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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eschatology (lit. 'study of the last') is a part of theology and philosophy concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world. The OED defines it as "concerned with ‘the six last things; death, particular judgement, heaven, hell, purgatory and the second coming of christ or parousia’"[1] (phrase from Book of Revelation). While in mysticism the phrase refers metaphorically to the end of ordinary reality and reunion with the Divine, in many traditional religions it is taught as an actual future event prophesied in sacred texts or folklore. More broadly, eschatology may encompass related concepts such as the Messiah or Messianic Age, the end time, and the end of days.

The Latin word aeon, (from the Greek aion) meaning "century" (connotation "age"), may be translated as "end of the age (or historical period[2])" instead of "end of the world". The time distinction also has theological significance; while the end of time in mystical traditions relates to escaping confinement in the "given" reality, some religions believe and fear it to be the literal destruction of the planet (or of all living things) – with the human race surviving in some new form, ending the current "age" of existence.

Most modern eschatology and apocalypticism, both religious and secular, involves the violent disruption or destruction of the world, whereas Christian and Jewish eschatologies view the end times as the consummation or perfection of God's creation of the world. For example, according to ancient Hebrew belief, life takes a linear (and not cyclical) path; the world began with God and is constantly headed toward God’s final goal for creation.

The word eschatology is from the Greek ἔσχατος, Eschatos meaning "last" and -logy meaning "the study of", first used in English around 1550.[3]


Eschatology in Philosophy

Eschatology has also been a belief shared, sometimes theorized on, by philosophers. Saint Augustine stressed the allegorical method of interpretation. He was greatly influenced by Origen.[4] He was followed by Ibn al-Nafis[5] and Hegel with their philosophy of history, and, some (such as the author Albert Camus in 'The Rebel') have argued, Karl Marx. Theodicy has gathered together most Enlightenment thinkers, among whom are Kant and Rousseau.

More recently, many involved in futures studies and transhumanism have noted the accelerating rate of scientific progress and anticipate a technological singularity in the 21st century that would profoundly and unpredictably change the course of human history.[6]

Eschatology in various Religions

For the eschatological beliefs of various religions, see End Times, or click on the links in the box, above right, for a specific religion.

Christian Eschatology
Eschatology differences
Christianity portal

Eschatology in Judaism

Judaism addresses the End Times in the Book of Daniel and numerous other prophetic passages in the Hebrew scriptures, and also in the Talmud, particularly Tractate Avodah Zarah.

See Jewish Eschatology.

Eschatology in Christianity

Christianity interprets the prophecies of the Hebrew scriptures from its own theological standpoint, and adds a number of eschatological prophecies of its own from the New Testament.

See Christian Eschatology.

Islamic eschatology

Islamic eschatology is documented in the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, regarding the Signs of the Day of Judgment. The Prophet's sayings on the subject have been traditionally divided into Major and Minor Signs. He spoke about several Minor Signs of the approach of the Day of Judgment, including:

  • Abu Hurairah reported that Muhammad said: "If you survive for a time you would certainly see people who would have whips in their hands like the tail of an ox. They would get up in the morning under the wrath of God and they would go into the evening with the anger of God."[7][8]
  • Abu Hurairah narrated that Muhammad said, "When honesty is lost, then wait for the Day of Judgment." It was asked, "How will honesty be lost, O Apostle of God?" He said, "When authority is given to those who do not deserve it, then wait for the Day of Judgment."[9]
  • 'Umar ibn al-Khattāb, in a long narration, relating to the questions of the angel Gabriel, reported: "Inform me when the Day of Judgment will be." He [the Prophet Muhammad] remarked: "The one who is being asked knows no more than the inquirer." He [the inquirer] said: "Tell me about its indications." He [the Prophet Muhammad] said: "That the slave-girl gives birth to her mistress and master, and that you would find barefooted, destitute shepherds of goats vying with one another in the construction of magnificent buildings."[7][9]
  • "Before the Day of Judgment there will be great liars, so beware of them."[9]
  • "When the most wicked member of a tribe becomes its ruler, and the most worthless member of a community becomes its leader, and a man is respected through fear of the evil he may do, and leadership is given to people who are unworthy of it, expect the Day of Judgment."[9]

Regarding the Major Signs, a Companion of the Prophet narrated: "Once we were sitting together and talking amongst ourselves when the Prophet appeared. He asked us what it was we were discussing. We said it was the Day of Judgment. He said: "It will not be called until ten signs have appeared: Smoke, Dajjal [the Antichrist], the creature (that will wound the people), the rising of the sun in the West, the Second Coming of Jesus, the emergence of Gog and Magog, and three sinkings (or cavings in of the earth): one in the East, another in the West and a third in the Arabian Peninsula."

Hindu eschatology

Contemporary Hindu eschatology is linked in the Vaishnavite tradition to the figure of Kalki, or the tenth and last avatar of Vishnu before the age draws to a close, and Shiva simultaneously dissolves and regenerates the universe.

Most Hindus acknowledge as part of their cosmology that we are living in the Kali Yuga (literally "age of darkness"), the last of four periods (Yuga) that make up the current age. Each period has seen a successive degeneration in the moral order and character of human beings, to the point that in the Kali Yuga where quarrel and hypocrisy are prevalent. Often, the invocation of Kali Yuga denotes a certain helplessness in the face of the horrors and suffering of the human condition and a nostalgia for a golden past or a future salvation.

However, Hindu conceptions of time, like those found in other non-Western traditions, are cyclical in that one age may end but another will always begin. As such, the cycle of birth, growth, decay, death, and renewal at the individual level finds its echo in the cosmic order of all things, yet affected by the vagaries of the comings and goings of divine interventions in the Vaishnavite belief.

Most Hindus believe that Shiva will destroy the world at the end of the kalpa. Some Shaivites hold the view that he is incessantly destroying and creating the world.

Bahá'í eschatology

In Bahá'í belief, creation does not have a beginning nor end, and instead views the eschatology of other religions as being symbolic. In Bahá'í belief, human time is marked by a series of progressive revelations where successive messengers or prophets come from God.[10] The coming of these messengers is seen as a day of judgement to the adherents of the previous religion, who may choose to accept the new messenger and enter the 'heaven' of belief, or denounce the new messenger and enter the 'hell' of denial. In this view the terms heaven and hell are seen as symbolic terms for the person's spiritual progress and their nearness to or distance from God.[10] In Bahá'í belief, the coming of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, signals the fulfilment of previous eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity and other major religions.[11]

See also

External links

Selected bibliography

General (alphabetical by author)

  • The Prophecy That Is Shaping History: New Research on Ezekiel's Vision of the End. (2003)[2] Jon Ruthven, PhD.
  • The Invisible War (1965) by Donald Grey Barnhouse; Zondervan Publishing House (Ministry Resources Library).
  • How to Recognize the Antichrist (1975) by Arthur E. Bloomfield; Bethany Fellowship
  • The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow (1983) by Constance Cumbey; Huntington House Inc.
  • Number in Scripture (1967) by Ethelbert W. Bullinger; Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49501 Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 67-26498; ISBN 0-8254-2204-3
  • A Planned Deception: The Staging of A New Age 'Messiah' (1985) by Constance Cumbey; Pointe Publishers, Inc.
  • Hidden Prophecies in the Psalms (1986) by J.R. Church; Prophecy Publications, Oklahoma City, OK 73153; ISBN 0-941241-00-9
  • Gorbachev: Has the Real Antichrist Come? (1988) by Robert W. Faid; Victory House Publishers.
  • The Man The False Prophet and The Harlot, subtitled The Name of the Antichrist Finally Revealed (1991) by Dr. Anthony M. Giliberti; Published by This Is The Generation Library of Congress Catalog Number 90-93451 ISBN 0-9628419-0-0.
  • Send This Message to My Church: Christ's Words to the Seven Churches of Revelation (1984) by Terence Kelshaw; Thomas Nelson Publishers.
  • The Truth About Armageddon (1982) by William Sanford Lasor; Harper & Row Publishers.
  • A Survey of Bible Prophecy (1951) by R. Ludwigson; (1973, 1975; The Zondervan Corporation).
  • Thy Kingdom Come: The Eschatology of the Kingdom (2009) by Harold L. Patterson; Xulon Press, ISBN 978-1-60791-229-3. 484 Pages.

'Code'-type books

  • The Bible Code (1997) by Michael Drosnin; Published by Simon & Schuster, 1230 Ave. of the Americas, New York, NY 10020. ISBN 0-684-81079-4.
  • Bible Code II: The Countdown (2002) by Michael Drosnin; One Honest Man, Inc. Published by Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0R1, England.

The Book of Daniel compared to the Book of Revelation

  • Daniel and Revelation subtitled A Study of Two Extraordinary Visions (1978) by James M. Efird; Judson Press, Valley Forge, PA 19481 ISBN 0-8170-0797-0
  • Daniel's Prophecy of the 70 Weeks (1940, 1969) by Alva J. McClain; Academie Books/Zondervan House.

Dispensationalist school of thought (listed alphabetically by author)

  • A Cup of Trembling (1995) by Dave Hunt; Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 97402; ISBN 1-56507-334-7.
  • Global Peace and the Rise of Antichrist (1990) by Dave Hunt; Harvest House Publishers Library of Congress Cataloging in Publishing Data; ISBN 0-89081-831-2.
  • How Close Are We? (1993) by Dave Hunt; Harvest House Publishers. (NOTE: The author has a new, updated book titled When will Jesus Come?.
  • Peace, Prosperity, and the Coming Holocaust (1983) by Dave Hunt; Harvest House Publishers.
  • Whatever Happened to Heaven? (1988) by Dave Hunt; Harvest House Publishers. ISBN 0-89081-698-0 (pbk.)
  • Not Wrath but Rapture! by H.A. Ironside; NO DATE; published by Loizeaux Brothers, Inc.
  • Armageddon, Oil and the Middle East Crisis Revised (1974) by John F. Walvoord; Zondervan Publishing House, 1415 Lake Drive, S.E., Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506; ISBN 0-310-53921-8
  • Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth (1972) by Hal Lindsey with C.C. Carlson; Zondervan House.
  • The Late, Great Planet Earth (1970) by Hal Lindsey with C.C. Carlson; Zondervan House.
  • The Liberation of Planet Earth (1974) by Hal Lindsey; The Zondervan Corporation.
  • There's a New World Coming (1973) by Hal Lindsey; Vision House.
  • The Rapture (1983) by Hal Lindsey; The Aorist Corporation Bantam Books.
  • The Terminal Generation (1976) by Hal Lindsey with C.C. Carlson; Fleming Revell.
  • The Revelation Record (1985) by Henry M. Morris; Tyndale House Inc. and Creation Life Publishers.
  • Things to Come (1958) by J. Dwight Pentecost; Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506.
  • The World's Collision (1956) by Charles E. Pont; W.A. Wilde, Boston.
  • Dispensationalism Today (1965) by Charles C. Ryrie; The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago.
  • Israel In Prophecy (1962) by John F. Walvoord; Zondervan Publishing House.
  • The Church in Prophecy (1964) by John F. Walvoord; Zondervan Publishing House.
  • The Millennial Kingdom (1959) by John F. Walvoord; Dunham Publishing Co. Academie Books published by Zondervan Publishing House, 1415 Lake Drive. S.E., Grand Rapids Michigan 49506. (NOTE: See Millennium on Wikipedia).
  • The Nations in Prophecy (1967) by John F. Walvoord; Zondervan Publishing House. (NOTE: this book may have been combined with other similar titles by Walvoord into one new volume).
  • The Return of the Lord (1955) by John F. Walvoord; Zondervan Publishing House Library of Congress Cat. #77-106423.
  • The Rapture Question (1974) by John F. Walvoord (Revised & Enlarged); The Zondervan Corporation.

Post-Tribulation school of thought

  • The Church and the Tribulation (subtitled: A Biblical Examination of Post-tribulationism) (1973) by Robert H. Gundry; Zondervan Corporation.
  • The Tribulation People (1975) by Arthur Katterjohn with Mark Faculer; Publisher - Creation House.
  • Lord, When? (1976) by Arthur Katterjohn with Mark Faculer; Publisher - Creation House (Can be used independently or in conjunction with The Tribulation People by the same authors.
  • The Incredible Cover-Up (1975) by Dave MacPherson; by Logos Internation.
  • Christians Will Go Through the Tribulation (1978) by Jim McKeever; Alpha Omega Publishing Company.
  • Now You Can Understand the Book of Revelation (1980) by Jim McKeever; Omega Publications.
  • City of Revelation subtitled A Book of Forgotten Wisdom (1972) by John Michell; Ballantine Books (first printing: 11/73 Library of Congress Cat. No. 72-88116 SBN 345-23607-6-150. (NOTE: this book contains information on Gematria, a mathematical science).
  • The Secret Book of Revelation (subtitled: The Last Book of the Bible) ©1979; by Gilles
  • Quispel, Collins St. James Place, Comdon, 1979.
  • The Pre-Wrath Rapture of The Church (1990) by Marvin Rosenthal; Thomas Nelson, Inc. ISBN 0-8407-3160-4.

