An apocalypse (Ancient Greek: ἀποκάλυψις apokálypsis, from ἀπό and καλύπτω, literally meaning "an uncovering") is a disclosure of knowledge or revelation. Historically, the term has a heavy religious connotation as commonly seen in the prophetic revelations of eschatology (see wiki chart in this article: Series on Eschatology) and were obtained through dreams or spiritual visions. Also, it is the Greek word for the last book of the New Testament entitled "Revelation". The term is also included in the title of some non-biblical canon books involving revelations. Today, the term is commonly used in reference to any larger-scale catastrophic event, or chain of detrimental events to humanity and/or nature. In all contexts, the revealed events usually entail some form of an end time scenario or the end of the world or revelations into divine, heavenly, or spiritual realms. For more specific examples of apocalypses, see Apocalypticism.
The revelation may be made through a dream, as in the Book of Daniel, or through a vision, as in the Book of Revelation. In biblical accounts of revelations the manner of the revelation and its reception is generally described.
According to the Book of Daniel, after a long period of fasting, Daniel is standing by a river when a heavenly being appears to him, and the revelation follows (Daniel 10:2ff).
Apocalyptic writing often makes wide use of symbolism. One instance of this occurs where gematria is employed, either for obscuring the writer's meaning or enhancing it; as a number of ancient cultures used letters also as numbers (i.e., the Romans with their use of "Roman numerals"). Thus the symbolic name "Taxo," "Assumptio Mosis", ix. 1; the "Number of the Beast" (616/666), in the Book of Revelation 13:18; the number 666 ('Iησōῦς), Sibyllines, i.326–30.
Similar is the frequent prophecy of the length of time through which the events predicted must be fulfilled. Thus, the "time, times, and a half," Daniel 12:7 which has been taken to be 3½ years in length by Dispensationalists; the "fifty-eight times" of Enoch, xc.5, "Assumptio Mosis", x.11; the announcement of a certain number of "weeks" or days, which starting point in Daniel 9:24, 25 is "the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks", a mention of 1290 days after the covenant/sacrifice is broken (Daniel 12:11), 12; Enoch xciii.3–10; 2 Esdras 14:11, 12; Apocalypse of Baruch[disambiguation needed] xxvi–viii; Revelation 11:3, which mentions "two witnesses" with supernatural power, 12:6; compare Assumptio Mosis, vii.1.
Symbolic language also occurs in descriptions of persons, things or events; thus, the "horns" of Daniel 7 and 8; Revelation 17 and following; the "heads" and "wings" of 2 Esdras xi and following; the seven seals of Revelation 6; trumpets, Revelation 8; "vials of the wrath of God" or "bowl..." judgments, Revelation 16; the dragon, Revelation 12:3–17, Revelation 20:1–3; the eagle, Assumptio Mosis, x.8; and so on.
In the Hebrew Old Testament some pictures of the end of the age were images of the judgment of the wicked and the glorification of those who were given righteousness before God. In the Book of Job and in some Psalms the dead are described as being in Sheol, awaiting the final judgment. The wicked will then be consigned to eternal suffering in the fires of Gehinnom, or the lake of fire mentioned in the Book of Revelation.