Definitions

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End time

End time, End times, or End of days are the eschatological writings in the three Abrahamic religions and in doomsday scenarios in various other non-Abrahamic religions. In Abrahamic religions, End times are often depicted as a time of tribulation that precedes the appearance or return of the Messiah, a person who will usher in the Kingdom of God and bring an end to suffering and evil. Various other religions also have eschatological beliefs associated with turning and redemption.

Abrahamic religions

Judaism

In Judaism, End times are usually called The End of Days (aharit ha-yamim, אחרית הימים), a phrase that appears several times in the Tanakh. Though the idea of a messianic age has a prominent place in Jewish thought, it is not a pre-ordained event but rather brought about by religious observance and good deeds.

The term may refer to a number of interwoven themes:

  • The World to Come (Olam ha-Ba) is an ambiguous term that may refer to the afterlife, the messianic world, or the life of the resurrected
  • Tribulation recorded in the Old Testament:

    Tumultuous events will overturn the old world order, as is recorded in these example verses contained in the following Old Testament verses of the Bible:

    Deuteronomy 4:29-39 (King James Version): But if from thence thou shalt seek the thy GOD, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them. For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it? Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the he is God; there is none else beside him. Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire. And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt; to drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou art, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day. Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.

    Isaiah 2:1-5 (King James Version): The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the 's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the , to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

    Micah 4:1-5 (King James Version): But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the , and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the of hosts hath spoken it. For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the our God for ever and ever.

    These events create a new order in which God is universally recognized as the ruler over His creation, which includes everyone and everything.

    The Talmud

    In other writings, one of the sages of the Talmud says:

    "Let the end of days come, but may I not live to see them", because they will be filled with so much conflict and suffering."

    The Talmud, in the tractate Avodah Zarah, on page 9A, states that this world as we know it will only exist for six thousand years. The Hebrew calendar (luach) functions completely on the assumption that time begins at the creation of Adam, the primordial man. Many people (notably Conservative and Reform Jews and some Christians) think that the years of the Torah, or Jewish Bible, are symbolic. According to the ancient Jewish teachings continued by today's Orthodox Jews, the years are literal and consistent throughout all time, with 24 hours per day and an average of 365 days per year. Appropriate calibrations are, of course, done with leap years, to account for the difference between the lunar calendar and the solar calendar, since the Jewish calendar is based on both. Thus the year 2007 equals 5767 years since creation of man on the present Jewish calendar. According to this calculation, the end of days will occur at or before the year 2240 (the year 6000 in the Hebrew calendar).

    According to Jewish tradition, those living during the end times will see:

    1. Ingathering of the scattered Jewish exiles to geographic Israel,
    2. Defeat of all of Israel's enemies,
    3. The land of Israel will turn from a desert into a garden, flourishing with fruits (Tractate Sanhedrin 98a).
    4. Building (or divine placement) of the third Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and the resumption of the sacrificial offerings and Temple service,
    5. Revival of the Dead (techiat hameitim), or the Resurrection,
    6. At some point, the Jewish Messiah will become the anointed King of Israel. He will divide the Jews in Israel into their original tribal portions in the land. During this time, Gog, king of Magog Ezekiel 39, will attack Israel.

    Magog will fight a great battle, in which many will die on both sides, but God will intervene and save the Jews. This is the battle referred to as Armageddon. God, having vanquished this final enemy once and for all, will accordingly banish all evil from human existence. After the year 6000 (in the Jewish calendar), the seventh millennium will be an era of holiness, tranquility, spiritual life, and worldwide peace, called the Olam Haba ("Future World"), where all people will know God directly."

    "All Israel have a portion in the world to come." (Talmud Sanhedrin 10:1) The Ramban (Nachmanades) interprets the world to come as the ultimate good and purpose of creation. He therefore holds that the world to come actually refers to the resurrection of the dead. An event that will occur after the messianic age has already begun. The Ramban holds that all Israel, even the sinners, have a portion in this epoch of resurrection. (The Tzemach Tzedek, Derech Mitzvosecha, Law of Tzitzis).

    Christianity

    Some Christians in the first century AD believed that Jesus might return during their lifetime, because Jesus had said to his followers to be alert or be ready at all times. From this belief came the first evidence of the doctrine of Imminence. When the converts of Paul in Thessalonica were persecuted by the Roman Empire, they believed the end was upon them (see 2 Thessalonians chapter 2). This belief had largely dissipated by around AD 90, when Christians said, "We have heard these things [of the end of the world] even in the days of our fathers, and look, we have grown old and none of them has happened to us".

    The Apocalypse of John and Gospel of John are held by most current Christian scholars to have been written at least a decade after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and especially around 90-95AD for those supportive of the Dispensationalism school of thought. This claim has been contested (See Preterism), and there has been much debate following the publication of Kenneth Gentry's work Before Jerusalem Fell, which book argues from archaeology and ancient texts (including the Book of Revelation itself) that the book of Revelation was written during the reign of Roman emperor Nero in the 60's AD.

    Conservatives usually place the writing of the synoptic gospels before the fall of Jerusalem. Liberal Christians place the writing of the three other (synoptic) gospels after the fall of Jerusalem. One prominent Australian theologian from Sydney, Paul Barnett, disputes this and places the writing of John's gospel at an early date.

    Tribulation in the New Testament:

    The prophetic theme of the New Testament also mirrors the Old Testament, namely, Tribulation. In the New Testament, Jesus refers to this as the "Great Tribulation", "Affliction", and "days of vengeance."

    Matthew 24:15-22 (King James Version): "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand). Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains. Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house. Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

    Mark 13:14-20 (King James Version): "But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter. For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.

    Luke 21:20-33 (King James Version): "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away."

    Catholicism

    Catholicism mainly adheres to the Amillenial school of thought, promoted by Augustine of Hippo in his work "The City of God". Augustine claims a non-literal fulfillment of prophecy. Catholics may also refer to Matthew's Gospel, Chapter 24, Verse 36, in which Christ is quoted as saying:

    "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (NIV Version)

    While some who believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible insist that the prediction of dates or times is futile, some other writers believe that Jesus foretold of signs which would indicate that the "end of days" was near. Some of these signs include earthquakes, natural disasters, civil problems, 'wars and rumors of wars', and other catastrophes. Of the precise time, however, it will come like a "thief in the night."

    According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Catholic beliefs concerning the "end times" are addressed in the Profession of Faith.

    Protestantism

    Millennialists concentrate on the issue of whether the true believers will see the tribulation or be removed from it by what is referred to as a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, a question which continues to cause divisions within evangelical sects. Amillennialists believe that the end times encompass the time from Christ's ascension to the Last day, and maintain that the mention of the "thousand years" in the Book of Revelation is meant to be taken metaphorically (i.e., not literally, or 'spiritually').

    End-times beliefs in Protestant Christianity vary widely. Christians premillennialists who believe that the End Times are occurring now, are usually specific about timelines that climax in the end of the world. For some, Israel, the European Union, or the United Nations are seen as major players whose roles are foretold in scriptures. Among dispensational premillennialists writers, there are those who believe that Christians will be supernaturally summoned to Heaven by Jesus in an event called the Rapture, which occurs before the biblical "Great Tribulation" prophesied in Matthew 24-25; Mark 13 and Luke 21. The Great Tribulation is also mentioned in the last book of the Bible - the book of Revelation.

    'End times' may also refer simply to the passing of a particular age or long period in the relationship between man and God. Adherents to this view sometimes cite St. Paul's second letter to Timothy, and draw analogies to the late 20th/early 21st centuries.

