— August 2nd, 2012 —

Book Review: “An Eschatology of Victory,” by J. Marcellus Kik

There is a great debate today over the meaning of Matthew 24 and Revelation 20, two passages central to any discussion of eschatology. Does Matthew 24 prophesy a Great Tribulation or a premillennial return of Christ? Does Revelation 20 describe a millennial age on earth, or in heaven? Will the nations be converted before the coming of Christ?
J. Marcellus Kik provides great insight into these passages and the questions that surround them. He writes, ‘It is the habit of a few to read a few chapters of a book on prophecy to see which school of thought the author belongs. Then if they do not agree with his particular school it is cast aside and condemned. It is my hope that the reader will not use the norm of any particular school of prophecy but will use the Scriptures. Does the Word of God teach this or does it not?’” — from the back cover

Before I review the book, let me give a brief synopsis of my eschatological history, so you know where I’m coming from.
For me, eschatology has always been a sort of mysterious fog of bizarre imagery, doom, destruction, glory, and to top it all off, dissenting opinions about all of it and when it shall come to pass (if it even comes to pass at all).
Though my early thinking was rather lightly seasoned with premillennialism (I say lightly simply because I’d just accepted whatever I’d heard, not having had a chance to study it out for myself) I’d not really been steeped in any particular school of thought on eschatology. Reading The Last Sacrifice several years ago by Hank Hanegraaff and Sigmund Brouwer was my first exposure to the idea that the tribulation may well have been in AD 70 instead of sometime in the future under a world dictator. That exposure did two things for me. First, by throwing contrary ideas about the tribulation at me, it prevented me from keeping what few errant presuppositions I had and second, it began to prepare my mind for postmillennialism.
Again, since I’d not studied eschatology at all up to this point, but had just heard this or that, I had a rather clean slate regarding my doctrine of the end times. The next step I unwittingly took was when I read the first volume of R.J. Rushdoony’s Institutes of Biblical Law and had my first encounter with practical postmillennialism. As I read the book, I got a keen sense of the duty we Christians have here on earth regarding taking dominion in every area of life and advancing the Kingdom of God. I didn’t know it at the time, but that mentality was the practical, direct result of the eschatological school of thought known as postmillennialism.
J. Marcellus Kik’s An Eschatology of Victory was the first book I’ve ever read that deals specifically with the end times. With all the foregoing in mind, here’s my review.
Most of the book is divided in two. The first part deals with Matthew 24 (where Jesus speaks of the tribulation, and this generation not passing away, and the Son of Man coming in the clouds, etc.). Kik exposits the passage very ably and makes, in my opinion, a rather conclusive and exhaustive argument that the events of Matthew 24 did indeed come to pass before the generation then living—just as Jesus said would happen.
In the second portion, Kik exposits Revelation 20, wherein we find descriptions of the Millennium, the heavenly city, Satan being bound with chains, and other vivid imagery. This section was no less excellent than the first, but in a couple of areas, Kik challenged some of the ideas I’d held during my life. But I’m a firm believer that reformation cannot take place unless presuppositions are challenged—and if those presuppositions are sound, they’ll remain; and if they’re not, they’ll be reformed (Lord willing).
Right at the outset of the book, Kik succinctly summarizes the three main eschatological positions. This was especially helpful for me, someone just beginning to learn about these things:

As you know, the premil looks for the establishment of the millennial kingdom after the second coming of the Lord. As to the amil view we quote Prof. D. H. Kromminga: “The name literally means ‘no millennium’; while as a matter of fact its advocates believe that the millennium is a spiritual or heavenly millennium rather than an earthly one of a literal reign of Christ on earth before the final judgment.”

The postmil looks for a fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of a glorious age of the church upon earth through the preaching of the gospel under the power of the Holy Spirit. He looks forward to all nations becoming Christian and living in peace one with another. He relates all prophecies to history and time. After the triumph of Christianity throughout the earth he looks for the second coming of the Lord. (pp. 3–4)

Now, what of those other eschatological positions? What about amillennialism and premillennialism? Kik’s purpose in this book is not to refute other positions as it is to make a Scriptural case for his own. As such, he doesn’t touch too much on the objections other perspectives bring to the conversation.
I recommend this book to anyone seeking to understand the end times. It’s this kind of book that I read and wonder, “This argument is so solid, how can anyone bring an argument against it?”
Highly recommended to me personally by Dr. Joe Morecraft.
AGE RANGE: As young as can understand it, but that range would probably begin with young men and women in their mid/early teens.

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