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But that does not mean that the silence does not represent the Second Advent. With that issue settled, Caird then makes a point pregnant with implications, which is shared by David Aune: namely, that Revelation shades off into what follows in the book. As Aune notes, the opening of the seals is one thing, and the opening of the sealed book another. One further point that should be noted at this juncture is that late in the sequences of both the seals and trumpets is found a concern with the issue of time.

They are told they need to wait a little longer vs. The answer to the question of time in Revelation 10 is that there should be no more time vs. But there is a major flaw in that solution. Namely, that she herself repeatedly rejected that approach to a solution. For such historic battles in the church as those over the law in Galatians and the identity of the daily in Daniel 8, she explicitly and consistently told the church that they were not to use her writings to solve issues of biblical interpretation.

This topic has been widely discussed among the students of Revelation. And the suggestions are not only many but also diverse. Before examining those suggestions, note should be made of two aspects of the little book that seem clear from the text of Revelation First, it is a little book or scroll, as opposed to the scroll featured in Revelation 5. Another implication of the passage is that it had previously been sealed, but this is not explicit.

But who knows what it means? Other commentators are not so bashful. A major candidate is that the little book of Revelation 10 is the same as the book of chapter 5. That is the position of Beale, who provides a helpful discussion of the differences and similarities between the two. A few commentators, as will be seen later, tie it to the prophecies of Daniel. The majority of solutions focus on some sort of relationship to the larger scroll of chapter 5.

At the minimalist level of that position is the view of R. It is difficult to believe that the unique introduction of the word in ch. They were indeed like the sealed scroll of Revelation; their contents not to be understood until the approach of the End made them relevant. Other commentators, as will be seen below, tie the allusions in Revelation 10 to other parts of Daniel, including chapter 12, but none make the same explicit connection as Kiddle and Bauckham.

As might be expected, the same would not be true of those in the Adventist community. Among those in this camp are Uriah Smith and C. Mervyn Maxwell. For them, the little scroll is the Book of Daniel. Other Adventist scholars view the contents of the opened book of Revelation 10 in a more complex manner. This is gradually unfolded, first in summary form in Revelation 11 and then more in detail in Revelation 12— The special significance of Rev. It appears that LaRondelle and Stefanovic put forth the best solution to the identity of the contents of the opened scroll of Revelation He has no discussion of its relation to the larger book.

Nor does he connect it to fulfilled prophecy in Daniel, except where there is similar wording between Revelation to 7 and Daniel to As might be expected, most Adventist writers on the topic make a direct connection between the opened book of Revelation and the sealed book of Daniel We see, furthermore, that in both places the contents ascribed to the book are the same.

Smith also makes the connection in his treatment of Daniel, but not where it may be expected. Rather than treating the topic in the three places where Daniel mentions sealing, he concludes his extended discussion of with a few words on the meaning of the increase of Bible knowledge at the end of time. Then the book of this prophecy should be no longer sealed. It was to be opened and understood. For proof that the little book to be opened is the book here closed and sealed when Daniel wrote, and that the angel delivers his message in this generation, see comments on Revelation More recent Adventist approaches to the topic have taken the same position.

While the most recent Adventist scholars have found similar relationships between the scrolls of Revelation 5 and 10 to those of other scholars, they have been much more active in expressing the connection between the opened book of chapter 10 with Daniel However, what is absent in the Adventist discussion is analysis of just what was sealed in the Book of Daniel and how those opened parts might be specifically exhibited in the second half of the Apocalypse.

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The opened little book in Revelation 10 is not only related to the climax of the larger book of Revelation 5, but most specifically related to opening up the sealed portions of Daniel. Many have recognized the obvious impact of the Book of Daniel on Revelation. Although its author seldom quotes the OT directly, allusions and echoes are found in almost every verse of the book.

While that is true, it is also true that it is not difficult to discover the massive impact that Daniel has made on the Book of Revelation. The task at this point is to examine possible influences of Daniel in Revelation 10, especially influences related to Daniel For this purpose, Revelation 10 can be divided into five sections:. Regarding the first section, many are those who find a connection between the description of the mighty angel in Revelation with the portrayal of the angel of Daniel 10 to In terms of the second section, the sealing of the vision of the seven thunders, many have seen a natural connection between the sealing of Revelation with that of Daniel Thus, the first two sections of Revelation 10 have obvious relationships to Daniel, including the 12th chapter.

