Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2019
If you’re like me, before reading a book you like to read recommendations by those you respect to give you an idea of its content. One of the reviews of The Future of Everything was written by the late J.I. Packer: “Here is a clear, orderly survey of what the Bible teaches us to expect as God works out His purpose for His world.”
THE FUTURE OF EVERYTHING: Essential Truths about the End Times deals with twelve different subjects regarding the future with discussion questions for each chapter. Pastor William Boekenstein, pastor of Immanuel Fellowship Church in Kalamazoo, MI, clearly explains these eschatological truths and points out how they apply to our lives. In my opinion this book is deep, yet understandable.
I especially appreciate that the author does not get into a lot of speculative things in prophecy, for example, trying to match current events with specific Bible verses. I personally think that method is dangerous because the verses are not always that specific, and Christians differ on their interpretation of them. I prefer just sticking to what is clear in the Bible.
Check out the Table of Contents:
PART 1: INTRODUCING ESCHATOLOGY
- Why Should I Study the End Times?
- How Can I Understand Prophecy
PART 2: PERSONAL ESCHATOLOGY
- We’re All Going to Die
- Between Death and the End
PART 3: GENERAL ESCHATOLOGY
- He’s Coming Again
- A Thousand Years?
- The Dead Will Rise
- The Final Judgment
- The New Heavens and Earth
PART 4: APPLIED ESCHATOLOGY
- The End Times and the Kingdom of God
- The End Times and the Mission of the Church
I found this book very helpful, not just in its content, but in its attitudes. For example, in the first chapter, “Why Should I Study the End Times?”, the author begins right away with correcting three wrong reasons for studying eschatology: (1) to speculate in areas of prophecy in which the Bible is not clear, (2) to argue over lesser points in which Christians differ, and (3) at the other extreme, to avoid studying eschatology altogether because it’s controversial.
There is only one chapter in the book that may be controversial among evangelicals, the chapter on the thousand year reign of Christ, i.e. the millennium. The author explains the three main views that conservative Protestant Christians have held over the years – premillennialism, postmillennialism, and amillennialism. He then goes on to state that he favors the third position giving his reasons from the Bible for his point of view. Everyone might not agree with Boekestein, but hopefully they will find it interesting to see how he defends his position scripturally.
The last two chapters of the book remind us that biblical teaching on the end times should spur us on to be both compassionate in our needy world and evangelistic because people need the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here is a final quote from the last chapter, “The End Times and the Mission of the Church.”
Christian eschatology is a theology of waiting. The King has traveled to a far country and has been a long time in returning (Matt. 25:14, 19.) In His absence the saints who keep watch cry (though not without hope), “How long (until) the night of weeping shall be the morn of song?” God’s people cry, “Come Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20) Why doesn’t He?
The Bible’s answer: God is patiently waiting and working for the gospel to be declared to every creature (Mark 16:15, cf. Matt. 24:14) so that the perishing will be saved (2 Peter 3:9) and the full number of the elect be gathered in (Mark 13:27). Christ has not yet finished His mission to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), so he refrains from shaking the heavens and the earth by His return (Heb. 12:26-27). Missions is the clear answer to the eschatological question, Why hasn’t Jesus returned?