Someone asked me to list some AV resources on eschatology with links to our store. Great idea! As we have many new followers, many of whom are young and new to the understanding of things like Christian Reconstruction, Dominion Theology, postmillennialism, “preterism,” etc., I can see where this will be a big help.
What follows is a list of those eschatology resources that American Vision has available. Near the end, I will also add a couple which are no longer in print or for sale, but can be accessed elsewhere online for free. These are so important as to merit including even in a list of resources only available at AV.
The beginning student should be aware that there are several distinct facets of biblical eschatology which while connected are distinct issues. Millennial discussions can be distinct from discussions of dating and timing of certain prophecies (preterism, etc.). Particular topics such as “the rapture” can be discussed and critiqued separately to a large degree. Nevertheless, all are connected in the organic whole also, so while we can distinguish them for discussion purposes, we cannot separate them for worldview purposes. For this reason I have categorized the resources by distinctions below, but have also included a category of “biblical worldview” as it pertains to eschatology. These resources are absolutely essentially to understand the whole of which all the other categories make up only a part.
Is Jesus Coming Soon? by Gary DeMar. This short book starts with a “ten minute guide” to Bible prophecy and then focuses upon the timing of events of Jesus’ great prophetic warnings in Matthew 24. It is great for beginners to get their feet wet.
Basic Training Series: Understanding Bible Prophecy by Gary DeMar. This 12-lecture series is available as DVD or streaming video download. It covers all the basics of Matthew 24 and related prophetic topics at a Sunday School level. This was the series, I believe, that converted Kirk Cameron.
Paradise Restored: A Biblical Theology of Dominion by David Chilton. This is “the book that did it” for many people. It gives you a whole new perspective on the Bible and will totally transform your thinking. It will expose the error of a way of thinking that leaves many people stuck in “last days madness” and a “left behind” mentality. Yet for all of its profundity, it is written very clearly and at the level of an average reader. It is very easily understood. It covers nearly every prophetic and eschatological topic imaginable and will often leave you saying, “Wow, I never saw that before.” This is also good as an introductory book on the topic. Quite frankly, there is no other book like this.
The Greatness of the Great Commission by Kenneth L. Gentry. This book gives the Great Commission its proper due. It gives you the broader general worldview of the dominion mandate and God’s plan for man. You’ll no longer see the Christian’s calling as one of merely “saving souls” to escape this world, but of completing the far more comprehensive task for which God originally designed us. After reading this, you’ll never see the Great Commission the same again, and you’ll truly appreciate the greatness of the task and of the God who gave it.
Exegesis / Commentary
Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church by Gary DeMar. This is the other “book that did it” for many people. It is the definitive work explaining Matthew 24, and is quite frankly the finest work available on the topic. Comparing Scripture with Scripture, it shows beyond any reasonable doubt that Jesus’ famous prophetic warnings in Matthew 24 (as well as the parallel passages in Mark 13 and Luke 21) are not warnings for our future, but for Jesus’ own audience in the first century. This is a must-read for anyone interested in eschatology, and for those who aren’t (but should be).
Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation by David Chilton. As Gary’s book on Matthew 24 is definitive for that chapter, so is Chilton’s for the whole book of Revelation—and it is another masterpiece by Chilton. This 700-page tour-de-force is a full commentary on Revelation. It demonstrates how the historical and Old Testament background to this book make it much easier to understand. Instead of being the highly imaginative book that baffles scholars and allows end-times pundits to terrorize the consciences of modern Christians, Revelation is actually quite understandable as first-century Jewish apocalyptic literature. With Chilton’s unique ability to find and explain the material, you’ll see the message of Revelation is much simpler and more direct than we’ve been led to believe.
Jesus v. Jerusalem: A Commentary on Luke 9:51–20:26, Jesus’ Lawsuit Against Israel by Joel McDurmon. I took a cue from DeMar and Chilton and applied the same hermeneutic to much more of the Gospels. The result was to see the same first-century context behind many of Jesus’ parables and other interactions. Many people don’t realize that the Gospel of Luke includes a long section dedicated to a single journey by Jesus, from Galilee to Jerusalem. But it is a journey filled with first-century prophetic warnings all along the way, as Jesus gave His final warnings to His generation during His final journey to the fateful city before his own death there. This is part of what I hope to be a larger harmony of the Gospels commentary in the future.
Why the End of the World is Not in Your Future by Gary DeMar. This is one of my favorite of DeMar’s books: an excellent exegetical commentary on Ezekiel 38–39, the famous battle of “Gog and Magog.” Just as with his Matthew 24 commentary, Gary shows decisively that these prophetic passages do not pertain to our future, but had their fulfillment with Israel in the ancient past. It is the only commentary of its kind, and it is a great one.
The following commentaries are also carried by American Vision:
Matthew 24 Fulfilled by John Bray (another thorough work on Matthew 24)
The Book of Revelation Made Easy by Kenneth L. Gentry
Handwriting on the Wall: A Commentary on the Book of Daniel byJames Jordan.
He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology by Kenneth L. Gentry. This is the definitive work on the modern Postmillennial position, improving even, in my opinion, over Lorraine Boettner’s great work The Millennium. Like all of Gentry’s work, this is systematic and very clear, and very easy to read, though it is longer than the average book. Take your time with this must-read.
Left Behind: Separating Fact from Fiction by Gary DeMar. This was Gary’s response to the Left Behind series, originally published by Thomas Nelson as End Times Fiction. Our own version with the new and improved title renews Gary’s characteristic the common-sense myth-busting to the rapture theology of the famous LaHaye series. For those confused, bewildered, bewitched, or paralyzed by the LaHaye fad or its many permutations, you may want to start here.
