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David S. Clark - The Message From Patmos: A Postmillennial Commentary on the Book of Revelation (1921) "This early twentieth-century Postmillennial commentary on the Book of Revelation, written by the father of theologian Gordon Clark, offers an easy-to-read alternative to the popular Pre-millennial/Dispensational views of the best-selling Scofield Reference Bible and a multitude of other dissertations on end-time prophecy that litter the shelves of Christian bookstores. "

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Hank Hanegraaff's "The Apocalypse Code"

By Kim Riddlebarger - RiddleBlog

"Hanegraaff capably demonstrates that Jesus Christ is the true hermeneutical center of all of Scripture"

Several of you have asked me about my take on Hank Hanegraaff's recent book, The Apocalypse Code (Click here: The Apocalypse Code: Find Out What the Bible REALLY Says About the End Times . . . and Why It Matters). So, here goes.

On the one hand, Hanegraaff does a very good job debunking the popular dispensational end-times scenarios set out by the likes of John Hagee and Tim LaHaye. Hanegraaff exposes the embarrassing problem faced by dispensationalists who claim to interpret the Bible literally, and who cannot make good on that promise. While John (Revelation 1:3; 22:10) tells us that the things recorded in his apocalyptic vision are soon to come to pass, dispensationalists are forced to tell us that "near" and "soon" don't really mean "near" and "soon." Instead, dispensationalists tell us, these things don't come to pass until the end of the age--a rather embarrassing problem given their insistence that they take the Bible (especially prophecy) "literally."

Hanegraaff also does a very good job debunking the Israel-centered hermeneutic of popular dispensational writers. Hanegraaff capably demonstrates that Jesus Christ is the true hermeneutical center of all of Scripture and that many of the things dispensationalists assign to the future and the end of the age (i.e., in the millennium), are already fulfilled in Christ! This includes the land promise of the Abrahamic covenant, the fact that Christ is the true temple, and so on. Hanegraaff also effectively replies to the common dispensational rant that non-dispensationalists are intrinsically anti-Semitic.

In all of these regards, Hanegraaff's book offers an effective rebuttal to dispensational claims. Would that all those who read Lindsey, LaHaye, and Hagee, and think their stuff is gospel, would also read Hanegraaff and consider well the biblical evidence he adduces which undoes the dispensational system.

On the other hand, Hanegraaff's The Apocalypse Code, has several serious weaknesses. I hate to criticize Hank personally, since he was so gracious to me when I was a guest on the Bible Answer Man several years ago. Hank was still working through his position on these matters and gave me two full hours on national radio to make my case. He had read my first book (A Case for Amillennialism) from cover to cover, was thoroughly conversant with all of the key issues and was very nice to my teenage son who went to the studio with me. Dads remember such things and I am grateful.

That being said, here are what I see as the main problems with The Apocalypse Code, and which detract from its overall impact and import.

First, the use of neo-logisms ("I coined the phrase Exegetical Eschatology -- e2", implying that dispensationalists don't do exegesis), the use of mnemonic devices (LIGHTS), and guilt by association arguments (LaHaye is juxtaposed with Bill Maher and Bill Clinton, among others) seriously undercuts the very point that Hanegraaff is trying to make--which is that LaHaye, Hagee, et al., can't be taken seriously. Inventing your own self-designation ("Exegetical Eschatology") requires that you do serious exegesis, not stoop to the sensationalist genre of those whom you are endeavoring to refute.

Refuting sensationalist eschatology with sensationalism might sell books, but this approach seriously detracts from Hanegraaff's overall case. The result is, in my opinion, Hanegraaff's book has a "snotty," condescending and sensationalist tone to it. This would make me reluctant to give The Apocalypse Code to a dispensational friend who was not yet at the point of re-thinking their entire eschatology.

Second, Hanegraaff adopts the partial preterist interpretation of the eschatological language of the New Testament. That's fine by me, since I too believe that the Olivet Discourse is primarily aimed to the disciples and that the events predicted there (with the exception of the Second Advent), are largely fulfilled by the events of A.D. 70. But Hanegraaff's "partial" preterism leads to the usual (and in my estimation, flawed) interpretation of a number of key points.

Preterists of all stripes are forced to argue for a pre-70 A.D. date for the Book of Revelation. I think the internal evidence points strongly for a date much closer to 95 A.D--although the dating of Revelation ultimately does not effect my overall eschatological position, which is Reformed amillennialism. I get the sense from writers like Hanegraaff (and Ken Gentry), that once you make the leap to some form of preterism, you've got to make the case for an early date for Revelation. You now have to "prove" this early date, not objectively examine evidence as to when John might have been given his vision.

