Paul Bass – The Singing Stone

Book Review:
The Stones Cry Out –

In Luke 19 we find one of those powerful stories which stirs the imagination and demonstrates the power of God. In that account Jesus enters Jerusalem to the people proclaiming, “Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord…” Because they consider the people’s words blasphemous, the Pharisees ask Jesus to tell the people to be silent. In response to the Pharisees request Jesus makes a statement that has captured believer’s imaginations for nearly 2000 years.

“…I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”

Can you imagine what it might have been like to be there and hear the stones cry out if the people had been silenced?

Today that great New Testament story has been retold by author Paul Bass in a wonderful little illustrated children’s book entitled: The Singing Stone. The story is an easy read and provides a wonderful opportunity to share with your child some valuable life lessons based in fascinating Biblical history.

Author: Paul Bass
Book Title: The Singing Stones
Author Website:
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn
Book Reviewed by: William Struse

 

 

Phil Hotsenpiller – One Nation Under God Without Law

Review:

– The Power of Hope –

In my lifetime many books have been written on the subject of Bible prophecy. Often these books, when dealing with the negative aspects eschatology, tend to have a rather narrow focus without giving the reader the underlying context or thread that helps them see the bigger picture. That is not the case with Phil Hotsenpiller’s new book.

In his book One Nation Without Law: The Rise of Lawlessness, the End Times and the Power of Hope – Mr. Hotsenpiller looks at the subject of Bible prophecy with an eye towards giving his reader a panoramic of the causes and effects of evil in our present world. This information then allows the reader to see the origins of sin in our world and how that sin has been corrupting mankind ever since.

In Chapter 3, Mr. Hotsenpiller looks at a case study of the evils of lawlessness which hits close to home for many of us. The chapter is entitled, Lawlessness in America: A Case Study. Though not comprehensive, the author provides more than enough information to show how sin and evil are not just other people’s problems. But in fact, as that famous adapted quote by Kelly so appropriately states:

“We have met the enemy and He is Us”

In this chapter Mr. Hotsenpiller explains that even though many of our nation’s founders believed in a Judeo-Christian morality, that in fact darkness and its companion the monster Sin lurks in the shadows just waiting to escape when our moral vigilance is lulled into complacent slumber.

After giving the reader a good grasp of historical nature of lawlessness in the Bible and its clear and present danger to our present generation(Part I of this book), Part II of this book then shifts gears to look at the lawlessness in the context of the end times. Part II includes the following chapters:

5. The Rise of Israel
6. Strange Alliances and Shaken Nations
7. The antichrist: Man of Lawlessness

Finally in Part III of the book Mr. Hotsenpiller ends with the power of hope. Notice I said the “power” of hope. As the author explains, far too often we think of hope as a passive idea. As Mr. Hotsenpiller explains, the power of hope is derived from YHWH and His spirit working through us to accomplish His will for mankind. He explains as follows:

“Never underestimate what you can do. Never let the enemy convince you that you are worthless or weak. You carry the divine presence of God with you and are mighty in God for the pulling down of spiritual strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).”

In the final section of this book Moving Forward with Hope, Mr. Hotsenpiller provides some excellent advice and comfort to believers. I quote:

“It is my prayer that this book leaves you with a sense of renewed confidence and hope in our wise, powerful and gracious God. His perpetual presence, and your access to Him through prayer, will enable you to anticipate struggles, make wise decisions and avoid tendencies to panic when you hear frightening news. Although the world may continue to increase in lawlessness, fear and conflict, we can move forward in the power of God, bind the strong man and see the miraculous outpouring of the Spirit of God.”

* * *

In the spirit of respectful criticism there were several topics in this book where I believe the author did not provide as thorough explanation as the subject deserve. One example is found in Chapter 6 where Mr. Hotsenpiller described the future invasion of Israel by the armies of Gog and Magog. Mr. Hotsenpiller envisions the invasion as taking place at some point before the final tribulation, the Anti-Christ covenant and the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. What I find disconcerting in Mr. Hotsenpiller’s explanation of this subject is that he does not thoroughly address the context of Israel “dwelling securely” in the land as described in Ezekiel 38:

“After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall – dwell safely – [yashab betach] all of them.”(Ezekiel 38:8)

The phrase “dwell safely” comes from the Hebrew yashab betach. This distinct Hebrew wording is originally found in Leviticus 25 & 26 and refers to a conditional promise given to Israel which stipulates that if they keep YHWH’s statues and judgments they would dwell securely in their land. In other words Israel’s dwelling safely in their land is contingent on obedience to YHWH and his laws.

Further Jeremiah 32, Zech. 14, Ezekiel 28 and 34 all show that it is during the millennial reign of Christ when Israel’s dwelling securely (yashab betach) takes place. In light of Leviticus 25 & 26, Jeremiah 32 and Zechariah 14 it seems incongruent that Ezekiel 28 & 34 would described Israel dwelling securely during the millennium only to then (in Ezekiel 38 & 39) place this “yashab betach” before the millennium when the conditions of Leviticus 25 & 26 are not present. Also it should not be ignored that Revelation 20 a describes a Gog and Magog invasion during the millennium when Israel – is – dwelling securely in the land, exactly the same conditions described in Ezekiel 38 & 39.

In consideration of the fact that Mr. Hotsenpiller believes these events take place before the millennial reign of Yeshua and that they are relevant signs for those of us living today it would have been helpful for him to explain how he reconciles the clear millennial context of yashab betach in the Old Testament with his interpretation of Ezekiel 38 & 39.

