Day 1: Reality in the Hebrew Bible
In contemporary culture, the words “apocalypse” or “apocalyptic” usually refer to the catastrophic end of the world. However, this is not what these words mean in the Bible.
This popular understanding of “apocalyptic” leads us to drastically misunderstand and misread biblical apocalyptic literature, preventing us from actually understanding what this literature is all about.
The biblical words for apocalypse (Hebrew: galah, Greek: apokalupto) mean “to reveal” or “to uncover.” Sometimes the word simply means to uncover something (Genesis 9:21), but other times it's referring to a cosmic uncovering, or revelation. So an apocalypse is a moment when ultimate reality is uncovered or revealed to someone so that they gain a divine perspective on current events and human history. In other words, an apocalypse is what happens when someone on earth is exposed to the heavenly, transcendent reality of God’s realm, transforming their view of everything.
When most of us think about apocalyptic literature in the Bible, we commonly associate it with the book of Revelation. It’s the last book of the New Testament called, in Greek, “The Apocalypse of Jesus Messiah” (Revelation 1:1), which is translated “The Revelation.” But understanding the book of Revelation depends on the view of reality presupposed in the Hebrew Bible and the Hebrew Bible’s vocabulary for revelation—galah (גלה) “to expose, reveal.”
In today’s video, we’ll take a look at the Hebrew Bible’s view of reality. What does the Bible teach about Heaven, and what is Heaven’s relationship to Earth? Understanding the biblical view of Heaven and Earth is incredibly important for reading and understanding apocalyptic literature in the Bible.