The Rapture and Beyond

by John C. Whitcomb (Waxhaw, North Caroline: Kainos Books, 2012), pp. 175, paper $13.00 from Whitcomb Ministries.

Whitcomb addresses three eschatology matters in this book. In Part One he deals with the destiny of the church including the Rapture, rewards for believers and the distinctions between Israel and the church. Part Two handles the Tribulation and the Second Coming, while the final section is devoted to the Millennium.

The book is uneven, with a number of chapters being rather simplistic in nature, as the author states strong views without corresponding argumentation. But several other chapters carefully develop important positions with well thought-out support. The stronger chapters are those previously published in other books or journals and revised for this volume. These include:

  • Chapter five which deals with Daniel’s seventy-weeks and shows why “weeks” must mean years leading to fulfillment of this prophecy, in particular the 70th week, during the Tribulation period.
  • Chapter seven which discusses the identity of the two witnesses of Revelation 11.
  • Chapters ten and eleven which tackle two of the thorniest problems for the dispensational understanding of the Millennium – the physical temple as detailed in Ezekiel 40-48 and animal sacrifices during the kingdom age found in the same passage of Scripture. Concerning the sacrifices, Whitcomb convincingly differs from many dispensationalists in denying that the sacrifices during the Millennium will be memorial in nature. They function purely as means of temporal cleansing and forgiveness in light of the return of Israel’s theocratic system and Christ’s physical presence and glory on earth. “Within that structure, national/theocratic transgressions would receive national/theocratic forgiveness when appropriate sacrifices were offered to God through legitimate priests at the tabernacle/temple altar” (p. 150). Sacrifices have never had anything to do with salvation, but are “’efficacious’ and ‘expiatory’ only in terms of the strict provision for ceremonial (and thus temporal) forgiveness within the theocracy of Israel” (p. 151).

For those interested in a good discussion of these types of issues, The Rapture and Beyond will be of value, providing interesting insight on a number of debated eschatological matters.