Eschatology (study of the last things)

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Eschatology refers to the study of the ultimate climax or end of history. Among the primary topics are conceptions, such as the purpose of history, end times, second coming, judgment, death, hell, or eternal life.

In recent times, three primary forms of eschatology have developed. The first is consistent eschatology, which believes that the teaching of Jesus and the apostles is wholly concerned with proclaiming the imminent end of history. On the other hand, realized eschatology is the view that sees the first coming of Jesus Christ itself as the full presence of the kingdom of God. The last view is inaugurated eschatology which views the first coming of Christ as the beginning of the kingdom in the present, while the full realization of the kingdom of God is yet to come.

The term is derived from the Greek word ἔσχατος, meaning "last." The term eschatology also comes from Protestant Orthodoxy coined by Johann Gerhard (1637) by including a chapter De novissimis (Regarding the last things) in his dogmatics. Other confessions later adopted the term eschatology.