Apocalyptic Literature

by Feb 5, 2019Open Your Bible, Study

Apocalyptic Literature focuses on the coming final judgment and salvation of the world at the end of history as we know it. It is both some of the most fascinating and the most confusing literature of the Bible. Extra care is needed when studying the Apocalyptic books because they deal with things that have not yet come to pass and express those things using highly symbolic language. Trying to understand what these works are teaching is much akin to the saints of the Old Testament trying to understand the Messianic Prophecies about Jesus – there was far more that was unclear than was clear. The Apocalyptic books include Ezekiel, Zechariah, Revelation, and parts of Daniel and Isaiah. Many of these works are also included in the list of books of prophetic literature. Revelation is a unique combination of epistle, prophetic and apocalyptic literature. 

When reading apocalyptic literature, a position of humility is incredibly important. While there are certain things that we agree upon – Jesus will return to bring justice, set everything to right and defeat evil once and for all – there is great disagreement about the details of how all this will come to pass. When trying to interpret this literature we should 1) focus first on what is clear; 2) do our best to understand what the author was trying to say to his audience; and 3) be open to learning different views and understandings of this literature. 

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