eyes but this is a complex topic and each verse and every topic really needs to be read in its full scriptural context. To be sure Mr. Godawa raised some challenging questions which need to be discussed but in my mind it is difficult to justify an interpretive method which takes as literal, the majority of the Bible’s prophetic record that deal with the first coming of the Messiah, but then takes a none literal approach when interpreting the balance of the prophetic record which discusses the Messiah’s second coming. For those who would like to read both sides of a discussion, Samuel Whitefield recent book,  One King: A Jesus-Centered Answer To The Question Of Zion And The People Of God is a well written exploration of the subject. After reading both books I’d encourage you to open your Bible’s and “see if these things be so”.

Maranatha!

Author: Brian Godawa
Book Title: Israel In Bible Prophecy: The New Testament Fulfillment of the Promise to Abraham
Author Website:
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn
Book Reviewed by: William Struse

Thomas Ice – The Case for Zionism

Book Review:
The Biblical & Legal Case for Zionism –

“If the choice is one state, Israel can be Jewish or democratic it cannot be both.” – Former US Secretary of State John Kerry

These words should send a shiver up the spine of every person of Jewish faith because they represent a growing consensus in this world that religion must be subservient to the will of the people (democracy).The very idea of a “Jewish” state is anathema to an increasingly secular world which sees the Jewish people as an unpleasant reminder of a Biblical world view. Lest you think this is only a Jewish problem, the spirit of Mr. Kerry’s words apply equally to anyone of religious faith.

Into this turbulent political and religious context Thomas Ice’s new book The Case for Zionism: Why Christians Should Support Israel, is a much needed primer on why Christians should support Israel. As Mr. Ice explains in this book, Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people, represents tangible evidence that the Bible is true and that the words of YHWH, the living God of the Bible can be taken at face value.

Further this threat to a literal interpretation of the Biblical record and the redemptive promises of God, doesn’t just come from secularists like Mr. Kerry. Mr. Ice goes on to explain that today there is a growing number of Christian’s who have fallen for the seductive lure of secular humanism which sees mankind’s hope not in the Messianic promises of the Bible but rather our own efforts by which the kingdom of God can be attain on this earth. Mr. Ice’s book is a challenge to such a world view.

The book is divided into an introduction and nine engaging and informative chapters. The introduction gives an overview of anti-Semitism as it relates to Israel and Zionism in an overall framework of YHWH’s redemptive plan. The meat of the book defines Zionism in a Scriptural sense and then makes a persuasive case Biblical and legally for the right of Israel to exist as a nation. The chapters are as follows:

1. What is Zionism?
2. The Biblical Case for Israel
3. Modern Israel’s Right to the Land
4. Modern Israel’s Legal Right to the Land
5. What is Replacement Theology
6. Are Modern Jews Descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
7. What is Anti-Semitism
8. Revelation 12 and the Future of Israel
9. Lovers of Zion: A History of Christian Zionism

For me the chapters on Modern Israel’s Right to the Land and Modern Israel’s Legal Right to the Land were very informative. It was quite fascinating to learn about some of the more little known facts and legal wrangling which went on behind the sense in the years leading up to the Balfour declaration and the British Mandate. I also appreciated the chapter on Lovers of Zion: A History of Christian Zionism. Hearing about the efforts of those Christian’s who believed the Bible and its promise of a future national Israel before it was a fact and how their efforts were used by YHWH to bring about that national restoration was inspiring.

Also informative was Mr. Ice’s discussion of the The Khazar Theory of Jewish history. I’ve heard this subject discussed more frequently of late and Mr. Ice brings clarity to the subject and dispatches the notion with real historical facts.

* * * * * * *

There is one aspect of this book I would like to offer respectful and what I hope is constructive criticism. In this book Mr. Ice makes what I believe is a compelling Biblical and legal case for Zionism. Having said that, in several instances when inserting his own eschatological beliefs, Mr. Ice does not hold himself to the same standard as he rightfully demands of his suppersessionist brethren. For instance when discussing Israel during the tribulation Mr. Ice relies on an interpretation of the Daniel 9 and prophecy of 70 sevens which is built upon several unreasonable and contradictory assumptions.

