In seeking to avoid theological language Neil Mackereth, author of SIGNS: the Significance of Bible Prophecy, has written the following as Annex A to Part 4 of What Is The Book Of Revelation For?
[Part 1: Introduction; Part 2: The Letters; Part 3: Chapters 4-11; Part 4: Chapters 12-18]
In further study, readers are likely to come across words and expressions that are not in everyday use. This selection is not exhaustive. In some cases, the given explanations are matters of fact, while others state commonly held views. A few of the comments involve interpretations/opinions that are subject to conjecture.
Abomination of Desolation – The Antichrist will desecrate the temple in Jerusalem, claim to be God and set up an image or statue of himself (which will appear to breathe and speak (Rev 13:14-15)). He will demand that he be worshiped (Rev 13). This is the abomination that leads to great desolation (Mark. 13:14; 2 Thes 2:3-4). John refers to this image ten times (Rev 13:14, 15 [three times]; 14:9, 11; 15:2; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4). The abomination is mentioned nine times (Dan 8:13; 9:26, 27; 11:31; 12:11; Matt 24:15; Mark 13:14; 2 Thes 2:3-4; Rev 13:12-18).
Advent – An arrival or presence, the term “advent” is used in scripture with reference either to the first or the second coming of Jesus, depending on the context.
Antichrist – Antichrist means opposing or false (in place of) Christ. The Antichrist will lead a “New World Order”. He will be given ability to persecute Israel and the Church for 42 months. (Rev 13:5). He will oppress Jerusalem for 42 months (Rev 11:2). The “two witnesses” prophesy in Jerusalem for 1,260 days (Rev 11:3). The remnant of Israel (the “woman” in Rev 12) will be hidden from the Antichrist in the wilderness for 1,260 days (Rev 12:6) which is also described as time, times and half a time (Rev 12:14) and three and a half years (Dan 7:25). Israel’s strength will be devastated (Dan 12:7). The term “time” refers to 1 year, “times” refers to 2 years and “half a time” to half a year. (2 Thes 2:3-12; 1 John. 2:18, 22; Rev 13:1-18).
Another Beast – A name for the False Prophet in Rev 13:11.
Apocalypse – This means unveiling or revealing and is translated as “revelation”. It is another name for the book of Revelation because it unveils or reveals the glory of Jesus and God’s end-time plan. In more recent times the word has come to be used as a descriptive noun that indicates damage or destruction on a catastrophic scale.
Apostasy – A falling away or departure from Christian faith (Matt. 24:9-13; 2 Thes 2:3; 1 Tim 4:1-2; 2 Tim 3:1-7; 4:3-4; 2 Peter 2:1-3). An apostate is one who has “fallen away” from the Christian faith.
Babylon – The historical capital of the Babylonian empire, which was in the lower valley of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (now in Iraq). The literalist view is that the city of Babylon (fifty miles south of Baghdad) will be rebuilt and used as the headquarters of the Antichrist. It will function as the centre for his worldwide government (Rev 17-18). Others consider that the term “Babylon” refers, as a metaphor, to the corrupt world political and economic system.
Beast – A term used 36 times to refer to the Antichrist (Rev 13; 14:9-11; 17:3-17; 19:19-21; 20:4, 10).
Bema – see below under Judgment Seat of Christ.
Daniel’s 30 days – In Dan12:11, an angel told Daniel about a 30 day period that extends beyond the commonly understood 1,260 days (three and a half years) in which God supernaturally protects the remnant of Israel (Rev 12:6, 14), the two witnesses prophesy (Rev 11:3) and the Antichrist persecutes the saints (Rev 13:5). The “Post Tribulation” (explained below) view is that: this period ends when Jesus comes in the sky at the seventh trumpet to rapture the saints (Rev 1:7; Matt 21:30). The 1,290 days shows an additional 30 days after the seventh trumpet during which the Antichrist rule continues on earth. There is much debate about the “1,335 days” in Dan 12:12.
Daniel’s 70th week – The final seven-year period before Jesus’ Second Coming is referred to as Daniel’s 70th week. Daniel prophesied about a “seventy week” period (Dan 9:24-27). Each “week” was a period of seven years. Therefore, these 70 “weeks” of seven years = 490 years. This prophecy concerns the time line of God’s plan for the salvation of Israel. The first sixty-nine “weeks” (483 years) were up to the time of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. We are currently in a pause of the “clock”. The last seven-year period will be fulfilled in the lead up to Jesus’ Second Coming. It will be initiated when Israel signs a peace treaty with the Antichrist, who will come from (or lead?) the revived Roman Empire (Dan 9:26-27).
Dragon – Symbolic of Satan in Revelation (Rev 12:3, 4, 7, 9, 13, 16, 17; 13:2, 4; 16:13; 20:2).
Eschatology – A theological term for the study of End Times as described in scripture.
False Prophet – The Antichrist’s “religious” leader, who will work miracles (Rev 16:13; 19:20; 20:10). He is called “another beast” in Rev 13:11.
Futurists – Those who believe the End Times prophecies are all or mostly still in the future.
Great White Throne Judgment – The time, at the end of the millennial reign, when all unbelievers will be judged by God (Rev 20:11-15).
Harlot Babylon – The Satan-inspired new world order of government (religious, military and economic systems) centered in the rebuilt city of Babylon (see above) or metaphorical Babylon (the world economic system?).
Hermeneutics – The study of the theory and practice of interpretation.
Historicists – Those who interpret the book of Revelation as if it depicts Christian history from the first century to the second advent of Jesus)
Idealists – Those who believe Revelation is a figurative or symbolic representation of the battle between good and evil. i.e., not related to real events in real time.
