Apocalyptic Imagination and the New Testament

By Thomas A. Wayment

Thomas A. Wayment, “Apocalyptic Imagination and the New Testament,” in Go Ye into All the World: Messages of the New Testament Apostles, 31st Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2002), 305–318.

Apocalyptic Imagination and the New Testament

Thomas A. Wayment

 

Thomas A. Wayment was an assistant professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University when this was published.

 

Over the course of human history the Lord has revealed to His prophets various apocalyptic dreams and visions. The terms apocalyptic and apocalypse are derived from a Greek word meaning to “reveal, disclose, or bring to light.” [1] The term apocalypse also refers to the title of the portion of scripture known as the book of Revelation and has been used subsequently to describe writings that touch upon similar themes. In our day, the word apocalyptic describes a whole body of literature produced by early Christians and others. In the New Testament, for example, Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 17, and portions of 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, and Jude contain apocalyptic revelations.

Unfortunately, we have had, and continue to have, a somewhat ambivalent attitude towards this type of revelation from the Lord. On the one hand, there are those who faithfully try to read and ponder it but often get confused by the strange symbolism or troubled by the disturbing picture painted in apocalyptic revelations. On the other hand, there are those who become obsessed with its images and symbols and begin to focus their attention exclusively on this type of revelation, hoping to ascertain more perfectly the events of the last days. A middle ground must exist somewhere. However, it is often easier to avoid apocalyptic literature in order to steer clear of overindulgence. This paper will look at the social context in which many early Christian apocalypses were revealed and discuss, where possible, how the early Saints reacted to these new revelations.

The majority of apocalyptic literature in the New Testament is written in letter form, suggesting that it was meant to be read among the congregations and deliver a certain message to the Saints. If the book of Revelation were revealed today and delivered to the Church as new direction from the Lord, would we feel comforted, confused, or worried by it? Time has obscured many of the emotions felt by the early Saints upon hearing the book of Revelation or any such apocalyptic revelation for the first time, but we can look back and ascertain some of the principles upon which apocalyptic revelations are based. These principles may in turn help us to understand the function of apocalyptic revelation and ultimately gain from it a sense of hope and comfort.

Dualism

One of the hallmark features of apocalyptic revelation is that it presupposes a dualistic worldview, a world where good is opposed by evil, darkness is confronted by light, and where God and His angels are opposed by Satan and his cohorts. In the New Testament, the war between the Saints of God and Satan is spoken of not only as a present reality but also as a future cataclysmic event. [2] Dualism is such an essential part of apocalyptic revelation that a text cannot be correctly described as apocalyptic without it.

A dualistic framework tends to influence any revelation. It is difficult to see past the language of struggle, war, death, and wickedness. Even though an apocalyptic revelation may have been delivered as a message of hope, we tend to look at the description of the conflict as the message of the text. For example, in Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, are we supposed to focus on his description of the man of sin who sits in the temple or are we supposed to be comforted by the fact that the Second Coming is not immediately upon us? (2 Thessalonians 2:1–6). If we choose to look at the revelation as a description of struggles that will precede the Second Coming, we tend to ask questions regarding whom the man of sin is and why he is sitting in the temple pretending to be God. On the other hand, if we look at 2 Thessalonians as a message of comfort during times of trial, we tend to direct our focus on the message of hope and faith for those who are not deceived (2 Thessalonians 1:2, 11–12).

The description of two great opposing forces at work in the world is not the emphasis of apocalyptic revelation. The idea that good opposes evil and that darkness seeks to overthrow light can be stated without an apocalyptic framework (see 2 Nephi 2:11). President Harold B. Lee expressed a similar sentiment when he said, “There has ever been, and ever will be, . . . a conflict between the forces of righteousness and the forces of evil.” [3] Apocalyptic literature with its dualistic perspective, however, provides a context for the description of how the forces of light will ultimately overcome the forces of darkness. Good will win, and darkness will be turned to light. [4] Dualism can help us to see that immediate victory may not be ours but that ultimate victory will surely be won. To the early Saints who faced tribulation and often severe persecution, a revelation promising an ultimate victory in which God personally intervenes would have had a significant appeal. [5]

