Critical review of the book by Arno Lamm and Emile-Andre Vanbeckevoort.
A book pretending to proclaim the truth (written with a capital "T" in this book) and to indicate that the church has misread the Bible for 20 centuries raises questions. Repeatedly referring to the text from Daniel that the words were sealed for him and the writers indicate that they are now able to decode what Daniel could not. This of course arouses my curiosity.
The authors say that they want to return to the way in which the Bible was handled in the first century and to ignore all later traditions and interpretations. That is a starting point that really appeals to me. But right on the first pages of the book I am disappointed. Without any explanation, the Rapture is discussed. A doctrine of which no mention is known before the fourth century AD, and which has only become widely known since 1830. The writers consistently take the Dispensationalist vision, in which the church is taken up into heaven, and subsequently on Earth the Great Tribulation breaks out that ends with the Second Coming.
The writers indicate that they attach great value to the oral Torah, the Jewish traditions that originated under the rabbis as an explanation and supplement to the books of Moses, and which were ultimately written down in various books and bundled known as the Talmud. It is stated that certain texts from the New Testament are difficult to understand without knowledge of these oral traditions, and that there are enough indications that Jesus knew these traditions. I also wholeheartedly agree with that. However, the writers go one step further. They argue that we as Christians must also apply the Rabbinic way of explaining. In addition to the literal meaning of a text, the Rabbis also recognize spiritual and hidden meanings. I find the foundation why we should read the Old Testament in this way very weak. In my opinion you can indeed indicate that certain texts show that the Rabbinic method of interpretation was known, but that is entirely different from saying that this method is authoritative. Nowhere in the New Testament do I find an indication that this exegetical method is seen as authoritative. There are allusions in the New Testament to Jewish traditions, to extra-biblical sources, to Rabbinical interpretations. That's right, and knowledge of it helps us to better understand these New Testament texts. But that is something completely different than to state based on this that we must therefore adopt this way of dealing with the Bible. I believe there is no basis for this.
The authors immediately come up with an application of this method of explanation. In the New Testament we read that Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega. These are the first and last letter of the Greek alphabet. They indicate that Jesus can be found in the Old Testament where the word "AT", the first and last letter of the Hebrew alphabet (aleph and tav), is used. This word is a ‘nota accusativus’ in Hebrew, a word indicating that the subsequent word is a direct object. It is therefore not translated into English. The writers indicate that Jesus is already referred to here in the Old Testament, and in the few examples that they cite, this indeed appears to yield beautiful meanings of an Old Testament text. However, in many other thousands of cases where this word is used, the application of this method of reading yields nonsensical meanings. It is stated that the old Rabbis already saw a reference to God in this word, but it is a pity that just here a footnote with reference is missing, while the book is richly provided with footnotes. From these footnotes it appears that this thought about the meaning of the ‘nota accusativus’ was not invented by the writers themselves but is described in other recent literature. And in that literature, it is indicated that in almost 300 cases the interpretation that Jesus is indicated with this word "AT" makes sense. And in all other cases of the almost 10,000 times this word does not appear in the Old Testament. In other words, in 97% of the cases it is completely absurd to see the word "AT" as a reference to Jesus. Incidentally, the writers make another erroneous reference to Ez. 9: 4-6. It is stated there that the believers receive a sign so that they escape the judgment of the angels. This is seen as a reference to the word "AT" written on their foreheads. This is not correct; this is only about the letter "T" (the "tav") which was written in ancient Hebrew as an "x", and not the word "AT". So, these believers just got a cross on their foreheads.
