Jewish apocalyptic literature emerged as a form of resistance literature during the intertestamental period. A product of marginalized communities, such literature is highly political, articulating the worldview of the politically oppressed and those who considered their religious freedoms to be under threat. As resistance literature, apocalypses cathartically utilize vivid descriptions of violence and poetic symbols of hope to encourage those who identify as victims to maintain their resistance to political pressure or injustice. This paper explores the ways the Christian Book of Revelation builds on this tradition to envisage hope in the face of systemic evil, political oppression, and injustice. Neither the noun nor verb for hope appear in Revelation, yet its eschatological vision of vindication, victory, and shared rule in New Jerusalem for those who are oppressed has inspired many Christians to hope for a new world order with significant implications for the present. After considering the historical context of Revelation, this paper will examine the ways the apocalyptic imagination of Revelation continues to be invoked and (mis)used in contemporary Christianized political discourse. I argue that the Book of Revelation continues to appeal precisely because it offers a framework for believing that the victim will become the victor in the eschaton.
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