In Review: Called to Watch for Christ's Return

Called to Watch for Christ’s Return, by Martyn McGeown. Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2016. Pp. 286. [Reviewed by Rev. Ryan Barnhill]

Called to Watch for Christ’s Return began as a series of sermons preached by the author on the Olivet Discourse, a speech in which “Jesus proclaims his second coming, an event with which history will come to a dramatic and sudden close” (ix). These sermons covered Matthew 24:1-31, dealing with the signs of Christ’s coming—deceivers, the preaching of the gospel, the great tribulation, and more. These sermons also dealt with Matthew 24:32-25:46, treating the subject of watching for Christ’s return—the unknown time of his return, Christ’s coming as in the days of Noah, parables associated with his coming, and more. These sermons comprise the content of the book. We are thankful that these fine sermons have reached a wider audience through their publication in book form.

The main strength of Called to Watch for Christ’s Return is its exegetical precision and richness. The material is always mined from the text. Concepts are carefully defined and developed, and difficult passages are lucidly explained. Especially does this clarity of exegesis become important in passages that deal with such matters as the abomination of desolation (Matthew 24:15-20) and the unknown time of Christ’s return (Matthew 24:36). Such passages are often misinterpreted, leading to a host of errors. Thus, proper, sober interpretation is critical in these kinds of difficult passages.McGeown’s work is a needed and timely contribution to the study of eschatology (the end times), for two reasons. First, there are so many today teaching unbiblical ideas about the end of the world. Called to Watch for Christ’s Return interacts with these systems of thought, dismantles them, and plainly sets forth the biblical, Reformed, amillennial position. Second, we live in the last days, and that alone makes this book important. We must know what to expect in these last and evil days, we must be admonished to watch for the coming of our Lord, and we must be comforted.

McGeown’s work is necessarily polemical. That is, it is a work which exposes and refutes the errors. Advocates of both postmillennialism and premillennial dispensationalism seek to find evidence for their views in Matthew 24 and 25. Postmillennialism teaches that the Olivet Discourse—at least some of it, if not all of it—is a reference exclusively to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. This interpretation is fundamental to the postmillennial position, lest the events of which Jesus speaks interfere with postmillennialism’s future golden age. In contrast, premillennial dispensationalists claim that the Olivet Discourse refers exclusively to the future—not to AD 70, but to a future Jerusalem and a future temple. Negatively, the author exposes these errors, and demonstrates how a sober interpretation of Jesus’ teaching pulls the rug out from under these millennial systems. Positively, McGeown sees Matthew 24 and 25 as a blending of the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, on the one hand, and Jesus’ second coming, on the other hand. The destruction of Jerusalem is a type or picture of Jesus’ second coming. This view, the amillennial view, and this view alone, does justice to Jesus’ words.

In a book on watching for Christ’s return, one would expect not only polemics, but also pointed instruction and warning for believers. After all, we are all prone to spiritual slumber instead of watching for Christ’s return. The command of scripture to watch for our Lord’s coming is a weighty command, and the author conveys it well: “Watch! Christ is coming. Let us not be found sleeping when he returns, but looking for his return. Let that watchfulness begin today if it has not been our habit before, so whether he comes on the clouds or calls us in death, we will be ready to meet him” (214). Called to Watch for Christ’s Return is a stirring call to stay vigilant in these last and evil days.

The book is also comforting and warm, an approach that arises from the author’s pastoral heart for God’s people who live in the perilous days prior to Jesus’ coming. This warm tone characterizes the entirety of the book, and climaxes in the last chapter; any reader’s heart will thrill in reading this last chapter, which explains, in part, the glories of the new heavens and the new earth. Read and meditate upon this breathtaking description of heaven: “Death, sin, and the curse will be absent—forever banished from the new creation. We will enjoy spiritual joy and satisfaction in abundance, for we will enter into the fullness of our inheritance. Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit! That is life, eternal life, life that lasts forever and has no end. Life with Christ. Life in the presence of God, fellowshipping with him. That is blessedness and joy! That is worth waiting for! Do not fear the judgment day. Do not be weary with watching and waiting. But pray, even for that great day” (280).