* * *

In closing, even though I don’t agree with every aspect of Mr. Hotsenpiller’s interpretation of Bible prophecy I think his book is a valuable contribution to the subject of lawlessness and its relevance to the day and age in which we live. His explanation of the “power of hope” is an excellent and important primer which every believe would benefit from reading. Once you’ve read Mr. Hotsenpiller’s book I’d encourage you to open you Bible and see if these things be so.

Maranatha!

Author: Phil Hotsenpiller
Book Title: One Nation Under God Without Law: The Rise of Lawlessness, the End Times and the Power of Hope
Author Website:
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn
Book Reviewed by: William Struse

Dr. David Reagan – Israel in Prophecy: Past, Present, & Future

Book Review:

– The Relevance of Israel in Bible Prophecy –

Does God still love the Jewish people? Are the promises made to the descendants of Abraham in the Old Testament still valid since the death and resurrection of Jesus the Jewish Messiah?

In his new book, Israel in Bible Prophecy: Past, Present, & Future – Dr. David Reagan explores the Biblical record in search of answers. As is typical for Dr. Reagan, he approaches the subject with an engaging style, a great deal of common sense, and plain spoken no-nonsenses. Over the years I’ve read many of Dr. Reagan’s books and I’ve come to appreciate his love for the Jewish people and the Bible’s prophetic record.

In this present work Dr. Reagan looks at the subject in Israel in Bible prophecy in the following three part format:

Part I: The Past
• Chapter 1: The Worldwide Dispersion of the Jews
• Chapter 2: The Relentless Persecution of the Jews
• Chapter 3: The Miraculous Preservation of the Jews
• Chapter 4: The Desolation of the Land of Israel

Part II: The Present
• Chapter 5: The Regathering of the Jewish People
• Chapter 6: The Re-establishment of the State of Israel
• Chapter 7: The Revival of the Hebrew Language
• Chapter 8: The Reclamation of the Land of Israel
• Chapter 9: The Resurgence of the Israeli Military
• Chapter 10: The Re-occupation of the City of Jerusalem
• Chapter 11: The Re-focusing of World Politics on Israel

Part III: The Future
• Chapter 12: The Redemption of Israel

Of these chapter 3, 5, & 12 really stood out to me.

* * *

In the spirit of respectful criticism, there is one aspect of the book which I believe that Dr. Reagan failed to address in as thorough manner as is his typical style. What I’m talking about is the subject of Daniel 9 and the prophecy of 70 weeks. In this book Dr. Reagan uses the prophecy of 70 Weeks as foundational pillar in his explanation of the past, present, and future place the Jewish people have in YHWH’s redemptive plan. As such, I believe it deserves a much more thorough and congruent explanation than given in the present work.

For example Dr. Reagan makes the following claim. I quote from Kindle loc. 2508:

“In Daniel chapter 9, the prophet was given and amazing prophecy about the future of the his people and the capital city of Jerusalem. Daniel was told by the Angel Gabriel that God would accomplish all His purposes for the Jewish people during a period of 70 Weeks of Years (Daniel 9:24) starting with a decree to restore and the city of Jerusalem from its destruction by the Babylonians. The first 483 years of that period came to an end with the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem at the beginning of the last week of His life.”

Then concerning the six messianic goals of Daniel 9:24, Dr. Reagan has this to say:

“From a Jewish viewpoint, the Tribulation should be called ‘Daniel’s 70 Weeks of Years.’ This terminology refers to the fact that Daniel prophesied a period of 70 weeks of years (490 years) during which six goals would be accomplished among the Jewish people. The goals were (Daniel 9:24):

1) “To finish the transgression” (by accepting the Messiah).
2) “To make and end of sin” (the repentance of a remnant).
3) “To make atonement for iniquity” (the Messiah to die for sins).
4) “To bring in everlasting righteousness” (the establishment of the Messiah’s millennial reign).
5) “To seal up vision and prophecy” (fulfill all Messianic prophecies).
6) “To anoint the most holy place” (begin the construction of the Millennial Temple).

As you can see, only one of these aims have been fulfilled- the Messiah’s atonement for sin. All the rest remain unfulfilled. Four hundred eighty-three years of Daniel’s prophecy led up to the crucifixion of Jesus (Daniel 9:26). The last seven years remain, during which all the rest of God’s aims for the Jewish people will be met.”

From the quotes above Dr. Reagan rightfully believes that the 6 messianic goals of Daniel 9 are to be fulfilled within the 70 “weeks” of Daniel 9. Dr. Reagan explanation becomes problematic when he goes on to state that 69 of those weeks (483 years) were fulfilled with Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. The reason this is problematic is because this then leaves only the final 7 “years” during which the 6 goals of Daniel 9 can be fulfilled.

Daniel 9:24 is clear that these 6 goals are fulfilled within the 70 weeks. Jesus “atonement for iniquity” did not take place until His death and resurrection. By Dr. Reagans reasoning and the criteria of Daniel 9:24, this then means that Jesus “atonement for iniquity” took place after the 483 years and in the 70th Week of Daniel 9.

Dr. Reagan then contradicts this reasonable conclusion by claiming that “the last seven years remain, during which the rest of God’s aims for the Jewish people will be met.” In other words Dr. Regan places the 3rd goal of Daniel 9 after the 483 years but not within the final 7 years, thus adding to the length of the prophecy of Daniel 9. This is not possible because Daniel 9:24 plainly states that the 6 messianic goals are fulfilled in the 70 week period.

