The Christians knew growing up had a very different understanding of “prophecy” in the Bible from the view adopted by professional biblical scholars. (I have been thinking about this because of my posts on Amos.) My sense is that most evangelical and fundamentalist Christians (certainly the latter) continue to have this non-academic view. It is that the prophets of the Bible – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Amos, Zechariah, and so on (there are seventeen prophets in the English Bible) – were principally interested in what was going to be happening in our day.
At the time when I became familiar with this view, that meant that prophets were interested in what would happen in the 1970s and 1980s. Today, of course, it would mean that they were principally interested in what would happen in the 2010s. That in itself should give us pause. Do you mean they were *not* mainly interested in the 1970s and 80s?
The same can be said, obviously – far more so! – for Christian understandings of the book of Revelation, the one book of prophecy that is always, every generation, every decade, every year, every day, is being interpreted as predicting things happening, finally, NOW!!! Christians have read Revelation that way since, well, since the book of Revelation was written. It is talking about what is happening to us NOW, in the 14th century! Or NOW, in the 19th century! Or NOW, in the 20th century! Or NOW, in 2016.
I should stress that the NOW is not the one and only interpretive point of reference for the Hebrew Bible prophets for the conservative Christians who take this particular approach. The other point of reference is…
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