"To prophesy is extremely difficult--especially about the future." 1
Many may think that all apocalyptic literature deserves to be received with cool irony. The modern frame of mind with its scientific and rationalistic outlook surely has little sympathy with traditional prophecy about the end of history based on divine revelation. Even among believing Christians, the demythologizing of the scriptural message would seem to leave small viability for biblical apocalyptic. Is there anything more mythological in the whole of scripture than the Book of Daniel and the Apocalypse of John with their bizarre visions and luxuriant symbols? Is there anything more ludicrous in the history of Christianity than the stream of apocalyptic prophets and publicists whose announcements of the proximity of the end of history have long since been overtaken by its course?
Anyone who surveys the full range of present-day Christian beliefs, of course, would be forced to admit that there are still strong elements of literal apocalypticism found in many fundamentalist and charismatic groups. The success of the works of Hal Lindsey is evidence enough of how many mil-