I had students reading some of the Hebrew prophets recently. I pointed out to them that they never threaten people with punishment in an afterlife. Instead it is always judgment within history. Plagues, famines, pestilence, earthquakes, war, and so on.
Do you know what else the Israelite prophets never threaten their nations with? Blizzards. Freak snowstorms.
That is worth reflecting on. The prophets are not predicting things that will happen, which otherwise would not have happened – God miraculously bringing an ice storm to their Eastern Mediterranean setting. They are not so much “predicting” as interpreting things which happen regularly, and will inevitably happen again.
Let me say that again. They are not predicting that God will do something miraculous. They are interpreting the kinds of things which happen, based on the assumption that God is behind them.
Is that how you have understood the prophetic writings in the Bible in the past? If not, why not? Do you think this is how they ought to be read and interpreted?
Of related interest, The Onion shared this: