This little gem of a book was written in 1902 by Arno C. Gaebelein.  I am fortunate to have an original edition.  However Dispensational Publishing House has recently republished this work.  If you click on their name it will send you over to the book on their website.  By the way, let me just say how grateful I am for those guys.  Randy White is doing a great job of getting dispensational books out into the market.  At the same time he is freeing us from the tyranny of Amazon.  I don’t want to seem overly paranoic but if the vast majority of Christian books are being provided through Amazon, then Amazon can easily cut off the flow. So independent publishers and distributors are invaluable.

The author of this book was a Methodist pastor who served in New Jersey in the late 1880’s. Part of his ministry included an outreach to orthodox Jews in his area.  Influenced by Emile Guers book The Future of Israel, his own study of scripture, and his reflections on his Jewish outreach led Gaebelein to abandon amillennialism and became a dispensationalist.   He was a prolific writer an early and influential dispensationalist and an assistant to C.I. Scofield in the development of the Scofield Reference Bible.  Through his frequent speaking at Bible conferences and because of his specialization in Bible prophecy he was significant and well regarded figure.

The Harmony of the Prophetic Word was written at a time when the inspiration of the Bible was under assault from inside the church.  Gaebelein attempts, mostly successfully, to counter this by showing the consistency of prophecy in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. He writes on the first page, “The inspired writers of the Bible cover a period of almost two thousand years, living in so many different ages and under different circumstances, yet all agree perfectly, and there is no clash of opinions.  This unity is a miracle.”  The rest of the book shows the unity of Bible prophecy.

After a short introduction Gaebelein’s book runs to nine chapters. My copy of the book is 212 pages long.  He devotes chapters to: The Day of Jehovah; The Great Tribulation Preceding the Day of Jehovah; The Nations The Enemies of Israel—Their Final Opposition to Jerusalem Followed by Judgment Upon Them; The Awful Individuals—The Leaders of the Apostate Forces at the End of the Age—The Antichrist; The Visible and Glorious Manifestation of Jehovah Over the Earth and in the Earth; The Conversion and Restoration of Israel; The Theocratic Kingdom; The Blessings of the Coming Age—Peace on Earth—Glory to God in the Highest—Israel’s Supremacy and Ministry—All Creation Blessed. 

Each chapter is organized in the same way.  He opens with an overview of the chapter theme.  He then traces that theme throughout the Bible.  He is methodical in his treatment.  In each chapter he traces the theme through both the Old and New Testaments.  He takes pains to carefully explain that although the authors were writing at different times and places their revelation was cohesive and supernaturally consistent.  

I do have two criticisms of the book and one caution.  First the criticisms.  The book I have lacks both a table of contents and an index.  When I begin a book I like to be able to preview it before I dive into the reading.  The table of contents and index allow me to preview what the author will be covering.  This helps me orient my expectations and thinking at the outset so I can get all the education, edification, and encouragement from the book that I can.  So without a table of contents or index I have to take the time to skim through it to get an overview.  But hey, this is just my style.  Maybe you won’t care. By the way, I have checked with Dispensational Publishing House to see if their version has these. I haven’t heard back yet so if this is important to you ask them. So those are my criticisms.

My caution concerns how the author tends to rely on allegorical interpretation to find types and parallels.  Allegory, just to remind you, is interpreting a passage or verse to reveal a hidden meaning.  For example, in the chapter “The Awful Individuals—The Leaders of the Apostate Forces at the End of the Age—The Antichrist” he finds a series of psalms that he says contain descriptions of the coming anti-christ.  While I find the psalms referenced do contain descriptions of evil men opposing the work of God, I understand them to be more like illustrations of the anti-Christ and not prophecies.  I know some may disagree with me on this point.  Nevertheless, I will go ahead and make it anyway.  It is worth your effort to be careful.  Just so you know I am not crazy, Dr. Mike Stallard has also pointed out Arno Gaebelein’s tendency toward allegory.  You can see his analysis of Gaebelein’s body of work over at the Dean Bible Ministries website.  Just click on that name and it will send you over to Dr. Stallard’s analysis.

My criticisms and cautions should not discourage you from getting a copy of this book.  I join C.I. Scofield who, in the forward to the book, commended it to all students of prophecy.  As we read books written by early dispensationalists we deepen our connection with the past leaders and the history of the dispensational movement.  Books like this remind us of how leaders of the past received the Bible as it truly is, the Spirit inspired words of God.  Books like this give us confidence in the continuity of God’s word.  Finally books like this remind us and reinforce the notion that prophecy awaiting fulfillment will be fulfilled in the same way that prophecy in the past was fulfilled, literally.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s