The Kingdom of God in the Jewish Apocryphal Literature Part 3 -- By: George E. Ladd

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 109:436 (Oct 1952)
Article: The Kingdom of God in the Jewish Apocryphal Literature Part 3
Author: George E. Ladd


The Kingdom of God in the Jewish Apocryphal Literature
Part 3

George E. Ladd

(Continued from the April-June Number, 1952)

I Enoch

Enoch is one of the most notable examples of the genus of Jewish literature called apocalyptic as well as one of the most important books for New Testament backgrounds. In it for the first time appears the concept of a temporal messianic kingdom, and in it is elaborated the Jewish doctrine of the Son of Man. Before we discuss the book itself, a brief characterization of apocalyptic literature will give background for the discussion.

The word “apocalypse” has a twofold meaning. In biblical literature it is used of divine disclosures made to individuals1 or to men collectively,2 of supernatural truths either present3 or future.4 It is used in the introduction to the one prophetic book of the New Testament5 of the revelation or disclosure of the things which were shortly to come to pass, which God the Father gave to His Son who in turn, as the mediator of revelation, made it known to John.6 The word here refers to the total contents of our book which God,

through Christ, disclosed to John on Patmos and which John later wrote down. The word may be similarly applied to the disclosures made to Daniel although the word is not there used.

In modern biblical study, “apocalypse” has been infused with a broader technical meaning to describe the literary product of such divine disclosures, whether they are real or pretended. The word has been borrowed from the Revelation of John and applied to a series of Jewish writings which, in imitation of Daniel, are cast in the form of disclosures of future events. Enoch is the first of such books. The word itself is not found in any of these writings.

The adjective “apocalyptic” has been given a still larger meaning to include writings which are not strictly apocalypses, i.e., whose literary form is not that of visionary revelations, but whose content deals largely or in substantial part with the sort of eschatological expectations which are found in the apocalypses. In this sense the eschatology of Jesus is called apocalyptic, for although He does not speak in symbols nor experience visions, He does prophesy the end of the world by the dramatic Parousia of the Son of Man from heaven and the judgment of God upon the world; and these are considered ...

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