    Post-Exilic Hebrew books of prophecy such as the Book of Daniel and Book of Ezekiel are given new interpretations in this Christian tradition, while apocalyptic forecasts appear in the Judeo-Christian Sibylline Oracles and in the whole field of apocalyptic literature, which includes the Book of Revelation ascribed to John, the apocryphal Apocalypse of Peter, and the Second Book Of Esdras.

    Most fundamentalist Christians anticipate that biblical prophecy will be fulfilled literally. They see current world and regional wars, earthquakes, hurricanes and famines as the beginning of the birth pains which Jesus described in Matthew and Mark . They believe that mankind started in the garden of Eden, and point to Megiddo as the place that the current world system will finish, with the Advent of Messiah coming to rule for 1,000 years.

    Contemporary use of the term End Times has evolved from use around a group of literal beliefs in Christian millennialism. These beliefs typically include the ideas that the Biblical apocalypse is imminent and that various signs in current events are omens of a climax to world history known as the battle of Armageddon. These beliefs have been widely held in one form, by the Adventist movement (Millerites), by Jehovah's Witnesses, and in another form by dispensational premillennialists. In 1918 a group of eight well known preachers produced a London Manifesto warning of an imminent second coming of Christ shortly after the 1917 liberation of Jerusalem by the British.

    Religious movements which expect that the second coming of Christ, will be a cataclysmic event, generally called adventism, have arisen throughout the Christian era; but they became particularly common during and after the Protestant Reformation. Shakers, Emanuel Swedenborg (who considered the second coming to be symbolic, and to have occurred in 1757), and others developed entire religious systems around a central concern for the second coming of Christ, disclosed by new prophecy or special gifts of revelation. The Millerites are diverse religious groups which similarly rely upon a special gift of interpretation for fixing the date of Christ's return.

    The chief difference between the nineteenth century Millerite and Adventist movements and contemporary prophecy belief is that William Miller and his followers fixed the time for the Second Coming by calendar calculations based on interpretations of the Biblical apocalypses; they originally set a date for the Second Coming in 1844. These sorts of computations also appear in some contemporary prophecy beliefs, but few contemporary End Times prophets use them to fix a date; their timetables will be triggered by future wars and moral catastrophes, and accordingly believe that God's judgment against the conflict-ridden and corrupt world is close at hand.

    Preterism
    Another view of the 'end times' known as Preterism differentiates between the concept of 'end times' and 'end of time', and promotes a different understanding of these prophecies, in that they took place in the first century, more specifically in year AD 70, when the Jewish Temple was destroyed, and animal sacrifices were stopped. In this view, the 'end times' concept is referring to the end of the covenant between God and Israel, rather than the end of time, or the end of planet Earth. Unlike all the other Christian theological systems, Preterism holds an exclusive and unique view on the nature and timing of the 'End Times', in that Preterists teach the 'end times' to be in the first century AD.

    Preterists believe that prophecies such as the Second Coming, the defiling of the Temple, the destruction of Jerusalem, the Antichrist, the Great Tribulation, the advent of The Day of the Lord and the Final Judgment were fulfilled at or about the year AD 70 when the Roman general (and future Emperor) Titus sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Jewish Temple, putting a permanent stop to the daily animal sacrifices.

    Proponents of Full Preterism do not believe in the bodily Resurrection of the dead and place this event as well as the Second Coming in AD 70, whereas proponents of Partial Preterism do believe in a bodily resurrection of the dead at a future Second Coming. Full preterists contend that those who consider themselves to be partial preterists are actually just futurists since they believe the Second Coming, Resurrection, Rapture and Judgment are still in the future.

    Many preterists believe the first-century living Christians were literally raptured off the earth to be with Christ. At that time, their bodies were changed to be like Christ's. Preterists also believe the term 'Last Days' or 'End Times' refers not to the last days of planet Earth, or last days of mankind, but to the last days of the Old Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant which God had exclusively with Israel until year AD 70.

    According to Preterism, many 'time passages' in the New Testament indicate with apparent certainty that the Second Coming of Christ, and the 'End Times' predicted in the Bible were to take place within the lifetimes of Christ's disciples: Matt. 10:23, Matt. 16:28, Matt. 24:34, Matt. 26:64, Rom. 13:11-12, 1 Cor. 7:29-31, 1 Cor. 10:11, Phil. 4:5, James 5:8-9, 1 Pet. 4:7, 1 Jn. 2:18.

    Dispensationalist prophecies
    The reestablishment of Israel in 1948 provided a major impetus to the dispensationalist belief system. Israel's history of wars after 1948 with its Arab neighbors provided further research as was seen in at least one book by John F. Walvoord. After the Six Day War in 1967, and the Yom Kippur War in 1973, it seemed plausible to many Fundamentalist Christians in the 1970s that Middle East turmoil may well be leading up to the fulfillment of various Bible prophecies and to the Battle of Armageddon.

    Leaders of the dispensationalist movement such as Hal Lindsey, J. Dwight Pentecost, John Walvoord, all of whom have Dallas Theological Seminary backgrounds, and some other writers, claimed further that the European Economic Community founded on the Treaty of Rome was a revived Roman Empire, and would become the kingdom of the coming Antichrist and the Beast. A revived Roman Empire also figured into the New Testament writers' vision of the future. The fact that in the early 1970s, there were (erroneously thought to be) seven nations in the European Economic Community was held to be significant; this aligned the Community with a seven headed beast mentioned in Revelation. This specific prophecy has required revision, but the idea of a revived Roman Empire remains. It is thought that it would be formed when the European Union becomes a single nation and emerges as a superpower. Under this thinking, the Antichrist will probably either be the President of the European Union or the president of its successor, probably a united Europe.

    On 1 June 2000, Israel became an Associate Member of the European Union. This agreement was negotiated in 1995. This associate membership allows Israel to cooperate with Europe in industry, trade, transportation, communication, and energy usage. Israel is now officially linked to the so-called Revived Roman Empire. It is claimed that this associate membership of Israel with Europe establishes the relationship that Israel will have with the Antichrist.

    The Beast (Antichrist) is believed to be the dictatorial leader of a "one world government." He would promise peace to the world while leading the world's population into apostasy, and impose a "one world money system" based on the number 666.

    To quote Revelation 13, verses 16-18 (NIV):

    "He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666."

    Thus, with this understanding, it was and is believed that everyone, in order to enter into this economic system, had to have the Number of the Beast some kind of mark branded on them. This created speculation as to the nature of the mark. One theory has a computer chip such as an integrated circuit being inserted or injected via hypodermic needle under the skin, perhaps a transponder, see also Microchip implant (human). As with the Roman emperors of ancient times, he would impose martyrdoms on those refusing to take this mark. At some point after his appearance, a large number of Jews would convert to Christianity and preach the gospel after the Christians had been removed by the Rapture.

    Some believers in this theory began reading the newspaper headlines, concerned that some world leader might have the prophesied characteristics to be the Antichrist, and wondering whether the continuing Mid-East violence might be a sign of impending Armageddon. They were also concerned with such things as Social Security numbers and UPC barcodes, concerned that these tax identification numbers may be precursors to the Number of the Beast. The acceptance of this mark would mean that one's soul would receive judgment by damnation.

    The Antichrist, (it is believed), will take center-attention on the 'world-stage' initially as a global peacemaker which Daniel mentions in Bible (King James)/Daniel#Chapter 9. This coming prince will enter into a covenant or treaty with Israel for a period of seven years. Perhaps using global disarmament, he will promise to ensure peace in the world after a particularly destructive future war (this future war being a belief of post-tribulationists; not of Dispensationalists). His ally in world leadership will be the Whore of Babylon who is seen in vision by John, recorded in Revelation 17. John saw this mysterious harlot actually riding the beast and exerting some sort of control over it for a period of time. This mother-harlot entity heads up an apostate church or global system of false religion, which includes other, less influential churches.

