About two-thirds of the way through The Last Hour I began to wonder if anyone at the publishing house had bothered to read the book before accepting it for publication.
I think it was the smugness that annoyed me more than anything. Amir Tsarfati is sure of his beliefs and his interpretation of Biblical prophecy. If you disagree with him, then you are simply wrong. At least that is the impression I got from The Last Hour. That is a shame.
I have read my fair share of books dealing with the Bible and end times. I approach them with a certain amount of skepticism. Jesus himself said no-one would know the day or hour of his return, and the prophecies are vague enough that they are open to multiple interpretations. The interpretation of those words in the first century is considerably different from the way we look at them in the 21st. Plus, I think if Christians were true to their calling to be the Church, then the end times aren’t that big a deal. After all, if I may quote slightly out of context, Jesus said “take no thought for tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself.”
On a personal level, I don’t care about the anti-Christ and whether the Rapture happens before or after the great tribulation. (If those terms are meaningless to you, you probably don’t care either. I won’t define them – you can look them up. Tsarfati doesn’t do a great job of providing definitions either – he seems to assume people know what he is writing about.) Those are questions for theologians, akin to asking how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. The correct answer is “who cares?” If you aren’t living a Biblically authentic faith, it doesn’t really matter what your beliefs are regarding the end times.
Still, I wanted to read this book, based on pre-publication publicity. Amir is an Israeli, lives in a house with a view of the site of the future battle of Armageddon. The idea was that he would provide some fresh insights into Biblical prophecy. That interested me.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything here I would have described as “fresh” or “new.” Tsarfati has his pet targets, like the European Union and Pope Francis. I get that. I don’t care much for the EU myself, nor for the current occupant of St. Peter’s throne, but I can’t buy the end-times conspiracy theories woven around Rome and Brussels as gospel. I’ve heard these theories before, most of my life in fact. The hard evidence isn’t there, and there are other interpretations to what an objective observer would admit are vague Biblical passages.
Nor do I like the assumption that modern-day Israel is the God-ordained successor to Biblical Israel. Just because it has the same name doesn’t make it so. And whether Amir likes it or not, the Palestinians have some legitimate grievances and their concerns shouldn’t just be written off. Is this an Israeli bias? Scripture says the Jews are God’s chosen people. Amir says that hasn’t changed over time and backs that up scripturally. I get that. But Israeli does not automatically equal Jew. One is a country, the other a people (and a religion).
The attacks on others wear a bit thin. Who is Amir Tsarfati that only he can speak the truth? Maybe I am doing him a disservice here. Maybe I am misinterpreting what he writes. He certainly has a desire for others to know the Truth and be set free. That I liked.
He could be right in his prognostications. I agree with some of his theology. I agree God is in control, no matter what the situation. I’m sad though that there are those who will go to Hell after rejecting Jesus. Tsarfati doesn’t seem to be.
And that on reflection is what is missing from The Last Hour: compassion. A little more would make it a better book.
“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”