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You Can Preach Apocalyptic Literature with a Sure Hand (pt. 1)

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.

One of the most difficult tasks preachers face in terms of interpretation and application is making sense (for ourselves and for our hearers) of apocalyptic literature. Indeed, the authors of Preaching Apocalyptic Texts claim, "Many good and faithful preachers rank preaching on apocalyptic texts alongside handling serpents: they have heard that people do it, but they have no desire to come anywhere near them." This is the literature of visions and voices, symbols and signs, demons and dragons, horns and toes. Like a maze of high hedges with gold at the center, the genre of apocalypse does not easily yield its treasure.

The history of interpretation shows us that humility is needed when handling the literature of visions. Many predictions have shipwrecked on the reefs of hubris. For example, John Napier, in A Pleine Discovery of the Whole Revelation of St. John, correlated the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 with a "precise timetable [which] could be uncovered in Revelation, even down ...

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