    At the midpoint of the final seven years, a world ravaged by plague and turmoil turns to the Antichrist to lead it. Their hope is that a world dictator will promise "peace and safety" and he will usher in a new age. The Antichrist, however, is possessed directly by Satan and will eventually display his true intentions. Again, in Daniel 9:27, the prophet states that at this time this "prince" will stop the daily sacrifices, (which had been resumed again on the Temple Mount). He then commits an appalling sacrilege not unlike the outrages of the Greek Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Now fully revealed as the Beast, the Antichrist assumes global dictatorial rule and establishes his economic system based upon the mark of '666'. His persecutions of newly-converted Christians, as well as Jewish people at that time will be unprecedented. This three and a half year period of intense tribulation was referred to by the prophets Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Joel, Daniel and other biblical prophets throughout the Old and New Testament writings. It was also spoken of by Jesus Christ in the Olivet Discourse and The Sheep and the Goats. In Revelation 13, the Apostle John sets the duration of this 'time of trouble' to 42 biblical months, or three and one-half years. This period is referred to by Biblical eschatologists as the "Great Tribulation". The period also coincides with the time of "Jacob's trouble" mentioned in the book of Jeremiah, and the trampling down of Jerusalem is referred to by John in Revelation Chapter 11.

    Eventually, the Antichrist, under the threat of approaching 'kings of the east', commands his armies to attack this Asian threat. This campaign takes place in the valley of Megiddo, which according to the book of Revelation is the place known for the approaching Battle of Armageddon. The valley of Megiddo is situated as a great plain located northwest of Israel. At the climax of the story, Jesus returns in the Second Coming. He destroys the armies gathering for the campaign against Jerusalem. To quote the NIV version of Revelation 19:19-21:

    "Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh."

    The separate destinies of the Church and Israel, a belief which is inherent in dispensationalism is a particular concern to some Jews and to some evangelical Christians. Evangelicals who reject dispensationalism, such as those who hold to a Post Tribulation Rapture, (or more accurately a Post Tribulation Resurrection-Rapture), see both the Church and Israel entering the crucible of the End Time together. These Traditional Pre-Millennialists, as they are called, reject dispensationalism and its end time eschatology as setting forth a dubious eschatology of an "apartheid of the Elect". They consider the dispensationalist doctrine of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture to be self-serving and highly unlikely to be the true last days policy of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Traditional Pre-Millennialists see all the covenant people of the God of Israel being refined together in the crucible of the end time. They also see the "royal priesthood and holy nation" referred to by Moses and by the Apostle Peter being unveiled in the Apocalypse as a single remnant Elect drawn out from Israel and from the wider Church in the nations.

    Dispensationalism, in contrast to the Millerite Adventist movement, had its beginning in the 19th century, when John Nelson Darby, founder of the Plymouth Brethren religious denomination, incorporated into his system of Biblical interpretation a system of organizing Biblical time into a number of discrete dispensations, each of which marks a separate covenant with God. Darby's beliefs were widely publicized in Cyrus I. Scofield's Scofield Reference Bible, an annotated Bible that became popular in the United States of America.

    Since the majority of the Biblical prophets were writing at a time when [Israel] was mostly Jewish, and the Temple in Jerusalem was still functioning, they wrote as if those institutions would still be in operation during the prophesied events. According to Preterism this was the very fulfillment of the prophecies. However, according to Futurists their destruction in AD 70 put the prophetic timetable, if there is one, on hold. Many such believers therefore anticipated the return of Jews to Israel and the reconstruction of the Temple before the Second Coming could occur. (See Christian Zionism)

    Specific prophetic movements

    Latter-day Saints and Mormonism
    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormons, has taught that humanity is living in the last days.

    Some Latter-day Saints believe that the earth does have a temporal existence of 7000 years, and that the present day is somewhere near the 6000th year. They do not speculate as to the time, day or year of the second coming, but watch for indications that the event is approaching.

    Latter-day Saints believe that their church is led by prophets who receive inspiration and direction from God. A number of Mormon leaders have taught that the Earth has been allotted seven thousand years of existence, and that the earth is nearing the end of the sixth such millennium. Mormon leader Orson F. Whitney stated that humanity is now in the "late Saturday night" of the earth's existence, and that the seventh thousandth year will be marked by Christ's second coming and the ushering in of the millennial kingdom, which will be Earth's sabbath and day of rest. The seven seals and seven trumpets of the Book of Revelation relate to the seven millennia allotted to Earth by Latter-day Saint theology.

    Latter-day Saints are frequently counseled to watch for the "signs of the times" but not to fear them. The statement "if ye are prepared ye shall not fear" (from Doctrine and Covenants 38:30) has become somewhat of a mantra among the Latter-day Saints. Wars, pestilence, economic despair, natural disasters and more are all part of what Latter-day Saints see as signs of the times. In particular, a great earthquake is mentioned in all cases.

    Other events that Latter-day Saints regard as important, and the dates some of them have purportedly occurred:

    • Priesthood authority, which had been lost in the great apostasy, to be restored (this happened in May 1829).
    • The pure gospel of Jesus Christ is to be restored, and taught in His church (this has happened, on April 6, 1830).
    • Elijah would return and give priesthood keys (this has happened, on April 3, 1836).
    • The return of the Jews to Jerusalem and Israel, as dedicated by Orson Hyde on October 24, 1841 (first wave of Jewish immigration to Israel, or Aliyah (עלייה) started in 1881).
    • The building of a temple in Israel (this has not occurred).
    • The building of a temple in Zion, Jackson County, Missouri (this has not occurred, although the location is marked).
    • Temples will "dot the earth" (according to Mormon sources, 136 temples as of December 2006).
    • A meeting of priesthood leaders with angelic beings and Christ in Adam-ondi-Ahman (this has not occurred).
    • Christ will appear in the Temple in Jackson County, Missouri (this has not occurred).
    • Wars will be poured out upon all nations.
    • The nations of the earth will be gathered to fight Israel.
    • The Wicked will be consumed by fire (some traditions allude to a nuclear holocaust, and some hold that this will be at the coming of Christ.)
    • The restored gospel will be preached in all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples (there are, according to Mormon sources, 53,000 missionaries in 165 countries as of 2005).

    Many Latter-Day Saints' temples feature a statue of Moroni on the highest spire. Most of these statues face East, the direction from which Christ will come. The Salt Lake City temple has two large doors on the east side of the building, that are not used. Tradition holds that Christ will enter the temple through these doors, when He comes again.

    After the coming of Christ to the mount of Olives, and the destruction of the wicked, the righteous will live on the earth in relative peace and prosperity during the millennium, under the leadership of Christ. Other churches still may exist during this time, and not all people living will be Latter-day Saints, but such people will represent the "more righteous" part of the peoples of the earth. Missionary work and temple work for the deceased (see Baptism for the dead) will continue during the millennium and missionary and genealogy work will be a main focus of Church members and other righteous individuals who live during the time leading up to the final judgement.

    Joseph Smith produced an inspired rendition of 24, relating to the end times.

    Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that, at the beginning of the Millennial Era, Jesus Christ the Lord will appear at his Second Coming and usher in a thousand-year era of peace, called the Millennium, whereby Satan will be bound (Doctrine and Covenants 88:110), the wicked will be removed from the Earth, and the righteous will be "caught up to meet him". A resurrection of the righteous who have died will occur--they will also "be caught up to meet him." (Doctrine and Covenants 88:96-97). During the Millennium, every man or woman to ever live on the Earth will be resurrected. Those individuals who were righteous will be resurrected at the beginning, and will be able to visit the Earth to restore the knowledge about family histories; the wicked will be resurrected at the end of the Millennium (D & C 76:85).

