Eschatology Dictionary




Eschatology Dictionary

The Eschatology dictionary is a project I will work on and continue to develop as time permits. The letters at the top will become hot links as soon as I can get around to coding them.


Acts 1:11 Trap – While the issues surrounding this verse are not just related to eschatology it is a big point of contention between futurists and preterists and their views on the Second Coming. In short this verse is about Christ ascension into heaven and not about his coming back to earth. There is a detailed break down on this verse in the page on week 9 & 10 on the introduction to preterism so I won’t redo it here–just hop over to week 9 & 10 and see the details there.

Antichrist – Perhaps the most famous figure of the book of Revelation and actually the book of Revelation never mentions the Antichrist. His only mention in the entire bible is in 1John 2:18; 2:22, 4:3 and 2 John 1:7.

To futurist the Antichrist can be seen in a number of ways. Sometimes he is considered the same as the Beast mentioned in Revelation and sometimes the man of Sin mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and sometimes he is neither and is an additional creature associated with the events of the end times who has gotten so famous he has taken on a life of his own. Many futurists believe that he is in the world today. Futurist usually associate the Antichrist figure with one single individual who is the most evil end time figure on a par with Satan himself.

Preterists are more inclined to associate the term Antichrist with not just one figure, but emphasize the plural nature of the verses in 1st and 2nd John. Anyone who opposes Christ would be an Antichrist.

Historicists have often taught that the a future Pope will be the Antichrist. During the time of great conflict between the Catholic church and the Protestants they believed that the Pope of those days was the Antichrist. The Geneva bible’s study notes even called the pope the Antichrist.

In Idealist’s models the spirit of the Antichrist can be represented by any force that opposes Christianity.

Down through history almost any figure who has been a national leader responsible for much death and suffering has been thought to be the Antichrist by the people of that era such as Napoleon or Hitler.

Apocalyptic literature – a style of writing that is rich with symbols and imagery popular at the time the letters to the seven churches were written that became canonized as the book of Revelation. Such writings can be found in the books of Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Zechariah, Revelation, some of the Apocrypha books written in the Intertestament period, as well as other works during this time period. It was often written during times of persecution and took the form of describing visions of the future that revealed how good would ultimately triumphed over evil. The word apocalypse is derived from apocalyptic.

Even as far back as David there are examples of apocalyptic writing. See Psalms 18 for an example of David writing in this style with is description of the earth shaking and quaking, the foundations of the mountains trembled, smoke rising from God’s nostrils, and consuming fire coming from his mouth as well as other similar descriptions of the Lord at work.


Antitype – see “type and antitype”


ArmageddonRev. 16:16 And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. ESV

In futurist models it is the place where the final battle between good and evil takes place and at its climax Christ returns to save his saints and defeat the forces of evil.

In Preterist models it is the historical site where the Roman army staged troops in preparation for their march through Palestine and assault on Jerusalem.

Here is a link to a map of Armageddon.


Arminianism – view of theology based on Jacobus Arminius’ view point. Salvation is not determined by predestination of God but by the free will of man who chooses to accept Christ as Savior. Below are the major points of Arminianism.


Free Will – man through his own free will can choose to accept Christ as Savior.

Conditional Election – Election or Salvation determined by who accepts Christ as their personal Savior.

Universal Atonement – Christ for all men and everyone has the opportunity to accept Christ as their Savior. Each must exercise his own free will to accept Christ in order to be saved.

Effectual Resistance – man has the free will to reject the calling of the Holy Spirit to repentance. Christ does not force his will on anyone. Man choose to either accept or reject Christ as Savior.

Falling from Grace – Those who believe on Christ as their Savior can loose their Salvation by later rejecting Christ. (This is a disputed point. Some believe that once saved man can’t become unsaved)




Beast of Revelation – John Vision in Rev 13:1 “beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.”


In Premillennial views of eschatology the beast is a person or thing still future to us and yet to appear on the World scene.

In Preterist views he is most often thought of as Nero Caesar.

In Historicist views the beast can be many people down through the ages who is involved in persecuting Christians or Jews.


Calvinism – view of theology based on John Calvin’s view point. A theology of predestination. Below are the 5 points of Calvinism known as TULIP. The opposite of Calvinism is Arminianism.Total Depravity – man is in total bondage to sin and unable to trust in Christ without help from God

Unconditional Election – The decision to trust Christ as savior is not the decision of man, but God decides who will trust Christ as their savior.

Limited Atonement or Particular Atonement – Jesus died for all those God Predestined (the elect) would be saved and those not counted among the elect will be lost.

