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Title: Prophet and Historian: John to Josephus
Author: Maurice A. Williams
Published: March 11, 2005
ISBN: 1411627091
Genre: Bible Study/Historical
Book Size: 160 pages
Reviewer: Deborah Porter

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In response to the wave of very popular apocalypse/tribulation books that have appeared over the past three decades, Maurice A. Williams examines the message of John's Revelation in his book Prophet and Historian: From John to Josephus, providing an alternative viewpoint - one that has caused some polarization of opinion in Christian circles.

There are four schools of thought regarding the interpretation of the Book of Revelation, and it is the preterist interpretation that Williams has focused on in his book. This interpretation goes quite firmly against the belief in a raptured church and post tribulation return of Christ, as popularized in the hugely successful Left Behind series.

In communicating this alternate view, Maurice Williams has done a credible job of presenting a case for believing that many, if not most, of the events outlined in the Book of Revelation took place during the time of Christ and the Apostles.

The author wrote: "I compared events that occurred in Judea following Christ's death and the demise of Judea to certain visions in the Apocalypse. I thought then, and still think, that the visions warned the unbelieving Judeans, what would happen should they oppose the Messianic kingdom set up by the Messiah and try to destroy it."

What follows is a journey through this brief, turbulent period in history as the author provides an overview into the life and times both during and following the apostles' generation. Using quite extensive and fascinating quotes from commentators and historians of the time, most notably Josephus, together with his own insights, the author leads the reader through the supposition that the three woes of the apocalypse, together with the rise of the beasts and the gathering of the elect, all took place in the 100 years following Christ's death and resurrection.

No matter what school of thought readers may have regarding the Book of Revelation and the Apocalypse, there is always great value in weighing that belief against other Biblical-based opinions on this matter. In this respect, Prophet and Historian: From John to Josephus will give food for thought for the Christian who is eager to explore this matter in a deeper way. It also provides a very straightforward and sometimes quite disturbingly graphic historical overview of the prevailing political and social events of the time. As someone who enjoys historical writing, this aspect alone made the book an engrossing read.

However, as absorbing as the historical documentation is, it is the connection made between the people and events of that era and the prophesies found in Revelation that makes this book such a compelling read; intriguing, in fact.

Ultimately, Prophet and Historian: John to Josephus may not necessarily change your opinion regarding the timing and events of the Apocalypse. However, it may very well broaden your thinking to at least consider that there are other possibilities. I could be wrong, but I believe the author would be quite satisfied knowing his book had achieved that purpose.