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But it is the third section dealing with the angel swearing an oath regarding the end of time that highlights the connection. Regarding the connection between the two passages, R. Four aspects of Revelation to 7 draw repeated comment. The first is the description of the angel. The second and crucial parallel is the oath sworn by the angel. He, too, swears on the one who lives forever. Ford and others make the same comparison.

A third area of contact between the two passages is their concern with end time. In Dan. The fourth section of Revelation 10, verses 8 to 10, deals with the eating of the little book and its sweetness in the mouth and bitterness in the belly. The passage itself is based upon Ezekiel, but the little book which is opened at the end of time has a definite parallel, as noted above, with the book of Daniel that is opened at the end of time.

The fifth segment of Revelation 10, the recommissioning of verse 11, has no significant parallel in Daniel. In conclusion, commentators in general have seen and discussed the parallels between Daniel 12 and Revelation The connection between the two chapters is both extensive and extensively recognized. We can only conclude that it is contained in the open scroll now in the hand of the powerful angel.

Her use of Daniel and pointed me for the first time to the two verses related to Daniel , but because of her two specific references, I concluded that she was claiming that the 2, and 1,day visions were shut up. But that is not what she said. But my misreading put me onto a fruitful investigative track. Interestingly, the Book of Daniel includes three references to the sealing of at least a part of the book, each in the context of the end of time. Nowhere have I found a discussion of the three passages treated together in a significant way or their relationship to one another.

The most discussed is the contents of Daniel Given that fact, it seems safe to conclude that only a part of the book was sealed. And why were parts sealed? Therefore, they are shut up and sealed until the end of time. There is a dearth of discussion regarding the relationship of the sealings of Daniel and to the sealing of Daniel With that in mind, it can be hypothesized that the sealings mentioned in Daniel and indicate which prophecies in the book were sealed and awaited opening at the end of time.

Thus, the content of those two sealings should be examined.

Since the rest of the symbolism was explained and did not extend until the time of the end, the chapter ends with the sealing of the unexplained vision of the evenings and mornings that pertained to a distant time Though there is widespread agreement on what was sealed in Daniel , this is not true of the sealing in Some see it as equivalent to the general statement in But there is good evidence that it is referring to the vision of the 1, days, which is the prophecy in the immediate flow of the context.

Here the parallel structure leading up to the sealing in chapter 8 is informative. In chapter 8, the progression is as follows:. But though the rest of the prophecy is explained vss. It was sealed up for an extended period vs. But when Daniel asked the meaning of that time period, he was told that it was none of his business—that the vision was sealed until the time of the end vss. It is probably no accident that the questions are each answered by a time period and a sealing. Jesus had a similar response to His inquisitive disciples when they asked regarding the time of His second coming.

In short, it was none of their business yet. In conclusion, as a working hypothesis. New Testament characters had the same question on their lips. This is a major shift, implying that the wait will not be long. This reply is followed by events to take place right before the Second Advent in the sixth seal vss. But now, with the saints sealed, the answer is much more specific. In other words, final events will take place soon, when the seventh trumpet sounds.

With those ideas in place, the next step is to examine evidence for the contents of the opened little book in the chapters of Revelation that follow its opening to see if they provide clues as to the content of the little book itself. The focal point of this examination will be to test the working hypothesis that it is the two sealed parts of Daniel in particular that should feature in Revelation after the little book is opened. If the content of the little book is partly the eschatological aspects of Daniel, including the sealed parts related to the 1, and 2,day prophecies, then we would expect to find evidence for that hypothesis in the Book of Revelation once the little book has been opened.

And this is exactly what is found. In fact, after Revelation 10, there is a virtual explosion of materials coming from Daniel in the Apocalypse of John. Take the 1, days, for example. Immediately after the little book of Revelation 10 is opened, the 1, days become a central feature in chapters 11— It is significant that not once in Revelation is that time period mentioned until the little book is opened. And at that point it is repeatedly mentioned. A few commentators point out that the time period is the same as that found in Daniel , but most make nothing of the idea of its being sealed and unsealed.

After all, even though Revelation's details can be hard to understand, its central ideas are rather clear. What is the main message of the book of Revelation? Johnson I think the main message of the book of Revelation could be summed up in Paul's words in 2 Corinthians where he talks about the importance of our walking by faith and not by sight. The whole point of the book of Revelation is to help the church to see, in a sense, behind the surface of everyday occurrences, of everyday events, to recognize that though there are very obviously visibly strong and formidable enemies of the church, that Christ has already defeated them.