    At the time of each person's resurrection, their Last Judgment will occur, during which all individuals will be placed into one of three heavenly kingdoms: the Celestial Kingdom, the Terrestrial Kingdom, and the Telestial Kingdom. In the Doctrine and Covenants, Joseph Smith Jr., who is believed to be the translator of the Book of Mormon and the first Mormon prophet, leader, and seer for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, reveals that the kingdoms will be separated into various levels of glory in symbolic comparison to the sun, the moon, and the stars. The sun, being the brightest of these heavenly bodies, is relative to the glory of the celestial kingdom, which is reserved for those who obey the commandments, live righteously, and become baptized. The moon, being the second brightest heavenly body, is relative to the terrestrial kingdom, which is for those who are righteous in a sense, but do not constantly obey the commandments and/or are not baptized. The stars, being the least brightest heavenly body, are relative to the telestial kingdom, which is for those individuals who are wicked and commit major sins without repenting, including murderers. A very small group of people who reject Jesus Christ after receiving full and indisputable knowledge of his divinity, will go to what is referred to as the Outer darkness, which is where Satan will eventually be consigned forever with his hosts of angels.(D & C 76:43-46)

    While the exact time of Christ's return is not known in Latter-Day Saints' theology, there are certain signs that are accepted as pointing to his return:

    • The mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, Isa. 2: 2-3.
    • The Lord shall lift an ensign and gather Israel, Isa. 5: 26 (2 Ne. 15: 26-30).
    • The sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not cause her light to shine, Isa. 13: 10 (Joel 3: 15; D & C 29: 14).
    • Men shall transgress the law and break the everlasting covenant, Isa. 24: 5.
    • The Nephites (ancient fallen people of the Americas, descended from Joseph of Egypt) shall speak as a voice from the dust, Isa. 29: 4 (2 Ne. 27).
    • Israel shall be gathered with power, Isa. 49: 22-23 (1 Ne. 21: 22-23; 3 Ne. 20-21).
    • God shall set up a kingdom which shall not be destroyed, Dan. 2: 44 (D & C 65: 2).
    • War, dreams, and visions shall precede the Second Coming, Joel 2.
    • All nations will gather against Jerusalem to battle, Zech. 14: 2 (Ezek. 38-39).
    • The day cometh that shall burn as an oven, Mal. 4: 1 (3 Ne. 25: 1; D & C 133: 64; JS-H 1: 37).
    • Great calamities shall precede the Second Coming, Matt. 24 (JS-M 1).
    • Paul described apostasy and perilous times of the last days, 2 Tim. 3-4.
    • Two prophets will be slain and resurrected in Jerusalem, Rev. 11 (D & C 77: 15).
    • The gospel shall be restored in the last days by angelic ministry, Rev. 14: 6-7 (D & C 13; 27; 110: 11-16; 128: 8-24).
    • Babylon will be established and fall, Rev. 17-18.
    • Israel shall be gathered with power, 1 Ne. 21: 13-26 (Isa. 49: 13-26; 3 Ne. 20-21).
    • The Book of Mormon shall come forth by the power of God, Morm. 8.
    • Lamanites (Indigenous peoples of the Americas) to blossom, D & C 49: 24-25.
    • The Lord is to slay the wicked, D & C 63: 32-35 (Rev. 9).
    • War will be poured out upon all nations, D & C 87: 2.
    • Signs, upheavals of the elements, and angels prepare the way for the coming of the Lord, D & C 88: 86-94.
    • Darkness to cover the earth, D & C 112: 23-24.

    Jehovah's Witnesses
    Jehovah's Witnesses have their own unique eschatology, involving the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the start of the Last Days. Witnesses believe that the Holy Bible is the word of God and his means of communicating with us. They believe that Bible prophecy has always been precisely fulfilled in the past. Therefore they also believe that future prophecy will also come exactly true. Witnesses believe that the term "last days" refers to the concluding time period leading up a divinely appointed execution that marks the end of a system of things. Scriptures had a minor fulfillment involving the time period before the end of the Jewish system of things in 70 C.E. and are now having a major fulfillment in this time period before God cleanses the earth of Satan's wicked system of things. The concept of "major" and "minor" fulfillment is not found in the Bible.

    Witnesses believe that the last days began in 1914 when Jehovah God installed Jesus as the King of God's Kingdom. His first action is described in the book of Revelation, in which Jesus cleanses heaven and casts Satan and his Demons to the earth. Conditions on earth would then deteriorate to an all time low, culminating in war, pestilence and earthquakes. Witnesses believe that history proved this date true with the start of World War I in 1914 and the worst global epidemic to date in the Spanish Influenza in 1918.

    In the future, Witnesses believe that God will cleanse the earth of all wickedness and Satan will be bound for 1,000 years. During this time period, people will be resurrected to life on earth and given a chance to learn about God (Jehovah) and live under the rule of Jesus Christ. Christ would rule over the Earth with the 144,000 co rulers and restore earth to its former paradise-like state. They feel biblical prophecy shows there will be no more death or sickness and people will live in peace and harmony, just as God originally purposed for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

    Jehovah's Witnesses have very specific doctrines on the End Times, explained in detail in the literature of the Watchtower Society. Witnesses teach that the Greek word parousia, often translated as 'coming' really means 'presence', that the presence (invisible coming) of Christ began in the year 1914, and that he now sits at God's right hand, ruling amidst his enemies. (Ps. 110:1,2; Heb.10:12,13) This is not to be confused with his reign however. Jehovah's Witnesses calculate the year 1914 from Bible prophecy.

    1. Daniel 4:17 says that the dream that God gave to King Nebuchadnezzar deals with the Kingdom of God and God's promise to give it to " the one whom he wants " or " the lowliest one of mankind." The Bible says that Jesus Christ was indeed "the lowliest one of mankind." (Phil. 2:7, 8; Matt. 11:28-30) He is also the one to whom Jehovah 'wants to' give the kingdom. (Luke 1:31-33; Rev. 11:15) Thus, Jehovah's Witnesses believe this dream was also fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
    2. Rulership over mankind, as represented by the tree and its rootstock, would have "the heart of a beast." (Dan. 4:16) As Jesus showed in his prophecy pointing to the conclusion of the system of things (end of the world), Jerusalem would be "trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations (gentile times)" were fulfilled. (Matt.24:3; Luke 21:24) According to Jehovah's Witnesses, "Jerusalem" represented the Kingdom of God because its kings were said to sit on "the throne of the kingship of Jehovah." (1 Chron. 28:4, 5; Matt. 5:34-35) The Gentile governments are represented in the book of Daniel by wild beasts (bears, rams, goats, etc). Daniel 2:37 depicts these kingdoms, beginning with Nebuchadnezzar, being given rulership of the world, succeeded by other kingdoms to follow. Then, in Daniel 2:44, God would reassert the authority of his kingdom by 'crushing' these kingdoms. This was a prophetic picture of how the gentile kingdoms would 'trample' on the right of God's Kingdom to direct human affairs and would themselves hold sway under Satan's control, until the 'gentile times' ended (Luke 21:21). (Dan. 7:2-8, 17, 23; 8:20-22; Rev. 13:1, 2; Luke 4:5, 6)
    3. Revelation 11:2, 3 and 12:6, 14 clearly states that 42 months (3 1/2 years) in that prophecy are counted as 1,260 days. "Seven times" or Seven years would be twice that, or 2,520 days. Bible shows that a day is counted as a year in calculating prophetic time in two of its many prophecies (Ezek. 4:6; Num. 14:34), then prophetic "seven times" means 2,520 years.
    4. According to Jehovah's Witnesses, the counting of the "seven times" begin after Zedekiah, the last king in the typical Kingdom of God, was removed from the throne in Jerusalem by the Babylonians. (Ezek. 21:25-27) Jehovah's Witnesses believe that this took place 70 years before 537 B.C., the year in which they believe the Jews returned from captivity; that is, it took place by early October of 607 B.C. (Jer. 29:10; Dan. 9:2) Counting 2,520 years from early October of 607 B.C. brings us to early October of 1914.

