Indulge me for a just a brief moment of your time. Just some simple questions I wish to ask you the reader to think over. After thinking them over, perhaps just a few more for your consideration?
First a few comments and definitions. As the title of this post suggests this is about eschatology. What is that you say? You don’t know what that is. Why it comes from the Greek word εσχατος which broadly speaking means last/final/end. When coupled with the suffix -logy (which comes from the Greek word λογος) it means the study of last things. More commonly called the end times, in Christian theological parlance it may be referred to as Christ’s second coming. Every worldview, Christian or not, has an eschatological stance, whether the adherent knows it or not. Most people don’t think too much about it, I do… a lot. It’s my favorite theological doctrine to mull over and speculate on (as well as rustle people’s feathers which I may do with this post).
It’s an incredibly important doctrine to understand and be taught within the Christian faith. What have you been taught concerning it?
If you know of it at all. I am going to presume that you the reader are a Christian and have been taught some fundamentals regarding the topic and then I’ll get onto my series of questions.
I’d like to give a basic, as I see it, list of fundamentally orthodox eschatological doctrine every Christian should (and often does) believe. These are the ‘gold standards’ and to many they are non-negotiables.
- Jesus’ bodily return to Earth. – At the present moment Jesus is not on this Earth, physically anyways. He’s here via the Spirit of God dwelling within God’s people. He’s also here in that with the Spirit indwelling believers they are His body. But when it comes to the study of “end times” specifically speaking it’s Jesus’ return… this has not happened but it will and Christians are to be expectant of it.
- Resurrection of both the dead and those “who are alive and remain” – This is specifically tied to just believers. Some may consider this lumped into whatever your “rapture position” is. I leave that to you for extra study (I’m not touching that hot potato).
- Heaven – I much prefer to call this one the eternal state or new heavens and new earth. God is present with His chosen people forever in full and unabashed glory; there is no sin, mourning, sorrow, and the curse is not found, cue sighs of delight and happiness. It’s the inheritance every believer has via Christ’s sacrifice and the faith one has in its accomplishment and application.
- Judgement – I will forgo the annihilationist position here (which I do not believe it can be substantiated with scripture). Suffice to say this is the exact opposite of the above point. They do not participate in the new heavens and new earth, they do not have eternal life they have eternal punishment/torment/death, they are apart from God’s direct salvific presence; sin abounds in this place for all eternity. This is also called: Hell, Lake of Fire, Eternal Fire/flames, etc.
Did you think there would be more? Is there something missing you thought should be there? Tell me in the comments. In the meantime here are some questions regarding how you think of the importance of understanding eschatology aright.
First some not so serious questions.
Do you ever consider the ramifications of having an immortal body? That you will live for more than 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years, or in other words forever? Are there scraped knees, what about if you poke yourself with a pin, will there be blood or scabs? Can you jump from a ten story building and not get hurt at all?
Will there be advancement in knowledge? Things like proper space travel, cars that produce no pollution? Will there even be pollution?
Is there smoking? Is drinking alcohol with the affect of becoming drunk possible? What about campfires?
What about languages? Is there a need to learn languages or will it be, so to speak, automatic understanding?
Will there be no currency or will there be a different barter system? Will there be jobs and will they procure profit?
Since Jesus is a single individual, how long will you have to wait till you get to give Him the biggest hug ever? Will you be okay with having to wait a billion years, if that is your ‘place in line?’
Now onto the more serious questions and scripture passages (all citations are in the NET)…
Considering timing, we surely don’t know what day/year/hour it is. But will we be able to discern when the time is nearing, and not just in a vague sense? See Luke 12, 1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:11, 2 Thessalonians 2:1–12
Why, after 40 days of teaching from the resurrected Christ was this question asked by his disciples? “So when they had gathered together, they began to ask him, “Lord, is this the time when you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
Then Jesus answers with this, “You are not permitted to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.” See Acts 1.
Do you ever consider that most everybody you’ve ever seen–on TV, in person, walked by, ignored, asked about the weather in a casual way–is most likely going to suffer eternally? This includes close friends and family. See Matthew 7, Matthew 10:33–35.
When it says Jesus is the one whose wrath the people are afraid of does it change your perception of Him? Revelation 6:15–17 What about when it says that He is the one whom, “stomps the winepress of the furious wrath of God?” Revelation 14:14–20, 19:9–16, Isaiah 63:1–6.
I could go on for quite a while with this, so I’ll just leave it there. Just something to think about.
I intentionally left out millennium chatter, intermediate state, and any talk of preterism (partial, full is unChristian). It’s not that it’s not important or something to mull over; it was not my intention to go over stuff in here that I don’t think is essential to think about concerning eschatology proper. Have a nice day.