5 Tips for Reading Apocalyptic Literature in the Bible
Apocalyptic literature is a challenging genre. In the Bible, we find this genre in the Book of Revelation and in the second half of Daniel.
There’s also a lot of apocalyptic literature outside the Bible. It was a very popular genre during the Second Temple period (from 530 BC to 70 AD), and so we have a lot of examples of the purpose, form, and style of apocalyptic literature to inform our understanding of how it functions in Scripture.
Since it’s such a different style of writing than the gospels, epistles, or historical and theological writings we find elsewhere in the Bible, it’s important that we approach apocalyptic literature with a different perspective.
Here are 5 tips for reading apocalyptic books like Daniel and Revelation.
1. Pay attention to the symbolism
One thing to remember about…
Who Was Nebuchadnezzar?
Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful king of Babylon who reigned from about 605 BC until around 562 BC.
Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom stretched across the ancient Near East. It was during his reign that the Babylonians sacked the city of Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. Because of Nebuchadnezzar, the Israelites lost their land, and ended up in exile.
This marked the beginning of what is called the diaspora (dispersion), when the…
What Does “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin” Mean?
Mene, mene, tekel, parsin, is an Aramaic phrase found in chapter five of the Book of Daniel, the story of Belshazzar and the handwriting on the wall. (This is where we get the colloquial phrase “writing on the wall”.)
Here’s the passage where we encounter this peculiar phrase:
This is the inscription that was written:
mene, mene, tekel, parsin
“Here is what these words mean:
Four Principles from Daniel for Sustaining Faith in Today’s World
A teenager and his friends, to say nothing of an entire nation, had to navigate this question themselves. Thankfully their wisdom has been preserved for us.
In his new book Hearing the Message of Daniel, Christopher Wright explores the perennial problem of living in but not of the world by exploring the book of Daniel—beginning with the young Jewish mens’ surprising response to Babylon’s program of indoctrination.
Though most sermons focus on their courage to say “no,” Wright explains why it is important that they said “yes” three times—giving us four principles…
How You Can Preach the Purpose and Theology of the Book of Daniel
With so much global uncertainty and unease, it’s easy to forget what the book of Daniel reminds us: God is the King of kings!
Old Testament scholar Wendy L. Widder explores this crucial anthem in her new Daniel commentary (Story of God Bible Commentary series). While Christians have been obsessed with how Daniel reveals end-times events, she argues we’ve often missed its pivotal message—one we need now more than ever:
God is in control, no matter how things look, and his kingdom will one day fill the earth. (14)
Widder explains that this message grows out of the book’s primary theme: the kingdom of God. “The book reveals why God is the king of all kings, and it offers perspective on how citizens of his kingdom should live while they…