This book was written as a general introduction to both a Biblical eschatology and a way of reading the Bible; the former, I believe, grows naturally out of the latter. It also serves as a prologue to my larger work (in progress), a commentary on the Book of Revelation.
For this reason, the present book does not claim to answer every conceivable question about prophecy. Those who wish to find out more about the perspective presented here should consult the bibliography. In addition to my commentary, several other works on eschatology are in various stages of preparation, most notably by the Rev. James B. Jordan (Matthew 24) and the Rev. Ray Sutton (Daniel).
Many readers will (I hope) find the material on the Garden of Eden fascinating, as I did when I first heard Jim Jordan’s lectures on the subject in 1977. They will be happy to hear that his book Trees and Thorns, a comprehensive survey of the Edenic patterns, is nearing publication. I highly recommend this work. Another scholar whose studies have influenced mine is Dr. Meredith Kline; his book Images of the Spirit is a masterpiece of Biblical Theology. (I hasten to point out, of course, that he should not be held responsible for any of my conclusions.)
The Bible quotations are generally from the New American Standard Version, including its marginal notes; on occasion I have altered the quotations slightly in favor of a more literal rendering.
I am very grateful to a number of good friends who gave me their counsel and assistance during the writing of this book. First among these is my publisher, Dr. Gary North, who originally asked me to write it, and whose suggestions were consistently fruitful and challenging. The manuscript was read by the pastors of Westminster Presbyterian Church (Tyler, Texas): the Rev. Lewis Bulkeley, the Rev. Robert Dwelle, the Rev. James B. Jordan, and the Rev. Ray Sutton; their theological insights have influenced virtually every page of the book.
Others who read the manuscript and gave valuable comments are the Rev. Mark House, pastor of First Presbyterian Church (Manhattan Beach, California); Spencer Roundtree, a ruling elder of the Church of the Redeemer (Placerville, California); James Whitacre, a fellow member of Westminster Presbyterian Church; and the Rev. George Grant, pastor of Believers’ Fellowship (Humble, Texas). In addition to his helpful criticisms (which he offered with reckless, prodigal abandon), George designed the book cover; the artwork was done by Randy Rogers, also of Believers’ Fellowship. I would also like to thank Oakton Reformed Fellowship (Oakton, Virginia) for their help in the publication of this book.
In ways too numerous to mention, I am indebted to the patient and dedicated work of two efficient secretaries at the Institute for Christian Economics: Mrs. Maureen Peters and Mrs. Brenda West. At every stage of production their aid has been invaluable and is deeply appreciated.
Finally, I am grateful to my wife, Darlene, who graciously assisted me throughout the project. Because her love is a continuing token of Paradise Restored, this book is dedicated to her.