The writers appear to be supporters of the ELS method. Here all letters of the Torah are put in a computer without spaces, and hidden codes are searched for. So, when we start in Gen. 1:14 with the third letter in the first word and read every 930th letter to the left (Hebrew is written from right to left) then we are said to come after the words Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel and Seth against. In Genesis all the Hebrew calendar months and the names of the Biblical feasts would be found in a similar way. This way of dealing with the Bible is not undisputed. It assumes that the text as we now have it is identical to the letter that Moses wrote, and that that text is dictated by God letter by letter. Now the way the Rabbis have copied the Bible from generation to generation has been astonishingly accurate; this does not alter the fact that there is occasional doubt about the precise text. Furthermore, it is unclear why a text without spaces is assumed, as if or not those spaces were just as inspired as the letters. The view that God has dictated the Torah to Moses letter by letter is also a matter of discussion for me. Could Moses have written down his own death by order of God? The method was first described in 1994, and one needs computers to find the codes. This raises many questions, especially because longer codes cannot be checked independently, unless someone wants to spend a lot of time on counting. Shorter codes are easy to check, but this has been shown statistically that they are not special. Since Hebrew only has consonants, one quickly finds a recognizable word when applying this method. Apart from whether the codes are hidden in the text, there is of course the question of what to do with it. And then the answer is: nothing. At most they could prove that the text of the Torah has a supernatural origin.
In a following chapter, seven timelines are mentioned that indicate when the end of time will come. The point of departure of the writers is that the prophetic texts only have meaning shortly before their fulfillment. I fundamentally disagree with this. All of God's revelations are primarily directed to certain people at a certain time and have had meaning for those people. Of course, there are texts that we can now understand much better than we did back then, for example because we live after the fulfillment of the prophecies about the coming of the Messiah. This does not alter the fact that it is important to examine the meaning that the first hearers or readers gave to the text. Even texts about the end times do not only have a meaning in the period that immediately precedes the end time, but for all Christians of all centuries they have a meaning.
The first tradition quoted is the well-known Jewish division of world history into 7 periods of 1000 years. For example, there is a text in the Talmud that speaks of 2000 years without the Torah, 2000 with the Torah, 2000 years with the Messiah and 1000 years with Sabbath rest. And then the calculation starts. After all, we live in the Jewish year 5776, so we must be patient for another 224 years. The writers claim, however, that deliberate shifts have been made to the census. The calculation originated in the 2nd century. To ensure that not Jesus but Simon bar Kochba, who came in 130 AD. in revolt against the Romans, would be the Messiah, the calendar was shifted 164 years. The number 164 then stems from the fact that in 164 BC. the temple, which was inaugurated in 167 BC, has been recaptured from the Seleucids. The logic of this reasoning completely eludes me; in order to shift from Jesus to Bar Kochba, it must be moved around 100 years and not 164 years. But, the authors state, the actual shift is 215 to 243 years, so that the Millennium can come at any moment. What this claim is based on remains unclear. A footnote points out that 164 years would have been forgotten between the dedication of the second temple and its destruction in 70 AD. Since the second temple was consecrated in 515 BC, it was inaugurated in 167 BC. and was initiated in 164 BC again. this calculation is not correct since it would then be 164 + 70 = 234 years and not 164 years (actually it is 233 years because in the Julian era that is used here the year 0 is skipped). Neither assuming the original initiation in 515 BC. nor from the re-dedication in 164 BC. one comes to a period of 164 years until the destruction in 70 AD. Incidentally, there are more problems if one wants to take this classification of history in 7 times 1000 years very literally, since the legislation on Sinai is usually dated somewhere in the year 1500 BC. and the period until the Messiah is therefore not 2000 years but much shorter. Moreover, if there are 2000 years of the Messiah, then the Jewish year 6000 must coincide with our year 2033, exactly 2000 years after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. That is the year 5794 according to the Jewish census, a shift of 206 years.
The second timeline is Nebuchadnezzar's dream about the statue. It is striking that the writers here opt for an explanation in which five kingdoms succeed each other and not - as is usually explained - four kingdoms. The clay is then the Roman Empire (and possibly the Ottoman Empire) and the feet of iron and clay represent the last world order (whatever that may be).
