Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church Paperback – 1 Sep 1999
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Top Customer Reviews
But there's nothing new in any of this. Bible teachers have been predicting the end times and the identity of the Antichrist for centuries. And all these "prophets" have had one thing in common - they've all been wrong.
Last Days Madness explodes the methodology of most of today's prophetic writers. It challenges the world of hype and hysteria regarding prophetic events. Dozens of topics are covered:
-Wars and rumors of wars
-The rebuilding of the temple
-The number of the Beast
-The identity of the Antichrist
-The battle of Armageddon
-The place of Europe and Russia in prophecy
There is no doubt your views will be tested. But in the end you will gain a greater appreciation for God's Word. You'll discover a new zeal for the gospel and you'll escape the unproductive last days madness.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
DeMar's volume is annotated enough to be respectable to the average scholar, yet straightforward enough to be readable to the average student. He is thorough, yet concise. Even for persons who may not hold a preterist viewpoint, this book is a classic critique that no theological bookshelf should be lacking.
DeMar explores all the hot end-times themes, including the rapture, the great tribulation, the nation of Israel, the "seventy weeks" of Daniel, the antichrist, the dragon, the beast, the mark of the beast, the man of lawlessness, mystery babylon, the battle of Armageddon, and the "day of the Lord."
I have a very high regard for the Bible, believing it is God's inerrant word and MUST be allowed to speak for itself. I am very pleased with the way DeMar has simply sought to interpret what the Scriptures say, rather than trying to fit them into a preconceived system as so many other persons have done.
Get it! Read it! It will be money well-spent.
- Why "date setters" have been wrong so many times
- The hopeless sensationalism of many Bible prophecy "experts"
- Why Jesus claims that the events described in Matthew 24 would occur during "this generation"
- Why the Book of Revelation claims to be describing things that would happen "shortly" and that the time was "near"
- Or anything else about eschatology
He shows that dispensational eschatology is neither the most straightforward reading of the Bible nor the historic position of the church. He points out that much of what is taught hangs on an exegetical thread and that dispensationalism imports a lot of ideas into the text that aren't there. For example:
- The New Testament NEVER teaches that the Temple will be rebuilt.
- There is no evidence for the Rapture. This was a doctrine that was made up in the 1830's and is the result of a pre-conceived grid being forced on the text, NOT an exposition of the Bible.
- Russia was often identified as an eschatological "bad guy" because the Bible refers to "Rosh," which "obviously" refers to "Russia." If you don't see the connection, you're not alone; the main "reason" that Rosh is supposed to refer to Russia is that they sound similar. Talk about reading ideas into the Bible.
The author exposes dispensational eschatology as a crock. He shows that most of their doctrines, such as the Rapture, the alleged gap in Daniel's 70 weeks, and the rebuilt Temple to name a few are not supported by the Bible. At the same time, he makes many compelling arguments for the partial preterist position (the idea that most of the prophecies in the Bible were already fulfilled). Among the many important concepts he addresses are:
- How to interpret Biblical time texts (which dispensationalists mostly ignore)
- The identity of the Beast, the Antichrist, and the Man of Lawlessness (which he argues aren't necessarily the same; most people try to combine them into a conglomerate figure, which Demar argues isn't really Biblical).
- Why we're not living in the end times. Also why attempting to set a date for the Second Coming or trying to guess when it will be never has worked and never will.
- What the Mark of the Beast is - in particular, is it a microchip or some other form of technology as so many people seem to believe? What is the number of the Beast?
- A very detailed exposition of Matthew 24, which is often interpreted to be referring to a future Tribulation culminating in the Second Coming.
- And many more important topics.
There were a few omissions though:
- Dating of Revelation - if partial preterist eschatology is true, then Revelation MUST have been written before A.D. 70 (rather than the later date in the 90's). I don't think that Demar covered this topic adequately though, and that's a potential Achilles heel in his argument.
- I suppose he was dealing with this throughout the book, I wish the author had dealt more explicitly with the "two-people" idea (the idea that ethnic Israel is still God's chosen people).
- Maybe have spent more time explicitly defining and explaining his hermeneutics.
Hank Hanegraaff deals with these three topics in more detail in his book "The Apocalypse Code," especially the last two topics. (Actually, the hermeneutics is the main point of the book, and he spends a lot of time dealing with the second point). Although there is a lot of overlap between these two books, I'd definitely recommend reading both books together. I think they really complement each other well and you'll get a more complete picture of eschatology if you do. If I had to pick one of the two, I'd say that Gary Demar's book is better written and more complete, but as I said, if you read both they will reinforce each other and you will get a more complete picture of eschatology. Another book that compliments this book is "Thine is the Kingdom", edited by Kenneth Gentry.
I definitely recommend this book. A lot of people try to avoid the topic of eschatology, either because they don't understand it very well, it's "too divisive", or they say "I'll find out when it happens", but the Bible talks a lot about the topic so God clearly intended us to understand it. If God spoke, it's our responsibility to find out what He said. This book will help clear the haze and bring common sense, sanity, and solid Biblical exegesis back into eschatology.
This is really more of a collection of articles dealing with specific dispensational claims than a book on eschatology. Although it has lots of information, it does not build up a connected case or argument which makes it hard to read. Although DeMar clearly is a partial preterist, it's very hard to get an overall sense of what he is advocating, because his purpose seems to be to attack specific dispensational ideas rather than build a postmillennial or preterist alternative. I found myself frequently asking "What is the context for this?" and "What's the big picture?" If you are looking for an article attacking dispensational views on one of issues listed in the table of contents, this book may be good for you, otherwise, look at one of the other of numerous books which do this as well a build a cogent case. Might I also add that it would have strengthened the book had DeMar used a more charitable tone towards proponents of views other than his own.
Personally, I liked Jack Davis' Victory of Christ's Kingdom, as the best short introduction to postmillennialism available, and although I do not agree with David Chilton, I would recommend his "Paradise Restored" as an excellent introduction to the kind of approach that DeMar is advocating. Very readable, thoughts are presented clearly.
A truncated synopsis of the timing indicators communicated by 1st century NT authors to their originally relevant 1st century audiences:
- "this generation will not pass away til all these things take place,"
- "things which must shortly take place,"
- "the time is near,"
- "the coming of the Lord is at hand,"
- "the end of all things is at hand,"
- "and when they persecute you in this city flee to the next. Truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes,"
- "I am coming quickly,"
- "If therefore you will not repent, I will come to you quickly,"
- "The Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father, with His angels, and will then render to every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you, there are some of those standing here today who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom,"
- "and escape all of these things that are about to take place,"
- "I will keep you from the hour of testing which is about to come,"
- "as you see the day approaching,"
- "five have fallen, one is [thereby establishing the time frame of the angelic interpretation as being relative to the 1st century, and thus the angel later continues by speaking of...] ...the beast that is about to come,"
- "Christ, who is about to judge the living and the dead,"