Late Great Planet Church: The Rise of Dispensationalism by Jerry Johnson. This DVD presentation by Jerry Johnson formerly of NiceneCouncil.com reveals the shady background and shaky details of rapture theology’s daddy, dispensationalism. The information in this 2-hour presentation is great and I highly recommend it to anyone influenced or affected by dispensational theology. You can read my brief review of it here.
Dating of Revelation / Church History
Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation by Kenneth L. Gentry. This is the definitive work on the early dating of Revelation, pre-AD 70. It is very scholarly, as it was originally a Th.D. thesis, but is nevertheless very readable. I still hear proponents of premillennial theology dismiss the early dating with little care. They obviously have not read this book. Once established with its early date (AD 70 rather than AD 95 or so), its message becomes much more clear and the entire dispensational, premillennial thesis loses a key argument. No wonder they don’t want you to read it!
The Day and the Hour: Christianity’s Perennial Fascination with Predicting the End of the World by Francis X. Gumerlock. One gifted scholar who has done a tremendous amount of follow-up research on our eschatological views is Francis Gumerlock. His work is always insightful and provides terrific supplemental works in general. This one in particular is a palm-to-the-head look at the countless times past Christians have predicted the end of the world, called the end-time, last days, etc., and abjectly failed. This book is inexplicably one of our slowest movers, perhaps because it is perceived as negative. Let me encourage you on its importance: this is not merely a list of failed predictions; it is an explanation of how easily Christians in all times wrongly discern their own historical events to be fulfillments of last days prophecies. It provides of model for us today of why we should avoid our own rounds of newspaper exegesis of Scripture, step back, and look with cooler minds upon the texts.
Revelation and the First Century: Preterist Interpretations of the Apocalypse in Early Christianity by Francis X. Gumerlock. In this recent AV publication, Francis builds upon and adds to the past-fulfillment thesis for Revelation. His continued painstaking historical research brings forth new evidence from early church writers.
The Early Church and the End of the World by Gary DeMar and Francis X. Gumerlock. This was Gumerlock’s first publication on this topic and was done in co-authorship with Gary. It addresses the frequent claim by dispensationalist critics that the early church was unanimously premillennial until St. Augustine came along in the late Fourth Century. This book shows how that claim is in error, and that there is widespread testimony for a preterist (first-century fulfillment) view of prophecy among many early church writers before Augustine and many later writers independent of Augustine.
Identifying the Real Last Days Scoffers by Gary DeMar
Ten Popular Prophecy Myths: Exposed and Answered by Gary DeMar
Both of these recent titles bring together several essays that Gary DeMar has written on various topics of eschatology over the years. Both are deceptively small in that they are packed full of information and helpful analysis. Don’t miss these in conjunction with the classics.
The titles of these speak for themselves. If you’d like to see how our views stack up in live dialogue and debate with others, I recommend these resources. (In at least one case, the opponent was left speechless to most of DeMar’s questions.) Unfortunately, we are still waiting for a major modern representative of dispensationalism to accept a debate with Gary (since the classic debate with Dave Hunt—see below). So far, all have backed down or declined.
Is Modern Day Israel a Fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy Debate: Gary DeMar vs. Jim Fletcher
Matthew 24: Future or Fulfilled? Gary DeMar vs. Dr. Barry Horner
Prophecy Wars: A Biblical Battle Over the End Times A three-way debate: Gary DeMar vs. James Hamilton vs. Sam Waldron, available with a study guide.
We Shall All Be Changed: A Critique of Full Preterism and a Defense of a Future Bodily Resurrection of the Saints, Joel McDurmon (available w/ audio or video of McDurmon vs. Don Preston debate)
There was once a major debate scheduled between our views and a major proponent of dispensational theology, H. Wayne House. House had published a major but misguided critique of our views in 1988, along with co-author Thomas Ice. It was called Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse? Upon publication, Greg Bahnsen requested a formal debate, and House agreed. It was set for May 13, 1989. But after agreeing to the debate, House got cold feet. He requested a change in the agreed format: please no “cross-examination” period (please!). According to Bahnsen’s account, House demanded this change be made or else he refused to participate, despite already agreeing to it. Of course, cross-examination would have been the heart of this debate, and without it the whole purpose was greatly diminished. It would save House from what would certainly have been a terrifying public scrutiny and public accountability for the misrepresentations he co-authored. The debate was subsequently, therefore, cancelled.
This led to the need for the next-best thing, a printed response to House and Ice’s charges. The result was House Divided: The Breakup of Dispensational Theology by Greg Bahnsen and Kenneth Gentry. While this work is no longer available in print, it is available online for free as a PDF download. I highly recommend it for anyone involved in the debate between dispensational theology and dominion theology. I don’t think the dispensationalists ever recovered academically.
There are at least two other resources that are must-reads but have fallen temporarily out of print or availability. The most important of these is Gary North’s Millennialism and Social Theory. This is, in fact, one of the most important books in this list period. I included it in both my larger Christian Reconstruction Reading List and the list of Books that Have Most Influenced Me.
The other is the video of the 1988 debate with Gary North and Gary DeMar on one side and Dave Hunt and Thomas Ice on the other. It is a classic. You can view it for free here, and also catch the recent video we produced where North and DeMar look back on it after 25 years.
These resources all transformed my life, have sustained me along the way, or at least greatly blessed my understanding. I bought them, read them, watched them, digested them, return to them, and teach them. Please, do yourself and you neighbor a favor: Go and Do thou likewise.