Seeliger, Hans Reinhard. “Considerations on the Background and Purpose of the Apocalyptic Conclusion of the Didache” pp. 373-382 in Draper, Jonathan (editor). The Didache in Modern Research. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1996.
Seeliger observes that scholarship on apocalyptic texts has not recently been popular, though it is perhaps regaining some footing (Seeliger 1996, 373). In this chapter he aims to discuss how apocalyptic theology is formed and how it can be understood, eventually usggesting a purpose fo the last chapter of the Didache (Seeliger 1996, 374).
He finds that apocalyptic writing was commonly done in Christian and Jewish circles through the second century, not only in the form of discrete works but also as shorter segments within other works (Seeliger 1996, 375). In Didache 16 there is an apocalyptic message, but no information about the messenger or the means of revelation. Seeliger does see chapter 16 as an original part of the work, based on the smooth transition and catch phrase in 16:2b (Seeliger 1996, 376).
Seeliger does not see the eschatological portion as merely a reinforcement of the earlier ethical instruction. The exhortation, based on the presence of God as the final judge, provides a reason for careful attention to all the teaching. The emphasis is on the presence of God as our reason for obedience, not on God’s presence as a disparate threat (Seeliger 1996, 377).
Seeliger further sees the Didache’s picture of resurrection of only the saints to be a significant difference from John 6, Luke 20, and Revelation 20-21. For this reason, he sees the text as a “relatively old tradition in the history of the development of theology” (Seeliger 1996, 378). Similarly, the description of Christ as a “curse” points to a very early tradition (Seeliger 1996, 379). Seeliger does note that the coming eschaton seems to be seen as slightly remote in time, which contradicts the popular view that immediacy was originally expected and that more distant future hopes developed at a later time (Seeliger 1996, 380).
Seeliger concludes that the apocalyptic chapter of the Didache would have been seen as a prophetic warning against false prophets, likely giving exmaples of the preaching of the prophets (Seeliger 1996, 381). The true and false teaching are exemplified in the chapter, allowing the learner to know what is and is not sound doctrine.