THE KIRKUS REVIEW
A debut book provides a comprehensive analysis of the Christian doctrine of the end times.
Harrel’s wide-ranging and ambitious work takes on a familiar topic in Christian theology: the schema by which God will bring about the end of the world, the end of time, and the kingdom of heaven. The rough outline of this schema has been laid out in countless works of theology, beginning with the emergence of Israel as a nation, moving to the Tribulation, then the rapture, then the opening of great seals and the Battle of Armageddon, then the dawning of the millennium and the thousand-year reign of Christ on Earth, eventually ushering the faithful into heaven. Arguments and various calculations about the precise nature and timing of these events, grounded in differing readings of the Old and New Testaments and the book of Revelation, have filled countless volumes. Harrel buttresses his own with two assertions: first, that all Christians have failed to determine the timing of Christ’s return (whether through erroneous scriptural analysis or because God has made the truth unknowable), and second, that God has made everything clear to the author through direct personal revelation. To non-Christians this may seem like the ultimate example of game-rigging, but the main strength of Harrel’s highly readable, searching book is its tremendously engaging textual analysis, not its opening claim of personal prophecy. He leads his readers through a painstakingly thorough, historical, and line-by-line analysis of Revelation-relevant Old Testament books, such as Daniel, Ezekiel, and Zechariah, and he steadily builds some real-world warnings into his narrative. He cautions that mistaken readings of Revelation can have serious consequences if the faithful are led astray by their own pastors. And since Harrel examines the highest of stakes, his book’s closing chapters, dealing with the end of the world, are appropriately forbidding. But the research and clear-eyed exegesis in these pages should fascinate all students of end-times lore.