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What in the World is Going On?

November 25, 2008

Thomas Nelson has this great deal going on for bloggers: They send you a free book of your choosing (from a selection of their newest releases) and you review it in at least 200 words. Interested? Here.

So my first job was What In The World Is Going On? by Dr. David Jeremiah. If you know me, you know I’m far too opinionated for 200 words to be a challenge. Here you go:

Dr. Jeremiah is a pastor, best-selling author, and host of an international television and radio program for Bible-teaching. I’d never heard of him, but his credentials are noteworthy.

In What in the World is Going On?, Dr. Jeremiah does a stunning – almost alarming – job of connecting the dots between Biblical end times prophecy and current events.

Chapters one through four, as well as seven and eight, and most of nine and ten are fantastic.

Chapter one discusses the rebirth of the nation of Israel according to Isaiah’s prophecy, “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such a thing? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once?” (Isa 66:8) This chapter is not only deep, it’s emotional, and it taught me much about an aspect of the end times I thought I understood.

Chapter two discusses oil. I’d never heard oil discussed in the context of the end times, but Dr. Jeremiah helps the reader take a few steps back to display the big picture of tensions in the Middle East.

Chapter three discusses modern Europe. Dreams and visions from Daniel (chapters 2 and 7), as well as John’s revelation of the beast with 10 horns, are easily connected to the currently developing European Union.

Chapter four discusses Islamic Terrorism in no uncertain terms. I appreciate that Dr. Jeremiah doesn’t shy away from the topic. Rather, he gives a history of Islam and quotes many Muslim or former Muslim scholars and authors.

Chapter seven continues chapter three with a discussion on the emergence of the character known as the Antichrist. Dr. Jeremiah reviews biblical prophecy concerning this man – who he is and what he does – and then demonstrates how easily all that is foretold of such an evil man can be accomplished in our modern world.

Chapter eight discusses biblical prophecy concerning the enemies of Israel. They are named in Old Testament scriptures, but the names of many nations have changed. In this chapter, Dr. Jeremiah demonstrates how the enemies of Israel thousands of years ago are her enemies still today, and how they are currently aligning themselves to perfectly fulfill what is prophesied concerning them.

Chapters nine and ten discuss the war at Armageddon – which is actually a place – and the return of the King of kings. Much of these chapters is enlightening, but the whole of them – along with chapter six – is tainted by chapter five.

Chapter five discusses Dr. Jeremiah’s theory about the rapture – the time when Jesus comes back to claim His church. Some believe this will happen before the years of tribulation that will come over the earth, some think after. Dr. Jeremiah and I do not agree, and his interjection of this theory throughout the remained of the book was at first bothersome and eventually discerning.

I took it as an opportunity to clarify my beliefs about the rapture vs. the second coming. Dr. Jeremiah is much better versed in scripture and prophecy than I am, and if I was wrong I wanted to know. After several long afternoons and evenings of comparing notes and sorting through scripture, I’m not swayed at all by his ideas.

More than that, I found several occasions where scripture is quoted in part, and the part neglected may well contradict his theory! I also discovered at least once where scripture was referenced and implicated to say something it very clearly does not say.

Of course there are also several passages that make claims about the rapture or Christs’ second coming where no scriptural support is given. I respect that Dr. Jeremiah understood himself to be stating fact and that listing the biblical support for every assertion would surely add considerable length to the project. Still, as one trying to fight herself out of a rock and a hard place, I was looking for those scripture references and they were not given.

I certainly don’t presume to accuse Dr. Jeremiah of deliberately deceiving his audience. It may have been in many of these cases that he didn’t see the necessity in explaining pieces of his theory in greater detail, or that he believed some truth was easily understood that perhaps was not. It may also simply be that doctrine long held has a way of turning our eyes from scriptural contradictions.

That said, I believe his teaching on the rapture to be dangerously erroneous.

In all, however, What in the World is Going On? is a captivating, insightful, and very valuable read. For the weight of its subject, Dr. Jeremiah pens an easy read. I would highly recommend it to anyone – Christian or no – with the addendum that you look up the scriptures he references as you go, and after you’ve read it, we get together for coffee and a discussion of the rapture.

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