It’s not hard to get folks to study the doctrine of eschatology. What other Bible subjects are so many whole conferences discussing? What is amazing, too, is the outlandish number of books written on the subject. A blog post far too long to write would be “Worthless Books On Prophecy.” Very few subjects have so many volumes go from the bestseller list to the discount bin so quickly either.
This is one place that one must admit his or her bias right up front. I follow the pretribulational premillennialism point of view. That is not to say that there isn’t many wonderful believers who have differing viewpoints while dearly loving my Savior just as I do. Still, my studies of God’s Word has led me to a position.
One thing is clear: Jesus is coming again! This is the non-negotiable point of prophecy. We can debate some points, but we shall see Him face to face. No amount of ridiculous date-setting or bizarre speculations will change that fact! Let’s make sure we see this as a life-changing doctrine, not a mere academic exercise for esoteric knowledge.
Here are some of the books I find to be the most helpful:
1. Things To Come by J. Dwight Pentecost
A widely used bestseller! Most every premillennialist has a copy. This volume is often used as a textbook and many pastors I know make it their first choice. A clearly laid-out volume that can help anyone understand the premillennial position.
2. Dispensationalism by Charles Ryrie
Whether your dispensationalism would go as far as his or not, this volume is indispensable to grasp this point of view. He is fair to opposing viewpoints and is the best representative of classic dispensationalism.
3. Progressive Dispensationalism by Darrell Bock
There has been a change in the dispensational world by some and this volume is a great reference to understand it. I agree with some of this thinking found here. Read this to be up-to-date.
4. The Coming Kingdom of Christ by John R. Rice
A sentimental volume to me as I read it years ago as a young Christian. He is one of the best at highlighting the imminent return of Christ. Much original and helpful material is presented in this volume.
5. What Does The Future Hold? by C. Marvin Pate
I read this recently as a refresher before I taught a class on prophecy. It is the perfect overview volume no matter your perspective. He is careful in his explanations. His own eclectic view means he is in no one’s camp, but he really helps you understand the various viewpoints. I highly recommend this volume.
Other volumes to consider:
You might find The Nations, Israel, and the Church in Prophecy by John Walvoord helpful as well as his The Rapture Question, his The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation, and his The Millennial Kingdom (yes he wrote widely on the subject). The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views edited by Robert Clouse is good for comparing views.
Jesus Is Coming by W.E.B. was a great challenge to me as a young Christian. It had a great influence on many later volumes. The Basis of the Premillennial Faith by Ryrie is ideal for the younger Christian as is First The Rapture by J. F. Strombeck.
To round out your library you will want the 3-volume set The Theocratic Kingdom by George Peters (look for the Kregel edition). I’m glad to have Biblical Eschatology by Ironside and Ottman in a beautiful Klock & Klock edition.
Don’t forget to consult your favorite systematic theology volume. I used several and especially enjoyed Norm Geisler’s Systematic Theology as it was very well done. I’m not even getting into the many commentaries on Revelation as that is a discussion for another day.
Perhaps there are some volumes you would have expected I include here and while they are on my shelves, I don’t recommend volumes that pretend to see what can’t be seen, that tends to focus on signs rather than the Savior, or that tends toward ultra-dispensationalism.
Some are afraid of the study of prophecy, but a Christian shouldn’t feel that way. I like to say that if you are a believer prophecy is taking us somewhere and it is somewhere good–the presence of Jesus Christ!