Eschatology is defined by most as the “study of the last things” but in the biblical sense it is pertaining to the Messiah and the Redemption of all things, which includes the creation, and is seen from 6 reference points (historical; Messiah’s 1st coming; Messiah’s 2nd coming; Birthpains/Tribulation; Messianic Kingdom and the Olam Haba (coming age).
There are 2 terms that mean “eschatology” in Hebraic thought. The first one is called the “Ik’vot Ha Mashiach” which means the “footsteps of the Messiah” and the other is called the “Acharit Yamin” or the “Latter days.” Now, there are several concepts we need to know to understand Biblical Eschatology. You cannot look at Scripture on one level because there are at least four levels that you can look at them from.
First, there is the “peshat” or simple, grammatical sense. Then there is the “remez” or allegorical, hint sense that seems to point to other verses or meanings. Third, there is the “drash” or parabolic meaning that prompts one to explore, thresh out or ask questions. The last level is the “sowd” level and that is the hidden, secret or mystical level like the Book of Revelation. It has deep meaning (Isa 8.16-20).
A contradiction is not seen as one because of the different levels. History, therefore, is seen as unfulfilled prophecy and prophecy is seen as unfulfilled history (Ecc 1.9, 3.15, Rom 15.4). Another concept is “here now, but not yet” (Num 24.17) and that is because a prophecy can be for that day but also be fulfilled in the future. Now, fulfilled doesn’t mean “done away with now” but it simply means to interpret correctly, to give proper meaning to something. For example, when Yeshua said “I did not come to do away with the Torah or the Prophets but to fulfill it” (Matt 5.17) he is saying he did not come to misinterpret the Torah or Prophets but to interpret them correctly. Consequently, prophecy is not limited in time but can have numerous fulfillments and they can be interpreted correctly.
Look at the prophecies about the False Messiah and you will see they pertained to Antiochus Epiphanes or Pharaoh (historically) but they are “eschatological pictures” of someone else also. Now lets look at Biblical Eschatology on a time-line. Draw a horizontal line and on the far left put “L’olam Va’ed” which basically means “forever” but in this context it is forever past. Then put a small, vertical line and that is Creation (Gen 1). From Creation to Abraham was 2000 years called “Tohu” or “desolation” because, for example, the fall of man, the great flood, the Tower of Babel occurred during that time. Now, put another small vertical line and from there we go another 2000 years from Abraham to Yeshua and that time is called “Torah” because it was a time of instruction because the Torah was given and the Tanach was completed. God was bringing about a nation that would bring Messiah. Now, put in another small vertical line and go forward another 2000 years and we have what is called the “Yom’ot Mashiach” or Days of the Messiah. That whole 6000 year period is called the “Olam Ha Zeh” or this present age. Put in another vertical line and go ahead 1000 years and we have what is called the “Atid Lavo” or future coming. It is also called the Messianic Kingdom, the Day of Rest and the Sabbath of God. You will see it referred to in the Scriptures with the terms “In that day” or ” Day of the Lord” also.
From the beginning of the Yom’ot Mashiach(days of the Messiah) to the end of the Atid Lavo (future time) we have a 3000 year time period called the “Eschatological Congregation” or “Kehilat” and it is talking about when Messiah comes ands gathers his sheep or “called out ones” into his sheep fold. Kehilat means congregation or assembly and is translated into Greek as Ecclesia which in turn is mistranslated into English as “church” but it really means assembly or congregation. At the end of the period called the Atid Lavo draw another small vertical line and this brings us to the Olam Haba or the world to come. This period is also called the L’Olam Va’ed (forever) and this is obviously forever future. Other names for it is the 8th Day, New Jerusalem, Mount of the Lord, the Tent, the Gate, the Sanctuary, House of the Lord, Land of the Living and the Father’s House.
We are at the end of the Yom’ot Mashiach or the last 2 thousand years before the Atid Lavo. We will get into this concept at a later date but the Atid Lavo (Messianic Kingdom; Day of the Lord) will begin on Rosh Ha Shanah, year 6001 from creation. The catching away or gathering of believers known as the Rapture will happen on that day. Ten days later we come to Yom Kippur. That will be the beginning of the 7 year period called the Tribulation period or Birth-pains of the Messiah. The Tribulation will end on a Yom Kippur (Matt 24.30-31). So, in other words, this 2530 day period ( 7 year, 10 days according to the biblical lunar calendar) will happen at the beginning of the 1000 year Day of the Lord. There is much more to this but this will give you a basic idea of Biblical Eschatology and will be the context that we will be referring from in future articles and teachings. But what we have is a basic time-line of the 7000 plan of God.
The blueprint for this can be found in Genesis 1 with the creation week, 6 days (6000 years) and then the Sabbath day (1000 years-Psa 90.4; 2 Pet 3.8). We will show you many pictures of this concept from Scripture. With this basic understanding of Biblical Eschatology, you will be able to rightly divide the Scriptures and give a proper place to prophetic events and not be carried away by so many false teachers and doctrines in these last days. We are going to develop these concepts in detail and bring in much more as we study prophecy and eschatology.