    The Witnesses believe that this is borne out in the events of 1914. Jesus answered the question of "the sign" of his presence by including the phrase "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom." (Matthew 24:7) The 'Great War' of 1914 was even referred to secularly as World War I - the first war of its kind in history (though it was not called this prior to the Second World War). They conclude that this is proof that WWI was a significant part of the "the sign" of Christ's presence.

    Jehovah's Witnesses generally do not use the expression 'end of the world', with its connotations of the destruction of humanity or the planet, but prefer to use the expression 'conclusion of a system of things', thus maintaining the distinction between the original-language words kosmos (world) and aion (age, or system of things)

    Witness eschatology sees the following series of events at the end of the system of things:

    1. Christ becomes King in Heaven in 1914 and Satan and his angels are hurled down to the earth (Revelation 11:15; 12:7-12). The "last days" of 2 Timothy 3:1 begin.
    2. Fulfillment of prophecies in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21 about the 'conclusion of the system of things.'
    3. Cry of 'peace and security' (1 Thessalonians 5:3).
    4. Destruction of Babylon the Great (all religions throughout the world who do not practice true Christianity) by the 'wild beast' referred to in Revelation 17 (understood by the Witnesses to be the worldwide political system through the United Nations).
    5. Satan's attack on true Christians. (Ezekiel 38).
    6. Armageddon - God's war against the 'Kings of the Earth' (political rulers); destruction of the wicked.
    7. 1000-year reign of Jesus Christ. Righteous ones who are counted worthy to be delivered through Armageddon will work together with the help of Jesus and Angels to make the earth a paradise, like the original Garden of Eden, and the righteous ones will gradually be restored to perfection. The dead will then at be resurrected at this time and given the chance to learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:9, 10).
    8. Final test; Satan let loose for a short time to roam the earth, after which he will be destroyed along with his followers (Revelation 20:7-10).
    9. After Satan and his followers have been destroyed Jesus then hands back the Kingdom to his heavenly father in perfect order, wiped clean of all badness, wickedness, death, suffering and wars. (Revelation 21:3-4) (1 Corinthians 15:28).

    Witnesses remain neutral in political affairs and teach that believers on earth will be spectators only in the above-mentioned scenario, not participating in any type of warfare.

    Rastafarianism

    The Rastafari movement believes the end times began with the crowning of Haile Selassie as Emperor of Ethiopia in 1930, and that he will soon reveal himself as God.

    They moreover believe that Ethiopian historical events such as the Second Italo-Ethiopian War are prophesied in the Bible. The rastafarians are waiting for Selassie to call the day of judgment, punish the wicked, and take the righteous back to Africa to live in Mount Zion in Africa to live with him forever in perfect peace, love and harmony. The present society in which they find themselves is referred to as Babylon, and will be destroyed on the day of judgment.

    Rastafarians have a unique interpretation of the end times, based on the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation. They believe Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie is God incarnate, the King of kings and Lord of lords mentioned in Revelation 5:5. While on the one hand Selassie's crowning was seen as the second coming, and events such as the Second Italo-Ethiopian War were seen as fulfillments of biblical and specifically Revelation prophecy there is also expectation that Selassie will call a day of judgment, when he will bring home the lost children of Israel (the black peoples taken out of Africa during the slave trade) to live with him in peace, love and harmony in the Mount Zion in Africa. Mount Zion is not a place, but the Rastas do believe that they will live there with Selassie in the physical sense of the word; e.g., living in their physical bodies in a physical place. There they will never die.

    Islam

    Islam gives very clear guidelines to its followers regarding the end of times. There are various signs (as many as up to 100) given in the Sunnah and Quran for the coming of Judgment Day. These signs can be divided into two parts, minor and major. The major signs include the coming of an Antichrist, Imam Mahdi and then Prophet Jesus (who will combine forces of good against evil), the blowing of Trumpet and the minor signs will precede them. For a list of all signs of coming of Judgment day in Islam, visit

    Islamic eschatology is concerned with the Qiyamah (end of the world; Last Judgment) and the final judgment of humanity. Eschatology relates to one of the six articles of faith (aqidah) of Islam. Like the other Abrahamic religions, Islam teaches the bodily resurrection of the dead, the fulfillment of a divine plan for creation, and the immortality of the human soul; the righteous are rewarded with the pleasures of Jannah (Heaven), while the unrighteous are punished in Jahannam (Hell). A significant fraction of the Quran deals with these beliefs, with many hadith elaborating on the themes and details. Islamic apocalyptic literature describing the Armageddon is often known as fitna (a test) and malahim (or ghayba in the shi'ite tradition).

    Sunni Islam

    Sunni Islam, which is followed by the majority of Muslims, and uses the Quran and the Hadith as a reference to the signs of Judgment day. The signs in Sunni Islam revolve around the purification of earth from non-believers, either by mass conversion of non believers or in most cases by death. The appearance of the Mahdi as the final Muslim Caliph and the ascending of Jesus Christ in his time.

    Before the major signs as they are called, all minor signs have to occur. They are listed here:

    A. The Minor Signs

    1. The Prophethood of Muhammad
    2. The death of the Prophet
    3. The conquering of Bait ul-Maqdis
    4. The Plague of Amwaas (in Palestine)
    5. The increase in wealth so that sadaqah is not needed
    6. Trials and civil strife:
      (i) The appearance of troubles in the east
      (ii) The killing of Uthmaan (ra)
      (iii) The battle of al-Jamaal
      (iv) The battle of Siffeen
      (v) The appearanc of the Khawaarij
      (vi) The happening of al-Harrah
      (vii) The appearance of the saying that the Quran is create
      (viii) The following of the ways of the previous nations
    7. The appearance of claimants to Prophethood
    8. Widespread safety
    9. The appearance of fire in the Hijaz
    10. Fighting the Turks
    11. Fighting the non-Arabs
    12. Disappearance of trustworthiness
    13. Disappearance of knowledge and appearance of ignorance
    14. Increase in the number of police and helpers of the oppressors
    15. Spread of fornication
    16. Spread of usury
    17. Spread of musical instruments
    18. Drinking of intoxicants and its being allowed
    19. Adorning the mosques and rivalling therein
    20. Building tall buildings
    21. The slave girls giving birth to her mistress (the daughter of her master)
    22. Increase in killing
    23. Time passing quickly
    24. Coming together of markets
    25. Appearance of Shirk in this Ummah
    26. Appearance of wickedness, cutting off of relations and ill treatment of neighbours
    27. Dying of grey hairs with black dye
    28. Increase of extreme miserliness
    29. Increase in trade
    30. Increase in earthquakes
    31. Appearance of sinking into the earth, transformation into animals and false-accusations
    32. The passing away of the pious
    33. The raising of the despicable people to positions of importance
    34. That greeting is given only to those the person knows
    35. That knowledge is sought from other than the scholars in truth
    36. Appearance of women in clothes which do not cover them
    37. The truthfulness of the dreams of the Believers
    38. Spread and increase in writing
    39. Laxity with regard to the Sunnah
    40. Increase in size of the new moons
    41. Increase in falsehood and having no concern to check reports
    42. Increase in false testimony and withholding true witness
    43. Large number of women and small number of men
    44. Sudden death being common
    45. Hatred amongst peoples hearts
    46. The return of the land of the Arabs to being pastures and rivers
    47. Increase in rain but decrease in agriculture
    48. The revealing of a mountain of gold by the Euphrates river
    49. The talking of wild animals and inanimate objects to people
    50. Wishing for death because of the severity of trials
    51. Increase in the number of 'Romans' and their fighting the muslims
    52. Victory over Constantinople
    53. The appearance of al-Qahtaanee
    54. Fighting the Jews
    55. The expelling by al-Madeenah of its wicked people, then its desolation at the end of time
    56. The sending of a pleasant wind to take away the souls of the Believers
    57. The attacking of the Sacred House and dismantling of the Ka'bah