A World in Decline

The concept that in the past the inhabitants of the world lived in a golden age is quite prevalent among many of the world’s major civilizations. [6] Jews believe in a Garden of Eden, as do Christians, while the ancients Greeks believed in a golden age of civilization where heroes and demigods still wandered the earth. The natural corollary of this concept is that the world has continued to decline and that the current generation no longer lives in that golden age of the past but has degenerated into a state where the wicked prevail and the righteous suffer. [7] The faithful look forward to the return of this golden age, although they may use different terms to describe it. For Christianity and Judaism, one solution to the present difficulties is the coming of the Messiah or Savior, who will abruptly end the reign of the wicked.

Apocalyptic literature offers annihilation of the present world order as a solution to our present difficulties. It often describes the cataclysmic end of the world in vivid detail, using symbols and signs to amplify the image. The suddenness of the end of the world is a theme used to comfort those who are awaiting it and at the same time to strike fear into those who choose to oppress the meek. In the closing lines of the book of Revelation, the Lord reminds us of the swiftness of the His coming when He says, “Surely I come quickly” (Revelation 22:20). The benefit of history permits us the opportunity to see that “quickly” in this phrase has already extended nearly two millennia, but at the same time we know that for the wicked this will not have been enough time to prepare. Apocalyptic revelations are intended in many respects to act as a reminder of impending disaster. [8] Every dispensation has faced the uncertainty of the future as well as the reality that continued wickedness cannot be sustained indefinitely. The Lord will not permit us to continue to revel in our wickedness.

The Apostle Paul, as well as John the Beloved, sought to warn the early Saints that an age of darkness was soon to be felt on the earth. Paul taught that an age of apostasy or rebellion was soon to come that would precede the Second Coming of the Lord. Paul taught, “For that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). To his beloved traveling companion, Paul was more explicit concerning the age of darkness to come. He taught:

“The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

“And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3–4).

John taught in his first general epistle, “Even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” (2:18). The degradation and wickedness of the present generation is a sure sign that the end is nigh at hand. [9]

Finding Hope in Apocalyptic Destruction

One of the underlying principles that governs our perception of apocalyptic literature is our own understanding of our future destiny and the destiny of the government under which we exist. If we view our current situation as another evidence of universally declining morality and goodness, it is easier to consider the fall of that government as a positive occurrence. On the other hand, if we view our nation as divinely inspired and on course with the commandments and principles of the gospel, we view a cataclysmic end of the government negatively. In reality, the choice is not so obvious since most worldly governments tend to fall somewhere between these two extremes. It has been stated that apocalyptic literature is born out of a frustration over the loss of one’s homeland, government, or individual security. [10] In considering the plight of the early Christians, we find a people who lack a national identity as well as the possession of a specific homeland. For the first several hundred years they also lacked public places of worship where they felt welcome.

From the evidence left to us by the early Christians, we learn that for the first two hundred years life was a struggle. Christians were often put to death for simply being Christian, they were cast out of the Jewish synagogues (see John 9:22), and they did not have a national homeland where they could establish laws that were in accordance with their beliefs. [11] In many areas they were treated with hostility by government officials and in Jerusalem they were at times met with open hostility. The world was not a welcome place for them. In this context is it any surprise that the early Saints found comfort in such revelations as the book of Revelation, Matthew 24, 2 Thessalonians, and elsewhere? [12] The early Church fathers felt that even in their day the end of the world would be a welcome event. [13] We learn from our own history that apocalyptic fervor was heightened during the early days of this dispensation when the Saints were forced to leave their homes and often faced inhospitable circumstances that appeared to be acceptable to government leaders. The Millennial Star ran a regular series during the early days of the church entitled “The Signs of the Times.” In our current day it is difficult to appreciate the feelings of a people whose circumstances were very different from our own.

Persecution of the Saints

There can be no doubt but that the early Christians suffered severe persecution. The book of Revelation itself has been called “persecution literature.” [14] It is helpful to the modern reader to keep in mind that the majority of apocalyptic writings were delivered during times of great duress and persecution. [15] For those who enjoy a peaceful situation it is difficult to understand the way in which severe persecution can substantially alter one’s worldview. For example, in 1 Corinthians, Paul states that “God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world” (1 Corinthians 4:9). It is a foreign idea to us today that the Apostles are literally appointed to die for the cause, a statement that would shortly be fulfilled by Paul.

