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Revelation - Appendix 7: Glossary of Prophetical Terms

Advent

    This term comes from a Latin word adventus and means “arrival, presence.” It corresponds to the Greek parousia (coming or presence), or epiphaneia (manifestation, appearance), or apokalupsis (revelation, unveiling). Advent has become a theological term used of Christ’s appearances on earth–His first and second coming. So we speak of Christ’s first and second advents. The first advent includes our Lord’s birth, life, death, resurrection and was culminated by His ascension. The second advent refers to Christ’s second coming which will begin silently when He comes for His saints in the air (1 Thess. 4:13-18), and then openly to the world at the end of the Tribulation when He comes to earth (Matt. 24:27-30; 1 Thess. 3:13).

Amillennialism

    A system of eschatology which, among other things, interprets the millennium as symbolical of present life in heaven.25

Analogy of Faith

    The principle that any interpretation of the Scripture must conform and harmonize with the whole teaching of Scripture on that given subject.26

Apocalyptics

    Prophecies that deal with the disclosure or revelation of the end time events. The word is derived from the Greek word, apokalupsis (sometimes written apokalypsis) “an unveiling, revelation.”

Apocalypse

    A term sometimes used for the Book of Revelation since the word revelation comes from the Greek apokalupsis, “an unveiling, revelation.”

Antichrist

    Anti means “against” or “in place of.” Antichrist, therefore, may refer generally to any apostate teacher who is against Christ or who claims to be Christ (Matt. 24:23-24; 1 John 2:18; 4:3). The Antichrist refers to the final and horrible world ruler of the Tribulation. He is one who stands both against Christ and who seeks to usurp Christ’s place as the false Messiah of the Jews (1 John 4:3b; Rev. 13:1-10).

Chiliasm

    The belief in a thousand-year reign of Christ on earth. Comes from the mention of the 1,000 (Greek, cilioi) years used in Revelation 20:2-7.

Daniel’s Seventieth Week

    This is another title or Scriptural reference for the Tribulation. It refers to the last seven years of the seventy weeks of years (or 490 years) prophesied concerning the nation Israel in Daniel 9:24-27. The seventy weeks of years concerns God’s program for the nation beginning with the time of Daniel and extending to the second advent of Christ. The first sixty-nine weeks (483 years) were from 445 BC to the time of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem (29 AD). The last week (seven years) is yet to be fulfilled and can’t be until the fullness of the Gentiles is complete and the Church is removed by means of the Rapture. It will begin with the signing of the peace treaty with Israel by the prince that will come, the final world ruler who rises out of the revived Roman empire (Dan. 9:26-27).

Day of Christ

    The Day of Christ is that period of time which begins with the rapture of the Church (1 Thess. 4:14-18) and includes the events which follow in heaven as the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Marriage of the Lamb (1 Cor. 1:8; 5:5; 2 Cor. 1:14; Phil. 1:6, 10; 2:16). 2 Thessalonians 2:2 should be rendered “the Day of the Lord” and refers to a different period of time. The Day of Christ is a time of reward and blessing for the Church following the Rapture.

Day of God

    This is the name based on the Greek Text behind the KJV that is sometimes given to those events which bring to a close the Day of the Lord and usher in the eternal state with the new heavens and the new earth. The events of the Day of God include the dissolving of the old heavens and the old earth (2 Pet. 3:10-14). This name is also used of the great war described in Revelation 14:16 and consisting of several battles, beginning with Antichrist’s campaign into Egypt (Dan. 11:40-45), including the siege of Jerusalem (Zech. 14:2) as well as the final battle of Armageddon (Rev. 14:16).27

Day of the Lord

    This is the period of time which begins with the Tribulation and extends through the millennial reign of Christ on earth through the destruction of the heavens and the earth and into the ushering in of the new heavens and earth and the eternal state. 2 Peter 3:10 gives authority for including everything from the Tribulation through the Millennium. This day begins as a thief (1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10) being instituted by the signing of the peace treaty of Daniel 9:27 with mankind believing a new time of peace and safety has been ushered in.

Eschatology

    The doctrine of “last things” or “things to come.” The word eschatology comes from the Greek, escatos, meaning, “last, extreme.” As used theologically, this word refers to those truths of Scripture that pertain to the end times, the coming of the Lord, the rapture, the Tribulation, the millennium, etc.

Exegesis

    The study of the intended meaning of a passage of Scripture through observation of the essentials of the text as the context, grammar, meaning of words, literary style, and the cultural and historical background. Exegesis comes from the Greek word exhgeomai, “to lead out, explain, unfold.” Eisegesis is just the opposite. It means to read into the text one’s own ideas. We want to avoid eisegesis and do exegesis.