Thirdly, a study by a scholar indicates that there is exactly 4 times 490 years between Adam and Abraham, 490 years between Abraham and the Exodus (in fact 515 years but the 15 years between the birth of Ishmael and Isaac does not count in God's Savior Calendar according to the writers), between the Exodus and Solomon's completion of temple construction also 490 years (according to 1 Kings 6:1 this was 480 years; the writers add 10 more jubilee years to this) , between the dedication by Solomon and the order of Artaxerxes to build the second temple 490 years (in reality it was 560 years, but according to the writers the 70 years of exile does not count in God's Plan of Salvation) and finally between this rebuilding order and the crucifixion also exactly 490 years. In total, this concerns 8 periods of "exactly" 490 years. 10 jubilee years are then added per period, resulting in 8 times 500 years or 4000 years. There are several problems with this count. It is a mystery to me how someone thinks they can calculate exactly when Adam was created. Then there is also a mathematical error, since the count of the number of years between the dedication of the first temple and the order to build the second temple already counted 10 jubilees, and those 10 jubilees are finally added to it counted. And from Abraham to the Exodus is 515 minus 15 years of correction makes 500 years. Then another 10 jubilee years are added, bringing this period to 510 years. Moreover, the writers assume that the jubilee year was an extra year that apparently followed the seventh Sabbath year, while it is generally assumed that the jubilee year was the 49th year itself and not an added 50th year. This eliminates the argument to add the 10 jubilees to the 490 years per period. And the writers are not consistent. After all, in the argument about the division of the year history into 7 periods of 1000 years it was stated that the time from Adam to the legislation is exactly 2000 years, while now this appears to be 2015 because the time between the birth of Ishmael and Isaac must be included. And while it was previously stated that the time between legislation and the coming of the Messiah is also exactly 2000 years, this now suddenly appears to be 2070 because of the period of exile.
Gen. 6:3 says: “My Spirit will not always remain in man, now that they have gone wrong; he is dust; his days will be 120 years ". The writers read this as an indication that humanity will exist for 120 jubilees. If you then see the jubilee year as the 50th year, then you come to 6000 years again. This is an unusual and also very sought-after explanation of this text from Genesis.
A study by a 19th-century scholar is cited with approval. This comes with an interpretation of the 70 ‘yearweeks’ of Daniel. He starts counting from the order of Artaxerxes in 445 BC. From that date he counts 69 times 7 years. He then takes 360 days for a year since it is a prophetic Hebrew calendar. Why a prophetic Hebrew calendar (a concept that this scholar himself has invented) must count 360 days is beyond me. By counting from 15 March 445 BC. he comes out on April 6 of the year 32 AD, the date of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. According to this scholar, because in the meantime it is generally agreed that the entry and crucifixion took place in the year 33 AD, a year later. Later in the book it appears that the writers assume that the 17th Nisan fell on a Sunday, and this does not mean that it is 32 AD. but 33 AD. must have been intended since in AD 32. the 17th Nisan did not fall on a Sunday. But even more important: the order of Artaxerxes was in 457 BC. And the writers know that, because they already indicated that 490 years had passed from this order to the crucifixion.
The 6th timeline that is mentioned is remarkable. The reasoning starts in Ez. 4, where the prophet must lie on his left for 390 days as a sign of the number of years that Israel will be punished for his sins, and then 40 days on his right for the sins of Judah. In total, this means a penalty of 430 years. The people were sent as a punishment for 70 years in exile, so there are still 360 years left. Then it is pointed to Leviticus 26, which speaks of seven-fold discipline when the people sin. This factor of 7 is taken for the remaining 360 years, resulting in 2520 years. If one takes a year of 360 days, then it is 2483 years, 9 months and 14 days. If one counts from the Cyrus decree to return to Jerusalem in 537 BC, then one arrives at 1948, the year of the founding of the state of Israel. Counts from the decree of Darius - who after a period in which the rebuilding of the temple has stopped giving the order to continue the rebuilding - in 518 BC. then one comes to 1967, the year of the reconquest of Jerusalem. Too good to be true? There is certainly something to argue with. The law of Kores is dated by most scholars to 539 BC. and the decree of Darius on 520 BC. And why does the multiplication factor of 7 not apply to the exile and to the remainder of the period? If one is consistent then the exile only counts for 10 years, after all, by multiplying it by 7, it will then be the 70 years that the exile lasted. The whole calculation seems to be a bit forced. For the period of exile, the time of 605 BC. up to 537 BC. taken. It is about the period of 597 BC. up to 539 BC. The temple was destroyed in 587 BC. and the writers then calculate 70 years until the decree of Darius, which, however, was not in 518 BC. but is dated in 520 BC. The decree of Darius is without a doubt an unusual date for the date of the rebuilding of the temple. The rebuilding started with the Kores decree in 539 BC. or a year later when the exiles actually arrive in Jerusalem and ends with the dedication in 515 BC. The exile, according to the prophet Jeremiah, would last 70 years, and was practically the same in practice. But in fact, nowhere in the Bible is a 70-year period in which the temple will be destroyed. So, there is no basis at all for supplying a second timeline until 1967 in addition to the first timeline, which was to be released in 1948. I would like to point out another inconsistency. The 70-year period of exile and the promise of return concern the Babylonian exile and not the Assyrian exile that took place a century earlier. The Assyrian exile concerned the 10-tribal kingdom and the Babylonian exile the 2-tribal kingdom. If Ezekiel is to lie on his side for 40 days for the sins of Judah, then the writers, if they are consistent, must connect those 40 days with the 70 years of exile. And then one must connect the 390 days that the prophet lay on his other side with the Assyrian exile that began in 732 BC. Nowhere do the writers seem to be aware of the difference between the Assyrian exile of the 10-tribal kingdom and the Babylonian exile of the 2-tribal kingdom.
The seventh and final point that is mentioned is that in 2014 and 2015 there will be a full lunar eclipse at both Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles. The fact that there has been a full lunar eclipse during these festivals in two consecutive years has only happened seven times since the beginning of the era, and in all cases, it has been a sign of trouble for the Jewish people, the writers claim. The last time was 1967-1968 and therefore fell in the period of the 6-day war, the time before was 1949-1950 and predicted the confrontations of 1956. Going further back, the lunar eclipses of 1493-1494 predicted the Spanish Inquisition that began with an edict in 1492. However, the Inquisition began in 1478, well before these lunar eclipses. And for the other four times that these lunar eclipses occurred, the connection to periods of difficulty cannot be made by Jews. The biblical background is also incorrect. In the Bible, a moon like blood is regularly linked to the coming of the Lord's day, but always in combination with other natural phenomena. And limiting the significance of the coming of the "day of the Lord" to "trouble for the Jews" falls short of the Biblical message. In fact, why does the lunar eclipse only have meaning if it coincides at both parties for two consecutive years? It is more common that there is a lunar eclipse at both Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles. And it happens even more often that the moon is blood red on one of the two parties. Based on which Biblical reasoning does that not count? Incidentally, of the four lunar eclipses mentioned in 2014 and 2015, three were not visible in Israel, but that aside.
Next, a chapter is dedicated to the relationship between the Gentiles and the Jews. Although it was God's intention that the Gentiles should be grafted on to the tribe of Israel, there was a break between the two. In fact, in the ecclesiastical tradition there has been much hatred of the Jews and this has partly been the cause of the persecutions throughout the centuries. In general, I can wholeheartedly agree with the content of this chapter. At the end, however, it appears that the writers start from a rapture of the church and adhere to dispensationalism. With two notable comments. In the classical version of dispensationalism, it is assumed that God first established His Covenant with Israel, that since the arrival of Jesus His Covenant concerns the New Testament church and after the rapture of the church God will resume the thread with Israel. The writers, however, make a correction to this: The Covenant that God has with us now includes those from the Jews who recognize the Messiah. After the rapture, God will ensure that the rest of Israel comes to insight. The second striking comment concerns the construction of the temple. The writers assume that the third temple will come, but that this will become the seat of the antichrist. This too is at odds with the classical dispensationalist vision. Incidentally, the exegetical substantiation of this vision of the end time is completely missing.
Then there will be an extensive section about the feasts. The writers indicate that the first Christians - including the Gentiles - celebrated the Old Testament feasts, and that improper arguments were used to abolish those holidays. They also indicate based on Col. 2: 16-17 that the feasts are shadows of what is yet to happen, and therefore have meaning for us.
To illustrate the feasts as shadows, regular use is made of non-biblical Jewish literature. Abraham and Jacob already celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles and the Day of Atonement according to Jubilees. Isaac was when Abraham was ordered to sacrifice him about the age of Jesus when He was crucified according to the Letter of Barnabas and the binding of Isaac on the altar took place on the 14th Nisan, the date of Passover, according to Jubilees. The writers also state that on the 15th Nisan Daniel was thrown into the lion's den, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed and the firstborn of Egypt were buried. In all these cases, there is no reference to the source for this, but it is not stated in the Bible.
