Is the antichrist Nero, the Pope or a future political & religious leader of a revived Roman Empire? Is the mark of the beast (666) the certificate of sacrifice to the emperor, the practice of making the sign of the cross, an international Sunday law or a mark of commerce (most likely a credit facility in the form of a microchip implant or RFID tag)? These answers are determined by the view of prophecy held - Preterist, Historicist or Futurist.
While most Christians believe in the future return of Jesus, there are several areas which are hot items of debate. These include:
(1) The timing of Bible prophecy,
(2) The timing of the Millennium,
(3) The timing of the rapture.
The 4 views regarding the timing of prophecy are:
(1) Preterism - holds that most or all of the biblical prophecies concerning the End Times refer to events which actually happened in the 1st century AD.
(2) Historicism - treats the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation as finding literal earthly fulfillment through the history of the church age.
(3) Futurism - places the fulfillment of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation mostly in the future as literal, physical, apocalyptic and global.
(4) Idealism - interprets all of the imagery of Revelation as non-literal symbols which are perpetually and cyclically fulfilled in a spiritual sense.