Monday, December 03, 2018

Apocalyptic Comfort

In her book Inspired, Rachel Held Evans says:
"The point of apocalyptic texts is not to predict the future," explained biblical scholars Amy-Jill Levine in the meaning of the Bible; "it is to provide comfort in the present.  The Bible is not a book of teasers in which God has buried secrets only to be revealed three millennia later." Rather, she argued, apocalyptic texts "proclaim that a guiding hand controls history and assure that justice will be done."
If you consider that John wrote The Revelation to John to an audience of marginalized Christians in the Greco-Roman culture, then the book makes so much more sense.  At least, I think so.  To me, to consider that John was writing to encourage the Christians around him rather than provide a prediction of the end of the world that we are to read as if it were a puzzle is so much more believable.

The book of Daniel was probably written during the religious persecutions of the Green ruler of Palestine and Syria, Antiochus IV Epiphanes.  

I think we can see the general theme - justice will be done, even though it doesn't seem that it is possible right now. That's a message for the target audiences of the apocalyptic works, but also for us.

*Information about biblical texts from The New Interpreter's Study Bible.

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