Our Lord is coming. Watch. Watch—by reading. Called to Watch for Christ’s Return, as a faithful exposition of Jesus’ words, will instruct you, arm you against the errors, comfort you, and quicken your hope. Come, Lord Jesus, yea, come quickly. 

 

If you have not yet ordered your copy of this book, do so today! 

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Called to Watch


Called to Watch for Christ's Return

written by Martyn McGeown

A few days before Jesus gave his life on the cross, his disciples asked, “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matt. 24:3). Christ responded with the Olivet Discourse, a detailed teaching on the doctrine of the last things.

We need to understand the signs of Christ’s coming for our comfort as we look for “that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

 

 

 

 

Retail: $14.95

Book Club: $9.72 USA, $10.46 International

304 pages
softcover

ebook version available

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Watch!

Watch! No, not the football game on TV. Not the JV or Varsity basketball games this week. The outcomes don’t matter. Turn off the TV, the computer, the tablet, and the smartphone and watch. “Watch what?” you ask. Watch for Christ’s return—that is, know the signs of Christ’s return and be ready for his coming.

Knowing the signs of Christ coming and growing in readiness for his return is the important subject of a new RFPA publication I was happy to find in my church mailbox on a recent Sunday. The author is Rev. Martyn McGeown, member of the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Ballymena, Northern Ireland and missionary pastor of the Limerick Reformed Fellowship in Limerick, Ireland.

The contents of this book arise from a series of sermons on Matthew 24 and 25 that Rev. McGeown preached in Limerick between August of 2011 and January of 2012, barely a year after his graduation from the Theological School of the Protestant Reformed Churches in the summer of 2010. Read this book and you will find that Rev. McGeown is gifted beyond his years in both preaching and writing. The RFPA has found an able author and I hope that this is the first of many books to come from the pen of Rev. McGeown, Lord willing.

Throughout this book, Rev. McGeown makes the difficult understandable and practical for the believer. Matthew 24 and 25 are difficult passages, not only because they can be hard to understand, but more importantly, because they vividly set forth the lot of the believer in this life. The way of the believer in this life is the way of suffering and persecution that grows in intensity as the end draws near. A Reformed amillennialist, Rev. McGeown does not sugar coat this reality, but shows how this suffering “serves the coming of Christ and the end of all things” (p. 46).

Throughout this book the author makes the material very practical for the reader. He doesn’t beat around the bush or blunt the sharp edges of the reality of persecution for the believer. One example, from the many available in the book, serves to prove this point. In Chapter 4 (The Church Hated By All Nations), Rev. McGeown writes,

Matthew 24 does not specify who will deliver the Christians up to be afflicted, but Mark and Luke add that it will be in some cases former friends and even family members. Jesus had already warned about this: he had not come to bring peace, but to bring a sword (Matt. 10:34). The result would be opposition and enmity among friends and even families. Now he underlines it again: you will be handed over to the authorities to be afflicted and to be killed. Your friends will do it! Your parents will do it! Your brothers and sisters will do it! Your sons and daughters will do it! “Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death” (Mark 13:12). “And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolk, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death” (Luke 21:16).

What a bitter pill that will be to swallow! Surely it is bad enough to be arrested; bad enough to be treated as a criminal; bad enough to be thrown into prison, to be tortured, to be put to death. But to watch as your own family do it! To hear your nearest and dearest say, “Take him. He is a Christian. We hate him. We are not on his side.” How dreadful! (p. 51)

So…turn off the TV, phone and computer…and live in reality…and watch! Know the signs of Christ’s imminent return and grow in your readiness for his return. Read this excellent book.

____________________

This post was written by Aaron Cleveland, a member of Hope Protestant Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. If you have a question or comment for Aaron, please do so in the comment section.

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Order your copy today!

This softcover book is now available for purchase and would make a great Christmas gift!

Called to Watch for Christ's Return

by new RFPA author - Martyn McGeown

A few days before Jesus gave his life on the cross, his disciples asked, “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matt. 24:3). Christ responded with the Olivet Discourse, a detailed teaching on the doctrine of the last things.

We need to understand the signs of Christ’s coming for our comfort as we look for “that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). 

Christ had two concerns. First, his disciples must know the signs of his coming, which are footsteps of his approach. But Christ is not satisfied with mere “sign-gazing,” which can lead to speculation and idle, foolish living. He did not give signs to satisfy our curiosities, but so that we will be ready for him when he returns. Therefore, Christ’s second concern was the readiness of his disciples, which is expressed in his urgent and repeated warnings to watch for his coming in light of the signs.

Watch, pray, and serve the Lord with an eye to the signs of his return!

Retail: $14.95
Book Club: $9.72 USA | $10.46 International

* This book will NOT be send automatically to Book Club members.

 

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Preorder your copy TODAY of Called to Watch for Christ's Return

                      

Called to Watch for Christ's Return

written by Martyn McGeown - a new RFPA author!

A few days before Jesus gave his life on the cross, his disciples asked, “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matt. 24:3). Christ responded with the Olivet Discourse, a detailed teaching on the doctrine of the last things.

We need to understand the signs of Christ’s coming for our comfort as we look for “that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

Christ had two concerns. First, his disciples must know the signs of his coming, which are footsteps of his approach. But Christ is not satisfied with mere “sign-gazing,” which can lead to speculation and idle, foolish living. He did not give signs to satisfy our curiosities, but so that we will be ready for him when he returns. Therefore, Christ’s second concern was the readiness of his disciples, which is expressed in his urgent and repeated warnings to watch for his coming in light of the signs.

Watch, pray, and serve the Lord with an eye to the signs of his return!

Retail: $14.95
Book Club: $9.72 USA | $10.46 International

* This book will NOT be send automatically to Book Club members.

 

 

________________________________________


 

Martyn McGeown grew up in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland and is a member of the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. He graduated from the Theological School of the Protestant Reformed Churches in June 2010 and has been the missionary-pastor of the Limerick Reformed Fellowship in Limerick, Ireland since July 2010.

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Upcoming Book Releases!



    Corrupting the Word of God

    by Herman Hanko & Mark H. Hoeksema

    Does the eternal, unchangeable, all-powerful, and sovereign God really have a temporal, changeable and weak desire to save those whom he has unconditionally reprobated (Rom. 9:22), for whom the Son did not die (John 12:31) and whom the Holy Spirit will not regenerate, sanctify or glorify (John 3:8)?

    Pelagianism, semi-Pelagianism, Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism, Anabaptism, Arminianism, Amyraldism, and Marrowism say yes to the well-meant offer of the gospel. The biblical, Augustinian, Reformed, and creedal position is no!

    Emeritus professor of church history, Herman Hanko, guides us through fascinating doctrinal controversies in the early, Reformation and modern eras of the church, taking us to North Africa, Switzerland, France, England, Scotland, the Netherlands, and America, and emphasizing the teaching of the great theologians, such as Augustine and John Calvin, on God’s particular grace, which is always irresistible and never fails or is frustrated.

    In dealing with the historical perspective of God's absolutely sovereign grace versus the well-meant offer, this book fills a gap in the literature, and does so in a way that is warm and easily understood.

    This book will be released late November 2016 and will be automatically sent to all Book Club members.

    ____________________________________________________________________

    Called to Watch for Christ's Return

    by New Author: Martyn McGeown

    Book Club members MUST order this book to receive it.

    A few days before Jesus gave his life on the cross, his disciples asked, “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matt. 24:3). Christ responded with the Olivet Discourse, a detailed teaching on the doctrine of the last things.

    We need to understand the signs of Christ’s coming for our comfort as we look for “that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

    Christ had two concerns. First, his disciples must know the signs of his coming, which are footsteps of his approach. But Christ is not satisfied with mere “sign-gazing,” which can lead to speculation and idle, foolish living. He did not give signs to satisfy our curiosities, but so that we will be ready for him when he returns. Therefore, Christ’s second concern was the readiness of his disciples, which is expressed in his urgent and repeated warnings to watch for his coming in light of the signs.

    Watch, pray, and serve the Lord with an eye to the signs of his return!

    This book will be released December 2016 and will NOT be automatically sent to all Book Club members.

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