***For example in his recent book Charting the Bible Chronologically: A Visual Guide to God’s Unfolding Plan, Mr. Ice explains how the Bible shows an “exponential Decay Curve in the lifespan of mankind after the flood which. This decay curve shows that the average age of those living on the earth after the flood decreased to around 70 or 80 years. Yet his own interpretation of the prophecy of Daniel 9 depends upon stretching the chronology of the 2nd temple era to show that Ezra and many of the priests and Levites who returned to Jerusalem were, at their youngest, a quarter century older than Moses.

***When calculating the prophecy of 70 Weeks, Mr. Ice depends upon a special “prophetic” calendar which did not exist when the prophecy was given and would have been unrecognizable to the very people to who the prophecy was sent. This 360/30 day prophetic calendar is itself an assumptive extrapolation of a statement in Genesis 6 which shows 150 days during a five month period. Today, the first five months of our own calendar also equals 150 days, yet we understand that our calendar in no way represents the actual length of our solar year or our lunar month. As evidence by secular sources since recorded history the solar year has been understood to be 365.24/25 days in length and a lunar cycle 29.53 days.

***As a final example Mr. Ice’s interpretation of Daniel 9 relies upon a “commandment” given by the Persian king Longimanus. Left unexplained in any of his writings is the fact that the word “commandment” comes from the Hebrew word dabar which means simply word, speech, or utterance. In the Old Testament dabar is used 1439 times and the vast majority of those refer to the word of YHWH, the living God of the Bible. In Daniel 9 the word dabar is used four times. Of those, three clearly refer to the word of YHWH. In his interpretation of Daniel 9, Mr. Ice does not explain why he ignores the dabar of YHWH to restore and build Jerusalem which is recorded in Haggai 1, Zechariah 1 and witnessed in Ezra 6.

Here’s my point, the futurist position regarding the Zionism and eternal nature of the covenants given to Israel, I believe, already stands securely in its own right upon the clear statements of YHWH which have been provided for us in the Biblical record. When we seek to buttress those Biblical truths with eschatological interpretations for which we do not hold ourselves to the same standards we demand of our supersessionist brethren, it ultimately undermines our futurist position. As we draw closer to the return of Yeshua, I believe it is of utmost importance to ensure that the finer details of our eschatological beliefs rest upon reasonable Biblical facts, not well intentioned traditions.

* * * * * * *

In summary, I believe that in the day and age in which we live it is critically important for every Christian to have a Biblically based understanding of Israel and Zionism as it relates to YHWH’s redemptive plan for mankind. Thomas Ice’s book The Case For Zionism: Why Christians Should Support Israel is a valuable resource upon which to build such knowledge.

Maranatha!

 

Author: Thomas Ice
Book Title: The Case for Zionism: Why Christian’s Should Support Israel
Author Website:
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn
Book Reviewed by: William Struse

Charles Dyer & Mark Tobey – Clash of Kingdoms

Book Review:
Exploring the Bible’s Prophetic Texts –

For nearly thirty years now I’ve been encourage and thrilled with the writings of authors like Dyer, Tobey, Hitchcock, Ice, Horner, Lahaye, and their peers as they’ve explore the prophetic pages of the Bible. Their genuine love and respect for the Bible’s prophetic word has inspired me with a similar lifelong love of Bible prophecy and the promise of the messiah Yeshua’s return. Reading Charles Dyers and Mark Tobey’s new book Clash of Kingdoms reminded me of my first prophecy conference. The plane ticket was a gift from my mother for my 18th birthday and for a homeschooled kid from Arizona that trip to the other side of the continental US was an adventure I’ll never forget.

Today as Mr. Dyer and Mr. Tobey so aptly explain, the signs of the Messiah’s return are clearer and more numerous than they were nearly three decades ago. To be sure, the world stage has changed a lot since then, but as the authors of Clash of Kingdoms explain many of the bad actors in this prophetic drama are still present and waiting for their part in the final countdown to the Messiah.

