Book Plunge for Fun: Odd Billy Todd

What do I think of N.C. Reed’s work published by Creative Texts Publishers? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A friend told me about this book and I heard a bit of it in audio format and the story I could just not get out of my mind. I kept pondering it over and over. The situation is that Billy is a sort of country boy who might be slow in some ways, but for understanding how to live and how to survive, he’s right on top. He lives in a world where humanity was struck with a plague and within an incredibly short time, most everyone was dead. At the start, as far as Billy knows, he’s the only one left alive.

Billy has a journal that was left behind by his parents and he had noted much of the wisdom of his parents. He tries to make it in this strange world that he finds himself in. Without spoiling too much, I will say it becomes apparent that there are some other survivors here and there and the story is all about the survival of Billy and those he meets that he allies with.

What do you do when everyone is dead? Normally, we would discourage stealing, but is it really stealing to go into town to take what you need if the people who had it are dead and you need to survive? Billy tries everything he can to be a man of morality and virtue as well in this world that he’s in. The book is set in Tennessee, where I happen to live now, and one can easily see the traditional kind of southern values we talk about down here.

No. The book is not explicitly Christian or anything like that, but while religion is not regularly mentioned, if anything is a worldview of the good guys in the book, it is mostly Christianity. While Billy does get weaponry to prepare himself in case of raiders, not knowing who is out there, there is no hint that he really wants anything to do with violence. If he has to engage in it to protect himself or someone he cares about, he will, but he knows it leaves a mark on a man.

Billy doesn’t have much book sense, but he does have common sense and sense of the way the world works. His real training is as a mechanic, but he does know how to run a farm and has an uncanny ability for telling time just by looking at the sky. As his journey continues, he also rises up as a leader.

As I was going through this, I was thinking it would be great if some indy developer was to make a video game out of this. You could have driving stages, farming states, stages involving shooting, and even Sims style relational stages where you learn to relate to others.

As I reached the end of the book, I was honestly saddened. I did think the ending was a bit abrupt, but I was wanting more. I would be pleased to see another book rise up that is a sequel to this. What happens to this world? What happens to all of these people that I have come to know?

If I had any criticism besides that, it would be that there are some grammatical errors in the book such that I wish an editor had done a better job. While that was annoying, it wasn’t enough to detract from the story. I read a chapter a day for 80 days and found it to be a treasure to go through. If you want to read a kind of apocalyptic book of this sort, give it a try. I am sure you’ll like it too.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Journey to Preterism — 2 Samuel 22

What does an Old Testament passage not about eschatology have to do with eschatology? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When I had that talk with two Preterists, I remember distinctly hearing about 2 Samuel 22. This is not a prophecy or a passage about eschatology. This is about the life of David and what happened during his days. So what on Earth does this have to do with eschatology?

Let’s look at the passage. We’re not going to go through the whole thing. It’s just going to be the relevant parts.

David sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
    from violent people you save me.

“I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and have been saved from my enemies.
The waves of death swirled about me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.

Here, we can recognize a lot of poetic license going on. This is the ways of poetry and even the hardest internet atheist could understand that this is not to be taken literally. This is David talking about how he felt hopeless. Those Christians who say we should always take the Bible “literally” will recognize this as well.

But what happens when we get to the next part?

“In my distress I called to the Lord;
I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came to his ears.
The earth trembled and quaked,
the foundations of the heavens shook;
they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
10 He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.
11 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.
12 He made darkness his canopy around him—
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
13 Out of the brightness of his presence
bolts of lightning blazed forth.
14 The Lord thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.
15 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
16 The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at the rebuke of the Lord,
at the blast of breath from his nostrils.

17 “He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
18 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
20 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Whoa. What happens with your interpretation here? This is quite an amazing  event in the life of David. David is surrounded by enemies and here comes YHWH flying out of Heaven on the backs of Gabriel and Michael. He is preceded by a massive earthquake and then YHWH starts shooting arrows at all of the bad guys.

This is a fascinating event and as we look back at the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, we find that this battle took place in…

Wait. I can’t find it….

It’s got to be here somewhere! An earthquake and then YHWH flying on angels shooting arrows at the enemies of David! Surely this would be worth mentioning! Where is it?!

Wait. Wait. You mean this whole chapter is poetic license? This is not a literal reading? This is David describing political events, such as ordinary battles and running from Saul, in cosmic language?

Who on Earth ever talks this way? Who uses over the top language to describe an event?

What? You mean a football team was described as destroying their opponents? That political announcement was said to be Earth-shattering? America’s story has a history of a shot heard around the world?

So you’re saying that if David is an Old Testament prophet, as is said in the New Testament such as in Acts 2, then maybe we should see this is how prophets spoke? Maybe prophets did use this kind of language regularly and it’s a mistake to take it “literally”?

It might be tempting to think this is an isolated incident, but it isn’t. There are several passages like this in the Old Testament. As we go through, we will find that this is the way that Jews spoke of events in their lives. Something literally happened, of course, but language used to describe it is often highly apocalyptic in nature. For us, a football team does get defeated, but the language we use is often very far from literal.

I had read this passage several times before and never considered it. This opened me up to a whole new way of reading the text. I had always understood it was poetic license, but I never had considered that this could be done in prophecy as well as the exact same language shows up there.

And as we’ll eventually see, the New Testament does the same, but that’s for the future.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)