There are a few new names in the eschatology field that did not get there by first obtaining a formal theological education. Some such as Chuck Missler, Tom Horn and Bill Salus earned a respected name in Eschatology by doing independent research and then coming up with end time scenarios that do not exactly fit within the classic dispensational eschatology box.
Not all original thinkers like these base their views on scripture or sound hermeneutics, so you do have to check them out. I recently did reviews on two of Tom Horns books and I could not give them my endorsement, because it seems to me that Horn’s books are mostly based on trying to find the future in demonic writings.
In contrast, Bill Salus, is a rising eschatologist whose views are based on good research from the prophetic scriptures almost exclusively. Someone might not agree with Bill’s exegesis on certain passages but his views are based on scripture passages rather than on pagan myths. I reviewed his first book “Isralestine” written in 2008 here. Now Bill Salus has written a second book named “Revelation Road”. That book is what I will be discussing in this brief review.
The book was advertised as a novel, so I was expecting to read a 400 page novel that would take people through Bill’s view of coming end time events. The novel part of the book really only went 100 pages down that road. That is when I found out the novel would be a trilogy with a companion commentary that takes up three-fourths of this book if one includes the end notes and 26 appendices.
Before I purchased the book, I had no idea that this was a trilogy and mostly a commentary. Had I known that, I would not have purchased the book. Tim Lahay’s “Left Behind” series cured me of reading novel series’. I also expect books advertised as novels to be a novel and not mostly a commentary. Although I did not like the unorthodox methodology used in this series. I do think I see why Salus chose to use this approach to teach his views on the sequence of events for the last days.
I have not talked to Bill about his rational for the trilogy, but I personally think the first book in the trilogy contains a general overview and also mostly emphasizes the arguments for events before and right after the Psalm 83 war. If Salus is proven correct on Psalm 83 being a pretribulation war that results in a greatly expanded Israel, the second book in the trilogy will cover issues leading up to and during the Ezekiel 38-39 war. Then during the time of that war I believe Salus wishes to write a book about the events from the end of that war until the end of 70th week of Daniel.
Bill Salus knows as events unfold we will see more distant events more clearly, so he will hold off as long as he can to get all the information and insight that he can before writing the other books. Anyway, that is my rational for his trilogy and the planned delay between the books. One thing I do know for sure, is that Salus believes that the Psalm 83 war is literal, future and now imminent.
This approach actually makes sense, because if Psalm 83 happens like Salus expects, and Israel takes over the nearby Arab states, people will be standing in line for his next book. However, if there is no expanded Israel then his theory is pretty much dead in the water and he can revise his views.
In this first book, Salus makes it clear that he believes the Psalm 83 war and the Ezekiel 38-39 occur before the 70th week of Daniel. Salus also states that he believes that the opening of the first five seals of Revelation occur prior to the 70th week. I came to that conclusion myself while pondering the issues for my 2004 revelation commentary. Having the first seals opened before the final week was and still is an unorthodox view in dispensational theology. Classic dispensationalists want everything from Revelation chapter 4:1 to the second coming of Christ to fit in a neat seven-year package but there are a couple of us that do not see it that way.
Another unusual concept in the book, that Bill and I agree on, is the concept that most of the people identified with Laodicea will not be going in the Rapture. Can it be, that the Bible actually teaches that Christians should be living like the Lord was about to return, and not living in a lifestyle of false presumption that He is not coming anytime soon? Seems to me that a reward is promised for those that are watching and that are ready when the Lord returns, and a trial is promised for those who do not (Rev 3:10). Don’t take us wrong, we both believe that those that have the Holy Spirit will be going in the Rapture but there is no indication that those identified with Laodicea have the Holy Spirit. If they did, Jesus would not be knocking on the door to come in (Rev 3:20).
The book indicates that Salus believes the Psalm 83 war is prior to the tribulation and is now imminent. I strongly lean toward that view. The main argument for that war happening before the tribulation is that according to what is written in Ezekiel 38 and 39, Israel has to be living in peace and security before this war occurs. Even though we know the war led by Gog is growing close, it is about impossible to see how peace and security can happen in Israel before some prior event neutralizes the enemies around Israel.
