آخرالزمان یا پایان جهان یا آرماگِدون عبارتی است عربی به معنای «پایان زمان». برخی «آخرالزمان» را با قیامت یکی دانستهاند. اعتقاد به منجی و آخرالزمان در فرهنگ بسیاری از ادیان بزرگ دنیا دیده میشود و دربارهٔ آن پیشگوییهایی نیز کردهاند.
معمولاً «آخرالزّمان» در اصطلاح یعنی سالیان پایانی یک دوره از حیات بشری و سپس ظهور یک منجی موعود که انتظار او کشیده میشود تا تحولی همهجانبه در زندگی یک قوم یا تمام بشریت ایجاد کند و بشریت را وارد دوره جدیدی کند.
در یهودیت تصور آخرالزمان به معنی پایان دوره جهان و پیوستن آن به قیامت کبری، از صدههای دوم و سوم قبل از میلاد پیدا شده، پیش از این زمان بنی اسرائیل که خود را قوم برگزیده خداوند میدانستند، در انتظار روزی بودند که در آن وعده الهی تحقق یابد و خداوند قوم برگزیده خود را در سرزمین موعود مستقر، و دشمنان آن را نابود کند، و عدل و احسان خود را بر سراسر جهان بگستراند. در دورههای بعد از حکومت داوود و سلیمان که این قوم از لحاظ دینی و اخلاقی گرفتار فساد و انحطاط شده و گرایش به شرک و الحاد در میان آنان شدت گرفته بود، غایت این آرزو و انتظار بازگشت قدرت و وحدت و خلوص دوران گذشته بود و انتظار زمانی میرفت که خداوند بار دیگر پیشوائی بفرستد و قوم را از تیره بختی نجات دهد.
در مزدیسنا (زرتشتی)[ویرایش]
در مزدیسنا (دین زرتشتی) در گاهان (گاتها) که سرودههای خود زرتشت است و در آنها میتوان عقاید وی را یافت اشاره چندانی به پایان جهان نشدهاست، اما چنین مینماید که در بندی از گاهان (یسن ۴۳ بند ۳) سخن از مردی است که در آینده میآید و راه نجات را مییابد، همچنین در گاهان چند بار به واژه سوشینت بر میخوریم که در ادبیات بعدی زرتشت به صورت سوشیانس در آمده و منجی نهائی زرتشتی بهشمار میآید. علاوه بر اینها در گاهان زردشت سخن از «داوری واپسین» برای درست کاران و بدکاران به میان میآید. در دین زرتشتی وقایع آخرالزمان را فرشگرد میگویند که به معنی بازسازی جهان است. در عقاید زرتشتی این پدیده به معنی پایان جهان نیست بلکه تسویه جهان از بدی و بازگشت به دوران پیش از آمیزش اهریمن است. در روز رستاخیز روان درگذشتگان از پل چینوت عبور کرده و در آنسوی توسط مهر، رشن و سروش اعمالشان سنجیده میشود.
در دیدگاه مسلمانان آخرالزمان دوره نبوت پیامبر اسلام تا ظهور امام زمان است و شیعیان بخصوص دوران غیبت کبری را آخرالزمان میخوانند. اعتقادات مربوط به منجی آخرالزمان از مواردی ست که کمترین اختلافات بین مذاهب مختلف اسلامی در مورد آن وجود دارد.[نیازمند منبع]
دجال در روایات اهل سنت[ویرایش]
قسمت عمده روایات در مورد دجال را «احمد حنبل» در کتاب «مسند» و «ترمذی» در «صحیح» خود و «ابن ماجه» در «سنن» و «مسلم» در «صحیح» و «ابن اثیر» در «نهایه» از عبدالله بن عمر و ابوسعید حذری و جابر ابن عبدالله انصاری نقل کردهاند.
«صائد بن صید» در زمان پیامبر اسلام میزیسته و پیامبر او را از مصادیق دجال معرفی کردهاست و چون بعداً وی از خروج دجال در آخرالزمان نیز خبر داده بعضیها گمان کردهاند دجال موعود همان «صائد بن صید» است و در نتیجه به زندهماندن و طول عمر او قائل شدند.
بعضی از نویسندگان اسلامی نیز با توجه به ریشه لغت «دجال» آن را منحصر به یک فرد به خصوص نمیدانند بلکه آن را عنوانی میدانند کلی برای افراد پرتزویر، حیلهگر و حقهباز که برای فریب مردم از هر وسیلهای استفاده میکنند. دجال شخصی است که حق را با باطل آمیخته و از حق برای راهبرد اهداف شیطانی خود استفاده میکند.
در مذهب شیعه[ویرایش]
اگرچه اعتقاد به منجی در دیدگاه شیعه از اهمیّت بالایی برخوردار است. مثلاً علامه مجلسی یک جلد کامل از کتاب بحار الانوارش را به موضوع امامت اختصاص داده است. اما جزو کم اختلافترین مسائل با مذاهب دیگر است. کتاب نجم الثاقب نوشتهٔ حاج میرزا حسن طبرسی نوری مرجع کاملی در مورد اختلاف آراء در میان فرق مختلف اسلامی در موضوع اعتقادات مربوط به ظهور و آخر الزّمان است. این کتاب همچنین بهطور جدا در پایان هر مبحث در رد آراء دیگر و اثبات آراء شیعه سخن گفته است. کم بودن موارد اختلافی بین فرق اسلامی موضوع مهمی ست که این کتاب نشان داده است. همچنین شیعیان معتقدند که فردی از نسل پیامبر اسلام، یعنی نهمین نسل از حسین بن علی به نام حجت بن حسن (مهدی) با پرچم پیامبر اسلام ظهور میکند و همراه با عیسی مسیح، دجال را نابود میکند.
پدیده ۲۱ دسامبر ۲۰۱۲[ویرایش]
در فرهنگ و ادبیات[ویرایش]
آخرالزمان به این معنی در داستانهای تخیلی و بازیهای رایانهای نیز استفاده شدهاست:
The end time (also called end times, end of time, end of days, last days, final days, doomsday, or eschaton) is a future time-period described variously in the eschatologies of several world religions (both Abrahamic and non-Abrahamic), which teach that world events will reach a final climax.
The Abrahamic faiths maintain a linear cosmology, with end-time scenarios containing themes of transformation and redemption. In Judaism, the term "end of days" makes reference to the Messianic Age and includes an in-gathering of the exiled Jewish diaspora, the coming of the Messiah, the resurrection of the righteous, and the world to come. Some sects of Christianity depict the end time as a period of tribulation that precedes the second coming of Christ, who will face the Antichrist along with his power structure and usher in the Kingdom of God.
In Islam, the Day of Judgement is preceded by the appearance of the al-Masih al-Dajjal, and followed by the descending of Isa (Jesus). Isa will triumph over the false messiah, or the Antichrist, which will lead to a sequence of events that will end with the sun rising from the west and the beginning of the Qiyamah (Judgment day).
Non-Abrahamic faiths tend to have more cyclical world-views, with end-time eschatologies characterized by decay, redemption, and rebirth. In Hinduism, the end time occurs when Kalki, the final incarnation of Vishnu, descends atop a white horse and brings an end to the current Kali Yuga. In Buddhism, the Buddha predicted that his teachings would be forgotten after 5,000 years, followed by turmoil. A bodhisattva named Maitreya will appear and rediscover the teaching of dharma. The ultimate destruction of the world will then come through seven suns.
Since the development of the concept of deep time in the 18th century and the calculation of the estimated age of the Earth, scientific discourse about end times has centered on the ultimate fate of the universe. Theories have included the Big Rip, Big Crunch, Big Bounce, and Big Freeze (heat death).
There is no classic account of beginning or end in Buddhism; Masao Abe attributes this to the absence of God. History is embedded in the continuing process of samsara or the "beginningless and endless cycles of birth-death-rebirth". Buddhists believe that there is an end to things but it is not final because they are bound to be born again. However, the writers of Mahayana Buddhist scriptures establish a specific end-time account in Buddhist tradition: this describes the return of Maitreya Buddha, who would bring about an end to the world. This constitutes one of the two major branches of Buddhist eschatology, with the other being the Sermon of the Seven Suns. End time in Buddhism could also involve a cultural eschatology covering "final things", which include the idea that Sakyamuni Buddha's dharma will also come to an end.
