Review of Things to Come (J. Dwight Pentecost) for Bible Prophecy Novelists
Things to Come
If this book is read carefully and the reader has a good knowledge of the Bible, you will understand in depth how God will deal with the earth regarding the rapture of the church, the seven-year tribulation, the millennium and eternity future. You will need to read this book with the Bible right beside you, to look up verses to increase your understanding, because Pentecost interprets many Biblical passages by only giving you the reference. You have to understand that Pentecost wrote this as part of his doctoral dissertation for Dallas Theological Seminary.
He does present all views on all these matters and presents the pros and cons of each view. This could be useful as a novelist in the creation of the story world, perhaps to create a character who is off in his Bible prophecy which causes great calamity. The first thing he does is explain the different methods of Biblical interpretation, showing that the historical/grammatical method is best and that if the text is to be interpreted as a metaphor, the Bible usually indicates it. Literal interpretation (the text means what it says as it says it) should be our guideline for interpretation unless the text states otherwise. It’s more complicated than this, but Pentecost covers just about all the bases for everything he discusses.
Using the literal method of interpretation as his standard, he then goes forward.
First, Pentecost goes through the Biblical covenants to explain that there is a distinction between the Church and Israel. The Abrahamic covenant is God’s promises to Abraham regarding his seed (the Jewish nation). The Palestinian covenant is God’s promises to Israel regarding their land. The Davidic covenant are God’s promises to Israel regarding how David’s heir will be the Messiah and also that David, himself, is promised an eternal kingdom.
As a novelist, with scenes in the millennium, I will need to portray Jesus and his saints (all those in resurrection bodies, including Old Testament, church saints, tribulation saints, etc.) as reigning from the holy city Jerusalem, which will be hovering over the earth, though not in direct contact with it. Then you have the New Covenant, which describes Israel in her glory, reigning as a nation during the millennium. Only resurrected saints will live in this eternal city, the heavenly Jerusalem. Those who live on earth below are in their mortal bodies, and are those righteous who have survived the seven-year tribulation (along with their children and descendants). The judgments at the end of the tribulation are described (who, when, where, etc.). All the righteous dead in their resurrection bodies will live in the heavenly Jerusalem (described in Rev. 21 & 22), hovering over the millennial earth.
The millennial earth is described in great detail, including how the animal kingdom changes, people live longer and that the only ones who die during the millennium are mostly the rebels who did not like their Jesus dictator’s rule. Plenty of ideas here for creating a fantasy world. Though my goal is to make that world as real as possible to the reader, so I will strive to make my world align with the Bible (with the help of this book which helps me see that world more accurately and comprehensively).
Pentecost emphasizes that all the covenants are unconditional, except the Mosaic (the covenant of the law). This means that the covenants mentioned in the paragraph above (all of which are unconditional) MUST be honored, even if the other party to that covenant has failed to obey God. So, the Jewish nation, despite her disobedience, WILL fulfill the Abrahamic, Palestinian, Davidic and New Covenants. As a writer of novels involving Biblical prophecy, I could create conflicts revolving around those who claim the church has replaced Israel (a false teaching). This book would give me the ammunition to create those arguments.
Pentecost devotes a large part of this book discussing the various rapture positions: partial, posttribulation, mid-tribulation, pretribulation and the events for the church following the rapture. He takes the pretribulation position, that the rapture will happen BEFORE the tribulation. This appears correct to me, using literal interpretation of the Scripture. As a Bible prophecy writer who strives to be accurate, I will depict the rapture as happening before the tribulation, though the Bible is not clear if the tribulation happens right after the rapture, so there could be a break, which I may utilize in my novel.
The church goes up to heaven after the rapture, where she first is judged for rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ and then takes part in the marriage of Christ to his bride, the church. All while this is happening, the earth is going through tribulation below. Because I may want to keep my main characters in their mortal bodies for most of story time, I may have God make an exception for my leads to keep them in their mortal bodies during the tribulation. This is where my fantasy writing will come in.
Pentecost discusses the church, the Holy Spirit, Israel, the Gentiles, the Campaign of Armageddon, and the Judgments of the tribulation. The church will NOT be on earth during the tribulation. To keep Dor and Brianna (born again Christians at the time of the rapture) on earth during the tribulation, I will have to violate this rule. I may have Jesus make an exception for them somehow, using fantasy writing skills, while portraying the church as up in heaven. Jesus will be making appearances in my story and he can explain the rules and how and why he’s allowing Dor and Brianna to break them.
Pentecost does not believe Moses and Elijah are the two prophets of Revelation, and he presents good arguments, but has not convinced me. So if God can bring back Moses and Elijah, couldn’t he make an exception to special church saints who he will allow to remain in mortal bodies to help out tribulation saints? I will have to go out of my way, to show that these are exceptions and that the church IS IN HEAVEN DURING THE TRIBULATION.
Jesus has told me that not one Jew will come to Jesus during the tribulation. But, of course, the entire nation will come to Him AFTER the tribulation, that is, those one-third that SURVIVE. I will portray the 144,000 as coming to Jesus right after the rapture, and BEFORE the tribulation starts. This is viable. Pentecost explains from the Bible that the 144,000 must be on the scene early in the tribulation. So if these Jews come to Christ BEFORE the tribulation; then Jesus is right, no Jews will be saved during the tribulation. But those 144,000 Jewish missionaries will be the greatest missionaries this world has ever seen! But they won’t have much luck with their fellow Jews due to the Antichrist’s pact with Israel during the tribulation. This can be a source of great conflict for my lead character, whose job will be to lead the Jewish nation to Jesus to solve his problems.
Pentecost describes the tribulation world pretty vividly, a great help to any Bible prophecy novelist. There is a league of ten world leaders who will side with the Antichrist, but three of them will be troublemakers (another source of story ideas).
I disagree with Pentecost on the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel and don’t think it will all happen early on in the tribulation. I believe it will be in two parts, during the second seal (when war breaks out) and right before the Campaign of Armageddon (the final battle between Christ and the Antichrist). But Pentecost has given me plenty to stew over.
His descriptions of the judgments after Christ conquers the Antichrist, is quite vivid, and I can see the Gentiles lined up for their judgment, where they will be judged over how they treated tribulation saints and the Jews; and the Jews all saved at once, and those who accept Jesus as Messiah go into the millennium in their mortal bodies. May need to review this chapter again when I get to this section in my book.
Pentecost goes into great detail regarding the events of Christ’s Second Coming, where Old Testament saints will be resurrected, and the nations and then those who survived the tribulation will be judged.
As a result of reading this book I have a much clearer picture of what will happen during the tribulation and the millennium. Will be a great help to me as I write my novel, to keep it as Biblically accurate as possible.
As I have one book that has the millennium as the story world, his sections about how Israel and the Gentiles will be during the millennium will be essential as I create my story world for that novel. Jesus will be reigning from Heavenly Jerusalem which will be hovering over millennial earth, but not touching it. It appears that some of the millennial mortals living on earth can visit this heavenly city from the earth, but they don’t live there. The sin problem will not be eradicated, but greatly reduced, explaining Jesus’ need to rule with a rod of IRON. As my millennial novel has characters in both resurrection and mortal bodies, knowing this about the heavenly Jerusalem will help me create the rules for my story world. It appears to me that to be Biblically accurate, I should probably have all my POV characters remain in mortal bodies until the climax.
Any ways, I highly recommend this book to anybody who takes their Bible seriously. J. Dwight Pentecost has thoroughly thought through his beliefs and based them on Biblical interpretation principles that honor the Bible and truth. I believe Pentecost is about 90 to 95% accurate in his depictions and for those novelists who want to write truthful stories related to Bible prophecy, this book is a MUST READ!
The book is long, but you get your money’s worth. It is designed for those who take God and the Bible seriously. As a person who has read the Bible from cover to cover hundreds of times, I think this is one of the best books out there on Biblical prophecy in terms of accuracy and scope. In today’s world, where we are obviously in the end times, knowing what’s in this book may help Christians to keep their priorities and focus where it should be, something that I hope my novels will do as well.
Written by: Gail Chord Schuler (Gabrielle Chana pen name)
Things to Come
Date written: 2/16/2019
5.0 / 5 stars