Prophecy Glossary And Definitions

Posted by Jeffrey K Radt ("JRed") | Posted in | Posted on Thursday, October 30, 2008


Not everyone knows exactly what many of these terms mean. I know I had a tough time learning them when I first became interested in Bible prophecy.

So, thanks to Prophecy Fellowship, I thought it might help us to take a look at the prophetic glossary and dictionary.

The first part includes the different views pertaining to prophecy. By understanding these, it helps us to "see" where others, holding different doctrinal views on end time scriptures, are coming from. The second part includes a glossary of commonly used terms in biblical prophecy.

I should probably note that my intention is to try and help those who are new to eschatology (the study of prophecy) by giving them a list of all the terminology they'll most likely encounter.

At the same time, I should also mention that I believe it's clear that there can be no question as to what all these terms mean, and that anyone doing serious Bible study will see why and how some of these "perspectives" simply cannot possibly be true and accurate interpretations. They key? Scripture does not contradict itself!


Belief that there is not going to be a literal millennium before or after Christ returns to earth. Uses a allegorical or symbolic approach to prophecy.

Dispensational Pre-Millennialism
Belief that the 2nd coming of Christ will happen in 2 stages. The 1st stage is the Rapture of the Church prior to the 7 year Tribulation period. The 2nd stage is when Christ returns with His Church to reign on earth.

Historical Pre-Millennialism
Belief that the rapture and the 2nd coming will happen at the same time as Christ's return to earth...before the Millennial Kingdom.

Post Millennialism
Belief that Christ will not return until after the Millennium. Believe there is no distinction between the Rapture of the Church and the 2nd coming.

Abomination of Desolation
When the Antichrist sits down in the rebuilt Jewish Temple and declares himself to be God, the great Tribulation of 42 months will then begin. At the occurrence of this event, the Jews living in Israel are commanded to flee into the wilderness. All tribulation saints will know, from that day on, they must now wait 1260 days before the Lord returns. (Daniel 9:27), (Matthew 24:15-19)

Amillenialism:(prefix "a" = "no")
The belief that there is no literal 1000-year reign of Christ. Thus, Revelation 20 is taken symbolically, not literally, by adherents of this view. Amillennialists generally believe that Israel has been permanently set aside for all time and that God's current plan of salvation involves only the Church.

Often described as the most evil man that will ever live. He will arrive on the world scene and appear to be the world's savior, but everyone on earth will soon learn his real mission will be one of destruction. Also called the man of lawlessness (or sin), Gog, the son of destruction (or perdition) (1 John 2:18), (Revelation 13:1-8)

Apostasy, The
During the end times the Bible predicts a falling away or departure from the faith. Because we have experienced a number of generations where people have rebelled against God, the one that takes place during the Tribulation will likely surpass prior apostasies. The Greek word apostasy was originally used to describe a revolt staged by a military commander. (2 Thessalonians 2:3), (Matthew 24:11-13)

Armageddon comes from the Hebrew word meaning "the Mount of Megiddo." This ancient fortress is located in northern Israel, across the Plain of Esdraelon from Nazareth. Armageddon will be the gathering place for the final great battle, which bears its name. (Revelation 16:16)

Church Age, The
The Church Age began on the day of Pentecost and will end at/with the Rapture of the Church before the beginning of the Tribulation. Many dispensationalists believe the Church is the reason why there is a gap between Daniel's 69th and 70th week. (Daniel 9:24-27)

Damascus, Syria
The city of Damascus has been around for thousands of years and it has never been destroyed in battle. The Prophet Isaiah predicted that some day this city would be destroyed. Isaiah 17:1 and The Burden of Damascus, "Behold, Damascus is taken away from [being] a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap."

The view that believes God's dealings with men have proceeded through well-defined time periods, in each of which God reveals a particular purpose to be accomplished in that period, to which men respond in faith or unbelief.

The dragon is the symbolic name given to representative the devil. Satan is also described as "that old serpent." (Revelation 20:2)

Eastern Gate
The Eastern Gate has a very important prophetic role to play. It is the only gate that is currently blocked. The book of Ezekiel foretold that it would be shut and the only one who will open it will be the "Prince" Jesus (Ezekiel 44:1-3)

The study of prophecy. The study of things that relate to the end times. That which relates to the final events in the history of mankind; also a big word to impress your friends!