Amillenial school of thought

  • 1994? (1992) by Harold Camping;; Published by Vantage Press, Inc., 516 West 34th Street, NY, NY 10001. ISBN 0-533-10368-1; Library of Congress Cat. Number is Unknown.
  • Christ Will Come Again: Hope for the Second Coming of Jesus by Stephen Travis. 2004 Toronto: Clements Publishing. ISBN 1-894667-33-6
  • In God's Time: The Bible and the Future by Craig C. Hill. 2002 Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. ISBN 0-802860-90-7
  • Shock Wave 2000! subtitled The Harold Camping 1994 Debacle; (1994) by Robert Sungenis, Scott Temple, and David Allen Lewis; New Leaf Press, Inc., P.O. Box 311, Green Forest AR 72638; ISBN 0-89221-269-1; Library of Congress: 94-67493.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row, P., & Society of Biblical Literature, Harper's Bible Dictionary, San Francisco: HarperCollins Publishers, 1985, ISBN, s.v. "eschatology"
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ J. Dwight Pentecost. Things to Come. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506. ISBN -10: 0310308909 and ISBN 9780310308904. 
  5. ^ Dr. Abu Shadi Al-Roubi, Ibnul-Nafees As a Philosopher, Encyclopedia of Islamic World.
  6. ^ "The Law of Accelerating Returns"
  7. ^ a b Muslim
  8. ^ Sunan Imam Ahmed
  9. ^ a b c d Bukhari
  10. ^ a b Smith, Peter (2000). "Eschatology". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 133–134. ISBN 1-85168-184-1. 
  11. ^ Buck, Christopher (2004). "The eschatology of Globalization: The multiple-messiahship of Bahā'u'llāh revisited". in Sharon, Moshe. Studies in Modern Religions, Religious Movements and the Bābī-Bahā'ī Faiths. Boston: Brill. pp. 143–178. ISBN 90-04-13904-4. 

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity

Wikipedia-logo.png Run a search on Eschatology at Wikipedia.

Eschatology (from the Greek ἔσχατος, Eschatos meaning "last" and -logy meaning "the study of") is a part of theology and philosophy concerned with what is believed to be the final events in the history of the world, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world. While in mysticism the phrase refers metaphorically to the end of ordinary reality and reunion with the Divine, in many traditional religions it is taught as an actual future event prophesied in sacred texts or folklore. More broadly, eschatology may encompass related concepts such as the Messiah [1] or Messianic Age, the end time[2], and the end of days. more from Wikipedia


Christian eschatology

In Christian theology, the paradigm of eschatology centers on the word ἔσχατος ( Es-ka-tos ) in Jesus' statement in Revelation 1:8 and 22:13 NTGk:

"ἐγὼ τὸ ἄλφα καὶ τὸ ὦ, ὁ πρῶτος καὶ ὁ ἔσχατος, ἡ ἀρχὴ καὶ τὸ τέλος."
meaning: "I am the alpha and the omega, the first (Protos) and the last (Echatos), the beginning and the end.

Most Christian eschatology scholars anticipate the Second Coming of Christ.

See also


The Eschatology module is a stub. You can help Wikiversity by expanding it.


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ESCHATOLOGY (Gr. €rxaTos, last, and Xoyos, science; the "doctrine of last things"), a theological term derived from the New Testament phrases "the last day" Tj7 EU xaTV ijµEpcc, John vi. 39), "the last times" (Eir' EaXaroww xpovcov, Peter i. 20), "the last state" (Ta g vxa'ra, Matt. xii. 45), a conception taken over from ancient prophecy (Is. ii. 2; Mal. iv. I). It was the common belief in the apostolic age that the second advent of Christ was near, and would give the divine completion to the world's history. The use of the term, however, has been extended so as to include all that is taught in the Scriptures about the future life of the individual as well as the final destiny of the world. The reasons for the belief in a life after death are discussed in the article Immortality. The present article, after a brief glance at the conceptions of the future of the individual or the world found in other religions, will deal with the teaching of the Old and New Testaments, the Jewish and the Christian Church regarding the hereafter.

There is a bewildering variety in the views of the future life and world held by different peoples. The future life may be conceived as simply a continuation of the present life in its essential features, although under conditions more or less favourable. It may also be thought of as retributive, as a reversal of present conditions so that the miserable are comforted, and the prosperous laid low, or as a reward or punishment for good or evil desert here. Personal identity may be absorbed, as in the transmigration of souls, or it may even be denied, while the good or bad result of one life is held to determine the weal or woe of another. The scene of the future life may be thought of on earth, in some distant part of it, or above the earth, in the sky, sun, moon or stars, or beneath the earth. The abodes of bliss and the places of torment may be distinguished, or one last dwelling-place may be affirmed for all the dead. Sometimes the good find their abiding home with the gods; sometimes a number of heavens of varying degrees of blessedness is recognized (see F. B. Jevons, An Introduction to the History of Religion, chs. xxi. and xxii., 1902; and J. A. MacCulloch's Comparative Theology, xiv., 1902).

Confucius, though unwilling to discuss any questions concerning the dead, by approving ancestor-worship recognized a future life. (2) Taoism promises immortality as the reward of merit. (3) The Book of the Dead - a guide-book for the departed on his long journey in the unseen world to the abode of the blessed - shows the attention the Egyptian religion gave to the state of the dead. Although the Bab g (4) g Y lonian religion presents a very gloomy view of the world of the dead, it is not without a few faint glimpses of a hope that a few mortals at least may gain deliverance from the dread doom. (5) A characteristic feature of Indian thought is the transmigration of the soul from one mode of life to another, the physical condition of each being determined by the moral and religious character of the preceding. But deliverance from this cycle of existences, which is conceived as misery, is promised by means of speculation and asceticism. Denying the continuance of the soul, Buddhism affirmed a continuity of moral consequences (Karma), each successive life being determined by the total moral result of the preceding life. Its doctrine of salvation was a guide to, if not absolute non-existence, yet cessation of all consciousness of existence (Nirvana). Later Buddhism has, however, a doctrine of many heavens and hells. (6) In Zoroastrianism not only was continuance of life recognized, but a strict retribution was taught. Heaven and hell were very clearly distinguished, and each soul according to its works passed to the one or to the other. But this faith did not concern itself only with the future lot of the individual soul. It was also interested in the close of the world's history, and taught a decisive, final victory of Ormuzd over Ahriman, of the forces of good over the forces of evil. It is not at all improbable that Jewish eschatology in its later developments was powerfully influenced by the Persian faith. (7) Mahommedanism reproduces and exaggerates the lower features of popular Jewish and Christian eschatology (see the separate articles on these religions).

In the Old Testament we can trace the gradual development of an ever more definite doctrine of "the final condition of man and the world." This is regarded as the last stage in a moral process, a redemptive purpose of God. The p p p p eschatology of the Old Testament is thus closely connected with, but not limited by, Messianic hope, as there are eschatological teachings that are not Messianic. As the Old Testament revelation is concerned primarily with the elect nation, and only secondarily (in the later writings) with the individual persons composing it, we follow the order of importance as well as of time in dealing first with the people. The universalism which marks the promise to the seed of the woman (Gen. iii. 15) appears also in the blessing of Noah (ix. 25). In the promise to Abraham (xii. 3) this universal good is directly related to God's particular purpose for His chosen people; so also in the blessing of Jacob (xlix.) and of Moses (Deut. xxxiii.). David's last words (2 Sam. xxiii.) blend together his desire that his family should retain the kingship, and his aspiration for a kingdom of righteousness on earth. The conception of the "Day of the Lord" is frequent and prominent in the prophets, and the sense given to the phrase by the people and by the prophets throws into bold relief the contrast between popular beliefs and the prophetic faith. The people simply expected deliverance from their miseries and burdens by the intervention of Yahweh, because He had chosen Israel for His people. The prophets had an ethical conception of Yahweh; the sin of His own people and of other nations called for His intervention in judgment as the moral ruler of the world. But judgment they conceived as preparing for redemption. The day of the Lord is always an eschatological conception, as the term is applied to the final and universal judgment, and not to any less decisive intervention of God in the course of human history. In the pre-exilic prophets the judgment of God is "primarily on Israel, although it also embraces the nations"; during the Exile and at the Restoration the judgment is represented as falling on the nations while redemption is being wrought for God's people; after the Restoration the people of God is again threatened, but still the warning of judgment is mainly directed towards the nations and deliverance is promised to Israel. As the manifestation of God in grace as well as judgment, the day of the Lord will bring joy to Israel and even to the world. As a day of judgment it is accompanied by terrible convulsions of nature (not to be taken figuratively, but probably intended literally by the prophets in accordance with their view of the absolute subordination of nature to the divine purpose for man). It ushers in the Messianic age. While the moral issues are finally determined by this day, yet the world of the Messianic age is painted with the colours of the prophet's own surroundings. Israel is restored to its own land, and to it the other nations are brought into subjugation, by force or persuasion. The contributions of the Old Testament to Christian eschatology embrace these features: "(I) The manifestation or advent of God; (2) the universal judgment; (3) behind the judgment the coming of the perfect kingdom of the Lord, when all Israel shall be saved and when the nations shall be partakers of their salvation; and (4) the finality and eternity of this condition, that which constitutes the blessedness of the saved people being the Presence of God in the midst of them - this last point corresponding to the Christian idea of heaven" (A. B. Davidson, in Hastings's Bible Dictionary, i. p. 738). This hope is for the people on this earth though transfigured.

To the individual it would seem at first only old age is promised (Is. lxv. 20; Zech. viii. 4), but the abolition of death itself is also declared (Is. xxv. 8). The resurrection, which appears at first as a revival of the dead nation (Hos. vi. 2; Ez. xxxvii. 12-14), is afterwards promised for the pious individuals (Is. xxvi. 19), so that they too may share in the national restoration. Only in Daniel xii. 2 is taught a resurrection of the wicked "to shame and everlasting contempt" as well as of the righteous to "everlasting life." It was only at the Exile, when the nation ceased to be, that the worth of the individual came to be recognized, and the hopes given to the nation were claimed for the individual. In dealing with the individual eschatology we must carefully distinguish the popular ideas regarding death and the hereafter which Israel shared with the other Semitic peoples, from the intuitions, inferences, aspirations evoked in the pious by the divine revelation itself. The former have not the moral significance or the religious value of the latter. The starting-point of the development was the common belief that the dead continued to exist in an unsubstantial mode of life, but cut off from fellowship with God and man; but faith left this far behind. Sheol is the common abode of the righteous and the ungodly: life there is shadowy and feeble, but seems to continue in a wavering and dim reflection features of this life. As the present life is, however, determined by moral issues, and as death does not change man's relation to God, moral considerations could not be absolutely excluded from the future life. A forward step had to be taken. Pious men, in fellowship with God, when they faced the fact of death, were led either to challenge its right, or to give a new meaning to it. Either there was a protest against death itself, and a demand for immortality (Ps. xvi. 9 --ii), or death was conceived as something different for the saint and for the sinner; fellowship with God would not and could not be interrupted (Ps. xlix. 14, 15, lxxiii. 17-28). The vision of God is anticipated after death's sleep (Ps. xvii. 15; Job xix. 25-27). This belief in individual immortality is expressed poetically and obscurely: it is later than the eschatology of the people. It assumes the moral distinction of the righteous and the ungodly, and seeks a solution for the problem of the lack of harmony of present character and condition. Its deepest motive, however, is religious. The soul once in fellowship with God cannot even by death be separated from God. The individual hoped that he would live to share the nation's good, and thus the two streams of Old Testament eschatology at last flow together.

It is in the apocryphal and apocalyptic literature of Judaism that the fullest development of eschatology can be traced. Four words may serve to express the difference of the Apocry= doctrine of these writings and the teaching of the Old Testament. Eschatology was universalized (God was recognized as the creator and moral governor of all tic the world), individualized (God's judgment was directed, not to nations in a future age, but to individuals in a future life), transcendentalized (the future age was more and more contrasted with the present, and the transition from the one to the other was not expected as the result of historical movements, but of miraculous divine acts), and dogmatized (the attempt was made to systematize in some measure the vague and varied prophetic anticipations). Only a very brief summary of the conceptions current in these writings can be given. The coming of the Messiah will be preceded by the Last Woes. The Messiah is very variously conceived: (i) "a passive, though supreme member of the Messianic Kingdom"; (2) "an active warrior who slays his enemies with his own hand"; (3) "one who slays his enemies by the word of his mouth, and rules by virtue of his justice, faith and holiness"; (4) a supernatural person, "eternal Ruler and Judge of Mankind" (R. H. Charles in Hastings's Bible Dictionary, i. p. 748). In some of the writings no Messianic kingdom is looked for; in others only a temporal duration on earth is assigned to it; in others still it abides for ever either on earth as it is, or on earth transformed. The dispersion among the nations is to return home. Sometimes the Ressurrection is narrowed down to the resurrection of the righteous, at others widened out to the resurrection of all mankind for the last judgment. A blessed immortality after judgment, or even after death itself, is sometimes taught without reference to any resurrection. Retribution in human history is recognized, but attention is specially concentrated on the final judgment, which is usually conceived as taking place in two stages. (1) The Messianic is executed by the Messiah or the saints by victory in war, or by judicial sentence. (2) The final remains in God's hands; but in one writing (the Ethiopic Enoch) is represented as Messiah's function. This judgment either closes the Messianic age, if thought of as temporal, or ushers it in, if conceived as eternal, or closes the world's history, if no Messianic age is expected. The place of torment for the wicked was called Gehenna (the valley of Hinnom or the Sons of Hinnom, where the bodies of criminals were cast out, is described in Is. lxvi. 24). Here corporal as well as spiritual punishment was endured; it was inflicted on apostate Jews or the wicked generally; the righteous witnessed its initial stages but not its final form. In later Judaism it was the purgatory of faithless Jews, who at last reached Paradise, but it. remained the place of eternal torment for the Gentiles. Paradise was sometimes regarded as the division of Sheol to which the righteous passed after death, but at others it was conceived as the heavenly abode of Moses, Enoch and Elijah, to which other saints would pass after the last judgment.

The eschatology of the New Testament attaches itself not only to that of the Old Testament but also to that of contemporary Judaism, but it avoids the extravagances of the latter.

Not at all systematic, it is occasional, practical, poetical and dominantly evangelical, laying stress on the hope of the righteous rather than the doom of the wicked. The teaching of Jesus centres, according to the Synoptists, in the great idea of the "Kingdom of God," which is already present in the teacher Himself, but also future as regards its completion. In some parables a gradual realization of the kingdom is indicated (Matt. xiii.); in other utterances its consummation is connected with Christ's own return, His Parousia (Matt. xxiv. 3, 37, 39), the time of which, however, is unknown even to Himself (Mark xiii. 32). In this eschatological discourse (Matt. xxiv., xxv.) He speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem and of the end of the world as near, and seemingly as one. This is in accordance with the characteristic of prophecy, which sees in "timeless sequence" events which are historically separated from one another. While the Return is represented in the Synoptists as an external event, it is conceived in the fourth gospel as an internal experience in the operation of the Spirit on the believer (John xiv. 16-21); nevertheless here also the Parousia in the synoptic sense is looked for (John xxi. 22; cf. John ii. 28). The object of the Second Coming is the execution of judgment by Christ (Matt. xxv. 31), both individual (xxii. 1-14) and universal (xiii. 36-42). The present subjective judgment, in which men determine their destiny by their attitude to Christ, on which the fourth gospel lays stress (John iii. 17-21, ix. 39), is not inconsistent with the anticipation of a final judgment (John xii. 48, v. 27). This judgment presupposes the resurrection, belief in which was rejected by the Sadducees, but accepted by the Pharisees and the majority of the Jewish people, and confirmed by Christ, not only as an individual spiritual renovation (John v. 25, 26), but as a universal physical resuscitation (28 and 29; Matt. xxii. 30). This resurrection is of the unjust as well as the just (Matt. v. 2 9, 30, x. 28; Luke xiv. 14). On the Intermediate State Jesus does not speak clearly. He uses the term Hades twice metaphorically (Matt. xi. 23, xvi. 18), and once in a parable, the "Rich Man and Lazarus" (Luke xvi. 23), in which he employs the current phrases such as "Abraham's bosom" (verse 22), without any definite doctrinal intention, to unveil the secrets of the hereafter by confirming with His authority the common beliefs of His time. The term Paradise (Luke xxiii. 43) seems to be used "in a large and general sense as a word of hope and comfort," and we need not attach to it any of the more definite associations which it had in Jewish eschatology. When he speaks of death as "sleep" (Luke viii. 52; John xi. 11) it is to give men gentler and sweeter thoughts of it, nit to inculcate the doctrine of an intermediate state as an unconscious condition. There are words which suggest rather the hope of an immediate entrance of the just into the Father's house and glory (John xiv. 2, 3, xvii. 2 4). He spoke frequently and distinctly both of final reward for the righteous and final penalty for the wicked. "The recompense of the righteous is described as an inheritance, entrance into the kingdom, treasure in heaven, an existence like the angelic, a place prepared, the Father's house, the joy of the Lord, life, eternal life and the like; and there is no intimation that the reward is capable of change, that the condition is a terminable one. The retribution of the wicked is described as death, outer darkness, weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, the undying worm, the quenchless fire, exclusion from the kingdom, eternal punishment and the like" (S. D. J. Salmond in Hastings's Bible Dictionary, p. 752). Degrees of award are recognized (Luke xii. 47, 48). Gehenna is applied to the condition of the lost (Matt. xviii. 9). Two sayings are held to point to a terminable penalty (Matt. v. 25, 26, xii. 31, 32), but the one is so figurative and the other so obscure, that we are not warranted in drawing any such definite conclusion from either of them. The finality of destiny seems to be unmistakably expressed (Matt. vii. 23, x. 33, xiii. 30, xxv. 46, xxvi. 24; Mark ix. 43-48, viii. 36; Luke ix. 26; John iii. 16, viii. 21, 24). No second opportunity for deciding the issue of life or death is recognized by Jesus.

The apostolic eschatologypresents resemblance amid difference. Jude (v. 6), as well as 2 Peter (ii. 4), refers to the judgment of the fallen angels. 2 Peter describes the place of their detention as Tartarus, and teaches that Christ's Parousia is to bring the whole present system of things to its conclusion, and the world itself to an end (iii. 10, 13). After the destruction of the existing order by fire, "a new heaven and a new earth" will appear as the abode of righteousness. The question of greatest interest in 1 Peter is the relation of two passages in it, the preaching to the spirits in prison (iii. 18-22) and the preaching of the Gospel to the dead (iv. 6) to the "larger hope." Peter's discourse also contains a phrase which suggests the belief of a descent of Christ into Hades in the interval between His death and His resurrection (Acts ii. 31). No certainty has been reached in the interpretation of these passages, but they may suggest to the Christian mind the expectation that the final destiny of no soul can be fixed until in some way or other, in this life or the next, the opportunity of decision for or against Christ has been given. The phrase "the times of restoration of all things" (iii. 21) is too vague in itself, and is too isolated in its context to warrant the dogmatic teaching of universalism, although there are other passages which' seem to point towards the same goal. While John's Apocalypse is distinctly eschatological, the Epistles and the Gospels often give these conceptions an ethical and spiritual import, without, however, excluding the eschatological. Life is present while eternal (1 John V. 12, 13), but it is also future (ii. 25). There is expected a future manifestation of Christ as He is, and what the believer himself will be does not yet appear (iii. 2). The writer speaks of the last hour (ii. 18), the Antichrist that cometh (ii. 22, iv. 3), and the Christian's full reward (2 John v. 8) as well as the Parousia (1 John ii. 28). The Apocalypse reproduces much of the current Jewish eschatology. A millennial reign of Christ on earth is interposed between the first resurrection, confined to the saints and especially the martyrs, and the second resurrection for the rest of the dead. A final outburst of Satan's power is followed by his overthrow and the Last Judgment.

Although Paul sometimes describes the Kingdom of God as present (Rom. xiv. 17; i Cor. iv. 20; Col. i. 13), it is usually represented as future. The Parousia fills a large place in his thought, and, if more prominent in his earlier writings, is not altogether absent from his later, although the expectation of personal survival does seem to grow less confident (cf. i Cor. xv. 5 1 and Phil. i. 20-24). The doctrines of the Resurrection, the Last Judgment, the Reward of the Righteous and the Punishment of the Wicked are not less distinctly expressed than in the other apostolic writings. Peculiar elements in Paul's eschatology are the doctrines of the Rapture of the Saints (1 Thess. iv. 17) and the Man of Sin (2 Thess. ii. 3-6), but these have affinities elsewhere. A reference to the millennial reign of Christ in the period between the two resurrections is sometimes sought in Cor. xv. 22-24; but it is not a chronology of the last things Paul is here giving. So also a justification for the doctrine of purgatory is sought in iii. 12-15; but the day and the fire are of the last judgment. A descent of Christ into Hades, implying an extension of the opportunity of grace such as is supposed to be taught in 1 Peter, is also discovered in the obscure statements in Rom. x. 7 (where Paul is freely quoting Deut. xxx. 11-14), and Eph. iv. Io (where he is commenting on Ps. lxviii. 18). Universal restoration is inferred from 1 Cor. xv. 24-28, "God all in all," Phil. ii. - 111, every knee bowing to, and every tongue confessing Jesus Christ, Eph. i. 9, 10, the summing up of all things in Christ, Col. i. 20, God reconciling all things unto Himself in Christ. These passages inspire a hope, but do not sustain a certainty. Paul's shrinking from the disembodied state and longing to be clothed upon at death in 2 Cor. v. 1-8, cannot be regarded as a proof of an interim body prior to and preparatory for the resurrection body. Paul links the human resurrection with a universal renovation (Rom. viii. 19-23). Paul's eschatology is not free of obscurities and ambiguities; and in the New Testament eschatology generally we are forced to recognize a mixture of inherited Jewish and original Christian elements (see Antichrist).

During the first century of the existence of the Gentile Christian Church, "the hope of the approaching end of the world and the glorious kingdom of Christ" was dominant, although warnings had to be given against doubt and indifference. Redemption was thought of as still future, as the power of the devil had not been broken but rather increased by the First Advent, and the Second Advent was necessary to his complete overthrow. The expectations were often grossly materialistic, as is evidenced by Papias's quotation as the words of the Lord of a group of sayings from the Apocalypse of Baruch, setting forth the amazing fruitfulness of the earth in the Messianic time.

The Gnostics rejected this eschatology as in their view the enlightened spirit already possessed immortality. Marcion Gnostics. expected that the Church would be assailed by Antichrist; a visible return of Christ he did not teach, but he recognized that human history would issue in a separation of the good from the bad. Montanism sought to form a new Christian commonwealth which, separated from the Jerusalem from above, and its establishment in the spot which by the direction of the Spirit had been chosen in Phrygia. While Irenaeus held fast the traditional eschatological beliefs, yet his conception of the Christian salvation as a deification of man tended to weaken their hold on Christian thought. The Alogi in the 2nd century rejected the Apocalypse on account of its chiliasm, its teaching of a visible reign of Christ on earth for a thousand years. Montanism also brought these apocalyptic expectations into discredit in orthodox ecclesiastical circles. The Alexandrian theology strengthened this movement against chiliasm. Clement of Alexandria taught that justice is not merely retributive, that punishment is remedial, that probation continues after death till the final judgment, that Christ and the apostles preached the Gospel in Hades to those who lacked knowledge, but whose heart was right, that a spiritual body will be raised. Origen taught that a germ of the spiritual body is in the present body, and its development depends on the character, that perfect bliss is reached only by stages, that the evil are purified by pain, conscience being symbolized by fire, and that all, even the devil himself, will at last be saved. Both regarded chiliasm with aversion. But in the 5th century there were rejected as heretical (I) "the doctrine of universalism, and the possibility of the redemption of the devil; (2) the doctrine of the complete annihilation of evil; (3) the conception of the penalties of hell as tortures of conscience; (4) the spiritualizing version of the resurrection of the body; (5) the idea of the continued creation of new worlds" (A. Harnack, History of Dogma, iii. p. 186).

Epiphanius, following Methodius, insisted on the most perfect identity between the resurrection body and the material body; and this belief, enforced in the West by Jerome, soon established itself as alone orthodox. Augustine made experiments on the flesh of a peacock in order to find physical evidence for the doctrine. He held fast to eternal punishment, but allowed the possibility of mitigations. Some believers, he taught, may pass through purgatorial fires; and this middle class may be helped by the sacraments and the alms of the living. "There are many souls not good enough to dispense with this provision, and not bad enough to be benefited by it" (op. cit. v. 233). This doctrine was sanctioned and developed by Gregory the Great. "After God has changed eternal punishments into temporary, the justified must expiate these temporary penalties for sin in purgatory" (p. 268). This view was inferred indirectly from Matt. xii. 31, and directly from 1 Cor. iii. 12-15. Afterwards purgatory took more and more the place of hell, and was subject to the control of the church. As regards the saints, different degrees of blessedness were recognized; they were supposed to wait in Hades for the return of Christ, but gradually the belief gained ground, especially in regard to the martyrs, that their souls at once entered Paradise. The primitive Christian eschatology was preserved in the West as it was not in the East, and in times of exceptional distress the expectation of Antichrist emerged again and again. In the middle ages there was an extravagance of speculation on this subject, which may be seen in the last division of Aquinas' Summa Theologiae. He proposes thirty questions on these matters, among which are the following: "whether souls are conducted to heaven or hell immediately after death"; "whether the Embus of hell is the same as Abraham's bosom"; "whether the sun and moon will be really obscured at the day of judgment"; "whether all the members of the human body will rise with it"; "whether the hair and nails will reappear"; could thought become "more lawless and uncertain" ?

While rejecting purgatory, Protestantism took over this eschatology. Souls passed at once to heaven or to hell; a doctrine even less adequate to the complex quality of human life. Luther himself looked for the passing away of the present evil world. Socinianism taught a new spiritual body, an intermediate state in which the soul is near non-existence, an annihilation of the wicked, as immortality is the gift of God. Swedenborg discards a physical resurrection, as at death the eyes of men are opened to the spiritual world in which we exist now, and they continue to live essentially as they lived here, until by their affinities they are drawn to heaven or hell. The doctrine of eternal punishment has been opposed on many grounds, such as the disproportion between the offence and the penalty, the moral world should prepare itself for the descent of the and religious immaturity of the majority of men at death, the diminution of the happiness of heaven involved in the knowledge of the endless suffering of others (Schleiermacher), the defeat of the divine purpose of righteousness and grace that the continued antagonism of any of God's creatures would imply, the dissatisfaction God as Father must feel until His whole family is restored. It has been argued that the term "eternal" has reference not to duration of time but quality of being (Maurice); but it does seem certain that the writers in the Holy Scriptures who used it did not foresee an end either to the life or to the death to which they applied the term. The contention should not be based on the meaning of a single word, but on such broader considerations as have been indicated above. The doctrine of conditional immortality taught by Socinianism was accepted by Archbishop Whately, and has been most persistently advocated by Edward White, who "maintains that immortality is a truth, not of reason, but of revelation, a gift of God" bestowed only on believers in Christ; but he admits a continued probation after death for such as have not hardened their hearts by a rejection of Christ. According to Albrecht Ritschl "the wrath of God means the resolve of God to annihilate those men who finally oppose themselves to redemption, and the final purpose of the kingdom of God." He thus makes immortality conditional on inclusion in the kingdom of God. The doctrine of universal restoration was maintained by Thomas Erskine of Linlathen on the ground of the Fatherhood of God, and Archdeacon Wilson anticipates such discipline after death as will restore all souls to God. C. I. Nitzsch argues against the doctrine of the annihilation of the wicked, regards the teaching of Scripture about eternal damnation as hypothetical, and thinks it possible that Paul reached the hope of universal restoration. I. A. Dorner maintains that hopeless perdition can be the penalty only of the deliberate rejection of the Gospel, that those who have not had the opportunity of choice fairly and fully in this life will get it hereafter, but that the right choice will in all cases be made we cannot be confident. The attitude of theologians generally regarding individual destiny is well expressed by Dr James Orr, "The conclusion I arrive at is that we have not the elements of a complete solution, and we ought not to attempt it. What visions beyond there may be, what larger hopes,what ultimate harmonies, if such there are in store, will come in God's good time; it is not for us to anticipate them, or lift the veil where God has left it down" (The Christian View of God and the World, 18 93, p. 397).