Again, the writers return to the statement of Jesus in the Revelation to John that he is the Alpha and the Omega. He must have said that in Hebrew, the writers say, and then it says aleph - vav - tav (the 'aleph' is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the 'vav' in Hebrew is the word 'and', and the 'tav' is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet). Now the Hebrew letters originated from a pictogram script. So, every letter has been a picture. The writers state that the "aleph" is the sign of the leader, the "vav" of a pin and the "tav" of a cross. How symbolic! However, the "aleph" is an ox or a bull, the "vav" a hook and the "tav" a sign (like the English "x"). Moreover, I checked the Hebrew translations of the New Testament on it, and then apparently the most likely representation of the Hebrew text (displayed in English) is "I am the Aleph and the Tav" and not "I am A&T". In other words, the letters Aleph and Tav were spelled, and in addition, articles were written before them (the Aleph, the Tav).
The first and second feast that is discussed is the Passover Feast and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The writers rightly see many parallels with the history of suffering. It is striking that they argue that the crucifixion must have taken place on Thursday. It is an old discussion that most theologians think differently.
Then the First fruits feast is discussed. This is the moment that Jesus rose from the dead. It is striking that after the resurrection Jesus first went to heaven to offer himself as a wave offering in the heavenly temple, then went back to earth again and went to heaven again after forty days. The argumentation for this (including Mary who was not allowed to touch Jesus) is not convincing. According to the writers, this day, the 17th Nisan, coincides with the day the ark lands again after the flood and with the redemption of the people of Israel from Pharaoh after crossing the Red Sea. The first is true, but the second cannot be calculated. Also, the 17th Nisan is the day that the people first ate the fruits and vegetables of the land after crossing Jordan.
The next (fourth) party is the Feast of Weeks. Again, the writers refer to Jubilees, where it is said that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were already celebrating this feast, then it was forgotten, and God reinstated it at Mount Sinai as a sign of the re-concluded covenant. The writers use the fact that the Feast of Weeks is fulfilled in the coming of the Holy Spirit and the fact that this feast commemorates the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Sinai to argue about the relationship between faith and law. An interesting argument, but the writers completely ignore that only very late in the Jewish tradition was the Feast of Weeks not only a harvest festival but also a commemoration of the Ten Commandments. At first it was only a harvest festival.
According to the writers, the three fall festivals, the Trumpet Festival, the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles, are a foreshadow of the Second Coming. The first party is the Trumpet Festival. Two texts by Paul about the Second Coming in which the Last Trumpet is spoken, 1 Cor. 15: 51-52 and 1 Thess. 4: 15-17, according to the writers, about the Rapture of the Church. According to the writers, Jewish traditions assume a resurrection of the dead at a Trumpet Festival. Like in Matt. 24:31 is spoken of "loud trumpet call" then according to the writers it is about the Great Trumpet at the Day of Atonement, image of the Second Coming after the Great Tribulation. And as in Openb. 4: 1 is spoken of a "voice as if a trumpet is speaking" then according to the writers this is the Last Trumpet of the Rapture. Reference is also made to a Jewish tradition that the gate of heaven is open from the Trumpet Festival to the Day of Atonement. Regarding the intervening period between the Rapture and the Second Coming, reference is made to a Talmud tradition in which it is said that during the Trumpets Day everyone is classified into one of three categories: the righteous (who will be admitted), the unrighteous (who be judged) and an intermediate category of lukewarm Christians who still have the opportunity to repent. To find a biblical foundation for that intermediate category, reference is made to the parable of the 5 wise and 5 foolish virgins. The writers explain that in such a way that the 5 foolish virgins get another position during the Great Tribulation. Another parallel is pointed out. Two rabbis must have agreed on the fact that a thin line of the moon could be seen in order to determine the right moment for the Trumpet Feast. This means that the exact start of this party could not be accurately determined on the day. The writers see this as a reference to the fact that the Rapture will come completely unexpectedly.
The Day of Atonement is linked in Jubilees to Jacob who mourns the death of his son when he is shown the bloody garment of Joseph. Furthermore, based on Rabbinic traditions, the writers indicate that Moses came down the mountain again on the Day of Atonement - after receiving the Ten Commandments for the second time. Subsequently, the difference between Pesach and the Day of Atonement is elaborated. The writers' conclusion is that Pesach relates to the one-time forgiveness of sins of someone who is converted, and the Day of Atonement views Jesus as a Mediator for those who sin after they have been converted. Passover is a festival of commemorating an event that has taken place, the Day of Atonement is a remembrance of Jesus as a Mediator. The authors then conclude that the celebration of the Day of Atonement is not yet fully completed. Only at the Second Coming is this celebration fully fulfilled. The whole reasoning is very forced. It is one and the same blood that has been shed that fulfilled Pesach and the Day of Atonement. The Second Coming is connected by the writers with several events. Daniel's last year week is coming. There are more theologians who make this connection, but it is typical to interrupt the annual weeks for a long time and to "save" the last week for the period after the Second Coming. Secondly, the Second Coming is connected to the fact that all Jews who have not yet been converted come to realize that Jesus is the Messiah. This is read in Zach. 13: 1 and Rom. 11:26. It is highly questionable whether this is the case in Zechariah, and the connection of this text and the text from Romans with the Second Coming is a choice of the writers that can be questioned. Third, the symbol on which the sins are placed on Azazel's head at the Day of Atonement is linked to the binding of Satan during the Millennial Kingdom; again, a choice of the writers under discussion. After the Second Coming, a period of the Tribulation of the Jews begins for 3½ years and a period of the wrath of God (the seven bowls). Then comes the 1000-year Millennium when Satan will be bound, a final battle and the definitive coming of the new heaven and the new earth. This explanation - which differs greatly from the classical dispensationalist explanation in which it is usually assumed that with the Second World War the 1000-year period comes directly - raises many questions and the arguments for choosing this order are not mentioned. In the image of the Revelation to John: the writers place the Second Coming between the 7 seals and the 7 trumpets, and that is striking.
Finally, the Feast of Tabernacles. According to the writers, the temple of Solomon was inaugurated at this festival. In 1 Kon. 8 states that this was in the seventh month, but not on which day. The writers also indicate that Jesus was probably born at the beginning of this festival. However, that is very much the question. Again, the writers refer to Jubilees, in which it is stated that Abraham already celebrated this feast and Jacob added a day to this feast. Reference is also made to a text from Zach. 14:16, which would show that in the Peace Kingdom all nations are obliged to celebrate this celebration. The writers see the Feast of Tabernacles as a foreshadow of the 1000-year Peace Kingdom. As mentioned above, the writers indicate that the Second Coming will not be immediately followed by the 1000-year Kingdom of Peace, as the dispensationalists usually teach, but that it will be preceded by a period of tribulation and God's wrath. It strongly appears that the writers are forced by their own scheme to choose this very unusual explanation.
A special parallel is being made with the harvests. The first harvest is the barley harvest. Here the chaff was separated from the corn by throwing the barley with the fork in the air, so that the chaff was blown away by the wind. This refers to the Rapture. Then comes the wheat harvest. This is threshed with a threshing slide. This refers to the Great Tribulation. After all, a threshing slide is a "tribulum" in Latin, and from this word comes the English word Tribulation. However, these two harvests were linked to Pesach and the Feast of Weeks, not to the Trumpet Festival and the Day of Atonement. And would the writers have realized that the image of the barley harvest will have a remarkable application if you realize that the chaff goes to heaven and that the wheat stays on earth? Incidentally, there is a third harvest, namely from the grapes and olives. They are pressed. But what must be the application of it is beyond me.
