Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Heart Like His by Beth Moore

book cover

A Heart Like His
by Beth Moore

ISBN-13: 978-0-8054-2035-7
Hardback: 300 pages
Publisher: Broadman & Holman Publishers
Released: 1999, 2003

Source: Bought through

Book Description from Goodreads:
He was a man loved and anointed by God, and his life serves as an example—both good and bad—for Christians in every time and place. In this in-depth look at the life of David, Beth Moore draws spiritual insight and understanding from a man who slayed a giant and saved a kingdom.

This book guides readers on an exciting and informative journey through virtually every twist and turn of David’s life as a shepherd, refugee, and king. Moore introduces readers to the heart of a man whose triumphs and sins were foundation blocks of God’s plan and prophecy and shows readers how to better serve God by understanding their own unique relationship to Him.

My Review:
A Heart Like His is basically an easy-to-read commentary on 1 and 2 Samuel with the main focus on David. Due to the short chapters and content, I think it'd make a great daily devotional. (It has 52 chapters, if you're interested in doing a chapter a day.)

Each chapter covered a section of 1 or 2 Samuel (in order). The author would quote a part of the text--and a related Psalm, if there was one--and then give a summary of the rest of text. The author then commented on the events and how to learn from the mistakes and triumphs of those in the text. There were some review questions at the end of the book.

While I liked this book, I didn't feel like I gained new insights to the passages or in my walk with Christ. I like Beth Moore's other books better. However, other people might get more out of this book than I did, so I would recommend it to those who like Beth Moore books.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Blessed Hope by George Eldon Ladd

book cover

The Blessed Hope:
A Biblical Study of the Second Advent and the Rapture
by George Eldon Ladd

ISBN: 978-0-8028-1111-0
Trade Paperback: 167 pages
Publisher: Wm.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Released: 1956

Source: Bought through

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Jesus Christ is coming again! That is the Blessed Hope which has since the earliest days of the church energized biblical Christians looking for the full revelation of God’s redemption But devout believers have often disagreed about the nature of the second coming of the Lord.

Through its many printings, this book by George Eldon Ladd has proved to be a helpful guide for Christians who want to discern clearly the basic biblical teachings about the Blessed Hope. Writing not for scholars as much as the men and women in the pews, Ladd--whose numerous studies of New Testament interpretation earned him the reputation of being one of contemporary evangelicalism’s leading thinkers--sketches the history of interpretations of Christ’s second coming and then carefully and lucidly examines the biblical passages on which this doctrine is based.

Ladd’s conclusion is that the blessed hope is the second coming of Jesus Christ, not a pretribulation rapture of believers in a secret coming of Jesus. Yet he concludes, too, that there should be liberty and charity within the Christian community for all who hold to the expectation of “the blessed hope and appearing in glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

My Review:
The Blessed Hope carefully studies the Bible to see if a pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church is clearly taught there or if it is equally or even more clearly taught that Christians will go through the Tribulation and be "raptured" only at the end when Jesus returns in glory.

He starts with quotes of what early Christians wrote about Revelation in this regard. He also chronicles how the pre-Tribulation idea first appeared and was promoted around 1831. The author then looked at the verses referring to the blessed hope, Jesus' glorious return, and the rapture as well as the verses pre-Tribulationists use to support their views. He showed that a pre-Tribulation Rapture is, at best, an inference and how the verses used to support it can be understood to support a post-Tribulation view if read in context.

Personally, I've never been able to see a pre-Tribulation Rapture in the Bible despite being taught that by my church since I was a child. I found it interesting that this author used many of the same arguments that I had seen in my study of the Bible.

My mother also read this book. She couldn't see a pre-Tribulation Rapture taught in the Bible, either, but wanted to understand the arguments for it in case she was missing something. She liked that this book explained the pre-Tribulation Rapture argument, but it also pointed out the things she had noticed against it. She now feels confident that she's not missing some truth that she'd been overlooking that would compel belief in a pre-Tribulation Rapture.

The last chapter is somewhat dated as he referred to "current" views, and the book was written in 1956. Also, while I agree that sharing the gospel with the entire world is important, I believe this because that's what Jesus told us to. I don't agree with the author's view that Jesus is prevented from returning until Christians get their act together and have achieved a certain goal as to the number of nations that have heard the gospel. It is God that brings people to belief, and everything is coming about in His timing, not ours.

