Recommended Books on Bible Prophecy
Are there certain books that are essential?
One of the best overall books on Bible prophecy that has ever been published is Things to Come by Dwight Pentecost (Zondervan, 1964). It is scholarly and comprehensive, written for serious, college level students.
My book, God’s Plan for the Ages (2005), contains a comprehensive survey of all aspects of Bible prophecy. It was written for the layman and is easy to read and understand. A similar comprehensive study that is more scholarly in its approach is a book by Paul N. Benware entitled Understanding End Time Prophecy (Moody Press, 1995).
With regard to end time prophecies only, one of the best surveys for the more general reader is Leon Woods’ book, The Bible and Future Events (Zondervan, 1973). Other very readable surveys are The Final Chapter by S. Maxwell Coder (Tyndale House, 1984) and A Survey of Bible Prophecy by R. Ludwigson (Zondervan, 1973). The King is Coming by H.L. Willmington (Tyndale House, 1973) presents an overview of end time events in a very unique and easy to follow outline form.
A study guide which I wrote, called, The Christ in Prophecy Study Guide (Lamb & Lion Ministries, 1987; 2nd edition, 2001), presents an analytical survey of all Messianic prophecy contained in both the Old and New Testaments. Another indispensable reference volume that presents an exhaustive survey is All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer (Zondervan, 1979).
A survey book intended for the serious student is Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s encyclopedic study of Tribulation events which bears the strange title, The Footsteps of the Messiah (Ariel Press, 1982; 2nd edition, 2003). It focuses on showing the sequence of end time events and their relationship to each other.
A brief and fascinating survey book full of penetrating insights is one titled What on Earth is God Doing? (Loizeaux Brothers, 1973). It was written by Renald Showers, a gifted teacher and writer who serves the Friends of Israel Ministry. The book presents a capsule overview of God’s purposes in history from start to finish.
Nothing is more important to the understanding of Bible prophecy than the principles of interpretation that are applied to it. An excellent introductory book for the general reader is How to Study Bible Prophecy for Yourself by Tim LaHaye (Harvest House, 1990).
The most profound book ever written on the topic is The Interpretation of Prophecy by Paul Lee Tan (Assurance Publishers, 1974). This book is an essential tool for any serious student of prophecy.
The history of prophetic interpretation is presented in great detail in the amazing, four volume, encyclopedic study called The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, edited by LeRoy Edwin Froom (Review and Herald Press). Volume 1 (1950) covers the Early Church. Volume 2 (1948) surveys the Pre-Reformation and Reformation periods. Volume 3 (1946) looks at the Colonial American and European Awakening. Volume 4 (1946) provides a look at the 19th Century. This great work of scholarship took years to complete. The first two volumes are based upon original research conducted throughout Europe in the 1920’s and 1930’s, utilizing ancient documents, many of which were destroyed in World War II.
Perhaps the least understood area of prophecy is symbolic prophecy, sometimes called prophecy in type. About half of Herbert Lockyer’s book, All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible, is dedicated to this important topic (Zondervan, 1979).
Two books concerning symbolic prophecy that are easy to read and are full of useful insights are Christ in the Tabernacle by Louis Talbot (Moody Press, 1978) and Jesus in the Feasts of Israel by Richard Booker (Bridge Publishing, 1987).
Old Testament Prophets
A magnificent introduction to all the Old Testament prophets is provided by Leon Wood in his exceptional book, The Prophets of Israel (Regular Baptist Press, 1979).
One of the finest commentators on the Old Testament prophets is Charles Feinberg, a Messianic Jew. His works include God Remembers: A Study of Zechariah (Multnomah Press, 1965); Jeremiah: A Commentary (Zondervan, 1982); and The Prophecy of Ezekiel: The Glory of the Lord (Moody Press, 1969). A good introduction to Isaiah can be found in the book by Herbert Wolf entitled Interpreting Isaiah: The Suffering and Glory of the Messiah (Zondervan, 1985).
An outstanding series of scholarly commentaries on Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel can be found in volume 6 of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary edited by Frank E. Gaebelein (Zondervan, 1986). The commentary on Isaiah is by G. W. Grogan; Jeremiah is by Charles L. Feinberg; and Ezekiel is by Ralph H. Alexander.
There are a number of good books about the Minor Prophets. Two that are designed for the general reader are Major Truths from the Minor Prophets by John Hunter (Zondervan, 1977) and Will We Ever Catch Up with the Bible? by David Hubbard (Regal Books, 1977).
The best scholarly resource on the Minor Prophets is to be found in volume 7 of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary edited by Frank E. Gaebelein (Zondervan, 1985). The authors of the commentaries on the specific books read like a who’s who of Evangelical scholars. A fine single volume scholarly study is the one by Charles Fineberg entitled The Minor Prophets (Moody Press, 1976).
