By Elizabeth Prata
I taught kids at church on Wednesday nights. I loved their conversations and their thoughts and their joy. I remember one night, they were asking about Jesus and heaven. They got so excited when they figured out that their friends will be in heaven too. They practically jumped out of their seats when they made the connection that they will actually see Jesus and hang out with Him. They started making plans, clapping their hands … It reminded me of Mark 10:13-16, “suffer the little children to come unto Me, do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Boy, does it ever. Let US be excited, innocent, planning, expectant, too. Are we? We should be!
I become so sad thinking about a similar joy that adults should display when thinking of the “Last Things.” Many adults don’t want to talk about eschatology because it’s “controversial” and “divisive.” It shouldn’t be. Jesus talked about it a lot. The disciples were eager to hear and asked Jesus to explain it. They had a long sit-down. (Matthew 24-25). The last things are not complicated, and in my opinion, are laid out pretty clearly in scripture. In any case, for people who hold opposite interpretations, (and only one can be right) we can and should share in the joy of our eager anticipation of Jesus’s return and our glorified state.
I read this article from Challies, his book review of a Dayton Hartman’s book Jesus Wins:
It’s ironic and more than a little pathetic that a doctrine as glorious and comforting as Christ’s impending return has been a source of such vehement disagreement among Christians.
I do not agree with the author’s premise that we should all return to the common eschatology expressed in the Apostle’s Creed, (which is watered down and amenable to everyone from Catholics to Unitarians to Ecumenical partnerships). Nor do I agree with Hartman that the exact details are unimportant (they are crucial because the details are the difference between hope and fear, AND because the Spirit wrote them down). “Jesus Wins” isn’t enough, not when those details are given to us for a hope and-
so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
Paul urged the brethren to “stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15). The teachings to which he refers are the Gospel, of course, and also the eschatological teachings Paul is reminding them of in 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians.
‘Jesus Wins’, yes, but how? Why? In what manner? Reducing your eschatology to ‘Jesus wins’ is like saying all one needs to know about the Son is that “He died and rose again.” There’s so much more!
Speak of the glories of His victory, diligently study the last things so you will know, and proclaim His last days plans to one and all. Don’t settle for a simplistic ‘Jesus Wins.’ There is so much more to it than that, and all of it glorious. Fight for it!
It is concerning that some churches today don’t take eschatology seriously. The very fact that God has revealed so many details about events to come in both testaments tells us that it is important. At the center of biblical eschatology is the blessed hope of the appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). Not only should we be interested in prophetic events to come, we are also looking for our Savior, with whom we will spend eternity.
The 7 reasons are short and easy to read. Enjoy!