False Church
During the first part of the Tribulation, the Antichrist's rise to power will be aided by a religious system, which will include most, if not all, of the world's major religions. During the second half of the Tribulation the Antichrist will destroy this false church. The book of Revelation describes the false churches as the great whore. (Revelation 17:1-5)

False Prophet
He will administrate the workings of the one-world church. The False Prophet's primary mission will be to cause the world to worship the Antichrist. (Revelation 13:11-14)

Gog And Magog
Most prophetic scholars agree that Gog and Magog were the people that lived in the lands, which are now modern Russia. Someday Russia and a horde of Middle East countries will launch a surprise attack against Israel. All but one sixth of the Gog army will be destroyed upon the mountains of Israel. (Ezekiel 38 and 39). The events from August 2008 between Russia and the Republic of Georgia were a chilling development setting the stage for the fulfillment of this prophecy.

Historicism relates the timing of the current Church Age through the day/year theory. The day/year theory takes numbers such as the 2,300 days (Daniel 8:14) and 1,290 days (Daniel 12:11) and declares them to be years. They also relate the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments to major historical events that have occurred throughout the past 2,000 years. For example, the fifth seal in Revelation 6 may be identified as the martyrdom under Roman Emperor Diocletian (A.D. 284-304). The Pope is commonly looked at as being the Antichrist. Historicism is the view held by the Mormons, the Seventh-Day Adventists, and the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Jacob's Trouble
Called by Jeremiah as "the time of Jacob's trouble" and by Daniel as "the time of distress such as never occurred," this event will take place during the 3 1/2 year reign of Antichrist. The time of Jacob's trouble will be a time of great suffering on earth. The suffering will be brought on by the actions of the Antichrist and by the wrath of God being poured out on a sinful world. (Jeremiah 30:7)

Judgment, Great White Throne
This judgment is predominately for the unsaved. It is also believed to be a more stern judgment than the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is here where all those that are not found written in the Book of Life are cast into the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)

Judgment Seat Of Christ

Immediately after the Rapture, the Church will receive rewards according to what they have done on earth, whether it be good or bad. The Judgment Seat of Christ is for believers only. (2 Corinthians 5:10), (Romans 14:10-12), (Revelation 11:15-18)

Kings of the East
"And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared." I believe the Kings of the East will likely be or will largely include the nation of China. (Revelation 16:12)

Lake Of Fire
The Lake of Fire is the final abode for all the lost, the Devil and all of his co-workers. Everyone that's condemned to this fiery inferno will suffer unrelenting eternal torment. (Revelation 20:15)

Little Horn
Daniel the prophet described seeing a little horn rising out from among ten other horns. The little horn is clearly another representation of the Antichrist, because Daniel's accounting aligns with the apostle John's Revelation 13 description of the Antichrist. (Daniel 7:7-8), (Daniel 7:19:25)

Mark Of The Beast
"He causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." The Mark of the Beast will likely be a microchip implant that operates like an ATM or credit card. Remember, everyone who receives the Mark of the Beast will be cast into Hell, so don't take the mark! (Revelation 13:16-18)

After the Tribulation, Jesus Christ will set up an earthly Kingdom where he will rule for 1000 years. (Revelation 20: 3-4)

The belief that nearly all prophetic events have already occurred. The year 70 AD is a popular date where Preterists claim that the book of Revelation was fulfilled. Under preterism you are basically left to just waiting for Jesus to return.

Progressive Dispensationalism
A recent form of dispensationalism, which emphasizes the present spiritual reign of Christ on David's throne.