Because of this preterist presupposition demanding an early date for the apocalypse, you get all kinds of far-fetched interpretations from Hanegraaff: Babylon (Revelation 17-18) is apostate Israel, not Rome; Nero and the current Roman Caesars fulfill in its entirety the beast motif (Revelation 13); and that the Jerusalem Temple was still standing when John was given his vision (based upon a misinterpretation of Revelation 11:1-3).

It is also highly problematic to argue that Christ returned (in a some form of parousia) with the events of 70 A. D. No doubt, the destruction of the temple marks the end of the Jewish era (not the end of "this age,") and it clearly led to the diaspora and the curse upon apostate Israel being tragically realized as foretold by Jesus in Matthew 23:37-39. But such does not constitute a "coming of Jesus." How many second comings are there? One or two? And isn't one of the criticisms of dispensationalists that they teach a "real coming" at the Rapture which no one sees?

Hanegraaff's The Apocalypse Code has enough weaknesses that I would be hesitant to give it to a dispensationalist who was not at the point of jettisoning their dispensationalism. I would give it (and therefore recommend it) to someone who was widely-read in this field, had thought about these issues for some time, and who understood most of the nuances and differences associated with these issues. The Apocalypse Code might just give that person the final shove they need.

Since this is my blog and I'm therefore entitled to make shameless appeals to those who read it, let me just say that I too have written a book which covers much of the same ground, and which I think is more exegetically based. Reformed amillennialism (i.e., Horton, Vos, Kline, Hoekema, Venema, Johnson, Beale) is not only able to deal with the "time is near" language of the Book of Revelation, it also does not strip the New Testament of those eschatological events which are yet to be fulfilled in the future.

You can find more information about my book, The Man of Sin, here: Click here: Riddleblog - Man of Sin - Uncovering the Truth About Antichrist

Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at 11:22AM by Kim Riddlebarger in Eschatology | 18 Comments | 1 Reference
References (1)

Response: A La Carte (8/16)
at Challies Dot Com SideBlog on August 16, 2007

Thursday August 16, 2007...Reader Comments (18)
Question on Books: I am starting to study the book of Daniel and I have ordered both of your books to read and I saw your post on your future book. What would you recommend to someone who has been taught only the dispensationalist way? I have read and re-read Pentecosts "Things to Come"

August 15, 2007 | Juan

I have a whole list of recommended reading posted on the Riddleblog (look for the link to Reformed Amillennialism under Good Stuff to Watch and Read). There are also a number of on-line resources you can check out as well.

I would start with the "debate" book (Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond), and then read Anthony Hoekema's Bible and the Future.

August 15, 2007 | Kim Riddlebarger

I was just thinking about the very question you asked! (Mainly because I have a boat load of good eschatology books, and I've been dialoguing with a friend about eschatological issues, hoping he will read something really good.) I've read tons of stuff by dispensationalists, and I've also read tons of stuff by non-dispensationalists, relative to eschatology.

In addition to the general book on eschatology by Hoekema (my personal favorite general such book) I would add the specific book on amillennialism ("A Case for Amillennialism" by Kim Riddlebarger)! I have a lot of books from the amil perspective (just as I also have a number of books from the premil and postmil perspectives), but in my opinion Kim's "Case" is heads and shoulders above the rest. I've read his book numerous times, and refer to it often. It's very well done.

If one wants something simpler on both general eschatology and specific millennial matters, Sam Waldron's "The End Times Made Simple" is really pretty good. It's a great alternative to dispensational books, since it too is an easy read.

Also, in addition to Kim's suggestion about the "Three Views" book on the millennial issue (edited by Bock), I like "The Millennial Maze" by the late Stan Grenz. I don't much care for his theology in other ways, but I think Grenz did a commendable job of sizing up the strengths and weaknesses of the various millennial views.

Happy reading!
August 15, 2007 | Wayne Rohde
"Hanegraaff's book has a "snotty," condescending and sensationalist tone to it" I am shocked, shocked. He is never arrogant and condescending with callers on his radio show.

I loved both The Man of Sin and The Case for Amillenialism- They were top notch- readable and compelling. I give them five stars. I have recommended them to everybody I know interested in this area.

August 15, 2007 | reg
Thanks for the links and posts. I will be busy. Reg. great statement had me laughing!

