Not the End of the World as We Know it

Steven L. McKenzie

in How to Read the Bible

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780195161496
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850419 | DOI:
Not the End of the World as We Know it

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This chapter discusses apocalyptic literature in the Bible. While their eschatologies differ, apocalyptic literature and Hebrew prophecy have in common that they are both intimately connected with the historical and social contexts in which they were produced. Like prophecy, apocalyptic was not intended to predict the distant future. In the book of Revelation there are no specifics given about exactly when Rome's destruction will occur, nor does Revelation describe the historical circumstances immediately preceding the end of world. The problem is not with the book of Revelation but with the way in which it has been interpreted. To interpret Revelation as a prediction of the end of the world is to fail to understand the nature of apocalyptic literature.

Keywords: apocalyptic literature; Bible; apocalypse; Revelation; prophecy

Chapter.  12366 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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