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Plowshares & Pruning Hooks: Rethinking the Language of Biblical Prophecy and Apocalyptic Paperback – November 22, 2002
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"With every new major turn of events in the Middle East, many Christians scramble for their Bibles and seek to link the prophecies of the past to the events of the present. Brent Sandy has provided for both the average Bible reader and the serious student of Scripture some careful thinking on how to approach these prophetic texts that so intrigue them. Readers will find Plowshares and Pruning Hooks both balanced and challenging. They may not agree on every point, but all of us can appreciate the call for a consistent and careful approach to prophetic texts. This book opens the door for laymen and scholar alike to a serious study of prophetic literature and its value as part of the Word of God." (David R. Plaster, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Grace College and Seminary)
"Sandy's book reflects insights gained over long years of careful research. His investigation of the use of imagery, metaphor and stylized language in connection with prophetic literature provides a much-needed correction and direction to a field that is too often plagued by speculative excesses. His command of the subject is ably demonstrated by his own use of imagery in presenting his observations and evidence of the data. This is not just another book on prophecy. It is a groundbreaking proposal that invites further scrutiny from readers of all persuasions. Geared for a general audience, laymen, pastors and scholars alike will nonetheless profit from its balanced presentation. It will need to be consulted by any serious reader of the Scriptures." (Richard D. Patterson, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Liberty University)
"Timely, engaging, probing, carefully researched and faithful to the biblical text, Plowshares and Pruning Hooks will be helpful reading for students, biblical scholars, theologians and pastors alike. Not all questions are answered, but the right questions are raised. While not satisfying all of his readers, Sandy offers considerable guidance for the beginning student and provides fresh insights for the seasoned scholar. This comprehensive exploration of the language of prophecy and apocalyptic will prove to be valuable for many." (David S. Dockery, President, Union University)
"Luther is reported to have said that the prophets have a 'strange way of talking.' Anyone who has read Isaiah or Daniel closely knows the truth of these words. Brent Sandy helps us to engage the prophets intelligently and avoid sensationalist readings that take us down a road that obscures God's message. I will recommend this book to all my students." (Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Old Testament, Westmont College)
"This book represents the fruition of Sandy's many years of careful study and thinking on the commonly misunderstood topic of prophetic language. I have benefited from his insights over the years and am delighted to see his work finally made available to a wider audience. Students of the Bible who have been baffled by the prophetic texts of Scripture and their many interpretations will find great relief and helpful guidance in this book. Sandy's presentation makes excellent use of illustrations from the English language to guide the reader in understanding the language of prophecy. The resulting explanations enable the reader to bypass popular sensationalism and reclaim the biblical prophecies as God's Word." (John H. Walton, Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College Graduate School)
About the Author
Sandy (Ph.D., Duke University) teaches New Testament and Greek at Wheaton College. His books include Plowshares and Pruning Hooks: Rethinking the Language of Biblical Prophecy and Apocalyptic.
Top customer reviews
The section that is exceptional impact is "How Will Prophecies Be Fulfilled?", in particular pages 188-194. These six pages may make you rethink your presupposition and position on prophecy altogether. Am I condoning heresy or a heretical view point? Only to those that are probably misinterpreting unfulfilled prophecy already. I will leave you with a quote from the book that warrants close scrutiny.
"Tension naturally exists between the notions that the faithful should be ready for the end and that they cannot be ready. The end is expected at any moment, but will come at an unexpected moment. This dualism is due in part to the ethical dimension of the apocalyptic. The call to purity is strengthened if the end will occur imminently, and is strengthened if the end may catch us off guard. Because we expect it soon, we live accordingly. Because we cannot expect it precisely, we live accordingly. It is expected to be unexpected. Just like the second coming presumably could've occurred in the first century--as many Christians expected--or in every century since. Was the Lord's return imminent across the span of two thousand years? What about the events of every generation that were identified as sure signs of His coming...Current events simply cannot be claimed as the sign of his coming, no matter how many wars and rumors of wars there are."
Another brilliant quote from the conclusion:
"It is often in retrospect or in the present that biblical prophecies achieve their greatest importance."
On the night of Jesus' betrayal He twice gave them [disciples] the important perspective on all that He was saying to them. He told them so, "that when it does happen you will believe that I am He" ~John 13:19.
Knowing this we can then realize that it is not always the intent to reveal the future as much as to confirm and explain the past and illuminate the present conditions surrounding the reader.
Although some events could be interpreted as signs of the Lord's imminent return (and in a sense, they are) to draw definitive conclusions on metaphorical apocalyptic language that is not often meant to be taken literally is to do and injustice to the intent and real meaning of the prophecy.
This book may not follow my exact hermeneutucal grid or theology to the letter but it is well worth the few days to read through. It is a quick read. Take those few days and it will bless you the rest of your life.
Rating: 92 Pruning Hooks Out of 100
It explores the often-mysterious language of Bible prophecy with scholarly depth, but is still
accessible to a lay person. Sometimes controversial and always thought-provoking, this is a
worthwhile study. Disclaimer: I went to college with the author and have a high regard for him.