Getting a Grip on Prophecy

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren..." These few words, recorded in 1 Thessalonians 4:13ff, reveal the heart of the Apostle Paul for the believers at
Thessalonica. As he began his discussion about Christ's return, the
resurrection of those who had died in Christ, and the rapture of the
church, he did not want them to be "ignorant" (KJV) or "uninformed about those who are asleep." Neither did he want them to hopelessly "grieve." Paul explains, "...that
you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe
that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those
who have fallen asleep in Jesus"
(1 Thess 4:13-14 , NASV).

proper understanding of prophecy, especially God's specific plan for
His blood-bought church in relation to end-time events, is one of the
greatest encouragements a believer in Christ can have. It is said to be
a source of "comfort" (1 Thess. 4:18), a "blessed hope" (Titus 2:13), and an incentive to holiness (1 Jn. 3:2-3). In this regard, the Dictionary of Premillennial Theology
(Mal Couch, General Editor) by Kregel Publications serves as an
excellent primer and reference work on prophecy, as well as a great
encouragement for the student of biblical eschatology.

by more than fifty Bible teachers, scholars, authors, and theologians
from around the world, the Dictionary of Premillennial Theology is both
concise, yet at the same time comprehensive in its coverage of
eschatology as a theological discipline. I would recommend it for your
library for the following reasons:

First, as a dictionary, the Dictionary of Premillennial Theology
provides much information and many answers to questions having to do
with Bible prophecy and premillennial theology. This can prove helpful
for both beginning and advanced students. For example, what do such
terms as rapture, millennium, Second Coming, the Seventieth Week of
Daniel, abomination of desolation, Armageddon, premillennialism,
amillennialism, dispensationalism, preterist, futurist, literalist,
imminency, Israel, the Church, Jacob's trouble, Great tribulation, etc.
mean, and how do they relate to end-time events? What are the various
views concerning Christ's return to earth? Historically, how and when
did they develop, and who were their main proponents? When will the
rapture take place? Will it be prior to the Great Tribulation, mid-way
through it, or at the end? What is the order of events on God's great
prophetic calendar? Why do sincere Christians seem to differ as to the
order of these events? When it comes to prophecy, what different
methods of Bible interpretation exist, and how do they contribute to
the differing viewpoints of believers in Christ? The Dictionary of Premillennial Theology provides answers to these types of questions, and much more.

second reason for recommending this book is because of its coverage of
almost all the books of the Bible in relation to eschatology (the
doctrine of last things). The eschatology of each book of the Bible is
given, with the exception of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes in the Old
Testament, and Philemon in the New Testament. Otherwise, all the rest
of the books of the Bible are discussed in terms of how they speak to
and/or present eschatological events. One need only look up the name of
the Bible book in the dictionary, as listed in alphabetical order.

third factor that makes this book valuable is that it presents and
clearly defines the key doctrines that relate to the end-times. Just to
name a few, the doctrines of heaven, hell, Christ, the Holy Spirit,
salvation, imminency, pre-tribulationism vs. post-tribulationism,
millennialism, premillennialism vs. amillennialism, Israel and the
Church, the rapture, the Great Tribulation, and God's wrath are all
defined and discussed. The major theological terms and concepts in
prophetic studies are concisely presented. Additionally, helpful
cross-references and bibliographical information are supplied. All of
this makes the DOPT a valuable reference tool indeed!

the fact that this book covers key people who have influenced,
contributed to, and promoted prophetic teaching throughout church
history makes this a valuable work. However, having said that, I am
sure that some will wish that even more writers from various
backgrounds (including the assemblies) had been included. The book
includes articles on the following key figures: Sir Robert Anderson,
Jean Astruc, Augustine, John Bale, David Baron, James Hall Brooks, E.
W. Bullinger, Harry Bultema, John Calvin, Lewis Sperry Chafer, C. I.
Scofield, E. R. Craven, John Nelson Darby, M. R. DeHaan, Jonathan
Edwards, Morgan Edwards, Johaan Ernesti, A. C. Gaebelein, James
Robinson Graves, James M. Gray, Hugo Grotius, Robert H. Gundry,
Hippolytus, Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, Irenaeus, H. A. Ironside,
Immanuel Kant, Samuel H. Kellogg, Lactanius, George Eldon Ladd,
Clarence Larkin, Hal Lindsay, Martin Luther, Margaret MacDonald, Philip
Melanchton, D. L. Moody, Origen, Rene Pache, Papias, J. Dwight
Pentecost, George N. H. Peters, William T. Pettingill, Philo, Arthur
Pink, Francisco Ribera, J. C. Ryle, Charles C. Ryrie, W. Graham
Scroggie, Joseph A. Seiss, Richard Simon, Bernard Spinoza, Charles
Haddon Spurgeon, J. F. Strombeck, W. H. Griffith Thomas, Jean-Alphonse
Turretin, William Tyndale, John F. Walvoord, Isaac Watts, Nathaniel
West, and Johann Wettstein. Whew! The inclusion of such notable names
contributes much to both a historical and theological understanding of
the various prophetic viewpoints.

though this dictionary is fairly brief and concise (only 448 pages,
with a very readable font size), and though it deals much with the
history and development of many prophetic viewpoints, to its credit it
also covers a number of the contemporary theological and eschatological
issues that Christians face today. Some of those teachings would
include the pre-wrath rapture, Christian reconstructionism,
postmillennialism, theonomy, and covenant theology.

If I were to suggest improvements to the Dictionary of Premillennial Theology
it would include the following: First, the book is woefully lacking in
graphics and artwork (i.e. charts, illustrations, photos, etc.). If I
counted correctly, there are only four charts in all of the book's 448
pages. Because of the media-laden world and visually-oriented culture
in which we live, graphics are a must for effective communication, even
on the printed page.

second suggested improvement may at first seem somewhat contradictory.
And that is that the book be expanded to be more comprehensive. On the
one hand, one of the strengths of the Dictionary of Premillennial Theology
for today's busy reader is its conciseness. Yet on the other, there are
a number of areas of prophetic study that readers will wish the book
had dealt with in greater detail. On second thought, however, this may
be the book's greatest strength--to serve to whet the believer's
appetite for more in-depth prophetic study.

On the front of the Dictionary of Premillennial Theology
the descriptive statement is made, "A Practical Guide to the People,
Viewpoints, and History of Prophetic Studies." On the back of the book
it is described as "a practical reference book for anyone engaged in
the study of biblical prophecy and premillennial theology." Both of
these statements are absolutely accurate! This book is very practical
and useful when it comes to studying biblical eschatology.

If you as a believer do not want to be "uninformed" (1 Thess. 4:13)  as to biblical prophecy and premillennial theology, then I would
encourage you to be sure to obtain this book. As you study God's Word
in regard to our Lord's return, this book can be a great aid and tool
in helping you sort out the many terms, concepts, and truths associated
with Christ's Second Coming and other end-time events. Most of all, I
believe that it will be an encouragement to your heart and life as you
look forward to His coming.