As stated in Chapter 1, it is the nature of prophecy to contain heavy symbolism. While the meanings of most biblical symbols are defined in scripture, there are nevertheless different interpretations of prophetic/eschatological passages among believers. (Eschatology refers to the study of what the Bible calls the “last days”.) Unsettled questions that contribute to differing interpretations include:


1)      Which events described by scripture are literal and which are symbolic?

2)      Have documented historical events already fulfilled the passage?

3)      Will future events fulfill them “better” or more literally?

4)      Could there be more than one fulfillment of some passages?


Here are some competing eschatological views:


1)      Futurists believe many passages concerning the last days have yet to be fulfilled, including most of the book of Revelation, Matthew 24, and many Old Testament passages that seem to describe events such as the Battle of Armageddon, the Second Coming of Christ, and the Millennial Kingdom.


2)      Preterists believe virtually all last days passages were fulfilled at the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD and/or the centuries that followed with the fall of the Roman Empire.


3)      Historicists believe many last days prophecies were fulfilled throughout church history, particularly in the Middle Ages through the papacy and the Roman Catholic Church.


4)      Multiple Fulfillment Advocates believe many last days prophecies have both legitimate past and future fulfillments because it is the nature of biblical prophecy to sometimes repeat or contain both spiritual and literal fulfillments.


5)      Symbolic/Spiritual View Advocates believe many prophetic passages, particularly in the book of Revelation, generically illustrate the ongoing conflict between God’s kingdom and Satan’s kingdom in ways that apply to every generation.