A modern term which summarizes the OT hope of a future salvation at the end of the current experience of national humiliation and suffering. Apocalyptic thought therefore takes the form of eschatological literature and is usually pseudonymous; it consists of revelations attributed to Abraham, Enoch, Baruch and passages in the OT, such as Dan. 2: 7–12; Isa. 24–27 and Zech. 1–8. Typically, apocalyptic thought might consist of historical narrative in which the story is told with tolerable accuracy from the time of the alleged author to the actual date of composition, after which the narrative (as in Dan. 11) becomes vague. It reflects a despair of historical process and predicts catastrophic cosmic upheavals and God's salvation of the nation of Israel: it is a literature of hope and consolation. What is at present an age of suffering will be transformed into the joys of paradise; a land conquered by pagans will become a world fulfilled with the glory of God: the Kingdom will embrace all faithful Israelites, and even virtuous Gentiles too.
Apocalyptic ideas included the notions of a general resurrection and influenced the development of Christian doctrines, such as that of the Second Coming of Christ. Written between 170 bce and 100 ce, several books in the Apocrypha are apocalyptic, such as 2 Esdras, and there is apocalyptic doctrine among the Dead Sea scrolls. The pre-eminent apocalyptic book in the NT is the Revelation, and in the gospels it is a main element in the teaching of Jesus (e.g. Mark 13).
Subjects: Biblical Studies.