Image of the Beast – An image or statue of the Antichrist (see above).
Judgment Seat of Christ – The time when Jesus evaluates the life of all true believers, and rewards accordingly (2 Cor 5:10; Rom 14:10-12). This occurs immediately after the rapture. This is also referred to as the Bema judgment, which comes from the Greek word bema which means “throne”.
Little Horn – A term used by Daniel that refers to the Antichrist (Dan7:7-8; 19, 25).
Mark of the Beast – The Antichrist will require everyone to have a mark on his right hand or on his forehead (as a sign of allegiance) in order to buy or sell during the last 3 ½ years of the Tribulation.
Millennium – A 1000-year period when Jesus rules the world. Some believe it is allegorical and are termed “Amillennial” (i.e., it is not literal). Some believe it started when Jesus first came (we are in it, or it is over): they are termed “Post-millennial”. Others take the literal view that it will start when Jesus returns: “Pre-millennial”.
New Jerusalem –The heavenly city where all the saints will live forever in God’s immediate presence (Heb 11:10, 16; 12:22-24), after the millennial Kingdom (Rev 21:2).
Olivet Discourse – Jesus’ prophecy on the End Times found in Matt 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. So called because He gave it on the Mount of Olives
Parenthesis – A pause in the chronology of Revelation, sometimes called “Angelic Explanations”, where an angel explains to John the answer to questions arising from the chronological sections.
Parousia – A Greek word meaning the “presence or coming” of an important person. This word is used of Jesus’ Second Coming (Matt 24:3, 27, 37, 39; 1 Thes 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thes 2:1, 8; James. 5:7-8).
Post-Tribulation Rapture (“post-trib”) – The view that the rapture and the Second Coming occur at the end of the Great Tribulation, indicating the Church will be on earth during the Great Tribulation.
Preterists – Those who believe that all biblical prophecies have been completed, and were accomplished in the past (the first century AD). The event usually associated with the fulfilment of prophecy is the Roman-Jewish War of AD 66-73, especially the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD.
Pre-Tribulation Rapture (“pre-trib”) – The view that the rapture occurs before the Great Tribulation. This teaching claims that Christians will not go through the Tribulation.
Rapture – The “gathering in” or “catching away” of God’s people in the air when Jesus returns (1 Thes 4:13-18). There is much debate about when it will occur. Suffice it to say, it will be a wonderful event when Christians who have died will be resurrected and rise from their graves to meet Jesus in the air followed by Christians who are alive.
Replacement Theology – A teaching that the Jews have been rejected by God and replaced by the church.
Restrainer – The forces that restrain the Antichrist will be taken out of the way to allow him to come to a place of international political prominence. Post-Trib: this restraining force refers to a combination of two forces referred to by Paul as “someone” and “something” that now restrains the Antichrist (2 Thes 2:6-8). He described the restrainer of the Antichrist as a “what” (neuter in v. 6) and as a “He” (masculine in v. 7). Thus, the restraining force is a “what” and a “He” working together. Paul taught that the power of the state is appointed by God to restrain evil (Rom 13:1-4). The “what” that restrains the Antichrist is the power of the state and the “He” is God and His sovereign decree. Pre-Trib: teach that the Holy Spirit is the restrainer that is removed when the Church is raptured before the Great Tribulation (see Tribulation below).
Second Coming of Christ – The time when Jesus will come back physically to rule on the earth. He will travel across the sky so that every eye will see Him (Rev 1:7). For Post Trib: this is the time the rapture will occur, at the seventh trumpet which is the last trumpet (Is 27:13; Zec 9:14; Matt 24:31; 1 Cor 15:52; 1 Thess 4:16; Rev 10:7; 11:15).
Second Coming – The Course of Events – Jesus will travel across the sky when every eye will see Him (Rev 1:7), then through the land of Edom (Jordan) (Is 63:1-6; Hab. 3:3-16) on to Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives (Zec 14:4 ; Rev 19:17-21).
Seven Heads – From Dan 2:41-42; 7:7; Rev 12:3; 13:1; 17:3-6. Seven world empires throughout history that persecuted Israel. They are interpreted as being Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and the revived Roman Empire (yet to come – European Union?).
Supersession – Another term for Replacement Theology – see above.
Tribulation – Sometimes used to refer to the 7 years leading up to the return of Jesus (with the last 3 ½ years being the Great Tribulation). The first 3 ½ years are expected to be a time of (false) peace’ when Israel lowers it defences, before the Antichrist reveals his true intentions. So “tribulation” or “great tribulation” more accurately describes the second 3 ½ years (Matt 24:21,29; Mark. 13:24; Rev 7:14). Post-Trib: there is a view that the praying Church will release God’s judgments on the Antichrist during the Great Tribulation. In other words, the saints will not be under judgment but rather releasing God’s judgments, similar to the way Moses released God’s judgments on Pharaoh.
Two Witnesses – Two prophets who will stand against the Antichrist by prophesying and testifying during the Great Tribulation (Rev 11:3-6). They will have similar powers to those of Moses and Elijah (some speculate that they are Moses and Elijah)
Zion – Historically, the hill Mount Zion was the place name for the Jebusite encampment or fortress that King David conquered and where he established his royal capital, the City of David. Over time the name became a metonym for the site of King Solomon’s temple (which most believe was built on Mount Moriah) and eventually for all Jerusalem. The name has poetic, prophetic and spiritual overtones. The name has come to mean the Jewish homeland and is symbolic of Jewish national aspiration: it is the basis for the term Zionism.