Apocalypse When?

I. Apocalyptic: Images of the End
The literary genre of apocalyptic arises in Israel's exile.
Old Testament Images: New Testament Images:
Sun, moon, and stars tell the times (Joel 2). The heavens darken (Luke 23:44-45).
The king delivers Israel from Babylon (Zech 9). The Son of Man comes to judge the world (Matt 24:29-31, 25:31-46, Rev 8-11? Rev 15-18, 19, 20:11-15).
The fourth beast rises and falls (Dan 7); a ram and a goat (Dan 8, esp. 8:19). The dragon, beast, false prophet rise and fall (Rev 12-13).
Seventy weeks remain (Dan 9). The day and the hour (Mark 13:32-36).
Israel is persecuted: the Abomination of Desolation (Dan 10-11). Tribulation (Matt 24:1-28, Rev 6, cf. Rev 7:14); the rise of the "man of lawlessness" (2 Thess 2:1-12).
Resurrection and rescue (Dan 12). "Rapture" (1 Thess 4:13-5:11, cf. Ascension).
Enemies are destroyed (Zech 14:1-19). Every enemy is thrown into the lake of fire (Rev 20:9-15).
Messiah restores Israel (Zech 13, 14:20-21). Jesus reigns in the Millennium (Rev 20:1-6), and in the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:1-22:5).
Message: God will deliver Israel through its present trials. Message: Jesus will deliver the Church through its present and future trials.
II. Flying Horses, or Helicopters? (Mis)reading Apocalyptic Literature
apocalypsis: revelation or unveiling (not catastrophe).
Apocalyptic is not reporting, secret messages, or mere prediction (The Omega Code, Left Behind);
Instead, it is a literary genre, using specific literary devices,
borrowing images intertextually and allusively
from dominant surrounding cultures and from earlier apocalyptic,

offering words of comfort to persecuted believers,
addressed to present audiences, not just future ones (Pale Rider).
III. Adding It Up: Synthetic Visions of God's Endgame
Christians disagree on whether and how to harmonize and interpret texts.
Interpretation can be literal, figurative, or allegorical.
Premillennialism: Jesus' coming (parousia) brings the Millennium.
Premillennialisms are both ancient and modern.
Dispensational timelines (J.N. Darby, illustrated by Clarence Larkin):
Rapture/Tribulation, Return, Millennium, Apostasy, Judgment, New Jerusalem.
Postmillennialism: The Millennium precedes the parousia.
The world improves as the Church spreads.
In a smooth transition to the Millennium, Jesus makes a 'soft landing'.
Postmillennialisms are both premodern (Constantinianism; Joachim of Fiore) and modern (progressivism; R.J. Rushdoony).
Amillennialism: The Millennium is not a literal span of time.
Augustine: Millennium and Tribulation are the whole Church age.
Reformers: The medieval papacy is the final apostasy (Rev 20:7).
Allegory de-Judaizes apocalyptic literature.
Harmony ignores Jesus' transformation of apocalyptic.
Literary devices of allusion and cyclicality resist historicizing and synchronizing.
IV. What Do The Texts Do?
The Bible doesn't just refer to things; it works.
Apocalyptic changes its readers.
Apocalyptic brings God's final judgment into the present (Dan 5:26-28).
Apocalyptic unites God's judgments eschatologically.
Apocalyptic offers an 'interim' ethic: "Watch" (Mark 13:32-37) (Montecito Fire Department).