    B. The Major Signs

    1. The Mahdee
    2. The Anti-Christ Maseeh ud-Dajjal
    3. The descent of Eesaa
    4. Yajooj and Maajooj
    5. The three great sinkings of the earth
    6. The appearance of smoke in the sky
    7. The rising of the sun in the west
    8. The beast of the earth [Daabbat ul-Ard]
    9. The fire which brings the people together
    10. A wind that will take the souls of all Muslims and only leave infidels on Earth.

    Source: SalafiPublications; Signs Before the Day of Judgement Author: Yoosuf ibn Abdillaah ibn Yoosuf al-Waabil in "Ashraatus-Saa'ah" (Trans. Dawud Burbank)

    These next occurrences are the final steps of Judgment day and occur on Earth:

    1. The blowing of the first Trumpet killing all humans on Earth.
    2. The blowing of the second Trumpet marking resurrection.
    3. The awaiting of Judgment by all humans, a process that is said to take thousands of years under a scorching sun.
    4. Judgment of mankind begins.

    It should be mentioned that unlike the Shi'a, Sunni Muslims don't give much credit to the coming of the Mahdi since he is just another Caliphate to them and a human who is born at a certain time and has a normal life span and dies a natural death. He is anticipated but not treated more than a normal human.

    Shia Islam

    End of time beliefs in Shia Islamic thought are based on Quranic references, instruction from the Prophet Muhammad and his Ahl al-Bayt. Several variants of one theory exist in Shia eschatology, yet they all revolve around the messianic figure, Muhammad al-Mahdi, who is considered by Shias as the 12th appointed successor of Prophet Muhammad. The Shia end of time theory also states that the coming of Jesus will coincide with the return of the Mahdi. Shias believe that Jesus and the Mahdi will work together to bring about peace and justice on earth between all peoples of faith. The aforementioned is the general theme accepted among Shia theologians, but there remains a group that continues to study classical texts to further define the end of time events.

    In Shia Islamic thought, there is a worldly reality that is mentioned to occur before the end of human life on earth. The events that occur in the final moments of humanity will mainly revolve around Dajjal and his ability to woo humanity to a new world religion, one that is not divinely issued. The idea of a Mahdi returning to help humanity against the "Great Deception" is also mentioned in Sunni traditions, but is specifically outlined as Muhammad al-Mahdi in Shia sources. There are many sources that have prophecies regarding the last days, with only some that are accepted as repeated in different sources by different people. A majority of Shia scholars agree on the following detail of events that will occur in the final days:

    1. The Dajjal will claim to be the savior of humanity and people of all faiths will unite under his religion
    2. There will be mass killings of Shias in Iraq (around the Euphrates), and there will be prices put on their hands, even if they are not criminals
    3. There will be a revolt by a "Yamani" who will be defeated in his efforts
    4. The Mahdi will reappear and make a speech at the Kaaba and will gather an army of 313 generals and thousands of followers to defeat the Dajjal
    5. A person by the name of "Sufyani" (his religion is not mentioned, though he is a descendant of the disintegrated Ummayyad dynasty whose scattered descendants may have been in the Levant and Spain or Morocco over the last 12 centuries) will lead forces from Syria across Iraq to Arabia to defeat the Mahdi's forces along with his Allies
    6. The Mahdi will re-establish the true Islam and the world will find peace and tranquility
    7. There will be a period of rule by the Mahdi
    8. The resurrection of men and women will begin as the Day of Judgement will commence

    Religions beyond the Abrahamic tradition

    Many of the world's religions have a prophetic expectation that equates with the idea of the End Times.

    Zoroastrianism

    Zoroastrian eschatology is the oldest eschatology in recorded history. By 500 BC, Zoroastrians had fully developed a concept of the end of the world through a divine devouring in fire.

    According to Zoroastrian philosophy, redacted in the Zand-i Vohuman Yasht, "at the end of thy tenth hundredth winter...the sun is more unseen and more spotted; the year, month, and day are shorter; and the earth is more barren; and the crop will not yield the seed; and men ... become more deceitful and more given to vile practices. They have no gratitude." "Honorable wealth will all proceed to those of perverted faith...and a dark cloud makes the whole sky night..and it will rain more noxious creatures than winter."

    At the end of the Battle between the righteous and wicked, a Final Judgment of all souls will commence. Sinners will be punished for 3 days, but are then forgiven. The world will reach perfection as poverty, old age, disease, thirst, hunger, and death are halted. Zoroastrian concepts parallel greatly with those of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic eschatological beliefs largely due to the influence Zoroastrianism exerted on Judaism whilst the Levant was under Achaemenid control and the subsequent emergence of Christianity and Islam.

    Buddhism

    Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit; Pali: Siddhāttha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from Nepal and the founder of Buddhism. The time of his birth and death are uncertain but a number of 20th-century historians have dated his lifetime from circa 563 BC to 483 BC. Some more recent scholars, however, have suggested dates of 410 to 400 BC for his death.. This alternative chronology, however, has not yet been accepted by other historians.

    This founder of Buddhism predicted that his teachings would disappear after 500 years. According to the Sutta Pitaka, the "ten moral courses of conduct" will disappear and people will follow the ten amoral concepts of theft, violence, murder, lying, evil speaking, adultery, abusive and idle talk, covetousness and ill will, wanton greed, and perverted lust resulting in skyrocketing poverty and the end of the worldly laws of true dharma.

    As part of Buddhist eschatology, it is believed that the era leading up to the coming of the next Buddha Maitreya will be characterized by impiety, physical weakness, sexual depravity and general societal disarray.

    During the Middle Ages, the span of time was expanded to 5,000 years. Commentators like Buddhaghosa predicted a step-by-step disappearance of the Buddha's teachings. During the first stage, arahats would no longer appear in the world. Later, the content of the Buddha's true teachings would vanish, and only their form would be preserved. Finally, even the form of the Dharma would be forgotten. During the final stage, the memory of the Buddha himself would be forgotten, and the last of his relics would be gathered together in Bodh Gaya and cremated. Some time following this development a new Buddha named Maitreya will arise to renew the teachings of Buddhism and rediscover the path to Nirvana. Maitreya is believed to currently reside in the Tushita heaven, where he is awaiting his final rebirth in the world.

    The decline of Buddhism in the world, and its eventual re-establishment by Maitreya, are in keeping with the general shape of Buddhist cosmology. Like Hindus, Buddhists generally believe in a cycle of creation and destruction, of which the current epoch represents only the latest step. The historical Buddha Shakyamuni is only the latest in a series of Buddhas that stretches back into the past.