The Buddha described his teachings disappearing five thousand years from when he preached them, corresponding approximately to the year 2300. At this time, knowledge of dharma will be lost as well. The last of his relics will be gathered in Bodh Gaya and cremated. There will be a new era in which the next Buddha Maitreya will appear, but it will be preceded by the degeneration of human society. This will be a period of greed, lust, poverty, ill will, violence, murder, impiety, physical weakness, sexual depravity and societal collapse, and even the Buddha himself will be forgotten.
The earliest known mention of Maitreya occurs in the Cakavatti, or Sihanada Sutta in Digha Nikaya 26 of the Pali Canon. In it, Gautama Buddha predicted that his teachings of dharma would be forgotten after 5,000 years.
The text then foretells the birth of Maitreya Buddha in the city of Ketumatī in present-day Benares, whose king will be the Cakkavattī Sankha. Sankha will live in the former palace of King Mahāpanadā, and will become a renunciate who follows Maitreya.
In Mahayana Buddhism, Maitreya will attain bodhi in seven days, the minimum period, by virtue of his many lifetimes of preparation. Once Buddha, he will rule over the Ketumati Pure Land, an earthly paradise sometimes associated with the Indian city of Varanasi or Benares in present-day Uttar Pradesh. In Mahayana Buddhism, the Buddha presides over a land of purity. For example, Amitabha presides over Sukhavati, more popularly known as the "Western Paradise".
A notable teaching he will rediscover is that of the ten non-virtuous deeds—killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, divisive speech, abusive speech, idle speech, covetousness, harmful intent and wrong views. The ten virtuous deeds will replace them with the abandonment of each of these practices. Edward Conze in his Buddhist Scriptures (1959) gives an account of Maitreya:
Maitreya currently resides in Tushita, but will come to Jambudvipa when needed most as successor to the historic Śākyamuni Buddha. Maitreya will achieve complete enlightenment during his lifetime, and following this reawakening, he will bring back the timeless teaching of dharma to this plane and rediscover enlightenment. The Arya Maitreya Mandala, founded in 1933 by Lama Anagarika Govinda, is based on the idea of Maitreya.
Maitreya eschatology forms the central canon of the White Lotus Society, a revolutionary movement during British colonial rule. It later branched into the Chinese underground criminal organization known as the Triad, which exists today as an international underground criminal network.
Note that no description of Maitreya occurs in any other sutta in the canon, casting doubt as to authenticity of the scripture. In addition, sermons of the Buddha normally are in response to a question, or in a specific context, but this sutta has a beginning and an ending, and its content is quite different from the others. This has led some to conclude that the whole sutta is apocryphal, or tampered with.
Sermon of the Seven Suns
In his "Sermon of the Seven Suns" in the Pali Canon, the Buddha describes the ultimate fate of the Earth in an apocalypse that will be characterized by the consequent appearance of seven suns in the sky, each causing progressive ruin till the planet is destroyed:
The canon goes on to describe the progressive destruction of each sun. The third sun will dry the Ganges River and other rivers, whilst the fourth will cause the lakes (e.g. Lake Michigan) to evaporate; the fifth will dry the oceans (e.g. the Atlantic Ocean). Later:
The sermon completes with the Earth immersed into an extensive holocaust. The Pali Canon does not indicate when this will happen relative to Maitreya.
In Hindu eschatology, time is cyclic and consists of kalpas. Each lasts 4.1 – 8.2 billion years, which is a period of one full day and night for Brahma, who will be alive for 311 trillion, 40 billion years. Within a kalpa there are periods of creation, preservation and decline. After this larger cycle, all of creation will contract to a singularity and then again will expand from that single point, as the ages continue in a religious fractal pattern.[need quotation to verify]
Within the current kalpa, there are four epochs that encompass the cycle. They progress from a beginning of complete purity to a descent into total corruption. The last of the four ages is Kali Yuga, our current time, during which will be characterized by impiety, violence and decay. The four pillars of dharma will be reduced to one, with truth being all that remains. As written in the Gita:
At this time of chaos, the final avatar, Kalki, endowed with eight superhuman faculties will appear on a white horse. Kalki will amass an army to "establish righteousness upon the earth" and leave "the minds of the people as pure as crystal."
