apocalypse

A revealing. A revelation. An unveiling.

Message from a malach with word from Yeshua to St John – Jacopo Vignali, oil on canvas (17th century) [Wikimedia Commons]
The “Apocalypse” is the Revelation of Yeshua Messiah. It is given to Him directly from the Almighty Father. He passes it on to St. John via an angel (malachim). It comes with a blessing to those who read it, those who heed it, and those who keep it. For the time really is at hand.

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

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Holy Grotto of the Revelation on the island of Patmos, Greece. [Image: Pinterest]
Word meaning changes with time — and place. The word “apocalypse” comes from the Greek and means simply “to reveal” or “a revealing” — that’s it. Yet even the esteemed Oxford (online) has this to say …

  1. The complete final destruction of the world, as described in the biblical book of Revelation: (especially in the Vulgate Bible) the book of Revelation.
  2. An event involving destruction or damage on a catastrophic scale:

… before it comes to its senses and confirms that etymologically—and still to this very day—its meaning in Greek is “UNCOVER”:

Origin: Old English, via Old French and ecclesiastical Latin from Greek apokalupsis, from apokaluptein uncover, reveal; from apo-un– + kaluptein to cover.

Russian Orthodox icon of the Apocalypse ca. 16th century. The two-edged sword from Messiah’s mouth resembles a trident [not sure why, possibly depicting the Trinity]. St John is bowing at the feet of Messiah while angels minister to our King. There seems to be much toing and froing on earth, perhaps the opening of each seal or at the epistle to each church in Asia? It’s possible, on further inspection, that there are four caricatures of St John: one at Messiah’s feet (previously described); one receiving revelation–perhaps, rather, it’s the little bittersweet book of chapter 10–from an angel (top right); another ministering to church fathers (bottom left); and yet another comforting the saints on earth and perhaps edifying and imploring their patience (middle right).  [Wikimedia Commons]
Across the pond and the Merriam-Webster fares little better:

1a: one of the Jewish and Christian writings of 200 BC to AD 150 marked by pseudonymity, symbolic imagery, and the expectation of an imminent cosmic cataclysm in which God destroys the ruling powers of evil and raises the righteous to life in a messianic kingdom

1b: Revelation

2a: something viewed as a prophetic revelation

2b: armageddon

It, too, backtracks to the word’s origin:

Middle English, revelation, Revelation, from Anglo-French apocalipse, from Late Latin apocalypsis, from Greek apokalypsis, from apokalyptein to uncover, from apo- + kalyptein to cover — more at hell.

More at hell. Really? I’ll pass.

Then this:

First Known Use: 13th century

That’s astounding. No doubt the Greek word apokalypse predates the 13th century. It’s Anglo-French adoption into generalised usage—to mean “the end of the world”—began in the 13th century, apparently. This predates the Gutenberg printing press. Word had got out.

Yet the synonyms, of apocalypse, don’t fill me with the same dread — they don’t pass muster (or cut the mustard … or should that be pass the mustard?):

Synonyms: disaster, calamity, cataclysm, catastrophe, debacle (also débâcle), tragedy

Opening the seals. Mortier’s Bible, Phillip Medhurst Collection [Rev 6:9-11]
Now these are, supposedly, from two of the finest dictionaries of the English language. Perhaps I need to let my pedantry go and acknowledge that most (English-speaking) people will think of a cosmic cataclysm when they hear, today, the word “apocalypse”: and perhaps even many (or most) speakers of Greek.

orthodox-apocalypse-fresco
Apocalypse depicted in Christian Orthodox traditional fresco scenes in Osogovo Monastery, Republic of Macedonia. My Macedonian (or is that Bulgarian?) is poor but my eyes can see, from 9-12 o’clock: the throne room in heaven with the lamb and seven candlesticks, a living creature, and 24 elders around the Ancient of Days; 7 o’clock: four horsemen go riding (interestingly, the first has a halo which may suggest an (incorrect) interpretation of Revelation 6:2, by the artist, as that of Messiah) with plague and pestilence in their wake; 3 o’clock: the 7-headed, 10-horned, beast of the Sea as people worship (take) the Mark of the Beast amidst chaos and destruction; a central motif depicts Messiah with the seven candlesticks (representing the seven churches) and seven stars in his right hand (representing the angels of each church) telling to John to “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter”; finally, the bottom (truncated circle) motif looks to be the sounding of one of the seven trumpets. [Wikimedia Commons]

Where the West fails, the East comes to our aid. The Jewish Encyclopaedia begins its entry with:

An “Apocalypse,” in the terminology of early Jewish and Christian literature, is a revelation of hidden things given by God to some one of his chosen saints or (still oftener) the written account of such a revelation. The word is derived from the Greek ἀπōκάλυψις, “uncovering,” “disclosure”; a noun which does not appear at all in classical Greek, and in the later profane writers is not employed in any way that corresponds to the use above mentioned; it seems to have originated among Greek-speaking Jews, and then passed from them to the Christians, who developed it still further.