Fullness of the Gentiles

    This refers to the completion of God’s purpose in the church age during which time God is calling out from among the Gentiles a people for His name, namely the Church (Acts 15:14; Eph. 1:22-23; Rom. 11:7-32).

Great White Throne Judgment

    Often called, the “final judgment,” the great white throne judgment follows the millennial reign of Christ. Its purpose is not to determine whether one is saved or not, but rather to pass judgment on the works of the unsaved to demonstrate their unrighteousness and that they fall short of the holiness of God. The sentence is the second death: eternal separation from God in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:11-15).

Hades

    See Hell.

Hell (and related words)

    Hell: In common usage, this term refers to the place of future punishment for the wicked. The word properly translated “hell” in the New Testament is the Greek Geenna or Gehenna, a place in the valley of Hinnom where human sacrifices had been offered and where continuous burning of rubbish made it an apt illustration of the eternal lake of fire (cf. Matt. 5:22). Other words like sheol or hades are improperly translated by this term.

    Sheol: The general idea of this word is “the place of the dead” including the grave (cf. Num. 16:30,33; Ps. 16:10), and the unseen place of those who have departed from this life, the place of departed spirits or both the righteous (Gen. 37:35) and the wicked (Prov. 9:18).

    Hades: This word is basically the New Testament counterpart of the Sheol. It refers to the unseen world in general, but specifically to the abode of the unsaved dead between death and the final judgment at the great white throne (cf. Luke 16:23 and Rev. 20:11-15). It differs from hell in that it is temporary while hell is permanent.

    Lake of Fire: Refers to the eternal state of the wicked who are forever separated from God and consigned to a special abode of suffering because of their rejection of Christ or their lack of the righteousness of Christ. It is equivalent to and identified with the second death in Revelation 20:14.

Imminency

    This is a term used in connection with the return of Christ for the church. His coming for the church as promised in John 14:3 is imminent, without the necessity of any event that must take place before the Lord returns for His church. His coming for the church “is not qualified by description of any signs or prerequisite events.”28 By contrast, the return of Christ at the end of the Tribulation is preceded by a number of signs (Matt. 24:4-22). Scriptural evidence for imminency provides strong evidence for the pre-tribulation viewpoint.

Judgment Seat of Christ

    This term describes that event when believers will be brought into an examination before the Son of God (1 Cor. 3:9-15; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:10). The Greek word for “judgment seat” is bema which once referred to the platform where the umpire for the Greek games would sit and issue rewards to the athletes. Thus, the purpose for the judgment seat is not to determine whether the one judged is a believer or not, but rather to publicly assess, whether acceptable or worthless, one’s works (outward) and character (inward) for rewards or their loss.

Kingdom of God, and Kingdom of Heaven

    The word “kingdom” means “rule, reign.” Thus, the names kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven mean the rule or reign of God and the rule or reign of heaven. Some Bible teachers designate the eternal kingdom as the kingdom of God and the earthly program of God’s reign in the present mystery form and the millennial form of the future as the kingdom of heaven. Such a distinction, however, cannot really be supported by the use of these terms in Scripture.

    The difference in the terms does not lie in the terms themselves as much as in the usage in the context. Both are used of the eternal kingdom (cf. Matt. 6:33 with 18:3-6; 7:21 and 19:14). Both are used in reference to the future millennial kingdom (Matt. 4:17 and Mark 1:14-15; cf. Matt. 3:2; 5:3, 10; 6:10; Mark 9:1, 47; 14:25; Luke 19:11; 21:31). And both are used in reference to the present form of the kingdom (Matt. 13:11; Mark 4:11; Luke 8:10).

    Some would say the differences in the terms are found in the following: (1) The Kingdom of heaven stresses the kingdom has its source and origin in heaven, is patterned after heaven and its perfection, and has eternal and lasting value. (2) The kingdom of God points to the spiritual character of the reign and dominion, i.e., the reign of God, and to the chief object and goal of the kingdom, the glory of God. (3) The kingdom of God when used of a spiritual kingdom includes only good angels and saved men. (4) The kingdom of heaven, when used of the earthly aspects of the God’s kingdom, deals with the external aspects of the kingdom, i.e., Christendom, and includes saved and unsaved.

Lake of Fire

    See Hell.

