Hoekema: The Bible and the Future

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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I originally wrote this as a premillennialist. I am no longer premil, and while I didn't want to change the review too much, I did remove most of the offending parts.

The beginning of the book was a nice survey of Ladd's contribution to modern eschatology.

Other Millennial Positions

"Gives an interesting critique of postmillennialism, though he does avoid a few of their stronger arguments. Secondly, I am not so sure his critique of Shepherd's exegesis of Revelation 20, with which so far I agree with Hoekema, doesn't actually backfire and challenge Hoekema's own position"

Hoekema’s exegesis of Revelation 20:

He argues that Revelation 20:1 takes us back to the beginning of the NT era (227). He makes the specific argument that the defeat of Satan began with the coming of Christ. He claims that Jesus’s parable of the strong man is the binding of Satan today (229). Concerning verse 4 he says that the referent to the “souls of those who have been beheaded” necessarily shifts the location to heaven (231).

Hoekema is adamant that there is no earthly reign, claiming that the scene in vv. 4-6 is in heaven (233). He sees further parallels in 6:9-11, with the beheaded souls in heaven at the altar. He claims that the two scenes are identical (235).

He specifically glosses esezan to read “the soul’s coming to life after death” (234). Admittedly, this is superior to the Augustinian gloss of “regeneration.”

Analysis and Critique

His section on the resurrection is pretty good and one is warmly encouraged by his use of passages showing that the Spirit is a downpayment, giving believers hope that they will be saved (something often missing from anchoretic treatments).

He understands the challenge that Isaiah 65:20 poses to the amillennial scheme, even noting it’s a hard text. At the end, though, he simply says it is figurative language.

He asks the perceptive question (p. 283 n.17) as to what will the glorified saints be reigning over (ala Rev. 5). He says they will be reigning over the new creation. This response is unsatisfactory. Unless we are reigning over dogs and cats, the word reign is being used differently than in its normal sense. Some of the silliness of premil aside, their answers are more satisfactory. He is correct, though, that our “reigning” must always be tied in with our “resurrection.” If this is so, then it makes little sense, per his earlier arguments, to see the reigning in Revelation 20 as disembodied souls in heaven.

Does his exegesis of Revelation 20 work? It is certainly better than previous Augustinian and some postmillennial accounts. If the words “coming to life/resurrection” refer to regeneration, then we have the absurd results that the martyrs are regenerated after they are beheaded for their faith! Hoekema rightly avoids this oddity.

He struggles, though, to make the point that the reigning in ch.20 is merely spiritual and heavenly. As he notes elsewhere (p. 287) reigning is tied to resurrection, which is bodily. Further, his claim that the text nowhere says we are reigning on earth is simply false on at least two counts. Rev. 5:10 specifically says we will reign on earth. Further, the syntax of Rev. 20:1-3 presupposes that Rev. 19 is a sequential account of Christ’s return. Chap 19 specifically says Christ returned “to earth.” The words in chap 20, “then,” “no longer,” and “after that,” particularly the latter, necessarily demand the previous context be taken into account.

Now, I am no longer premil but I wished Hoekema had dealt more with the sequential nature of the syntax between Rev. 19 and 20.

Hoekema’s recapitulatory reading, while occasionally interesting, simply breaks down at the end. Given that the chapter headings are a late addition to the text, and the overwhelming sequential terms in chs. 19-20, it simply is not true that chapter 20 begins a recapitulation. Certainly, we may hear echoes as in Rev. 6 and Rev. 20, but the two situations are entirely different. The martyred souls in Revelation 6 cannot be said to be reigning in heaven. If anything, they are pleading for vengeance, something rather odd for “ruling and reigning!”

Decent appendix dealing with modern eschatologies. The section on Moltmann needs to take Moltmann's later "Coming of God" into account. Further, one can't accuse Moltmann of not specifying the content of future eschatology when the bible itself really doesn't do that.

While I disagree with his amillennialism, Hoekema’s text is to be welcomed. It’s exegesis is far superior to previous amillennial accounts.

ANother odd problem is that while he gave a fantastic account of death and the intermediate state, he totally avoided any discussion of Roman Catholic claims about Purgatory.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
I originally wrote this as a premillennialist. I am no longer premil, and while I didn't want to change the review too much, I did remove most of the offending parts.

The beginning of the book was a nice survey of Ladd's contribution to modern eschatology.