Clash of Kingdoms: What the Bible Says About Russia, Isis, Iran, and the End Times is a well written overview of what the authors believe the Bible’s prophetic text described in the time leading up to the 2nd coming of Yeshua. Written from a pre-tribulational theological perspective the authors lay out a framework of end time events in seven easy to read chapters. The chapters include:

1. The Problem of the Nations
2. The Bear is Back
3. After ISIS
4. Duplicitous Iran
5. Picking up the Pieces
6. Israel
7. A Woman in a Basket

Of these chapters 1, 6, & 8 stood out to me. Chapter 8 was especially encouraging. There the authors explained why we as believers should not have the spirit of Fear but rather Faith in these increasingly tumultuous times. The books is rather short and can be read in just a few hours

* * * * * * *

In the spirit of respectful disagreement and what I hope is constructive criticism there were two areas where I felt the book could have used a more in-depth explanation of the authors point of view. They include:

• The author’s understanding of Ezekiel 38 & 39
• The author’s understanding of Daniel 9 and the prophecy of 70 weeks.

These two areas are foundational the authors framework of end time events described in this book and as such they deserve a thorough examination so the reader gets a real grasp of the basis for the authors eschatological beliefs.

* * * * * * *

Regarding Ezekiel 38 & 39 the authors believe that this invasion of Gog & Magog takes place when Israel is dwelling securely sometime during or before the final 7 year tribulation. I think the authors could have better explained how they reconciled this interpretation with the multitude of references which show that “dwelling securely” (Yashab betach) is almost exclusively used in the Old Testament in reference to Israel’s status during the Millennium. The ancient Biblical promise of Israel dwelling securely in the Promised Land comes first form the Leveticus 25 & 26 and is a promise contingent upon Israel’s obedience to the Torah. Jeremiah 32, Ezekiel 28, 34, and Zech. 14 clearly describe Israel “dwelling securely” in their land as a millennial promise given to Israel during the reign of the Messiah.

Finally Ezekiel 39: 21-29 describes a period of time when Israel is will be dwelling securely in their land with none to make them afraid. While many see this as taking place before the millennium this exact phrase is use by Ezekiel in Chapter 34:23-25 to describe conditions during the millennium. In consideration of the fact that the book of Revelation describes a Gog & Magog invasion during the millennial reign of Yeshua when Israel is in fact dwelling securely in their land I think the authors understanding of the subject could have been more thoroughly explained to show how they reconciled these verses in their own interpretations.

* * * * * * *

Regarding the authors explanation of Daniel 9 and the 70 weeks, this prophecy is woven into nearly every aspect of the author’s eschatological framework. This prophecy is really important to the thesis of this book, yet in the book their explanation of the prophecy has several weaknesses which should be explained so the reader gets a complete sense of how the authors understand this great propehcy. Here are a few examples of areas in the prophecy which the authors really need to explain their reasoning to the reader:

1. The commandment to restore and build
2. The chronology of Ezra & Nehemiah
3. Biblical Time

First the commandment. In this book the authors based their starting point upon a commandment given by the Persian king Longimanus. This commandment is one of four Persian decrees often used when interpreting the prophecy of Daniel 9. As with many of their peers, the authors do not explain that “commandment” comes from the Hebrew word – dabar- which means word, speech or utterance. Dabar is used 1439 times in the Old Testament and of those the vast majority refer to the word of YHWH the living God of the Bible. In Daniel 9 the word dabar is used four times. Of those three clearly refer to the words of YHWH. For the readers sake the authors should explain why they believe the word of YHWH to “restore and build Jerusalem” mentioned in Zechariah 1, Haggai 1 and Ezra 6 does not qualify as the “word” of Daniel 9:25. It seems incongruent why the dabar of YHWH the very person who gave the prophecy of 70 sevens is not even mentioned when discussing this most wonderful prophecy.

* * * * * * *

Second, in order to establish Daniel 9 upon a solid contextual footing the chronology of the 2nd temple must be addressed. In this book the authors use Dr. Harold Horner’s interpretation of Daniel 9. Based upon this interpretation they have the “commandment to restore and build Jerusalem” as given in the year 444 BC during the reign of the Persian king Longimanus.

The challenge of reconciling this date is the fact that according to Dr. Horner view Ezra and Nehemiah had to be contemporaries of Longimanus. This is problematic for many chronological reasons, the greatest of which is that the Bible records the death of Ezra’s father in the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar. This then would make Ezra at his youngest a quarter of a century old than Moses. This same unreasonable age would apply to many of the priest and Levites of Nehemiah 10 & 12. As explained in Chapter 11 of their new book Charting the Bible Chronologically: A Visual Guide to God’s Unfolding Plan, Hindson and Ice explain that the Exponential Decay Curve proves that the lifespan of humanity after the flood decayed to roughly 70-80 years. This great disparity in the ages of the 2nd temple era needs to be explained in a reasonable manner in order for Dr. Horner’s interpretation of the Daniel 9 to be taken seriously.

* * * * * * *

Regarding the authors implied usage of a 360 day prophetic year as it applies to Daniel 9 and the 70 sevens, at the very least it should be explained that this year is based upon an extrapolation of a statement in Genesis 7-8 that counts 5 months as equal to 150 days. This extrapolations of the limited statements of Genesis assumes that this 360 day calendar was a solar calendar and not based upon calculated 12 month 30 day calendar common in antiquity. Many ancient cultures used a 360 calendar but they also understood that this calendar convenience was not representative of an actual solar year. The missing 5 days of the solar year sometimes called, “five days over the year” was often intercalated at certain intervals to keep the calendar insync with the solar year of 365.24 days. That the solar year was actually 365.24 days is proven by many ancient calendars. A 365.24 day year was also a major factor in the construction of the Great Pryamid, Stone Henge and it is one of the factors of the Biblical unit of measure known as the cubit.

In Genesis 1:14 the Bible defines the basics of the Biblical calendar as including cycles of both the sun and moon. This means that any Biblical “calendar” must include both cycles and their intercalations in order to be accurate. Biblically speaking it is clear that from at least the time Exodus onwards the Bible’s calendar consisted of a 365.24 day solar year and a 29.53 day lunar cycle. When Daniel 9 was given this was the calendar in use at that time. Further when Yeshua fulfilled the ancient Biblical holy days of Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Shavuot, He did so based upon a Biblical calendar which used a 365.24 day solar year and a 29.53 day lunar month.

If indeed the Prophecy of Daniel 9 was intended to use a 360 day solar year and a 30 day lunar month as Dr. Horner believes, at the very least a reasonable explanation must be made as to why the Bible keeps two kinds of calendars. Further it should be explained that those who hold a 360 day calendar believe that at some point before the final 7 year tribulation the Bible’s calendar will revert back to a 360/30 calendar. It should also be pointed out that the celestial readjustments required to change the Bible’s calendar back to such an arrangement will be quite earth shaking. (Remember by this theory it took the cataclysmic flood of Noah to give us the calendar we have today) I’ve often wondered why those who hold this belief do not talk about this coming catastrophic reordering of the lunar/solar cycles because it must take place at some point well in advance of the proposed 7 year tribulation in order for the cycles to be perfectly in sync by the time the final seventh week of Daniel 9 plays out. It seems rather unbelievable to me frankly that a catastrophe equal to or greater than anything mentioned during the great tribulation will take place before the final tribulation, yet it goes unmentioned in the Biblical record. If in fact the calendar is going to change at some point in the future it should be discussed.

In summary regarding Dr. Horner’s interpretation of Daniel 9 the above subject need to be discussed. Until they are dealt with in a contextual and reasonable Biblical manner Dr. Horners interpretation of the 70 sevens prophecy and any eschatological frameworks built upon it must be taken with a Berean’s skepticism.

* * * * * * *

In conclusion if there is one principle I’ve learned from wonderful authors like Mr. Dyer and Mr. Tobey over the past three decades is that our understanding of Bible prophecy is a work in progress. None of us have all the answers. Each of us has a Berean’s responsibility to search the Scriptures to see if these things be so. My questions and disagreements with Mr. Dyer and Mr Tobey notwithstanding I’d encourage you to read their new book, Clash of Kingdoms: What the Bible Says About Russia, ISIS, Iran, and the End Times. See this wonderfully rich and important subject through their eyes and then open your Bible’s and see if these things be so.

Maranatha!

Author: Charles Dyer & Mark Tobey
Book Title: Clash of Kingdoms: What the Bible Say about Russia , ISIS, Iran, and the End Times
Author Website:
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn
Book Reviewed by: William Struse

Samuel Whitefield – One King

Book Review:
King of the Covenant –

I admit there has been times in my life when I’ve struggled with understanding God’s redemptive plan as it is worked out through the Jewish people and the gentile nations. I’ve wondered why YHWH, the living God of the Bible chose to work through Abraham and his descendants. And having been granted this special status why did they fail to live up to their destiny? Of did they?

