Book review: The Time is at Hand

by Jay E. Adams

★★★★

This book is sort of a “recent classic,” first copyrighted in 1966 and reprinted four times since then. It’s a discussion of Bible chronology, leaning heavily upon a historical analysis of the book of Revelation.

Adams is a “realized millennialist,” meaning he believes the 1000-year millennium spoken of in Revelation (an “age” not necessarily meaning precisely 1000 years) has already arrived. It began in early New Testament times, and continues till the present. This is the period in which Satan is bound in chains. “Binding” doesn’t mean total inability, of course, for then one could hardly believe Jesus when he claimed to bind the strong man (Satan).

Now, since Adams is also a post-millennialist, meaning he believes Jesus will arrive after the millennium, he is able to reconcile the fact that Revelation’s horrors mimic precisely the age in which its author lived (the first century) and still look forward to Christ’s second coming. The “real” golden age, with eternal life, is just around the corner. The time is at hand.

I applaud the way Adams takes seriously the references in Revelation to the first century and the urgency of its message. Still, this interpretation always feels to me a little like having your cake and eating it too.

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5 Comments

  1. I just plowed through a commentary on Revelation of about 1200 pages by G.K. Beale. My blog posts on that will appear in a few months. He seems to take the same position: that a lot of Revelation concerns the church age, the time between Christ’s death and second coming. He is, however, open to some sort of intensified presence of the Beast appearing soon before the Second Coming. I thought Beale had some good arguments, but I’m still puzzled: So, according to him, we’re living in a time when the Beast deceives people, and also the millennium, when Satan is bound so he can’t deceive people (or can’t deceive them as much as he would were he not bound)? That’s odd.

  2. oh, excellent, I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts! That’s an intimidating book, isn’t it?

    “bound” as in “somewhat restricted,” I assume,yeah.

  3. It’s worth reading, since Beale brings into the discussion a lot of Second Temple, rabbinic, and early Christian sources. But it’s a bear to get through!

  4. I’d not heard of realized millennialist before.

  5. I really don’t know why it’s not more popular. It’s cool and rather logical, as Bible chronologies go.

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