Irresistible Grace – The call by the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts of the elect to bring them to repentance and acceptance of Christ as their Savior. When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist.

Perseverance of the Saints – Because God has elected his saints, they cannot lose their salvation. (Once Saved Always Saved)


Chiliasm – A belief that Christ will reign on earth for 1,000 years.





Four Horseman of the Apocalypse – One of the more famous catch phrases of the book of Revelation. In the futuristic models they are generally thought of as Conquest, War, Famine and Death and, in order, ride horses colored: white, red, black, and pale. Often the white horse represents the antichrist, the red represents the spilled blood of the battles he brings to the world, black represents the famine resulting from the battles, and pale represents the color of death which follows the battles and famine. Some bible teachers refer to them as: Pestilence, Famine, War and Death, where pestilence represents widespread crop failure followed by famine bringing about war and resulting in death.

The Preterist view holds that Rome consolidated it authority over the nations of the Mediterranean world and the white horse represents that dominion and rule when the Romans show up to put down the Jewish revolt of 67 AD. The red horse represents the blood of the battles that ensued, the black horse represents the famine resulting from the aftermath of the Galilean countryside being devastated by war and resulting crop failure and/or the terrible hunger and starvation that took place in the city of Jerusalem during the 70 AD Roman siege and the pale horse the resulting death that took place in Galilee and Jerusalem.

And, yes the Four horsemen of the 1924 Notre Dame backfield was a reference to the Four horsemen of the Apocalypse. You can read a well done write up on the gridiron four horsemen here.



Gog – In futuristic models Gog is a leader of the forces of evil in the final battle aligned with Satan after his 1,000 year bondage. Considered to come from a place to the North called Magog. Often times bible teachers claim that Russia is the land from which Gog comes, but his true identity is open to speculation.



Irenaeus – Irenaeus lived in the second century AD. He was a disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of the Apostle John. His writings in Against Heresies (Book 5 Chapter 30) are often cited by futurists as the primary documentation for dating the book of Revelation around 90 – 100 AD.  Irenaeus wrote ” …by him (speaking of the Apostle John) who beheld the apocalyptic vision. For that was seen no very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian’s reign.”

This statement is often the bedrock foundation of the futurist camp for dating the book of Revelation in the 90’s. Many scholars accept this belief.

However, scholars in the preterist camp point out certain problems with using this statement as proof of Revelation being written in the 90’s. Going into all of the reasons here is beyond our scope, but one of the major arguments against it is how to properly translate the Greek writings of Irenaeus. What is the intended subject of the Greek verb heorathe “was seen” Preterist contend that the correct subject is John the one who had the Revelation and not the Revelation itself.  In other words, John was seen almost in their day during the reign of Domitian–not that the vision was seen during Domitian’s reign.

More to come on Irenaeus





Magog – land somewhere to the north of Judea ruled by Gog. Josephus identified the people from Magog as Scythians from the far north.

Man of Lawlessness or Man of Sin2nd Thessalonians 2:3. He is somewhat of a mystery figure, but has created more than his share of speculation. Some bible teachers think of him as The anti-christ while some give that title to The Beast of Revelation. He also shares the title “Son of Perdition” with Judas Iscariot.

Futuristic models see him as yet to come on the scene and sometimes refer to him as The Anti-Christ.

Preterist views hold that the Thessalonian audience Paul was writing to would have known more about who Paul was writing about and it wasn’t as big a mystery to them as it is to us. Stuart Russell says that since Paul wrote to them about the “Man of Sin” KJV it holds that he was closer to them than the second coming was and he was something that had to be pertinent to the Thessalonians audience since it would make no sense to write to them about a person thousands of years into the future who was not relevant to them. Russell thinks the Roman Emperor Nero is the man spoken of as the “Man of Sin.”

Russell goes into various reasons as to why he is a good candidate in his book The Parousia among them was Nero’s wish to be thought of as a deity and states that Paul doesn’t go into great detail about his identity since speaking out against the Roman Emperor was not good for your health, but since the Thessalonians would be familiar with Nero not much detail was necessary. Russell also sites Moses Stuart who collected various references which the early church referred to Nero as the Man of Sin.

The Historicist model usually views the Pope as the Man of Sin. This results from the persecution that the Protestants were suffering at the Hands of the Catholic Church.

A model such as Idealism could view the Man of Lawlessness as not actually a person, but representing any anti Christian movement, laws, or discrimination against Christians etc.