In fact, paradox is a key element in the book of Revelation. Things are not what they seem. In Revelation 5 we read about Jesus as the Lion of the tribe of Judah who has conquered, and then what John sees when he looks to see this Lion, this conquering Lion, is a Lamb standing as though slain. It is by his death that Christ has redeemed people from all the peoples of the world. By the same token, in Revelation 12, John is told in the vision that Satan, the Dragon, the Accuser, has been cast out of heaven, and the accuser of the brothers has been defeated by the brothers because they have not loved their lives even to the point of death.

In other words, the martyrs have conquered the Dragon. Their death looked like defeat, but it was really victory. And so the point of the book of Revelation is that we are to live by what Christ has shown us through the eyes of John by the Word of God — Christ is called the Word of God there, as he is in John's gospel — what Christ has shown us of the realities, and in that light, then, we should endure persecution with courage, with hope. And we need to remain pure from the defilements that the surrounding pagan culture would try to insert into our lives.

Peter Walker The book of Revelation is a very complicated book, 22 chapters that people find very difficult to understand. But the main message of it could be summarized firstly, that God is in control. So, it's written to be a real encouragement to people who are struggling, perhaps suffering for their faith, and need to lift up their eyes and believe that God really is in control, that behind human history is not total chaos, but God, the sovereign Lord, is there.

That's probably the first and overriding message. But second is the whole theme of Jesus Christ, who shares in the sovereignty of God and who himself is the one who is to be worshiped and adored. So, it's very strong on its doctrine of how we are to worship Christ, the Lamb who is seated on the throne. And so there's not just a vision of God being in control, but that Jesus is the Lord and that Jesus is in control.

Jesus is Lord. Beyond that, I think there's the understanding that then just Jesus is going to take human history somewhere beautiful, somewhere strong, and it's going to work out okay for those who believe in him.

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So I think the baseline of Revelation is one of encouragement: God's in control, Jesus is Lord, and this same Jesus is taking human history to a place where it's going to be worth getting to. Glen Scorgie One of the most recognizable characteristics of the entire book of Revelation is this amazing imagery, but the central image of the book of Revelation appears to be the Lamb upon the throne, and not just any lamb, but a lamb with a great wound… And it's a marvelous symbol of Christ in his redemptive sufferings: the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

But now we see the Lamb upon the throne, a symbol of victory, authority, triumph, vindication. And so we have in John's vision in the Revelation, a revelation of the way things really are, where the one who has been weak is now strong, the one who has been humiliated is now exalted. And this great reversal of fortunes is a — not only the narrative of the life of Christ in his descent and ascent — but it is a paradigm of the experience of believers as well.

They too will experience a measure of suffering, as the first century readers well knew, but the message was that in Christ, this will lead to victory for you, as well. The hideousness of the images of evil in the book of Revelation are an acknowledgment that the opposition to the work of God and to the security of the believers is serious and considerable. But that notwithstanding, the Lamb triumphs in the end. So that the Christians can know that through Christ, greater is he that is in them than he that is in the world. And there's an image of the saints having their robes dipped in blood.

Now, this is a symbol of, in a sense, their appropriation of the substitutionary forgiveness achieved through Christ. But maybe, just maybe, it is also a symbol of their willingness to participate in the paradigm of costly suffering in order to one day wear the robes of heavenly senators, the vindicated triumphant ones who share in the glory of the wounded Lamb upon the throne.

Glodo I would say that the main message of the book of Revelation is that Christ has overcome, he has overcome death and he has overcome the power of the world, the Devil, and that he now reigns with the Father, and, as it relates to us, that we will share in his victory if we trust in him, if we adhere to him by faith, if we persevere to the end by believing in his victory. Bradley T. Johnson Well I suppose that scholars would differ on what they consider the main message of the book of Revelation to be, but I think it's fair to say that at the book's center is the idea that God is in charge and he represents ultimate authority.

It's not Rome; it's not religious authorities; it's nothing in this world. And I think that the message that seems to be coming to John is really twofold, and it comes in the form of a warning, and the warning is to be righteous. Those who are righteous will find eternal reward, and the troubles of this day will not be lasting. The other side of that equation is those who are unjust and who fail to repent by acknowledging God's sovereignty will be eternally condemned.

So the work of the Lord is both terrifying and exciting depending on one's response to that warning. Every biblical book addresses many different areas of theology. But some books contribute more to our understanding of certain theological topics than they do to others. When it comes to the book of Revelation, theologians tend to focus on something called "eschatology.

