Hello & Welcome! Today we’re finishing our discussion on apocalypses; our aim will be to tie our apocalypse series together in a nice clean package. If you’re new to the blog allow me to explain, I’m the pocket theologian and here we like to take a theological or philosophical topic and talk about it in as much time as it takes to do it justice.
Speaking of other apocalypses, I want to compare Revelation to the End of Days, since the End of Days was what most of the early Christians were waiting for, UNTIL Revelation arrived. Christians in the first century believed in the End of Days, but believed that THEY were the ones who would be saved, and Jesus would come and destroy the old world. Revelation changed that! It seems that Revelation became the Christian apocalyptic myth and replaced the End of Days and I’d like to point out some differences.
Difference One: Violence
So one of the things we said was unique about the end of days was that it had a large component of violence. Including a large climactic battle that destroys Judaism, only for their messiah to arrive and recreate it. This is still very different from Revelation, because remember Christians believe the Messiah has already come, and that the large climactic battle is when Jesus returns again. Also, Christianity won’t be destroyed in that final battle but it will instead be victorious; matching much more closely with other apocalyptic narratives then with the one that “inspired it”
Difference 2: Captivity
The End of Days had a very clear theme of captivity, which played into Jewish history. Christianity, on the other hand, has never really been in captivity. Thus this message isn’t in revelation. In Revelation, Christian’s face a sense of tragedy- yes, but never captivity. However there is a force in Revelation which does indeed become a captive, and that is the devil. Either before, during, or after the millennium the devil will be imprisoned in the lake of fire for a period of time before being released. According to the last few chapters of Revelation. So Revelation rather than encouraging those who have been in captive, instead it encourages Christians by having their enemy be imprisoned or held captive.
Difference 3: Resurrection of the Dead
This one’s pretty easy! While the Jewish sects of the time of Revelations writing argued over the possibility of Resurrection. Christians were pretty certain on the topic. So naturally the resurrection of the dead plays a major role in Revelation. While The End of Days and Revelation are drawn from similar sources, and speak on similar themes they are very different in their descriptions, and in chain of events. The End of Days is short and simple; while Revelation is long and complicated! However looking at Revelation we can see several events that are paralleled in the two works. (1) A final battle, and (2) a persecuted minority and so on. To me it seems that the End of Days was given by God to the Jews for a time; its focus is limited and its effect pronounced. While Revelation has been given to Christians forever! Its focus wanders and its effects are subtle and often dispersed over long periods. I see the End of Days as an introduction to the main work of Revelation… and the conclusion being the End of Time.
Speaking of the end, I’m afraid we’ve now arrived at it. That’s right reader you have successfully arrived at my closing thoughts for this series on the apocalypse. I must say it’s been a wild ride! I’ve discovered and learned a great deal about how different cultures view the end of the world. Some view it as an awesome and ominous event. Some view it as tragic and unavoidable. While others still, view it as a mystery, never to be revealed. But to answer the question that really started this series, is this the end of the world? I’m afraid my answer must be no. And here is why: Pandemics have killed a lot of people, but not everyone. Countries are still reacting and the problem’s are escalating, but not consuming. People are panicking but others are remaining calm. Simply put, if this was the apocalypse, if this was the end as God foreshadowed, and as God has planned. It would be over in an instant, like a thief in the night, the deed would be done… and no one, not even Christians would know that it had happened.
Go in peace.