Preachers, teachers, and self-proclaimed prophets frequently claim that the end of the world is near, often based on their interpretation of Bible books such as Daniel and Revelation. Are these claims justified? Is there a valuable message in these books?
In this masterful book, Dr. Herold Weiss applies a lifetime of study, teaching, and writing on the Bible to helping readers understand apocalyptic literature and symbolism. Avoiding the common error of simply finding something in recent history that can be tied to the text in some way, he seeks the purpose of each of the writers. Why, when expected events failed to take place as predicted, did the readers of these books still hold onto them as valuable? What is it that they communicated to those readers, and can we make use of it now.
Dr. Weiss examines a number of apocalyptic sources, some of which you might not have regarded as apocalyptic. He finds, however, that these writers are thinking and writing in a world of apocalyptic imagery. From Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Daniel in the Old Testament to the synoptic gospels, Paul’s letters, and the general epistles in the new, Weiss outlines how understanding the apocalyptic view of the universe can be critical in understanding the message presented.
As with previous books by Dr. Weiss, such as Meditations on According to John and Meditations on the Letters of Paul, this book provides a practical view of biblical theology in action. He looks at both the broad overview of the message, giving a framework, and then fills in the details on a verse by verse, passage by passage basis, so the reader can see how individual statements and themes fit into a larger framework.
He concludes by pointing out how by understanding the work of the apocalypticists, and following the examples of their readers, we can find spiritual value and encouragement in these books.
This book is suitable as an introduction to apocalyptic literature or as a way of organizing one’s thinking after reading a number of these books. It would also be suitable for reading in an experienced small study group.