Listening to them the second time around is much more interesting. I don't think it is because I know them already. Honestly, I don't. I have, however, tried to "get inside their heads" a little better.
The language they use is strange. It is what we would term "Apolocaptic" in style. Filled with imagery and hyperbole. Something I heard recently that made a lot of sense when dealing with this style.
- You have a lot of hyperbole being used. Hyperbole is the use of exaggeration when speaking. We don't do this as well as many other cultures. I work with a man from India who does this quite well. The world is falling in when something goes wrong... Even though I know it isn't. When you hear "The sun will go dark...." or something like that, it isn't a weather report but a statement on their world view.
- The Bible is full of "types and shadows". We typically look at those types all pointing to Christ but it is deeper than that and something that as a non-jewish person, I don't do well in the old testament. Take for instance, the land of Israel. According to what I heard, the typical jewish person looked at the land as their "garden of eden" where they were given the task to care for and dominate it. Those who were not jewish were considered some of the animals to dominate. When an invading country invaded or predicted to invade, they looked at these invaders as monsters overthrowing the poor defenseless people. This is why you have some of the imagery in Daniel and elsewhere.
- Prophets were given dramas to play out used to make a point to the people around them.
- Hosea, for instance, was to marry a prostitute representing God's commitment to Israel. When she returned to being a prostitute, he was told to wander through the streets looking for her, yelling for her, representing God looking for his people.
- Ezekiel was told to lie on his side one day for each year that Israel was unfaithful. He was also told to eat food cooked with human dung.
- Isaiah was told to walk around naked for 3 years to show the shame that Israel would be facing when taken captive.
Needless to say, they are much more interesting this time around.