Saturday, August 25, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Christian eschatology
The Last Judgement - Fresco in the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo.In Christian theology, Christian eschatology is the study of its religious beliefs concerning all future and final events (End Times), as well as the ultimate purpose(s) of the world (i.e., mortal life), of mankind, and the Church. Where eschatology refers to doctrine that represents a history of inquiry into the concept of the destiny of all things, in Christian context, this inquiry is vested in the prophesied purposes of God as documented in the Bible.


The "last things" are important issues to Christian faith, although eschatology is a relatively recent development as a formal division of Christian theology.

Epistle to the Romans 8:19-25:

19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Preterism
Ezekiel’s Vision: Resurrection of the DeadPreterism is a variant of Christian eschatology which holds that some or all of the biblical prophecies concerning the Last Days (or End Times) refer to events which actually happened in the first century after Christ's birth. The term preterism comes from the Latin praeter, meaning "past". Adherents of Preterism are known as Preterists. The two principal schools of Preterist thought are commonly called Partial Preterism and Full Preterism.

There is substantial disagreement over the terms used to denote these divisions of Preterist thought. Some Partial Preterists prefer to call their position Orthodox Preterism, thus contrasting their deference to the creeds of the Ecumenical Councils with what they perceive to be the Full Preterists' disregard for the same. Partial Preterism is also sometimes called Classical Preterism or Moderate Preterism. Some Full Preterists prefer to call their position Consistent Preterism, reflecting their extension of Preterism to all biblical prophecy and suggesting an inconsistency in the Partial Preterist hermeneutic.

Sub-variants of Preterism include one form of Partial Preterism which places fulfillment of some eschatological passages in the first three centuries of the current era, culminating in the fall of Rome. In addition, certain statements from classical theological liberalism are easily mistaken for Preterism, as they hold that the biblical record accurately reflects Jesus' and the Twelve Apostles' belief that all prophecy was to be fulfiled within their generation. Theological liberalism generally regards these apocalyptic expectations as errant or disappointed, though, so it is not strictly accurate to class this view as a form of Preterism.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Postmillennialism
Comparison of Christian millennial interpretationsIn Christian eschatology, postmillennialism is an interpretation of chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation which sees Christ's second coming as occurring after (Latin post-) the millennium, the Golden Age or era of Christian prosperity and dominance. The term subsumes several similar views of the end times, and it stands in contrast to premillennialism and amillennialism.

Although some postmillennialists hold to a literal millennium of 1,000 years, most postmillennialists see the thousand years more as a figurative term for a long period of time (similar in that respect to amillennialism). Among those holding to a non-literal "millennium" it is usually understood to have already begun, which implies a less obvious and less dramatic kind of millennium than that typically envisioned by premillennialists, as well as a more unexpected return of Christ.

Postmillennialism also teaches that the forces of Satan will gradually be defeated by the expansion of the Kingdom of God throughout history up until the second coming of Christ. This belief that good will gradually triumph over evil has led proponents of postmillennialism to label themselves "optimillennialists" in contrast to "pessimillennial" premillennialists and amillennialists.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Dispensationalism
The Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the entities that bring false peace, War, famine, pestilence, and death. Dispensationalism is a branch of Christian theology that
  1. teaches Biblical history as best understood in light of a number of successive economies or administrations under God, which it calls "dispensations," and
  2. emphasizes prophecy of the end-times and the pre-tribulation rapture view of Christ's second coming.
Dispensation is an English term excogitated from the Latin dispensatio, frequently used to translate the Greek oikonomia. The Greek word denotes the law or management of a household (to manage, administer, regulate, or plan).

Some consider Dispensationalism to be a nineteenth century distortion of Biblical history. Dispensationalists teach that there are seven distinct "dispensations" within biblical history. The seventh being the 1000 year reign of Christ or the millennium. According to some, the primary error is the "two covenant" teaching. Dispensationalists believe that God's covenant with Israel continues even through the present "church age." Many Protestants believe that the new covenant in Christ replaces the old covenant with Israel.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Olivet discourse
The Mount of Olives  The Olivet discourse or Little Apocalypse is a passage found in the Synoptic Gospels of Matthew 24 Mark 13 and Luke 21, occurring just before the narrative of Jesus's passion beginning with the Anointing of Jesus. In the narrative is a discourse or sermon given by Jesus on the Mount of Olives, hence the name. According to most textual scholars, the versions of the discourse in Matthew and Luke are based on the version in Mark.

The discourse contains a number of statements which at face value appear to refer to future events, and most modern Christians interpret as having been intended as prophecy.

The topics involved are:

  1. The future destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem
  2. Tribulation in Israel and the nations of the world
  3. Various signs of the coming of the Son of Man


Monday, August 20, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Premillennialism
St. Irenaeus (c. 130–202), an early Christian Premillennialist.Premillennialism in Christian eschatology is the belief that Christ will literally reign on the earth for 1,000 years at his second coming. The doctrine is called premillennialism because it views the current age as prior to Christ’s kingdom. It is distinct from other forms of eschatology such as amillennialism, postmillennialism, and preterism which view the kingdom as figurative and non-temporal, or as currently occurring in history before Christ’s coming. Premillennialism is largely based upon a literal interpretation of Revelation 20:1-6 in the New Testament which describes Christ’s coming to the earth and subsequent reign at the end of an apocalyptic period of tribulation. It views this future age as a time of fulfillment for the prophetic hope of God’s people as given in the Old Testament.

Origin of the Term
Historically Christian premillennialism has also been referred to as "chiliasm" or "millenarianism". The theological term "premillennialism" did not come into general use until the mid-nineteenth century, a period when modern premillennialism was revived. Coining the word was "almost entirely the work of British and American Protestants and was prompted by their belief that the French and American Revolution (the French, especially) realized prophecies made in the books of Daniel and Revelation.”