Sticking around in chapter 2 of "The Late Great Planet Earth", I want for us to think a little more about Prophecy. When we take the scriptures and let them situate themselves mainly in the 21st century, it is easy to forget that at one time these writings were new. There was a first person to hear (mainly) and then read the text.
In regard to the Old Testament, we have complex forms of writing, redaction and the scribal tradition. With the "prophetic" tradition, we also have a gigantic timeline to navigate. We have prophets from the Mosaic period, the Samuel period, and the divided kingdom. PLUS-we have the prophets during the time of the exile and after the exile. What this gives us is a really wide context, that is extremely complicated to situate the prophetic word of God through His people.
We can't also forget the specific message. These words weren't uttered in advance of three thousand years, but meant something to the people of the day who were in a covenant relationship with YHWH. What Mr. Lindsay does in this chapter is attempt to prove the validity of the prophetic message through prediction. Yes-this is/was part of the prophetic role, but not the main one and probably not even a secondary one Some would even argue that many of these writings were commentary on what Israel should have seen coming (this takes things a bit to far sometimes). Prophecy was also used a codified message of terrible things to interpret the actions in the eyes of God, the last half of Daniel is a good example of this. In this chapter, I imagine Lindsey is setting us up to logically follow various Old Testament prophecies regarding the future and possibly to interpret Revelation as prophetic in genre as well.
Our solution to so many of these (and other) problems is to learn to read the Text, or to Eat the Book, as Eugene Peterson writes. When we as the Church start to take them time to rip off our attempts to wrestle the scripture under our control, and instead absorb them and let them come alive, we won't need the bible to prove things for us. The Gospel message that is woven throughout the Holy book is one that requires us to place ourselves out of our world at times, and instead realize that we live in God's world. This is a world with an agenda that we can't grasp because it is a divine one, and placing our own needs to define God and our agenda simply won't do.
Glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be