ALIEN GOSPEL: FACT OR FICTION? – Appendix 4

1 – What is the Alien Gospel?
2 – Invasion by the Forces of Darkness
3 – Invasion by the Forces of Light? UFOs? Hybrids/Giants?
4 – Apocryphal Works: Old and New
5 – Reverse-Engineering/Embellishment of Artistic Works
6 - “As the Days of Noah… Seed of the Woman”
7 – Staying on Track
8 – Where to Draw the Line
APPENDIX 1: “Mingle themselves with seed of men” (Daniel 2:43)
APPENDIX 2: Why the Book of Enoch was not written by Enoch

APPENDIX 3: What’s wrong with the Book of Jasher
APPENDIX 4: How Canon Scripture Differs from Apocryphal Literature

Appendix 4: How Canon Scripture Differs from Apocryphal Literature

[from “Introduction to the Revelations to John: Genre”, pgs. 2453-2454, ESV Study Bible, Crossway Bible publishers, 2008]

The book of Revelation identifies itself both as “apocalypse” (or “revelation,” 1:1) and as prophecy (1:3; 22;7, 10, 18, 19; see also 10:11; 22:9).

“Apocalypse” is derived from the Greek noun apokalypsis meaning “revelation, disclosure, unveiling” – that is, the disclosure of unseen heavenly or future realities. Jewish apocalyptic literature flourished in the centuries following the completion of the OT canon, perhaps in part to help the oppressed people of God find purpose in their sufferings and hope for their future in the absence of genuine prophetic words from God. Apocalyptic literature inherited and magnified features appearing in such OT books as Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah. These features include visions that dramatize the prophet’s admission to God’s heavenly council and that convey meaning through symbolism, promising an end-time intervention of God to reverse present injustices.

Yet Jewish apocalyptic literature of the period between the OT and NT differs from OT prophecy in important aspects. Apocalyptic authors remained anonymous and attributed their works to prominent figures of the distant past (e.g., Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Baruch, Ezra), using this literary device (“pseudepigraphy”) to invest their message with the weight of antiquity and to suggest that those ancients foretold events in the readers’ past and present. Whereas OT prophecy was primarily preached orally and only secondarily preserved in writing, apocalyptic works were crafted literary pieces from their inception. Old Testament prophecy not only comforted a righteous remnant but also called faithless Israel to repent and anticipated the gracious ingathering of Gentiles. Apocalyptic literature, on the other hand, divided humanity into two immutable [unchangeable] camps: (1) the holy minority who await God’s deliverance, and (2) their persecutors, destined for wrath and beyond the reach of redemption. Finally, although OT prophets pointed ahead to the Lord’s future coming, they also emphasized his present involvement with his people in their sins and trials; but apocalyptic literature saw the present as so pervaded by corruption that no saving work of God could be expected before his cataclysmic intervention at the end.

Like Jewish apocalyptic literature and some OT prophecy, the Revelation to John is imparted in symbolic visions and conveyed not in oral preaching but in literary form. Unlike extrabiblical apocalyptic authors, however, John writes in his own name, not that of an ancient saint, and he brings a balanced message of comfort, warning, and rebuke. Because Christ’s death has already won the decisive victory over evil, Revelation does not share the pessimism of Jewish apocalyptic literature regarding the present age (transient and sin-infected though it is). Rather, Revelation sees believers as conquerors even now through endurance under suffering and fidelity to the testimony of Jesus, through which even their persecutors are called to salvation through repentance and faith.

Revelation therefore stands in the apocalyptic “wing” of authentic, divinely inspired prophecy (emphasizing visionary experience, symbolism, and literary art), along with such NT texts as Jesus’ Olivet Discourse (Mark 13) and Paul’s discussion of the man of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2).

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