August 15, 2007 | Juan
Yeah, I assumed Reg was being sarcastic? I love Hank's breadth of knowledge but his passion carries him away sometimes. A lot of times, Makes him hard to listen to.
August 15, 2007 | PB
"What would you recommend to someone who has been taught only the dispensationalist way?"

You might look at Oswald Allis' _Prophecy and the Church_. He does a good job of dealing with dispensationalism, at least as it was 60 years ago (and if you keep your eyes open, a lot of that classic stuff is still out there), especially the problematic things it does with Israel and the gospel. Not difficult to read, profusely documented.

Kim -- the links to Kline's books on are broken. Someone neglected to renew the domain registration, by the looks of it. _Kingdom Prologue_ is still out there as a pdf on the net somewhere else -- I just saw it the other day.
August 15, 2007 | lee n. field
For the record, we (at contacted Hanegraaff to see if he would participate in a public moderated debate with Prewrath proponent Charles Cooper on preterism versus futurism on Matthew 24. We never heard back.

I have not read his book, but from reading other reviews, it sounds like Hanegraaf does not contribute anything new to preterism (i.e he simply borrows from other preterist writers). And I am assuming that he did not engage with any serious premill, or progressive dispy literature.

Thanks for the review Kim.
August 15, 2007 | Alan Kurschner
As a former Dispensationalist, I would also recommend comparing and contrasting not only your eschatological views but your hermeneutics (rules of interpretation) as well. For the average reader, Let the Reader Understand: A Guide to Interpreting and Applying the Bible by Dan McCartney from P&R Publishing is a great book. Graeme Goldworthy’s Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics: Foundations and Principles of Evangelical Biblical Interpretation is another excellent text.
August 16, 2007 | Art Costigan

I agree that Hanegraaff may not be the best spokesman for the preterist view. It’s a difficult task to “popularize” a theological position. The audience expects you to come up with cute expressions and descriptions of fundamental ideas.

I'm wondering, Kim, would you entertain an invitation for a debate with Ken Gentry?

Resolved: Preterism is the best interpretative framework for understanding the Book of Revelation.

Or you could reword it to have you argue the affirmative.

I think that would prove very interesting to a wide audience.

August 16, 2007 | Tom Albrecht
I agree Tom. A debate between a prominent partial-pret and a prominent Amillenialist would prove to be very interesting. I currently lean towards a partial-pret view myself; however, I would love to listen to a debate with cross examination time to show some of the holes and how they are plugged by each side.
Kim, do you know of any available debates of this nature for purchase? I am not interested in a debate with premil dispies, I've heard enough of those (which are what brought me from dispensationalism to partial preterism).

August 16, 2007 | Pstefan
Oh boy, a request for a debate!

I hope this doesn't eventually turn into another Scott-Clark-should-debate-Doug Wilson-type harangue...

August 16, 2007 | KBennett
Re: the millennial debate, one of the most encouraging and refreshing trends I've noticed is that more and more premillennialists are seeing (rightly!) that a whole boat load of OT prophecies of a new heaven/earth --one that is curse-free and unending-- will see their fulfillment in (lo and behold!) the perfect and eternal new heaven/earth spoken of by Peter (II Pet. 3) and John (Rev. 21/22) ... and not in any millennium whatsoever!

It's also worthy of note that more and more premils now understand that the old dispy premil charge that amils either spiritualize prophecy (by seeing it exclusively fulfilled in the present church age) or relegate such prophecy to some far-off heaven (by thinking it has nothing to do with earth) is a false charge. (NOTE: Some amils have done this, to be sure, and are guilty as charged; but those of the Hoekema/Riddlebarger school of thought do NOT! On the one hand, they rightly see the inauguration of kingdom truth in this present age; but on the other, they also rightly see the culmination of God's promise/fulfillment plan for the ages in a new heaven/earth that includes a new earth!)

To me, these realizations by premils really are encouraging and refreshing.