Benjamin Gladd Simply, "the study of last things. In the Old Testament we have a number of texts that talk about what will happen in the latter days, or in the end of days — we have synonymous expressions — and typically that involves the conquering, the Messiah coming and conquering the pagan nations, the conversion of the nations joining Israel, peace going out. Preceding that, immediately preceding that restoration in the latter days there will be an antagonist. Daniel talks about this man of lawlessness who will come. He will spread false teaching. He will deceive Israel and deceive the nations.

And so all of that will happen in the latter days. Now the New Testament makes this remarkable insight that the latter days have begun. It's the last hour. There has been resurrection. And when we move to the book of Revelation we see this all over the place. In fact, in chapter 1, John claims to be a partaker of the tribulation in the kingdom. So both at the end-time tribulation and the end-time kingdom, he is participating in. And so we see that throughout the book of Revelation, not only does it concern about the very last things before the new heavens and new earth, it also concerns things that have begun from the first century to today.

It has all been set in motion. Robert G. Lister Eschatology, in the simplest definition of the word, is the study of the end times or the study of the last things. And so, when we use the term in its simple sense, that's, all that it involves is the study of the end times. We can apply eschatology in a couple of other particular senses.

We can think of it in an individual or a personal way, and when we do that, we're asking questions like: What happens to individuals, be they a believer or an unbeliever, following their death in this life, provided that that death takes place prior to the return of Christ? What about the intermediate state?

Is there a separation of body and soul? What does the resurrection to judgment look like for individuals? On what basis does that judgment take place? And then, an individual's reward in heaven or judgment in hell, what might that look like? Individual eschatology is what we're talking about there.

We might also think of cosmic or global eschatology, and there we're thinking on a broader level, not just what do the end times look like for individuals and what are the implications for them, but what are God's global purposes in the culmination of his plan of redemption for this earth? And there we would include broader discussions of things like the millennium in Revelation 20 — some competing interpretations on that. What is God's plan for the new heavens and the new earth?

Is it primarily spiritual? Is it primarily physical? Is it a combination of the two? What does the eternal state look like when God has assigned final judgment to believers and unbelievers, the resurrection of the just and the unjust? So we can kind of talk about it in those three components: the broad definition on the one hand, the application to individuals on the other hand, and then finally the cosmic implications of eschatology as well.

One thing that can complicate our reading of Revelation is the fact that it contains different literary genres. Put simply, a genre is a type or category, like narrative, poetry, wisdom, law, and so on. And each genre has its own conventions — its own way of communicating. So, in order to interpret the book of Revelation responsibly, we need to recognize the genres it uses, and to read each one according to its own conventions. What genres does the book of Revelation employ?

James M. Hamilton Revelation employs at least three genres. The very first word of the book in Greek is apocalypse or " apokalupsis ," so this book, John is identifying it as a "revelation" or perhaps an "unveiling. Number two, it's a prophecy. Revelation "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy. And some have distinguished between an apocalypse — being concerned with the events of the very end of history, the consummation of all things, and perhaps heavenly realities — and then a prophecy dealing with the actual outworking of history.

And then thirdly, Revelation employs features of an epistle. So around verse 4, John begins to say, "John, to the seven churches," and then he addresses those seven churches. There's a blessing much like the format of Paul's letters. So if you compare Revelation or so, the opening there is very similar to the opening of some of Paul's letters.

And then it concludes, the whole book concludes with a grace that is very similar to the way that Paul concludes his letters. So I think we can say that Revelation is an apocalyptic prophecy in the form of a circular letter. And there was probably a letter carrier who would have delivered this writing to these churches and then read it aloud in Christian worship.

Keener One of the most obvious genres in the book of Revelation is the genre of letters. You have letters to the seven churches which some have compared to imperial edicts and so on, but official kinds of letters. But the rest of the book of Revelation is a genre that's much less familiar to us — to many of us in the twenty-first century — and it's a mixture of what we could call prophecy and apocalyptic.

It has features that very much resemble the language of the Old Testament prophets. Pretty much everything could be accounted for on that basis alone. But some of the features that are most distinctive and repeated in the book of Revelation are also those features that often appear in Jewish apocalypses, a certain kind of Jewish literature that emphasizes heavenly revelations and so on. With regard to even those elements, those elements appear in some of the earlier biblical prophets, Ezekiel, Daniel, and so forth.

