Biblical Terms Concerning the End of the Present Age

"Last Days." The entire period between the first and second advents of our Lord Jesus Christ. Since Jesus ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives, 40 days after His resurrection, we have been living in the "last days." Eschatology is the body of knowledge concerning the "last things," or the end of the age and the future.

"God, who at various times and  in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express  image of His person, and  upholding all things by the word of His power,  when He had by Himself purged our sins,  sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as  He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." (Hebrews 1:1-4)

Millenium. (Latin, mille = thousand; Greek: chilloi = thousand, hence chiliasm). The belief based on Revelation 20 that Christ will literally, physically reign on earth following the present age, for one thousand actual calendar years.

Amillenial. (prefix "a," "no"). The belief that there will no literal 1000 year reign of Christ. Thus Revelation 20 is taken symbolically, not literally, by adherents of this view. Amillenialists generally believe that Israel has been permanently set aside for all time and that God's current plan of salvation involves only the church.

Premillenial. The belief that Christ returns visibly and bodily at the beginning of the thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth. He will rule the nations from Jerusalem. God will resume salvation work for Israel as a nation immediately after the departure or "rapture" of the true church.

Postmillenial. The belief that Christ will return at the end of the present age to take over the earth. Meantime, He is assumed to reign on earth through the church now. Postmillenialists do not necessarily believe in a literal millenial age. Satan was defeated at the cross and is now bound, hence the final triumph of the church in history is assured.

Rapture. (In the Latin Bible rapere meaning "to catch up," is the translation of the Greek harpazo, 1 Thess. 4:17). The coming of Jesus to take His church out of the world, "like a thief in the night", i.e., suddenly, unexpectedly. Dates for this event can not be predicted from the Bible.

Tribulation Period. The end-time period of judgment of the earth with great out-pouring of wrath on mankind from God. The 70th Week of Daniel. From Daniel we know this period to be just 7 years in length. The first-half is normally assumed to be relatively peaceful. The last half of this "week" (3-1/2 years) is "the great tribulation," or "the time of Jacob's trouble" when most of the terrible judgments in the Book of the Revelation occur. The first half of the tribulation period is marked by apparent world peace, especially in the Middle East as Israel's false prophet and the political/military leader of the Western confederation of nations contrive a "successful" peace plan. (Isaiah calls coming this treaty Israel's "covenant with death.") The onset of the Great Tribulation is marked by failure of this peace treaty and the desecration of the Third Temple in Jerusalem by the "man of sin." During the tribulation period Israel is once again the focus for events in the Bible. Jerusalem will again be the center of reference for what God is doing in the world as was the case through the Old Testament period up until Israel's rejection of Yeshua as Messiah after His Palm Sunday entry as legitimate king in the line of David His father.

Pretribulation. The teaching that Jesus comes for His bride, the true church, at the beginning of the tribulation period.

Midtribulation. The belief that Jesus raptures the church half-way through the seven-year tribulation period.

Postribulation. Belief that Jesus will come for His people at the end of the tribulation period, but prior to the Millenium.

parousia. Greek word meaning "coming alongside and remaining with" someone. Describes the Second Coming of Jesus for His own. Used in Matthew 24:3,27,37,39; 1 Thess. 4:15, 5:23, 2 Thess 2:1, James 5:7, 8; 2 Peter 1:16, 3:4; 1 Cor. 15:23.

epiphaneia. Greek word meaning "A shining-forth," refers to the visible appearance of Jesus at the close of the age. Used in 1 Tim. 6:14, 2 Tim. 4:1,8; Matt. 24:27, 2 Thess. 2:8; Titus 2:13. The words parousia and epiphaneia are combined in 2 Thess. 2:8, translated "his appearing and his coming."

apokalupsis. Greek word for "revelation," or "unveiling," or "uncovering." The visible appearing of Jesus to the world in full power and splendor. Also refers to the appearance of the antichrist on the stage of history following the rapture (2 Thess. 2).

"Dominion Theology." Teaching that the church is responsible for taking over the world in the name and power of Christ. Associated with "reconstructionism," also known and "theonomy."

"Replacement Theology." Teaching in some circles today to the effect that the church has replaced Israel permanently in the plan of God. Usually associated with an amillenial view of eschatology.

"Dispensationalism." Teaching that history is divided into various time periods during which God moves in the world in certain distinctive ways. Hence, "dispensation of innocence," "dispensation of government," "dispensation of law," "dispensation of grace," and "kingdom economy," etc. The Greek word means "economy" or "administration." Several different schools of dispensationalism exist.

"Day of the LORD." An extended period of time during which God openly intervenes in human affairs both in regard to judgment and blessing. In the present age justice is deferred or works out only slowly, judgment is largely witheld or restrained and God's people await the fulfillment of his promises and plans for them. Although Jesus the Lord rules over the universe He has not yet reigned on earth. This makes the famous prayer Jesus taught the disciples the most-often prayed and as yet unanswered prayer in the Bible, "...Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven..."

Complied by Lambert Dolphin
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