What “apocalypse” really means
We hear the words “apocalypse” or “apocalyptic” a lot. But what does “apocalypse” mean? What do you think it means? I had a dear friend send me a note about this and how revealing it was to learn the true meaning of the word. I thought it could make for an interesting blog. I’ve been aware of the real meaning for a long time, as we used to hear our human church leader often talk of it 30-40 years ago. But perhaps it’s not something you’re aware of. So let’s explore.
On the news or in movies, you’ll hear that word “apocalypse” used in a way that points to things happening of major catastrophic proportions. You’ll hear: “The damage, carnage and destruction we see all around us right now with the hurricanes and tornadoes we’ve been through is nothing short of apocalyptic”. Or you might hear this: “If war were to break out between the major super-powers right now, it would surely bring on the apocalypse and Armageddon”. Yes, you’ll find the concept of Armageddon and Apocalypse often in the same sentence or paragraph. Armageddon of course is a description of a super-catastrophic end-time battle that ends with millions dead (see Revelation 16).
This usage of the word “apocalypse”, I believe, can all be traced back to the horrendous visions of destruction, war and calamity that we can read about in the book of Revelation. So I think people tend to use the word “apocalypse” to mean - - “events such as we see described in the book of Revelation”. The word “apocalypse” comes from the Greek word apokalupsis. But the word does not mean “catastrophe” or destruction or a huge war at all. Not at all.
Click the “Continue reading” button below to finish this short blog. You’ll in for a real revelation.
Apokalupsis in Greek actually means a “revealing”, a disclosure of information and knowledge. In fact, the Greek word for the book of Revelation is – are you ready for this – apokalupsis. I’ve also seen it spelled as “apokalypsis”. The book’s name is correctly translated as the book of “Revelation”—as truly it is a revelation of what to expect in the last years leading up to the Christ’s return.
In this final book of the Bible, our Yeshua REVEALS to us what will happen just before He returns to stop the utter destruction of the earth. And by the way, this book is often called “the Revelation of St John the Apostle” but whom does the BOOK itself say was the Revealer? Hint: it wasn’t John. Let’s read it: Revelation 1:1 -- “The Revelation (apokalupsis) of Jesus Christ, which God gave HIM to show His servants — things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John…”
So if you don't like the book of Revelation, you may want to reconsider your viewpoint, seeing who presented the revelations. It was all by Yeshua the Christ/Messiah himself.
So how did “revelations” – the true meaning of “apocalypse” -- get twisted over time to be used in context and stories of untold destruction, carnage and catastrophe?
Probably because of the massive never-before-seen kind of earthquakes, warfare, death, hailstones, islands disappearing, plagues and destruction and more that are revealed in the book of Revelation. Or should I say… that are revealed in the book of Apocalypse.
But just remember: “Apocalypse” means “a revealing, a revelation” – not an Armageddon type of massive destruction.
So just remember, the main focus God Almighty wanted us to get from the last book of the Bible was not a list of world-destroying calamities so much, but that Yeshua (Jesus) was REVEALING to his people what earth-shaking events would be happening in the very end of this age. The book revealed by Yeshua himself also contains warnings and admonitions to us, his people, that we must all repent and be zealous for his work now more than ever. See Revelation chapters 2-3, the messages to the 7 churches. ALL were to hear what was said to ALL the 7 churches.
We are children of his light and should not be caught off guard – or as Revelation describes it “without your garments”, spiritually naked, so to speak, since we’ve been given an outline already of what to expect in the coming years.
Paul also teaches the same thing: we should be grateful for the Apocalypse – the revealing of what is to come and we should never be caught off guard. We should be like the ancient men of Issachar, who understood the times and seasons they were in, and therefore knew what to do (1 Chronicles 12:32).
1 Thessalonians 5:1-10 – “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
4 But YOU, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake YOU as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.
8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.”
So next time you hear a news commentator say something about an event so disastrous that he calls it “of apocalyptic proportions” – now you know better. He’s misusing the word that actually means “a revealing”.