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Book Review: Robert Caringola’s “The Present Reign of Jesus Christ”

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Caringola bookby Steve Eastman,

It’s difficult to go into a Christian bookstore and not be exposed to prominently displayed books on the End Times.  They are top sellers that have launched the careers of traveling speakers who appear at big conferences and on prominent religious television networks.  The Christian public is plagued with short-term memory, unaware of important beliefs of revivalists of even two hundred years ago.  Many of us who are trying to manifest the Kingdom of God in our daily lives and spread it around our world, feel an uneasiness with the traditional view of Revelation.  The problem with the traditional view is it doesn’t go back far enough.  This is where The Present Reign of Jesus Christ offers a well-documented alternative.

There is nothing like fulfilled prophecy to encourage an awe for the Word of God.  Robert Caringola dishes this out in heaping helpings.  He argues the vast majority of Revelation has already been fulfilled.  Caringola quotes a well-respected non-Christian historian, who certainly had no motive to glorify God by providing details of exact fulfillments.  Perhaps like a modern day Cyrus the Persian, the scholar was an instrument in God’s hand, nevertheless.

There is nothing new about Caringola’s approach.  His extensive use of footnotes shows this take on Revelation has been around at least since the Protestant Reformation.  Caringola’s main contribution is gathering all the information into one place, shrink-wrapping it from thousands of pages into just a few hundred, and putting it into language everyday readers can understand.  It is mystifying how Christians could have abandoned such an airtight system of prophecies and fulfillments for the muddy waters of sinking dispensationalism.

One of the services Caringola provides is the interpretation of the picture language of Revelation by the picture language of Old Testament prophecies that are generally considered to be fulfilled.  There is no doubt the apostle John saw the pictures, but many today confuse the pictures with what they represent.

Caringola teaches Revelation covers the same historical periods several times from different perspectives.  The first view is presented by the letters to the seven churches in chapters two and three.  These churches in Asia Minor were real, but they also seem to represent characteristics of successive ages.

Believers in the Historicist system that Caringola explains have been able to predict events before they happened almost to the day, such as when Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the Wittenberg chapel door.  Readers will also be surprised to learn the identities of the original human sources of today’s popular eschatology.  Prophecy teachers would be surprised as well.

I consider The Present Reign of Jesus Christ to be one of the most life-changing books I have ever read.  It takes the focus away from twisting the latest headlines into another excuse to look for the rapture.  As Caringola loves to point out, Jesus will remain seated at the right hand of the Father, until His enemies are made His footstool.  We’ve been left behind to grow the Kingdom here on earth.


© 2008, reposted with permission

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