Eschatology- (1)the eternal source of head-aches and mass frustration to students of the bible, (2)mass theological tension among evangelicals, (3) the only part of evangelical theology that the History channel acknowledges, (4) hope for the future for those in Christ Jesus.
For the longest time I found the first three options to be my definition but I find the more I read the New Testament the fourth option to be the better idea to have about eschatology.
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of theology defines eschatology like this: Traditionally defined as the doctrine of the “last things” (Gr. eschata), in relation either to human individuals (comprising death, resurrection, judgement, and the afterlife) or to the world.
So eschatology is about the “end times” and most people would rather completely ignore these things or argue about them. Some people make movies and giant charts. Others love to speculate and figure out how to find oil in the promised land by looking at the scriptures. Everyone loves to pick who the anti-Christ is, strangely enough people have been doing that for a long time and I don’t think anyone has quite put their fingers on him yet.
There is a lot of speculation in trying to figure out the last things but there are a few things I’m quite sure of.
I’ve read through John’s Revelation several times and one thing I do get from reading it is that Christ wins in the end. I also noticed the book begins with Jesus and ends with Jesus. I’m pretty sure the book is about Jesus.
I titled this post the Hope of Eschatology, because I think it offers a lot of hope. John’s revelation ends saying “He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
Jesus is coming back, that is pretty hopeful to say the least. Life eternal with the Savior in His kingdom, how awesome is that?
What really prompted me to write this was reading John 16 and Titus last night.
Jesus and his disciples are talking in the upper room and John records this dialogue:
His disciples said, “Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech. Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe You came from God. Jesus answered them,
Do you now believe? Behold an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace, In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.
“The Father is with me.” and “I have overcome the world.”
Those are words of hope. We just celebrated Jesus’ resurrection, the ultimate victory over death. Jesus won over death, and will win over Satan in the end. This victory is not a thing of confusion and for frustration, but rather something to rejoice in.
I was reading over Titus again for New Testament Introduction and I don’t think I’ve ever thought of it being eschatological in any sense but as I began reading chapter 2 I read these words of Paul
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
“looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus”
Paul says in living godly lives during the present age, look to the blessed hope of the appearing of your God and Savior. In thinking about this I keep going back to Hebrews 11:6 and 16. I preached through the entirety of the chapter about a month ago, and I began to realize where true hope is. From Able to Abraham the author of Hebrews says they desired a better country, that is a heavenly one. God prepared for them a city. Ever so joyfully I say we shall inherit this city with them. Hope isn’t on this earth, it isn’t in the things of man rather it is in the coming kingdom of God.
Christ’s ultimate victory in the end and the constant reminders throughout the New Testament to look to his coming are indeed hopeful. I hope this post brings a bit of hope and perhaps ignites a bit of zeal to you when it comes to the last things taught in scripture. Perhaps it might bring a shift of emphasis from the anti-Christ and the mark of the beast, to the ultimate victory of our Savior. Perhaps it will remove a bit of apathy and spark a bit of zeal that we can rejoice in a longing for the return of our Messiah.
solideogloria and Maranatha.
“But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation,” 2 Peter 3:13-15a