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Natnael Mulat

Writing 101: The Apocalypse

10 September 2018

Alison McQueen examines the book of Daniel and Revelation in historical and political context to argue

how flexible and enduring these documents are to the different turmoil and upheavals time presents. As

such, first McQueen explains and compares the apocalypse of those two texts with their respective

contexts. Second, she mentions Paul’s and Augustine’s attempts to contain the consequence of

believing in the apocalypse by reinterpretations of the texts. Third, McQueen holds imagery of the two

texts as the core factor to explain the recurring features of most apocalyptic worldview.

After explaining the apocalypse of the two biblical texts in much the same ways as Chon, McQueen

mentions Paul and Augustine as agents who control enthusiasms that is spurred by the belief of the

apocalypse by reinterpretation of the texts. I found this explanation to understand how the apocalypse

can be malleable to the struggles that might resemble the advent of the apocalypse, and so the

apocalypse holds its place as this looming and yet an inescapable fate. But the question is how flexible is

the biblical apocalypse to endure time without testing the plausibility of its realism? And for how long

can it be procrastinated? However McQueen writes, “… [Augustine] reasons that while Revelation may

provide us with a general outline of apocalyptic events, the specific chronology is known only to

God”(22) But it is apparent that we’re all more alive and well , at the same time there are more people

who question the existence of God and the bible as a divine origin today than Augustine’s time , and so

his arguments will have tenuous ground today than a millennium ago, and leaves our questions

unanswered and our doubts of the apocalypse’s realism unclear.

In addition, McQueen also mentions imminence, cataclysm, purge, rapture and revelatory as the main

elements of most apocalyptic accounts. However, McQueen writes, “…it is important to stress that it
does not encompass all possible forms of eschatological expectations….it necessarily excludes the

beliefs of progressive millennialists.” (30) And so, this poses the question of whether a revelation is

necessary to believe in the apocalypse? If no, what are the motives that drive the “progressive

millennialist” to believe in the apocalypse? McQueen’s view of breaking down the apocalypse in such

elements also questions the validity of the book of Daniel and Revelation. As such, an atheist might

reason, if a threat contains these elements, that threat might as easily be categorized as an apocalypse.

And thus the atheist would ask, if it is that easy to produce an apocalypse, what guarantee do we have

that the book of Daniel and Revelation are not figments of imagination?