    Hinduism

    Hindus have a cyclic understanding of external history/internal spirituality. The Cycle or "Kalpa", lasting 4,320 million years in the terms of orthodox Hindus, illustrates the pattern of decline in the state of nature and civilization between periods of timelessness when Brahma (Creator aspect of mind/spirit) regenerates the world of existence/reality. There are four yugs or ages in this process from completely pure to completely impure. The final is Kali Yuga or the Iron Age where civilization becomes spiritually degraded, human lives are shortened by violence and disease and there is a general state of decay in nature. This is the worst period before complete destruction which is then followed by a Golden Age, see

    Hindu traditional prophecies, as described in the Puranas and several other texts, say that the world shall fall into chaos and degradation. There will then be a rapid influx of perversity, greed and conflict, and this state has been described as:

    "Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya Glanir Bhavati Bharata, Abhyuthanam Adharmasya Tadatmanam Srijami Aham". Bhagavad Gita (Chapter IV-7)

    "Whenever there is decay of righteousness O! Bharatha And a rise of unrighteousness then I manifest Myself!"

    Thus whenever there is intolerable evil and chaos in the world, there is an appearance of an avatar. In the current yuga, known as the Kali (the most evil) yuga, "The Lord shall manifest Himself as the Kalki Avatar... He will establish righteousness upon the earth and the minds of the people will become as pure as crystal."

    In Hinduism, there is no eternal damnation of souls. There is no end times as well. After this evil Kali yuga ends, the next yuga or epoch would be Satya yuga where everyone will be righteous, followed by Treta yuga,Dwapara yuga and then another Kali Yuga. Thus time is cyclical and the epochs keep repeating infinitely. However, the extent of tolerable evil and degradation in each epoch is different and therefore the threshold that is necessary for the manifestation of God's incarnation is different for each yuga. The current yuga is the most evil and so the threshold for the appearance of the avatar is so high that the world needs to degrade to the maximum levels.

    BKWSU

    The length of Kalpa is said to be 5,000 years according the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University. The BKWSU believe in a 5th age called the Confluence Age, a time of both a total annihilation of humanity by Nuclear weapons, civil war and natural disasters; and revelation of God. The BKWSU teaches that humanity entered the End Times in approximately 1936 and the period will end in approximately 2036.

    Bahá'í Faith

    The founder of the Bahá'í Faith, Bahá'u'lláh claimed that he was the return of Christ as well as prophetic expectations of other religions. The inception of the Bahá'í Faith coincides with Millerite prophesy pointing to the year 1844. With respect to particular expectations of the end times, it has been argued that the Battle of Armageddon has already passed and that mass martyrdoms anticipated during the End Times had already passed within the Historical context of the Bahá'í Faith.

    Native American

    Several Native American tribes hold similar beliefs concerning the end times.

    Hopi

    Among the Native peoples of the Americas, the Hopi also have expectations of a "Day of Purification" followed by a great renewal.

    Hopi tribal leaders such as Dan Evehema, Thomas Banyaca and Martin Gashwaseoma, prophesize that the coming of the white man signals the end times, along with a strange beast "like a buffalo but with great horns that would overrun the land". It is prophesied that during the end times, the earth would be crossed by iron snakes and stone rivers; the land would be criss-crossed by a giant spider's web, and seas will turn black. (A common speculative interpretation is to equal "iron snakes" with trains, "rock rivers" with highways and the giant spiders web with powerlines or even the world wide web.)

    It is also prophesied that a "great dwelling place" in the heavens shall fall with a great crash. It will appear as a blue star, and the earth will rock to and fro. White men would then battle people in other lands, with those who possess wisdom of their presence. There would then be smoke in the deserts, and the signs that great destruction is near.

    Many would then die, but those who understand the prophecies shall live in the places of the Hopi people and be safe. The Pahana or "True White Brother" would then return to plant the seeds of wisdom in people's hearts, and thus usher in the dawn of the Fifth World.

    In at least one American movie, there is mention of Hopi prophecies, specifically, the movie "Koyaanisqattsi", which was produced and released in 1982.

    Lakota

    According to an Oglala Lakota medicine man - "darkness would descend over the tribe...the world would be out of balance. Floods, fires and earthquakes would then ensue."

    A "White Buffalo Calf Woman" will then purify the world. She will then bring back harmony and spiritual balance.

    White bisons have been born in 1994, in 1995 and in 2006 at a farm in Janesville, Wisconsin. Many tribal leaders thus feel that the prophecy is being fulfilled.

    Maya

    The ancient and many modern Maya groups believe that the universe has been renewed four previous times. The first attempt at human life produced animals instead; the second produced a people made of clay who would eventually become certain insects (such as ants and bees); the third attempt produced monkeys; and the fourth attempt produced us: "true humans." Each prior attempt at the human creation was destroyed by a different catastrophe which ended the universe. These stories vary by Maya group: the animals were nearly destroyed by a flood, the people of clay were nearly destroyed by a flood and then a global firestorm, the monkey-people were attacked by their own belongings and their animals.

    The astronomically-based Mayan calendar will be completing its first great cycle of approximately 5,200 years on the 21 December, 2012. Although there is no substantial evidence that the ancient Maya considered the date significant, many people have postulated that this is the "end of the Universe" from the Mayan perspective, and others believe that the Mayans meant this to symbolize the "coming of a great change."

    Greek mythology

    Greek mythology is derived primarily from Greek literature and representations on visual media dating from the Geometric period (c. 900-800 BC) onward.

    Ancient Greek mythology claimed that Zeus, as he had previously overthrown his father, Chronus, would in turn also be overthrown by a son. This story can be seen as the equivalent to the end of the world, or the end of an age. Prometheus revealed to him that this son would be born from Zeus and Thetis, if they copulated. In order to prevent this from happening, Zeus married Thetis to Peleus, a mortal hero. This union produced Achilles, the protagonist of the Iliad and one of the greatest heroes of Greek myth.

    Norse mythology

    In Norse mythology, Ragnarök (Old Norse "Final destiny of the gods") refers to a series of major events, including a great battle foretold to ultimately result in the death of a number of major figures (including the gods Odin, Thor, Freyr, Heimdall, and the jötunn Loki), the occurrence of various natural disasters, and the subsequent submersion of the world in water. Afterwards, the world resurfaces anew and fertile, the surviving gods meet, and the world is repopulated by two human survivors. Ragnarök is an important event in the Norse canon, and has been the subject of an amount of scholarly discourse and theory.

