Apocalyptic Glossary

Antichrist: A final world ruler who deceives the masses through the promise of a one world government resulting in world peace. His actual, hidden agenda opposes and attempts to suppress the true (often traditional) religion, particularly Christianity. In Dispensationalist doctrine, the Antichrist comes half way through the Tribulation.

Apocalyptic: Referring to the belief that the end of the world, as we know it, is imminent. When people enter apocalyptic time, their belief leads them to dramatic changes in behavior. Apocalyptic time results from religious or secular prophecy: Y2K survivalists have entered apocalyptic time.

Book of Revelation: The last book in the New Testament describing the events of Jesus’ second coming (Parousia) at the end of time, source of most "traditional" Christian apocalyptic beliefs.

Chiliasm: The belief that the rewards of the saved will be enjoyed on this earth; the idea that collective salvation will come in this world. Chilia (1000 in Greek) stands for the years of Peace on Earth. Chiliasm sees the current system as hopelessly riddled with evil that must be radically transformed; encourages political activism. A.K.A., millennialism, millenarianism, millenarism (note spellings), see, also, postmillennialism.

Dajjal: The ultimate enemy of Sunni Islam who will overcome the entire Muslim world before being slain by Jesus at the end of time; a Jew. Has been identified in modern times with: Attaturk, Nassar, Khoumeini, Israel and U.S., various Popes, the UN, etc...

Dispensationalism: A theological system delineated most popularly in the Scofield Bible and followed by tens of millions of Christian premillennialists around the world. It includes: distinct separation in God’s plan of salvation between Israel and the Church, distinct historical ways and means of salvation, a "literal" interpretation of the "Old Testament" and an apocalyptic one of the New Testament that yields a pretribulational rapture of the Church. According to the Scofield variant, God has decreed seven historical "dispensations," or ages, during which God’s expectations and demands on people differ. Most hold that we are living in the sixth Dispensation and awaiting the seventh, the age of chiliastic peace.

Eschatology: The belief that God will bring an end to history and resolve the problem of evil with a Last Judgment; Biblical doctrines of these "last things." (The term also refers to questions of the afterlife and the fate of individual human souls. Offers a dramatic solution to the problem of "God’s justice" (theodicy). Apocalyptic beliefs activate eschatology’s thirst for justice and dramatic imagination.

Immanent Eschatology: Sometimes called preterism, is the doctrine that everything necessary for salvation has already been accomplished, so there are no further prophecies to be fulfilled. In the theology of some churches, notably those of the Orthodox East, the "end" of history is held to be fully embodied in the liturgy.

Jihad: (lit. "to struggle, exert oneself fully, give one’s best effort") Military action with the object of the expansion of the house of Islam or the realm of peace where Islam rules (Dar al-Islam). The interpretation of jihad as an internal struggle comes from Sufi mysticism and remains a minority position within Islam, even, at times, considered un-Islamic.

Mahdi: Messianic figure of Islam, one of the descendants of the prophet, who will usher in a reign of Islamic justice upon the entire earth (Sunni). In Shi’i Islam, the Mahdi takes on a more supernatural cast: he has already been revealed, has gone into occulation and, therefore, can return at any time.

Messianism: The belief that a chosen individual will bring about the chiliastic period. One of the most common ways that millennial beliefs manifest themselves socially, it often tends to devolve into megalomania, imperial pretensions and violence.

Millennial: 1) [chronological] referring to a period of 1000 years, as in Christianity is almost two millennia old; 2) [religious] referring to a 1000 year period of messianic peace on earth (see, chiliasm). Thus a phenomenon can be millennial (chiliastic) without occurring at a millennium (chronological marker) and vice-versa. The round date has, historically, intensified manifestations of religious expectation and social enthusiasm (see sabbatical millennialism).

Premillennialism: The belief that Jesus will return before the beginning of the Millennium and will be the impetus for the final battle between good and evil. It often includes apocalyptic expectation of Rapture, Tribulation, Antichrist, strong dualist tendencies, emphasis on preparation of self and missionizing.

Postmillennialism: The belief that Christ will return after the establishment of the millennial kingdom, which arises from divinely inspired human efforts. In mild forms, blends with progressive reforms, in more extreme ones, with violent theocracies.

Rapture: The belief that Christ’s faithful followers will be taken bodily into heaven prior to the tribulation period. There are, however, variations on this belief, as some Christians believe the rapture will occur at the end of the tribulation period and others believe it will occur in the middle.

Sabbatical Millennialism: The belief that after 6 millennial "days" (Ps 90, 2 Pt 2:3), i.e., in the year 6000 Annus Mundi, the sabbath millennium of peace will begin. Prominent in the first Christian millennium, now popular among those using Ussher’s dating (AD 1 = ca.4000 Annus Mundi).

Tribulation: A period of great upheaval never before experienced on earth. This is generally understood as a seven year period during which the Antichrist will come to power under the false promise of world peace, while gradually instating a one world government (New World Order) that all must accept.

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