I think the book presented a very clear explanation about how a pre-Tribulation Rapture came to be taught and why a post-Tribulation "rapture" more solidly fits what the Bibles teaches about the end times. I'd recommend this book to everyone interested in the Rapture.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from page 8 & 9 of the Introduction
We may designate this teaching by the word pretribulationism, because it teaches a pretribulation rapture of the Church so that it escapes the Tribulation. ... Many premillennialists believe that the Scriptures do not teach that Christ will return secretly to rapture the Church before the Tribulation. However, this teaching has been spread widely throughout American Fundamentalism through the godly influence of such men as James M. Gray, A.C. Gaebelein, R.A. Torrey, W.B. Riley, I.M. Haldeman, H.A. Ironside, L.S. Chafer, and many others.

No instrument has been more influential than the Scofield Reference Bible in implanting this view in the thinking of millions of Christians. Most of the Bible schools which have trained a host of young people in the Word of God have been devoted to this pattern of prophetic teaching, and the prophetic conference movement along with many summer Bible conferences has propagated this view. So deeply intrenched has it become that many pastors and Christian leaders have been lead to assume that this teaching has been an essential doctrine in the history of the Church extending back to apostolic times and has prevailed widely in all ages among believers who have had a sincere love for the Word of God and who have cherished the Blessed Hope of Christ's return.

Read from chapter one using Google Preview.

Monday, October 3, 2011

God's Appointed Times by Barney Kasdan

book cover

God's Appointed Times:
A Practical Guide for Understanding and Celebrating the Biblical Holidays
by Barney Kasdan

ISBN-13: 978-1-880226-35-3
Trade Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Lederer Books
Released: 1993

Source: Bought from Books-A-Million.

Book Description from Back Cover:
The biblical holy days are not just for Jews. Christians, too, can receive the blessing of these glorious days, the greatest object lessons in the Bible.

God gave each day to teach his people about him and his relationship to them. From the Sabbath, which pictures eternity, to the popular holiday, Hanukkah, mentioned by name only in the gospel of John, the special times were set apart to bless the people of God.

In this book, Barney Kasdan, leader of Kehilat Ariel of San Diego, one of the largest Messianic congregations in the world, explains every holy day described in Scripture. He teaches about the major and minor holy days, ever mindful that he is writing to both Jews and Christians.

Beginning with the Sabbath, the first holy day revealed in Scripture, he writes about Passover, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, The Feast of Tabernacles, Hanukkah the Festival of Dedication, and Purim, the special day given in the time of Queen Esther.

Each chapter offers historical background, traditional Jewish observance, relevance to the New Testament, prophetic significance, and a practical guide for believers, including recipes, songs, and crafts.

My Review:
God's Appointed Times is a Bible background type book, but it's also for those who believe Yeshua is the Messiah who wish to celebrate these Feasts. The book covered Sabbath, Passover, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles, Hanukkah, and Purim.

This book quoted some of the Bible verses in the Old Testament where God commands the people about these feasts and holy days. He gave the details about how observant Jews celebrate these feasts today. I liked how he explained the meaning behind each act, so it wasn't just meaningless ritual. He then pointed out places in the New Testament that referred to these Feasts, and he suggests how these Feasts are fulfilled in Yeshua, the Messiah. Finally, he suggested ways to modify the modern Feast celebrations to suit Messianic followers and included a couple recipes, songs, and related crafts.

The information given for the Spring Feasts is much what I've heard before, though I liked how he said Sabbath was for remembering that God is our Creator and our rest is in Him. However, the author believes that the Fall Feasts are related to Yeshua's birth as well as His Second Coming. I've read some articles by other authors stating that Jesus' birth occurred during the Feast of Tabernacles, but one of this author's arguments for it is actually a strong argument against it, in my view. Why would the Romans order a census that required people to go to their home towns at exactly the same time as their religion demanded that they go to Jerusalem for a Feast? They wouldn't; they knew better.

If you are interested in celebrating these feasts as a way to celebrate what Yeshua has done for us, then this book is very useful. However, if you're mainly interested in the mentions of the feasts in the Bible and how Yeshua fulfills the feasts, I think I'd recommend The Feasts of the Lord by Kevin Howard and Marvin Rosenthal, instead.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
The Sabbath

The Historical Background

The Lord said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies. There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the Lord.'" (Leviticus 23:1-3)

It might surprise some to see a discussion of the biblical holidays start with Shabbat. After all, this is such a common day. It occurs once a week. The Jewish perspective is different. It is not that Shabbat is so common, but that it is so special, that we are to observe it every seven days.