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Welcome to our Eschatology Glossary.

Updated Jun. 25, 2005
...the time is near.     
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A Glossary of Eschatology Terms


ge, Ages
In the NT, this term often refers to one or both of the eons understood by late Jewish thought, namely “this age” and the “age to come.” The two-age eschatology of the rabbis failed to recognize the intervening Age of the Spirit predicted by Joel 2.28-32 which would precede what they thought of as “the age to come” and what the prophets referred to as the Day of the Lord (Yom YHWH). Paul mentions multiple ages yet to come (Eph. 2.7), which will include the Millennial Reign during the Yom YHWH.

Antichrist, The

The false Messiah, energized by Satan, who will arise in opposition to God, Christianity and Israel just prior to Christ’s Coming (2 Thess. 2.3-10).

Literally, anti-law-ism. In history this was the heretical and cultish doctrine that the moral law was not binding Christians as a rule of life. In recent eschatology the term has been adopted by some Dispensationalists to describe their belief that Christians are not under law since law pertains to an earlier dispensation.

Literally an unveiling, that is, a revealing of a person or thing in its true character. Synonymous to revelation, and an alternate title for the book of Revelation. Because of its association with the “end of the world,” apocalypse is sometimes used to denote a radical destruction or purge.

Pertaining to the end of the world, or to some awesome destruction.

A spiritual falling away, i.e., a rebellion, as described in 2 Thessalonians 2.3.

Adjective: having fallen away spiritually.

Literally the mountain of Megiddo. The name given to the valley below the ancient city (now a ruin) of Megiddo in northern Israel. Also the name given to the final eschatological battle for Jerusalem, since the military staging for the battle will occur at the valley of Megiddo. Metaphorically, Armageddon is commonly used with reference to a catastrophic or devastating event, military or otherwise. When a city water storage tank ruptured in Westminster, California at the end of September, 1998, temporarily flooding a residential neighborhood, a police officer said: “A whole series of condo garages are gone. It’s a mess out there. It’s like Armageddon.” The loss of a dozen garages is less than trivial compared to the biblical Armageddon, but the recent movie entitled Armageddon errs on the other extreme of usage. In that film, the fictional President of the United States defines Armageddon as “the end of everything.” Armageddon is not the end of everything, but it is more than ruined garages: it is the end of the militant enemies of Messiah who are consumed by His coming.


ay of the Lord, The
The period that begins suddenly with the destruction of the ungodly (including Antichrist and his followers; see 1 Thess. 5.2,3).

Literally an administration, a period or process of management. To Dispensationalists, the term has come to mean an era in which God administers a redemptive plan in a fashion different from the way He administered redemption in other eras.

A form of biblical interpretation derived from the teachings of John Nelson Darby (1800-82) of Dublin, Ireland, a leader of the Plymouth Brethren, and popularized by C. I. Scofield (1843-1921) in his Scofield Reference Bible (1902-1909 and revised in 1917). It emphasizes the idea that God dispenses redemption differently in different eras, and maintains a rigid discontinuity between the different dispensations.


nd Time, The
The epoch in which some of God’s people will be refined by tribulation (Dan. 11.33-35), as a rebel king affronts Messiah (Dan. 8.17-25), and invades Israel (Dan. 11.40-45). It is the apocalyptic time leading up to the resurrection and judgment (Dan. 12.1-2). Not to be confused with, but included in, the Last Days.

The study of last things, that is, the final events of redemption described in Bible prophecy. Derived from the Greek word meaning last.

The climax of history at which Christ returns to reestablish His reign over the earth.


The view that the prophecies of Revelation (and related passages) focus upon the end of the age (world), and that therefore the greater part of the book has yet to be fulfilled.



Numerology; the mystical interpretation of the numerical value of letters and words. Leo Rosten, in his Joys of Yiddish, explains that “mystics converted the numerical values [of words] into supposed keys to the meanings of passages in the holy texts and ‘equated’ different words and phrases according to the total values of their letters…Here is a pretty example of Gematria: The Hebrew word for ‘pregnancy,’ herayon, turns out to have the numerical value of 270, which is also 30 times 9 — ‘the number of days a woman carries a child.’”



Originally the name of the Homeric god of the underworld, a Greek word used to denote the state or place of the dead. All the dead alike go into this place. To be buried, to go down to the grave, to descend into Hades, are equivalent expressions. In the LXX this word is the usual rendering of the Hebrew Sheol, the common receptacle of the departed (Genesis 42.38; Psalm 139.8; Hos. 13.14; Isaiah 14.9). This term occurs rarely in the Greek New Testament, but now takes on decidedly punitive and Satanic connotations. Our Lord speaks of Capernaum as being “brought down to Hades”, i.e., to the lowest debasement (Matthew 11.23). Jesus also portrays Hades as a kingdom (or city) in opposition to the Church (Mat. 16.18), and in Luke 16.23 Jesus makes Hades the place of the rich man’s the doom and misery in contrast to the blessed state of Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham. In the Revelation, Hades personified hungrily follows behind Death as the latter rides forth to devastate the earth (6.8), and in the end is cast with Death into the Lake of Fire (20.14).

