The Second Coming of Christ by Odeh
November 23, 2004
(Posted on November 23, 2004)
In his book, he discusses the hermeneutical basis of end time thinking (chapters 7 and 8), some of the exegetical and Biblical foundations of Premillennialism and Amillennialism (chapters 2, 5, 9), some aspects of the Biblical Theology of end time thinking (chapters 6, 10, 11, 12), and some pertinent issues in Systematic Theology, Eschatology in particular (chapters 1, 3, 4).
He starts with a description of different Eschatological systems i.e. Postmillennialism, Amillennialism, and Premillennialism. And then moves towards discussing the details of Premillennialism especially Dispensationalism. Based on exegetical, historical, theological, and logical foundations he tried to provide an Amillennial interpretation refuting the following issues: A) the Dispensational interpretation of many Biblical texts especially Nebuchadnezzar?s dreams in the book of Daniel, the seventy weeks in Daniel, Revelation 7, Revelation 20:1-6, Gog and Magog in Revelation 20: 7-10, Isaiah 11:1-10, in addition to many NT texts; B) the meaning and timing of the tribulation in dispensational thinking (chapters 3, 4); C) the meaning of the Millennium (chapter 1); D) the meaning of the Kingdom of God/Heavens (chapter 10).
In my opinion Rev. Odeh has succeeded in the following:
A) he presented a strong defense of Amillennialism integrating a great amount of Biblical texts with admirable sensitivity to the nuances of the lexemes.
B) He has unmasked several weaknesses in Dispensationalism for example the doctrine of the secretive Second Coming.
C) He addressed the reader in a personal way with a prayerful heart.
D) He integrated a good amount of secondary literature in a small book (224 pages). For example, he integrated the input of Josephus, Eusebius, Tacitus, Apocryphal texts (especially Maccabees), Scofield?s Bible, different Arabic and English Translations, and several modern interesting authors.
Having stated his success, I would like to add that the book could be improved in several areas:
A) The book needs a great amount of editing in several areas. First, the page numbers are not accurate. Almost all the titles in the table of contents are misnumbered. Second, The book is not consistent in its terminology. For example, Dispensationalists are labeled with at least three different Arabic labels (pp. 159, 160, 163). Throughout the book the labels are not consistent. Furthermore, there is confusion (probably unintended) between Dispensationalists and Premillennialists (See for example p. 101). Third, the Biblical texts of certain references are misnumbered. For example, the four animals in Daniel are not mentioned in chapter 6 but chapter 7 (p. 26). Fourth, the foreign labels (mainly English) are misspelled (cf. p. 90, 149, etc.) or misplaced (p. 107). Fifth, understandably, there are difficulties in using theological Arabic labels. For example, Amillennialism is translated as anti-millennialism. This translation is misleading since Amillennialism does not reject the label Millennial (found in Rev. 20) but rejects understanding it as a literal 1000 years.
B) The book could become more credible if the references are documented. Many of the references are not mentioned in the Bibliography. Furthermore, even though the writer uses several books, it is not always easy to know the source of certain ideas.
C) The order of the chapters is not communicating a clear trajectory in the book. There are several chapters that seem unconnected in a direct way.
D) The writer has invested so much energy in responding to Dispensationalism to the extent that he did not invest any time in contextualization. It would be important to add another chapter discussing the influence of Dispensationalism on believers in Galilee. What are the practical implications of Dispensationalism on the identity of Israeli Christian Arabs and their relationship with their Muslim and Jewish neighbors?
In Summary, I think that this book will advance the cause of spreading the Kingdom of God in Galilee and possibly in other places. Rev. Yousif Odeh has provided to the Arabic library a valuable addition. He has rightly argued against Dispensationalism and has presented a plausible case for Amillennialism.