At the completion of Kali Yuga, the next cycle will begin with a new Satya Yuga, in which all will once again be righteous with the reestablishment of dharma. This, in turn, will be followed by epochs of Treta Yuga, Dwapara Yuga and again another Kali Yuga. This cycle will then repeat till the larger cycle of existence under Brahma returns to the singularity, and a new universe is born.
Norse mythology depicts the end of days as Ragnarök, an Old Norse term translatable as "twilight of the gods". It will be heralded by a devastation known as Fimbulvetr which will seize Midgard in cold and darkness. The sun and moon will disappear from the sky, and poison will fill the air. Dead will rise from the ground and there will be widespread despair.
There follows a battle between – on the one hand – the Gods with the Æsir, Vanir and Einherjar, led by Odin, and – on the other hand – forces of Chaos, including the fire giants and jötunn, led by Loki. In the fighting Odin will be swallowed whole by his old nemesis Fenrir. The god Freyr fights Surtr but loses. Víðarr, son of Odin, will then avenge his father by ripping Fenrir's jaws apart and stabbing the wolf in the heart with his spear. The serpent Jörmungandr will open its gaping maw and be met in combat by Thor. Thor, also a son of Odin, will defeat the serpent, only to take nine steps afterwards before collapsing to his own death.
After this people will flee their homes as the sun blackens and the earth sinks into the sea. The stars will vanish, steam will rise, and flames will touch the heavens. This conflict will result in the deaths of most of the major Gods and forces of Chaos. Finally, Surtr will fling fire across the nine worlds. The ocean will then completely submerge Midgard.
After the cataclysm the world will resurface new and fertile, and the surviving Gods will meet. Baldr, also a son of Odin will be reborn in the new world, according to Völuspá. The two human survivors, Líf and Lífþrasir, will then repopulate this new earth.
The founder of the Bahá'í Faith, Bahá'u'lláh claimed that he was the return of Christ as well as prophetic expectations of other religions. The inception of the Bahá'í Faith coincides with Millerite prophesy, pointing to the year 1844. They also believe the Battle of Armageddon has passed and that the mass martyrdom anticipated during the End Times had already passed within the historical context of the Bahá'í Faith. Bahá'ís expect their faith to be eventually embraced by the masses of the world, ushering in a golden age.
Some first-century Christians believed Jesus would return during their lifetime. When the converts of Paul in Thessalonica were persecuted by the Roman Empire, they believed the end of days to be imminent.
While some who believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible insist that the prediction of dates or times is futile, others believe Jesus foretold signs of the end of days. The precise time, however, will come like a "thief in the night" (1 Thess. 5:2). They may also refer to Matthew 24:36 in which Jesus is quoted as saying:
The Book of Matthew describes the devastation:
The resulting chaos will affect pregnancies, newborns, and a scourge will spread throughout the flesh, save for the elect. The vivid imagery of this section is repeated closely in Mark 13:14–20.
The Gospel of Luke describes a complete unraveling of the social fabric, with widespread calamity and war:
In the Book of Revelation, the "great tribulation" (Rev. 7:14b) refers to a time of affliction upon God's people. Although some scholars see this period as a time of intense suffering immediately before the second coming of Christ or Parousia, other scholars view the "great tribulation" as the period between the first advent of Christ and his second advent at the end of times. The "great tribulation" thus corresponds to the in-between times—a symbolic period of three and a half years between Christ's exaltation and his return to defeat evil.
Catholicism and Orthodoxy
Protestants are divided between Millennialists and Amillennialists. Millennialists concentrate on the issue of whether the true believers will see the tribulation or be removed from it by what is referred to as a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Amillennialists believe that the end times encompass the time from Christ's ascension to the Last day, and maintain that the mention of the "thousand years" in the Book of Revelation is meant to be taken metaphorically (i.e., not literally, or 'spiritually'), a view which continues to cause divisions within evangelical Christianity.
There is a range of eschatological belief in Protestant Christianity. Christian premillennialists who believe that the End Times are occurring now, are usually specific about timelines that climax in the end of the world. For some, Israel, the European Union, or the United Nations are seen as major players whose roles were foretold in scripture. Within dispensational premillennialist writing, there is the belief that Christians will be summoned to Heaven by Christ at the Rapture, occurring before a "Great Tribulation" prophesied in Matthew 24–25; Mark 13 and Luke 21. The Tribulation is described in the book of Revelation.
"End times" may also refer to the passing of an age or long period in the relationship between man and God. Adherents to this view cite the Second Epistle to Timothy and draw analogies to the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
Post-Exilic Hebrew books of prophecy such as Daniel and Ezekiel are given new interpretations in this tradition, while in apocalyptic forecasts appear in the Judeo-Christian Sibylline Oracles which include the Book of Revelation ascribed to John, the apocryphal Apocalypse of Peter, and the Second Book of Esdras.
Most fundamentalist Christians anticipate biblical prophecy to be literally fulfilled. They see current wars, natural disaster and famine as the birth pangs which Jesus described in Matthew 24:7–8 and Mark 13:8. They believe that mankind began in the garden of Eden, and point to the Valley of Megiddo as the place where the current world system will terminate, after which the Messiah will rule for 1,000 years.
Contemporary use of the term End Times has evolved from literal belief in Christian millennialism. In this tradition, Biblical apocalypse is believed to be imminent, with various current events as omens of impending Armageddon. These beliefs have been put forward by the Adventist movement (Millerites), Jehovah's Witnesses, and dispensational premillennialists. In 1918 a group of eight well known preachers produced the London Manifesto, warning of an imminent second coming of Christ shortly after the 1917 liberation of Jerusalem by the British.
Religious movements which expect that the second coming of Christ as a cataclysmic event are generally called adventism. These have arisen throughout the Christian era, but were particularly common after the Protestant Reformation. Emanuel Swedenborg considered the second coming to be symbolic, and to have occurred in 1757. Along with others, he developed a religious system around the second coming of Christ, disclosed by new prophecy or special revelation not described in the Bible. The Millerites are diverse religious groups which similarly rely upon a special gift of interpretation for predicting the second coming.
The difference between the 19th-century Millerite and Adventist movements and contemporary prophecy is that William Miller and his followers, based on Biblical interpretation, predicted the time of the Second Coming to have occurred in 1844. Contemporary writing of end time has suggested that the timetable will be triggered by future wars and moral catastrophe, and that this time of tribulation is close at hand.
Seventh-day Adventists believe Biblical prophecy to foretell an end time scenario in which the United States works in conjunction with the Catholic Church to mandate worship on a day other than the true Sabbath, Saturday, as prescribed in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8–11). This will bring about a situation where one must choose for or against the Bible as the will of God.
Another view of the end times is preterism. It distinguishes the time of the end from the end of time. Preterists believe the term Last Days (or Time of the End) refers to, neither the last days of the Earth, nor the last days of humankind, but the end of the Old Covenant between God and Israel; which, according to preterism, took place when the Temple in Jerusalem which was destroyed in 70 CE.
Preterists believe that prophecies—such as the Second Coming, the desecration of the Jewish Temple, the destruction of Jerusalem, the rise of the Antichrist, the Great Tribulation, the advent of The Day of the Lord, and a Final Judgment—had been fulfilled when the Romans sacked Jerusalem and completely destroyed its Temple.
Proponents of full preterism do not believe in a coming resurrection of the dead. They place this event (as well as the Second Coming) in the year 70. Advocates of partial preterism do believe in a coming resurrection. Full preterists contend that partial preterists are merely futurists, since they believe the Second Coming, the Resurrection, the Rapture, and the Judgment are yet to come.
