It is not therefore safe to measure the general growth of eschatological doctrine by the apocalyptic books, of which Daniel alone attained a canonical position.
Though the individual might perish amid the disorders of this world, he would not fail, apocalyptic taught, to attain through resurrection the recompense that was his due in the Messianic kingdom or in heaven itself.
Printed in tens of thousands of copies are certain apocalyptic legends dealing with eschatological problems. The ancient Apocalypse of Peter appears here under the name of Paul, then there is an Apocalypse of the Virgin Mary, who, like Peter, is carried by the Archangel through the torments of Hell and the bliss of Paradise, and through whose intervention sufferers are granted pardon on certain days of the year.
In spite of superficial resemblances, mainly due to the unavoidable influence of current exegetical methods, the conception of prophecy as fulfilled in Christ is fundamentally different from the Jewish apocalyptic view of unfulfilled prophecy.
Though apocalyptic served its purpose in the opening centuries of the Christian era, it must be confessed that in many of its aspects its office is transitory, as they belong not to the essence of Christian thought.
The message of the prophets was primarily a preaching of repentance and righteousness if the nation would escape judgment; the message of the apocalyptic writers was of patience and trust for that deliverance and reward were sure to come.
But this version of the idea of Antichrist, hostile to the Jews and better expressing the relation of Christianity to the Roman empire, was prevented from obtaining an absolute ascendancy in Christian tradition by the rise of the belief in the ultimate return of Nero, and by the absorption of this outcome of pagan superstition into the Jewish-Christian apocalyptic conceptions.
The transition from prophecy to apocalyptic (Corot(aXi 7rrecv, to reveal something hidden) was gradual and already accomplished within the limits of the Old Testament.
Circ. 1500) succeeded in bringing the scattered Anabaptist communities into a species of association; he discouraged the earlier apocalyptic hopes, inculcated non-resistance, denounced the evils of State control over religious matters, and emphasized personal conversion, and adult baptism as its appropriate seal.
Only we must not form our ideas of the great apocalyptic and chiliastic movement of the first decades of the 16th century from the rabble in Munster.