Since my teenage years I’ve been interested in what the Bible has to say about the past, present, and future of the Jewish people and the land of Israel. I’ve read many commentaries on the subject in the past two plus decades and I can’t think of one which has explored the subject from as many different perspectives as I found in this book. Like the multiple layers and rich colors of a vibrant painting, each author in this book added a valuable perspective to the whole.
Just a little advice though, don’t let the impressive titles of the authors put you off because you’ll find the words in this book written in the spirit of a carpenter, of fisherman, a tent maker, and a tax collector. As a high school educated plumber, I found the authors were able to share their extensive knowledge in a manner which anyone with a genuine interest in the subject could understand. This is not to say the book was just a cursory look at the subject, on the contrary, you’ll find a depth and insight in this book which you’d be hard pressed to find outside the cloistered halls of a theological seminary.
Some of the highlights of the book:
* Dr. Merrill’s chapter on Israel According to the Torah. In this chapter Dr. Merrill looks at the importance the Bible places on establishing the lineage of the promised “seed” through Adam, Abraham, David, and ultimately the Messiah Yeshua. He mentioned the omission of the 4 kings in the list of Matthews 1 with the result that the lineage shows a symmetry of 14, 14, 14.
I can’t help but believe there is a deeper significance intended by this arrangement. If the names in Matthew 1 are counted out there were only 41 names given (14+14+13). This would make Yeshua the 13 generation, as given by Matthew, and upon his resurrection the 14th as well. This also brings to mind the words of the apostle Paul in Eph. 2:13-14 where he talks about Yeshua breaking down the “middle wall of partition” which separated the Gentiles from the temple proper and by implication the presence of YHWH. How appropriate then that during the 2nd temple era the “wall of partition” was accessed by 14 steps and entry to the temple was granted by one of 13 gates.
* My favorite part of the book was written by Pastor Epstein. In this chapter on Israel and the Local Pastor, Mr. Epstein shares a heart warming and inspiring perspective on why he loves the Jewish people and land of Israel. To put it in his words:
“To love Israel and the Jewish people is personal (it’s my thing); it’s moral (it’s the right thing): it’s political (it’s the smart thing); and ultimately, it’s biblical (it’s God’s thing).”
In summary, the central question of this book is, can YHWH, the God of the Bible, be taken at his word? If He can, then the final act of The People, The Land and the Future of Israel is yet to be played out. With this hope in mind, Maranatha!
I have a question I’d like to ask Dr. Kaiser or Dr. Feinberg if they ever happen to read this review and are inclined to respond. Both of you gentlemen mention Daniel 9 and the prophecy of 70 weeks in your essays. What do you believe to be the strongest Biblical chronological evidence for the claim that Ezra and Nehemiah were contemporaries of “Artaxerxes” Longimanus. As I am sure you are aware this chronology is the foundation upon which the 70 Weeks rests, yet surprisingly little is written about it.
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Author: Darrell L. Bock & Mitch Glaser
Book Title: The People, the Land, and the Future of Israel
Author Website: dts.edu/thetable
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Book Reviewed by: William Struse