When John the Revelator saw the events of the fifth seal, or the events of his own day, he saw under the altar those who had been slain for their testimony (Revelation 6:9). He then asks, “How long, O Lord, . . . dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:10). Instead of a positive response or even an indication that the wicked would be punished, John is told that persecution will continue until his fellow servants and brethren are killed likewise (Revelation 6:11). The entire description of the events of the fifth seal reveals a period of martyrdom for the faithful. No other event is spoken of during the fifth seal. History records that during the time of the writing of the book of Revelation, the first programmatic persecution of Christians was carried out under the Roman emperor Domitian. We even learn that being a Christian under Domitian was a crime. [16] One modern observer has noted that the term apocalypse begins to take on its modern-day meaning of doom and destruction under the reign of Domitian and that before his reign of terror the term was used by Christians in its more neutral sense as simply a “revelation.” [17] While we probably gain little in recounting the horrors of the first two Christian centuries other than a feeling of sympathy and compassion for those who were killed for the faith, it does help us to realize that our day is in many ways different than theirs. Our friends, families and leaders are not being tortured and killed.

What is shocking to us now was a reality for them. Apocalyptic literature was one means through which the Lord extended a message of hope to His people in extreme circumstances.

Tribulation to Define True Christians

It is troubling to think of the nature of trials as taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith when he said: “There is no safety only in the arm of Jehovah. None else can deliver and he will not deliver unless we do prove ourselves faithful to him in the severest trouble, for he that will have his robes washed in the blood of the Lamb must come up through great tribulation, even the greatest of all affliction.” [18] It may be difficult to comprehend the fact that the Lord often allows His Saints to be persecuted in order to refine them. The Lord often has a greater good in mind than our finite minds can readily comprehend. [19] This doctrine is much easier to live in principle than in person.

In the New Testament there are several instances where the Apostles teach that tribulation is a means of determining those who are truly faithful. Paul points to this measure of Christian discipleship most clearly when he says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Romans 8:35). He further urges the Thessalonian Saints “that no man should be moved by these afflictions” (1 Thessalonians 3:3). In times of trial it is easy to see how some would collapse under the weight of torture, trial, and persecution, but for many of the early Saints affliction became a measure of true discipleship. [20] The Apostle John taught a similar concept when he wrote, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord” (Revelation 14:13). This statement carries with it the connotation that some have not died in the Lord, or in other words have fallen

away. Likewise, Paul exhorted the Saints to continue in the faith, reminding them that “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). [21]

This measure of discipleship may seem somewhat difficult for us to appreciate. In times of relative peace this measure of discipleship may be based more on our ability to endure temptation, but we are nonetheless under obligation to remain faithful regardless of our circumstances. President Ezra Taft Benson said it so well, “God will have a humble people. Either we can choose to be humble or we can be compelled to be humble.” [22] The Lord has not always revealed why or when He has used persecution as a means of discerning true discipleship, but we know that He wants us to be pure and that He will do whatever it takes to achieve that end.

Reminder for Continued Obedience

When we think of the calamities that have faced the Saints of God we often direct our attention to those who succeeded in overcoming trial and tribulation. For a moment, however, we should consider another possibility. Impending doom and destruction may heighten the spiritual readiness of those who were already waiting, but what is the effect on those who have delayed their preparations? Apocalyptic revelations carry a unique answer to this question. Those who are delaying their own repentance are in danger of being consumed.

We can sense this attitude in the epistles of Paul. Although probably the majority of Paul’s converts continued to follow in the faith, there were some whose spiritual fortitude began to slacken. In Paul’s second general epistle to the Saints of Thessalonica, it appears that some had quit their jobs, possibly in anticipation of the Second Coming. Paul reports, “We hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies” (2 Thessalonians 3:11). [23] Whatever the nature of their actions, it becomes a matter of concern for Paul, who sees their attitude as slothful and commends the members of the Church to discontinue association with them if they will not repent (2 Thessalonians 3:14). These members appear to be guilty of being slothful and apathetic in their duties as Christians. There is no specific sin attributed to them. This type of attitude can only be tolerated if there is plenty of time to repent and there is no danger that life will be cut short. An apocalyptic framework heightens this message by vividly pointing out the sudden destruction that will overtake the wicked. An apocalyptic revelation can help the slothful to see that there is no way of determining how long the present peace will prevail and that the wicked can be overtaken suddenly and with very little warning.