Derived from the Saxon helan, to cover; hence the covered or the invisible place. In King James Bible there are three words so rendered. (1.) Sheol, the place of disembodied spirits, which word is also often rendered “grave” (Genesis 37.35; 42.38; 44.29, 31; 1 Samuel 2.6, etc.). The inhabitants of Sheol are “the congregation of the dead” (Proverbs 21.16). It is (a) the abode of the wicked (Numbers 16.33; Job 24.19; Psalm 9.17; 31.17, etc.); (b) of the good (Psalm 16.10; 30.3; 49.15; 86.13, etc.). Sheol is described as deep (Job 11.8), dark (10.21, 22), with bars (17.16). The dead “go down” to it (Numbers 16.30, 33; Ezekiel 31.15, 16, 17). (2.) The Greek word Hades of the New Testament, which term has similar connotations to the Sheol of the Old Testament. It is a prison (1 Peter 3.19), with gates and bars and locks (Matthew 16.18; Revelation 1.18), and it is downward (Matthew 11.23; Luke 10.15). (3.) Gehenna, which in most of its occurrences in the Greek New Testament designates the place of the lost (Matthew 23.33). The fearful nature of their condition there is described in various figurative expressions (Matthew 8.12; 13.42; 22:13; 25:30; Luke 16:24, etc.).

The science of interpretation, particularly of texts.

Historic Premillennialism
A system of eschatological belief emphasizing the literal, premillennial coming of Christ, but not holding to a rigid Dispensationalism nor to belief in a pre-tribulational rapture.

The view that the prophecies of the Revelation (and related passages) provide a preview of history from the time of the writer to the end of the world, and therefore have been already fulfilled in part. As W. Graham Scroggie summarizes: “In this view the Seals apply to the history of the Roman Empire during the second and third centuries; the sealing of the 144,000 tells of the revival of the saints subsequent to the revolution under Constantine, and under the leadership of Augustine; the trumpets tell of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire; the Little Books announce the Protestant Reformation under Luther; the beasts of ch. xiii. represent the Papacy; the outpourings of the vials predict the French Revolution and subsequent events; and in chs. xvii. and xviii. we learn of the yet future destruction of the Papacy, and the city of Rome.”


dealists Interpretation
See Poetic Interpretation.


ast Days, The

The epoch that began with the earthly ministry of Christ (Heb. 1.2), was marked by the outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost (Acts 2.17), and that will continue until the Lord rules the nations from Jerusalem (Micah 4.1-4). Daniel refers to the final segment of this period as the “End Time.”


Also al-Mahdi or al-Mehdi. The legendary 12th imam of Islam held in occultation for centuries, and now expected to reappear at any moment to convert the globe to Islam.

Millennial Kingdom, Millennial Reign
The thousand-year earthly kingdom set up by Christ at His second coming.

The thousand-year period during which Christ will reign on earth after His second coming, and during which Satan will be bound.

A mystery in the NT is not something obscure or incomprehensible, but rather a truth that can only be known by revelation or by special insight given to the initiated. See Rev. 10.7.


A scroll with writing on the exterior surface (the verso) as well as on the interior surface (the recto, which on papyrus provided the smoother surface with horizontal fibers), as that of Rev. 5.1. Normally, writing only appeared on the verso when the recto had insufficient space.


oetic Interpretation
The view that the prophecies of Revelation are to be taken metaphorically of the sure triumph of God over evil in the world, and not as predictions of literal cataclysms in the cosmos. More or less synonymous with the Idealists’ interpretation.

A literary term referring to a scene or story set in a recently destroyed world.

Belief in the restoration of society, primarily through the influence of the church, before the return of Christ. It is the return of Christ that is post, i.e., after, the millennium. This view tends to equate the “millennium” with “the church age.” Reconstructionism is a form of postmillennialism.

One who believes that Christ will rapture Christians after the Great Tribulation.

Belief in a literal coming of Christ before the thousand-year reign of world peace.

The view that the prophecies of the book of Revelation (along with the prophecies of Matthew 24, etc.) commented on events of John’s day and did not make predictions about the future end of the world. Compare the historicist view.

One who believes that Christ will rapture Christians before the beginning of the Great Tribulation.


Literally a catching up, based on the Latin word used in the Vulgate version of 1 Thessalonians 4.17. It refers to the catching up to the clouds of Christians who are alive at the coming of Christ, an event immediately preceded by the resurrection of Christians who have already died.

A postmillennial view that calls believers to aggressively bring change to society, with the ultimate goal of establishing a Christian Republic ordered by the Mosaic Law. Reconstructionism sees the homeschool movement as the primary vehicle for bringing societal change, but also encourages Christian involvement in government and other social institutions for the sake of pursuing its goals in the world.

Replacement Theology
A system of interpretation based on the idea that “the church” replaces national Israel as God’s vehicle of redemption, appropriating for herself all the promises made to Israel and rendering the Jewish nation irrelevant eschatologically.


econd Coming
Also “Second Advent.” The return of Christ in glory, as differentiated from his first coming in humiliation.Christ will return in bodily form to destroy His enemies and glorify His elect. (See Acts 1.11.)

A form of deductive reasoning consisting of a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion; for example, All human beings are mortal, the major premise, I am a human being, the minor premise, therefore, I am mortal, the conclusion.

Occurring at more or less the same time rather than in consecutive order. Descriptions of synchronological events in prophecy tend to double back after the description of one event in order to describe other events decreed to occur at the same time, or to describe the first event again but from a different perspective.

The blending of elements from two different philosophies or religions.


erminus Ante Quem
The date before which an event must have occurred.

Terminus Post Quem
The date after which an event must have occurred.

A vision or other manifestation of God.

Tribulation, The Great
A period of unparalleled hardship (Dan. 12.1) and Satanic persecution directly preceding the Coming of Christ. It is also called the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble” (Jeremiah 30.7) since Israel will endure much of the brunt of the persecution.

A person, thing or event in the Bible that foreshadows a greater person, thing or event. A sort of three-dimensional prophecy. This is simply another meaning of the word for printers’ type and is derived from the phenomenon of correspondence between type and the impression it makes in printing.

The study of biblical types.

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