After reading the first two chapters of this book, I was beginning to despair that it might ever make sense, or that the author might have anything of lasting value to say.
Reading it is definitely a struggle, as it has to be one of the most confusingly-written books I have ever read. Think FINNEGAN'S WAKE with real words.
(Okay, maybe not that bad, but we used to have a guy at church who talked on and on and on in a confused succession of sentences -- which did carry on a theme and make a point of sorts, but at the end of the largely one-sided conversation, you wondered exactly what he had said and what was his point. Reading Moody's book brought back memories of conversations with that guy.)
Moody may indeed have an intriguing and valid model for the Parousia and its relation to the Kingdom and Jesus's real and/or spiritual presence and/or absence. He discusses the flaws of the major schools of thought on this subject -- Futurist, Liberal, Preterist -- and posits an understanding that incorporates the valid aspects of all of them. At least that's what I think he's doing here. As I said, this book is one tough read, and it's not because I cannot read. Rather, Moody's writing style is, in my opinion, not very good, and is in fact quite awful for this kind of thing, as this subject matter necessitates the author being clear and precise, lest he lose the reader in his juggling and comparison of scheme after theme.
Following is an excerpt from pp. 113-114. Imagine 240+ pages of this turgid prose, and you'll have an idea of what reading the book is like:
"To describe this mystery, we have previously defined God's methodology of revelation as the simultaneous presence of the 'already' and the 'not yet.' We have used the word 'paradox' for lack of a better term, as one of its Webster definitions is, 'a statement that seems contradictory, unbelievable, or absurd but that may actually be true in fact.' Having arrived at a rather unconventional hypothesis, derived from a widely-accepted model of God's revelatory method, we are left looking back over a landscape scattered with decidedly precious gems of insight. It will be our task to arrange those gems, all of them building blocks of major eschatological schools, into a pattern that supports the hypothesis. Failing that, we shall hopefully have demonstrated that one can at least experiment with the 'view from the top' without losing hope, the essence of the Kingdom, or Jesus' intent in the Olivet Discourse of comingling (sic) the destruction of Jerusalem with His Second Advent.
"On the other hand, if the pieces should come together to make the hypothesis of this treatise plausible, the task is by no means complete. There will always be the debate over literal versus figurative interpretations of Scripture, as there will be endless opportunities to refute the construct as well as the logic at every level. That is as it should be. However, there is much more at stake here than just another theory. The nature of the Parousia pales into insignificance compared with the need for all of us to stand in awe, not only of what has happened in the past, but of what will happen in the future, understanding, of course, that neither can be divorced from the other."
The author is a pastor of a church and has a Ph.D. in theology. Lord knows what listening to his sermons must be like, if he teaches and preaches the same way he writes.
This book charts the progression of the second coming doctrine in the spirit of G.R. Beasley-Murray's "Jesus and the Last Days," and it is much more readable.
Follow the progress of Christian history's 'de-futurizing' of the Biblical verses relevant to the parousia of Christ.
The book is completely up-to-date on the emergence of the Preterist alternative to the Futurist views, and takes a pro/con approach to the two perspectives (as well as many others).