The Lost World of the Prophets
Old Testament Prophecy and Apocalyptic Literature in Ancient Context
by John H. Walton
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Pub Date 27 Feb 2024 | Archive Date 28 Mar 2024
Being responsive to God is at the heart of prophecy. But readers of ancient prophecies and apocalyptic literature—including those in the Old Testament—can come away thoroughly perplexed. Are the prophets speaking about their own times, about our present, or about some still-unrealized future?
It's common to study prophecy with a focus on the sole question of prediction and fulfillment, either for the sake of apologetics or for understanding the end times, but such an approach can fail to track with the original intent of the authors. We need to shake loose both from a paradigm of reading prophecy as an offer of mysterious divination as well as from the habit of constructing eschatological timelines of any sort. How do these books work as meaningful Scripture for Christians today?
John Walton applies his signature method to help us recover the lost world of the prophets. To read these biblical books well, we must understand:
- the role of the prophet
- the nature of prophetic literature
- the theological significance of prophecy
- how apocalyptic differs from prophecy
A fresh reading of the Old Testament text in light of the ancient Near Eastern context can open new avenues of awareness. Walton provides a clear, helpful guide to the nature of biblical prophecy and apocalyptic literature that will help readers avoid potential misuse and reclaim the message of the prophets for their lives.
The books in the Lost World Series follow the pattern set by Bible scholar John H. Walton, bringing a fresh, close reading of the Hebrew text and knowledge of ancient Near Eastern literature to an accessible discussion of the biblical topic at hand using a series of logic-based propositions.
"In this volume, John H. Walton turns his 'Lost World' lenses on the prophets to good effect. While the previous volumes in his Lost World series are helpful, this one is needed today more than the others, because the prophets are so misunderstood in the church today. His sequential propositional approach is perfect for showing why we so often shortchange the prophets by reading them only for eschatology or apologetics. This book offers the church a much-needed corrective in guiding us back to the message of the prophets—a message that still has power to form and transform our lives as readers."
-Bill T. Arnold, Paul S. Amos Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary