GLOSSARY OF ESCHATOLOGICAL TERMS
Vocabulary shapes the way that we think. The accuracy of the definitions we ascribe to various words, terms and phrases will, to a large degree, affect the accuracy of our thinking.
ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION
This can be a reference to the Antichrist (as in a title) or, a future event involving the Antichrist when, 3 1/2 years into Daniel’s 70th Week of Years, he will enter the temple in Jerusalem to take “his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God” (II Thess. 2:4). He desecrates the temple, reveals his true identity (horrifying many of the Jews) and demands worship from the whole world. This act ushers in the period of Great Persecution/Tribulation as per Matt. 24:15-21.
Scripture ascribes various descriptive terms to this man such as: the Lawless One, the Son of Perdition (or Destruction), the Abomination of Desolation, Gog, the (Dictator) Beast, and is even referred to as a Little Horn but among most students of the Word, Antichrist is the most common reference. He is Satan’s imitation of Jesus Christ as the world’s savior and his main minion during Daniel’s 70th Week of Years. He will first emerge incognito as the head or ruler of 3 countries in the area of Russia and Germany and soon aligns seven Islamic countries to form a 10 nation confederation. Soon after he arrives on the public scene he establishes and confirms a seven year covenant or treaty or agreement with the State of Israel which will initiate Daniel’s 70th Week of years. Three and one-half years into this covenant he commits the act of the Abomination of Desolation effectively breaking or violating this agreement or treaty. Declaring himself to be god, with the essential assistance of the person referred to in the Bible as “the false prophet”, the Antichrist demands the world worship him and take his “mark of the beast” (666). The majority of the world’s population will do just that, being persuaded by the threat of death or by impressive false signs and wonders performed (often by the false prophet) with the purpose of deceiving the masses. Together, they will then begin a period of intense persecution against Jews, Christians and all who refuse to take the mark or worship the image of the Beast. The ultimate demise of both the Antichrist and the false prophet occurs at the Battle of Armageddon.
Thirty days after the completion of Daniel’s 70th week of years, Antichrist (the beast) and the false prophet will be permitted to gather what remains of the armies of the 8th Beast Empire and whoever else they can muster from among the nations of the world to “the mountains of Israel”. Here they will suffer utter defeat and destruction by Christ Himself (Rev. 16:13-16; 19:11-21). It is the climax of the Lord’s wrath initiated against the ungodly, rebellious and satanic forces of the world.
BEGINNING BIRTH PANGS
The term used by Christ (Matt. 24:8) to illustrate the first 3 1/2 years of Daniel’s 70th week of years will be mildly difficult for Christ followers in comparison to the “hard labor” or severe persecution of the Great Persecution/Tribulation period that follows. The first three seals on the scroll of Revelation 6 are broken during this “beginning birth pangs” period, causing great disruption in the world’s physical, social and economic order, setting the stage for the Great Persecution/Tribulation when seals 4 and 5 will be broken.
DANIEL’S SEVENTY WEEKS (SEVENS) OF YEARS
The focal point of a decree given by Gabriel to the prophet Daniel (Dan. 9:24). A specific period of 490 years (70 years X 7 years = 490 years) of divine discipline that would be experienced by the Jewish people/nation for God to accomplish six specific objectives listed in the same verse. Several identifiable events are revealed through various scripture references pertaining to segments within this time period.
DANIEL’S 70th WEEK OF YEARS
The final seven years of the 490 year period of the divinely decreed Jewish discipline. A long interval or “time gap” has separated the first 69 weeks of years (483 years) from the final 70th week of years (7 years). This historical 7 year period begins when the one often referred to as the Antichrist confirms a covenant or treaty with the State of Israel (possibly involving the United Nations?). The seven year period is divided succinctly into haves of 3 1/2 years each by an event referred to as the Abomination of Desolation (Matt. 24:15; Dan. 9:27).
The DAY OF THE LORD
Greatly exceeding 24 hours in duration, this is THE most prophesied event in the Old Testament concerning the Last Days. Various prophetic events must occur before this Day begins but it will be introduced by unmistakable “signs in the sun, moon and stars”. Jesus intimately linked His PAROUSIA to these signs initiating this period. The Day of the Lord ends the time of Satan’s wrath against professing Christians and Jews. After rescuing and removing the faithful saints and Christ followers and then gathering the first fruits of the Jews into protective custody, the Lord will usher in a period of intense judgment against the wicked and ungodly, culminating with the utter destruction of the 8th Beast Empire, it’s leaders and followers – at the battle of Armageddon. Scripture contains additional, similar terms for the Day of the Lord which help to indicate various, differing perspectives or highlight various features of this period. They include: the “wrath of God”, the “day of God” and the “day of Christ”.
The EIGHT BEAST EMPIRES
Together, the books of Daniel and Revelation disclose eight separate empires that arise over the course of human history noted for their utter domination over the Jews. At the time of this writing seven are historical reality. The 8th and final Beast Empire will form mostly during Daniel’s 70th week of years when three countries in the area of Russia and possibly Germany are headed up by one man – the Antichrist, who will then amass seven additional (primarily Islamic) countries, mostly from the mid-east area, to form a ten nation confederation. The first seven Beast Empires could be listed as: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medea/Persia, Greece, Rome, with the seventh most likely being the Third Reich under Adolph Hitler.
END OF THE AGE
SUNETELEIA of the AION
This term must be understood in the context of Daniel’s 70 weeks of years. It is “the gathering to completion together” of the first 483 years- the period of time between the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, and the crucifixion of Christ, and the final 7 years (which have been separated by a time-gap), resulting in “the appointed climax” of the nation of Israel being restored to God and the anointing of the Most Holy One as Jesus Christ, the Messiah, begins His reign over all the nations during the long awaited Millennial Kingdom. In the Greek this phrase helps to “bridge the gap” between the first 483 years and the final 7 years of Daniel’s 70 weeks of years and highlights the fulfillment of the requirements mentioned in Dan. 9:24 for completing God’s divine discipline of Israel.
The GREAT PERSECUTION/TRIBULATION
Preceded by 3 1/2 years of “beginning birth pangs”, this period begins with the event of the “Abomination of Desolation” in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week of years and is characterized as the greatest persecution ever to be experienced. It is very focused against Jews, professing Christians and anyone caught refusing to worship “the beast” (Antichrist) or his image. Two grievous errors have been heavily promoted by many who utilize the term “Great Tribulation” in their writings or teachings.
ERROR #1 has been the promotion of a distortion of the definition of the Greek word THLIPSIS. When checking Strong’s Dictionary of Greek Words one notices (among additional choices), THLIPSIS can be translated EITHER “persecution”, which implies a selective, discriminatory aggression against an individual or group, or, “tribulation”, which implies a general, indiscriminate calamity that befalls upon some subject. A cardinal rule of translating a Greek word having more than one applicable definition is to specifically examine the context! If a tornado rips through a town and levels it to the ground, the people of that town experienced “tribulation”. But if all professing Christians in some town were hunted down and punished or killed, the people of that town experienced “persecution”. Hence the NIV Bible accurately reads “persecution” in Matt. 24:9…but then mis-translates (in my opinion) the same word as “distress” in verse 21. The NASB translates both occurrences with “tribulation”. Even choosing “affliction” would have been preferable to “tribulation” in my opinion but in these two verses I believe “persecution” is the most accurate based upon very strong contextual grounds. I reluctantly settled upon using the term “Great Persecution/Tribulation” while presenting my study, which incorporates both translations/definitions. Though I believe “persecution” is by far the most accurate, “tribulation” has been the most promoted and therefore has wider recognition.
This is not just a trivial matter of semantics. While all can readily agree that during Daniel’s 70th week there is general, though extraordinary turmoil, hardship, distress, calamities, judgments, etc…we must be cautioned against assuming “tribulation” is the major issue during this time – it is NOT! The Great Persecution/Tribulation is the time of Satan’s wrath focused primarily against Jews and professing Christians, and the Lord gave specific exhortation to appropriately warn His followers to prepare for intense PERSECUTION. This effort is not to be cheapened or diluted by referring to this period as “tough times for the whole world” as in, “tribulation”.
ERROR #2 is the promotion of the notion that the Great Persecution/Tribulation is 3 1/2 years in duration. This is based on conjecture only- with no biblical support and in fact is proven false by Jesus Himself as per Matt. 24:21-22. The promotion of these two errors has assisted many to accept as valid additional errors of interpretation- and the false conclusions derived from them. For one thing, insisting the Great Persecution/Tribulation is 3 1/2 years in duration “crowds out” time for the Day of the Lord to commence at some point during the second half of Daniel’s 70th week as the Day of the Lord is absolutely separate from and non-concurrent with the 3 1/2 year Beginning Birth Pangs period as well as the Great Persecution/Tribulation period that follows! This fact escapes proponents of other theological persuasions.MILLENIAL KINGDOM A specific and literal thousand year reign of Christ on earth over all nations as depicted in the book of Revelation.
Translated “coming”, according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary this noun denotes both an “arrival” and a consequent “presence with.” It customarily signifies a presence in a broad and general sense as in the connotation of coming or advent, emphasizing presence or coming- as an event! It has also been used in technical applications as demonstrated in extra-biblical writings. The second PAROUSIA of Christ has many facets, many aspects associated with His return. The importance of PAROUSIA, which occurs in most all critical scripture passages dealing with Christ’s coming for the saints in the end-times has been undermined by the term “rapture” which is not found anywhere in scripture. A good illustration is to view PAROUSIA as a closet bar upon which several garments are hung. The frequent usage of the term PAROUSIA in scripture helps to link isolated points of teaching into a coherent, valid doctrine- which this study of the Olivet Discourse will demonstrate.
The Bible teaches there will come a time when living Christians will meet the Lord in the clouds at His PAROUSIA (coming), thus escaping the “death process” others have had to experience- exciting news for many, and a true “drawing point” that has piqued the interest of hundreds of thousands of people to take a closer look into to the subject of the End Times and has been the impetus of numerous books, articles, songs, sermons, discussions- and heated debates! Vocabulary shapes the way we think and the accuracy of the definitions we ascribe to various words, terms and phrases will, to a large degree, affect the accuracy of our thinking. The word “rapture” does not occur in any verse of scripture- so why does it play such a prominent role in the study of the second coming of Christ? How did it appear on the scene?
Centuries ago certain scholars were compiling a Latin translation of Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. When examining the Greek word HARPAGESOMETHA (English translation: “caught up”). This actual word is found only in I Thess. 4:17 and nowhere else. The Latin scholars choice for translation was the Latin word RAPTUS, which means “a dragging or taking away, a violent rending”. Later, English scholars translated this Latin version into English. When examining the Latin word RAPTUS, they chose the old English word “rapture” for the translation. Many years later, certain well intentioned, godly theologians aggrandized the meaning of “rapture” by fabricating a theological doctrine around this word (which currently is not found in any verse of any Bible translated from Greek manuscripts and widely published in English), to manipulate scriptures in an effort to develop a doctrine which otherwise would have no scriptural support.
This fabricated term has been elevated to a position of prominence and prestige and allowed to dominate over legitimate prophetic events and words that occur repeatedly in the scriptures. The result has been a fairly successful– though not unchallenged, promotion of theological error. It is unnecessary to even mention the word rapture in the study of the second coming of Christ. In this study it is mentioned when shedding light on how it is used to suppress the truth of critical scripture passages…by well intentioned, godly people that need to be educated to the truth. Looking at the foundation Christ lays for understanding His PAROUSIA in the Olivet Discourse and how subsequent writers of Holy Scripture compliment, augment and supplement the outline He established, helps to achieve this goal.
I know many will be upset when reading my views on the Rapture but I ask that you take the journey to see if you discover what I did. After taking the journey with me by reading the commentary and journal if you disagree with my position feel free to let me know. If I have erred I want to make correct positive adjustments to my doctrinal positions; but don’t expect me to take notice of any shots fired at me if you haven’t read the whole work from start to finish only wishing to bash me at the start without having a working understanding of how I came upon the conclusions I have drawn from studying the scriptures.
The 7 YEARS OF TRIBULATION or The TRIBULATION PERIOD
Admittedly, the term Daniel’s 70th week of years is awkward and even a bit odd to say or read. It lacks the “glamour” that writers and speakers desire to ascribe to this significant prophetic period. But the term “7 years of Tribulation” can be a misleading substitute- and is not found in the Bible. It is frequently used to imply that the major theme and driving characteristic of this period is “tribulation”. This false premise is then used to justify various arguments attempting to support theological theories having little scriptural support. As such it is unacceptable and since it is totally unnecessary to use this term…I don’t, choosing instead the neutral as well as more accurate term- Daniel’s 70th week of years.
30 DAY RECLAMATION PERIOD
Immediately following the completion of Daniel’s 70th week of years will be a unique 30 day period in which several events transpire relating to Christ reclaiming the rightful rulership of planet Earth. This period includes such events as the out-pouring of the seven bowl judgments of Revelation, culminating with the Battle of Armageddon at which time the Beast (Antichrist) and the False Prophet are permanently disposed of (Rev. 19:11-21). Prior to Armageddon Christ personally leads the 144,000 firstfruits of Israel from Edom toward Jerusalem, gathering the surviving regenerate Jewish remnant along the way (Micah 2:12-13; Isa. 63:1-4).
45 DAY RESTORATION PERIOD
After the disposal of the enemies of Christ at the Battle of Armageddon and the lock-up of Satan in the bottomless pit, there will be a 45 day restoration period to prepare for the commencement of the Millennial Kingdom. It will include the restoration of Mount Zion (Isa. 2:2; Micah 4:1; Ezek. 40:2, 20:40), Israel (Jer. 31:10-12; Isa. 10:22-23, 43:1-6, 51:11), the Temple (Ezek. 41:1, 43:7; Zech. 6:13) and the rightful rulership of Christ (Dan. 7:11-14; I Cor. 15:24-26). The earth must also be restored from the unimaginable damage incurred from the 7 trumpet and 7 bowl Wrath of God judgments, by initiating the perfect environment associated with the Millennial Kingdom (Isa. 65:17-20).