Although in recent theological thought attention has been mainly directed to individual destiny, yet the other elements of Christian eschatology must not be altogether passed over. History has offered the authoritative commentary on the prophecy of the Parousia of Christ. The presence and power of His Spirit, the spread of His Gospel, the progress of His kingdom have been as much a fulfilment of the eschatological teaching of the New Testament as His life and work on earth were a fulfilment of Messianic prophecy, for fulfilment always transcends prophecy. Even if the common beliefs of the apostolic age have not modified the evangelist's reports of Jesus' teaching, it must be remembered that He used the common prophetic phraseology, the literal fulfilment of which is not to be looked for. Some parables (the leaven, the mustard seed) suggest a gradual progressive realization of His kingdom. The Fourth Gospel interprets both judgment and resurrection spiritually. Accordingly the general resurrection and the last judgment may be regarded as the temporal and local forms of thought to express the universal permanent truths that life survives death in the completeness of its necessary organs and essential functions, and that the character of that continued life is determined by personal choice of submission or antagonism to God's purpose of grace in Christ, the perfect realization of which is the Christian's hope for himself, mankind and the world.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. - In addition to the works referred to above the following will be found useful: S. D. F. Salmond, The Christian Doctrine of Immortality (4th ed., 1901); R. H. Charles, A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life in Israel, in Judaism, and in Christianity (1899); L. N. Dahle, Life after Death and the Future of the Kingdom of God (Eng. tr. by J. Beveridge, 1895); J. A. Beet, The Last Things (new ed., 1905); W. G. T. Shedd, Doctrine of Endless Punishment (New York, 1886); F. W. Farrar, The Eternal Hope (1892); E. Petavel, The Problem of Immortality (Eng. tr. by F. A. Freer, 1892); E. White, Life in Christ (3rd ed., 1878); also the relevant sections in books on biblical and systematic theology. (A. E. G.*)

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Eschatology (from Greek, eskhatos, last) is the term referring to the “doctrine of the last things.” The "last things" are important issues to Christian faith, although as a formal division of theology, eschatology is a relatively recent development.


Christian Eschatalogy is the study of Christian thought concerning biblical final events, including both individual destiny and the consummation of history based on God’s plan of redemption through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. The Christian view of world history involves the Church and the spread of the Gospel as the primary agent in the triumph of good over evil, according to the Creator's divine purposes. The predictive element of the Book of Revelation leads up to the final establishment of the rule of God.

Doctrinal Eschatology

There are a variety of different beliefs regarding the end times in Christianity.

The general timeline:

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The Day of the Lord.

Gen 49:1; comp. Gen. R. xcviii., (missing hebrew text) "the Messianic end" ; Isa 2:1; also (missing hebrew text) "the end," Dent. xxxii. 20; Ps 7317; Ben Sira vii. 36, xxviii. 6; comp. "Didache," xvi. 3): The doctrine of the "last things." Jewish eschatology deals primarily and principally with the final destiny of the Jewish nation and the world in general, and only secondarily with the future of the individual; the main concern of Hebrew legislator, prophet, and apocalyptic writer being Israel as the people of God and the victory of His truth and justice on earth. The eschatological view, that is, the expectation of the greater things to come in the future, underlies the whole construction of the history of both Israel and mankind in the Bible. The patriarchal history teems with such prophecies (Gen 12:3, 16; xv. 14; xviii. 18; xxii. 18; xxvi. 4); the Mosaic legislation has more or less explicitly in view the relation of Israel to the nations and the final victory of the former (Ex. xix.. 5; Lev 26:45; Num 23:10, xxiv. 17-24; Deut 4:6; vii. 6 et seq. ; xxviii. 1, 10; xxx. 3 et seq. ; xxxii. 43; xxxiii. 29). But it was chiefly the Prophets who dwelt with great emphasis upon the Day of the Lord as the future Day of Judgment. Originally spoken of as the day when Yhwh as the God of heaven visits the earth with all His terrible powers of devastation (comp. Gen 19:24; Ex 9:23, xi. 4, xii. 12; Josh 10:11), the term was employed by the Prophets in an eschatological sense and invested with a double character: on the one hand, as the time of the manifestation of God's punitive powers of justice directed against all that provokes His wrath, and, on the other hand, as the time of the vindication and salvation of the righteous. In the popular mind the Day of the Lord brought disaster only to the enemies of Israel; to His people it brought victory. But this is contradicted by the prophet Amos (iii. 2, v. 20). For Isaiah, likewise, the Day of the Lord brings terror and ruin to Judah and Israel (Isa 2:12, x. 3, xxii. 5; comp. Micah i. 3) as well as to other nations (Isa 14:25, xxiv.-xxv.). In the same measure, however, as Israel suffers defeat at the hand of the great world-powers, the Day of the Lord in the prophetic conception becomes a day of wrath for the heathen world and of triumph for Israel. In Zeph. i-iii. it is a universal day of doom for all idolaters, including the inhabitants of Judea, but it ends with the glory of the remnant of Israel, while the assembled heathen powers are annihilated (iii. 8-12). This feature of the final destruction, before the city of Jerusalem, of the heathen world-empires becomes prominent and typical in all later prophecies (Ezek. xxxviii., the defeat of Gog and Magog; Isa 13:6-9, Babel's fall; Zech. xii. 2 et seq., xiv. 1 et seq.; Hag. i. 6; Joel iv. [iii.] 2 et seq.; Isa 66:15 et seq.), the Day of the Lord being said to come as "a fire which refines the silver" (Mal 3:2 et seq., 9; comp. Isa 33:14 et seq.). Especially strong is the contrast between the fate which awaits the heathen and the salvation promised Israel in Isa. xxxiv.-xxxv., whereas other prophecies accentuate rather the final conversion of the heathen nations to the belief in the Lord (Isa 2:1 et seq., xlix. lxvi. 6-21, Zech. viii. 21 et seq., xiv. 16 et seq.).

Resurrection of the Dead.

In addition to this conception of the Day of the Lord, the Prophets developed the hope of an ideal Messianic future through the reign of a son of the house of David—the golden age of paradisiacal bliss, of which the traditions of all the ancient nations spoke (see Dillmann's commentary to Gen. ii-iii., p. 46). It would come in the form of a world of perfect peace and harmony among all creatures, the angelic state of man before his sin (Isa 11:1-10, lxv. 17-25: "new heavens and a new earth"). It was only a step further to predict the visitation of all the kingdoms of the earth, to be followed by the swallowing up of death forever and a resurrection of the dead in Israel, so that all the people of the Lord might witness the glorious salvation (Isa 24:21-xxv. 8, xxvi. 19). The hope of resurrection had been expressed by Ezekiel only with reference to the Jewish nation as such (Ezek. xxxvii.). Under Persian influence, however, the doctrine of resurrection underwent a change, and was made part of the Day of Judgment; hence in Dan 12:2 the resurrection is extended to both the wicked and the righteous: the latter "shall awake to everlasting life," the former "to shame and everlasting horror" (A. V. "contempt").

The Formation of an Eschatological System.

It is certainly incorrect to speak of an eschatological system of the Bible, in which there is no trace of an established belief in the future life. Both Ben Sira and Tobit still adhere to the ancient view of Sheol as the land of the shades (see Sheol). It was the future destiny of the nation which concerned the Prophets and the people; and the hope voiced by prophet, psalmist, and liturgical poet was simply that the Lord as the Only One will establish His kingdom over the whole earth (Ex 15:18; Micah ii. 13, iv. 7; Obad. 21; Zech. xiv. 9; Isa 24:23; Ps 931, xcvi. 10, xcvii. 1, xcix. 1). This implied not only the reunion of the twelve tribes (Ezek 37:16 et seq.; Zeph 3:20), but the conversion of the heathen surviving the divine day of wrath as well as the downfall of the heathen powers (Zeph 3:8-9; Zech. xiv. 9-19; Isa 56:6, lxiii. 1-6; Ps 28-12). It seems that, because of the tribulation which the house of Zerubbabel had to undergo—not, as Dalman ("Die Worte Jesu," p. 243) thinks, "because the Messiah was not an essential part of the national hope"—the expectation of a Messiah from the house of David was kept in the background, and the prophet Elijah, as the forerunner of the great Day of the Lord who would reassemble all the tribes of Israel, was placed in the foreground (Ecclus. [Sirach] xlviii. 10; I Mace. xiv. 41). See Elijah.

The "Kingdom of God."

It is difficult to say how far the Sadducees or the ruling house of Zadok shared in the Messianic hope of the people (see Sadducees). It was the class of the Ḥasidim and their successors, the Essenes, who made a special study of the prophetical writings in order to learn the future destiny of Israel and mankind (Dan 9:2; Josephus, "B. J." ii. 8, §§ 6, 12; idem, "Ant." xiii. 5, § 9, where the term εἱμαρμένη is to be taken eschatologically). While announcing the coming events in visions and apocalyptic writings concealed from the multitude (see Apocalyptic Literature), they based their calculations upon unfulfilled prophecies such as Jeremiah's seventy years (Jer 25:11, xxix. 10), and accordingly tried to fix "the end of days" (Dan 9:25 et seg.; Enoch 8959). The Talmud reproachingly calls these men, who frequently brought disappointment and wo upon the people, "mahshebe ḳeẓim" (calculators of the [Messianic] ends: Sanh. 97b; comp. 92b, 99a; Ket. 111a; Shab. 138b; 'Eduy. ii. 9-10; for the expression (missing hebrew text) , see Dan 12:4, 13; Assumptio Mosis, i. 18, xii. 4; II Esd. iii. 14; Syriac Apoc. Baruch, xxvii. 15; Mt 13:39, xxiv. 3). It can not be denied, however, that these Ḥasidean or apocalyptic writers took a sublime view of the entire history of the world in dividing it into great worldepochs counted either after empires or millenniums, and in seeing its consummation in the establishment of "the kingdom of the Lord," called also, in order to avoid the use of the Sacred Name, (missing hebrew text) ("the kingdom of heaven"). This prophetic goal of human history at once lent to all struggle and suffering of the people of God a higher meaning and purpose, and from this point of view new comfort was offered to the saints in their trials. This is the idea underlying the contrast between the "kingdoms of the powers of the earth" and "the kingdom of God" which is to be delivered over at the end of time to the saints, the people of Israel (Dan 2:44; vii. 14, 27). It is, however, utterly erroneous to assert, as do Schürer ("Geschichte," ii. 504 et seq.) and Bousset (" Religion des Judenthums," pp. 202 et seq.), that this kingdom of God meant a political triumph of the Jewish people and the annihilation of all other nations. As may be learned from Tobit xiii. 11 et seq., xiv. 6, quoted by Schürer (l.c. ii. 507), and from the ancient New-Year's liturgy (see also 'Alenu), "the conversion of all creatures to become one single band to do, God's will" is the foremost object of Israel's Messianic hope; only the removal of "the kingdom of violence" must precede the establishment of God's kingdom. This hope for the coming of the kingdom of God is expressed also in the Ḳaddish (comp. Lord's Prayer) and in the eleventh benediction of the "Shemoneh 'Esreh," whereas the destruction of the kingdom of wickedness first found expression in the added (nineteenth) benediction (afterward directed chiefly against obnoxious informers and heretics; see Liturgy), and was in the Hellenistic propaganda literature, the Sibyllines (iii. 47, 767 et al.), emphasized especially with a view to the conversion of the heathen.


In contrasting the future kingdom of God with the kingdom of the heathen powers of the world the apocalyptic writers were undoubtedly influenced by Parsism, which saw the world divided between Ahuramazda and Angro-mainyush, who battle with each other until finally the latter, at the end of the fourth period of the twelve world-millenniums, is defeated by the former after a great crisis in which the bad principle seems to win the upper hand (see Plutarch, "On Isis and Osiris," ch. 47; Bundahis, xxxiv. 1; "Bahman Yasht," i. 5, ii. 22 et seq. ; "S. B. E." v. 149, 193 et seq. ; Stade, "Ueber den Einfluss, des Parsismus auf das Judenthum," 1898, pp. 145 et seq.). The idea of four world-empires succeeding one another and represented by the four metals (Dan. ii., vii.), which also has its parallel in Parsism ("Bahman Yasht," i. 3), and in Hindu, Greek, and Roman traditions ("Laws of Manes," i. 71 et seq. ; Hesiod, "Works and Days," pp. 109 et seq. ; Ovid, "Metamorphoses," i. 89), seems to rest upon an ancient tradition which goes back to Babylonia (see Gunkel's commentary on Genesis, 1902, p. 241). Gunkel finds in the twelve millenniums of Persian belief an astronomical world-year with four seasons, and sees the four Babylonian world-epochs reproduced in the four successive periods of Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. The four periods occur again in Enoch, lxxxix. et seq. (see Kautzsch, "Pseudepigraphen," p. 294) and Rev. vi. 1; also in Zech. ii. 1 (A. V. i. 18), vi.1; and Dan 8:22; and the four undivided animals in the vision of Abraham (Gen 15:9) were by the early haggadists (Johanan b. Zakkai, in Gen. R. xliv.; Apoc. Abraham, xv., xxviii.) referred to the four world-empires in an eschatological sense.

A World-Week.

