Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Roman Legions, Followers of the Christos, The Destruction of the Temple

Hanegraaff, Hank and Sigmund Brouwer. The Last Temple (The Last Disciple Book 3). Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House, 7/20/2012. (PG13-V)

Gallus Sergius Vitas was a renowned general of the Roman army; a former member of the inner circle of Nero, the Roman Emperor. Vitas finds himself in Caesarea posing as his brother Damian’s slave and daily mourning the death of his wife Sophia. Damian convinces Vitas there is no harm in carrying the scheme a step further. Vitas  is sold into the household of the fiscal procurator of Judea where he can spy on the domestic situation in Helva’s home. He should have known better. Damian leaves for Jerusalem to find his friend and former gladiator, Maglorius.

Vitas, assigned to protect Helva’s wife Dolabella with three other slaves, is vigilant as they pass through the market place to see the governor. A trumpet sounds three times. Dolabella stops. Vitas, now Novella, finds himself drawn into a dispute over dishes, becomes distracted. Suddenly, burning camels appear lumbering through the marketplace followed by assassins focused on Helva.

Vitas is once again rescued, this time from crucifixion as he is dying. He has in his hands a piece of a letter written by the last living disciple of the Christos. Many of the prophesies John has cryptically written in Hebrew, have already come to pass. Jerusalem will fall to Rome?  Jerusalem totally destroyed by fire? Not one stone of the Temple left upon another?

Hank  Hanegraaff

Hank  Hanegraaff, The Bible Answer Man, and now president of the  Christian Research Institute the conservative Protestant counter-cult and apologetic ministry,* and Sigmund Brouwer, bestselling author of more than forty novels, join together to use the Disciple John’s Book of Revelation to describe the last days of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

Sigmund Brouwer
Although The Last Temple is the third in The Last Disciple Trilogy, it can be read as a stand-alone novel. Hanegraaff and Brouwer have tied the events of the first two novels like mystery writers salt their books with clues. There are no long reviews of previous plots. They only provide enough of a hint of the characters’ positions and  past events through short flashbacks or dialogue that this story makes sense.

The deft use of sights, sounds, and smells places the readers in Caesarea and Jerusalem between the years A.D. 67 to the fall of the Temple in August of A.D. 70. They take the time to share the motivations, inner flaws, and revealing traits of the characters, credibly revealed through descriptions and dialogues. The authors are careful not to overload the book with the obstacles and complications of the earlier novels except as they apply to the tensions, conflicts and development of the plot of this novel.

While Vitas seems to lead a charmed life, his story creates a platform for the historical events to play themselves out. Current novels and non-fiction similarly focus on the end of the world, the Mayan apocalypse of December 12, 2012.  The end time prophecies of the Bible seem to support this approaching date. 
Instead, the authors have chosen to provide the prophecies of the end times to explain the years leading up to the Roman Army’s crushing defeat of the Jews and the Roman General’s move into the political theater of Rome. The book is well-researched and deftly written.

*Hank Hanegraaff - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, (accessed September 5, 2012).

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