[Apostolic era Jews were, apparently, familiar with apocalyptic literature, it was commonplace at the time — a bit like today.]

The Jewish Encyclopedia then qualifies this statement with a modern interpretation (before going on to describe the characteristics of apocalyptic literature):

In recent times the designation apocalyptic literature, or apocalyptic, has commonly been used to include all the various portions of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, whether canonical or apocryphal, in which eschatological predictions are given in the form of a revelation. That the term is at present somewhat loosely used, and often made to include what is not properly apocalyptic, is due in part to the fact that the study of this literature as a distinct class is comparatively recent.

Stating the obvious, clearly the word apocalypse has gained a life, and dread, all its own — well beyond that of the word “Revelation”. Nothing else compares with “Apocalypse”, and yet here we are as close to it as can be. The four horsemen ride as I write. In a matter of months, and the tribulation (Satan’s wrath) will be upon us—7 Trumpets (inclusive of 3 woes and 7 thunders)—and then the 7 bowls of God’s wrath, poured out on earth, one by one, at the blowing of the 7th Trumpet. It is real and it is almost here. Everything (almost) has been revealed. And what has been revealed is—clearly—coming to pass. And the great fear and trepidation I had as a child makes it that much harder to believe that it is, finally, upon us.

But do not fret, but do hang on. Be of good cheer. Pray for one another. Messiah is with you. [I should know, He has revealed himself to me. And He will to you too.]  He gave us His Revelation so we would prepare. Remember the seven virgins and the oil. Make sure you have plenty of oil (i.e. full of the Holy Spirit) to make it to the 1335 days.

Look up!


Annotations

This post is about the word apocalypse (with a little “a”) but one cannot, particularly in the present time, do it any justice without incorporating much about the Apocalypse. Clearly, this is not (nor is it intended to be) an exhaustive “interpretation” of  the Apocalypse. And Apocalypse art (and literature) is an entire field of study in itself (one for another day), and one in which there are so many internal inconsistencies (e.g. Cupid-like angels, St John on Patmos looking about 30 years old; etc.). And now, before us, life will be imitating art. Rather than looking at a tapestry, some of the world will be able to look out their window to see the Apocalypse. Others will watch it unfold on television.

Much of the following, about apocalyptic literature, is taken from a podcast by

One of the rewards of faith is the once-in-a-while lifting of the veil for a glimpse into the unseen and the unknown for a select few — to show the mortal that although things on earth seem unjust, a day is yet coming when God will reveal his wrath against the wicked and the righteous will be rewarded. God is still on the throne.

Isaiah’s vision of the Lord is an apocalypse, but the Book of Daniel is the first major literature befitting apocalyptic genre in the Bible. Furthermore, the are references to the Book of Enoch throughout the New Testament and it seems likely that the Apostles read it and that Yeshua, too, read it. The apocryphal Book of Enoch is also a good example of apocalyptic literature. Enoch, who was taken by God, may be considered the grandfather of Jewish mysticism. Enoch is given a tour of heaven by the angels: he is shown the seven heavens; the throne of glory; the heavenly chambers; where the souls of the righteous and the souls of the wicked are held; the heavenly worship services (the heavenly liturgy); the war between the forces of good and evil; and at the end a final judgement.

Other popular apocalyptic literature include mystic first and second century (and prior) literature, including Kabbalistic literature:

  • The Apocalypse of Baruch [Baruch was scribe to the prophet Jeremiah]
  • The Apocalypse of Adam
  • The Apocalypse of Elijah
  • The Apocalypse of Ezra
  • The Apocalypse of Noah
  • The Apocalypse of Paul
  • Hekhalot rabbati: The Greater Treatise Concerning the Palaces of Heaven

Apocalyptic Literature usually begins with a protagonist (human) — and it is written in the first person, who retells (writes down) their experience in the following manner:

  1. starts with an ascension, a translation, or vision or dream or spiritual experience — an unveiling
  2. usually involves an angelic “tour” guide
  3. a tour
  4. heavenly worship services or visions
  5. God intervenes and serves up justice
  6. use of symbolic language to explain spiritual things
  7. instills a sense of wonder and amazement and even, despite its revelatory theme, puzzlement
  8. offers a word of encouragement

The Apocalypse (the Book of Revelation) is not a crystal ball nor is it a sequence of End-Times events but rather it is a mix ‘n’ mash of events out of order. But, despite that, it’s central theme is literal and not allegorical. It is written to the first century disciples. It is a Jewish book. It invokes imagery derived from the Tanakh (Old Testament or Jewish scriptures), from the Temple Service and the priestly worship, from Jewish tradition, from Jewish liturgical ceremony, from synagogue tradition, from Jewish eschatology.


Recommended

The Apocalypse tapestry depicts the Apocalypse book as written by St John. It was made in Paris according to drawings by Hennequin of Bruges [aka Jean Bondol]. It was ordered by duke Louis I of anjou in 1373 and it took only a few years to complete it (completion date: 1382). King René of Anjou had it installed in the cathedral in the 15th century. The tapestry was originally 140x6m. Some parts were destroyed, but more than 100m are still visible today. [see Featured Image above]

  • Apocalypse, Charles C Torrey – Jewish Encyclopedia (online)
References
Featured Image

Tapisserie de l’apocalypse in Angers, France [Wikimedia Commons].