It is my hope that in some future writings Dr. Reagan will explain this apparent contradiction in his understanding of Daniel 9 and provide a more congruent and reasonable explanation.

* * *

In closing my criticisms notwithstanding, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more sincere advocate of the Jewish people and their past, present, and future in YHWH’s redemptive plan for mankind. In this book Dr. Reagan does a wonderful job of illustrating that story in manner which is both accessible and thrilling. After reading this book I’d encourage you to open your Bible’s and see if these things be so.

Maranatha!

Author: Dr. David Reagan
Book Title: Israel in Bible Prophecy: Past, Present, & Future
Author Website:
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn
Book Reviewed by: William Struse

John MacArthur – Ezra and Nehemiah

Book Review

– An Inspirational Read though Lacking a Solid Chronological Context –

Few periods in Biblical history offer more inspiring illustrations of YHWH’s love for the Jewish people than the 2nd temple era. Two of the most important books describing the triumph and tragedies of the repatriated Jewish people during this time are the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Taking you on a guided tour of this important era is the respected Biblical scholar John MacArthur. In twelve interesting chapters Mr. MacArthur walks you through the history of the 2nd temple era as described in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Along the way Mr. MacArthur skillfully draws you into the story of Ezra and Nehemiah and the people they led showing how the lessons these 2nd temple era people learned are just as important to you and I today. In the introduction Mr. Macarthur describes the book this way:

“In these twelve studies, we will examine the events that led to the people being allowed to return to their homeland and what took place during the first two waves of their return. We will see how God raised up leaders among the exiles to not only champion the rebuilding efforts but also to protect the people from outside attack and turn them back to the worship of the Lord. We will discover what it means to put God first and see that apart from the new covenant and the Messiah, none of us would be able to be righteous before the Lord.

Through it all, we will learn some precious truths about the character of God, and we will see His great faithfulness in keeping His promises. We will learn, in short, what it means to follow Him wholeheartedly, walk by faith, and remain committed to His Word.”

After reading this book I think you’ll agree that Mr. MacArthur’s achieved his goal. Ezra’s and Nehemiah’s stories are a testimony, first of all to Gods love for his people, and second how YHWH uses those who desire to serve Him in wonderful and unexpected ways. There are many valuable lessons to be learned from the people and events of this period in Biblical history and Mr. MacArthur does a great job of highlighting them.

* * *

In the spirit of respectful criticism I am sorry to say that Mr. MacArthur did not provide a solid Biblical historical context for Ezra and Nehemiah’s place in the 2nd temple era. Many of the chronological statements and dates are provided without any real Biblical context. For example in the introduction Mr. MacArthur made the following statements:

“Ezra was most likely the author of both Ezra and Nehemiah, which might have originally been one book. After his arrival in Jerusalem in 458 BC, he changed from writing in the third perions (Ezra 1-6) to writing in the first perions (Ezra 7-10).”

Then a few paragraphs later Mr. MacArthur goes on to say:

“Zerubbabel led the first return in 538 BC. Ezra led the second return in 458 BC. Nehemiah led the third return thirteen years later in 445 BC.”

Considering that the entire chronological framework of this book rests upon these dates it is disappointing that Mr. MacArthur did not provide his reader with a solid Biblical foundation for them.

This neglect has at least two unintended negative consequences. First it presents a potential stumbling block to the reader who, inspired by Mr. MacArthur’s compelling exploration of this subject, seeks to better understand it in terms of the Bible’s own chronology only to find that the historical dates presented in this book rest upon several unreasonable assumptions. The 2nd unintended consequence is that Mr. MacArthur’s dating of Ezra and Nehemiah then require some rather incongruent chronological gymnastics regarding the Persian period which do not allow the reader to take the text at face value.

I’ll try to briefly explain.

Taking the Biblical record at face value we learn in 2 Kings 25 that Ezra’s father was killed in the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar. Using the most optimistic assumptions this would then mean that Ezra was at his youngest only 1 year old in the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar. By the reign of the Persian “Artaxerxes” Longimanus the absolute youngest Ezra could have been was nearly a quarter century older than Moses. As Thomas Ice and Ed Hindson explain in their recent book, Charting the Bible Chronologically: A Visual Guide to God’s Unfolding Plan, after the flood the lifespan of mankind experienced an exponential decay curve which resulted, by the time of King David, in the average life span of about 70-80 years. At the very least Mr. MacArthurs should have provided an explanation as to why he believes Ezra’s exceptional age is justified.

This dating of Ezra’s age and return to Jerusalem is further complicated by the fact that this then requires a similar age for the priests and Levites of Nehemiah 10 & 12. (Those who came up with Joshua and Zerubbabel and who still alive in the 20th year of “Artaxerxes”.) The bottom line is that Mr. MacArthurs dating of the events in the book of Ezra and Nehemiah is not justified by a reasonable reading of the Bible’s own chronology.
Let me give another example of why this is problematic for Mr. MacArthur. I quote from page 91:

“He [Nehemiah] was also going to ask to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem from the very king who had ordered that building to stop.”

You see by placing Ezra in the reign of Artaxerxes Logimanus (464-424 BC) Mr. MacArthur stretches the events of the 2nd temple era by nearly 60 years. This then causes him to confuse the different “Artaxerxes” of the Persian period.