Millennium – Millennial Period otherwise known as 1,000 year reign of Christ. In futuristic models this is the period of time when Christ rules all the nations of the earth from Jerusalem. Some believe that the period is a specific 1,000 year period of time while others believe the Millennium is not necessarily a thousand year period it is a long period that could be less than a thousand years or much longer than a thousand years.

In the Preterist model the Millennium is usually thought to be the period of time between the crucification and the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D.  Obviously it doesn’t mean a thousand year period of time in Preterist models. It represents the time it takes for the completion of Christ’s work in heaven (John 14:3 I go and prepare a place for you) and the spread of Christianity on earth.  When the work in heaven and on earth is completed Christ returns.



144,000 – The 144,000 mentioned in Chapter 7 of Revelation have various interpretations. Some believe the figure represents a literal number of 144,000 and some believe it is a symbolic figure. The dispensational view is that they are Jews who are converted to Christianity during the tribulation and then continue to evangelizing those left behind from the rapture. Another futurist view is that they represent those converted to Christianity during the tribulation.

A preterist view of the 144,000 is that they are the first converts to Christianity who would have been Jewish since the gospel was preached first to the Jewish community then to the Gentiles. They were the “first fruits” of the spirit.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that only 144,000 people will enter heaven. Others who are saved will live on a paradise on earth.


Parousia – Greek term for presence. Often used in eschatological terms to represent the Second Coming of Christ. Other terms with similar connotations are “Day of the Lord” and “Kingdom of God.”

Pop Eschatology – a term “generally” associated with the type of eschatology that one gets out of popular books. Examples would be the Left Behind series which is written as fiction or The Late Great Planet Earth. The most successful books in this area generally give significant emphasis to eschatological events like The Rapture, the Mark of the Beast, the Great Tribulation, and the Antichrist which puts them in the dispensational premillennial camp.



Raptureevent found only in the Dispensational Premillennial view of eschatology where the Christian believers are caught up to be with Christ. Most though not all advocates of the rapture believe it will allow believers to escape persecution during the tribulation period. Post tribulation views would leave the believers on earth to suffer during the tribulation period. The term has been used by some in the Classic Premillennial camp to be synomious with the second coming.

Replacement Theology – A theory of interpretation or belief based on the idea that “the church or Christianty” replaces the Jewish people as God’s chosen people thus assuming all the promises made to the Jews therefore rendering the Jews irrelevant in eschatology.


Second ComingIn futurist or millennial models it is the physical bodily return of Christ to earth.

In the full Preterist model it is the coming of Christ in 70 AD which is not a literal, physical, viewable type of coming, but rather Christ’s coming in judgment manifesting itself in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman army. It ushers in the “age without in” or New Covenant.


Seventy Weeks of Years

Daniel 9:24-27 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

24  Seventy weeks  are decreed about your people and your
holy city—to bring the rebellion to an end, to put a stop
to sin, to wipe away injustice, to bring in everlasting
righhteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to
anoint the most holy place.
25  Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree
to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince
will be seven weeks and 62 weeks. It will be rebuilt with
a plaza and a moat, but in difficult times.
26  After those 62 weeks the Messiah will be cut off and will
have nothing. The people of the coming prince will
destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come
with a flood, and until the end there will be war;
desolations are decreed.
27  He will make a firm covenant with many for one week, but
in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice
and offering. And the abomination of desolation will be
on a wing of the temple until the decreed destruction is
poured out on the desolator.”

Today most people probably hear these verses interpreted
from the dispensationalist view point, but this really shows
how popular interpretations can change in the span of 100
years or less.

The contrasting view points on these verses are not just between
futurist and preterists, but also between dispensationalists
and non-dispensationalists.

Dispensationalists insert a pause between the 69th week and
the 70th week. They see the 70th week as yet future when
Christ returns.

A preterist view (has no gap in the weeks) sees the 70th
week ending in 70 AD at the latest (but often about 34 AD when Christianity began to be spread to the gentiles).  This would have been the time referenced in verse 24 when sin was put to an end meaning sin death that separates men from God, to bring in ever
lasting righteousness  (Christ’s righteousness washing away sin
brings in everlasting righteousness in the new covenant, to
put and end to prophecy and vision (there have been no
inspired prophets since the Apostles died) and since in the
preterist view Christ came back in 70 AD there is no further
reason to need prophecy after his return.

Dispensationalists usually view the “he” who will make a
covenant and put a stop to sacrifice and offering as the
Anti-christ.  Older commentaries which predate
dispensationalism usually argue that the pronouns in the
later verses refer back to the Messiah and are not
introducing a new person into the verses.

Dispensationalism argues that the Anti-christ makes a
covenant with Israel then double crosses them and stops the
sacrifices in a future,  rebuilt temple.

