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Archive for April 20th, 2012

GO TO PART XII

I. Identifying Apocalyptic Genre

a. Definition

i.      The word apocalypse comes from the Greek word apocalypses, which means an “uncovering, disclosure, revelation”[1]

ii.      According to Gordon Fee, it is Hebrew prophecy which “looked exclusively forward to the time when God would bring a violent, radical end to history, an end that would mean the triumph of right and the final judgment of evil.”[2]

iii.      It is the prophetic literary form that “proclaims that God has not turned his back on the world but will radically and unexpectedly intervene and introduce a universal solution that will solve all problems.”[3]

iv.      Apocalyptic genre is a prophetic literary form which seeks to comfort the faithful, and warn those who are worldly, in light of upcoming future end.

b. Further identifying aspects

i.      Apocalyptic has only one final solution: Total destruction.[4]

ii.      Apocalyptic announces that God will intervene supernaturally to bring the end of man’s sinfulness.[5]

c. Apocalypse as a composition of other genres

i.      As it is evident in our course on prophetic genres, prophetic genre is a more complex literary form, and it is in some sense a blend of other literary genre.

ii.      “Apocalyptic is a hybrid genre, partaking of narrative, poetry, and prophecy.”[6]

1. Narrative: Apocalyptic literature has plot, character, setting and point of view.[7]

2. Poetry: It is highly symbolic with vivid illustrations, and it’s style can be filled with Hebrew parallelism.[8]

3. Prophecy: It has two genre of prophecy, announcement of judgment and oracle of salvation.

A case can be made that Apocalyptic is really a combination of announcement of judgment, with an announcement of salvation concerning the final end.

d. Elements

i.      As a hybrid genre, it has elements of these genres

1. Plot

2. Character

3. Setting

4. Point of view

5. Hebrew parallelism

6. Accusation

7. Announcement

8. Reference to the future

9. Mention of radical change

10. Mention of blessing

ii.      Unique elements

1. Dualism[9]

a. Good verses evil

b. Unlike pagan dualism, the good and God is greater than the evil side.

2. (Extensive) Symbolism

e. Some place in Scripture where can Apocalypse be found[10]

i.      Daniel 7-12

ii.      Isaiah 24-27

iii.      Ezekiel 38-39

iv.      Joel

v.      Zechariah 1-6

vi.      Matthew 24-25

vii.      Mark 13

viii.      Luke 21

ix.      Revelation

II. Is Apocalyptic Genre important for the Christian?

a. First and most important: It is in the Bible!

b. Jeffrey Arthurs has noted that this genre makes up more than the genre of proverb or parable.[11]

Since these genre and subgenre are important enough to learn to interpret it accurately, how much more should a genre which appears more often and require more skill in interpreting!

c. The Bible itself says the one who reads one of its Books that is largely apocalyptic will be blessed

“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy , and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.” (Revelation 1:3)

III. Principles in interpretation

a. Identify the unique elements and the composite elements

i.      As stated previously in other lessons, consciously identifying elements help strengthen one’s interpretation by bringing to awareness what is in the text.

ii.      However, identifying elements is even more important as the difficulty of the genre require more skill and consciousness to the text’s literary elements.

iii.      Therefore, since Apocalyptic is a hybrid genre of narrative, poetry and other prophetic genres, and hermeneutical principles for poetry, narrative and prophetic genres apply here as well.

All the principles from Session Three to Four, Sessions Six through Eleven applies here as well.

b. Read apocalyptic in view of a context of crisis.[12]

i.      Most of the time apocalyptic was written during persecution or a crisis.

ii.      This is an important background information to keep in the back of the interpreter’s mind.

c. Approach Apocalyptic imagery by starting with the images that is already interpreted.[13]

i.      Sometimes, the text itself reveals what the images mean and symbolize.

ii.      These images, which have been explained, it can throw light to what other images meant!

d. Have previously revealed Scriptural ideas and images brought to bear in interpreting Apocalyptic imagery

i.      Bruce Metzger “has figured that of the 404 verses in Revelation, 278 contain one or more allusions to the Old Testament[14]

ii.      Let Scripture interpret Scripture through antecedent theology![15]

e. Do not attempt to identify the significance of every detail.[16]

i.      “One must see the visions as wholes and not allegorically press all the details”[17]

ii.      In other words, don’t forget the bigger picture!

f. “Keep all options open for how apocalyptic predictions will be fulfilled”[18]

i.      We do not know everything about the future, so we can not say we know for sure.

ii.      Isaiah 55:8 reveals that man’s thought is different than God’s thought, and apocalyptic genre is indicative of this truth.


[1] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 179.

[2]Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 233.

[3] D. Brent Sandy and Martin G. Abegg Jr., “Apocalyptic” Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 186.

[4] Ibid, 179.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 180.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 185.

[10] Sources: Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 232; Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 180; D. Brent Sandy and Martin G. Abegg Jr., “Apocalyptic” Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 184-185.

[11] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 179.

[12] D. Brent Sandy and Martin G. Abegg Jr., “Apocalyptic” Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 188.

[13] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 237.

[14] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 186.

[15] This is the valuable insight of Old Testament professor Walter Kaiser.

[16] D. Brent Sandy and Martin G. Abegg Jr., “Apocalyptic” Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 189.

[17] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 237.

[18] D. Brent Sandy and Martin G. Abegg Jr., “Apocalyptic” Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 189.

 

GO TO PART XIV

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