A Comprehensive Guide to Biblical Eschatology: Things To Come by J. Dwight Pentecost
Things To Come: A Study In Biblical Eschatology by J. Dwight Pentecost
If you are interested in learning more about biblical prophecy and its relation to God's plan for human history, you might want to read Things To Come, a classic book by J. Dwight Pentecost. In this article, I will give you an overview of what this book is about, why it is important, and what you can learn from it.
Things To Come J Dwight Pentecost Pdf 34
What is biblical eschatology?
Biblical eschatology is the study of what the Bible says about the end times, or the last things. It includes topics such as the return of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the judgment of the wicked, the reward of the righteous, the establishment of God's kingdom, and the creation of a new heaven and a new earth.
Who is J. Dwight Pentecost?
J. Dwight Pentecost (1915-2014) was a distinguished professor of Bible exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary for almost 60 years. He was an expert in biblical languages, theology, and prophecy. He wrote over 20 books, including Things To Come, which was first published in 1958 and has sold over 250,000 copies.
What is the main thesis of Things To Come?
The main thesis of Things To Come is that biblical prophecy should be interpreted literally, consistently, and comprehensively. Pentecost argues that God has revealed his prophetic program through various covenants, dispensations, and signs. He also shows how prophecy relates to God's purposes for Israel, the church, and the nations.
Summary of the book
Part 1: The Interpretation of Prophecy
The nature and method of prophecy
Pentecost defines prophecy as "the foretelling of future events, or the forthtelling of the will of God, by a man who speaks under the inspiration of God". He explains that prophecy is not based on human speculation, but on divine revelation. He also distinguishes between predictive and moral prophecy, and between conditional and unconditional prophecy.
The scope and purpose of prophecy
Pentecost surveys the scope of prophecy in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. He shows that prophecy covers various aspects of God's plan, such as creation, redemption, judgment, and restoration. He also discusses the purpose of prophecy, which is to reveal God's character, will, and glory, and to edify, warn, and comfort his people.
The interpretation of prophecy
Pentecost advocates a literal or normal interpretation of prophecy, which means that words and symbols should be understood in their plain and natural sense, unless the context indicates otherwise. He rejects the allegorical or spiritualizing method, which assigns arbitrary meanings to the text. He also compares and contrasts the premillennial, postmillennial, and amillennial views of prophecy.
Part 2: The Biblical Covenants and Eschatology
The Abrahamic covenant
Pentecost examines the Abrahamic covenant, which God made with Abraham and his descendants in Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-17; 15:1-21; 17:1-21; 22:15-18. He identifies three main promises in this covenant: a land promise, a seed promise, and a blessing promise. He argues that this covenant is unconditional, literal, and eternal, and that it has not been fulfilled yet.
The Palestinian covenant
Pentecost analyzes the Palestinian covenant, which God made with Israel in Deuteronomy 29:1-29; 30:1-10. He explains that this covenant is an extension of the land promise in the Abrahamic covenant. It stipulates that Israel's possession of the land depends on their obedience to God's law. It also promises that God will restore Israel to the land after their dispersion among the nations.
The Davidic covenant
Pentecost explores the Davidic covenant, which God made with David and his dynasty in 2 Samuel 7:8-16; 1 Chronicles 17:7-15; Psalm 89:3-4; 132:11-12. He points out that this covenant is an extension of the seed promise in the Abrahamic covenant. It guarantees that David's throne will be established forever, and that his son will rule over Israel and the nations.
The New covenant
Pentecost investigates the New covenant, which God made with Israel in Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:22-32; Hebrews 8:6-13; 10:15-18. He notes that this covenant is an extension of the blessing promise in the Abrahamic covenant. It assures that God will forgive Israel's sins, write his law on their hearts, and dwell among them by his Spirit.
Part 3: Prophecies of the Present Age
The church age
Pentecost describes the church age as the period between Pentecost and the rapture, when God is calling out a people for his name from among Jews and Gentiles (Acts 15:14). He defines the church as "the body of Christ", composed of all true believers who are united to Christ by faith and by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). He also outlines the characteristics, privileges, responsibilities, and destiny of the church.
The rapture of the church
Pentecost defends the doctrine of the rapture of the church, which is "the catching up of all living saints at Christ's coming for His own". He cites various passages that support this doctrine, such as John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:13. He also explains why he believes that the rapture will occur before the tribulation period (the pretribulational view).
The judgment seat of Christ
Part 4: Prophecies of the Tribulation Period
The seventieth week of Daniel
Pentecost identifies the tribulation period as the seventieth week of Daniel, which is "a period of seven years during which God will deal specifically with Israel and bring His program to a consummation". He bases this identification on Daniel 9:24-27, where God reveals to Daniel a prophetic timetable of seventy weeks (or 490 years) for Israel and Jerusalem. He shows that sixty-nine weeks (or 483 years) have been fulfilled from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (in 445 BC) to the death of Christ (in AD 32), but one week (or seven years) remains to be fulfilled in the future.
The events preceding the tribulation
Pentecost lists some of the events that will take place before the tribulation begins, such as the rapture of the church, the rise of the Antichrist, the formation of a ten-nation confederacy, and the signing of a covenant between the Antichrist and Israel. He also mentions some of the signs that will indicate that the tribulation is near, such as apostasy, deception, wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, and persecution.
The events during the tribulation
Pentecost divides the tribulation into two halves of three and a half years each. He calls the first half "the beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:8) and the second half "the great tribulation" (Matthew 24:21). He describes some of the events that will occur during each half, such as: - The opening of the seven seals, which will unleash judgments such as conquest, war, famine, death, martyrdom, cosmic disturbances, and silence (Revelation 6:1-17; 8:1). - The sounding of the seven trumpets, which will unleash more judgments such as hail and fire, a burning mountain, a falling star, darkness, locusts, horsemen, and voices (Revelation 8:2-9:21; 11:15-19). - The appearance of various personages, such as the two witnesses, who will prophesy and perform miracles for 1260 days; the woman clothed with the sun, who represents Israel; the dragon, who is Satan; the beast out of the sea, who is the Antichrist; and the beast out of the earth, who is the false prophet (Revelation 11:1-14; 12:1-17; 13:1-18). - The pouring out of the seven bowls, which will unleash the final judgments such as sores, blood, heat, darkness, frogs, Armageddon, and Babylon's fall (Revelation 16:1-21). - The proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom by an angel (Revelation 14:6-7), by 144000 sealed Jews (Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-5), and by a great multitude from every nation (Revelation 7:9-17).
Part 5: Prophecies Related to the Second Advent
The signs of the second advent
Pentecost distinguishes between two phases of Christ's second coming: his coming for his own (the rapture), which is imminent and signless; and his coming with his own (the revelation), which is preceded by many signs. He enumerates some of these signs, such as: - The regathering of Israel in unbelief (Ezekiel 37:1-14; Matthew 24:32-35). - The apostasy of Christendom (2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Revelation 17:1-18). - The rise of false christs and false prophets (Matthew 24:23-28; Revelation 13:11-18). - The increase of lawlessness and wickedness (Matthew 24:12; Revelation 9:20-21). - The distress of nations and perplexity (Luke 21:25-26; Revelation 6:15-17). - The sun being darkened and the moon not giving its light (Matthew 24:29; Revelation 6:12). - The stars falling from heaven and the powers of the heavens being shaken (Matthew 24:29; Revelation 6:13-14). - The sign of the Son of Man appearing in heaven (Matthew 24:30; Revelation 19:11-16).
The participants in the second advent
Pentecost identifies some of the participants in the second advent, such as: - The Lord Jesus Christ, who will come in power and glory, with his holy angels and his saints, to judge the nations and to establish his kingdom (Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 19:11-21). - The Antichrist, who will oppose Christ and deceive the world, but will be defeated and cast into the lake of fire (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12; Revelation 19:20). - The false prophet, who will perform signs and wonders to support the Antichrist, but will also be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 13:11-18; 19:20). - The kings of the earth and their armies, who will gather at Armageddon to make war against Christ, but will be slain by the sword of his mouth (Revelation 16:13-16; 19:19-21). - The remnant of Israel, who will repent and recognize Christ as their Messiah, and will be saved and restored (Zechariah 12:10-14; Romans 11:25-27).
The program of the second advent
Pentecost outlines some of the events that will take place after the second advent, such as: - The resurrection of the Old Testament and tribulation saints (Daniel 12:2; Revelation 20:4-6). - The binding of Satan for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3). - The judgment of the living nations (Matthew 25:31-46). - The regathering and conversion of Israel (Ezekiel 37:21-28; Zechariah 13:8-9). - The restoration of the land of Israel (Ezekiel 47:13-48:35; Amos 9:11-15). - The rebuilding of the temple and the reinstitution of the sacrifices (Ezekiel 40:1-46:24; Malachi 3:1-4). - The inauguration of Christ's millennial reign (Isaiah 9:6-7; Revelation 20:4-6).
Part 6: Prophecies of the Millennium
The nature and purpose of the millennium
Pentecost defines the millennium as "the thousand-year period during which Christ will reign over the earth". He supports this definition with various scriptures, such as Psalm 2:6-9; Isaiah 11:1-10; Revelation 20:1-6. He also explains that the purpose of the millennium is to fulfill God's promises to Israel, to demonstrate Christ's righteousness and glory, and to prepare for the eternal state.
The establishment and administration of the millennium
Pentecost describes how Christ will establish and administer his millennial kingdom. He mentions some of the factors that will contribute to its establishment, such as: - The removal of Satan and his influence (Revelation 20:1-3). - The removal of the wicked and their opposition (Psalm 37:9-10; Matthew 13:41-43). - The restoration of Israel and their obedience (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:24-28). - The regeneration of nature and its harmony (Isaiah 35:1-10; Romans 8:19-22). He also mentions some of the features that will characterize its administration, such as: - The universal rule of Christ and his co-regents (Psalm 72:8; Revelation 2:26-27). 14:16-21). - The universal peace and prosperity of the nations (Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:4). - The universal knowledge and holiness of the people (Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 31:34).
The events during and after the millennium
Pentecost recounts some of the events that will occur during and after the millennium, such as: - The release of Satan and his final rebellion (Revelation 20:7-9). - The destruction of Satan and his followers by fire (Revelation 20:9-10). - The resurrection and judgment of the wicked dead (Revelation 20:11-15). - The dissolution of the present heavens and earth by fire (2 Peter 3:10-12). - The creation of a new heaven and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1).
Part 7: Prophecies of the Eternal State
The new heavens and the new earth
Pentecost depicts the new heavens and the new earth as "the eternal abode of the righteous". He cites various passages that describe this abode, such as Isaiah 65:17-25; Revelation 21:1-8; 22:1-5. He also emphasizes that this abode will be free from sin, sorrow, pain, death, curse, night, and evil.
The new Jerusalem and the eternal state
Pentecost portrays the new Jerusalem as "the eternal dwelling place of God and his people". He refers to several scriptures that portray this dwelling place, such as Hebrews 11:10; 12:22-24; Revelation 21:9-27; 22:1-5. He also highlights that this dwelling place will be glorious, beautiful, spacious, secure, accessible, and illuminated by God's presence.
In conclusion, Things To Come is a comprehensive and systematic study of biblical eschatology. It covers all the major aspects of God's prophetic program, from its interpretation to its fulfillment. It also shows how prophecy reveals God's character, will, and glory, and how it edifies, warns, and comforts his people. If you want to learn more about what the Bible says about the end times, you should read this book.
Here are some frequently asked questions about Things To Come:
Where can I get a copy of Things To Come?
You can get a copy of Things To Come from various online platforms, such as Amazon or Christianbook. You can also download a free PDF version from archive.org.
How long does it take to read Things To Come?
Things To Come is a long and detailed book. It has over 600 pages and 36 chapters. Depending on your reading speed and comprehension level, it may take you several weeks or months to read it.
Is Things To Come easy to understand?
Things To Come is not an easy book to understand. It requires some familiarity with biblical languages, theology, and prophecy. It also uses many technical terms and references. However, it is well organized and well documented. It also provides charts, diagrams, and tables to help you visualize the concepts.
What are some of the benefits of reading Things To Come?
Some of the benefits of reading Things To Come are: - You will gain a deeper understanding of God's plan for human history. - You will appreciate God's faithfulness to his promises and covenants. - You will recognize God's sovereignty over all events and circumstances. - You will develop a biblical worldview and perspective on current issues. - You will grow in your love and anticipation for Christ's return.
What are some of the criticisms of Things To Come?
Some of the criticisms of Things To Come are: - It is too literal in its interpretation of prophecy. - It is too dispensational in its theology and eschatology. - It is too dogmatic in its presentation and argumentation. - It is too outdated in its information and application.