Meredith G. Kline
Reviewed by: Brett A. McNeil
Date posted: 08/26/2007
God, Heaven and Har Magedon: A Covenantal Tale of Cosmos and Telos, by Meredith G. Kline. Published by Wipf & Stock, 2006. Paperback, 310 pages, list price $24.80. Reviewed by Pastor Brett A. McNeill.
God, Heaven and Har Magedon presents an overview of covenant history and theology, following the story line of the Mountain of God. Kline argues persuasively that the reference to Armageddon in Revelation 16: 16 is rightly rendered "Har Magedon" (as in the NASB). This is simply the Greek rendering of the Hebrew har (mountain) and mo'ed (assembly). Thus, the battle of Har Magedon is the great climactic battle at the Mountain of Assembly or the Mountain of God. Kline notes a repeating kingdom pattern throughout Scripture where (1) the kingdom covenant is inaugurated, (2) there is a meritorious accomplishment by a covenant grantee, (3) there is a common grace interim, (4) there is an antichrist conflict, and finally (5) there is a consummation through battle. This pattern, having been repeated by way of types and shadows throughout the Bible's history (for example, at Ararat, Babel, and Sinai), fills in much of the picture of what we are to expect in the final conflict at Har Magedon.
The first three chapters of the book focus on creation and the character of leaven. The next three chapters focus on the use of heavenly imagery on earth (for example, the tabernacle and the temple). However, chief among the heavenly symbols is the Mountain of God, which appears repeatedly in Scripture (as Mt. Zion, Mt. Sinai, etc). Chapter 7 then develops the theme of conflict that surrounds God's holy mountain. Because of Adam's failure, a messianic champion must come to destroy the enemies of God and gather a people to himself through his meritorious obedience (chapter 8).
After tracing this pattern through Noah (chapter 9), and from Abraham through the kingdom of Israel (chapter 10), Kline shows how it unfolds on the ultimate level in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ (in an extended chapter 11). Christ came and accomplished all that the Father gave him to do, thereby meriting a kingdom for his people, and ushered in an era of common grace. In accordance with the historical pattern, the kingdom will be consummated in a final battle after an antichrist crisis. The details of this unfolding pattern emerge as Kline traces the contours of biblical prophecy and weaves them together into a unified narrative.
God, Heaven and Har Magedon summarizes much of Kline's earlier work in a more accessible format. He shows that eschatology permeates the entire Bible, and he establishes the biblical teaching of "Armageddon" in clear and concrete detail. His succinct description of covenant history and mountain imagery is profound and helpful, as is his defense of an amillennial view of the kingdom.
While we may not be able to embrace all of Kline's formulations, this book is a rare gem. Although Kline does not write on a popular level, this book is a must for every pastor and the ambitious layman.