The Perso-Babylonian world-year of twelve millenniums, however, was transformed in Jewish eschatologyinto a world-week of seven millenniums corresponding with the week of Creation, the verse "A thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday" (Ps 905 [A. V. 4]) having suggested the idea that the present world of toil ("'olam ha-zeh") is to be followed by a Sabbatical millennium, "the world to come" ("'olam ha-ba'": Tamid vii. 4; R. H. 31a; Sanh. 97a; Ab. R. N. i., ed. Schechter, p. 5; Enoch 231; II Esdras vii. 30, 43; Testament of Abraham, A. xix., B. vii.; Vita Adæ et Evæ, 42; Rev. xx. 1; II Peter iii. 8; Epistle of Barnabas, xv.; Irenæus, v. 28, 3). Of these the six millenniums were again divided, as in Parsism, into three periods: the first 2,000 years devoid of the Law; the next 2,000 years under the rule of the Law; and the last 2,000 years preparing amid struggles and through catastrophes for the rule of the Messiah (Sanh. 97a; 'Ab. Zarah 9a; Midr. Teh. xc. 17); the Messianic era is said to begin 4,291 years after Creation (comp. the 5,500 years after Creation, after the lapse of which the Messiah is expected, in Vita Adæ et Evæ, 42; also Assumptio Mosis, x. 12). On a probably similar calculation, which placed the destruction of the Second Temple at 3828 (Sanh. l.c.), rests also the division of the world into twelve epochs of 400 years, nine and a half of which epochs had passed at the time of the destruction of the Temple (II Esdras xiv. 11; comp. vii. 28). Twelve periods occur also in the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch (xxvii., liii.) and the Apocalypse of Abraham (xxix.); the ten millenniums of Enoch 216, however, appear to be identical with the ten weeks in ch. xciii., that is, 10 x 700 years. As a matter of course, Biblical chronology was always so construed as to bring the six millenniums into accord with the Messianic expectations of the time; only by special favor would the mystery of the end, known only to God, be revealed to His saints (Dan 12:9; II Esd. iv. 37, xi. 44; Syriac Apoc. Baruch, liv. 1, lxxxi. 4; Mt 24:36; Pes. 54b). The end was believed to be brought about by the merit of a certain number of saints or martyrs (Enoch 474; II Esd. iv. 36; Rev. vii. 4), or by the completion of the number of human souls sent from their heavenly abode to the earth, the number of created souls being fixed (Syriac Apoc. Baruch, xxiii. 4; 'Ab. Zarah 5a; Yeb. 63b). Finally, it was taught that "he who announces the Messianic time based on calculation forfeits his own share in the future" (R. Jose, in Derek Ereẓ R. xi.) and that "the advent of the Messiah is dependent upon general repentance brought about by the prophet Elijah" (Sanh. 97b; Pirḳe R. El. xliii.; Assumptio Mosis, i. 18).

Travail of the Messianic Time.

There prevails a singular harmony among the apocalyptic writings and traditions, especially regarding the successive stages of the eschatological drama. The first of these is the "travail" of the Messianic time ( (missing hebrew text) ; literally, "the suffering of the Messiah"; comp. Pesiḳ. R. 21, 34; Shab. 118a; Pes. 118a; Sanh. 98b; Mek., Beshallaḥ, Wayassa', 4, 5; or (missing hebrew text) , Mt 24:8; Mk 13:9, taken from Hosea xiii. 13). The idea that the great redemption shall be preceded by great distress, darkness, and moral decline seems to be based on such prophetic passages as Hosea xiii. 13 et seq.; Joel ii. 10 et seq.; Micah vii. 1-6; Zech. xiv. 6 et seq.; Dan 12:1. The view itself, however, is not that of the Prophets, whose outlook is altogether optimistic and eudemonistic (Isa 11:1-9, lxv. 17-25), but more in accordance with the older non-Jewish belief in a constant decline of the world, from the golden and silver to the brass and iron age, until it ends in a final cataclysm or conflagration, contemplated alike by old Teuton and Greek legend. It was particularly owing to Persian influence that the contrast between this world, in which evil, death, and sin prevail, and the future world, "which is altogether good" (Tamid l.c.), was so strongly emphasized, and the view prevailed that the transition from the one to the other could be brought about only through a great crisis, the signs of decay of a dying world and the birth-throes of a new one to be ushered into existence. Persian eschatology had no difficulty in utilizing old mythological and cosmological material from Babylonia in picturing the distress and disorder of the last days of the world (Bundahis, xxx. 18 et seq.; Plutarch, l.c. 47; Bahman, l.c. ii. 23 et seq., iii. 60); Jewish eschatology had to borrow the same elsewhere or give Biblical terms and passages a new meaning so as to make all terrestrial and celestial powers appear as participants in the final catastrophe. This world, owing to the sin of the first man (II Esd. iv. 30), or through the fall of the angels (Enoch, vi.-xi.), has been laden with curses and is under the sway of the power of evil, and the end will accordingly be a combat of God with these powers of evil either in the heavens above or on earth (Isa 24:21 et seq., xxv. 7, xxvii. 1; Dan 7:11, viii. 9; Book of Jubilees, xxiii. 29; Test. Patr., Asher, 7, Dan. 5; Assumptio Mosis, x. 1; Psalms of Solomon, ii. 25 et seq.; and see Gunkel, "Schöpfung und Chaos," pp. 171-398). The whole world, then, appears as in a state of rebellion before its downfall. A description of these Messianic woes is given in the Book of Jubilees, xx. 11-25; Sibyllines, ii. 154 et seq., iii. 796 et seq.; Enoch 994 et seq., c. 1 et seq.; II Esd. v.-vi.; Syriac Apoc. Baruch xxv.-xxvii., xlviii. 31 et seq., lxx.; Mt 24:6-29; Rev. vi.-ix.; Soṭah ix. 15; Derek Ereẓ Zuṭa x.; Sanh. 96b-97a. "A third part of all the world's woes will come in the generation of the Messiah" (Midr. Teh. Ps 29). In all these passages evil portents are predicted, such as visions of swords, of blood, and of warfare in the sky (Sibyllines, iii. 795; comp. Lk 21:21; Josephus, "B. J.", vi. 5, § 3), disorder in the whole celestial system (Enoch 804-7; II Esd. v. 4; comp. Amos 8:9; Joel ii. 10), in the produce of the earth (Enoch 802; Book of Jubilees, xxiii. 18; II Esd. vi. 22; Sibyllines, iii. 539), and in human progeny (Book of Jubilees, xxiii. 25; Sibyllines, ii. 154 et seq.; II Esd. v. 8, vi. 21). Birds and beasts, trees, stones, and wells will cease to act in harmony with nature (II Esd. v. 6-8, vi. 24).

Particularly prominent among the plagues of the time, of which Baruch xxviii. 2-3 counts twelve, will be "the sword, famine, earthquake, and fire"; according to Book of Jubilees, xxiii. 13, "illness and pain, frost and fever, famine and death, sword and captivity"; but greater than the terror and havoc caused by the elements will be the moral corruptionand perversion, the wickedness and unchastity anticipated in prophetic visions, and the power of evil spirits (Syriac Apoc. Baruch, l.c. and lxx. 2-8; Book of Jubilees, xxiii. 13-19). This view of the prevalence of the spirit of evil and seduction to sin in the last days received special emphasis in the Ḥasidean schools; hence the striking resemblance between the tannaitic and the apocalyptic picture of the time preceding the Messianic advent: "In the last days false prophets [pseudo-Messiahs] and corrupters will increase and sheep be turned into wolves, love into hatred; lawlessness [see Belial] will prevail, causing men to hate, persecute, and deliver up each other; and Satan, 'the world-deceiver' (see Antichrist), will in the guise of the Son of God perform miracles, and as ruler of the earth commit unheard-of crimes" ("Didache," xvi. 3 et seq.; Sibyllines, ii. 165 et seq., iii. 63; Mt 24:5-12; 2 Tim 3:1 et seq.). The rabbinic description is similar: "The footsteps of the Messiah [ (missing hebrew text) , taken from Ps 8952; comp. the term (missing hebrew text) , "the last days of the rule of Esau"="Edom—Rome"; II Esd. vi. 8-10; comp. Gen. R. lxiii.; Yalḳut and Midrash ha-Gadol, ed. Schechter, on Gen 25:26; Pirḳe R. El. xxxii.] are seen in the turning of the schoolhouse into a brothel, the desolation of Galilee and Gaulanitis, the going about of the scribes and saints as despised beggars, the insolence and lawlessness of the people, the disrespect of the younger generation toward the older, and the turning of the rulers to heresy" (Soṭah ix. 15; Derek Ereẓ Zuṭa x.; Sanh. 97b; Cant. R. ii. 13; Ket. 112b; in these passages amoraim of the second and third centuries are often credited with the views of tannaim of the first; comp. also Shab. 118a with Mek., Beshallaḥ, l.c.). Simon ben Yoḥai (comp. Derek Ereẓ Zuṭa x. with Sanh. l.c.) counts seven periods of tribulation preceding the advent of the son of David. The Abraham Apocalypse (xxx.) mentions ten plagues as being prepared for the heathen of the time: (1) distress; (2) conflagration; (3) pestilence among beasts; (4) famine; (5) earthquakes and wars; (6) hail and frost; (7) wild beasts; (8) pestilence and death among men; (9) destruction and flight (comp. Isa 26:20; Zech. xiv. 5); and (10) noises and rumblings (comp. (missing hebrew text) in the sixth period of Simon b. Yoḥai; comp. Test. Patr., Lev 1:17, where also seven periods precede the kingdom of God).

The War of Gog and Magog.

An important part in the eschatological drama is assigned to Israel's final combat with the combined forces of the heathen nations under the leadership of Gog and Magog, barbarian tribes of the North (Ezek. xxxviii-xxxix.; see Gog and Magog). Assembled for a fierce attack upon Israel in the mountains near Jerusalem, they will suffer a terrible and crushing defeat, and Israel's land will thenceforth forever remain the seat of God's kingdom. Whether originally identical or identified only afterward by Biblical interpretation with the battle in the valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel iv. [A.V.iii.] 12; comp. Zech. xiv. 2 and Isa 25:6, where the great warfare against heathen armies is spoken of), the warfare against Gog and Magog formed the indispensable prelude to the Messianic era in every apocalyptic vision (Sibyllines, iii. 319 et seq., 512 et seq., 632 et seq.; v. 101; Rev. xx. 8; Enoch 565 et seq., where the place of Gog and Magog is taken by the Parthians and Medes; II Esd. xiii. 5, "a multitude of men without number from the four winds of the earth"; Syriac Apoc. Baruch, LXX. 7-10; Targ. Yer. to Num 11:26, xxiv. 17, Ex 40:11, Deut 32:39, and Isa 33:25; comp. Num 24:7 [Septuagint, Γὼγ for "Agag"]; see Eldad and Medad).

R. Eliezer (Mek., Beshallaḥ, l.c.) mentions the Gog and Magog war together with the Messianic woes and the Last Judgment as the three modes of divine chastisement preceding the millennium. R. Akiba assigns both to the Gog and Magog war and to the Last Judgment a duration of twelve months ('Eduy. ii. 10); Lev. R. xix. has seven years instead, in accordance with Ezek 39:9; Ps 21-9 is referred to the war of Gog and Magog ('Ab. Zarah 3b; Ber. 7b; Pesiḥ. ix. 79a; Tan., Noah, ed. Buber, 24; Midr. Teh. Ps. ii.).

The destruction of Gog and Magog's army implies not, as falsely stated by Weber ("Altsynagogale Theologie," 1880, p. 369), followed by Bousset ("Religion des Judenthums," p. 222), the extermination of the Gentile world at the close of the Messianic reign, but the annihilation of the heathen powers who oppose the kingdom of God and the establishing of the Messianic reign (see Enoch, lvi.-lvii., according to which the tribes of Israel are gathered and brought to the Holy Land after the destruction of the heathen hosts; Sifre, Deut. 343; and Targ. Yer. to Num 11:26).

The Gentiles who submit to the Law are expected to survive (Syriac Apoc. Baruch, lxxii. 4; Apoc. Abraham, xxxi.); and those nations that did not subjugate Israel will be admitted by the Messiah into the kingdom of God (Pesiḥ. R. 1, after Isa 66:23). The Messiah is called "Hadrach" (Zech. ix. 1), as the one who leads the heathen world to repentance ( (missing hebrew text) ), though he is tender to Israel and harsh toward the Gentiles ( (missing hebrew text) : Cant. R. vii. 5). The loyalty of the latter will be severely tested ('Ab. Zarah 2b et seq.), while during the established reign of the Messiah the probation time of the heathen will have passed over (Yeb. 24b). "A third part of the heathen world alone will survive" (Sibyllines, iii. 544 et seq., v. 103, after Zech. xiii. 8; in Tan., Shofeṭim, ed. Buber, 10, this third part is referred to Israel, which alone, as the descendants of the three patriarchs, will escape the fire of Gehenna). According to Syriac Apoc. Baruch, xl. 1, 2, it is the leader of the Gog and Magog hosts who will alone survive, to be brought bound before the Messiah on Mount Zion and judged and slain. According to II Esd. xiii. 9 et seq., fire will issue forth from the mouth of the Messiah and consume the whole army. This indicates an identification of Gog and Magog with "the wicked one" of Isa 11:4, interpreted as the personification of wickedness, Angro - mainyush (see Armilus). In Midrash Wayosha' (Jellinek, "B. H." i. 56) Gog is the leader of the seventy-two nations of the world, minus one (Israel), and makes war against the Most High; he is smitten down by God. Armilus rises as the last enemy of God and Israel.

Gathering of the Exiles.