{Personally, I see NOTHING in the OT promises that links their fulfillment with a future millennium (cf., e.g., Ezek. 37:24-28 which speaks of a "forever" covenant/land/throne/indwelling), but I see CONSIDERABLE evidence that links these promises with a perfect and eternal new earth (hmmm... Isa. 65:17ff does speak of a new heaven/earth, doesn't it?)! Personally, I see NOTHING in Rev. 20 which links it with the OT promises (nothing about the Jews, their land, etc.!), but I see CONSIDERABLE evidence that links this millennium with the present interadvent age (i.e., Christ reigning with His martyred saints at the right hand of His Father in heaven, now; cf. esp. the Rev. 6:9-11/Rev. 20:4-6 connection)! Thus I don't see a MATCH between the OT promises of a splendid age to come and the millennium of Rev. 20, but a MISMATCH! Rev. 20 = the interadvent age. The promises of a perfect and eternal land/throne/blessing/etc. = the new heaven/earth. It's that simple.}

I realize that some premils, even though committed to the truth that tons of OT prophecy can ONLY be fulfilled in the new heaven/earth, still cling to the premil theory, and still cling to the idea that some of the OT promises = the millennium of Rev. 20. But at least they are seeing less and less OT promises as even being capable of being fulfilled in a millennium that's temporal and under the curse!

It's as if the millennium is being voided of one premil "proof text" after another. The dispy/premil basket of premil proof texts is SHRINKING! Some OT prophecies are out of that basket because they are already being fulfilled in the present age (consider Heb. 8:6-13, relative to the new covenant; surely we're already forgiven, already regenerated, already adopted, already indwelt; surely the new covenant has already been enacted; etc.), at least in part. Other prophecies (such as those which refer to the return of Christ in glory) obviously await the future second advent of our Lord. And prophecies that have their initial and partial fulfillment even now will have their ultimate and complete fulfillment in the age to come, AFTER Jesus comes again, AFTER He brings the new heavens/earth into reality. Yes, the basket of premil proof texts is SHRINKING! {I'd say it's EMPTY!}

So there's really little (if ANY!) prophecy that remains to be fulfilled in a conjectured future millennium! Besides, the very notion of a millennial parenthesis between "this age" and "the age to come" is very problematic, in light of what Scripture says about there being NO ROOM for such a time (e.g., the resurrection of the dead, including the unrighteous dead, the defeat of death, the renovation of the cosmos, etc. are all tied to the very day of the Lord on which Jesus our Lord returns!), and NO RESIDENTS for such a time (i.e., the great separation between the righteous and the wicked will occur at the second advent - at which time both groups will experience their eternal fate in the new heaven/earth or the lake of fire, respectively ... with no people left living in their natural bodies to populate a millennium). Yes, not only no rationale, but also no room and no residents! Not only no purpose, but no possibility and no people! (I think this translates to: NO FUTURE MILLENNIUM!)

Premils can claim that amils are anti-Semitic, but we're not! We may disagree with premils about the nature of the future salvation of Israel in Rom. 9-11, but we don't disagree about its reality.

Premils can even maintain their belief in a future millennium if they wish. But I would ask them to take a step back, look at the big picture of Mt. 24/25; I Cor. 15; I Thes. 4/5; II Thes. 1/2; II Pet. 3; and the entire book of Revelation, and ask themselves two questions: (1) Do these passages really provide any evidence for a future millennium? (I see no such evidence!) (2) Don't these passages really provide ample evidence against the premil position? (I think they pretty obviously dismantle the premil idea - esp. I Cor. 15 and II Thes. 1!)

But again (to finally get back to my MAIN point!), older dispys were attacking, at least on some occasions, nothing but a straw man ... a bare caricature ... of the amil position. And it's good to realize that newer premils can recognize and appreciate this, and that folks like Alcorn, Piper, etc., etc., etc. rightly see that the ultimate fulfillment of God's promises awaits the new heaven/earth. That is our grand hope!

As I've said before, I think the patriarchs realized all this better than dispys! According to Heb. 11:9,10 and Heb. 11:13-16 (compare with Heb. 12:22-24 and Heb. 13:14), even though they had the promise of the promised land, and even though they even dwelt in tents in it, they recognized that they were really just aliens/strangers/exiles/foreigners on this old earth ... because they too were desiring and seeking the city, the new and heavenly Jerusalem, which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God! No wonder the names of the 12 tribes of Israel, like that of the 12 apostles of the Lamb, are etched in the wall (gates and foundation stones, respectively) of the new Jerusalem which will one day come down out of heaven from God, as a bride adorned for her husband!

How glad I am that many folks are understading that the ultimate hope of all of God's people is precisely the new heaven/earth / new Jerusalem - in which there will be no temple, because God Himself will tabernacle among us!

Perhaps, some day, dispensationalism itself will be nothing but a parenthesis (and an odd parenthesis at that!) in a sea of saner eschatology.

Wayne Rohde
(former classic D, then revised D, then progressive D ... and now and forever a "new earth amil")
August 16, 2007 | Wayne Rohde

It seems to me that Partial preterism leads to an early dating of Revelation because it's virtually always accompanied by a postmillennial outlook of the current age.

