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Definitions – What is Eschatology
Eschatology is the study of the last days, also referred to as the end times or the apocalypse. The words comes from the Greek words ‘Eschatos’ meaning last and ‘Dogia’ meaning study.
In the Bible the end times or the last days are referred to as the end of the world. It is the end of the age, before God brings His eternal kingdom to earth and rules over His people forever in conjunction to His original intent. It is the end of the age of corruption or sin that has been allowed to exist since the garden of Eden, so that humanity may choose good over evil.
History of Eschatology
Eschatology or the study of then end times, or last days, has been a theme since ancient times from the garden of Eden. Knowledge and prophecies have been passed down from generations. Since humanity was thrust from paradise, people groups to nations have been speaking about an end of times. The earliest recording we have are the writings and prophecies of Enoch, only a few generations from Adam. Enoch first shared with the world Gods plan of ending the age of corruption and bringing His kingdom to the world.
History and Ancient Writings on the Last Days
Many ancient cultures that have had their writings deciphered reveal knowledge of a coming end of times or last days.
Christian Eschatology Studies and Viewpoints
Our Lord Jesus shared much insight into many of the end time interpretations, and gave quite a few additional details concerning the subject. He also have the apostle John the book of Revelation which goes into all the specific details outlining everything that is going to happen in the last days. Giving us all the details up until the point of His return and establishing His eternal kingdom.
The Apostle Paul, Peter and others gave a number of insights into what will occur in the last days. All these study points have led scholars into various viewpoints and interpretations on exactly how the events will take place. These primary various viewpoints are outlined and defined as the following:
Pre-Millennialism as the name implies, is the theological position that Christs return will inaugurate a thousand year earth reign and resurrection of God’s people whom have died. This will occur directly after the seven years of great tribulation and the antichrist is destroyed. Afterwards Satan will be allowed to attempt one last attack on God and His people then be cast into hell eternally.
Pre-Millennialists are further split into three theological camps based on their position of when the rapture will occur:
- Pre-Tribulation – Before the Tribulation occurs
- Mid-Tribulation- the mid point between the first and last halves of the tribulation
- Post-Tribulation – at the end of the seven years of tribulation
Postmillennialists interpretation is the theological allegorical position that Christs seconding coming is after the millennium or thousand years golden age. Once again this will occur after the antichrist is destroyed at the end of the seven years great tribulation. This interpretation holds that after the millennium has ended and Satan is finally defeated, the Christ will reign on earth with His people forever.
Amillennialism is the theological interpretation that there will be not literal millennial reign but rather has already begun with the church age after Christ was resurrected, That the millennial time is spiritual in nature and that Christ will return one day to finally judge the earth to establish the New Heaven and New Earth.
Preterism is the eschatological viewpoint that all or almost all of biblical prophecy has been fulfilled. Many prederists believe that the tribulation has already occurred in Jesus time, which was the destruction of the temple by Rome, and the for the most part the church age or time of the church is synonymous with the millennial reign of Christ.
Full Preterism – believe that the tribulation, the second coming of Christ and the last judgement has already occurred at roughly 70 a.d.
Partial Preterism – believe that the tribulation has already occurred we are in the symbolic millennial age and that the second coming of Christ and the Last Judgement are still future events.
Last Days – End Times Prophecies
There are numerable End time, Last Day and Apocalyptic Prophecies all throughout scripture. It is from these scripture that scholars have derived their interpretations of how they will all play out. Your viewpoint tends to depend on how literal or allegorical you take the scriptures.