Other Millennial Positions

"Gives an interesting critique of postmillennialism, though he does avoid a few of their stronger arguments. Secondly, I am not so sure his critique of Shepherd's exegesis of Revelation 20, with which so far I agree with Hoekema, doesn't actually backfire and challenge Hoekema's own position"

Hoekema’s exegesis of Revelation 20:

He argues that Revelation 20:1 takes us back to the beginning of the NT era (227). He makes the specific argument that the defeat of Satan began with the coming of Christ. He claims that Jesus’s parable of the strong man is the binding of Satan today (229). Concerning verse 4 he says that the referent to the “souls of those who have been beheaded” necessarily shifts the location to heaven (231).

Hoekema is adamant that there is no earthly reign, claiming that the scene in vv. 4-6 is in heaven (233). He sees further parallels in 6:9-11, with the beheaded souls in heaven at the altar. He claims that the two scenes are identical (235).

He specifically glosses esezan to read “the soul’s coming to life after death” (234). Admittedly, this is superior to the Augustinian gloss of “regeneration.”

Analysis and Critique

His section on the resurrection is pretty good and one is warmly encouraged by his use of passages showing that the Spirit is a downpayment, giving believers hope that they will be saved (something often missing from anchoretic treatments).

He understands the challenge that Isaiah 65:20 poses to the amillennial scheme, even noting it’s a hard text. At the end, though, he simply says it is figurative language.

He asks the perceptive question (p. 283 n.17) as to what will the glorified saints be reigning over (ala Rev. 5). He says they will be reigning over the new creation. This response is unsatisfactory. Unless we are reigning over dogs and cats, the word reign is being used differently than in its normal sense. Some of the silliness of premil aside, their answers are more satisfactory. He is correct, though, that our “reigning” must always be tied in with our “resurrection.” If this is so, then it makes little sense, per his earlier arguments, to see the reigning in Revelation 20 as disembodied souls in heaven.

Does his exegesis of Revelation 20 work? It is certainly better than previous Augustinian and some postmillennial accounts. If the words “coming to life/resurrection” refer to regeneration, then we have the absurd results that the martyrs are regenerated after they are beheaded for their faith! Hoekema rightly avoids this oddity.

He struggles, though, to make the point that the reigning in ch.20 is merely spiritual and heavenly. As he notes elsewhere (p. 287) reigning is tied to resurrection, which is bodily. Further, his claim that the text nowhere says we are reigning on earth is simply false on at least two counts. Rev. 5:10 specifically says we will reign on earth. Further, the syntax of Rev. 20:1-3 presupposes that Rev. 19 is a sequential account of Christ’s return. Chap 19 specifically says Christ returned “to earth.” The words in chap 20, “then,” “no longer,” and “after that,” particularly the latter, necessarily demand the previous context be taken into account.

Now, I am no longer premil but I wished Hoekema had dealt more with the sequential nature of the syntax between Rev. 19 and 20.

Hoekema’s recapitulatory reading, while occasionally interesting, simply breaks down at the end. Given that the chapter headings are a late addition to the text, and the overwhelming sequential terms in chs. 19-20, it simply is not true that chapter 20 begins a recapitulation. Certainly, we may hear echoes as in Rev. 6 and Rev. 20, but the two situations are entirely different. The martyred souls in Revelation 6 cannot be said to be reigning in heaven. If anything, they are pleading for vengeance, something rather odd for “ruling and reigning!”

Decent appendix dealing with modern eschatologies. The section on Moltmann needs to take Moltmann's later "Coming of God" into account. Further, one can't accuse Moltmann of not specifying the content of future eschatology when the bible itself really doesn't do that.

While I disagree with his amillennialism, Hoekema’s text is to be welcomed. It’s exegesis is far superior to previous amillennial accounts.

ANother odd problem is that while he gave a fantastic account of death and the intermediate state, he totally avoided any discussion of Roman Catholic claims about Purgatory.
The First resurrection are those at the First Coming, unto eternal life with Christ, while the Second one is to judgment, and that is after a period of time, so how does he see that being?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
How does he view the first and second resurrection mentioned in Chapter 20 of Revelation?

As noted in my review above:
Concerning verse 4 he says that the referent to the “souls of those who have been beheaded” necessarily shifts the location to heaven (231).

Hoekema is adamant that there is no earthly reign, claiming that the scene in vv. 4-6 is in heaven (233). He sees further parallels in 6:9-11, with the beheaded souls in heaven at the altar. He claims that the two scenes are identical (235).
 
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