It would have been helpful to the reader if Mr. MacArthur would have explained that the word “Artaxerxes” is not a proper name but rather a title give to several Persian kings during the 2nd temple era. It is also important to note that historically Artaxerxes and Ahasuerus were Persian titles that in some cases were used interchangeably. Using the most reasonable and defensible rendering of the 2nd temple era Persian period we have the following Persian kings:

  • Cyrus (536-530 BC as king of Babylon)
  • Cambyses (529-522 BC)
  • Bardis the Magian usurper (522)
  • Darius I ‘the Great’ Artaxerxes (521-484)
  • Xerxes 1 (485-465)
  • Artaxerxes I (Longimanus) (464-424)

Ezra 1 describes the decree of Cyrus which allows the Jewish people to return, thus ending the 70 years captivity prophesied by Jeremiah. After the Jewish people had returned and started construction on the temple their neighbors wrote to “Ahasuerus” in an effort to “frustrate” their temple building efforts. (Ezra 4:6) The text does not indicate that their efforts had any success during the reign of this Ahasuerus. But then “in the days of” Artaxerxes the enemies of the Jewish people found a willing ear. This Artaxerxes did indeed stop construction. (Ezra 4:7) A careful reader of Ezra 4 will notice that the Jewish enemies told the king Artaxerxes that the Jewish people were building walls and foundations as if they were fortifying the city. But in reality the Jewish people were only working on the temple. Notice in Ezra 4:24 after the enemies of the Jews had received “Artaxerxes” decree stopping construction it was the temple construction which was interrupted. This interruption lasted until the Darius the king of Persia.

“Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.”

The most reasonable reading of these events shows that Cyrus allowed reconstruction of the temple. Then after Cyrus in the reign of his son Cambyses (Ahasuerus) the enemies of the Jewish people tried to stop the construction with no success. We know historically speaking that Cambyses mostly continued in his father’s footsteps in promoting the rebuilding of temples and monuments of those people they had conquered. After Cambyses’ untimely death there was a few month period when a Magian usurper (Bardis) took the Persian throne. This pretender did not share Cyrus and Cambyses world view. The most reasonable reading of the text then would have this Bardis as the “Arataxerxes” who stopped construction until the 2nd year of Darius. The simple fact of the matter is there are no other Persian kings between the reign of Cyrus and Darius. This means that Ezra’s description of evens is amazingly congruent with what we know from Persian history.

Ezra 6 further clarifies the events by telling us the construction on the temple did indeed begin again in the 2nd year of Darius (520 BC) and that the temple was completed four years later in the 6th year of Darius. You see by the 2nd year of Darius ‘the Great’ Artaxerxes, YHWH through the prophets Haggai and Zechariah commanded the Jewish people to return and building His house. When the enemies of the Jewish people saw that the temple construction was restarted they immediately petition Darius for it to be stopped. Ezra 6 records that Darius checked the Persian records and found that indeed Cyrus had given permission for the Jewish people to reconstruct the temple. Notice that Darius did not give any credence to the decree of the “Artaxerxes” of Ezra 4:7. This makes perfect sense in light of the fact that this “Artaxerxes” was an imposter to the throne of Persia. An imposter whom Darius himself had over thrown.

” 14 And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. 15 And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.” (Ezra 6:14-15)

Notice in the passage above it names those who were responsible for giving commandments which brought about the completion of the temple by the 6th year of Darius. This is important, the passage qualifies these commandments as those which were responsible for completion of the temple by the 6th year of Darius. Who then is the “and Arataxerxes” of Ezra 6:14. What many overlook is that the letter vaw which proceeds the title “Arataxerxes” in the Hebrew text can be used as both a conjunction and as well as a hendiadys. Or in other words depending on context the word “Arataxerxes” can be a separate king or it can simply be another title for Darius. So instead of “and Artaxerxes” the text could read “even Artaxerxes”. Based upon the context of Ezra 6 the most reasonable reading of the text demands that it be used as a hendiadys. There is simply no other Persian king who gave a commandment to build the temple of Jerusalem before its completion in the 6th year of Darius ‘the Great’ Artaxerxes.

This then perfectly explains the events of Ezra 6 & 7. Ezra is still in exile in the 6th year of Darius ‘the great’ Artaxerxes. But when the temple was completed in the 6th year of Darius, Ezra was compelled to go up to Jerusalem and teach the people the Torah. (This then explains the 3rd person to 1st person perspective change between Ezra 6 & 7)

So in Ezra 7, in the 7th year of Darius ‘the Great’ Artaxerxes, just after the temple was completed we find Ezra on his way to Jerusalem. There is no need to insert a 60 year gap between Ezra 6 & 7. The most reasonable reading of the text does not support it. By the 7th year of Darius ‘the Great’ Artaxerxes, Ezra was of the ripe old age of 70-80 and so were the priest and Levites of Nehemiah 10 & 12. Ezra’s age at this point is perfectly congruent with what is described in Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, and Zechariah. There is no need to believe that Ezra confused the chronology of Persia nor that the book of Ezra is written in a convoluted chronological order. Ezra simply described the events exactly how they happened in chronological order.

Getting back to Mr. MacArthur’s statement that Nehemiah asked permission to build the walls of Jerusalem from the very person who stopped construction. It simple doesn’t make any sense chronologically. As Ezra 4 described it was the temple construction that was stopped. The enemies of the Jewish people in their exaggerated claim to Bardis (Artaxerxds) made it out as if the Jewish people were fortify the city when in fact they were only building the temple as allowed by the decree of Cyrus.

