FINAL EXAM - APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE

All apocalyptic literature is not the same. And no apocalyptic writing exhibits all the elements that characterize it as a class. However, some general statements can be made about it. Below are 25 general statements about the class of Hebraic and Christian (including Biblical and Apocryphal) Apocalyptic literature. For each statement, if it is true, mark with a "T." If it is false, mark with an "F."

Apocalyptic writings:

____ 1. Grew up in the 400 year period between the Old and New Testament;

____ 2. Grew out of an indestructible Jewish hope, and a belief that being persecuted in this life did not preclude being on the winning side;

____ 3. Assume two time periods: a present period which is very, very bad, and a future which will be wholly good;

____ 4. Trust in a coming "Day of the Lord" which will be a time of terror, destruction, and judgment for the wicked, but which will usher in a new age of happiness for the righteous;

____ 5. Are often in code, deliberately unintelligible to outsiders, in order to prevent oppressing powers from understanding the message and worsening the tyranny the authors and audience were experiencing;

____ 6. Are often a report of visions and dreams, and are necessarily cryptic because they are attempting to describe future and end-time events so massive and overwhelming that no one could fully comprehend them;

____ 7. Are usually written under a pseudonym, possibly to protect the writers, and to increase the attention paid to the writings (by invoking great names from the past such as Noah, Enoch, Isaiah, Moses, The Twelve Patriarchs, Ezra, and Baruch);

____ 8. Are very rich in the use of imagery, symbols, and figures, often resulting in the need for readers to pore over the words to decipher details;

____ 9. Are very repetitive, presenting the same ideas over and over, to assist the readers in grasping the cryptic but all-important message;

____ 10. Present Messiah as a divine, pre-existent and eternal, glorious, and almighty figure who is going to descend into the world to overthrow the mighty, punish the wicked, and establish a new Messianic age, kingdom, or dispensation;

____ 11. At times present a forerunner, such as a returned Elijah, who serves to prepare the way for Messiah;

____ 12. Often refer to the "travail of the Messiah," presenting the coming of the Messianic age as like the agony of birth;

____ 13. Present the last days as a time of great terror, in which even mighty men will cry bitterly, inhabitants of the land will tremble, and men will seek places to hide and find none;

____ 14. Present the last days as a time of floods and earthquakes, or even cosmic upheaval when the universe as men know it (including sun, moon, and stars) will be disintegrated;

____ 15. Present the last days as a time when human relationships will be destroyed, hatred will reign upon the earth, every man’s hand will be against his neighbor, parents will murder their own children, honor will be turned to shame, strength will become humiliation, and beauty will become ugliness;

____ 16. Present the last days as a time of terrible judgment in which God will come as a refiner’s fire to destroy sinners from the earth, with no sinners able to endure;

____ 17. Describe the death of sinners as accompanied by horrible, almost unimaginable, pain and suffering;

____ 18. Occasionally present Gentiles as being converted in the last days, but usually present them as being destroyed, with or without a last gathering against Jerusalem and/or God and His people;

____ 19. Present Israel as exalted in the new age, with scattered Jews re-gathered, and the southern and northern kingdoms reunified;

____ 20. Present a resurrection of the dead: either the righteous dead, all Israel’s dead, or sometimes all the dead everywhere;

____ 21. Usually present the Messianic age as lasting four hundred years, one thousand years, or forever;

____ 22. Describe a new age characterized by a great unity among God’s people, righteousness, goodness, perfect holiness, amazing fertility, joy and peace;

____ 23. Attribute to the new age the absence of wars, enmity among beasts, enmity between man and beasts, sickness, pain, tears, sorrow, and (at least untimely) death;

____ 24. Use material from books in the Old Testament (e.g. Genesis, Exodus, Ezra, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, Habakkuk, Zechariah, and Malachi), but sometimes pour the O.T. teachings into new molds which give them modified meanings;

____ 25. Contain some material that can be more richly understood when studied along with New Testament passages which appear similar or parallel.


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