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Bible Dictionaries

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary

Apocalypse

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Signifies revelation, but is particularly referred to the revelations which John had in the isle of Patmos, whither he was banished by Domitian. Hence it is another name for the book of Revelation. This book belongs, in its character, to the prophetical writings, and stands in intimate relation with the prophecies of the Old Testament, and more especially with the writings of the later prophets, as Ezekiel, Zechariah, and particularly Daniel, inasmuch as it is almost entirely symbolical. This circumstance has surrounded the interpretation of this book with difficulties, which no interpreter has yet been able fully to overcome. As to the author, the weight of testimony throughout all the history of the church is in favor of John, the beloved apostle. As to the time of its composition, most commentators suppose it to have been written after the destruction of Jerusalem, about A. D. 96; while others assign it an earlier date.

It is an expanded illustration of the first great promise, "The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent." Its figures and symbols are august and impressive. It is full of prophetic grandeur, and awful in its hieroglyphics and mystic symbols: seven seals opened, seven trumpets sounded, seven vials poured out; mighty antagonists and hostile powers, full of malignity against Christianity, and for a season oppressing it, but at length defeated and annihilated; the darkened heaven, tempestuous sea, and convulsed earth fighting against them, while the issue of the long combat is the universal reign of peace and truth and righteousness-the whole scene being relieved at intervals by a choral burst of praise to God the Creator, and Christ the Redeemer and Governor. Thus its general scope is intelligible to all readers, or it could not yield either hope or comfort. It is also full of Christ. It exhibits his glory as Redeemer and Governor, and describes that deep and universal homage and praise which the "Lamb that was slain" is forever receiving before the throne. Either Christ is God, or the saints and angels are guilty of idolatry.

"To explain this book perfectly," says Bishop Newton, "is not the work of one man, or of one age; probably it never will be clearly understood till it is all fulfilled."


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Apocalypse'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/ats/a/apocalypse.html. 1859.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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