Book Review: The Last Days According to Jesus

This book is primarily an exploration and defense of preteristic eschatological interpretation. Although this is written for a general audience, it is definitely an academic work. Sproul does not spend a lot of time explaining background principles of hermeneutics or Christian theology. He also avoids making many emphatic statements, preferring instead to present an argument and let the reader draw conclusions.

Sproul’s stated purpose in this book is to evaluate the time-frame claims of Christ in the Olivet Discourse, his famed prophecy regarding the coming “Day of the Lord.” As Sproul points out, many biblical critics have found cause for dismissing Christ and the Bible as a fraud based on these assertions. The preterist defends the validity of Scripture by holding that all or most of the prophetic eschatological claims in the New Testament were fulfilled by the destruction of Jerusalem.

The first half of this book evaluates the time-frame claims of Jesus and Paul, relying heavily on the works of James Russell. Sproul argues convincingly that vast portions of this prophecy was fulfilled by the destruction of Jerusalem.

As part of this discussion, Sproul summarized the history of the Jewish nation from Alexander through AD 70, drawing upon Josephus and Tacitus to describe how Jerusalem came to be destroyed.

The latter portion of the book has an expanded scope, drawing heavily on the work of Kenneth Gentry among others to evaluate four specific eschatological topics.

A key objection to preterism is dating Revelation to after the fall of Jerusalem. Drawing upon the writings of early Church fathers, especially Clement and Iraneus, Sproul makes a strong case for the writing of Revelation during the reign of Nero, most likely before AD 67.

The last three chapters explore the differences between full and partial preterism by evaluating the nature of the resurrection, the identity of the antichrist, and the timing of the millennium.

This book is not a comprehensive teaching of eschatology but does serve as a useful introduction to the core arguments for preterism. Unlike many similar works, Sproul makes few strong claims, instead presenting the evidence and letting the reader draw conclusions. Much of this book relies heavily on the works of James Russell and Kenneth Gentry, and thus is much more of a summary of existing academic work than a novel work in its self.

If you are looking for an exhaustive work on eschatology or a thorough commentary on the prophecies of the New Testament, this is not the book for you. However, if you have a basic knowledge of theology and Scripture and want to explore the preterist viewpoint, you should read this book.

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