According with Preterism's interpretation of end times, many "time passages" in the New Testament foretell a Second Coming of Christ, with Last Days to take place within the lifetimes of his disciples: Matt. 10:23, Matt. 16:28, Matt. 24:34, Matt. 26:64, Rom. 13:11–12, 1 Cor. 7:29–31, 1 Cor. 10:11, Phil. 4:5, James 5:8–9, 1 Pet. 4:7, 1 Jn. 2:18.
Dispensationalism is an evangelical futurist Biblical interpretation that foresees a series of dispensations, or periods, in which God relates to human beings under different Biblical covenants. The belief system is primarily rooted in the writings of John Nelson Darby and is premillennial in content. The reestablishment of Israel in 1948 provided a major impetus to the dispensationalist belief system. The wars of Israel after 1948 with its Arab neighbors provided further support, according to John F. Walvoord. After the Six-Day War in 1967, and the Yom Kippur War in 1973, it seemed plausible to many Fundamentalist Christians in the 1970s that Middle East turmoil may well be leading up to the fulfillment of various Bible prophecies and to the Battle of Armageddon.
Members of the dispensationalist movement such as Hal Lindsey, J. Dwight Pentecost, John Walvoord, all of whom have Dallas Theological Seminary backgrounds, and some other writers, claimed further that the European Economic Community, which preceded the European Union, would become a United States of Europe, which would in turn become a Revived Roman Empire ruled by the Antichrist. The Revived Roman Empire also figured into the New Testament writers' vision of the future. The fact that in the early 1970s, there were (erroneously thought to be) seven nations in the European Economic Community was held to be significant; this aligned the Community with a seven-headed beast mentioned in Revelation. This specific prophecy has required revision, but the idea of a Revived Roman Empire remains.
The separate destinies of the Church and Israel, a belief which is inherent in dispensationalism, is a particular concern to some Jews and evangelical Christians. Evangelicals who reject dispensationalism, such as those who hold to a Post Tribulation Rapture, (or more accurately a Post Tribulation Resurrection-Rapture), see both the Church and Israel entering the crucible of the End Time together.
Dispensationalism, in contrast to the Millerite Adventist movement, had its beginning in the 19th century, when John Nelson Darby, founder of the Plymouth Brethren religious denomination, incorporated into his system of Biblical interpretation a system of organizing Biblical time into a number of discrete dispensations, each of which marks a separate covenant with God. Darby's beliefs were widely publicized in Cyrus I. Scofield's Scofield Reference Bible, an annotated Bible that became popular in the United States of America.
Since the majority of the Biblical prophets were writing at a time when the Temple in Jerusalem was still functioning, they wrote as if it would still be standing during the prophesied events. According to preterism, this was a fulfillment of the prophecies. However, according to Futurists, their destruction in AD 70 put the prophetic timetable on hold. Many such believers therefore anticipated the return of Jews to Israel and the reconstruction of the Temple before the Second Coming could occur.
A view of the Second Coming of Christ as held by post-tribulational pre-millennialists holds that the Church of Christ will have to undergo great persecution by being present during the great tribulation.
Specific prophetic movements
In 1843, William Miller made the first of several predictions that the world would end in only a few months. As his predictions did not come true (referred to as the Great Disappointment), followers of Miller went on to found separate groups, the most successful of which is the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Members of the Bahá'í Faith believe that Miller's interpretation of signs and dates of the coming of Jesus were, for the most part, correct. They believe that the fulfillment of biblical prophecies of the coming of Christ came through a forerunner of their own religion, the Báb. According to the Báb's words, 4 April 1844 was "the first day that the Spirit descended" into his heart. His subsequent declaration to Mullá Husayn-i Bushru'i that he was the "Promised One"—an event now commemorated by Bahá'ís as a major holy day—took place on 23 May 1844. It was in October of that year that the Báb embarked on a pilgrimage to Mecca, where he openly declared his claims to the Sharif of Mecca. The first news coverage of these events in the West was in 1845 by The Times, followed by others in 1850 in the United States. The first Bahá'í to come to America was in 1892. Several Bahá'í books and pamphlets make mention of the Millerites, the prophecies used by Miller and the Great Disappointment, most notably William Sears's Thief in the Night.