In several instances we find Paul exhorting the Saints to greater obedience because of the calamities that lie ahead. In 1 Corinthians Paul exhorts the Saints with the statement, “Brethren, the time is short, . . . for the fashion of this world passeth away” (1 Corinthians 7:29–31). In his first epistle to the Saints of Thessalonica, he warns, “Let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (1 Corinthians 5:6).

Regardless of how many years exist between our current day and the day of wrath to come, the time to repent is now. We have recently felt some of this counsel in the words of President Gordon B. Hinckley when he said, “I need not remind you that we live in perilous times.” [24] Similar to Paul’s exhortation to the early Saints, President Hinckley used this occasion to remind us that obedience is still expected in the present. He taught, “Occasions of this kind pull us up sharply to a realization that life is fragile. . . . We have been counseled again and again concerning self-reliance, concerning debt, concerning thrift.” [25] The uncertainty of the world’s future provides an excellent context for a reminder to continue and even heighten obedience. After all, we want to be ready to meet Him when He comes to gather in His elect.

Pessimism Will Not Prevail

In looking at previous times of trial and tribulation, it is interesting to note that moderate optimism can easily be replaced by a minimal amount of pessimism. For some reason equal amounts of optimism and pessimism do not weigh the same in the scale of our hearts. What was once a moderate hope that life is good and that peace and plenty will continue can immediately be replaced by pessimism based on one singular act of destruction. Hope takes time to grow and must be nurtured, while fear can seize our hearts without any preparation. One school of thought has taught that the nature of apocalyptic prophecy is a pessimism in the ability of this world to continue to exist as it does. [26] This view, however, fails to adequately describe the end vision of apocalyptic thought and prophecy. In nearly all apocalyptic revelations there is the ultimate promise that the good will triumph, God and His Saints will be vindicated, justice and mercy will reign, and the earth will be ruled by a hand of righteousness. [27] In reality it depends upon which part of the vision we direct our attention.

Peter spoke against a growing pessimism in his own day when he said, “There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming?” (2 Peter 3:3–4). Elder Neal A. Maxwell eloquently summarized the sentiment of these verses when he said, “Such cynicism mistakes the successive casts on the mortal stage for the absence of a Director or a script.” [28] One modern commentator who has studied apocalyptic thinking through the ages has stated that “the rhetoric of Doomsday is a counsel of despair.” [29] Indeed this is a legitimate understanding of apocalyptic literature, but isn’t a message of hope equally represented? The present age and decline cannot continue to spiral out of control, there must be an end to all wickedness. For the faithful this is not new. Apocalyptic revelation teaches us that the end is near with an emphasis on hope for a positive outcome. To the righteous the message is not doom but happiness. President Marion G. Romney taught: “If in the providence of God, holocausts come, the earth will not disintegrate or be rendered uninhabitable. . . . It will be part of the prophet’s road to the dawn of a glorious millennium of perfect peace.” [30] The book of Revelation, the epitome of apocalyptic literature, ends with a vision of the earth in its celestial glory, where the Saints enjoy eternal splendor.

Christ Will Come Again

As part of the positive outlook of apocalyptic revelation, we learn that all of the doom and destruction are finalized in the event of the Second Coming. There is little, if any, evidence to suggest that the Saints will continue to experience physical suffering after Christ’s Second Coming. Viewed in such a light, one can sense that the trials and tribulation that precede this great event are part of Satan’s plan to mislead the weak and to tear down the faithful. The fact remains, however, that Christ will come in “power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30). At His Coming those who appear to have lost the battle in the eyes of their adversaries will be resurrected. The resurrection of the righteous dead is one of the crowning events of the apocalyptic end of the world. For a moment, we can imagine Christ coming in glory at the sound of the trump and all those who have died in the persecutions rising up to meet Him in one of the most glorious welcoming scenes this world has ever known. In that moment, the means and method of their death will seem insignificant. Those who die in faith or expect to die as martyrs can look forward to a glorious resurrected existence with Christ and His followers. In writing the epistle to the Hebrews, Paul expressed a similar sentiment when he taught, “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Hebrews 12:11).