 

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And there Appeared a Great Wonder in Heaven

Credit: Coercion Code -

This sign is thought to occur in the midst of Daniel’s 70th week (of years). Subtracting 3.5 years from 23 September 2017 brings us to April 2014. Since April, the Pope has visited the Middle East, soon after which the current Gaza conflict erupted.

Consider these:

§

Behold a White Horse

The Seven Seals

Sacred Texts

FIRST SEAL

(A White Horse)

Rev. 6:1-2

 

“And I saw when the LAMB opened one of the SEALS, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the ‘Four Beasts’ saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a WHITE HORSE: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.”

When the LAMB broke the “First Seal,” the first, or “Lion-like Living Creature” cried with a voice of thunder–“COME.” The words “and see” are omitted in many manuscripts, and in the Revised Version. John had no need to “come” for he was already there. The command then of “Come” was to the “Rider” of the White Horse. When he appeared, John says–“And I saw, and behold a WHITE HORSE; and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.”

Who is the “Rider” upon this White Horse? He is not Christ, as some claim, for Christ, as the LAMB, is holding the “Seven Sealed Book” and breaking its “Seals.” Christ does not appear as a White Horse Rider until chapter 19:11-16, when He comes with the armies of Heaven to engage in the Battle of Armageddon. Then He is called “Faithful and True,” and on His head there is a many “Diademed Crown,” and He is clothed in a vesture dipped in blood, and His name is called the “WORD OF GOD,” and there is no weapon of warfare in His hand, but a sharp sword comes out of His mouth, and the effect upon His enemies will he swift and terrible.

This “Rider” has a “bow,” no arrow is mentioned, and he is not crowned at first, but a crown will be given to him later, the “Stephanos” or “Victor’s Crown,” as a reward for his victories which are prolonged and bloodless. This is the picture of a brilliant, strategical, and irresistible conqueror, whose victories will dazzle the world, and elevate him to a leadership that will place him at the Head of the Ten Federated Kingdoms of the revived Roman Empire. As a subaltern, like Napoleon I, he will rise from the ranks until a crown will be given him. His triumphs will be due to his skilful diplomacy. Like Antiochus Epiphanes, his prototype, he “will come in peaceably, and obtain the Kingdom by flatteries.” Dan. 11:21. As the “Tool of Satan” he will be endowed with wonder working powers, and when he comes, he will find the world ready to receive him, for God will send upon its inhabitants a “strong delusion” that they will believe a LIE, or “THE LIE,” for that is what he will be. 2. Thess. 2:9-11.

In other words this White Horse Rider is the ANTICHRIST. He is the “PRINCE WHO IS TO COME” of Daniel’s Vision of the “Seventy Weeks,” and who will confirm the Covenant for “ONE WEEK,” the last or “Seventieth Week,” with Daniel’s people the Jews. Dan. 9:27. This Covenant will probably be the privilege to return to Palestine and rebuild the Temple and re-establish their sacrificial form of worship, and national existence, in exchange for the financial assistance of the Jewish bankers of the world in his schemes of establishing world wide commerce, and the formation of a gigantic corporation, with its commercial centre in the rebuilt city of Babylon, so that no one can buy or sell unless they have his “MARK,” (the “Mark of the Beast,” Rev. 13:16-17), for we are told in Dan. 8:23-25, that “through his policy also he shall cause CRAFT (manufactories) to prosper in his hand.”

The rise of this White Horse Rider necessarily antedates the beginning of the “Seventieth Week,” or the “SEVEN YEARS” of his reign, for he must have reached a position of power to make a Covenant with the Jews at the beginning of the “WEEK,” but he does not become “THE BEAST,” as described in chapter 13:1-8, until the “Middle” of the WEEK, that is, until after Satan is cast out of the Heavenlies and incarnates himself in him. His rise to power and the rebuilding of Babylon will take time, so the Rapture of the Church will doubtless antedate the beginning of the WEEK by some years.

But while the establishment of the Antichrist’s power will be comparatively peaceful, that peace will be shortlived as is evident from the breaking of the “Second Seal.”

This “White Horse Rider” will be Satan’s “SUPERMAN.” The Scriptures clearly teach that there is some day to arise a human being who shall be the embodiment of all Satanic power. He will be known as the “WILFUL KING” because he shall do according to his own will. He will be the Czar of Czars. He will have no respect for sacred things or places. He will cause a throne to be erected in the Most Holy Place of a Temple that the Jews will build at Jerusalem, and, seating himself upon it, he will proclaim himself God, and men will be commanded to worship him; and Satan will give unto him his power and his seat (Throne) and great authority. All this will be fully brought out under the “Sixth Personage,” the “Beast Out of the Sea”.

 

The Book of Revelation

by Clarence Larkin

[1919]