The word eschatology means the study of the last things. It derives from eschatos (adjective) meaning last and logos meaning subject or word. Strictly speaking the eschaton is the last age. However, in another sense, whatever is in the future can generally be subsumed under the word. The first prophecy, speaking of the destruction of evil (Gen. 3:15) was strictly speaking an eschatological matter since evil will be defeated at the very end, however much it has been defeated on the way. Eschatological things are generally those things which are ahead, and specifically those which are at the very end-time. 2. The Background To Eschatology
(i) Salvation History
The Biblical view of history is what we call linear or teleological. We mean that the telos (end) is the actual consummation and goal of completion of that which has been along the linear line of history. Many eastern religions and philosophies do not see an end, but rather cyclic movements which may consummate but recede to repetition of the former cycles. Eschatology, then, is wholly linked with salvation history.
(heilsgeschichte) means that God is the God of history, and that in fact all history relates to the salvation which God is working out. It is not only an aspect - redemption within history - but history itself is redeemed, or, to put it another way, all history is God's act of salvation, rightly understood.
History, on the whole, is often understood as the simple chronicle of events as they happen. To this interpretations of history are often added. Some even adduce certain principles or patterns from the historic events. However, creation, redemption, and the final restoration of all things is the whole event of redemption. Hence the ‘end things’ (eschatology) must not be seen on their own, but viewed from the perspective of salvation history. 3. Christ and...