Future Hope: A Jewish Christian Look at the End of the World
|Book Title:||Future Hope|
|Date Published:||July 2002|
|Genre:||1. Messianic Judaism
|Reviewer:||John Van Dyke|
What quality is most essential to a meaningful life? Researchers were surprised when approximately 60% of respondents to a survey asking that question said their number one choice was the quality of HOPE.
It is within this context that I read Future Hope, a challenging new book by David Brickner.
Brickner divides his book (subtitled A Jewish Christian Look at the End of the World”) into eleven brief chapters and eight appendices, each dealing with an aspect of the theme. He invites readers to examine the chapters in whatever order they choose. The table of contents makes it easy to find which chapters address what questions, including “What is Armageddon?” “Who is the Antichrist?” and “What is the role of Israel in the end times?”
Brickner writes from his perspective as a fifth generation Jewish believer in Jesus. He examines Jewish prophecies concerning end times and tells how it is possible to have confidence and hope as these climactic and catastrophic world events unfold.
Many books on the topic of end times prophecy are so complex that their readership is limited to theologians and scholars. Brickner wrote Future Hope in an easy-to-understand style for a general audience. He wrote to the average person who needs to know that, despite the turmoil and tragedies we may face, God has promised profound meaning and hope.
Brickner writes concisely and clearly, which makes the book a fairly quick and easy read. However, it may not satisfy a reader who is already deeply involved in a biblical study of end times, it is not meant to be an in-depth treatment of all the issues it raises. It does address the anxieties that all people have about the future and offers a dynamic solution. Page after page suggests to the reader that it is possible to live in intimate relationship with the God who is in control of the future, and who has embedded future events with meaning and purpose and therefore with hope. Brickner doesn’t skirt controversial questions about the future found in the prophecies of Daniel, Zechariah, Matthew and Revelation, though he includes a disclaimer regarding the positions he takes as being his own and not attributable to the organization he leads, Jews for Jesus.
Is there anyone who does not feel anxiety about the future? It is difficult to have hope when we live in such a nihilistic, cynical society. Brickner suggests that many of our problems are traceable to the fact that most people have disregarded God and have chosen to believe in humanity’s total control over our own life and destiny. Centuries of bad choices have brought us to the edge of despair and destruction. Future Hope counters the despair which this humanistic faith has caused at its very source. Chapter after chapter highlights the same theme: there is hope because God is in control and no matter what happens, history is moving toward a divinely appointed climax. God will use each event the prophets foretold to bring about purpose and meaning. For that reason all of history is filled with hope.
If you have questions about the future, I encourage you to read Future Hope and to consider seriously the implications that Brickner raises.