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