A Critical Introduction To
Apocalyptic Literature

  1. Characteristics (of both Biblical and Non-Biblical)
    1. The stress is clearly on future events (LaSor)
      1. Main theme is end of the world (Morris)
      2. Eschatology is primary feature (Frost)
    2. Prophecy given in forms that are tireless (LaSor)
    3. The message is perseverance and hope (LaSor)
      1. Interested in consoling and sustaining the righteous (Morris)
      2. Usually an absence of ethical and social teachings (Frost)
    4. Makes a good deal of use of dualism (Morris, Frost)
      1. This age vs. age to come
      2. Good vs. evil
    5. General view is that the world is so bad that God must break into history and destroy it to make things right again.
    6. Tend to be pseudonymous (Morris)
      1. about twenty different names were used
      2. Daniel and Revelation are exceptions
    7. Sometimes rewrote history by casting it into form of prophecy
    8. Secondary characteristics
      1. visions
      2. symbolism
        1. some conventional
          1. beasts stand for people
          2. horns stand for kings
          3. stars or men stand for angels
        2. numbers are often used symbolically
      3. angelology and demonology
      4. Messiah and Antichrist
      5. temple
  2. Themes of Biblical Apocalyptic Literature
    1. Something in near future predicted to show truly a prophet
    2. Something in distant future predicted to give hope
    3. Exhortation given
      1. Perserverance in time of trouble urged
      2. Repentance if not right
  3. Illustrations from Biblical Texts
    1. Some Ezekiel -- Restoration of Israel and Future Temple
    2. Daniel -- Chiasmus of Nebuchanezzar and Future Kingdoms
    3. Joel -- Locust Plague and Outpouring of Spirit
    4. Zechariah -- Rebuilding Temple and Coming of Messiah
    5. Synoptic Apocalypse -- Destruction of Temple and Second Coming
    6. Revelation -- Destruction of Rome and Second Coming

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