But because they're so unfamiliar to us — to many of us at least in most of our cultures in the twenty-first century — it's valuable to immerse ourselves in the language of the Old Testament prophets to get a better understanding of the book of Revelation. Brandon Crowe The book of Revelation is unique in a number of ways, and one of those ways is how it takes three different genres and combines them into a single book.

Revelation employs prophecy, apocalyptic, and the form of a letter for John to make his point. As an apocalyptic book, Revelation concerns visions that are given to John that deal with the divine transcendent reality and how that reality is relevant for our world today. It gives a divine perspective on the world and shows us something of where history is going. As a prophetic book, John writes with the very authority of God himself, meaning the words that John writes are true. They are absolutely true in the way that God is himself truth. And the categories of apocalyptic and prophetic are very closely united in Revelation as they are, for example, in a book like Daniel in the Old Testament.

But thirdly, Revelation is communicated in the form of a circular letter. This is a letter that was sent around to more than one church, and as a letter, Revelation was relevant for churches even in the first century. And it's important to remember that it was a letter, that Revelation is not only about what might happen thousands of years in the future, but Revelation, as it was originally, was given, was written to specific churches in the first century.

And whatever else John might be doing, his message of Revelation is relevant for those first century churches. And so in some senses, Revelation is unique in being a prophetic apocalypse that was sent around to churches in the form of a circular letter. It combines all three of those genres. Question 6: How similar is the book of Revelation to Old Testament prophetic literature? When John wrote the book of Revelation, he drew heavily from the Old Testament prophets, and quoted them frequently.

And of course, the same God inspired both Old Testament prophecy and the book of Revelation. Because of these types of connections, we should expect to see similarities between Revelation and Old Testament prophecy. But do we? How similar is the book of Revelation to Old Testament prophetic literature? Brandon Crowe To understand the book of Revelation, we need to understand that it is a book of prophecy, and the book of Revelation identifies it as a book of prophecy.

And as a book of prophecy, it has a number of similarities to Old Testament prophets. It mirrors, for example, some of what… happens in Ezekiel. Some think that the sequence of the visions in Ezekiel had a very formative influence on the way that John had organized Revelation. We also see John having something like a prophetic commission like what happens to Ezekiel. We see further that Ezekiel is called to write by the Spirit, and John is said to write at the leading of the Spirit, and that there's a divine authority that lies behind what he writes in Revelation.

And so we see, just as the true prophets from the Old Testament are actually speaking the very words of God, we see the same thing in Revelation where, as John writes, he's writing the very words of God. Revelation is also much like the book of Daniel, which is also an apocalyptic prophecy type of book, which we find in Revelation.

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Revelation 1 begins with John saying, these are the things that must soon take place and these had been shown to him, and we find something very similar in Daniel 2 where the things that will happen in the latter days are going to be shown to them. So we see those similarities as well. Beyond this, the book of Isaiah is quoted a number of times in Revelation. And in fact, we can point to the way that John often takes Old Testament books, Old Testament wording, Old Testament images, and weaves them into his prophecy to demonstrate his continuity with the prophets that have come before.

Some even say that John is writing the climax of biblical prophecy. If you look, for example, in Revelation 18 and 19 and the downfall of Babylon, it's been argued that he's actually taking all of the Old Testament statements about the downfall of Babylon from the prophets and weaving those into that account to demonstrate how his prophecy of the downfall of Babylon stands in continuity with what has come before. Miles Van Pelt The book of Revelation is not unique in the entire biblical canon in terms of the type of literature that we find there. There are actually several books in the Old Testament that correspond to the same literary type of genre.

One of the ones I'm thinking of right now is apocalyptic literature… Now, apocalyptic literature we often think of in the book of Revelation as that literature where you get wild and outrageous animals and things being described, for example, dragons and beasts with multiple heads, horns and eyes.

Well, that type of language is not unique to the book of Revelation. We find that in the book of Daniel. We find apocalyptic literature in Ezekiel, in Zechariah, even a little bit in Isaiah. So the book of Revelation has many, kind of, literary antecedents in Old Testament prophetic literature. And what is the purpose of Old Testament prophetic literature at the apocalyptic level, or even the book of Revelation? One thing that's helpful to think about is that the coming of apocalyptic literature appears to focus around a particular community at a particular time, and that's usually God's people in exile.