Restorationism (Christian primitivism)
End times theology is also significant to restorationist Christian religions, which consider themselves distinct from both Catholicism and Protestantism.
The eschatology of Jehovah's Witnesses is central to their religious beliefs. They believe that Jesus Christ has been ruling in heaven as king since 1914 (a date they believe was prophesied in Scripture), and that after that time a period of cleansing occurred, resulting in God's selection of the Bible Students associated with Charles Taze Russell to be his people in 1919. They also believe the destruction of those who reject their message and thus willfully refuse to obey God will shortly take place at Armageddon, ensuring that the beginning of the new earthly society will be composed of willing subjects of that kingdom.
The religion's doctrines surrounding 1914 are the legacy of a series of emphatic claims regarding the years 1799, 1874, 1878, 1914, 1918 and 1925 made in the Watch Tower Society's publications between 1879 and 1924. Claims about the significance of those years, including the presence of Jesus Christ, the beginning of the "last days", the destruction of worldly governments and the earthly resurrection of Jewish patriarchs, were successively abandoned. In 1922 the society's principal journal, The Watchtower, described its chronology as "no stronger than its weakest link", but also claimed the chronological relationships to be "of divine origin and divinely corroborated...in a class by itself, absolutely and unqualifiedly correct" and "indisputable facts", while repudiation of Russell's teachings was described as "equivalent to a repudiation of the Lord".
The Watch Tower Society has admitted its early leaders promoted "incomplete, even inaccurate concepts". The Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses says that, unlike Old Testament prophets, its interpretations of the Bible are not inspired or infallible. Witness publications say that Bible prophecies can be fully understood only after their fulfillment, citing examples of biblical figures who did not understand the meaning of prophecies they received. Watch Tower publications often cite Proverbs 4:18, "The path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established" (NWT) to support their view that there would be an increase in knowledge during "the time of the end", as mentioned in Daniel 12:4. Jehovah's Witnesses state that this increase in knowledge needs adjustments. Watch Tower publications also say that unfulfilled expectations are partly due to eagerness for God's Kingdom and that they do not call their core beliefs into question.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon)
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that there will be a Second Coming of Jesus to the earth sometime in the future. The LDS Church and its leaders do not make any predictions of the actual date of the Second Coming.
According to church doctrine, the true gospel will be taught in all parts of the world prior to the Second Coming. They also believe that there will be increasing war, earthquakes, hurricanes, and man-made disasters prior to the Second Coming. Disasters of all kind will happen before Christ comes. Upon the return of Jesus Christ, all people will be resurrected, the righteous in a first resurrection and the unrighteous in a second, later resurrection. Christ shall reign for a period of 1000 years, after which the Final Judgement will occur.
According to Harun Yahya, the first period is said to have begun with the death of Muhammad. The second began with the passing of all his Companions, and ended a thousand years later. Another event of the second period was the Tartar invasion, occurring 650 years after Muhammad. The Mongols, led by Hulagu Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, attacked Baghdad in 1258 AD and brought the Abbasid caliphate to an end. They massacred millions of Muslims, and the water of the river Tigris turned red with blood. A traditional narration also predicted a fire at Madinah in the Hijaz near Busra in Syria, which Islamic scholars believe occurred in 654 AH. Following the second, the third and final period will be heralded by the appearance of the Mahdi.
Sunnis believe that the dead will then stand in a grand assembly, awaiting a scroll detailing their righteous deeds, sinful acts and ultimate judgment. Muhammad will be the first to be resurrected. Punishments will include adhab, or severe pain and embarrassment, and khizy or shame. There will also be a punishment of the grave between death and the resurrection.
The signs of the coming end time are divided into major and minor signs:
Following the second period, the third is said to be marked by the ten major signs known as alamatu's-sa'ah al- kubra (The major signs of the end).[note 1] They are as follows:
Concepts and terminology in Shia eschatology includes Mi'ad, The Occultation and Al-Yamani, Sufyani In Twelver Shia narrations about the last days, the literature largely revolves around Muhammad al-Mahdi, a messianic figure considered to be the twelfth appointed successor to Muhammad. Mahdi will help mankind against the deception by a man called Dajjal who will try to get people in to a new world religion which is called "the great deception".