For two decades now I’ve tried to understand why wonderful Biblical scholars like Mr. MacArthur and many of his peers so confuse the chronology of the book of Ezra and Nehemiah and the only reason I can come up with is that their chronology of Ezra and Nehemiah is not a function of sound exegesis of the text but rather well-meaning eisegesis based in their understanding of the prophecy of Daniel 9.

In other words Mr. MacArthur’s understanding of Ezra and Nehemiah is not based upon the chronological facts found in the books of Chronicles, Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, and Zechariah but rather upon the assumption that the 70 Weeks of Daniel 9 must have begun during the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus and thus the 2nd temple chronology must be arranged to accommodate that belief. Once the assumptive framework of Daniel 9 is removed from equation the chronological “difficulties” of Ezra and Nehemiah completely disappear.

My hope is that someday Mr. MacArthur will take another look at the chronology of Ezra and Nehemiah and rectify the contextual neglected that he has demonstrated in this present work.

* * *

In closing, my criticisms notwithstanding, the story of Ezra and Nehemiah as explored by Mr. MacArthur is profoundly important to any student of the Bible. Though lacking in chronological context, this book provides a wealth of inspirational life lessons based upon the events and people in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Any serious student of the Bible will come away blessed and enriched after reading this book. After you’ve read the book I’d encourage you to open your own Bible’s and see if these things be so.

Maranatha!

Author:
Book Title: –
Author Website:
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn
Book Reviewed by: William Struse

David Limbaugh – The True Jesus

Book Review:

  • – The Good News

Today scholars present us with many versions of the New Testament Jewish hero named Jesus. Some claim he was just a virtuous man with a world changing message, others that he was literally the Hebrew Immanuel, that is, God with us, and still others claim that he was just a figment of the imagination of some desperate first century Jewish sect.

So who has the most accurate view?

In his new book, The True Jesus: Uncovering the Divinity of Christ in the Gospels, author David Limbaugh takes his reader on a Biblical adventure in search of the true nature of the Bibles greatest hero. From Jesus of Nazareth’s birth, to his death, resurrection and ascension, Mr. Limbaugh reveals to his reader how the first century gospel writers understood the personality and person of the one they called the Christ.

A couple of things really stood out to me in this book.

• Mr. Limbaugh’s compelling portrait of not just Jesus’ divinity but also his humanity
• Mr. Limbaugh’s touching exploration of the disciples journey from followers to apostles

As the book unfolds Mr. Limbaugh walks you hand in hand with Jesus’ disciples as they discover for themselves the true Jesus. In a way, you see the story of Jesus through their eyes. I’m not sure exactly how he does it but Mr. Limbaugh is able to transport right into the story.

As you walk through the gospel accounts with Mr. Limbaugh you’ll feel the early excitement Jesus’ disciples experienced when they were called. You’ll feel the hope in their first tentative steps as followers and the doubts, misconceptions, and discoveries they learn from along the way. You’ll groan in their weakness and wonder in disbelief at their doubts and all along the way you’ll feel the reassuring hand of Jesus as he comforts, teaches, and prepares them for their world changing commission to take His good news of Yeshua (YHWH’s Salvation) first to their own Jewish brethren and then to rest of the world.

In reading Mr. Limbaugh chronological account of the gospels you can help but come away with an awesome sense of Jesus’ divinity juxtaposed with His real humanity as a man. I don’t know if anyone can totally fathom our Creator taking on a temporary dwelling of fallen human flesh and in utter unselfish humility standing in our place when the righteous judgement for our sins was carried out. I can say though that after reading The True Jesus, the redemptive picture of YHWH’s salvation is even more vivid and gripping than I’ve ever seen it before.

* * *

In a bit of respectful criticism there was one small part of the book where Mr. Limbaugh made a welling meaning assumption that is not based upon a reasonable rendering of the Biblical evidence. I know this may seem like nitpicking to some but sometimes the smallest details have unnoticed importance. I quote from the passage in question:

“In 458 BC, the scribe Ezra returned to the land along with a few thousand Jews and their families, and reinstituted the Law and the religious rituals (Ezra 7:21-25). In 444 BC, Nehemiah returned to the land with another group of exiles and was appointed governor of Judah. By the authority of Persian King Artaxerxes (Neh. 2:6), Nehemiah organized the rebuilding of the city’s walls, fulfilling Daniel’s century-old prophecy (Daniel 9:25).”

Doesn’t seem like much does it? In fact though, upon this little bit of 2nd temple era chronology hangs much of the framework of our futurist eschatology. Daniel 9, a 7 yr. tribulation, a future Anti-christ covenant with Israel, and numerous other prophetic passages all find their foundation in this little piece of Biblical history.

The problem with this chronology is that it is not supported with a reasonable rendering of the Bible’s 2nd temple chronology. What is left unsaid in Mr. Limbaugh’s chronology above is that Ezra’s father was killed in the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar. By the 20th year of Mr. Limbaugh’s Artaxerxes, Ezra would be at his absolute youngest a quarter century older than Moses.

As Thomas Ice and Ed Hindson explain in their recent book Charting the Bible Chronologically: A Visual Guide to God’s Unfolding Plan, after the flood, the lifespan of mankind was subject to a decay curve. This curve saw the lifespan of mankind decrease from the multi century spans that occurred before the flood to the 70-80 years mentioned by King David (Psalms 90:10) following the flood.

