Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Book Review: Behold He Cometh!

Behold He Cometh!
by Herman Hoeksema
Reformed Free Publishing Association
Hardback, 790 pp.
£23.00 + £2.30 Shipping = £25.30 (Click here to order from the CPRC Bookstore)

In these days, when cataclysmic events grab the attention of the world, there is an increasing interest in eschatology. The Left Behind series of books are best-sellers, and all kinds of ideas about the end times are promoted. It is therefore all the more important that we approach Revelation, not with a carnal curiosity, but with a real desire to know what Christ has revealed. Herman Hoeksema (1886-1965), whose lectures on Revelation influenced another expositor (William Hendrikson) wrote 'Behold He Cometh' so that God's people could know what the "Spirit saith unto the churches" (2:7).

The main theme of Revelation is the coming of the Lord Jesus. He comes through history, until He comes finally in the clouds of glory. "Tremendous things must come to pass before the end shall be. The whole church must be gathered: the fullness of the Gentiles and of the Jews. The measure of iniquity must be fulfilled. Antichrist must reach his culmination and have his day. Gog and Magog must play their own part in the things that must come to pass" (p. 9). John was commissioned to write Revelation, that the Church might know, that despite all the terrifying things that must come to pass, Christ rules as King in Heaven. As Hoeksema explains it, "all of the events of history occur in order to bring in the kingdom of God" (p. 197).

The events which are to come are described so vividly that the believer is tempted to tremble: "We are inclined to fear at His coming rather than to hope for it" (p. 44). These events are awesome, but Hoeksema never fails to bring the comforting promises of this Book to the child of God. Some examples: "The dragon's power and authority itself is limited. He bears the number ten, and his kingdom bears that same number. And that number refers to God's own sovereign decree. It is well that we bear this in mind, for it is to our comfort" (p. 457); "The Lamb still stands on Mount Zion. To the natural eye He is not visible, the spiritual eye of faith sees Him plainly. The Lamb, not the devil, is King of this world. The Lamb, not the beast, shall have the victory ... why are they [144,000] mentioned here? Simply to show that not one of the elect is missing. They are all with the Lamb on Mount Zion" (p. 485).

Hoeksema carefully differentiates between symbolism and the literal. This results in a sober, and reverent treatment of the text. Revelation was "signified" (presented in signs or symbols) to John (1:1); we must never forget this.

Behold He Cometh opens up the book of Revelation, which many Christians are afraid to touch. Here are over 700 pages of sound interpretation, penetrating insight, and practical application. "It may not be possible to satisfy the spirit of curiosity ... but one may surely so understand the 'meaning of the Spirit' that he receives the blessing" (p. 2), writes Hoeksema. Let the Christian, then, lift up his head and fear not, for his "redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28). Let him heed the exhortation to keep himself unspotted from the world and from the false church, that he may be prepared for the Great Day of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Martyn McGeown