I have finished a draft of my book on Revelation and am now having readers take a look at it, both layreaders and experts. Once I get their comments back I’ll make revisions and then get it sent out to the publisher; the plan is to have it published in the spring of 2022.
I may change all this, but here is how at this point I’m planning to start the book, in ch. 1.
I was expecting a good deal of culture shock when I moved to North Carolina in 1988. I had spent ten years in New Jersey, four of them teaching at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. It was a position I loved: teaching New Testament to students who were curious but not, as a rule, particularly invested in the subject before taking the class. Most of my students there were Roman Catholic, at least nominally; others were Jewish or completely secular. Not many were Bible-reading evangelicals. I was pretty sure things would be different in the south. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill itself was not known as a bastion of conservative thought, but it was, after all, in the Bible Belt. I braced myself, imagining that – as a former evangelical Christian myself – I knew what to expect. But the world is full of surprises.
I arrived in early August, and about a week after unpacking my office I received a call from a local newspaper. The reporter had heard I was a New Testament scholar and he had a pressing question: “Is it true that Jesus is returning in September?”
My first thought was: “OK, here we go.” Even so, I had no idea why he asked. It turns out there was a booklet in wide circulation in these climes by someone named Edgar Whisenant, who mounted numerous biblical arguments that the “rapture” would occur that year during Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 11-13) – just weeks away. There were some two million copies of the booklet in circulation.
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