The best panoramic survey of Israel in prophecy is contained in Walter K. Price’s intriguing book, Next Year in Jerusalem (Moody Press, 1975). Another very good overview is Richard Booker’s outstanding study, Blow the Trumpet in Zion (Victory House, 1985).
An excellent book that relates prophecy to the history of Israel, particularly modern history, is called It is No Dream (The Spearhead Press, 1978). It was written by Elwood McQuaid, the former director of the Friends of Israel Ministry. Charles Feinberg has also produced an excellent volume that mixes prophecy with history. It is titled Israel: At the Center of History and Revelation (Multnomah Press, 1980).
An outstanding verse by verse commentary on Daniel is the one by Leon Woods that is simply entitled, A Commentary on Daniel (Zondervan, 1973). The best one for the general reader is by Renald Showers. It is titled The Most High God (The Friends of Israel, 1982). A lighter book that is both fun to read and inspirational in character is Daniel: God’s Man in a Secular Society by Donald Campbell (Discovery House, 1988). It is designed to serve as a study guide for Bible study groups.
No book of the Bible has been attacked as viciously by theological liberals as the book of Daniel. A tremendous defense of the book’s integrity can be found in a volume called Daniel in the Critic’s Den by Josh McDowell (Campus Crusade for Christ, 1979).
Many excellent studies have been published about the book of Revelation. For the general reader, the two best are Revelation Illustrated and Made Plain by Tim LaHaye (Zondervan, 1973) and There’s a New World Coming by Hal Lindsey (Vision House, 1973). Lindsey’s book is the best one he has ever written.
I have also authored a book about Revelation for the general reader. It is entitled Wrath and Glory (New Leaf Press, 2001). One of the most popular features of this book is a chapter that addresses the most commonly asked questions about Revelation.
For those who desire to dig deeper, The Revelation Record (Tyndale House, 1983) by Henry Morris presents a detailed verse by verse analysis. Dr. Morris is the distinguished founder of the Institute for Creation Research.
A very unique study of Revelation is the one produced by Salem Kirban, a born again Arab. The book utilizes hundreds of photos, charts and drawings to visually present the message of Revelation. It is titled, Revelation Visualized (Salem Kirban, Inc., 1978). What makes it even more unusual is that it is co-authored by Gary Cohen, a born again Jew!
An outstanding introduction to Revelation and the various methods of interpreting it is supplied by Merrill Tenney in his remarkably balanced volume, Interpreting Revelation (Eerdmans, 1957)
The best introduction to the various and often confusing viewpoints of end time prophecy is a book by Robert Lightner called The Last Days Handbook (Thomas Nelson, 1990).
A very thought provoking book on the topic is one edited by Robert G. Clouse entitled The Meaning of the Millennium (Inter-Varsity Press, 1977). It contains four viewpoints presented by advocates of those viewpoints. A similar but more detailed presentation of the four viewpoints can be found in the parallel commentary by Steve Gregg called Revelation: Four Views (Thomas Nelson, 1997). A scholarly presentation and analysis of the various views is contained in John Walvoord’s book, The Millennial Kingdom. (Zondervan, 1959).
For a classic presentation of the fundamentals of premillennial theology, the book to read is The Basis of the Premillennial Faith by Charles Ryrie (Loizeaux Brothers, 1953). It is brief and incisive, and it is written with an irenic spirit.
One of the most detailed studies of the Antichrist ever written is the book by Arthur W. Pink entitled, The Antichrist. It is thoroughly biblical and very thought provoking. It was originally published in 1923 but has been recently republished (Kregel, 1988). The best current day study is the book by Ed Hindson entitled, Is the Antichrist Alive and Well?: Ten Keys to His Identity (Harvest House, 1998).
The important controversy over the timing of the Rapture has been best addressed by John Walvoord in two of his books: The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation (Zondervan, 1976) and The Rapture Question (Zondervan, 1979). Walvoord is the former President of Dallas Theological Seminary. Another fine book on the topic is The Rapture by Hal Lindsey (Bantam Books, 1983).
Tim LaHaye has written a very powerful and exhaustive defense of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture entitled No Fear of the Storm: Why Christians Will Escape All the Tribulation (Multnomah, 1992, later re-published as Rapture Under Attack, 1998).
Signs of the Times
This is a field that attracts many sensationalist writers. There is an abundance of books, but few good ones. One of the most fascinating is World War III: Signs of the Impending Battle of Armageddon by John Wesley White (Zondervan, 1977).
A volume that is comprehensive in scope but exceptionally brief is Signs of the Second Coming by Robert G. Witty (Broadman Press, 1969). A more recent study, and an excellent one, is by Henry Morris. It is titled Creation and the Second Coming (Master Books, 1991).
One of the best prophetic writers to emerge in recent years is Ed Hindson of Liberty University. His books are solidly biblical and down-to-earth, readable by the average Christian. He has written two outstanding studies of the signs of the times: Final Signs (Harvest House, 1996) and Earth’s Final Hour: Are We Really Running Out of Time? (Harvest House, 1999). Another excellent writer in the field of Bible prophecy is Dave Hunt of Berean Ministries. He has produced a very insightful study of the end time signs in his book, How Close Are We? (Harvest House, 1993).
The Eternal State has been the most ignored area of Bible prophecy, probably because the Bible says so little about it. The best book on the topic — one that covers death, resurrection and eternity — is The Future Life by the Frenchman, Rene Pache, translated into English by Helen Needham (Moody Press, 1962). A very worthwhile, exhaustive study of the Eternal State can be found in Bob Chambers’ book, Heaven (College Press, 1991). This is an unusual book because Chambers is an Amillennialist who spiritualizes the prophecies about the Millennium while interpreting the prophecies about Heaven literally!
Only one book has ever been written for pre-school and elementary children concerning end time prophetic events. It is the one I wrote entitled Jesus is Coming Again! (Harvest House, 1992). The book emphasizes the positive promises of God regarding the Millennium and the Eternal State.
Chuck Missler and I have both produced CDs that contain verse-by-verse commentaries on the book of Revelation. My study, Revelation Overview (Lamb & Lion Ministries, 1987) contains 12 tapes. Missler’s Revelation Commentary (Koinonia Ministries) consists of three albums.
Jack Van Impe has produced an excellent series of video commentaries on Revelation called Revelation Revealed (Jack Van Impe Ministries). I have videotaped a 75 minute overview that covers the book chapter by chapter. It is also entitled Revelation Revealed (Lamb & Lion Ministries, 2003).
Ray Stedman’s outstanding commentary on Revelation can be found posted on the Internet in 23 messages at Peninsula Bible Church.
The best illustrations of Revelation have been produced by Pat Marvenko Smith. She has illustrated every main scene of the book and has made the pictures available in a variety of forms — slides, posters, overhead transparencies, video, and PowerPoint®. You can find all her resources on the Internet at revelationillustrated.com.
The Left Behind series of books by Tim LaHaye and Larry B. Jenkins present a fictionalized story about the Rapture and the Tribulation that is based upon biblical prophecies. This series is published by Tyndale House and has broken all sales records for prophetic books. The series of novels has become a best seller even when compared to secular books. The books have been made available on audio tape, and special edited versions have been published for teens. The first of the volumes, entitled Left Behind, was published in 1995.
The very first study Bible ever published came out in 1909. It is still one of the best selling study Bibles in the world. It was produced by a Dallas pastor named C. I. Scofield and is called The Scofield Study Bible (Barbour Publishing, 2000) It has been revised and updated regularly over the years by an editorial committee representing a premillennial, pre-tribulational viewpoint.
A newer study Bible that presents the same view of the passages related to end time prophecy is The Ryrie Study Bible (Moody Press, 1976). Both the Scofield and Ryrie commentaries are available in a variety of translations. The latest and most up to date study Bible that focuses on the interpretation of prophecy is The Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible (AMG Publishers, 2000).
The Living Bible Paraphrased (Tyndale House, 1971), though not a typical study Bible, is nonetheless an interpretive Bible that reflects a premillennial interpretation of all key prophetic passages.
The greatest and most enduring classic on the return of Jesus is William E. Blackstone’s book, Jesus is Coming. It was written in 1878. The third revised edition of 1908 has been recently re-published with an introduction by John Walvoord (Kregel, 1989).
A foreign book that has come to be considered one the great classics of end time prophecy is The Return of Jesus Christ by Rene Pache, translated into English by William S. LaSor (Moody Press, 1955). It is must reading for any Bible prophecy enthusiast.
The 20th Century American classic is, of course, Hal Lindsey’s book, The Late Great Planet Earth (Zondervan, 1970). The New York Times has certified that it was the number one best selling book in the world (with the exception of the Bible) for ten years, between 1970 and 1980!
Perhaps the most unusual book ever published on Bible prophecy is Dispensational Truth by Clarence Larkin (Reverend Clarence Larking Estate, 1920). Larkin was a draftsman who devoted his talents to illustrating prophetic concepts with fascinating charts and diagrams. This is a classic that will keep you up all night!