If you want a short book on the three or four theories of the end times from the Christian perspective, then check out Jason E. Royle’s The Rapture: Misunderstood. It is 92 pages long and a quick read. Like the minister he is, the author begins the book by telling a story of Pastor Bell and a terminally ill man who Bell recruits to join his team to bring about the end of the world. Bell’s purpose in trying to bring about the end of the world is to stop evil in its tracks, to subdue the devil, and bring about the second coming of Christ.
The story is interesting in that it is a mix of different types of ministries, the pastoral, the prophetic, and the liturgical. Among the characters are two archangels, Michael and Raphael, a Catholic priest, the Pope, the devil and his wife, and many others. It is not a doom-and-gloom story. It is also not a fire-and-brimstone type of story. There are some elements of humor in it and some are tongue in cheek, though I do not believe Royle’s intent was to be sacrilegious. Far from it. The humor was a way in today’s soundbite world of keeping the reader interested in the story while also being a way of keeping the preachiness out. The end I kind of saw coming. The story as a whole reminded me of how parables were told.
A poem follows which was a nice segway to the expository “sermon” which is more like an essay. Here Royle gives the reader a concise explanation of the various views of Christian theologians, experts, apologists on the end times. He defines certain relevant terms, show where they appear and do not appear in the Bible and the similarities between the approaches. The author then invites the reader to study through reading many different authors from all walks of life for a balanced approach. Royle does not preach what the reader’s conclusion should be. At the end is a works cited section with resources for further study.
The section “How Jesus Will Return” brought back a pleasant memory of a time when this reader played an angel in a scene featuring the ascension of Christ into heaven in The Atlanta Passion Play. I could almost hear the crowd “choir” singing the Hallelujah Chorus while I was reading this part.
****Copy provided by author for honest review