I just read David Currie’s latest book, What Jesus Really Said About the End of the World and wanted to share my thoughts on it.
Currie is the author of the super-popular book Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic which was part of the “first wave” of books by Catholic converts after the doldrums of the 70s and much of the 80s. That book has been instrumental in countless conversion to Catholicism, Deo gratias.
This book has a narrower focus, specifically trying to explain Jesus’ words on the end times, especially in the Olivet discourse. These passages have caused untold confusion among readers, in part because Jesus is speaking not just about one “end” but multiple “ends”.
Currie describes the ingenious chiastic structure of Jesus’ statements and how they clue the listener/reader into different subjects in these passages. Jesus uses a pattern that looks something like this: ABCDEFGZGFEDCBA, where each statement or phrase is represented by a letter and matched with a complementary statement in bracketed order. “Z”, in this case, is the climax or central statement with the group. He uses this structure in several places, and it informs the reader about which “end” He is speaking of, whether the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD or the end of the world.
This book fascinated me because I have never done a serious study of this subject; I was simply never deeply bothered, as many have been, with the apparent contradictions or inconsistencies in Jesus’ words. The chiasm and inclusio were thus something new to me, at least as applied here.
Currie’s book serves an important function: making a thorough and definitive answer that harmonizes Jesus’ statements about the end times and allays the fears of people who think Jesus “messed up” on it. (Of course, Jesus can never “mess up” or err, since He is God, which is why we work so hard to understand how His words can be true.)
Bravo to David Currie for an excellent and helpful book on this important topic!