The great event preparatory to the reign of the Messiah is the gathering of the exiles, "ḳibbuẓgaliyyot." This hope, voiced in Deut 30:3; Isa 11:12; Micah iv. 6, vii. 11; Ezek 39:27; Zech. xi. 10-12 and Isa 35:8, is made especially impressive by the description in Isa 27:13 of the return of all the strayed ones from Assyria and Egypt, and by the announcement that "the Gentiles themselves shall carry Israel's sons and daughters on their arms to Jerusalem with presents for the Lord" (Isa 49:22, lx. 4-9, lxvi. 20). It was accordingly dwelt upon as a miraculous act in the synagogal liturgy and song (Shemoneh 'Esreh; Meg. 17a; Song 11:1, xvii. 31), as well as in apocalyptic visions (Apoc. Abraham, xxxi.; II Esd. xiii. 13; Mt 24:31). God shall bring them back from the East and the West (Baruch, iv. 37, v. 5 et seq.; Ecclus. [Sirach] xxxvi. 13; Tobit xiii. 13); Elijah shall gather them and the Messiah summon them together (Ecclus. [Sirach] xlviii. 10; Sibyllines, ii. 171-187; Song 17:26; Targ. Yer. to Ex 6:18, xl. 9-10, Num 24:7, Deut 30:4, Jer 33:13). In wagons carried by the winds the exiles shall be borne along with a mighty noise (Enoch 571 et seq.; Zeb. 116a; Cant. R. and Haggadat Shir ha-Shirim to Song 4:16; Midr. Teh. to Ps 876), and a pillar of light shall lead them (Philo, "De Execrationibus," 8-9). The Lost Ten Tribes shall be miraculously brought back across the mighty waters of the River Euphrates (II Esd. xiii. 39-47; Syriac Apoc. Baruch, lxxvii.; Sanh. x. 13; Tan., Miḳḳez and Shelaḥ, i. 203, iii. 79, ed. Buber, after Isa 11:15; see Arzareth; Sambation; Ten Tribes).

The Days of the Messiah.

The central place in the eschatological system is, as a matter of course, occupied by the advent of the messiah. Nevertheless the days of the Messiah ("yemot ha-Mashiaḥ"), the time when the prophetic predictions regarding the reign of the descendant of David find their fulfilment, do not form the end of the world's history, but are merely the necessary preparatory stage to the kingdom of God ("malkut shamayim"), which, when once established, will last forever (Dan 7:27; Sibyllines, iii. 47 et seq., 767 et seq.; Mek., Beshallaḥ, 'Amaleḳ, end). The Messiah is merely "the chosen one" (Enoch 453, xlix. 2, li. 3 et seq.); he causes the people to seek the Lord (Hosea iii. 5; Isa 11:9; Zech. xii. 8; Ezek 34:24, xxxvii. 24 et seq.), and, as "the Son of God," causes the nations to worship Him (Enoch 1052; II Esd. viii. 28 et seq., xiii. 32-52, xiv. 9, after Ps 27, lxxxix. 27 et seq.). The time of his kingdom is therefore limited according to some to three generations (Mek., l.c., after Ex 17:16, (missing hebrew text) ); according to others, to 40 or 70, to 365 or 400 years, or to 1,000, 2,000, 4,000, or 7,000 years (Sanh. 99a, 97b; Pesiḥ. R. 1, end; Midr. Teh. xc. 17); the number 400, however, based upon a combination of Gen 15:13 and Ps 9015 (see Pesiḥ. R. 1), is supported by II Esd. vii. 28 et seq., where it is positively stated that after his 400 years' reign the Messiah will die to rise again, after the lapse of a week, with the rest of the righteous in the world's regeneration. It is probably to emphasize his human character that the Messiah is frequently called the "Son of Man" (Dan 8:13; Enoch 462 et seq., xlviii. 2, lxii. 7; See Man, Son of). For it is in order to fulfil the designs of God for Israel and the whole race of man that he is to appear as the triumphant warrior-king to subjugate the nations (Sibyllines, iii. 653-655), to lead in the war against Gog and Magog (II Esd. xiii. 32; Targ. Yer. to Num 24:17, 20), to annihilate all the powers of wickedness and idolatry, cleanse the Holy Land and city from all heathen elements, build the new house of the Lord "pure and holy," and become the Redeemer of Israel (Syriac Apoc. Baruch, xxxix. 7 et seq., lxxii. 2; Song 17:21-30; Targ. Yer. to Gen 49:11, Ex 40:9, Num 11:16, Isa 10:27; comp. Philo, "De Præmiis et Pœnis," with reference to Num 24:7): "he is to redeem the entire creation by chastising the evil-doers and making the nations from all the ends of the world see the glory of God" (II Esd. xiii. 26-38; Song 17:31). "Free from sin, from desire for wealth or power, a pure, wise, and holy king imbued with the spirit of God, he will lead all to righteousness and holiness (Song 17:32-43; Sibyllines, iii. 49, v. 414 et seq.; Test. Patr., Lev 1:18; Midr. Teh. lxxii. 12; Targ. Yer. to Gen 49:12, and Isa 11:2, xli. 1).

Time of Universal Peace.

The Messianic time, accordingly, means first of all the cessation of all subjection of Israel by other powers ( (missing hebrew text) , Ber. 34b; Sanh. 91b), while the kingdoms and nations will bring tributes to the Messiah (Pes. 118b; Gen. R. lxxviii.; Tan., Yelamdenu, Shofeṭim; Sibyllines, iii. 350, iv. 145, all based upon Ps 7210 and lxviii. 32); furthermore, it will be a time of conversion of the heathen world to monotheism (Tobit xiv. 6; Sibyllines, iii. 616, 624, 716 et seq.; Enoch 484 et seq.; 'Ab. Zarah 24a, after Zeph 3:9), though the Holy Land itself will not be inhabited by strangers (Song 17:28; Sibyllines, v. 264; Book of Jubilees, 1. 5). Both earth and man will be blessed with wondrous fertility and vigor (Enoch 1017-19, "They will live until they have a thousand children"; Sibyllines, iii. 620 et seq., 743; Syriac Apoc. Baruch, xxix. 5; comp. Papias' description of the millennium given as coming directly from Jesus, in Irenæus, "Adversus Hæreses," v. 33, 3-4; Ket. 111b; Shab. 30b, "The earth will produce new fruits daily, women will bear children daily, and the land will yield loaves of bread and garments of silk," all with reference to Ps 7216; Deut 32:1; Gen 49:11; comp. Targ. Yer.). The days of the youth of the earth will be renewed; people will again reach the age of 1,000 years (Book of Jubilees, xxx. 27; comp. Isa 65:20); the birth of children will be free from pain (Syriac Apoc. Baruch, lxxiii. 60, after Isa 13:8; Philo, "De Præmiis et Pœnis," 15 et seq.); there will no longer be strife and illness, plague or trouble, but peace, health, and joy (Enoch 1016-22; Sibyllines, iii. 371; Syriac Apoc. Baruch, lxxiii. 1-5). All physical ailments and defects will be healed (Gen. R. xcv.; Pesiḥ. R. 42 [ed. Friedmann, p. 177, note]; Midr. Teh. cxlvi. 8; Eccl. R. i. 9, after Isa 35:6; comp. Mt 11:5). A spiritual regeneration will also take place, and Israel's sons and daughters will prophesy (Num. R. xv., after Joel iii. 1 [A. V. ii. 28], a passage which contradicts the statement of Bousset, l.c. p. 229).

Renewal of the Time of Moses.

The Messiah will furthermore win the heathen by the spirit of wisdom and righteousness which rests upon him (Sibyllines, iii. 780; Test. Patr., Lev 1:18; Judah, 24; Targ. Yer. to Gen 49:12 and Isa 41:1). He will teach the nations the Noachian laws of humanity and make all men disciples of the Lord (Midr. Teh. xxi.). The wonders of the time of Moses will be repeated on a larger scale in the time of the Messiah (Mek., Beshallaḥ, Shirah, 8, after Micah vii. 15; comp. Hosea ii. 17; Targ.; Tan., Bo, ed. Buber, 6). What Moses, the first redeemer, did is typical of what the Messiah as the last redeemer will do (Eccl. R. i. 9). The redemption will be in the same month of Nisan and in the same night (Mek., Bo, 14); the same pillar of cloud will lead Israel (Philo, "De Execrationibus," 8; Targ. Yer. to Isa 35:10): the same plagues will be sent upon Israel's foes (Tan., Wa'era, ed. Buber, 15; Bo, 6, 19; Midr. Wayosha'; Jellinek, "B. H." i. 45); the redeemer will ride on an ass (Zech. ix. 9; comp. Ex 4:20); manna will again be sent down from heaven (Ps 7216; comp. Ps 7824; Syriac Apoc. Baruch, xxix. 8); and water rise from beneath by miraculous power (Joel iv. [A. V. iii.] 18; comp. Ps 7815 et seq.; Eccl. R. i. 9). Like Moses, the Messiah will disappear for 90 or 45 days after his appearance (Pesiḥ. R. 15; Pesiḥ. v. 49b, after Hosea v. 15). The same number of people will be redeemed (Sanh. 111a) and the Song of Moses be replaced by another song (Mek., Beshallaḥ, Shirah, 1; Rev. xv. 3). But, like Moses, the Messiah will die (II Esd. l.c.); the opinion that the Messiah will not taste death (Midr. Teh. lxxii. 17) seems to be of later origin, and will be discussed in connection with the account of the Messiah from the tribe of Joseph or Ephraim (see below).

The Cosmic Characters of the Messianic Time.

Jewish theology always insisted on drawing a sharp line between the Messianic days and the final days of God's sole kingdom. Hence the characteristic baraita counting ten world-rulers, beginning with God before Creation, then naming, Nimrod, Joseph, Solomon, Ahab, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Alexander the Great, the Messiah, and ending with God last as He was the first (Pirḳe R. El. xi.; Meg. 11a is incomplete). There are, however, in the personality of the Messiah supernatural elements adopted from the Persian Soshians ("Savior") which lent to the whole Messianic age a specifically cosmic character. An offspring of Zoroaster, born miraculously by a virgin of a seed hidden in a lake for thousands of years, Soshians is, together with a number of associates, six, or seven, or thirty, to bring about the resurrection, slay Angro-mainyush and his hosts of demons, judge the risen dead, giving each his due reward, and finally renew the whole world (Bundahis, xxx.; Windischmann, "Zoroastrische Studien," 1863, pp. 231 et seq.; Böcklen, "Die Verwandtschaft der Jüdischchristlichen mit der Parsischen Eschatologie," 1902, pp. 91 et seq.). Similarly, the Messiah is a being existing from before Creation (Gen. R. i.; Pesiḥ. R. 33; Pirḳe R. El. iii.; Pes. 54a, based on Ps 7217), and kept hidden for thousands of years (Enoch 462 et seq., xlviii. 6, lxii. 7; II Esd. xii. 32, xiii, 26; Syriac Apoc. Baruch, xxix.; Midr. Teh. xxi.; Targ. to Micah iv. 8). He comes "from a strange seed" ( (missing hebrew text) : Gen. R. xxiii., with reference to Gen 4:25; Gen. R. li., with reference to Gen 19:34; Gen. R. lxxxv.; Tan., Wayesheb, ed. Buber, 13, with reference to Gen 38:29; comp. Mt 1:3); or from the North ( (missing hebrew text) , which may also mean "concealment": Lev. R. ix.; Num. R. xiii., after Isa 41:25; comp. Jn 7:27).

The Messiah's immortal companions reappear with him (II Esd. xiii. 52, xiv. 9; comp. vi. 26). Derek Ereẓ Zuṭa i. mentions nine immortals (see Kohler, in "J. Q. R." v. 407-419, and comp. the transposed [hidden] righteous ones in Mandäan lore; Brand, "Die Mandäische Religion," 1889, p. 38). They are probably identical with "the righteous who raise the dead in the Messianic time" (Pes. 68a). Prominent among the companions of the Messiah are: (1) Elijah the prophet (see Elijah in Rabbinical Literature), who is expected as high priest to anoint the Messiah (Justin, "Dialogus cum Tryphone," viii., xlix.; comp. Targ. to Ex 40:10; Jn 1:21); to bring about Israel's repentance (Pirḳe R. El. xliii.) and reunion (Targ. Yer. to Deut 30:4; Sibyllines, v. 187 et seq.), and finally the resurrection of the dead (Yer. Shab. i. 5-3c; Sheḳ. iii. 47c; Agadat Shir ha-Shirim, ed. Schechter, to Song 7:14); he will also bring to light again the hidden vessels of Moses' time (Mek., Beshauah, Wayassa', 5; Syriac Apoc. Baruch, vi. 8; comp., however, Num. R. xviii.: "the Messiah will disclose these"); (2) Moses, who will reappear with Elijah (Deut. R. iii.; Targ. Yer. to Ex 12:42; comp. Ex. R. xviii. and Lk 9:30); (3) Jeremiah (2 Macc 15:14; Mt 16:14); (4) Isaiah (II Esd. ii. 18); (5) Baruch (Syriac Apoc. Baruch, vi. 8, xiii. 3, xxv. 1, xlvi. 2); (6) Ezra (II Esd. xiv. 9); (7) Enoch (Enoch 9031; Evangelium Nicodemi, xxv.), and others (Lk 9:8; comp. also Septuagint to Job, end). The "four smiths" in the vision of Zech. ii. 3 (i. 20, R. V.) were referred by the Rabbis to the four chiefs, or associates, of the Messianic time; Elijah and the Messiah, Melchizedek and the "Anointed for the War" (Messiah ben Joseph: Pesiḥ. v. 51a; comp. Suk. 55b). The "seven shepherds and the eight princes" (Micah v. 4 [A. V. 5]) are taken to be: Adam, Seth, Methuselah (Enoch was stricken from the list of the saints in post-Christian times), Abraham, Jacob, and Moses, with David in the middle, forming the set of "shepherds"; Jesse, Saul, Samuel (?), Amos (?), Hezekiah, Zedekiah, Elijah, and the Messiah, forming the set of "princes" (Suk. 52b). These, fifteen in number, correspond to the fifteen men and women in the company of the Persian Soshians. The Coptic Elias Apocalypse (xxxvii., translated by Steindorf), speaks of sixty companions of the Messiah (see Bousset, l.c. p. 221).