Ahmadiyya is considered distinct from mainstream Islam. In its writing, the present age has been witness to the evil of man and wrath of God, with war and natural disaster. Ghulam Ahmad is seen as the promised Messiah and the Mahdi, fulfilling Islamic and Biblical prophecies, as well as scriptures of other religions such as Hinduism. His teaching will establish spiritual reform and establish an age of peace. This will continue for a thousand years, and will unify mankind under one faith.
Ahmadis believe that despite harsh and strong opposition and discrimination they will eventually be triumphant and their message vindicated both by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Ahmadis also incorporate the eschatological views from other religions into their doctrine and believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmed falls into this sequence.
In rabbinic literature, rabbis elaborated and explained the prophecies that were found in the Hebrew Bible, along with oral law and rabbinic traditions about its significance. The main tenets of Jewish eschatology, in no particular order, include:
The idea of a messianic age, an era of global peace and knowledge of the Creator, has a prominent place in Jewish thought, and is incorporated as part of the end of days. A well-known passage from the Book of Isaiah describes this future condition of the world: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift sword against nation and they will no longer study warfare" (2:4) Maimonides (1135–1204) further describes the Messianic Era in the Mishneh Torah: "And at that time there will be no hunger or war, no jealousy or rivalry. For the good will be plentiful, and all delicacies available as dust. The entire occupation of the world will be only to know God... the people Israel will be of great wisdom; they will perceive the esoteric truths and comprehend their Creator's wisdom as is the capacity of man. As it is written (Isaiah 11:9): 'For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the sea.'"
The Zohar maintains that the seven days of the week, based on the seven days of creation, correspond to the seven millennia of creation. The seventh day of the week, the Shabbat day of rest, corresponds to the seventh millennium, the age of universal rest, or the Messianic Era. The seventh millennium begins with the year 6000 AM, and is the latest time the Messiah can come. A number of early and late Jewish scholars have written in support of this, including the Ramban, Isaac Abrabanel, Abraham Ibn Ezra, Rabbeinu Bachya, the Vilna Gaon, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Ramchal, Aryeh Kaplan and Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis.
Rastafarians have a unique interpretation of end times, based on the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation. They believe Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I to be God incarnate, the King of kings and Lord of lords mentioned in Revelation 5:5. They saw the crowning of Selassie as the second coming, and the Second Italo-Ethiopian War as fulfillment of Revelation. There is also the expectation that Selassie will return for a day of judgment and bring home the lost children of Israel, which in Rastafarianism refer to those taken from Africa through the slave trade. There will then be an era of peace and harmony at Mount Zion in Africa.
Zoroastrian eschatology is considered one of the oldest in recorded history. The birth of its founder, Zoroaster, is unknown, with scholarly dates ranging from 6th century BCE to 5,500 years earlier. Pliny the Elder even suggests there were two Zoroasters. However, with beliefs paralleling and possibly predating the framework of the major Abrahamic faiths, a fully developed concept of the end of the world was not established in Zoroastrianism until 500 BCE. The Bahman Yasht describes:
A Manichaean battle between the righteous and wicked will be followed by the Frashokereti. On earth, the Saoshyant will arrive as the final savior of mankind, and bring about the resurrection of the dead. The yazatas Airyaman and Atar will melt the metal in the hills and mountains, which will flow as lava across the earth and all mankind, both the living and resurrected, will be required to wade through it. Ashavan will pass through the molten river as if it were warm milk, but the sinful will burn. It will then flow down to hell, where it will annihilate Angra Mainyu and the last vestiges of wickedness.
The righteous will partake of the parahaoma, which will confer immortality upon them. Humanity will become like the Amesha Spentas, living without food, hunger, thirst, weapons or injury. Bodies will become so light as to cast no shadow. All humanity will speak a single language, and belong to a single nation with no borders. All will share a single purpose and goal, joining with Ahura Mazda for a perpetual and divine exaltation.