Millennium

    The word millennium means a thousand years and refers to the promise of Scripture that Christ would reign on earth for a thousand years. The millennium has come to be synonymous for not only Christ’s reign on earth, but for the fulfillment of all Old Testament hopes and expectations associated with the kingdom of God on earth—peace, no war, perfect seasons, Israel and Jerusalem the center of the earth, Gentile domination removed, etc. (key verses, Isa. 2:1-4; 9:7; 11:2f; Rev. 20).

    Premillennial View: The second coming of Christ will occur before the Millennium.

    Amillennial View: The second coming of Christ is at the end of the Church Age and there is no earthly Millennium. Strictly, amillenarians believe that the present state of the righteous in heaven is the Millennium, but there is no earthly Millennium.

    Postmillennial View: The second coming of Christ is after the Millennium.

Mystery

    Mystery, the Greek musthrion, is not something mysterious (in the modern sense) but something unknown until revealed to the initiate. In Scripture it refers to God’s secrets, His counsels and purposes, which are not known to man apart from His special revelation in Scripture or by His prophets. It is particularly used in the New Testament of truth unknown in the Old Testament, but revealed in New Testament times. Eleven different mystery truths can be distinguished in the New Testament (Matt. 13:11; Rom. 11:1-25; 1 Cor. 15:51-57; Eph. 3:1-11; 5:25-32; Col. 1:26-27; 2:2; 1 Thess. 2:7; 1 Tim. 3:16; Rev. 1:20; 10:7; 17:5,7).

Prophecy

    As used here, prophecy refers to that part of God’s revelation in Scripture that is predictive, the revelation which God gives from His sovereign and eternal plans and foreknowledge of things to come. The prophet was one who spoke God’s message to His people. In this he was both a forth teller (preaching) and a foreteller (prediction). It is the predictive element we are concerned with here, however, we must always keep in mind that prophecy, though dealing with the future, carries a current message for godliness, peace, and comfort.

Rapture

    Pretribulation Rapture: The rapture of the Church (i.e., the coming of the Lord in the air for His saints) will take place before the seven-year period of the Tribulation begins. Therefore, the Church will not go through any of the Tribulation period (the events of Revelation 6-18) according to this view.

    In this view, some believe the second advent of Jesus Christ has two phases: one secret as a thief comes to take what is valuable to him (to the church only, 1 Thess. 4:13-18), and one open and manifest to all the world (2 Thess. 2:8, “the manifestation of His coming”). Others would say it is distinct from the second coming to earth.

    Prewrath Rapture:29 The rapture of the church occurs prior to the wrath of God poured out on the earth, but in this view, the wrath of God does not occur until about or after the last quarter of the Tribulation. Thus the church will experience most of the events of the book of Revelation.

    Mid-tribulation Rapture: The rapture will occur in the middle of the Tribulation, after three-and-a-half years.

    Post-tribulation Rapture: The Church will be on earth during the entire Tribulation. Some would say the rapture is a part of the second coming, others that it is distinct from the second coming though separated by only a very short interval of time.

    Partial Rapture: Only saints who are worthy will be raptured before the wrath of God is poured out; those who have not been faithful will remain on the earth to endure the Tribulation.

Sheol

    See Hell.

Times of the Gentiles

    This is an expression used by our Lord in Luke 21:24 of the period of Gentile domination over Israel when Israel has no king on the throne of David. It began in 586 BC with the captivity of Judah under Nebuchadnezzar (2 Chron. 36:1-21) and will continue until the return of Christ to earth. Daniel’s visions and prophecies foresee this domination under the pictures of the four beasts and the great image (Dan. 2:31f; 7:3f).

Tribulation

    This term is used by most theologians to refer to Daniel’s 70th week, the seven-year period of unprecedented trouble that will occur on earth through a series of divine judgments to be poured out on the entire inhabited earth (Dan. 12:1; Rev. 6-19; Matt. 24:21,29). It begins with the signing of a peace treaty with Israel by the Roman prince that will come, the man of sin, the beast of Revelation 13 (cf. Dan. 9:26, 27; 2 Thess. 2:8). The Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21) refers to the last half of this seven year period. It is so called because of the increased wrath that will occur in these last three and half year.


25 Paul Lee Tan, The Interpretation of Prophecy, Assurance Publishers, Rockville, MD, 1974, p. 363.

26 Tan, p. 363.

27 Charles C. Ryrie, Ryrie Study Bible, Expanded Edition, NASB, Moody Press, Chicago, 1995, p. 2036.

28 John F. Walvoord, The Rapture Question, Dunham Publishing, Findlay, OH, 1957, p. 79.

29 A recent view promoted by Marvin Rosenthall in his book, The Prewrath Rapture of the Church, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 1990.