I think the reason for that connection isn't particularly complicated -- Revelation 1-19 has far too much Beast-ly persecution of the church for postmillennial 'dreams' of victory. Pretism is a very convenient way to deal with that -- you just say it already was fulfilled prior to A.D. 70...thus clearing the way for a future golden age where the events described in Rev. 1-19 are not normative for the inter-advental age!

Of course, if you take a late date, then that whole paradigm doesn't work!

If dispensationalism is guilty of pushing all of the events (Rev. 4-22) to the future, the current versions of preterist/postmillennialism is guilty of pushing almost all of the events (Rev. 1-19, and some of 20) all the way back to pre-A.D. 70.

...which as you, Beale, Johnson, and others have shown doesn't do fair justice to the internal evidence of Revelation at all.

Fortunately there's plenty of good literature already out there to give to people looking for answers to their dispensational (and preterist) errors.

Thanks for the review!
August 16, 2007 | Matt

Just a couple more book suggestions, in light of "lee n. field's" recommendation of the dispensational critique by Allis...

I would recommend "Understanding Dispensationalists" by Vern Poythress, because it seems to me that some older amils, like Allis, give ammunition to the dispensational charge that amils (of the older variety) could be guilty of "spiritualizing" prophecy. Poythress, like Hoekema and Riddlebarger (and a host of others), does NOT engage in this tactic, in that all of these scholars place considerable emphasis on the new heaven/earth as the place/time of ultimate fulfillment. The work by Poythress is also more up-to-date, interactive, sympathetic, etc. Poythress is a great teacher, and I learn more every time I open his books.

Nevertheless, like Kim, I'd heartily recommend Hoekema as the book to start. For not only does he cover eschatology in general and millennial issues in particular, but he also provides his own (right on target!) critique of dispensationalism. You get quite a package (quite a course!) in Hoekema's book ... and it's so instructional and so edifying! (It's like getting three books or more in one!)

Another work that I rarely hear about, but which does a good job of showing how the new covenant utterly demolishes the classic and revised dispensational views, is Ronald Henzel's "Darby, Dualism and the Decline of Dispensationalism." Henzel shows that the central thrust of the book of Hebrews, re: the new covenant, totally decimates the dispensational view. (I think Galatians decimates the dispensational view from the perspective of the Abrahamic covenant, and that Ephesians 2/3 also does so in terms of the dispy "Israel/Church" bifurcation.)

So if you want something on amil eschatology in general, or on the millennial issue in particular, or on the dispensational controversy as a whole, Hoekema shines. (As does the fairly similar volume "The Promise of the Future" by Cornelis Venema.) If you want books on just the millennial issue, I'd recommend what Kim recommended PLUS KIM'S OWN BOOK. And if you're looking for the broader assessment of dispensationalism, I'd start with Poythress, but also look at a lot of other good materials by folks such as Robertson, Holwerda, etc.

And, finally, if you really want to sink your teeth into a most exciting book on the subject of God's dwelling among His people as a key motif throughout Scripture, I've loved every minute I've spent in Greg Beale's tremendous volume, "The Temple and the Church's Mission." The person who reads this book, and follows its theme, should have a smile on his or her face at its end. I can't wait for the day when Rev. 21:3,22 is reality!

Yes, non-D, amils know how to write good books!
August 16, 2007 | Wayne Rohde
Thanks for the review. I read and thoroughly enjoyed the book, but I also thought he was bordering on sensationalism, even though that's what he always discourages in others. I was also disappointed by the partial preterism, but still appreciated the info countering dispensationalism, although some of his homiletical writing was beginning to remind me of Gail Riplinger, author of New Age Bible Versions (you can read more about that at my blog <a href="">here</a> and <a href="">here</a>).
August 16, 2007 | The Misadventures of Captain Headknowledge
Hank's co-writer in his fiction series is better than Dr. Lahaye's, that;s for sure. I read Dr. Lahaye's commentary on Revelation before reading the Left Behind series, and RC (does that really stand for 'Real Calvinist') Sproul's preterism book before Hank's novels. Hank's post-scripts are full of condescension.

Dr. Waldrom is blogging a book (!) in response to Dr. MacArthur's speech on why every self-respecting Calvinist should be a dispensationalist.

A good series on prophecy is here, followed by one on Revelation:
August 16, 2007 | Carson
Thanks to all for the great recommendations. I will be busy reading for the rest of this year :).


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