And so if you think of Ezekiel who was cast into exile in Babylon and received apocalyptic visions, Daniel who went into exile to Babylon: apocalyptic visions, John in exile on Patmos: apocalyptic visions. And the purpose of these apocalyptic visions, they were not to confuse people, which we normally think today, but actually to comfort and encourage God's people in this way: number one, that God is in control, and number two, that God wins.

And those two really big themes kind of frame how apocalyptic literature, or what it embodies in terms of its content and when it is coming to God's people in terms of their timing. So there are antecedents in the Old Testament for the apocalyptic literature that we normally think of describes the vast majority of the book of Revelation.

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Greg Perry The emphasis in the book of Revelation is on its role or identity as a prophetic word, a book of prophecy. And so what we see is a great deal of similarities with the ways in which the prophets would represent God's covenant in terms of the things they would see — their visions — to call people back to covenant faithfulness and repentance.

And so the emphasis in the opening part of the book of Revelation is on a call to repent and to overcome. And that's consistent with what we see in the prophets where the warnings are, "unless you repent, you'll suffer this discipline. And so we see this through John. Jesus brings this word of blessing that he promises to those who will repent and those who will overcome, this great invitation to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

We also see common imagery. So, whether it's imagery from the plagues and the Exodus and the experience of the deliverance of God's people from the Exodus, and of course, the identification of Jesus as the Passover Lamb that is consistent with that imagery, and Moses as a prophet. Or where we see the heavenly council and one like the Son of Man like we see in relation to Daniel 7 in chapters 4 and 5, and the gathering of the heavenly council there, or whether it's the New Jerusalem that's consistent with what we see in the book of Ezekiel, or whether it's these figures like the two witnesses or what we see with the lampstands — imagery that really comes from the book of Zechariah — where again these things represent God's leaders like the king and the priest, and God's people in relation to the nations, and God's call for them to be faithful in the midst of the nations and his dealings with the nations.

So these things are very consistent with what we see in the imagery and in the function of the books of prophecy in the Old Testament. Question 7: How is apocalyptic literature similar to and different from typical biblical prophecy? The author of the book of Revelation wrote in both the prophetic and apocalyptic genres. These two genres have many similarities, but they also have significant differences. How is apocalyptic literature similar to and different from typical biblical prophecy?

Robert B. Chisholm, Jr. In apocalyptic literature, we have more of a vision of the distant future with a succession of kingdoms and what God is going to be doing in the future; whereas, classical prophecy tends to be a little more immediate. Or if it talks about the distant future, it's maybe a little more vague. The book of Revelation talks about the future and uses a lot of symbolism — there are angelic visitations — those are characteristics of apocalyptic literature. So it's really kind of a big picture, long range sort of thing.

And because of the large amount of symbolism, it really does differ from classical prophecy. Scott Redd Well, apocalyptic literature is similar to biblical prophecy in the sense that it does tell something about the future. It anticipates God's work in the world and the surety, or the confidence that God's people can have, that he will continue to be involved in the goings-ons of their life and the life of the world around them. But when you compare apocalyptic literature to, for instance, to typical biblical prophecy, you find that there are also some very significant differences.

Biblical prophecy is typically involved in the genre of prayers or speeches, for instance. Biblical prophecy is often prayers to God, lamenting for sin, repenting for sin, or prayers of praise, or prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord. So they often show up in a sort of poetic style and involve the vivid and metaphorical imagery that we find in poetry. Sometimes biblical prophecy is also taken up in speeches, speeches to God's people, either declaring the threat of judgment or declaring a hope in blessing and salvation in the future. Again, like all biblical prophecies, the most significant aspect of the prophecy is that it's calling God's people to faithfulness and repentance.

However, when we turn to apocalyptic literature, we find a very different mode of communication. We see the prophet, instead, taken up in the Spirit often, into sort of a spiritual realm where they watch a drama played out before them. Now, like biblical prophecy, the drama involves concerns about the future, sometimes the near future and sometimes the very distant future.

But as the prophet watches this drama played out, he reports to us on what he sees… In apocalyptic visions, the prophet will often have an angelic tour guide who is explaining to him the events that he sees around him. The prophet can ask questions to the angel, and the angel will often respond or give other kinds of clarification to what the prophet is seeing in front of him. Now, the drama that is played out in a visionary apocalypse is one which is very figurative, it's very vivid in its imagery, but it tends to draw large lines and broad strokes about future events.

