Secrets hidden long ago by the sages now were seen to uncover the course of history and what was to come. Perhaps the ancient apocalypses concealed much even from their original readers. Some scholars seem to assume that the first readers of the apocalypses had a magic key that unlocked the full meaning of the text in some exemplary fashion, but the nature of the genre itself and the evidence of the apocalyptic tradition … points in the other direction. John’s Revelation was probably at least partly mysterious even to its early audience. (526-27) — Bernard McGinn, “Revelation.” The Literary Guide to the Bible. Robert Alter and Frank Kermode, eds. Harvard University Press, 1987.