Eschatology: What Have We Learned?

Now that we have looked at several end-time issues, it’s time to wrap up our study of eschatology. Let’s take a second to remember all we’ve discussed and then tie it all together.

In Part 1 we introduced the series with an overview of the issues.

In Part 2 we focused on the rapture. The three options for the timing of the rapture are pretribulation, midtribulation, and posttribulation. After examining the biblical evidence, we determined the rapture will most likely occur after the tribulation.

In Part 3 we discussed the millennial reign of Christ. The three positions for this event are premillennial, postmillennial, or amillennial. As we saw, choosing between these options is tough.

Hell and eternal punishment were dealt with in Part 4. The Scriptures, and especially Jesus, seem to describe hell as a place of literal and eternal punishment, opposed to those who see it as metaphorical or believe in annihilationism.

Finally, in Part 5 we turned our attention to the book of Revelation. Its prophecies can be interpreted according to one of three views: (1) Preterist; (2) Futurist; or (3) Idealist. Because Revelation is apocalyptic literature, the best way to interpret it is according to the futurist and idealist approaches.

Having identified and studied the main issues surrounding the end of times and eternity, the question is, “Now what?” What do we do about it? What do we take from it?

No matter where you stand on any of the issues, the main point of it all is this: Jesus Christ will return. And, as the apostle Peter said in 1 Peter 4:7a, “The end of all things is near” (italics added). Not only is He coming, but He’s coming soon. Peter followed up that statement with a “therefore,” meaning, “Here is what you do since the end is near…”

“7 Now the end of all things is near; therefore, be serious and disciplined for prayer. 8 Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, it should be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, it should be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:7-11 HCSB)

In light of Christ’s imminent return, Peter gives his readers four exhortations:

1. Be serious/clear-headed and disciplined for prayer.

Peter calls believers to be sober and alert and to devote themselves to prayer. This is in line with what Jesus said concerning His return in Luke 21:36, “Be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.”

2. Maintain an intense love for each other.

A previous HCSB translation reads “keep your love for one another at full strength.” Believers need to be constantly stretching their love far and wide. Why? Because love covers a multitude of sins. If we love one another, we will overlook one another’s faults.

3. Be hospitable…without complaining.

Believers have always been called to take care of and meet the needs of others. But this is especially true in light of the end. And whatever we do for others, we better do it with a smile on our faces.

4. Use your spiritual gift(s) to serve others.

As believers, we receive gifts by the grace of God. The key here is to USE your gift(s). Think about it: if you give someone a birthday or Christmas gift, you don’t want them to sit it on their shelf and forget about it, you want them to use it. The same is true with God. He wants to see us using the gifts He has graciously given us. So having these gifts is not a privilege, it is a responsibility.

Conclusion

You might have noticed that each of these four things has to do with our relationship with God and with others. We need to pray to God and we need to use the gifts He has given us to love, serve, and be hospitable to others. And remember, all of this is prefaced by the fact that “the end of all things is near.”

So as believers, what do we do with all we know about eschatology? We don’t need to worry about it. We don’t need to argue about it. Instead, we need to be focused on praying and serving others.

In conclusion, my prayer is that through this series your thoughts surrounding the end of time have been enlightened and enhanced. Even if you disagree with my eschatological stance, my hope is that you have been challenged and changed by it all!

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11 Replies to “Eschatology: What Have We Learned?”

  1. Nice wrap up Travis! I really appreciate your writing. My complete support for you, my Brother in Christ! Even though I may post contrary opinion on eschatology, none of it affects the core values we share in Christ Jesus!
    Thanks! I’ll keep following you.
    Note: I just posted my first blog on my new website: http://www.ScriptureFLIGHT.com Where SAcripture Metts the Modern Cosmos I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy yours!
    Ray

  2. I’ve never been all that interested in the exact order of the end times. What I care about is this: God knows exactly how everything will turn out and every detail is in His hands. Jesus WILL come again, “not, this time, to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” He will judge everyone and make all things right. Personally, I think that’s the point of prophecy: to assure us of these things.

    It’s really comforting to me, and encouraging. I long for the day of which it is said, “Behold, He is coming on the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all the nations of the earth will mourn because of Him,” on which “every knee will bow, in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Until that day, we will strive to make His Name and glory known among the nations.

    “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”

  3. I used to be afraid when I would read the book of Revelation…….now it is a total comfort. It is amazing how GOD”S WORD works like that. Thanks for all your explanation…….JESUS COME SOON!

    1. Heavensreef, I remember the 1st time I ever read through the Book Of Revelation. I found it almost fascinating and that was back in 2007ish, still do to this day.

      After I’d started reading it and asked my best friend at the time, she said she couldn’t. ..she was too afraid to. Now I vascillate between several versions to increase my understanding. The coolest thing is Rev 1:3 confirms just what you mention about it being a “comfort”…that’s the Holy Spirit at work preparing His Bride for the amazing sojourn of Matthew 22 & Proverbs 9 (1-6).

      1. YES! I am continually finding that the HOLY SPIRIT does just that. Blessings to you friend.

    1. Good question. I think the answer has to do with the fact that we are sinful and finite human beings incapable of perfect understanding. Right now we only see in part, but when we are united with Christ for eternity we will see in full (1 Corinthians 13:9-12). For now, we are called to do our best, to study and to show ourselves approved, to come to the best understanding we can, and to have peaceful conversations with those who disagree.

  4. This is an excellent and thoughtful series that sums up the popular, mainstream stances very nicely. Perhaps, to round things out, you could write another series about “revealed eschatology” and the various other non-Pauline, non-literal eschatological viewpoints.

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