The End of Many Books

Before Jerusalem Fell

This is a book about when the book of Revelation was written. I started preaching through Revelation over a year ago, and it would have been just terrific to have read Gentry a long time ago, certainly before I started my Apocalyptic prep. Woe, woe, woe to me.

The title of Gentry’s book is also the answer to the question. Gentry aims all of his literary, historical, and interpretive guns at a before AD 70 date. As it turns out, his arguments misfired for me. I don’t mean that in the popularly subjective way; I can be persuaded by evidence. I found the evidence wanting. In brief:

He assumes throughout his book that Revelation is about how the church replaces Israel. This governs his observations. This makes some conclusions for him. That’s not the same as an argument.

He defends himself for dozens of pages before making his actual arguments. That’s at least true in the “third” edition I have. He begins with a Preface in which he replies to numerous critics on their numerous disagreements. It’s actually quite unenjoyable. “Me thinks thou protests too much.”

He also seizes humility in other authors as proof that he could be right. That is insufferable, if not actually unfair reading. While he admits in many places that there is evidence on both sides, he takes others making the same admission as reinforcement of his ideas.

I really do wish I had read this many years ago. I also wish I had more time to answer why I’m still unconvinced about his answers (and assumptions). But the book is too convenient, too affirming-the-consequent, and too hopeful in (possible) loopholes that (perhaps could be used to) make his point.

3 of 5 stars