    Modern media

    Literature

    • The Left Behind series of novels, comic book stories, some motion pictures and a computer game, originally by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, are a fictional telling of these tales from the most popular, Futurist point of view.
    • A rapture of sorts occurs in the novel Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert A. Heinlein.
    • "The Dead" by Mark E. Rogers depicts a fearful end to Humanity's reign on Earth. A (surprisingly small) number of people are "Raptured" from the face of the Earth - perhaps more controversially than anything else that happens in the book, the Pope is not "Raptured" - and the remaining people find themselves coming under increasing attack from reanimated corpses under the control of the Biblical demon, Legion. The corpses are all but unstoppable, being vulnerable only to fire, and continue to attack even when their bodies have suffered traumatic damage. (A bullet to the head will not stop them.) Legion and his host are committed to slaughtering all of Mankind in a series of extremely horrible ways. Technology fails at every level rendering Humanity all but defenseless. This novel could be considered the darkest vision of Mankind's final hours.
    • An end-times novel that depicts a Preterist point of view, entitled The Last Disciple, was written by well-known apologist Hank Hanegraaff (aka " The Bible Answer Man") and Sigmund Brouwer; it was released in Autumn 2004, ironically by the same publisher as the futurist Left Behind series.
    • A contemporary Marian visionary, Michelle Rios Rice, has written a superb account of Marian end-time revelations, "A Time of Fire~A Way of Fire", which argues that we are currently in the end times and that the Battle of Armageddon, which is being fought on many levels, has already begun.
    • The end-times of H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos involves the destruction of all we know. Though multiple versions of how it will come to pass exist, one version he mentions comes in his short story The Call of Cthulhu, in which he states...
      "The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom."
      —H. P. Lovecraft, "The Call of Cthulhu"
      Essentially, humanity will have reverted to pure instinct and desires, and Cthulhu will usher in a new age in his own image.
    • Joel C. Rosenberg's bestselling political thrillers The Last Jihad, The Last Days, The Ezekial Option, and The Copper Scroll deal with the War of Gog and Magog and what will happen in the End Times previous to the rapture. His nonfiction book which recounts the reasoning behind his theories and the current perceived signs that the End Times will come in our generation is called Epicenter.
    • Childhood's End is a science fiction novel written by Sir Arthur C. Clarke, originally published in 1953, in which humanity is visited by aliens who resemble Satan. The aliens, named in the novel as the overlords, are seen in the role of "heralds" for a god-like force named the Overmind. A transformation occurs in the last human generation, which ultimately merges with this Overmind and resulting in the destruction of the earth and the solar system.
    • The 2007 novel Fallen Nation: Babylon Burning focuses on the end of time through the end of a culture, much like Mel Gibson's film Apocalypto. A rock-group loosely based on Jack Parson's Babalon working and the non-fictional thelemic influenced Babalon start an uprising that spirals out of control and leads to the end.
    • The Banjo Players Must Die is an end of times story of bungling angels and an uncaring god. In this story, ultimately, existence recurses into itself.

    Film

    • The motion picture movie, The Omen (1976) and its sequels are predicated on some Futurist and other end-times' beliefs.
    • The motion picture movie, The Seventh Sign (1988), featured some elements mentioned in the biblical new testament, but was 'loosely based' on the Bible, being mixed with the story-telling plot of the screen writers and having little relevance to the Bible as a whole.
    • The motion picture movie, Rosemary's Baby features the drugging of a young woman by her husband, played by John Cassavetes. Farrow's character, in a drugged state, is later brought aboard a sailing vessel by members of a coven and raped by a satanic being. The woman, played by Mia Farrow, later becomes pregnant and conceives a child who is later identified as the son of Satan. This child is presumably destined to mature into the Antichrist.
    • Alex de la Iglesia's Spanish horror-comedy motion picture "El Día de la Bestia" (Day of the Beast) depicts the efforts of a Basque priest and a young follower of heavy metal music to prevent the birth of the Antichrist.
    • Cloud Ten Pictures has produced three Left Behind movies, the first two based on the same-name books. The third movie, World At War, deviated slightly from the authors' works but retained the same characters and overall storyline. Cloud Ten has also produced various other films depicting a futuristic view of the End Times.
    • The motion picture movie, End of Days which featured Arnold Schwarzenegger.
    • The Rapture (1991). A film whereby the writer, producer and director provide their own views, apart from those of biblical, christian, evangelical thinking or other views.

    References

    See also

    Book Sources

    • Boyer, Paul. When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture. ISBN 0-674-95129-8
    • Graham, Billy. Approaching Hoofbeats: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. ISBN 0-380-69921-4
    • Lindsey, Hal. The Late Great Planet Earth (1970 Bantam edition, seventeenth printing); current ISBN 0-310-27771-X
    • Lindsey, Hal. The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon (1981), ISBN B00005VA37
    • Oropeza, B. J. 99 Reasons Why Nobody Knows When Christ Will Return, ISBN 0-8308-1636-4
    • Ruthven, Jon. The Prophecy That Is Shaping History: New Research on Ezekiel's Vision of the End. ISBN 1-59160-214-9

    Bibliography

    Dispensationalist books

    • Falwell, Jerry (ed.), The King James Study Bible, ISBN 0-7852-0930-1
    • "The Man, the False Prophet, and the Harlot", subtitled "The Name of the Antichrist Finally Revealed" by Dr. Anthony M. Giliberti ©1991; Published by "This Is The Generation" Library of Congress Catalog Number 90-93451 ISBN 0-9628419-0-0.

    Dave Hunt Books

    • "How Close Are We?" by Dave Hunt ©1993 Harvest House Publishers. NOTE: Dated; but still a good Pre-Tribulation Doctrine book. I believe the author has updated this book with a new book titled "When Will Jesus Come?".
    • "A Cup of Trembling" by Dave Hunt ©1995; Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 97402; ISBN 1-56507-334-7
    • "A Woman Rides the Beast" (subtitled, "The Catholic Church in the Last Days" by Dave Hunt; ©1994; Harvest House Publishers.
    • J. Dwight Pentecost "Things to Come" ©1958; published by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506
    • Scofield, C. I.. (ed.) The Scofield Reference Bible, facsimile of 1917 edition. ISBN 0-529-10953-0
    • Van Impe, Jack (ed.) The Jack Van Impe Prophecy Bible, ISBN 1-884137-88-1

    John F. Walvoord Books

    • "The Return of the Lord" by John F. Walvoord ©1955; Zondervan Publishing House Library of Congress Cat. #77-106423.
    • "Israel In Prophecy" by John F. Walvoord ©1962; Zondervan Publishing House.
    • "The Church in Prophecy" by John F. Walvoord ©1964; Zondervan Publishing House.
    • "The Nations in Prophecy" by John F. Walvoord ©1967; Zondervan Publishing House.
    • "The Millennial Kingdom" by John F. Walvoord ©1959; by Dunham Publishing Co. Academie Books published by Zondervan Publishing House, 1415 Lake Drive. S.E., Grand Rapids Michigan 49506.
    • "The Rapture Question" by John F. Walvoord (Revised & Enlarged) ©1974; The Zondervan Corporation.

    (NOTE: Some of Walvoord's books of separate title may have been combined into a new, revised book)

    General

    • Bigalke Jr., Ron J., One World: Economy, Government, and Religion in the Last Days. (ISBN 0-9749811-8-4)
    • Camping, Harold, Time Has an End: The Biblical History of the World.
    • Cohn, Norman, The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Millennarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages. ISBN 0-19-500456-6
    • DeMar, Gary. Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church. ISBN 0-915815-35-4
    • Guyatt, Nicholas. Have A Nice Doomsday - Why Millions Of Americans Are Looking Forward To The End Of The World. ISBN 9780091910877
    • Heindel, Max, How Shall We Know Christ at His Coming?, May 1913 (stenographic report of a lecture, Los Angeles), ISBN 0-911274-64-2
    • LaHaye, Tim and Jenkins, Jerry, Are We Living in the End Times? ISBN 0-8423-3644-3
    • Lewis, Frederick E., Understanding the Bible and End Times ISBN 1-59886-386-X
    • Matson, Daniel W., Signs of the End: A Discovery of Biblical Timelines. www
    • Pearce, Tony, The Omega Files, New Wine Press, ISBN 1-903725-18-6 www
    • Riddlebarger, Kim, A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times. ISBN 0-8010-6435-X
    • Robbins, Thomas and Palmer, Susan J., Millennium, Messiahs, and Mayhem: Contemporary Apocalyptic Movements. ISBN 0-415-91649-6
    • Sliker, David, End-Times Simplified: Preparing Your Heart for the Coming Storm. ISBN 0977673804
    • Sproul, R. C., The Last Days According to Jesus. ISBN 0-8010-6340-X

    External links

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