In looking at the symbolism of the book of Revelation, one is surprised at how often the figure of the Lamb of God appears among prophecies of the cataclysmic end of the world. This image of Christ as the Lamb of God is both weak and powerful. Sheep are one of the most docile of animals and were used in many of the sacrifices of the Mosaic covenant. They have come to symbolize the meek of the earth. Yet in a book where terror and destruction are prevalent it is somewhat surprising to find one of the main figures to be that of the Lamb. In considering this evidence, one scholar has noted that the Lamb image appears more often in the book of Revelation than in any other apocalyptic revelation. [31] If, however, we consider the larger purpose of apocalyptic literature, we see an interesting image being developed. That which was formerly meek and lowly now reigns supreme. The Lamb which was sacrificed for the benefit of mankind is now victorious. The image of the Lamb of God can help us see that our own struggles may result in something glorious.

Ultimate Victory

Approaching apocalyptic literature from the standpoint of audience and social setting cannot provide answers to all of the questions raised by this enigmatic body of literature. It does, however, help us to see that there may have been another intent besides simply revealing the events that would precede the Second Coming. Understanding such things as the worldview of apocalyptic revelation helps us to sense the duality of the world’s existence. The moral decline of the present age can then be understood as a pattern of the world’s progression or degression. Placing ourselves in this context helps us to feel and appreciate the sufferings of those who have gone before us and at the same time feel that we are brothers and sisters in their struggles and they in ours. We share a similar fate, although it may be separated by centuries of time. Their sufferings were not unlike ours, and their glory will be similar to ours.

We can also sense that many, if not all, apocalyptic revelations were delivered in times of great distress and persecution. Often the Saints were in a position where they were being persecuted for their faith. To these Saints, apocalyptic revelation was a message of hope and promise. They could hope for a glorious resurrection to come and exaltation for having proven themselves faithful despite all adversity. Persecution has been in times past a means of separating the wheat from the chaff. Paul recognized this tendency and warned the Saints to hold fast to the promises made to them. Although immediate victory may not be won, ultimate and complete victory will be.

Notes

[1] Frederick W. Danker, ed., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, 3d ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), s.v. àpokalúptõ.

[2] Revelation 6:9–11 describes the events of the fifth seal, the time of the Apostle John, as one of tribulation and suffering. The hope of this age is that they will live a glorious existence after they have suffered martyrdom.

[3] Harold B. Lee, “A Time of Decision,” Ensign, July 1973, 31.

[4] Richard D. Draper, Opening the Seven Seals: The Visions of John the Revelator (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1991), 8, states that the book of Revelation emphasizes the ultimate but not the immediate triumph of good over evil. Cf. Stephen E. Robinson, Warring against the Saints of God, Ensign, January 1988, 37.

[5] This may have been the case with the Jewish insurrection of A.D. 67. It is plausible that those who opposed the Roman army were buoyed up by a hope that God would intervene as promised in the book of Daniel. J. Marcus, “The Jewish War and the Sitz im Leben of Mark,” Journal of Biblical Literature 3 (1992): 447. See Martin Hengel, The Zealots: Investigations into the Jewish Freedom Movement in the Period from Herod I until 70 A.D., trans. David Smith (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1989), 242–45.

[6] Arthur O. Lovejoy and George Boas, A Documentary History of Primitivism and Related Ideas in Antiquity (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1935), 1:2.

[7] C. Wilfred Griggs, “Manichaeism, Mormonism, and Apocalypticism,” in Sperry Lecture Series: April 12, 1973 (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1973), 19.

[8] Hugh W. Nibley, “The Last Days, Then and Now,” in The Disciple as Scholar: Essays on Scripture and the Ancient World, ed. Stephen D. Ricks, Donald W. Parry, and Andrew H. Hedges (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2000), 269–303.