After nearly 2000 years there still seems to be controversy and confusion surrounding the subject of the Jewish people and the church. With the reestablishment of the state of Israel the discussion has taken on new importance and even greater passions.  As if a page had been ripped out of the Old Testament, this tiny nation and it’s exceptional people have once again become a flashpoint of division and anger for many nations of the world.

So how should we as believers approach the controversy of Zion?

This is a questions which Samuel Whitefield explores in his new book, ONE KING:  A Jesus-Centered Answer to the Question of Zion and the People of God. Let me say right up front that I have not read a more thorough or accessible discussion of the subject. This book was written in six parts:

  • Part 1: The Basis of the Gospel – Abraham’s Promise
  • Part 2: The New Testament and the People of God
  • Part 3: Understanding the Election of Israel
  • Part 4: Israel’s Future in the New Testament
  • Part 5: The Kingdom
  • Part 6: The Church, the Jewish People, and the Modern State of Israel

 

Several highlights of this book for me included the author’s discussion of Abraham and the Covenant’s YHWH made with him and his descendants. This is a foundational aspect of the topic and Mr. Whitefield appropriately uses it as the basis upon which to build his case for the ongoing and distinctive place the Jewish people have in the plan of God.

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Another excellent aspect of the book was Mr. Whitefield’s discussion of Ephesian’s 2 and how Yeshua’s death and resurrection broke down that “middle wall of partition” which separated the Jewish people from the gentiles in the family of God.  Mr. Whitefield goes on to show that while Gentiles after the cross have the same access to YHWH the living God of the Bible, he is quick to point out this does not blur the distinctiveness of the Jewish people, or for that matter the gentiles, and YHWH’s purpose for each of them in His redemptive plan.

One part of this subject not discussed by Mr. Whitefield but worth mentioning because it buttress his point concerning “middle wall of partition” is the intriguing fact that during the 2nd temple era when Yeshua walked those ancient stones Paul’s middle wall of partition (Ephesians 2:13-14) was a real barrier which was built to separate the court of the gentiles from the temple proper. Any gentile caught passing through that wall was killed. Further that middle wall of partition was accessed by 14 steps and access to the temple was granted through one of 13 gates. This then sheds light upon Apostle Matthew’s unusual arrangement of Yeshua lineage in Matthew 1. There he showed that Yeshua (in the third 14 generational grouping) was both the 13th and 14th generation. This would have been especially significant to the Jewish audience to whom the gospel of Matthew was written because each year since the time of Moses the Torah required them to offered 13 or 14 sacrifice for each of the Bible’s ancient sacred festivals, festivals which were but shadows or types of the coming messiah and which were reckoned based upon a lunar/solar calendar which included cycles of 13 or 14 days of waxing and waning light each month.    Middle wall of partition indeed!

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There were many more important topics Mr. Whitefield explored in this book but a final one worth mentioning was a discussion of Nationalism and a Biblical approach to the subject. Not only did Mr. Whitefield address a believer’s response to Jewish nationalism or Zionism but he also address nationalism in general as it applies to gentiles. This discussion seems especially relevant in today’s supercharged political environment where nationalism is being mixed with a form of secular Christianity. Where should a believers loyalties lie? Mr. Whitefield answers this question without hedging.

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There was one aspect of the subject of the Abrahamic covenant that I thought Mr. Whitefield overlooked. While he did a great job of explaining the covenant YHWH made with Abraham in Genesis 12, 15 and then the confirmation of that covenant made with Jacob in Genesis 28,  he did not address the covenant of Genesis 22.

Genesis 22:16-18  16 And said, By myself have I sworn [shaba], saith the YHWH, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:  That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;  And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

This covenant of Gen. 22 was also a confirmation of the covenants of Genesis 12 & 15 but it was something more. You see after Abraham showed his willingness to sacrifice Isaac (in that great messianic foreshadowing), YHWH swore (shaba) an oath with Abraham there on the mountain. This was the first recorded oath YHWH swore (shaba) with any man in the Bible. In fact a close reading of Deuteronomy 7:9 shows that in fact the “covenant and mercy” Moses mentioned there was in fact a reference to Gen. 22 and the “oath” YHWH swore (shaba) with Abraham. Further this “covenant and mercy” is the very same covenant Daniel the prophet petitions YHWH to remember in Daniel 9:4 just before he receives the prophecy of 70 sevens (shabuwa).

