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You Can Preach Apocalyptic Literature with a Sure Hand (pt. 2)

Books like Daniel and Revelation, which you may now fear to teach, can become your favorite places to proclaim good news. Here are some key principles for tackling this difficult and powerful genre.

This is part two of a three-part article. In part one, Arthurs defined the genre of apocalyptic literature and illuminated its purpose. Below, he identifies three specific features of apocalypse that enable it to have a strong effect on the reader.

Let's look now at some specifics of how the genre of apocalypse functions. I have in mind three literary/rhetorical features that it possesses: dualism, symbols, and hybridized narrative.

Dualism

You can read no more than a chapter of apocalyptic literature before you see dramatic dualism. This is not the dualism of eastern religions, with their yin and yang—two sides of one reality—but the dualism of an old fashioned, John Wayne Western featuring good guys and bad guys. In Revelation, the beast that comes up from the Abyss attacks and kills the two witnesses (11:7), and the "mother of prostitutes" is "drunk with blood of the saints" (17:5–6). In Daniel, the beast is "terrifying and frightening and very powerful" with "large iron ...

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