Serious Bible Men
For those readers who truly wish to pursue the serious study of Scripture, I suggest the following as an absolutely necessary first step: Pack all your books on hermeneutics in a trunk until you have read Laurence Perrine, Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, sixth ed., 1982), and John Ciardi and Miller Williams, How Does a Poem Mean (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., second ed., 1975). More courageous souls may wish to continue further with two books by Northrop Frye: Anatomy of Criticism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957) and (with caution) The Great Code: The Bible and Literature (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982).David Chilton, The Days of Vengeance
Page 34, footnote 78.
Now, that’s an interesting set of recommendations for a Calvinist!
I think we should take him up on it.
Writing in Code
From Chilton’s The Days of Vengeance, page 35
For example, the symbolic number 666 (Rev. 13:18) clearly refers to Nero Caesar; but if St. John had merely intended that his readers should understand “Nero Caesar,” he would have written “Nero Caesar,” not “666.” 79
and the footnote:
79. The idea that he wrote it in “code” because he was afraid of being arrested for treason is obviously false: The prophets were not timid men; and anyway, the Book of Revelation is “treasonous” long before St. John gets around to talking about Nero. Christians could be killed for saying simply what St. John says in Chapter 1 – that Jesus Christ is “the Ruler of the kings of the earth.”
Let’s see how long it takes, for the regular Western, seminiary-trained pastor to have the spine that the sweetest & gentlest of the gospel writers had.
Hint: expect a long wait. At best.