The Jewish marriage ceremony is described in a separate chapter. We do not find this in the Bible, and unfortunately, we have very little information about the marriage ceremonial from the Biblical period. Very valuable comments are made about references in the Bible to marriage. The moment that the groom picks up the bride is compared with the Rapture. Then the bride and groom, according to the writers, stay 7 days in the bridal room, after which they present themselves to the guests and the wedding feast is celebrated. This is compared to the Second Coming. Information found on the Internet gives a completely different picture: the first night the wedding is consumed in the bridal room in the house of the father of the groom, the evidence of the virginity (cloth with blood stains) is handed over to the witness, the result is communicated to the guests and the party comes loose. It is indeed true that after 7 days the bride and groom move into their new home. If we continue the parallel, then the guests are the ones left behind in the Rapture and experiencing the Tribulation. And if we continue the parallel, we come to very strange conclusions.
The final chapter deals with the four covenants. The writers distinguish the blood covenant, the salt covenant (a word that is used in the Bible only in relation to the kingship of David), the sandal covenant (derived from the book of Ruth; is nowhere else in the Bible) and the marriage covenant. It remains unclear how this scheme is laid on the history of salvation. In any case, they are stages that a believer must go through in his spiritual growth according to the writers.
It is time for conclusions. The first part of the book deals with timelines. A closer examination of the writers' reasoning shows that the writers want too much. Numerous details are incorrect, demonstrably incorrect, too many have been pushed into the scheme. The Rabbinic tradition over the 7 periods of 1000 years is interesting because the Revelation to John with the description of the 1000-year kingdom refers to it. The dream of Nebuchadnezzar and the 70-year weeks of Daniel play a role in, among other things, the Revelation to John and have a Biblical basis in it. The rest is speculative for me.
The second major part of the book deals with the feasts. The pattern of the feasts would be a preview of the course of world history. The spring festivals are fulfilled, the autumn festivals give a prediction of the course of the end of history. There is no Biblical substantiation for this principle. The text of Paul about the feasts as shadow is thus given a meaning that it does not have. From the Bible it can be indicated that the (first) coming of Jesus has fulfilled Pesach (but also the Day of Atonement), that the Feast of Weeks has been fulfilled by the coming of the Holy Spirit, and that Zechariah uses the Feast of Tabernacles as an end-time image. The lack of biblical substantiation applies even more to the Jewish marriage ceremonial, where it is used again to describe the end-time pattern.
What I find most shocking is the fact that the writers have not let go of their own bias. On pages and repeatedly the writers encourage readers to be open to new insights, to let go of their own traditions, and to study the Bible with an open mind. But from beginning to end, the writers appear to hold onto a pattern that teaches that the church is being Raptured, and then the Great Tribulation will take place and then the Second Coming. As if that is completely obvious from the Bible. In fact, the writers place great value on Rabbinic traditions and the Rabbis in particular learned a completely different pattern: A Second Coming, the dawning of a 1000-year Kingdom of Peace followed by a new heaven and a new earth. A pattern that is repeated in detail in the Revelation to John. There were three feasts of the Ascension, where every Jew capable of that had to go to the temple in Jerusalem: Passover, Feast of Weeks, and Feast of Tabernacles. The first two are fulfilled, and I think that indeed the Feast of Tabernacles will still be fulfilled in the Second Coming, and I think it is quite possible that when Jesus returns, this will be at the Feast of Tabernacles. But even if one wants to stick to the pattern of feasts as described by the writers, then one can see in the Trumpet festival a picture of the 7 trumpets from the Revelation to John, the Day of Atonement as the moment of the Second Coming and the start of the 1000-year Kingdom of Peace, and the Feast of Tabernacles as the coming of the new heaven and the new earth. And if one then necessarily wants to see a parallel with the Jewish wedding ceremony: if one sees the collection of the bride by the groom as an image of the Second Coming and the celebration for 7 days as an image for the Peace Kingdom, then it is right again. Then the bride goes to the house that the groom has prepared, the new heaven and the new earth. So, a statement without the presupposition of an admission of the Rapture is very possible. But again, there is no compelling reason to assume a chronological parallel between the order of the festivals and the history of salvation. And this applies even more to the Jewish wedding ceremonial.
The writers want to convince readers that the end of time is near. I appreciate that. But due to the large number of errors, inconsistencies and unexplained presuppositions, I miss the goal. A pity, because the message that we should take the Biblical data about the end time seriously is important enough.