They're always involving cosmic conflict, battle between light and darkness, battle between God and his enemies. And we see these great broad strokes being drawn out throughout the apocalyptic vision, often using very vivid and very exciting imagery… So you see the apocalyptic genre is really a vision report, reporting on a drama that's played out in the future of great cosmic conflict between God and his enemies.

Biblical prophecy, on the other hand, typically involves poetry, things like prayers and speeches. And yet both call God's people to be both comforted and consoled by the promise of God's deliverance and his reign in the future, but also to be called back to faithfulness by the opportunity of participating in God's kingdom and the desire to be on the side of the divine King who has the victory.

Question 8: What are some distinctive characteristics of apocalyptic literature? Apocalyptic literature was well known during the time that John wrote Revelation. And the book of Revelation contains many of the characteristics common to this genre. What are some distinctive characteristics of apocalyptic literature? Ben Witherington III The book of Revelation is a piece of apocalyptic prophecy, not just any kind of prophecy, but apocalyptic prophecy, which is to say, visionary prophecy.

If you don't get the genre signals right then you don't understand the sort of universe of discourse out of which this book is operating. Apocalyptic prophecy is visionary prophecy, and the thing that characterizes that is that the prophet is not just going to say what he heard from God, a late word from God, he's going to relate what he saw in a vision. That's why he's called a seer. A seer is someone who sees something. Well, here's the problem for the prophet who's a visionary; he's got to describe what he sees, and the problem when you see the mysterium tremendum is there's not enough words in anybody's vocabulary to describe God or heaven or all of those kinds of things.

So what happens in visionary prophecy is that he must say, "It's like… It's like… It's like… It's like… " "And I saw a throne and it was like…" "And he was shaped like a human being… " "… and it had a color like x and y. If you don't understand that this is metaphorical language, it's poetic language, it's visionary language, you're right off the bat going to make a horrible mistake about the way you interpret this material.

I mean, you may actually go around looking for beasts with seven heads and twenty-three horns and then be terribly disappointed that they're not at the San Diego Zoo. Our author is not describing literally something, he's describing something analogically and saying, "It's like this," and that's the way an analogy works. It's a comparison of two unlike things that in some particular way are alike. The genre of apocalyptic prophecy is such that it can even be distinguished from ordinary prophecy as well and if you don't understand what kind of literature you are dealing with, you're already heading down the road to misinterpreting the book of Revelation.

Mark Strauss Apocalyptic literature is not like any kind of literature we have today, and so sometimes when modern readers approach the book of Revelation, for example, they're surprised and they're trying to figure out what's going on. So it's important to talk about some of the characteristics of apocalyptic… ancient Jewish apocalyptic literature.

Fundamentally, apocalyptic literature is really crisis literature. And by that we mean it arose in the context when God's people were under severe pressure, even pressure of potential extermination. And the message then that comes through in apocalyptic literature is that no matter what crises you're facing, no matter what enemies you're facing, God is the sovereign Lord of the universe. He is in charge of human history, and he will intervene to accomplish his salvation and to bring you through this impossible or difficult time.

So that's fundamental to apocalyptic literature. Then, of course, we see characteristics like symbolic images, and sometimes, you know, we see beasts and dragons and locusts and these coming out of the pit, and these kinds of things, so lots of symbolic literature. Revelation through angelic creatures, angelic mediators, these kinds of things are characteristic of apocalyptic literature.

But fundamentally, apocalyptic literature is meant to send a message to God's people that the crises that they're facing, the challenges they're facing, they can persevere through it because God is ultimately going to save and deliver them. William Edgar Apocalyptic literature shows up in many places in the ancient world, and of course it is in the Bible as well. You can always recognize it because it's not linear; it's not straight history; it's laden with images. Not that these images are unrelated to history.

They often are used to predict what the future is going to be: a statue with different parts in the book of Daniel, which predicts succeeding empires. Or the book of the Revelation is replete with such apocalyptic imagery, the four horsemen, for example, or the bowls pouring out judgment. And in addition to these darker things, the bright things such as the New Jerusalem descending out of heaven.

So apocalyptic literature is characterized by a sort of mosaic way of appearing. And… you're glad the whole Bible isn't apocalyptic, because we'd have trouble understanding it probably. We'd spend most of our time interpreting it. So we have other parts of the Bible which are more linear, and they work together in a perfect harmony. I think one of the reasons for that is that God is not just teaching us either points of doctrine or elements of history in an isolated fashion, but he's presenting his self, his person, his covenant presence, and we relate to that as entire people.

