THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH:

All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.



Monday, June 23, 2008

WIND YOUR WATCH AND "WATCH!"

[From the STMcC archive; 2005, May 30th]

*My grading scale is typical A through F, but with the very highest mark being an R, which is the equivalent of an A++. Why an R? Heck if I know. My Pa used to tell me that in high school he had a drafting teacher whose highest grade was an R. Pa never did learn what the R stood for, nor - sadly - did he ever achieve one.

Book: “END-TIME PROPHECIES OF THE BIBLE” by David Haggith; 1999.

Grade: R

Simply stated, DAVID HAGGITH has written the most exhaustive and spiritually mature book on eschatology that I have encountered. About five years ago, a gentleman who owned a mobile bookstore expressed his appreciation for me by insisting that I select any item from his stock. I had not heard of David Haggith, but because of my deep interest in Bible study, his tome, END-TIME PROPHECIES OF THE BIBLE caught my eye. I can tell you without hesitation that I would have been every bit as pleased with my choice even if I had paid full price.

The first question that will be raised by people Biblically aware but a bit naive is: Why study the Last Days when Jesus said that they will arrive like a thief in the night; no one knows the day or the hour of their coming, and they could be far into the future?

There are several ideas to take into consideration here. First - Jesus said, "Of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven." (Matt. 24:36) Note that He spoke specifically of days and hours, not necessarily decades or years. Haggith says on page 121 that looking at it this way is "being hyperliteral." I don't think so. Jesus chose His words carefully. Furthermore, what might have been unforeseeable two thousand years ago, may be quite perceivable now. Also, if it was still going to be unpredictable even when the age was nearly upon us, why did Jesus bother giving His closest apostles clues to watch for? In Matthew 24 & Mark 13, The Master tells Peter, James, John and Andrew the signs (situations) that will be present on the Earth and related to the end of the world (as we know it) and His imminent return. Why did He go to the trouble to elucidate the scenario if NO ONE would be capable of discerning the time? And He even concluded with the admonition, "What I say to you, I say to all: Watch!"

Significantly, the Old Testament book of Daniel (also concerned with eschatology) closes with another indication that as the time draws near, at least some of God's people will have foreknowledge of the timing of Tribulation events:

And the angel said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified . . . and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand." (Dan. 12:9,10 - NKJV)

It makes sense then to study this subject, especially since several Biblical prophecies concerned with the timing of these momentous events indicate that we are about to enter into the age in question. (Even if Mr. Haggith does not overtly make such a bold statement.)

There are many books on the market that address this subject, most all of them in a more sensationalistic manner. But Haggith's approach is very sensible and evinces a highly developed spiritual understanding. His respect for God's Word, and his humility is evident throughout the book. For example, on page 408 he states, "Judgment, as St. John's Gospel emphasizes, is going on all the time throughout our earthly existence." That would appear to be a basic premise, but one you will find eluding many of the more well-known Christian commentators! On page 450, Haggith observes that, "Humility comes from confidence in the goodness and justice and love of God." There is much wisdom in his writing that goes beyond a strict adherence to the book's primary theme. His equating the patterns of Biblical truth and prophecies with fractals, and his observation that, "Jesus never did a miracle that wasn't a metaphor for spiritual truth" are just two more examples of his great insight, no doubt derived from a warm association with The Holy Spirit. END-TIME PROPHECIES OF THE BIBLE also has a wonderfully extensive index that will make it easy for the reader to refer back to certain topics at a later date.

David Haggith also understands the necessity to refrain from inflexible positions when exploring the nature of Biblical prophecy. This idea, and his personal humility shine through in this excerpt from page 459:

"Simply linking passages as I've done in this book can distort meaning if the wrong links are forged. If the reader sees a more natural fit for any prophecy than where it has been placed, he or she should explore that connection . . . It's best to keep one's opinions about God's revelation fluid and allow the God who makes all things new to shape one's opinions over time and to reshape oneself in the process. A dogmatic stance on words the Bible, itself, describes as ultimate mysteries belittles the greatness of God. It presumptuously assumes that the human mind can fully comprehend God's mysteries."

END-TIME PROPHECIES OF THE BIBLE is a very thorough, thought-provoking, open-minded, and scholarly study. I am normally stingy with my highest grade, but I am awarding it to Haggith's study because, as far as I know, it is the best book of its kind. If you are very serious about exploring the Bible, and seek publications that will help you to develop the capacity to examine theological concepts from a variety of perspectives, this book will surely be a welcome addition to your personal library. Other than Salvation, it's the best thing that I ever got for free!

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

2 comments:

  1. Well done sir, and might I suggest E.W. Bullingers book on the prophecy's on the book of revelation as well.... I have not personally read it yet but it gets praise from people I highly respect who really know the word...

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's on my "Someday Must Read" list, Br'er! (But I suspect that He will have returned before I've gotten to every book on my "Someday Must Read" list.)

    ~ STMcC
    <"As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly."
    ~ Proverbs 26:11>

    ReplyDelete

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