Had Ezra been the only exception to this rule it might have been discounted as an unexplained oddity. But this same unreasonable age applies to many of the Priests and Levites who came up to Jerusalem under the decree of Cyrus (536 BC) and who were still alive by the 20th year of the unnamed Persian Artaxerxes of Nehemiah. (Neh. 10 & 12)

Also problematic is the chronology of Ezra 6 & 7 were it tells us of a Persian Artaxerxes who was part of Temple building efforts that were completed by the 6th year of Darius (‘the Great’ Artaxerxes). Just a few verses later in Ezra 7, we find Ezra on his way to Jerusalem in the 7th year of an unnamed Artaxerxes. The most natural reading of the passage, even the age of Ezra himself, suggests that the Artaxerxes of Ezra 7 is the one and same Artaxerxes of Ezra 6. But instead we add 60 years to Ezra’s age between Ezra 6 & 7 so that we make him a contemporary of the Persian king Longimanus.

Here is my point. No detail of YHWH’s incredible word in unimportant. By making exceptions and excuses for this neglected bit of Biblical history we as futurists have left a future stumbling block for those who use this chronology as the basis for their futurist expectations. My hope is that in some future writing Mr. Limbaugh will give this exceptionally important part of Biblical history the attention it so rightly deserve and rectify the neglect it has received in this current work.

* * *

In closing my criticism notwithstanding, this was the most moving exploration of the New Testament gospels that I’ve ever read. When reading this book you can’t escape the sense of wonder and thrilling discovery that Mr. Limbaugh shares with you as he takes you on an adventure that has the potential to transform your life. After reading this book I’d encourage you to open your Bible’s and see if these things be so.

Maranatha!

Author: David Limbaugh
Book Title: The True Jesus: Uncovering the Divinity of Christ in the Gospels
Author Website:
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn
Book Reviewed by: William Struse

Nick Zaccardi – The Third Watch

Book Review:

Challenging Pre-trib Eschatology from a Futurist Perspective

Few topics in the study of Bible prophecy are more controversial than the Rapture. For decades the pre-tribulational perspective has dominated all others. In the past several years though, I’ve noticed that there have been an increasingly number of brave souls willing to question the pre-tribulation dogma from a futurist perspective. Nick Zaccardi’s new book The Third Watch is one such book.

In this book, The Third Watch, Mr. Zaccardi looks at the subject of the Rapture but he does so with a unique (at least to me) approach. That is he looks at the Rapture and the 2nd coming starting with the words of Yeshua first. Then he adds the words of the apostles and finally the book of Revelation.

Frankly, I liked this approach. For some time now I’ve bene comparing the Pre-tribulational perspective with the Pre-Wrath perspective with the realization that the Pre-trib view does not stand on as unassailable a footing as I once thought. Although Mr. Zaccacrdi’s book does not follow the standard pre-wrath template he raised some really challenging questions that my pre-trib brethren should give some serious though to. Though not totally convinced by Mr. Zaccardi’s arguments, nonetheless the has given me some very important food for thought.

For me, the best part of the book was Mr. Zaccardi’s wonderful exploration of Yeshua’s parables. He has some wonderful insights which are worth the price of the book even if you end up disagreeing with his view on the rapture.

* * *

In the spirit of respectful criticism the weakest part of the book in my opinion was Mr. Zaccardi’s explanation of the prophecy found in Daniel 9. Mr. Zaccardi rightly identifies the importance of this prophecy, but the starting point of his interpretation is not rock solid. Here are a few points that need further clarification:

1. Mr. Zaccardi’s starting point is confusing. If I understand his explanation correctly he places the final 7 years in front of the 483 but then does not go on to clearly state when he believed the Messiah came.
2. He ignores the divine command to “restore and build Jerusalem” given by YHWH the living God of the Bible as found in Haggai 1, Zachariah 1, and Ezra 6.
3. Mr. Zaccardi’s reckoning of Biblical time is not clear. The Bible’s calendar is lunar/solar (365.24/29.53). It appears that Mr. Zaccardi uses our modern reckoning of time. His reasoning for this approach would be valuable to the reader.
4. Although I agree with his view that Yeshua fulfilled the six goals of Daniel 9:24 It would have been helpful to have this part of his explanation more fully developed within the overall context of the prophecy.
Considering the important Daniel 9 plays in our futurist perspective it would have been nice to have a more congruent and detailed explanation of how it relates to the subject of the rapture. Although I don’t agree with the chronological framework of his view on Daniel 9, I do agree that this prophecy has greatly skewed the futurist perspective of many end time events. It was good to see someone exploring the 2nd coming and rapture from a futurist perspective without being dependent on the prophecy of 70 weeks. It is my firm opinion that each prophecy of the Bible needs to stand securely in its own rite unencumbered by traditions of men.

* * *
In closing it was good to see this subject through Mr. Zaccardi’s eyes. Even through I don’t fully agree with him, he made some really important observations about the rapture that need to be considered. Once you have considered Mr. Zaccardi’s point of view then I’d encourage you to open your Bible and see if these things be so.

Maranatha!

Author: Nick Zaccardi
Book Title: – The Third Watch: It’s Later Than you Think
Author Website:
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Book Reviewed by: William Struse

Amy Richter – Enoch and the Gospel of Matthew

Book Review:

  • – Enoch and the Gospel of Matthew

Enoch and the Gospel of Matthew is an intriguing look at the influence of the “Enoch template” on the composition of Matthew’s gospel. More specifically the author Amy Richter explores the possibility that Matthew included the four women in Yeshua’s lineage to draw his readers attention to events described in Genesis 6, events which included the illicit interactions between the fallen angels and women of earth as more fully described in the book of Enoch.

