Apocalyptic Literature

messianic-apocalypse-scrollApocalypse is the Greek word for revelation.

This genre of literature was very popular from approximately 200 BC to 200 AD. The common characteristic of these books was the primary theme of good versus evil and the heavy use of mystic symbolism. The book of The Revelation is written in this genre. It is similar in its characteristics to the Biblical books of Zechariah, Daniel and Ezekiel.

We often hear from people who think somehow or other, that apocalyptic books from John’s era have been hidden from them, or contain some secret knowledge. However, for the most part they have been available in libraries for centuries and now online. These books were not as cherished and therefore not as protected as the Canonical books, so some of them are now only fragmentary. They are not considered scripture. The reason is usually obvious on the first few pages. They simply contain numerous scriptural and historical errors.

FYI: Those books that are in the Bible are called Canon, or Canonical.

Don’t be fooled by someone selling a book or a collection of these books. These books have not been hidden. They are interesting linguistically and as historical books and can tell us what some people were thinking at the time that they were written. The books demonstrate how the language has changed, but they are not scripture and carry no authority.

Some of these book are also called Pseudepigrapha because they were not written by the name that is attached to them.

Some feel that to understand the Book of The Revelation, reading these other apocalyptic works is a helpful activity. However The Revelation stands completely separate from these others and is closely related to the book of Daniel. However, if you feel the need to look at a few of these, here are some links to ones we could find online. Knock yourself out.

Jewish

Christian

Early Christian Writings has an entire page devoted to these books.

Leave a Reply