by Hank Hanegraaff & Sigmund Brouwer (Wheaton. Ill.:Tyndale House Pub., 2004, 395 pgs.), —2nd book: “The Last Sacrifice”, ” (Wheaton, Ill.:Tyndale House Pub., 2005, 344 pgs.).

This series is a high energy fast moving adventure story, set primarily in first century Rome and Jerusalem (65 AD-70 AD). It is told from the perspective of Roman, Jewish, and Christian characters. Each one facing different problems and dilemmas.

Those in Jerusalem are living in chaotic times with the city divided up and in rebellion against the Romans, and Jewish leaders fighting one another. In Rome, even highly placed Roman citizens are being subjected to the lunacy and the whims of Nero. For Christians, theses are times of tribulation no matter where they live, and the possibility of being martyred for the faith is a reality that they live with everyday.

John ‘the last disciple’ of Jesus is touching the lives of all those he comes in contact with, including some of the major characters in this story. Nero is obsessed with trying to understand John’s letter written from the Isle of Patmos. Many Christians are also trying to gain insight from the writing; however, Roman soldiers are arresting everyone who has a copy.

Some Bible teachers are critical of this series because it puts the writing of the Book of Revelation in the reign of Nero, before the fall of Jerusalem (69/70 A.D.). Most scholars teach that the book was probably written around 95 A.D. Also, dispensationalist teachers oppose this book series because it seems to present a ‘preterist’ interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Tim LaHaye (“Left Behind’ series-author) has been particularly critical of the series for both of these reasons. However, there is considerable evidence which should not be ignored, that actually supports an earlier dating of the letter.

Putting aside the controversy, there is much to be gained from reading this series. It presents an accurate view of life in the first century. It gives you a feeling for what it might have been like to be living in Jerusalem during the chaos of 65-70 A.D. Also, what would it have been like living as a Christian under Nero, facing persecution, arrest, and death on the cross, or worse yet in the arenas. Yet, what it might have been like meeting John, ‘the last disciple’ of Jesus, and going on a long journey with the ‘beloved’ Apostle.

The stories are well written and the kind that you can’t put down until they’re done. Even if I don’t necessarily agree with the way they interpret the Book of Revelation; I whole heartedly recommend these books. They’re interesting, informative, and a good read.

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