The term comes from the Greek work ἔσχατος eschatos, which broadly means "extreme, uttermost", and when used of time, "the last, end".
The concept of "end times" is mostly foreign to the Hebrew Bible. Although there are forward-looking passages and expressions of future hope,1 these tend not to be associated with the consummation of history, which is usually in mind when the term "eschatology" is used.2
The situation in the New Testament is quite different, with Paul's outlook being claimed to be shaped by eschatological expectation (see especially 1-thessalonians and 2-thessalonians in the earliest Christian writings, and the synoptic gospels containing significant "eschatological" discourses (see, e.g., Matthew 24 // Mark 13 // Luke 21).
- "Eschatology" from Wikipedia
- "Eschatology" from the Jewish Encyclopedia
- "End times" from Theopedia
- J. Walls (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology. Oxford University Press, 2008.
- E.g., David A. Hubbard, "Hope in the Old Testament", Tyndale Bulletin 34 (1983) 33-60.
- For the developmental trajectory from the Hebrew Bible, see Bill T. Arnold, "Old Testament Eschatology and the Rise of Apocalypticism", in Jerry L. Walls (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 23-39.