Christian Eschatology ~ (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
In Christian theology, Christian eschatology is the study of its religious beliefs concerning all future End Times), as well as the ultimate purpose(s) of the world (i.e., mortal life), of humankind, and the Church. Where eschatology (Greek: ἔσχατος eskhatos “last,” λογία logia 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.
Introduction to Christian Eschatology
The “last things” are important issues to Christian faith, although eschatology is a relatively recent development as a formal division of Christian theology.
In Epistle to the Romans, Paul wrote:
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.[Romans 8:19–25]
Christian eschatology concerns the afterlife, the return of Jesus, the End of the World, resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment, renewal of creation, Heaven and Hell, the establishment of the Kingdom of God, and the consummation of all of God’s purposes, the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy and the beginning of the Messianic Age.
The term eschatology is often used in a more popular and narrower sense when comparing various interpretations of the Book of Revelation and other prophetic parts of the Bible, such as the Book of Daniel and various sayings of Jesus in the Gospels, such as the Olivet discourse and the Judgment of the Nations, concerning the timing of what many Christians believe to be the imminent second coming of Christ. There are various controversies concerning the order of events leading to and following the return of Jesus and the religious significance of these events.
Some Christians, notably followers of Eastern Orthodoxy but also members of other sects, regard most popular discussion of this topic to be fundamentally and dangerously false. Theologians from a number of traditions point out that the Book of Revelation was included late in the Biblical canon, because of lingering questions regarding its usefulness (see also Antilegomena). Many early teachers thought the Christian faith should be single-mindedly preoccupied with what is most transparently understood concerning salvation. The book is not included in the liturgical readings of most traditions. Nevertheless, a great number of Christians consider the effort to understand the Book of Revelation (and other prophecies) to be one of the most important issues, if not the chief objective, of their Christian faith.
In many Roman Catholic and Protestant dogmatic, mystical or folk traditions, in addition to the other doctrines and prophecies of the Bible, there are also traditional teachings, or writings of people granted gifts of prophecy or a special visitation by messengers from heaven, such as angels, saints, or Christ.
Nearly all traditions of Christianity believe that suffering, disease, injustice and death will continue until the second coming of Christ and the end of the world. However, there are dissenting traditions, which teach it to be an ethical or moral principle that all suffering ought to be eliminated prior to Christ’s return.
Christian views on Christian Eschatology
Most traditions believe that the grave does not interrupt consciousness; rather, the immaterial soul experiences a particular judgment after death while separate from the body. The particular judgment is followed by placement either in the presence of God in Heaven or away from God’s presence in Hell, where the soul is consciously subject either to happiness or torment. Additionally, the Roman Catholic tradition further compartmentalizes existence after death, and includes belief in Purgatory. Some Catholic theologians have also argued for the existence of Limbo, but there has never been a definitive Church teaching about the matter binding on the faithful.
Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestantism do not require belief in Purgatory. However, these differ from one another in their respective degrees of opposition to the teaching. Orthodoxy does allow that the disembodied soul may have a course to pass through on the way to an ultimate destination; theosis may continue after death (or it might not).
Such Anglicans as John Macquarrie accepts the notion of continuing sanctification after bodily death, the community of the Church Expectant. Prayers for the departed was a feature of the Primer of Queen Elizabeth I, the editions of the Book of Common Prayer 1549, 1552 and 1559, respectively, a part of Non Juror spirituality, and also a part of Anglican worship after the 1840s. This is official doctrine expressed in the Catechism of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (q. 139), although not binding doctrine for Anglicans of different churchmanship in other parts of the world.
John Calvin included this belief among those things not worth arguing about. Later Protestants tend to be less vague in their opinion, and definitely reject any idea of intervening experience for the soul after death, prior to being in the presence of God.
However, an issue on which Catholic and Orthodox faiths are united against Protestantism is that the souls of at least some of the saints in heaven are aware of those who call upon them in request of their intercession. In stark contrast it is antithetical to most traditions of Protestantism to believe that the souls of those who have died either should or even can be called upon for help or intercession with God. Prayers directed toward those who have died, or rituals or masses dedicated to assisting the dead in their salvation, are often dogmatically taught by Protestants to be contrary to Scripture. Protestants typically deny that the souls of men adopt omniscience omnipresence, or ubiquity after death, or that they are troubled any longer with the trials of life, or that their exceeding virtue in life remains as a deposit of grace in the Church that can benefit the living.
Catholic and Orthodox Christians do not claim that departed saints gain omniscience or omnipresence, however. An essential consequence of Jesus‘ own death and resurrection is the defeat of death itself. Because of this death neither puts a person beyond God’s help nor prevents the Christian from praying. The living are not deprived of the prayers of a Christian simply because the Christian dies; otherwise death would still claim victory. Neither does a person’s death make it impossible for God to save or sanctify them; otherwise death would limit what God could do. The Orthodox church carefully avoids defining exactly how departed saints are aware of requests for their intercession, or exactly how the departed may be helped by prayers made on their behalf. It just continues to pray as it always has, with faith in God for the results.
Not all Christian sects believe in existence apart from the body, which they regard to be a purely extra-biblical notion borrowed from the non-Christian philosophies and religions (see Annihilationism). The Millerites, or Adventist tradition, for example, typically deny that consciousness is possible apart from the body. Most do not deny the resurrection, however. A similar belief can be found represented by a minority in other Protestant groups, among whom it is not necessarily considered a heretical belief.
The Second Coming
Eschatology concerns the things hoped for, yet to be revealed. The return of Jesus Christ is the most important eschatological event. The central act of Christian worship calls the Christian’s attention toward the return of Jesus Christ and the renewal of the creation, at the “Lord’s table” (called Eucharist, “The thanks”; or Communion).
According to Luke, Jesus to the apostles,
“I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”[Luke 22:15-16]
“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”[1 Cor. 11:26]
The Resurrection of the Righteous (Rapture) and the Wicked
With the coming of Christ, Christians anticipate a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. The last enemy, death, will be vanquished.When Jesus Christ comes, the dead in Christ are going to be raised from the dead and they will be changed into heavenly bodies (immortal bodies) and they will be taken (rapture). But the wicked dead will be raised and will not be changed but they will be in their state when they died (mortal bodies).The second coming is supposed to come after the 666 is revealed, it is linked to the Mayan rapture date , because according to the mayans the doomsday where the earth lies in an isthamus with other planets and the sun occurs every 66600000 years, and thus revealing the mark of the devil.
Following the resurrection of the dead, Christians anticipate that Christ will personally judge the living and the dead, to determine the eternal destiny of each according to whether their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
In His Mighty Grip!