The non-dispensational view argues that Christ is making the
covenant which is the new covenant he speaks of replacing
the Jewish law (the old covenant) and it is Christ’s
atoining work through his death for our sins that makes the
daily sacrifices worthless as far as their value is
concerned.  (When the Romans destroyed the temple even the
act of offering the daily sacrifices came to an end).

The dispensational view interprets “until the decreed
destruction is poured out on the desolator” as meaning the
destruction of the Antichrist.  The non-dispensational view
interprets this as the Jewish leadership being the desolator
and being destroyed in 70 AD as a result of their killing
the Messiah and the prophets that have been sent to them
(Mat 23:37).

Most dispensational reference materials view the “he” as the
Antichrist.  Most older commentaries such as Matthew Henry
view the “he” as referring back to the Messiah. This would have been a more common view before  dispensationalism.

There are some other views on these verses as referring to
events that happened in the intertestament period. The New
Interpreters Study Bible
for example contains an example of
this interpretation.

Although many different scenarios have been put fourth for the time line of the 70 weeks a typical scenario is like this:

Both dispensationalists and nondispensationalists (this would include futurists as well who are not dispensational) see the time line beginning when Artaxerxes issued the command to rebuild Jerusalem. From the time of the command till its rebuilding was 49 years or the first seven weeks of years. Following the rebuilding of Jerusalem the next 434 years or the 62 weeks of years takes place.

Then opinions differ between the two camps. Dispensationalists argue that there is a gap between the 69th week and the 70th week while God deals with the church. Then when he is ready to begin to deal with Israel again the 70th week begins. This would be when the Anti-christ comes to power. In many dispensationalist time lines this is when the rapture takes place. This would be pre-trib rapture. Some believe that the rapture takes place when the great tribulation starts which dispensationalism puts half way or 3.5 years into this seven year period. This would be mid-trib. Then at the end of the seven year period Christ returns.

The nondispensational view argues that the bible doesn’t say anything about a gap so the 70 years is continuous. The 70th week starts when Christ is baptized. Then half way into the week, after 3.5 years Christ is cut-off or crucified. This would be when his atonement renders the temple sacrifices null and void in the eyes of God. Then for 3.5 more years the spreading of Christianity is done among the Jews alone (Daniel 9:24 seventy weeks  are decreed about your people and your holy city…notice the 70 weeks is decreed for the Jewish people to learn about and accept Christ as the Messiah) which completes the 70 years. Then the spreading of Christianity is carried to the gentiles and continues until 70 AD when the Jewish temple is destroyed. At that time Judaism as it is practiced with temple sacrifices, a Holy of Holies in the center of the temple where only the High Priest goes, etc. comes to and end and the transition period into the new covenant is complete and the new covenant, Christianity, stands alone as the right way to have a relationship with God.


Talmud – Jewish commentaries or can be thought of as letters from one generations to another. There were two Talmuds, one in Babylon and a Jerusalem edition which was actually completed in Tiberias, Caesarea, and other places due to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish community there in 70 A.D. The Jewish Talmud covers a period from around 200 AD to 400 AD and the Babylonian one from around 200 AD to 500 AD.

It is not considered an inspired document, but is an important record of the oral law, commentary, and traditions passed down to future generations.

Two Witnesses – One of the more difficult passages in the book of Revelation is that surrounding the “The Two Witnesses” of chapter 11. They are first spoken of in 11: 3-4 where it says they will wear sackcloth and prophesy for 1,260 days. Verses 7-8 says the beast will kill them and their bodies will lie in the public square for three and a half days. Verse 11 says they are risen and called up to heaven.

Although the identity of the Two Witnesses is a mystery futuristic models often identify them as Elijah and Moses since they have already made one New Testament appearance on the Mount of Transfiguration. A less often applied theory says they are Elijah and Enoch since they are said not to have died a physical death by some bible teachers.

The Preterist view often identifies the Two Witnesses as James and Peter. Both had homes in Jerusalem and James is known to have worn sackcloth. Josephus reported that as the death toll mounted in the Jerusalem siege that bodies piled up in the streets since burial details couldn’t keep up with the mounting number of dead bodies.


Type and Antitype – Dualities in the bible consist of types and antitypes. A type is a person or thing that represents or foreshadows some spirtual person or thing. The spirtual person or thing echoes the type by creating an antiype. In Hebrews Paul explained the phenomenon as foreshadowing. For example Moses would be a type of Christ. Christ of course would be the antitype of Moses.







Zechariah 14 had so much material to cover that I just gave it its own page.


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