Eschatological Vocabulary

The vocabulary of the end times or of future things.

In order to understand what Jesus is teaching, we need to understand a number of things first:

Eschatological Vocabulary



First Advent

The 1st Advent is the incarnation of Jesus Christ. It is when our Lord walked on this earth as a man. This is roughly between 5 b.c. and a.d. 30.


This word literally refers to the administration of a household. However, it has come to mean in modern theology an epoch during which God has a particular plan for that era, e.g., the Age of Israel or the Church Age. Eph. 1:7–10 3:1–10 Col. 1:23–29. For this reason, when we see the word dispensation in the Bible, we need to not think of it as an epoch but as the way that God administers His household. However, outside of the Bible, the word also includes the idea of a period of time. See the doctrine of Dispensations for more information.

The Dispensation of the Hypostatic Union

The time period is at least 3–4 years of our Lord’s public ministry, and it make take in His entire physical life. This time period might be seen as a hinge between the Age of Israel and the Church Age. During this period of time, Jesus Christ fulfills all of the Mosaic Law and all of the prophecies of the Old Testament, while simultaneously living the spiritual life that would be utilized by believers today in the Church Age. As R. B. Thieme, Jr. used to say, our Lord test drove the spiritual life for us. We draw upon the exact same spiritual assets as our Lord did in His earthly ministry.

Church Age

This is the era in which we live right now, where God works through the church universal, which is through those who believe in Him. God also works primarily through the local church through the power of His Word and the power of the Holy Spirit. These are the means by which believers grow spiritually. Most divine good is produced in this age as a result of the correct function of the local church in guiding believers to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Mystery doctrines

Doctrines which are specific to the Church Age, e.g., the filling of the Holy Spirit, the baptism of the Spirit, the universal priesthood. Like many technical words found in the Pauline epistles, Paul appropriated this word from another discipline and applied it to Christian doctrine. Originally, this word refers to doctrines and principles known within a particular cult or organization, but not known to outsiders. Paul used this word to apply the Church Age doctrines. Rev. 16:25–26 1Cor. 2:7–8


When Jesus returns for believers in the Church Age. We will meet our Lord in the air. 1Cor. 15:51–54 1Thess. 4:15–17 2Thess. 2:1–3 Footnote


The Tribulation will occur after the termination of the Church Age, which is the removal of all believers from planet earth. The Tribulation will be a shortened 7 years prior to the 2nd Advent, which is then followed by the Millennium. The Tribulation is actually the final 7 years of the Age of Israel, which was interrupted by the Church Age (which concept will be more thoroughly explained below). Matt. 24:15–31

Second Advent

Different from the rapture (which occurs at the beginning of the Tribulation), the 2nd Advent is when Jesus returns and cleanses the earth of unbelievers at the end of the Tribulation and begins the next dispensation with His Millennial reign (which is presented in the gospels as the Kingdom of God). Matt. 24:27, 30–31, 36–39 Mark 14:61–62 Luke 9:26–27 17:30 Acts 1:11 Col. 3:4 1Thess. 5:2–4 Rev. 1:7 3:11.

The 2nd Advent in connection with the Tribulation is often called, the Day of the Lord.

The Day of the Lord

This can refer to a portion of the Tribulation or to the return of Jesus Christ when He will destroy all of the armies who are converging upon nation Israel. Jer. 46:10 Acts 2:20 1Thess. 5:2 (This phrase is also used for the end of the Millennium in 2Peter 3:10)


In many Old Testament passages as well as in at least one New, the two advents of our Lord are presented as one event. That is, we go directly frm the 1st Advent to the 2nd. However, intercalated between these two events is the Church Age. Examples of this: Psalm 2:6–9 22:22–23 96:11–13 110:2–3 146:7–10 Isa. 40:3–5 42:1 Jer. 33:14–16 Luke 17:22–30.

Intercalation is the key to understanding Luke 4:16–21, where Jesus is reading Scripture in a synagogue and He stops mid-verse, and rolls the scroll back up. He stopped reading mid-verse in Isa. 61:2, and then said, “Today, this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” The rest of the verse, which Jesus did not read, continued on into the 2nd Advent of Christ. There are many more examples found in the doctrine of intercalation. If you are unaware of this concept, when you see these verses laid out, where the 1st and 2nd advents are clearly distinguished, it will be as if your eyes have just been opened.

Baptism of Fire

The baptism of fire is when the earth is cleansed at the 2nd advent of all unbelievers. This is when all unbelievers are removed from the earth prior to the beginning of the Millennium. Malachi 3:2–3 Matt. 3:11 24:40–51 Luke 3:16–17 2Thess. 1:7–10 1Peter 1:12 4:7. Some people confuse rapture passages with baptism of fire passages.


The Millennium is the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ on this earth. This is the Kingdom of God which Jesus offered to the Jews and which they rejected during His 1st Advent. Psalm 72 Isa. 11:1–9 John 8:44 Rev. 20:1–3.

Explaining each of these words completely and going over the passages where they are found would expand this one lesson by 10-fold.

You will notice that some of these words and phrases are used in the Bible (day of the Lord) and some are not (like intercalation). It is not unusual for theology to develop theological terms not found in the Bible (e.g., the word Trinity).

One of the more thorough listings of Scripture for the 2nd Advent: accessed July 4, 2012.

The Doctrine of Intercalation, which includes not only a listing of all the Scripture, but how it is broken down between the 1st and 2nd Advents: (HTML) (PDF).

The Doctrine of the Baptism of Fire is found here and here.

Eschatology, in a nutshell: When Jesus was born of a virgin, had a 3 year public ministry and died on the cross for our sins; this was His 1st Advent. His life is sometimes called the Dispensation of the Hypostatic Union. After Jesus died physically, was resurrected and finally ascended, the Church Age began (Acts 1:7–9). The church age continues until believers in the Church Age are raptured from this earth, where we meet the Lord in the air (1Thess. 4:17). The Age of Israel is then continued Footnote and concluded, and the final 7 years of the Age of Israel occurs, which is known as the Tribulation (Matt. 24:21). Then Jesus will return to the earth, to the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4), which is His 2nd Advent (the Tribulation and 2nd Advent together are known as the Day of the Lord). At this time, He will cleanse the earth with fire (the baptism of fire) after killing millions who have come to destroy Israel (Rev. 14:20). Footnote In the Old Testament, there was no clear separation between the 1st and 2nd Advents of our Lord; however, intercalated between these advents is the Church Age. After the baptism of fire, the Millennial reign of Christ will commence.