The Apocalyptic literature of Judaism and Christianity embraces a considerable period, from the centuries following the exile down to the close of the middle ages.
Of primitive mythological traditions we might mention the primeval serpent, leviathan, behemoth, while to ideas native to or familiar in apocalyptic belong those of the seven archangels, the angelic patrons of the nations (Deut.
Object and Contents of Apocalyptic. - The object of this literature in general was to solve the difficulties connected with the righteousness of God and the suffering condition of His righteous servants on earth.
But later, with the growing claims of the individual and the acknowledgment of these in the religious and intellectual life, both problems, and especially the latter, pressed themselves irresistibly on the notice of religious thinkers, and made it impossible for any conception of the divine rule and righteousness to gain acceptance, which did not render adequate satisfaction to the claims of both problems. To render such satisfaction was the task undertaken by apocalyptic, as well as to vindicate the righteousness of God alike in respect of the individual and of the nation.
But now as we enter the Greek period (320 B.C. and onwards) there is a gradual change from prophecy to apocalyptic. " It may be asserted in general terms that whereas prophecy foretells a definite future which has its foundation in the present, apoca lyptic directs its anticipations solely and simply to the future, to a new world-period which stands sharply contrasted with the present.
The classical model for all apocalyptic is to be found in Dan.
Clearly bear the apocalyptic character; so also Isa.
Apocalyptic, as Baldensperger has shown, formed a counterpoise to the normal current of conformity to law.
Persian influence is also responsible for the vast multiplication of good spirits or angels, Gabriel, Raphael, Michael, &c., who play their part in apocalyptic works, such as the Book of Daniel and the Book of Enoch.
On apocalyptic generally the introductions to Charles's Book of Enoch, Apocalypse of Baruch, Ascension of Isaiah and Book of Jubilees, should be carefully noted.
Of the Cathari, and in Calabria the apocalyptic gospel of Joachim of Floris, all bearing witness to the commotion of the time.
This idea that the Messianic kingdom of the future on earth should have a definite duration has - like the whole eschatology of the primitive Church - its roots in the Jewish apocalyptic literature, where it appears at a comparatively late period.
But from a comparison of prophetic passages of the Old Testament learned apocalyptic writers came to the conclusion that a distinction must be drawn between the earthly appearance of the Messiah and the appearance of God Himself amongst His people and in the Gentile world for the final judgment.
So early as the year '70, a church party in Asia Minor - the so-called Alogi - rejected the whole body of apocalyptic writings and denounced the book of Revelation as a book of fables.
It was only the chronologists and historians of the church who, following Julius Africanus, made use of apocalyptic numbers in their calculations, while court theologians like Eusebius entertained the imperial table with discussions as to whether the dining-hall of the emperor - the second David and Solomon, the beloved of God - might not be the New Jerusalem of John's Apocalypse.
In the Semitic churches of the East (the Syrian, Arabian and Ethiopian), and in that of Armenia, the apocalyptic literature was preserved much longer than in the Greek Church.
The apocalyptic "Testamenta duodecim patriarcharum" was a favourite reading-book; and Latin versions of ancient apocalypses are being continually brought to light from Western libraries (e.g.
Only we must not form our ideas of the great apocalyptic and chiliastic movement of the first decades of the 16th century from the rabble in Munster.
How millennarianism nevertheless found its way, with the help of apocalyptic mysticism and Anabaptist influences into the churches of the Reformation, chiefly among the Reformed sects, but afterwards also in the Lutheran Church, how it became incorporated with Pietism, how in more recent times an exceedingly mild type of "academic" chiliasm has been developed from a belief in the verbal inspiration of the Bible, how finally new sects are still springing up here and there with apocalyptic and chiliastic expectations - these are matters which cannot be fully entered upon here.
(r) Midrashic. Jellinek published in the six parts of his Beth ha-Midrasch (1853-1878) a large number of smaller Midrashi, ancient and medieval homilies and folk-lore records, which have been of much service in the recent revival of interest in Jewish apocalyptic literature.
Now the current religious literature of Judaism outside the canon was composed of apocryphal books, the bulk of which bore an apocalyptic character, and dealt with the coming of the Messianic kingdom.
Christianity, moreover, moved by the same apocalyptic tendency as Judaism, gave birth to new Christian apocryphs, though, in the case of most of them, the subject matter was to a large extent traditional and derived from Jewish sources.
We have remarked above that the Jewish apocrypha - especially the apocalyptic section and the host of Christian apocryphsbecame the ordinary religious literature of the early Christians.
Thus the books of which we have to treat will be classed as: (a) Historical, (b) Legendary (Haggadic), (c) Apocalyptic, (d) Didactic or Sapiential.
Under separate article on Apocalyptic Literature.
(d) Apocalypses: see under Apocalyptic Literature.
The transition from prophecy to apocalyptic (Corot(aXi 7rrecv, to reveal something hidden) was gradual and already accomplished within the limits of the Old Testament.
The way, however, had in an especial degree been prepared for the apocalyptic type of thought and literature by Ezekiel, for with him the word of God had become identical with a written book (ii.
This is essentially the apocalyptic conception of history, and Ezekiel may be justly represented as in certain essential aspects its founder in Israel.
We shall now consider (I.) Apocalyptic, its origin and general characteristics; (II.) Old Testament Apocalyptic; (III.) New Testament Apocalyptic.
Apocalyptic - Its Origin And General Characteristics i.
Sources of Apocalyptic. - The origin of Apocalyptic is to be sought in (a) unfulfilled prophecy and in (b) traditional elements drawn from various sources.
But as this northern foe had failed to appear Ezekiel re-edited this prophecy in a new form as a final assault of Gog and his hosts on Jerusalem, and thus established a permanent dogma in Jewish apocalyptic, which in due course passed over into Christian.
Thus the inner development of Jewish apocalyptic was always conditioned by the historical experiences of the nation.
(b) Another source of apocalyptic was primitive mythological and cosmological traditions, in which the eye of the seer could see the secrets of the future no less surely than those of the past.
Though the individual might perish amid the disorders of this world, he would not fail, apocalyptic taught, to attain through resurrection the recompense that was his due in the Messianic kingdom or in heaven itself.
The form of apocalyptic is a literary form; for we cannot suppose that the writers experienced the voluminous and detailed visions we find in their books.
We have already dwelt on certain notable differences between apocalyptic and prophecy; but there are certain others that call for attention.
The message of the prophets was primarily a preaching of repentance and righteousness if the nation would escape judgment; the message of the apocalyptic writers was of patience and trust for that deliverance and reward were sure to come.
The apocalyptic writer on the other hand despairs of the present, and directs his hopes absolutely to the future, to a new world standing in essential opposition to the present.
We have already touched on this characteristic of apocalyptic. The prophet stood in direct relations with his people; his prophecy was first spoken and afterwards written.