In Biblical texts, what are the main features of apocalyptic literature?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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After the Exile of the Jews from Israel and the rise of Christianity across the world, prophetic literature began to focus on the theoretical "end of days," a time when the Messiah would rise and the world would be united under God. This genre is called Apocalyptic Literature, and encompasses several books of both the Old and New Testaments.

The main features of apocalyptic literature include prophecy regarding the end times, the rise of God's chosen people, the destruction of God's enemies in the world, and the eventual ascension of righteous people either to heaven or to an uplifted state of being. In Jewish tradition, the Jewish Messiah will lead the Jews back to Israel, leaving the world behind; there is no specific apocalypse scenario, but it is understood that without the influence of Jewish spiritualism, the world will become Godless. Similarly, in most Christian traditions, Jesus will return from heaven to redeem the innocent and worthy; some traditions include the Rapture, where worthy souls will rise to heaven while the unworthy remain on Earth. Apocalyptic texts also rely heavily on metaphor and symbolism, giving them a sense of other-worldliness and spiritualism.

Many apocalyptic texts include recriminations against sin and blessings for holy men; most also include warnings for future generations regarding action and morality. The Book of Revelation is arguably the most influential Christian apocalyptic text; the Book of Daniel is arguably the most influential Jewish text.

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