Skip to content ↓

Book Review – Christ and the Future

Book Reviews Collection cover image

Cornelius Venema’s The Promise of the Future, published in 2000 by Banner of Truth, has been hailed as the most important major Reformed study in biblical eschatology since Anthony Hoekema’s The Bible and the Future (published in 1972). It is not coincidental, I am sure, that Venema is a former student of Hoekema. The Promise of the Future was expanded from a series of articles serialized in The Outlook magazine. Now Christ and the Future is an abridgement of the original edition. The publisher says, “While [The Promise of the Future] has justly received acclaim from numerous reviewers, its size and weight may discourage the less experienced reader from taking it up and benefiting from its contents. The publishers, therefore, are grateful to Dr. Venema for kindly agreeing to produce this abridgement of his original edition, and are now delighted to offer it to a wider readership in this smaller, paperback format.” And, indeed, this volume, coming in at just over 200 pages, is far more accessible and far more likely to gain a wide readership. It is an ideal introduction to the subject of the Bible’s teaching about the last things.

Where the original volume contained sixteen chapters divided into six parts, this book has just twelve chapters. It may be easiest to trace the author’s argument by simply listing the chapter titles:

  • The Future is Now
  • The Future Between Death and Resurrection
  • The Future of Christ
  • The Future Marked by “Signs of the Times”
  • The Future Marked by Signs of Antithesis and of Impending Judgment
  • The Future of the Kingdom: Four Millennial Views
  • The Future of the Kingdom: Revelation 20
  • The Future of the Kingdom: An Evaluation of Millennial Views
  • The Future of All Things: The Resurrection of the Body
  • The Future of All Things: The Final Judgment
  • The Future of All Things: The Doctrine of Eternal Punishment
  • The Future of All Things: The New Heavens and Earth

Time would fail me, of course, to describe the nuances of the author’s argument–the particulars of his views in each of these areas. After all, the various eschatological views, which seem to be just about as numerous as the number of Christians, often depend on small distinctions of interpretation. As with his earlier volume, Venema leans towards an “optimistic amillennialism.” His evaluation of the four millennial views is fair, I believe, and he goes to great lengths to describe their beliefs accurately. When he considers the resurrection, the final judgment, eternal punishment and other such issues, he comes down squarely on the side of biblical orthodoxy, speaking out harshly against annihilationism and universalism, and affirming the reality of judgment. He looks constantly to Scripture to defend all that he teaches.

This is a very readable, enjoyable and biblical examination of what the Bible teaches about the last things. Dr. Venema has crafted a careful, nuanced book that covers the topic well but also briefly enough that it avoids becoming bogged down in detail. While he defends the amillennial view, he offers information that will help anyone, regardless of his eschatology, to better understand what is to come. It will help every reader better understand what the Scriptures teach about the end of this age and the age to come. I recommend it for any reader.

Those who are seeking more detail about the nuances of his argument may wish to read these reviews by Richard B. Gaffin, Jr. and Keith Mathison . Even better, buy it and read it for yourself. This book will make a great addition to your library.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (June 8)

    A La Carte: Fighting for faith when doubts abound / The incredible blessing of my father’s final months / Why you can’t let yourself feel content / The means of doing much good / Bible translations are for people / Kindle deals / and more.

  • Free Stuff Fridays (TWR)

    This giveaway is sponsored by TWR, also known as Trans World Radio, whose mission is to reach the world for Christ by mass media so that lasting fruit is produced. TWR is looking for engineering, IT, maintenance and finance specialists to help us tell the story to God’s glory. Explore these and other opportunities here. …

  • The Way You Walk

    The Way You Walk

    You can tell a lot about people by the way they walk, can’t you? You can tell a lot about their physical health, their emotional state, and perhaps even their spiritual condition. You can often tell at a glance whether they are healthy or ill, joyful or sorrowful, delighting or despondent. Consider a company of…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 7)

    A La Carte: Feminism as critical social theory / Lessons from a Job season / Was the woman at the well married to any of the five men? / Holy haggling / The other D-Day / The problem with livestreams / and more.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 6)

    A La Carte: Toward a Protestant pronatalism / The rise of hyperpleasures / Why only pastors can baptize / Fighting the “respectable” sins of gossip and slander / Can we forgive when the offender doesn’t repent? / 10 questions a Christian man should ask himself before making a marriage proposal / D-day / Kindle deals…

  • The Least of My Childrens Accomplishments

    The Least of My Children’s Accomplishments

    I know what it is to be a father and to take pride in the achievements of my children. I had not been a father for long when I learned that the least of my children’s accomplishments by far outshines the greatest of my own. Their smallest victory generates more delight than my largest and…