Worth mentioning is that Hebrew word shaba (sware) is the same root from which we get the Hebrew words sheba (seven), shabuwa (sevens), and shib’iym (70). So in other words the “covenant and mercy to them that love him and keep his commandments” mentioned by both Daniel and Moses was a reference to the oath YHWH swore (shaba) with Abraham, an oath of sevens if you will, which was a confirmation of the of the covenants of Genesis 12 & 15 a covenant which Paul further elucidates in Gal. 3 as a promise of the coming messiah Yeshua.

But Paul is not the only one to address this covenant. Notice in the following passage how Zacharias the father of John describes this covenant and its redemptive messianic message:

Luke 1:68-74  68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,  69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;  70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:  71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;  72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;  73 The **oath** which he **sware** to our father Abraham,  74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.

This covenant of Genesis 22, which Moses, Daniel, Zachariah, and Paul all mention is important because it is the contextual basis for the Bible’s most important messianic prophecy given in Daniel 9:24-27 a prophecy which is used as the basis for much of today’s eschatological framework. A framework which has direct implications for how we see Israel, Zion and the gentiles.

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Finally in what I believe is one of Mr. Whitefield most eloquent and wellmade points of his book he challenges the church and gentile believers not to be arrogant towards the Jewish people. I quote:

“Paul’s message is clear: the present condition of the Jewish people is not permanent. It is tragic, but it is temporary. Their condition is not meant to drive gentile believers to arrogance but to intercession. We will know we have begun to understand the present condition of the Jewish people when we begin to respond to their condition as Paul did – in tears, intercession, and anguish – until they come into their calling. Their failure has opened the door to our riches. The only right response to their situation, therefore, is gratitude that leads to intercession. That combined with labor will bring them back into the inheritance that was originally theirs (Romans 3:1-4; 9:4-5).”

In thinking about our arrogance towards the Jewish people as so carefully explained by Mr. Whitefiled, I can’t help but think of Daniel 9:4 and Daniel’s passionate plea for YHWH to remember his covenant and mercy, which we know in retrospect was a promise of the coming redeemer.  I am compelled to wonder if our arrogance as gentiles isn’t at the root of our incongruent rendering of the 70 sevens prophecy of Daniel 9.

Today we see the first 69 sevens of Daniel 9 as a promise of the coming redeemer which is followed by His death some time after the 69th seven. As far as the Messiah and His redemptive efforts on behalf of the Jewish people, well that takes place outside the 70 sevens prophecy. As far as the prophecy of 70 sevens is concerned, it doesn’t apply to them.  Then the final 7 seven of the 70 sevens there is really no redemptive message there either, just more righteous indignation by an angry God.

Instead of seeing the covenant of Daniel 9:27 within the context of redemptive covenant of Daniel 9:4 we gentiles see the Jewish people in league with the anti-Christ. Instead of the Messiah confirming the covenant of Daniel 9:4 with the Jewish people we see the destroyer in Daniel 9:27. Instead of comforting the Jewish people with the promise of Yeshua’s redemptive sacrifice on their behalf, a promise Yeshua himself described a “new covenant, which is shed for **many** for the remission of sins”, we terrorize them with the promise of a future 7 year covenant made with the man of sin, a covenant and subsequent judgement we ourselves in our righteous arrogance believe we won’t be around to experience.

As a futurist who earnestly yearns for the return of Yeshua this view of the Bible’s greatest messianic prophecy doesn’t make any sense to me. In some future writings I would love to see Mr. Whitelfiled address this subject with the same scholarship he has in the balance of this book. I believe this is critically important because as Mr. Whitefield explains, Yeshua won’t return until the Jewish people call upon Him who comes in the name of YHWH. And that wonderful event cannot happen until they understand that Yeshua did indeed, finish the transgression, make an end to sins, and make reconciliation for iniquity.

Matthew 23:38-39   38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.  For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

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In closing I must say you’ll be hard pressed to find a more eloquent or well-reasoned exploration of Zion, the Jewish people, the gentiles, the church, and how they relate to each other in our Creators redemptive plan for mankind. I was blessed and challenged by this book and I think you will be as well.

Author: Samuel Whitefield
Book Title: -One King: A Jesus-Centered Answer to the Question of Zion and the People of God
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Book Reviewed by: William Struse