The Messiah of the Tribe of Joseph.

The origin and character of the Messiah of the tribe of Joseph, or Ephraim, are rather obscure. It seems that the assumed superhuman character of the Messiah appeared to be in conflict with the tradition that spoke of his death, and therefore the figure of a Messiah who would come from the tribe of Joseph, or Ephraim, instead of from Judah, and who would willingly undergo suffering for his nation and fall as victim in the Gog and Magog war, was createdby the haggadists (see Pesik. R. 37; comp. 34.). To him was referred the passage, "They shall look unto him whom they have pierced and mourn for him" (Zech. xii. 10, Hebr.; Suk. 52a), as well as the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah (see Justin, "Dialogus cum Tryphone," lxviii. and xc.; comp. Sanh. 98b, "the Messiah's name is 'The Leper' ['ḥiwwara'; comp. Isa 53:4]; the passage quoted in Martini, "Pugio Fidei," p. 417, cited by Gfrörer [l.c. 267] and others, is scarcely genuine; see Eppstein, "Bereshit Rabbati," 1888, p. 26). The older haggadah referred also "the wild ox" who with his horns will "push the people to the ends of the earth" (Deut 33:17, Hebr.) to the Ephraimite Messiah (Gen. R. lxxv.; comp. Num. R. xiv.). The Messiah from the tribe of Ephraim falls in the battle with Gog and Magog, whereas the Messiah from the house of David kills the superhuman hostile leader (Angro-mainyush) with the breath of his mouth; then he is universally recognized as king (Suk. 52a; comp. Targ. Yer. to Ex 40:9, 11; Targ. to Isa 11:4, Song 4:5; Sefer Zerubbabel, in Jellinek, "B. H." ii. 56, where he is introduced with the name of Nehemiah b. Ḥushiel; comp. l.c. 60 et seq., iii. 80 et seq.).

"Great will be the suffering the Messiah of the tribe of Ephraim has to undergo for seven years at the hand of the nations, who lay iron beams upon him to crush him so that his cries reach heaven; but he willingly submits for the sake of his people, not only those living, but also the dead, for all those who died since Adam; and God places the four beasts of the heavenly throne-chariot at his disposal to bring about the great work of resurrection and regeneration against all the celestial antagonists" (Pesiḥ. R. 36). The Patriarchs will rise from their graves in Nisan and pay homage to his greatness as the suffering Messiah, and when the nations (104 kingdoms) put him in shackles in the prison-house and make sport of him, as is described in Ps 228-16, God will address him with the words "Ephraim, My dear son, child of My comfort, I have great compassion on thee" (Jer 31:20, Hebr.), assuring him that "with the breath of his mouth he shall slay the wicked one" (Isa 11:4); and He will surround him with a sevenfold canopy of precious stones, place streams of wine, honey, milk, and balsam at his feet, fan him with all the fragrant breezes of paradise, and then tell the saints that admire and pity him that he has not gone through half the suffering imposed upon him from the world's beginning (Pesiḥ. R. 37). The haggadists, however, did not always clearly discriminate between the Ephraimite Messiah, who falls a victim, and the son of David, who is glorified as victor and receives the tributes of the nations (Midr. Teh. xviii. 5, where the former is meant as being the one "insulted" according to Ps 8951 [A. V. 52]; comp. Targ. Yer. to Num 11:26, and Midr. Teh. lxxxvii. 6, where the two Messiahs are mentioned together). According to Tan. Yelamdenu, Shofeṭim (end), the nations will first bring tributes to the Messiah; then, seized by a spirit of confusion ("ruaḥ tezazit"), they will rebel and make war against him; but he will burn them with the breath of his mouth and none but Israel will remain (that is, on the battle-field: this is misunderstood by Weber, l.c.; comp. II Esd. xiii. 9).

In the later apocalyptic literature the Ephraimite Messiah is introduced by the name of Nehemiah ben Ḥushiel, and the victorious Messiah as Menahem ben 'Ammi El ("Comforter, son of the people of God": Jellinek, "B. H." ii. 56, 60 et al.). It appears that the eschatologists were anxious to discriminate between the fourth heathen power personified in Edom (Rome) the wicked, over whom the Ephraimite Messiah alone is destined to carry victory (Pesiḥ. R. 12; Gen. R. lxxiii.; B. B. 123b), and the Gog and Magog army, over which the son of David was to triumph while the son of Ephraim fell (see Otot ha-Mashiaḥ, Jellinek, l.c.). While the fall of the wicked kingdom (Rome) was taken to be the beginning of the rise of the kingdom of God (Pesiḥ. v. 51a), the belief was that between the fall of the empire of Edom = Rome and the defeat of the Gog and Magog army there would be a long interval (see Pesiḥ. xxii. 148a; comp. Pesiḥ. R. 37 [ed. Friedmann, 163b, note]).

According to R. Eliezer of Modin (Mek., Beshallaḥ, Wayassa', 4 [ed. Weiss, p. 58b, note]), the Messiah is simply to restore the reign of the Davidic dynasty ("malkut bet Dawid"; comp. Maimonides, Commentary to Sanh. xi.: "The Messiah, the son of David, will die, and his son and grandson will follow him"; on the other hand, Baḥya ben Joseph in his commentary to Gen 11:11 says: "The Messiah will not die"); also "the Aaronitic priesthood and Levitic service."

The New Jerusalem.

The apocalyptic writers and many rabbis who took a less sober view of the Messianic future expected a new Jerusalem built of sapphire, gold, and precious stones, with gates, walls, and towers of wondrous size and splendor (Tobit xiii. 15, xiv. 4; Rev. xxi. 9-21; Sibyllines, iii. 657 et seq., v. 250 et seq., 420 et seq.; B. B. 75a; Pes. 50a; Pesiḥ. xx. 143a; Pesiḥ. R. 32; Midr. Teh. lxxxvii.; in accordance with Isa 54:11 et seq., lx. 10; Hag. ii. 7; Zech. ii. 8). The "new" or "upper Jerusalem" ( (missing hebrew text) ; Ta'an 5a; Ḥag. 12b; Test. Patr., Dan. 5; Rev. xxi. 2, 10; Gal. iv. 26; Heb. xii. 22) seen in visions by Adam, Abraham, and Moses (Syriac Apoc. Baruch, iv. 2-6) will in the days of the Messiah appear in all its splendor (II Esd. vii. 26, x. 50 et seq.; Syriac Apoc. Baruch, xxxii. 4); it will be reared upon the top of all the mountains of the earth piled one upon the other (Pesiḥ. xxi. 144b, after Isa 2:2).

This expectation of course includes a "heavenly temple," "miḳdash shel ma'alah" (Enoch 9029 et seq.; comp. Ḥag. l.c.; Pes. 54, after Jer 17:12). The more sober view is that the Messiah will replace the polluted temple with a pure and holy one (Enoch 536, xc. 28, xci. 13; Sibyllines, iii. 77b; Psalms of Solomon xvii. 30; comp. Lev. R. ix.: "Coming from the North, the Messiah will erect the temple in the South"). The sacred vessels of the Tabernacle of Moses' time, hidden ever since, are expected to reappear (2 Macc 2:4-8; Syriac Apoc. Baruch, vi. 7-10; Tosef., Soṭah, xiii. 1; apocryphical Masseket Kelim; Yoma 52b; Tan., Wayeḥi, ed. Buber, 3; comp. Josephus, "Ant." xviii. 4, § 1). There will be no sin any more, for "the Lord will shake the land of Israel andcleanse it from all impurity" (Pirḳe R. El. xxxiv. 21, after Job 38:13). The Messianic time will be without merit ["zekut"] and without guilt ["ḥobah"] (Shab. 151b). Yet "only the select ones will be allowed to go up to the new Jerusalem" (B. B. 75b).

A. New Law.

Whereas the Babylonian schools took it for granted that the Mosaic law, and particularly the sacrificial and priestly laws, will be fully observed in the Messianic time (Yoma 5b et al.), the view that a new Law of God will be proclaimed by the Messiah is occasionally expressed (Eccl. R. ii. 1; Lev. R. xiii., according to Jer 31:32)—"the thirty commandments" which comprise the Law of humanity (Gen. R. xcviii.). "Ye will receive a new Law from the Elect One of the righteous" (Targ. to Isa 12:3). The Holy One will expound the new Law to be given by the Messiah (Yalḳ. ii. 296, to Isa. xxvi.); according to Pes. xii. 107a, He will only infuse new ideas ("ḥiddush debarim"); or the Messiah will take upon himself the kingdom of the Law and make many zealous followers thereof (Targ. to Isa 9:5 et seq., and Iiii. 11-12). "There will be a new covenant which shall not be broken" (Sifra, Beḥuḳḳotai, ii., after Jer 31:32). The dietary and purity laws will no longer be in force (Lev. R. xxii.; Midr. Teh. cxlvii., ed. Buber, note; R. Joseph said: "All ceremonial laws will be abrogated in the future" [Nid. 61b]; this, however, refers to the time of the Resurrection).

Resurrection formed part of the Messianic hope (Isa 24:19; Dan 12:2). Martyrs for the Law were specially expected to share in the future glory of Israel (2 Macc 7:6, 9, 23; Book of Jubilees, xxiii. 30), the term for having a share in the future life being "to inherit the land" (Ḳid. i. 10). The Resurrection was therefore believed to take place solely in the Holy Land (Pesiḥ. R. 1; the "land of the living" in Ps 1169 means "the land where the dead live again"). Jerusalem alone is the city whose dead will blossom forth as the grass, for those buried elsewhere will be compelled to creep through holes in the ground to the Holy Land (Ket. 3b; Pesiḥ. R. l.c.). From this point of view the Resurrection is accorded only to Israel (Gen. R. xiii.). The great trumpet blown to gather the tribes of Israel (Isa 27:13) will also rouse the dead (Ber. 15b; Targ. Yer. to Ex 20:15; II Esd. iv. 23 et seq.; 1Cor 15:52; I Thess. iv. 16).

The Last Judgment precedes the Resurrection. Judged by the Messiah, the nations with their guardian angels and stars shall be cast into Gehenna. According to Rabbi Eleazar of Modi'im, in answer to the protests of the princes of the seventy-two nations, God will say, "Let each nation go through the fire together with its guardian deity," when Israel alone will be saved (Cant. R. ii. 1). This gave rise to the idea adopted by Christianity, that the Messiah would pass through Hades (Test. Patr., Benjamin, 9; Yalḳ., Isa. 359; see Eppstein, "Bereshit Rabbati," 1888, p. 31). The end of the judgment of the heathen is the establishment of the kingdom of God (Mek., Beshallaḥ, 'Amaleḳ). The Messiah will cast Satan into Gehenna, and death and sorrow flee forever (Pesiḥ. R. 36; see also Antichrist; Armilus; Belial).

In later times the belief in a universal Resurrection became general. "All men as they are born and die are to rise again," says Eliezer ben Ḳappar (Abotiv.). The Resurrection will occur at the close of the Messianic era (Enoch 9810). Death will befall the Messiah after his four hundred years' reign, and all mankind and the world will lapse into primeval silence for seven days, after which the renewed earth will give forth its dead and God will judge the world and assign the evil-doers to the pit of hell and the righteous to paradise, which is on the opposite side (II Esd. vii. 26-36). All evildoers meet with everlasting punishment. It was a matter of dispute between the Shammaite R. Eliezer and the Hillelite R. Joshua whether the righteous among the heathen had a share in the future world or not (Tosef., Sanh. xiii. 2), the dispute hinging on the verse "the wicked shall return to Sheol, and all the Gentiles that forget God" (Ps 918 [A. V. 17], Hebr.). The doctrine "All Israelites have a share in the world to come" (Sanh. xi. 1) is based upon Isa. Ix. 21: "Thy people, all of them righteous, shall inherit the land" (Hebr.). At first resurrection was regarded as a miraculous boon granted only to the righteous (Test. Patr., Simeon, 6; Lk 14:14), but afterward it was considered to be universal in application and connected with the Last Judgment (Slavonic Enoch 665; comp. second blessing of the "Shemoneh 'Esreh"). Whether the process of the formation of the body at the Resurrection is the same as at birth is a matter of dispute between the Hillelites and Shammaites (Gen. R. xiv.; Lev. R. xiv.). For the state of the soul during the death of the body see Immortality and Soul.

Regeneration of the World.

Owing to the gradual evolution of eschatological conceptions, the Rabbis used the terms, "'olam ha-ba" (the world to come), "le-'atid la-bo" (in the coming time), and "yemot ha-Mashiaḥ" (the Messianic days) promiscuously or often without clear distinction (see Geiger, "Lesestücke aus der Mischnah," p. 41; idem, "Jüd. Zeit." iii. 159, iv. 124). Thus, for instance, the question is discussed whether there will be death for the Gentiles "in the coming time" or not (Gen. R. xxvi.). R. Eleazar of Modi'im, of the second century (Mek., Beshallaḥ, Wayassa', ed. Weiss, p. 59, note) distinguishes between the Messianic time("malkut bet Dawid"), the "'olam ha-ba" (the future world), which is that of the souls, and the time of the Resurrection, which he calls "'olam ḥadash" (the new world, or world of regeneration). This term, used also in the "Ḳaddish" prayer "Le-Ḥadata 'Alma" (The Renewal of the World), is found in Mt 19:28 under the Greek name παλινγένεσις: "In the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of his glory" and judge the world in common with the twelve Apostles (for the last words see the twelve judges for the twelve tribes of Israel in Testament of Abraham, A. 13, and compare the seventy elders around the seat of God in heaven in Lev. R. xi.)

