What is the Apocalypse?

Ever since I was a teenager and right until today, I have enjoyed stories set in a post-apocalyptic world. There is something fascinating about watching humanity rebuild after the apocalypse. One of my current favourites is the 100, a show that takes place almost one hundred years after a nuclear war. Another would be the Walking Dead, a show with events much closer to an apocalypse of a biological disaster.

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Image from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

What is an apocalypse? Obviously apocalypse means the end of the world, or at least a disaster (usually manmade) that is so devastating that it requires the total rebuilding of society.

Would you believe that the word apocalypse has absolutely nothing to do with the end of the world, disaster, violence or death?

The Greek word apocalypse simply means revelation. This is where we get the connection in popular culture. Revelation, the last book of the Bible, has as its Greek title, Apocalypse. Since Revelation is about the end of the world (that is not really true), then apocalypse must mean the end of the world.

I believe that we need to get away from this idea of equating apocalypse and the end of the world. Apocalypse is God’s revealing of things that we need to know. God could have revealed anything to John of Patmos, it just so happens that this revelation deals with the end of the world as we know it.

It is up to us to encourage people to use the word in its proper sense. Apocalypse as a revelation from God is not boring by any means.

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One thought on “What is the Apocalypse?”

  1. I would like to start reading in this genre. What do you recommend? I have read P.D. James’ Children of Men and enjoyed it very much.

    Why do you think you are interested in reading post-apocalyptic material? Do you also think about the kind of world that you would build if you had the chance?

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