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The Lamb of God and the Seal-Sealed Scroll, by Dr. R. Gnanaharan

In The Lamb of God and the Seven-Sealed Scroll, Dr. R. Gnanaharan gives a defense of his transition from a pretrib to what he calls the "prewrath" position on the rapture of the church. This is not a detailed analysis or defense but a personal testimony and exhortation to holiness and preparation in advance of the coming of the Lord. For the most part, avid students of the rapture, and especially the prewrath position, will not find much new here, but it is an impassioned plea that lends yet another public voice to the rising chorus of prewrath believers.

I say "prewrath" with some qualification, however. Dr. Gnanaharan holds some views that put him outside the classic prewrath camp. He believes, for example, that the fifth seal occurs in the first half of Daniel's 70th Week and that the great multitudes seen in Revelation 7 are not the raptured church but martyred believers during the great tribulation. Gnanaharan sees the rapture in Revelation 14, occurring after the trumpet judgments. Although this places him in a posttrib prewrath camp, his path to getting there is different from other posttrib prewrathers I've read.

Other than these points, Gnanaharan presents a fairly classic prewrath interpretation of scripture, but until the very end of the book, there is not much new. He lays out the well-known dispensationalist positions on Danielic prophecies, the rebirth of the nation of Israel, and likely fulfillment of the Revived Roman Empire in the European Union. He walks though the New Testament teaching on the Second Coming from a predominantly (with the stated exceptions) prewrath perspective.

My biggest nit with the book is that Gnanaharan casts a very wide net, covering a massive array of material, but in most cases, he only provides it an inch deep. He presents the reader with his interpretation of these extremely complex prophecies but does not acknowledge the vast diversity of other interpretations or explain how he came to his own conclusions.

In this, Gnanaharan creates challenges for his own argument. These are complex prophecies, and the challenges that face interpreters are not to be taken lightly. For example, Gnanaharan glosses over the challenges associated with identifying Peter's "day of the Lord" / Joel 2:31 fulfillment sermon from Acts as yet future, the length of the Day of the Lord, and the future nature of the beginning of birth pangs, among many others. All of this works as a basic explanation of the prewrath view, but it won't do much to change minds among those who hold a different opinion.

The author is at his best in the latter half of the book, where he begins to discuss broader theological issues, such as the delay in Christ's coming fitting into the God's plan being fulfilled in "the fullness of time" or his exhortation to holiness, watchfulness, and preparation in light of his presentation of a timeline of fulfilled prophecy in this generation. I also enjoyed his discussion of the meaning of the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation as the title deed to the earth (a view also brilliantly articulated by Renald Showers in Maranatha Our Lord, Come!). At the very end of the book — the last 60 pages or so — Gnanaharan finally begins to present conclusions of real "meat" to his prophecy discussion. This is also where he diverges from the classic prewrath camp, presenting his argument for the rapture at the end of the trumpet judgments and seen in Revelation 14. Here, at last, Gnanaharan does make some interesting points that are worthy of discussion. The challenge is that it took 180 pages to get there, and for the people interested in that debate, the presentation is enough to spark discussion but not enough to settle it.

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