According to Genesis 6 and more completely elucidated in the book of Enoch these illicit affairs between fallen angels and women produce giant offspring who became a terror to the inhabitants of earth. Further these fallen angels taught mankind knowledge for which they were not ready or for which they were never intended. This knowledge include the arts of seduction, metallurgy, and warfare.

Amy Richter describes the theses of her book in this way:

“ This dissertation makes no claims of direct dependency of the Gospel of Matthew on the text of 1 Enoch. However, when examining Matthew chapters 1-2 in light of motifs of the Enoch watchers’ template, evidence of these motifs as background for the Gospel material is apparent. This evidence appears in the frequency with which Enochic motifs can be identified in connection with material in Matthew’s Gospel. The evangelist does not replicate any large sections of 1 Enoch, nor, as mentioned above, does he quote from 1 Enoch, with the possible exception of Sim’s example. However, again and again in Matthew’s genealogy and infancy narrative one finds motifs and allusions to the material that one also finds in 1 Enoch. The number of instances in which Enochic motifs occur even within the first two chapters of Matthew’s gospel, is too great for Matthew not to have been familiar with the Enochic tradition and for these to appear as background material as the evangelist tells his version of the story of Jesus.”

Mrs. Richter spends considerable time explain how she believes the four women in Matthew 1 were included specifically to draw the reader’s attention to the evil with which the fallen angelic host corrupted mankind in the years leading up to the great flood of Noah’s day. This corruption not only included the illicit arts as mentioned above but also include the pollution of the “seed” of mankind through whom the promised messiah would come.

Mrs. Richter goes on to explore the possibility that Matthew contrasts the illicit interactions between the “sons of God” and women and their gigantic offspring with the divinely ordain interaction of the Holy Spirit and Mary the mother of Yeshua. The former unsanctioned affair producing a consuming evil which threatened to destroy mankind and the later affair producing the promised messiah through whom all things are ultimately restored.

* * *

Thought not mentioned by the author there is additional evidence in the gospel of Matthew which may support her thesis.

First the manner in which Matthew arranged Yeshua’s lineage is truly exceptional in the biblical record. This amazing lineage not only provided a detailed listing of Yeshua lineage but it also arranged that listing into three 14 generational groupings. This arrangement of 41 names had the further intriguing result of making Yeshua the 13th generation in the third generational grouping (14x14x13). That this was intentional on Matthew’s part is made clear when it is realized that in order to arrange Yeshua’s lineage in the manner he did he had to leave out four of Yeshua’s ancestors. These omissions occurring in the 2nd generational groupings between the 6th & 7th generation as well as the 13th & 14th generation.

The Jewish reader was unlikely to miss that symbolic nature of this arrangement. 6 bring the number of mankind and 7 the divine, thus this combination making 13. Keeping in mind that his arrangement also made Yeshua the 13th generation, then by his death and resurrection he would symbolically become the 14th generation as well.

Further a reasonable case can be made that the offspring of the women mentioned in Matthew 1 act like chronological markers which point the reader back in a larger chronological context to the events and people surrounding the story of Jared, Enoch, Noah and Abraham.

* * *

Overall this was a fascinating and informative reader which will challenge the reader to reevaluate how they see the gospel of Matthew and the lineage of Yeshua within the context of the Enochian and Noachian traditions mentioned in both the Bible and the historical record.

Author: Amy E. Richter
Book Title: Enoch and the Gospel of Matthew (Princeton Theological Monograph Series Book 183
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Book Reviewed by: William Struse

Dave Williams – Hope in the Last Days

Book Review:

Our Blessed Hope –

Do you look forward to the unfulfilled prophecies of the Bible with hope or fear? In his latest offering popular Christian author and speaker Dave Williams looks at Bible prophecy with an eye towards the blessed hope. You won’t find a message heavy on doom and gloom as is sometimes the case in other books on Bible prophecy, rather each chapter looks at subject with a clear message of assurance in the promises of God. Sure, the subject of Bible prophecy can be sobering, even frightening in some cases but Mr. William’s shows his reader why the true message of the Bible prophetic word, is Hope.

I really appreciate how Mr. William’s explained the “spirit of Prophecy” in Chapter 3. The spirit of prophecy, its very essence, according to Revelation 19:10 is the testimony of Jesus. As many know Jesus comes from the Hebrew Yeshua. Yeshua in turn is a combination of two Hebrew words. The first, YA, the shortened form of YHWH, the proper name of the living God of the Bible. The second word which makes up our saviors name is Yasha which means to be saved or delivered. So when the Bible tells us that Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, in other words it is telling us that the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of YHWH’s Salvation. How awesome is that.

