A concise, comprehensive study of the Christian doctrine of the Second Coming.
Baker (In Search of Truth, 2017) offers her readers a detailed overview of New Testament and Old Testament writings about the End Times and the Advent. She grounds the first part of her study with an examination of the various covenants made between God and others in the Hebrew Bible (including Abraham, Noah, Moses, among others) and the nature of concepts that have arisen from those covenants. Her clarifications of covenant theology and dispensation theologies, for example, are uniformly clear and well-done. She lays out key Old Testament sections, particularly the prophecies in the Book of Daniel, in an accessible manner, and how they relate to the End Times. She follows this thread through the New Testament and the writings of the early Church Fathers; along the way, she not only discusses relevant quotations in approachable terms, she also ends chapters with discussion and study questions to make the material more applicable to readers’ lives. The book also doesn’t avoid central problems with Christian eschatology, such as the fact that many Christians have been wrong about the imminence of the Messiah’s return throughout history. Jesus’ statements in the Gospels are often interpreted to mean that he thought that the Kingdom of Heaven would manifest itself in the world rather quickly. As Baker notes, “The apostles believed in Jesus’s imminent return in their lifetime,” and Christian writers and others have predicted specific dates for the End Times ever since—always erroneously, obviously. Baker circumvents the obvious conclusion—that the End Times aren’t going to happen, full stop—with a faith-oriented conception of Christians as being perpetually watchful and ready, as they were warned that the final days would come as “a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2). Overall, her work makes for some bracing reading.
A systematic breakdown of apocalyptic prophecies in the Bible.