At an unknown hour and day the Lord Jesus will descend from heaven, while remaining in the air, he will snatch his Bride, the Church, out from among this sinful world. Christ then takes the Church to heaven for the 7 year wedding feast. The earthly reason for the removal of the Church is to make way for the rise of Antichrist and to fulfill Daniel's final 70th week. (Matthew 25:13), (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18), (1 Corinthians 15:51-54)

Red Heifer
The Bible predicts that the Jewish Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem. Ever since the 70 AD destruction, one major roadblock barring the reconstruction of the Temple is the fact that the Temple Mount area has been defiled by warfare. In order to cleanse the Tribulation Temple Mount for worship, the Jews will need the ashes of a pure red heifer. Numbers chapter 19 describes how King Solomon cleansed the first Temple with the ashes of a specially prepared red heifer. (Numbers 19:2-9)

Replacement theology is the view that Israel, having failed God, has been replaced by the Church around 70 AD. The Church is now seen as spiritual Israel and spiritual Jerusalem. This teaching claims that all the promises and blessings, in fact Israel's entire inheritance, now belongs to the Church. However, all is not lost for Israel; it gets to keep all the curses.

Restrainer, The
The presence of the Holy Spirit on earth currently is what restrains the forces of evil. The Holy Spirit resides in the lives of all believers, which is why Christians are called the "salt of the earth." When the Church is removed at the Rapture, most of the restraining power of the Holy Spirit will be removed as well. (2 Thessalonians 2:7), (Matthew 5:13)

Rosh Hashanah
The Jewish festival of the civil New Year celebrated on the first and second days of the month Tishri. During this holiday, trumpets are blown as a call for repentance. Many Christians look towards Rosh Hashanah as a possible time for the Rapture. (Numbers 10:1-10)

Second Coming
This is the time when Jesus Christ will return, defeat the Antichrist, and set up his 1000 year kingdom on earth. The second coming is not the Rapture. The Rapture takes place approximately 7 years prior to the second coming. Another important difference between the two is that the Rapture will occur at an unknown time while the second coming will take place 42 months after the Antichrist declares himself to be God. (Revelation 13:5), (Matthew 25:13)

A period of time lasting 7 years, the first 3 1/2 years will be relatively peaceful as the Antichrist rises to power. The second 3 1/2 years will bring the greatest suffering in human history as the wrath of God and the Antichrist is poured out on earth. (Daniel 9:27), (Matthew 24:21) *Many believe Daniel 12:11-12 points out an additional two short periods of time, 30 days and 45 days, that will follow the 1,260 days of the second half of the 7 years*

Two Witnesses
During the Tribulation, two men will prophesy in the streets of Jerusalem. These two witnesses of God will have the power to prevent it from raining on the earth, to call fire down from heaven, to turn bodies of water into blood, and to command a number of other plagues. After they preach for 42 months, the Antichrist will be allowed to kill them. Three and 1/2 days later they will be resurrected and raptured up to heaven. Some scholars say the two men could be Elijah and Enoch or Moses and Elijah. (Revelation 11:3-13), (Malachi 4:5-6)

Wrath of God, The
The Wrath of God is poured out on man at the midpoint of the Tribulation. The people of earth will come under God's wrath because they refuse to turn from their wicked ways. Those that receive the Antichrist's Mark will not only come under God's wrath, but will be lost forever. (1 Thessalonians 1:10), (1 Thessalonians 5:9), (Revelation 14:9-11)

10 Nation Confederation - Toes; Horns; Kings
Out of the area that once was the Roman Empire, ten leaders will arise. The only purpose these 10 leaders will have is to give their power to the Antichrist. (Daniel 2:41-44), (Daniel 7:20), (Revelation 17:12), (Revelation 17:17)

70th Week
The final seven years of Gentile domination of the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem; the last week of the seventy weeks of years (490 years) of Daniel's prophecy which will begin after the long interval. (Daniel 9:27)

144,000 Jewish Saints
Before the Antichrist administers his Mark, God will send an angel to mark the foreheads of 144,000 Jews - 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes. The 144,000 sealed Jews will apparently be commissioned to be a witness to the Gentiles during the Tribulation. (Revelation 7:2-8)

200 Million Man Army, The
During the latter part of the Tribulation an Oriental army of some 200 million strong, will move into the Middle East, crossing over the dried up Euphrates River. This army, guided by four demonic angels, will kill one third of mankind. (Revelation 9:14-16), (Revelation 16:12)

A Prophecy Glossary
Prophecy 101: The Basics

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