This “spirit of Prophecy” has long been one of my personal tests when evaluating books on Bible prophecy. Is the authors underlying them or message about YHWH’s Salvation, His Yeshua, for all mankind? I’m pleased to say Hope in the Last Days: Be Prepared for the Biblical Prophecy Coming to Pass does indeed pass the spirit of prophecy test. Now that is not to say that I agreed with Mr Williams on all aspects of Bible prophecy, on the contrary I have substantive reservations on several aspects of eschatology as he explained in this book. I’ll address a couple of those challenging subjects in a moment but first here is a sample of the chapters found in the book:

1. History Converges: The Times and the Seasons
2. Avoiding Prophetic Pitfalls and Defining Eschatological Terms
3. The Spirit of Prophecy: How I personally Met Jesus in Bible Prophecy
4. The Prophetic Chronology: Nothing Makes Sense Without This
5. Preview Signs of the Apocalypse: A Sneak Peek Into the Future
6. Last Days Nations and Groups: The Chilling Accuracy of the Ancient Prophets
7. The United States in Bible Prophecy: What the Future Holds for This Superpower
8. 8. The Mystery Nation: You Carry the Power of Another World
9. The Great Secret Revealed: The Mystery of the Disappearance of Millions
10. The Final Shabua: Earth’s Inescapable Hour of Agony and Distress

Overall I enjoyed reading Mr. Williams book on Bible prophecy and appreciated seeing the subject through his eyes. Clearly Mr. Williams has a great love and respect for the subject. Mr. William’s opens this book with some really great advice for studying the subject of Bible prophecy. I quote from Chapter 1:

“We are responsible for diligently studying and being attentive to the true prophecies of God in the Bible. A superficial understanding of God’s prophetic plan for the future leads to chaotic eschatology (that is, the study of the end times). If we start in the wrong place prophetically, we will end up in the wrong place prophetically.”

In what I hope is respectful but constructive criticism there were a few place in this book where I believe this advice could have been applied more directly.

One most important areas where I found this book to be lacking was in Mr. Williams explanation of the prophecy of Daniel 9. After reading this book you’ll get a sense of how incredibly important this prophecy is to Mr. William’s underlying chronological framework of end times events. For example Mr. Williams says this about Daniel 9:24 and the tribulation:

“Almost all biblical prophecies that remain unfulfilled relate to this period in human history when the world will unite under a world government let by the Antichrist.”

In consideration of how important this prophecy is to this book, I felt Mr. Williams did not provide a solid Scriptural basis for his understanding of the 70 Weeks prophecy. Here are a few areas where it would have been helpful to have a more thorough explanation of his interpretation.

1. For those familiar with the prophecy of 70 “weeks” it begins with a “commandment to restore and build Jerusalem” as described in Daniel 9:25. In chapter 4 Mr. Williams tells us this “commandment” was given by a Persian “Artaxerxes” as described in Ezra 7:7-8. The challenge to this position is that nowhere in Ezra 7 does it tells us when the “commandment” was given. The text does tell us that Ezra went up to Jerusalem in the 7th year of Artaxerxes but the date of the “commandment” is not given. I think it is important for his readers to understand how Mr. William arrived at his starting point for this great prophecy using the information found in Ezra 7. Especially in consideration of Mr. Williams admonition that if we start in the wrong place prophetically we will end of in the wrong place prophetically.

2. In chapter 4 Mr. William also explains that there were “exactly 483 years” from the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem until Jesus “rode into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey”. Again this precision is hard to justify without an identifiable starting place. Further during the 2nd temple era the Bible’s calendar was not based solely upon a 365.24 day year. The Biblically mandated calendar was lunar/solar. In other words the Biblical year varied between 12 and 13 months. Because of the accuracy claimed by Mr. William’s I would have been helpful for him to explain how he understand Biblical “time”.

3. By claiming that Artaxerxes gave the “commandment” to restore and build Jerusalem in Ezra 7 this assumes that Ezra and the Persian king Artaxerxes Longimanus were contemporaries. I wish Mr. Williams had explained how he understood it was possible that Ezra and Longimanus were contemporaries. This is one of those often ignored aspects of 2nd temple chronology that is incredibly important to the prophecy of Daniel 9 and yet it’s nearly universally ignored by most prophecy teachers.

The problem is that the Bible’s own chronology does not support the claim that Ezra and Nehemiah were contemporaries of the Persian Artaxerxes Longimanus who ruled Persia from roughly 464-424 BC. According to the Bible, Ezra’s father died in the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar. This then would make Ezra, at his absolutely youngest, nearly a quarter century older than Moses during the reign of Longimanus. This same unreasonable age would apply equally to many of the priests and Levites of Nehemiah 10 & 12.

As Ed Hindson and Thomas Ice explain in their new book, Charting the Bible Chronologically: A Visual Guide to God’s Unfolding Planthe lifespan of mankind after the flood was subject to an exponential decay curve which resulted in the natural lifespan of mankind being lowered to roughly 70 or 80 years. In order for Mr. Williams explanation of Daniel 9 to be credible, it is imperative for him to explain how he justifies this unreasonable age for Ezra and his contemporaries, especially when the most reasonable and contextual reading of Ezra and Nehemiah does not justify such an extended period of time.

4. Finally regarding Daniel 9 and the “commandment to restore and build Jerusalem” it would only be appropriate to explain why the commandment to restore and build Jerusalme as given by YHWH, the living God of the Bible, is ignored when considering the prophecy of 70 “weeks”. This commandment is the focus of the 2n temple era and is witnessed by Ezra 6, Haggai 1 and Zechariah 1.

In closing my questions and disagreements notwithstanding, this is a well written book on Bible prophecy written from a pre-tribulational perspective. This book is not your average book on eschatology which tells only of the terror which will befall mankind in the coming years but rather its focus is on the “blessed hope” of our expectation found in Yeshua (YHWH’s Salvation).

After you’ve read this book I’d encourage you to open your Bible’s and see if these things be so.

Maranatha!

Author: Dave Williams
Book Title: Hope in the Last Days: Be Prepared for the Biblical Prophecies Coming to Pass
Author Website:
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Book Reviewed by: William Struse

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!

– – – – – – – –

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:
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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.

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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
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Book Reviewed by: William Struse