Concerning this regeneration of the world Pirḳe R. El. i. says, with reference to Isa 34:4, li. 6, lxv. 17; Hosea vi. 2: "Heaven and earth, as well as Israel, shall be renewed; the former shall be folded together like a book or a garment and then unfolded,and Israel, after having tasted death, shall rise again on the third day." "All the beauty of the world which vanished owing to Adam's sin, will be restored in the time of the Messiah, the descendant of Perez [Gen. R. xii.]—the fertility of the earth, the wondrous size of man [Sifra, Beḥuḳḳotai, 1-2], the splendor of sun and moon" (Isa 30:26; Targ. to 2 Sam 23:4; comp. Apoc. Mosis, 36). Ten things shall be renewed (according to Ex. R. xv.; comp. Tan., Wayiggash, ed. Buber, 9): The sun and moon shall regain their splendor, the former endowed with healing powers (Mal 3:20 [A. V. iv. 2]); the fountains of Jerusalem shall flow, and the trees grow (Ezek 47:12); desolate cities like Sodom shall rise from their ruins (Ezek 16:55); Jerusalem, rebuilt of precious stones, shall shine like the sun (Isa 54:11 et seq.); peace shall reign among the beasts (Isa 11:7); and between them and Israel (Hosea ii. 20 [A. V. 18]); weeping and death shall cease (Isa. 1xv. 19, xxv. 8-10); joy only shall reign (Isa 35:10); the "yeẓer ha-ra'" (evil desire) shall be slain by God (Suk. 52a). This regeneration of the world is to be brought about by a world-conflagration ("mabbul shel esh" = "a floor of fire" = ἐκπύρωσις: Sibyllines, iii. 542, 689; iv. 174; ii. 296; Hippolytus, "Refutatio Omnium Hæresium," ix. 30). This view, borrowed from the Stoics, is based upon Isa 34:4 (comp. Bousset, "Der Antichrist," p. 159). In this world-conflagration Belial himself will be consumed (Sibyllines, iii. 73; compare the burning up of the primeval serpent Gohithar in Bundahis, xxx. 31). Thus the fire of Gehenna which consumes the wicked angels and the stars (Enoch 9024 et seq., et al.) was turned into a cosmic force bringing about the world's renewal.

The Last Judgment.

The Messianic kingdom, being at best of mere earthly splendor, could not form the end, and so the Great Judgment was placed at its close and following the Resurrection. Those that would not accept the belief in bodily resurrection probably dwelt with greater emphasis on the judgment of the souls after death (see Abraham, Testament of; Philo; Sadducees; Wisdom, Book of). Jewish eschatology combined the Resurrection with the Last Judgment: "God summons the soul from heaven and couples it again on earth with the body to bring man to judgment" (Sanh. 91b, after Ps 504). In the tenth week, that is, the seventh millennium, in the seventh part, that is, after the Messianic reign, there will be the great eternal judgment, to be followed by a new heaven with the celestial powers in sevenfold splendor (Enoch 9115; comp. lxxxiv. 4, xciv. 9, xcviii. 10, civ. 5). On "the day of the Great Judgment" angels and men alike will be judged, and the books opened in which the deeds of men are recorded (lxxxi. 4, lxxxix. 70 et seq., xc. 20, ciii. 3 et seq., civ. 1, cviii. 3) for life or for death; books in which all sins are written down, and the treasures of righteousness for the righteous, will be opened on that day (Syriac Apoc. Baruch, xxiv. 1). "All the secret thoughts of men will then be brought to light." "Not long-suffering and mercy, but rigid justice, will prevail in this Last Judgment"; Gehenna and Paradise will appear opposite each other for the one or the other to enter (II Esd. vii. 33 et seq.).

This end will come "through no one but God alone" (ib. vi. 6). "No longer will time be granted for repentance, or for prayer and intercession by saints and prophets, but the Only One will give decision according to His One Law, whether for life or for everlasting destruction" (Syriac Apoc. Baruch, lxxxv. 9-12). The righteous ones will be recorded in the Book of Life (Book of Jubilees, xxx. 22, xxxvi. 10; Abot ii. 1; "Shepherd of Hermas," i. 32; Lk 10:20; Rev. iii. 5, xiii. 8, xx. 15). The righteous deeds and the sins will be weighed against each other in the scales of justice (Pesiḥ. R. 20; Ḳid. 40b). According to the Testament of Abraham (A. xiii.), there are two angels, one on either side: one writes down the merits, the other the demerits, while Doḳiel, the archangel, weighs the two kinds against each other in a balance; and another, Pyroel ("angel of fire"), tries the works of men by fire, whether they are consumed or not; then the just souls are carried among the saved ones; those found unjust, among those who will meet their punishment. Those whose merits and demerits are equal remain in a middle state, and the intercession of meritorious men such as Abraham saves them and brings them into paradise (Testament of Abraham, A. xiv.). According to the sterner doctrine of the Shammaites, these souls must undergo a process of purgation by fire; "they enter Gehenna, swing themselves up again, and are healed." This view, based upon Zech. xiii. 9, seems to be something like the Christian purgatory. According to the Hillelites, "He who is plenteous in mercy inclines the scale of justice toward mercy"—a view which shows (against Gunkel, "Der Prophet Ezra," 1900, p. 15) that Judaism believed in divine mercy independently of the Pauline faith (Tosef., Sanh. xiii. 3). As recorder of the deeds of men in the heavenly books, "Enoch, the scribe of righteousness," is mentioned in Testament of Abraham, xi.; Lev. R. xiv. has Elijah and the Messiah as heavenly recorders, a survival of the national Jewish eschatology.


There is no Scriptural basis for the belief in retribution for the soul after death; this was supplied by the Babylonians and Persians, and received a Jewish coloring from the word "Gehinnom" (the valley of Hinnom), made detestable by the fires of the Moloch sacrifices of Manasseh (2Kg 23:10). According to 'Er. 19a, the smoke from subterranean fires came up through the earth in this place; "there are cast the spirits of sinners and blasphemers and of those who work wickedness and pervert the words of the Prophets" (Enoch 1086). Gehinnom has a double purpose, annihilation (Enoch 941 et seq.) and eternal pain (II Esd. vii. 36 et seq.). Gehinnom has seven names: "Sheol," "Abbadon," "Pit of Corruption," "Horrible Pit," "Mire of Clay," "Shadow of Death," and "Nether Parts of the Earth" (Jonah ii. 3; Ps 8812 [A.V. 11], xvi. 10, xl. 3 [A.V. 2], cvii. 14; Ezek 26:20). It is also called "Tophet" (Isa 30:33). It has seven departments, one beneath the other (Soṭah 10b). There are seven kinds of pains (II Esd. vii. 81 et seq.). According to rabbinical tradition, thieves are condemned to fill an unfillable tank; the impure sink into a quagmire; thosethat sinned with the tongue are suspended thereby; some are suspended by the feet, hair, or eyelids; others eat hot coals and sand; others are devoured by worms, or placed alternately in snow and fire. On Sabbath they are respited (see Dumah). These conceptions, ascribed chiefly to Joshua ben Levi, have their parallel in the apocalyptic literature appropriated by the Christian Church (see Gehenna). The punishment of the wicked endures twelve months, according to R. Akiba; the generation of the Flood will in time be released (Gen. R. xxviii.), but the punishment of those who have led others into heresy or dealt treacherously against the Law will never cease (Tosef., Sanh. xiii. 5).

Gan 'Eden.

The Garden of Eden is called the "Garden of Righteousness" (Enoch 323), being no longer an earthly paradise (ib. lx. 8, lxi. 12, lxx. 3). It is above the earth, and its inhabitants are "clothed with garments of light and eternal life, and eat of the tree of life" (ib. lviii. 3) in the company of the Lord and His anointed. In Slavonic Enoch its place is in the third heaven; its four streams pour out honey and milk, oil and wine (compare Sibyllines, ii. 318). It is prepared for the "righteous who suffer innocently, who do works of benevolence and walk without blame before God." It has been created since the beginning of the world, and will appear suddenly at the Judgment Day in all its glory (II Esd. vi.; comp. Pes. 54a). The righteous dwell in those heights where they enjoy the sight of the heavenly "ḥayyot" that carry God's throne (Syriac Apoc. Baruch, li. 11). As the wicked have a sevenfold pain the righteous have a sevenfold joy (II Esd. vii. 88 et seq.). There are seven divisions for the righteous, which shine like the sun (Jdg 5:31; comp. Mt 13:43), the moon (Ps 8937), the firmament (Dan 12:3), lightnings, torches (Nah 2:5 [A. V. 4]), and lilies (Ps 451, Hebr.). Each of these divisions is placed differently before the face of God. Each of the righteous will have a mansion, and God will walk with them and lead them in a dance (Yer. Meg. ii. 73b). See Eden, Garden of.

The Banquet.

According to Ascensio Isaiæ, viii. 26, ix. 18, xi. 40, the righteous on the arrival of the Messiah receive in the seventh heaven garments of light as well as crowns and thrones. No small part in the future bliss is played by the eating of the heavenly bread or manna (Sibyllines, Proœmium, 87; Ḥag. 12b; Tan., Beshallaḥ, ed. Buber, p. 21; comp. "the mysterious food," II Esd. ix. 19), the ambrosial milk and honey (Sibyllines, ii. 318, iii. 746), and, according to R. Joshua b. Levi, "the wine prepared from the beginning of the world" (Ber. 34b; comp. Mt 26:29). The very name for the highest bliss of the future is "the banquet" (Abot iii. 16), which is the same as "sitting at the table of the Messiah" (Rev. xix. 9; Lk 13:28-29, xxii. 30, et al.). It is called in rabbinical literature "se'uddat ha-liwyatan" (the banquet of the leviathan), that is to say, in accordance with Job 40:30 (A. V. xli. 6) the "ha-barim, or pious ones, shall hold their meal over it" (see Leviathan). It seems that the Persian ox, "hadhayos," whose marrow imparts immortality to the eater (Bundahis, xxx. 25), gave rise to the idea of the behemoth and leviathan meal which is dwelt on in Enoch 607 et seq.; Syriac Apoc. Baruch, xxix. 4; II Esd. vi. 52; Targ. Yer. to Num 11:26, Ps 10426; B. B. 74b; Tan., Beshallaḥ, at end.

But while this eudemonistic view is the popular one, based upon Isa 65:13 and Ps 235 (Num. R. xxi.), there is also the higher and more spiritual view taught by Rab: "In the world to come there is neither eating, drinking, nor procreation, neither barter nor envy, neither hatred nor strife; but the righteous sit with their crowns on their heads and enjoy the splendor of the Shekinah; for it is said: 'And they saw God and did eat and drink'; that is, their seeing God was meat and drink to them" (Ber. 17a). More characteristic still is the view of Rab's Palestinian contemporary R. Johanan: All the bliss for the future promised by the Prophets refers only to the Messianic time, whereas in regard to that which is in store for the righteous in the world to come it is said: "No eye hath seen it beside thee, O God" (Isa 64:3 [A. V. 4]; Ber. 34b; comp., however, Ex. R. xlv., at end, according to which God showed to Moses all the treasures in store for the doers of benevolent works). The New Testament sentence, "Many shall be last [there] that are first [here], and first [there] that are last [here]" (Mt 19:30, Greek), finds its explanation in the saying of a son of R. Joshua b. Levi: "A contrary order of things I have seen in the world beyond: the high in station are low there, the lowly are placed on high" (Ber. 50a).

Only in the esoteric Essene circles whence the apocalyptic literature emanated were attempted all the elaborate descriptions of paradise that found their way into the Midrash Konen, the Ma'aseh Gan 'Eden, and similar midrashim of the geonic time given in Jellinek's "B. H." ii. 28, 52 et seq.; iii. 131, 191 et seq.; but these descriptions can be traced through early Christian back to Jewish sources (see "J. Q. R." vii. 595). Mystics like Naḥmanides in his "Sha'ar ha-Gemul" adopted these views; Maimonides and his school rejected them. The whole eschatological system of retribution through paradise and hell never assumed in Judaism the character of a dogmatic belief, and Talmudic Judaism boldly transferred the scene of the heavenly judgment from the hereafter to the annual Day of Judgment at the beginning of the year (R. H. 16b; see New-Year). For Samaritan eschatology see Samaritans.

The account above deals only with the early stages of the Jewish eschatological views, roughly speaking, down to the end of the Talmudic period. For later development and present-day views see Immortality; Judgment, Day of; Messiah; Resurrection.

Bibliography: Schürer, Gesch. 3d ed., ii. 496-556, where an extensive literature is given; Bousset, Die Religion des Judenthums im Neutestamentlichen Zeitalter, pp. 199-273, 473-483, Berlin, 1903; Charles, A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life in Israel, in Judaism, and in Christianity, London, 1899; E. Böcklen, Die Verwandtschaft der Jüdisch-Christlichen mit der Parsischen Eschatologie, Göttingen, 1902; Hastings, Dict. Bible; Cheyne and Black, Encyc. Bibl.; Hamburger, R. B. T. s.v. Auferstehung, Wiederbelebung der Todten, Messianische Zeit, Paradies Zukunftsmahl; Weber, System der Altsynagogalen Palestinischen Theologie, pp. 322-386, Leipsic, 1880 (to be consulted with caution); Drummond, Jewish Messiah, London, 1877; P. Volz, Jüdische Eschatologie von Daniel bis Akiba, Leipsic, 1903.

This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.
This article needs to be merged with ESCHATOLOGY (Jewish Encyclopedia).
This article needs to be merged with Eschatology (Catholic Encyclopedia).
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Simple English

Eschatology is the part of theology and philosophy that is concerned with what are believed to be the last events in history. It also looks at the destiny of humanity as a whole.


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