Images are important parts of who we are as we respond, as are words, and as is linear history. So apocalyptic literature in the context of the whole is quite wonderful. Chapman Well, apocalyptic literature is unveiling the realities of heaven for those of us on earth. So one of the things that you'll see is very often that the individual who is seeing the vision of heaven is taken up into heaven. He's taken up into heaven and he begins to see visions, and the visions often include symbols and metaphorical imagery that then later has to be interpreted. So that's one of the key elements of apocalyptic imagery.

They often speak to the situation of God's people on earth at that time, but there can also be a future element or something that's unveiling some heavenly reality that we need to know in order to live our lives now in the hope of the future. In addition, I would say that apocalyptic imagery, the genre, has sometimes been defined, I think too broadly by scholars. And by that I don't mean just evangelical scholars but across the spectrum, so that you have an attempt to define the book of Revelation as an apocalyptic genre alongside not just books such as parts of Ezekiel or Daniel that are clearly apocalyptic literature in the Old Testament, but also across intertestamental Jewish works such as 1 Enoch, and in doing so it becomes a bit circular because they know they want to include all of this literature in the genre of apocalyptic, and especially fit Revelation in, and so then you come up with a definition that fits all of that, even if 1 Enoch sounds very different from Revelation, while Revelation sounds, frankly, very much like parts of Isaiah or Ezekiel or Daniel, which I think John the apostle is intentionally wanting to echo as he's writing through the book of Revelation.

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Benjamin Gladd Yes. Apocalyptic literature has a number of characteristics. In recent years, that's been sharpened by scholars. The first characteristic is that it takes place typically in a narrative framework. There is a story that is told. Within that story, within that narrative, we have an angel or some type of heavenly being communicating content.

So you have a narrative framework, you have a heavenly being, and part of this content that is being delivered to a human — for example Daniel — is a transcendent reality. So there's a spatial dimension — heavenlies, throne room visions, that sort of thing, angels. There's also a temporal dimension as well — latter days, eschatology, end of days, cataclysmic events.

So it all takes place in a narrative, communicated by a celestial being such as an angel to a human that's delivered. The content is vertical and horizontal, to put it like that. Johnson In terms of the attributes or the qualities of apocalyptic literature, I think that there's probably a fair amount of diversity of views within scholarship today. But I think there's also a center to that that probably is helpfully conveyed by the work of Dr. John J. Collins in his book The Apocalyptic Imagination and what he identifies as something of a center or a thread to the commonalities among various pieces of apocalyptic literature… he defines this genre in this way:.

Revelatory literature with a narrative framework in which a revelation is mediated by an otherworldly being to a human recipient disclosing a transcendent reality which is both temporal insofar as it envisages eschatological salvation and spatial insofar as it involves another supernatural world.

Well, there's some technical jargon in that, but what we observe is that, number one, apocalyptic is revelatory. It shows us something that we wouldn't have seen otherwise, and it's given within a narrative framework, which means there's something of a story form to it in terms of a series of events and dialogue and those types of things.

One of the key components to apocalyptic literature is the disclosure or the revealing of this reality or this vision to a human recipient or human being by means by some sort of a divine mediator. So an angel of the Lord might be that exact mediator that comes and invites the human being onto this otherworldly tour where a different place and a different time are experienced. The different time is typically in the future.

How will it end? Well, we're going to take a look at that. And a different place, the new age, or the way things will be on that day. Now, in addition to that, I think that one of Collins' main contributions in his work is the development of something of a schematic of apocalyptic. And so what he does is he lays out a variety of works that are classically considered to be a part of this genre, and then he identifies a list of attributes that in varying ways and varying degrees can be associated with these different works. For instance, he notes that, for example, with an ancient work entitled 2 Enoch there are elements of cosmogony, elements of judgment and the destruction of the wicked, and elements of judgment and the destruction of the world, along with a transformation of the cosmic reality as we know it.

So, there is a short list of attributes of apocalyptic. By contrast, if we go to another kind of a work, for example the book of Daniel from the Old Testament, which has some apocalyptic material in it, we notice that there's a recollection of the past. So there's a certain historicity to that. There's also potentially a retrospective look at prior events and casting those prophetically. There's also an emphasis on persecution and a certain degree of upheaval that's happening in the eschaton , or in the final age. Now what's interesting about this particular schematic is that not all works exhibit all the same attributes.

And in fact, it's possible for one work to have very little affinity with or relationship to another work but still be considered as part of the same genre of literature. So that would be a red thread that's woven through all of it.