Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
NUMBER 12, PAGE 40b-41


Jefferson David Tant

PAROUSIA — from Greek meaning. "a coming, arrival, advent," and applied thus to the second coming of Christ and the events surrounding. Although the word is used at times in the New Testament to refer to other events, it is so related to the second coming that writers have adopted the word as the official technical term.

EPIPHANEIA — the Greek for "a manifestation, appearance." "Often used by the Greeks of a glorious manifestation of the gods, and especially of their advent to help... In the New Testament the `advent' of Christ, - not only that which has already taken place and by which his presence and power appear in the saving light he has shed upon mankind, II Tim. 1:10...; but also that illustrious return from heaven to earth hereafter to occur: I Tim. 6:14; II Tim. 4:1,8; Tit. 2:13..." (Thayer)

APOCALYPSE — from the Greek, meaning "an uncovering, a laying bare or revelation." The word is used primarily in distinguishing the Revelation of John. This book, full of symbols, is the source material for the bulk of millennial theories. There are at least five main types of interpretations to the book: "(1) The timeless symbolism interpretation. The writer has no specific historical situation in mind; he describes in traditional symbols the continually recurring conflict between God and the forces of evil. (2) The continuous-historical interpretation. The writer gives a step-by-step description, in symbolic language, of the entire course of history from his day to the end of the age. A variation of this view is the recapitulation theory; the seven seals, trumpets, and bowls all describe the same series of events from the writer's day to the final judgment. (3) The futurist interpretation. Chaps. 2 and 3 tell of the situation in the writer's day; but from chap. 6 on, the account tells of things still to come in our day. (4) The preterist or contemporary-historical interpretation. The writer expected the events portrayed in chaps 6ff. to occur quite soon...(5) The recurrent prophetic interpretation. The writer had in mind the crisis in his own day and spoke of it ..But the author also intended his message to be applied to similar situations in later generations." (Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, p.972)

MILLENNIUM — a term from Latin meaning one thousand years. It can be viewed as a literal period of one thousand years, or as an age of time of unspecified length. In theological terminology, the millennium refers to the reign of Christ, and the term itself often has three prefixes affixed to it, with each denoting a particular viewpoint or interpretation.

Premillennialism is the theory that the Lord will return to the earth at the end of this present age and set up an earthly kingdom over which he will reign for a thousand years. Thus the kingdom is not present now, but only the church. There are generally two schools of thought on this subject among its disciples. (1) As the Old Testament is preparatory for the Church period, so the millennial period is preparatory for the eternal state. "The kingdom of God is seen in its material and preparatory state in the Old Testament; in its evangelistic and churchly aspect in the present period; in its public and glorious manifestation in the millennium; and in its final triumph and form in the eternal state" (Ibid., p. 83, 84). (2) The other view is presented primarily in the Scofield Reference Bible, and assumes that the promises to Abraham concerning a great nation have not been fulfilled. It maintains that both John and Jesus had in mind the national Jewish kingdom in their preaching, but that the Jews misunderstood them as to the way in which the kingdom would be established. The followers of this idea believe that at the return of Christ National Israel will be restored; Christ will reign from the throne of David in Jerusalem; and all nations will be under his rule. Post-millennialism sees the triumph through the church by means of the preaching of the gospel, with the Lord to return at the end of this period of triumph, rather than at the beginning of the period of triumph according to the premillennial theory. A-millennialism is the belief that Christ is now reigning over his kingdom, which is the church, and therefore there is no need or promise of a earthly or visible reign. Also, the passages upon which the pre- and post- theories are based are too highly figurative to be conclusive in formulating such elaborate systems.

ESCHATOLOGY — (from the Greek "eschatos, last, utmost, phrases relating to the Messianic age and the consummation of the Kingdom of God..." [Abbott-Smith] ) "Eschatology is, historically speaking, the doctrine 'of the last or final or concluding events that end time and commence eternity." (A Handbook of Contemporary Theology, Bernard Ramm, p. 43) The word, then, basically refers to a study of, or interpretation of Bible teachings concerning the "last times." There are several theories put forth concerning the subject Futuristic eschatology refers to the idea that all the principal eschatological events are yet to come. This position has been widely held in the past. Consistent consequente eschatology was the position of Albert Schweitzer and his followers. He viewed Jesus as expecting the soon end of the then present historical order and the ethics he taught were more or less temporary, given for the brief period that was to endure before the end of all things.

Symbolic eschatology views the eschatological passages of the New Testament in a symbolic light, rather than literal. Tillich and Neibuhr are the apostles of this view, believing these symbols inform man that he cannot find his realization in history, and that "the second coming is not some event on a heavenly timetable but a reminder and a promise to us that our happiness is trans-historical" (Ibid, p.44)

Teleological eschatology argues that such events as the resurrection, the second coming, and final judgment are not to come at the end of history, but rather that they run concurrently with history, with every generation faced with these things.

Realized eschatology presents the idea that there is no future list of things to happen. All final things have already been realized in Christ.

Inaugurated eschatology holds that there are elements of truth in both the futuristic and realized eschatology. While it is true that Jesus Christ inaugurated the last days with his work of redemption on earth, there are yet events to take place before the end of all things, such as the return of Christ and the resurrection of the dead.

TRIBULATION — The times of trial before the end. For decades, the millenialists have predicted the soon ending of the present order of things, pointing to all sorts of signs which they claim are portents of the final catastrophe.