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Eschatology: Daniel and Revelation

I’ve had a hard time keeping up with blogging this week. It’s a busy month. On Wednesday nights I’m teaching from Revelation for a youth group at a local church, and of course I have my Thursday night events, one of which I’m announcing here, which are a sort of spiritual discipline for me.

I was going to try to both talk about Daniel and Revelation (in a very general way) and then go on to talk about eschatology and the quest for the historical Jesus, but I have decided not to do that and give myself a slightly more relaxed session talking about the structure and rhetoric of Daniel and Revelation. The two books are substantially different, yet they are the two acknowledged works of apocalyptic literature in the Bible, and almost any Christian discussion of eschatology touches on them at one point or another.

Growing up as a Seventh-day Adventist meant that I repeatedly studied these books. I even took a college class titled just “Daniel and Revelation.” There was an extract of the SDA Bible Commentary combining the comments on Daniel and Revelation in one book.

While I will be looking at these two books in particular, my study since has led me to look at a much broader range of material, from Ezekiel, to several chapters in Jeremiah, to much of the latter portion of Isaiah, and much more in the Bible, and also a considerable amount of non-biblical material. Yet these two books still tend to hold pride of place.

Is their purpose to give us an end-times outline? If so, in what detail, and if not, what is their purpose? I’ll be discussing this on video this evening.

Google+ Event Page

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  1. Steve Kindle says:

    Henry, I’m wondering what you may think of some Process theologians’ suggestion that apocalyptic is an attempt to turn away from history as open to history as predetermined. Living into an open future can be terrifying: so much depends on human participation with God.

    1. In one way, yes, the apocalypticist wants to avoid an open history, because an open history is just too frightening. I get that feeling when I read about the Nazi nuclear program. It wouldn’t have taken much change in history to produce a different result from that war. Such things might make one long for control. I also think, however, that the apocalypticists are derailed from their intent by the call for repentance. So you keep the normal tension: God is in control on the one hand, but we can change what happens by returning to God or by being faithful to God. I think this tension occurs in most discussions of God and history, well, in all cases where there is some connection. “Involvement” is so hard to define!

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