Eschatology

Eschatology /ˌɛskəˈtɒləi/ (listen) is a part of theology concerned with the final events of history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity. This concept is commonly referred to as "the end of the world" or "end times".[1]

Four horsemen of the apocalypse, as depicted in the Apocalypse work by Albrecht Dürer

The word arises from the Greek ἔσχατος éschatos meaning "last" and -logy meaning "the study of", and first appeared in English around 1844.[2] The Oxford English Dictionary defines eschatology as "the part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind".[3]

In the context of mysticism, the term refers metaphorically to the end of ordinary reality and to reunion with the divine. Many[quantify] religions treat eschatology as a future event prophesied in sacred texts or in folklore.

Eschatologies vary as to their degree of optimism or pessimism about the future. In some eschatologies, conditions are better for some and worse for others, e.g. "heaven and hell". They also vary as to time frames. Groups claiming the end of times to be imminent are also referred to as doomsday cults.