Friday, May 13, 2016

The Pseudepigrapha and World War III

OLD TESTAMENT PSEUDEPIGRAPHA WATCH: Author Claims Return of Christ Tied to Nuclear War and Three Days of Darkness (Michael Fortner, Christian News Wire).
LAWTON, Okla., May 2, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ -- Journalist, historian, and Bible prophecy author, Michael D. Fortner has released his latest book, "The Approaching Apocalypse and Three Days of Darkness." In his new book, he claims that a multi-nation nuclear war will take place at the end of WW3, followed shortly by an asteroid impact, both of which will cover the world with dark clouds and threaten to bring nuclear/cosmic winter.

He says the world will be in complete darkness for three days, during which Christ will return and burn up the black clouds with fire from heaven. In this way, Christ will save the world from self-destruction, even though the fire will also kill many people. The nuclear war and asteroid impact will also create poison air that will kill more people than WW3.

He arrived at his thesis by analyzing many prophecies inside and outside the Bible, including the Book of Enoch, Sibylline Oracles, Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, and even Catholic and Protestant prophecies. He pieces them together like a jigsaw puzzle.

One of the important things he discovered is how God will send fire from heaven, from a small second sun that will appear in the sky some weeks or months beforehand. Fortner presents many prophecies that speak of this second sun, going all the way back to the Erythraean Sibyl.

As usual, my interest here is sociological rather than theological or survivalist. Not so long ago an author in the mode of Hal Lindsey writing about the apocalypse wouldn't have gone near the noncanonical scriptural literature. They were not the Bible and so were entirely without authority and probably heretical. Times change. There is lots of material for apocalypticists in 1 Enoch and the Sibylline Oracles, both found in the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, and it seems that such writers are now turning to this rich vein of material. I suppose that's progress of a sort. In any case, I am always glad to see the Pseudepigrapha getting some attention.

Incidentally, the Erythraen Sibyl was one of ten or twelve legendary Sibyls. The surviving Greek Sibylline Oracles are attributed, in the few cases when one is specified, to the Chaldean Sibyl, daughter or daughter-in-law of Noah (see Collins's translation in the first of Charlesworth's Old Testament Pseudepigrapha volumes) or the Tiburtine Sibyl (see the translation by Rieuwerd Buitenwerf in Bauckham, Davila, Panayotov, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, vol 1). There is also a Latin book of the "Witch Sibyl" (Sibylla Maga), which is forthcoming in an English translation by Johannes Magliano-Tromp in volume 2 of Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, which is now in preparation.