What I am not certain about is exactly how Israel gets to that peace and security from here. The Psalm 83 war seems the most logical path to obtain a later peace, but I do have some difficulty seeing this small Israeli population taking over such a large area of the Middle East as Salus believes. It is hard to picture how the world would even let Israel live in peace in the aftermath of such an expansion. Even so, things can change rapidly in times of war. The Middle East maps have been redrawn in the recent past and they could be again. The whole world could soon be involved in a world war or an economic collapse. and it just might be that nobody will be in any position to oppose Israel’s expansion into the nearby nations.
Another way I can see this happen is for Israel to join whatever emerges out of the collapse of the EU. Israel then may govern a Middle East district that would include the immediate surrounding nations. To me, some limited assimilation into a Roman Empire like entity, just like in the days of Jesus, would seem like the most logical way that peace could be achieved until the time of the Ezekiel 38-39 war lead by Gog.
Salus has done an exhaustive study of Old Testament scriptures for this book. He does an admirable job of getting scriptures organized to fit his theory. I said in the foreword to my Revelation Commentary, that getting the prophetic scriptures applied to the correct end time events is the most difficult thing about figuring out the sequence of end times events, and that is why there are great differences between good Bible scholars on the timing of these events. I think the commentary area of “Revelation Road” excels in this attempt.
The Commentary really does explain the views of Bill Salus, so agree or disagree, nobody should be confused after reading this book where Salus stands based on his interpretation of prophetic scripture. There were a couple of issues brought up in the book that I disagree with, but these were secondary issues with no bearing on major arguments in “Revelation Road” so I am not going to get into them. I just don’t want anyone to think I support everything or everyone that Salus endorses.
This is the basic timeline that I see in “Revelation Road”: (All are supported in the book by selected biblical passages. These are simplifications at best, for precise details you will need to read the book.)
•The Rapture is imminent and occurs before the 70th week of Daniel.
•The next prophetic event is probably a strike on Iran and western Iran becomes radioactive so that the people of that part of Iran will have to evacuate to other countries. This stops the Iranian threat until the time of the Ezekiel 38-39 war.
•The Arab nations around Israel will attempt to cut off Israel from being a nation.
•Syria will use WMD against Israel so Damascus will be destroyed by Israel fulfilling Isa 17:1.
•Israel defeats all of her immediate neighbors and takes over their land, this might be the start of a forty-year exodus of Egypt that continuals into the millennium.
•Israel through the spoils of war and its enlargement will become very wealthy and strong and will be living securely.
•Russia with Iran and the other nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39 will come against Israel to take Israel’s spoils of war and their acquired riches.
•God will intervene for Israel and this army will be supernaturally slaughtered and then buried on the east side of Dead Sea in what is now Jordan.
•Then soon after all this comes the final seven years.
I am not sure where Salus places the first 5 seals of Revelation. I suppose he will further develop that in his next book. I agree that this order is very possible but I would not bet the farm on some points. The 40 years of exile for Egypt, seems logical if that passage was not already fulfilled in the time of Nebuchadnezzar. However, if this fulfillment is still in the future, I tend to think that it will occur just prior to the second coming.
The idea that Iran will have nuclear radiation issues that will cause the evacuation of part of their country makes sense both from the standpoint of unfulfilled prophecy and from current events. It would also answer why Iran is not involved at all in the Psalm 83 war that now seems imminent. We recently saw what a damaged reactor did to Japan. A large chunk of Japan will be uninhabitable for many years. Something like this could happen to Western Iran as a result of an airstrike, a cyber attack, an EMP, sabotage, an accident or a catastrophic earthquake.
Anyway, I think this book is well thought out and well supported with scripture references. That does not mean end time events have to happen this way. Obviously eschatologists that believe all end time events have to occur within just seven years, and that believe that everything mentioned after Rev 4:1 also occurs within seven years are not going to buy into much of this. Yet, trying to get all unfulfilled prophecy about the end times to fit within just seven years seems to be more problematic to me than this alternative.
I think these events could happen in fairly rapid sequence but there also could be as much as 20 years or more between the Psalm 83 war and the coming of Jesus in revelation. That would make the passages that indicate an unexpected delay in the Lord’s coming where some stop watching make more sense.
What you should learn from reading “Revelation Road” is that the teaching of Bill Salus is scripture based and it is well thought out. This book is a fine resource for Bible prophecy students. As end time events progress, I am sure serious Bible prophecy students will be searching this resource often and be looking forward to the wealth of information in the next “Revelation Road”.