[9] Some of the early publications of the Saints in our dispensation bear names that indicate an awareness that the last days were upon them: Millennial Star, Times and Seasons, and Zion’s Watchman. Cf. Glen M. Leonard, “Early Saints and the Millennium,” Ensign, August 1979, 43. In 1840 the Millennial Star ran an article that stated, “We shall have reason to feel assured that the Second Advent is near, with the same assurance which we feel in regard to the near approach of summer when we see the trees put forth their leaves and blossom” (Millennial Star 1, no. 4 [August 1840]: 75).

[10] Ithamar Gruenwald, From Apocalypticism to Gnosticism: Studies in Apocalypticism, Merkavah Mysticism and Gnosticism (Frankfurt: Verlag Peter Lang, 1988), 1–11.

[11] Pliny, Epistulae 10.96, in Pliny: Letters and Panegyricus, Loeb Classical Library, trans. Betty Radice (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1969), 285–91. The Roman historian Tacitus felt that Christians should be rooted out because they were a pernicious superstition (Annals 15.44), while Minucius Felix calls Christianity a foolish superstition (Octavius 9.3), in Tertullian: Apology and De Spectaculis; Minucius Edix: Octavius, Loeb Classical Library, trans. Gerald H. Rendall (London: William Heineman Ltd., 1931), 337.

[12] The list of apocalyptic revelations should include also Mark 13, Luke 17 and many other more abbreviated references to the scenes and events of the Second Coming; e.g., 2 Peter 3; 1 John 2:18–29.

[13] Richard Lloyd Anderson, “Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp: Three Bishops between the Apostles and the Apostasy,” Ensign, August 1976, 51.

[14] Reed C. Durham, “Revelation: The Plainest Book Ever Written,” New Era, May 1973, 22.

[15] Cf. Philipp Vielhauer, “Apocalypses and Related Subjects,” in New Testament Apocrypha, ed. Wilhelm Schneemelcher, trans. R. McL. Wilson (Louisville, Kent.: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1991), 2:558–59.

[16] Draper, Opening the Seven Seals, 8.

[17] Morton Smith, “On the History of Apokalypto and Apokalypsis,” in Apocalypticism in the Mediterranean World and the Near East: Proceedings of the International Colloquium on Apocalypticism, Uppsala, August 1217, 1979, ed. David Hellhom (Tubingen: Mohr, 1983), 17.

[18] Dean C. Jessee, ed. and comp., The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1984), 285, spelling and punctuation corrected.

[19] Cf. 2 Corinthians 1:5–7.

[20] William Meeks, “Social Functions of Apocalyptic Language in Pauline Christianity,” in Hellhom, Apocalypticism, 692. Based on the numerous references to enduring in times of affliction, Meeks has been led to state that Paul uses persecution as a test of Christian identity.

[21] An unfortunate corollary to this is a report by the Roman governor Pliny, who noted with glee that he had been successful in turning away many of the Christians and uprooting their pernicious superstition (Epistulae 10.96).

[22] Ezra Taft Benson, “Beware of Pride,” Ensign, May 1989, 6.

[23] The word “busybody” corresponds to the Greek term periergazomai, which indicates a person who goes around and around doing something but never getting anything done, or in essence someone who is not really doing anything.

[24] Gordon B. Hinckley “The Times in Which We Live,” Ensign, November 2001, 72.

[25] Ibid., 73.

[26] Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, “The Phenomenon of Early Christian Apocalyptic,” in Hellhom, Apocalypticism, 303; P. Vielhauer, Apocalypses and Related Subjects; Paul D. Hanson, The Dawn of Apocalyptic, rev. ed. (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1979), 1–9, 2526.

[27] Walter Schmithals, Die Apokalyptik: Einfürung und Deutung (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1973), 9–21.

[28] Neal A. Maxwell, “The Tugs and Pulls of the World,” Ensign, November 2000, 35.

[29] Frank L. Borchardt, Doomsday Speculation as a Strategy of Persuasion: A Study of Apocalypticism as Rhetoric (Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1990), 114.

[30] Marion G. Romney, “The Price of Peace,” Ensign, October 1983, 7.

[31] John J. Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Apocalyptic Literature, 2d ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1998), 278–79.