Lock This One Up and Throw Away the Key -- A Review of The Holy Land Key

The Holy Land Key is a book by Ray Bentley, the founding pastor of Maranatha Chapel near San Diego, Calif. Overall, I found the book very hard to get through. It doesn’t make for smooth reading. Beyond that, I have my issues with Bentley’s work that I will summarize here.

Bentley’s belief in the Blood Moons’ prophecy craze is astonishing. A good rebuttal is Mark Hitchcock’s Blood Moons Rising that I reviewed as well. Suffice it to say that the blood moons are taken out of context of the Scripture as other signs are ignored or minimized in the very same prophecies cited. In addition, some of the “signs” of the historical blood moons occur AFTER the events they supposedly signify (rendering them useless as signs). See Mark Hitchcock’s work for some other reasons to reject the blood moons’ prophetic hypothesis.

The author seems to have a naiveté when it comes to Palestinian Christians. One of the Palestinian believers he spoke to refers to the founding of Israel as the day of catastrophe. This is the kind of rhetoric that comes from professing Christians among the Palestinians who have their own version of Replacement Theology. They are by no means friends of the Jewish people. While there are likely to be evangelical Christians among the Palestinian people who actually believe what God’s Word says about the Jews, to find them in the Holy Land must be incredibly difficult. If they are there, they would have huge incentives to keep their highly unpopular opinions to themselves.

There are some other red flags for me. I’m not a fan of his oft-cited rule of interpretation: “first the natural and then the spiritual.” He also quotes from the Talmud as authoritative in certain instances that I would find very questionable. His over-reliance on heavenly bodies for signs, invoking the zodiac, etc., I think go a bit far.

I do applaud his commitment to Israel. His church’s putting their efforts to their convictions is laudable. He believes in the Rapture of the saints and is against Replacement Theology which I would see as pluses.

I would give this book a two out of five. My recommendation is that you skip this one. Your money would be better spent elsewhere.

I received this book at no cost from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review

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