End-Time Terminology and Definitions

Rapture Definitions
What is the definition of abomination of desolation, dispensationalism, futurism, or the marriage super of the lamb? Find quick meanings for these end-time words.

Abomination of Desolation

A substitute system of worship that is deplorable to God because it stands in opposition to truth. The phrase is found in the King James Version of Matthew 24:15 and in various forms in the book of Daniel. It literally means: “a detestable thing that appalls.”


A willful turning away from God referred to many times in the Bible with terms such as rebellion, falling away, and adultery. The term “Great Apostasy” has been used to describe Papal Rome's rise to power and bringing pagan ideas and practices into the church.


Appears once in Scripture (Revelation 16:16) and literally means “mountain of Megiddo,” a location of many battles in Israel’s history. Some believe this is a literal battle between two earthly end-time forces, but it actually symbolizes the final conflict between Christ and Satan.


A “futurist” method of interpreting the Bible. It holds that God has yet to fulfill His promises to the literal nation of Israel and that most of the book of Revelation is future.

Four Horsemen

Revelation 6 describes four horses of different colors that describe events on earth after the death of Jesus and before His second coming.


An interpretation of Revelation as applying in a literal sense to future events on a global scale (as opposed to symbolic or historic ways). Such beliefs are connected to premillennialism and dispensationalism and are the basis of the “secret rapture” theory, as seen in the Left Behind series.

Secret Rapture

A popular but questionable belief that Jesus will return secretly before the tribulation to snatch up, or rapture, His church while leaving the unsaved on earth to suffer through the plagues.


A method of interpreting the Bible with historical events and people. It holds to a continuous fulfillment of prophecy and was the view of the major Protestant Reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin.


Also known as the “spiritual” or “allegorical” approach to interpreting Bible prophecy, in which all imagery is viewed as symbols and not literal events.

Marriage Supper of the Lamb

An event spoken of in Revelation 19:6–9 that unites Christ and His church after His second coming. It hearkens back to a parable of Jesus in Matthew 22:1–14. Four times the book of Revelation speaks of the church as the bride of Christ.

New Earth

Spoken of twice in the New Testament, it refers to the earth being recreated at the end of the millennium after it is cleansed by fire from heaven. Its capital city will be the New Jerusalem. See Revelation 21:1–4.

New Jerusalem

The name of the city in heaven being prepared by Christ for His people (John 14:1–3). It will come to the earth as the new capital at the end of the millennium (Revelation 21:1, 2).


The view that most prophecies of the Bible have already happened. Events spoken of in the book of Revelation are interpreted as having happened in the first century.


A biblical person, thing, or event that foreshadows a greater person, thing, or event. A spotless lamb brought to the sanctuary in the Old Testament was a type of Christ that foreshadowed His sacrifice.


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Rapture Hymns
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