– 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.”
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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.
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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.
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Author: Phil Hotsenpiller
Book Title: One Nation Under God Without Law: The Rise of Lawlessness, the End Times and the Power of Hope
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Book Reviewed by: William Struse