Why we study the end times

In response to the question: What is the significance and role of eschatology in theology and preaching?

 

Eschatology may be the most overlooked aspect of theology. In the Rose guide to theology, it is pointed out there are two ways people can study eschatology wrong. These two positions occur when we either fail to study the end times or put so much emphasis into eschatology to the exclusion of everything else. These two views are opposing each other and can both be equally deadly in our theology and preaching.

 

Having a full, balanced view of eschatology enables one to have a better understanding of theology altogether. Eschatology makes up roughly 25% of the Bible and so if one is to skip the study of the end times, we are missing out on a quarter of what God intended for His church to hear. Plus, as we see the study of eschatology is ultimately about Jesus and what he is going to be doing in the future and in the end times. Dr. Jones describes it by saying “The endpoint and goal in God’s work in human history is Jesus.”[1] Therefore, any time we are talking about what God has done, is continuing to do, and will do, we are talking about Eschatology, even when we are looking at an area that is seemingly about the past such as the nation of Israel.

 

The adage about people who don’t study history being doomed to repeat it holds true among Christians as well. Specifically with regards to Israel, We need to be studying the past so we can see what the future will hold. Part of this importance lies in God’s promises to Abraham to make his people as numerous as the stars in the sky and to bless the world through his offspring. (Genesis 18, 26:4 and others). This is important because of what God would do in the future and from when the Christian church started accepting Gentiles, there were fights starting almost immediately. This has manifested in replacement theology stating that those who believe in Jesus actually replace Israel. And while the debate on this area of theology is much more complex, a question that needs to be addressed is the role that replacement theology has led Christians to despise the Jews.[2] This is where the rubber meets the road in relation to the practical aspect of preaching.

 

Ultimately, our view of what is to come will change how we act and react to various situations arising. When we have our focus on Jesus and what God is doing to bring about the end times, we can rest secure knowing that God has it all planned out and that it is all going to be done to bring about the glorious return of Christ. When our preaching or theology loses site of this, we fail to do our God justice and have an improper theology and fail to preach the full truth to those who we are charged with teaching.

[1] Jones, Timothy & David Gunderson & Benhamin Galan. Rose Guide to End-Time Prophecy. Rose Publishing, Inc. Torrance. 2011. 12.

[2] Horner, Barry. Future Israel. B&H Academic. Nashville. 2007. 8.


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