Q&A: The Timing of Prophecy in Revelation

The Timing of Prophecy in Revelation

How is apocalyptic literature similar to and different from typical biblical prophecy?

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Answer

In apocalyptic literature, we have more of a vision of the distant future with a succession of kingdoms and what God is going to be doing in the future. Whereas classical prophecy tends to be a little more immediate, or if it talks about the distant future, it's maybe a little more vague. The book of Revelation talks about the future and uses a lot of symbolism; there are angelic visitations. Those are characteristics of apocalyptic literature. So it's really kind of a big picture, long range sort of thing. And because of the large amount of symbolism, it really does differ from classical prophecy.

Answer by Dr. Robert B. Chisholm, Jr.

Dr. Robert Chisholm is Department Chair and Professor of Old Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary.