The End Times in Chronological Order by Ron Rhodes is an excellent book for anyone interested in the study of the end times, whatever your particular eschatological views may be. Rhodes’ book is a nice size – nearly 240 pages, which makes it quite readable while at the same time detailed enough to provide sufficient evidence for his positions.
It’s clear that Rhodes has a high view of Scripture as he devotes the first chapter to the importance of interpreting the Bible ‘literally’. He goes into depth concerning this position, indicating what exactly a literal interpretation entails and what it does not. For example, you can be a literalist and still accept the fact that the Bible contains figures of speech, symbols, and parables. He goes on to give six reasons why a literal approach is best, peppering the chapter with biblical references to support his position.
Rhodes subscribes to the pretribulation, premillennial point of view, so he therefore takes the next couple of chapters to discuss what will happen prior to the seven-year tribulation detailed in the book of Revelation. He goes into some depth about the rapture of the church, defending his position of a pretribulation rapture against other popular points of view (e.g., posttribulation, midtribulation, etc.). He even provides a chapter to discuss what our post-rapture bodies will be like.
Following the discussion of the aspects of the rapture, the next chapter describes the judgment of the church. This is not a judgment to determine salvation – everyone in the church is saved – but it is a judgment of the church’s works, to evaluate the rewards that each one will get based on their earthly works. Rhodes also includes the marriage of the Lamb in this chapter, as it is his opinion that this marriage between Christ and His bride (the church) will occur in heaven after the rapture and before the Second Coming.
Now that the rapture, the church’s judgment, and marriage have occurred, the focus is reset to what is happening on the earth during this time. The tribulation has started, and we are directed to pay attention to what is happening with the nation on the earth. A seven-sealed scroll is revealed in heaven, and Jesus Himself begins opening the seals. With each opening of a seal, a new judgment is unleashed upon the earth. The Trumpet judgments follow the opening of the seventh seal, and they are more severe than the Seal judgments were. Chronologically, Rhodes puts the midpoint of the tribulation here, after the Trumpet judgments. There are a lot of things that happen at the midpoint of the tribulation – too many to list in this short review. But he does a good job at listing what happens and in many cases provides some further explanation.
The book resumes with happenings from the second half of the tribulation, specifically the final seven Bowl judgments. With the 21 main judgments fulfilled, Rhodes turns to the next big event in the chronology – the second coming of Christ. The Bible identifies the second coming with the Battle of Armageddon, but Rhodes instead calls it a campaign and divides it into eight phases. Rhodes then goes on to reconcile the dates with those given in Daniel 12:11-12. He opines that there are at least six significant events that will occur at the end of the tribulation that will consume the amount of time accounted for in the Daniel passage. In addition to these six, he adds: the judgment of the nations; the judgment of the Jews; and the marriage supper of the Lamb.
We then enter the Millennial Kingdom. The Millennium is 1000 years long; Jesus Himself rules the earth during this time; people live extraordinarily long lives; the animal kingdom is tamed; etc. Rhodes makes the point that, “Only believers will be invited into Christ’s millennial kingdom in their mortal bodies.” He goes on to differentiate Jews and Gentiles and always comes back to believers being in their mortal bodies. This obviously begs the question, what about the believers who have been raptured? Do they stay in heaven during the entire millennium? This question, unfortunately, is never answered. Many pages are devoted to describing life during the millennium, and there are plenty of Scripture references given to support Rhodes’ opinions.
Having said that, overall The End Times in Chronological Order is an excellent book. It’s easy to read, is internally consistent, is replete with Scripture references that support Rhodes’ views, and it flows from page to page like any good novel would – except this book is true! It doesn’t leave much out, and it supplies sufficient detail in areas so that the reader can be involved with the text. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting a better understanding of the end times.
Barry Dysert has been a Christian for over 45 years. He is a writer for his church, a technical writer, and the author of “A Chronological Commentary of Revelation”. He is also a Bible teacher and enjoys writing about Christian books as they relate to the Bible.