By Elizabeth Prata
I am a fervent believer in the sufficiency of and the importance of all of scripture. Around a quarter to a third of all scripture deals with last things, known as the study of Eschatology. That’s a lot.
I am also a believer in the clarity of the Word. This is known as the doctrine of the Perspicuity of Scripture.
In other words, God didn’t set down His clear revelations to us throughout the Bible only to purposely muddy Last Things. It’s ALL clear, if one studies hard and remains submitted to the illumination of the Spirit. Eschatology can be understood, if not 100% just like any other doctrine, at least with a high degree of confidence, just like any other doctrine.
Therefore, since it comprises so much of the Bible, we should be studying it. Since the Spirit promised to illuminate the Word to us, (Psalm 119:130) we should be studying it with the expectation that we can know to such a degree that we can and will cling to the promises made in the doctrine of Last Things, and obey the commands within them.
Because there are promises and commands within the study of Eschatology, it is doubly critical that we consider the Doctrine of Last Things just as important as the rest of the Doctrines of God, such as the Doctrine of Man, the Doctrine of Sin, the Doctrine of Angels, and so on. Eschatology should not be relegated to a back room because it’s allegedly too hard. I want to encourage you all to read and study with confidence and joy.
My own personal testimony regarding this issue is:
- It has brought me bountiful awe. I read Revelation and literally sometimes my breath is taken away with the majesty of Jesus. Nowhere in scripture is He seen as He is now except in Revelation, and it’s simply awe inspiring. And yet for all His glorious majesty seen in that book, including His righteous wrath, when we further realize He is friend and father too, it brings me to my knees.
- It has given me a perspective of eternity that helps me in the present. For example when an enemy sees to take my job or malign my reputation with heinous slander, (and these things have actually occurred in my Christian life), I look to last things and realize this IS but a short affliction. This perspective helps.
- Knowing what is going to happen to the ungodly gives me a gratitude I can’t even express in words. I was a sinner who justifiably would receive the wrath we see in the prophetic books and other verses. There but for the grace of God go I, said John Bradford in the mid-sixteenth-century, seeing prisoners led to execution.
- It enhances my love for first things. My favorite books in the Bible are Genesis and Revelation. Seeing God’s activity from beginning to end allows me a perspective of His work I would otherwise miss, I think, if I did not study Eschatology as much as I do.
And there are so many more benefits to studying it than these I’ve shared from my own life.
Remember, Last Things is the only doctrine and Revelation is the only book where Jesus promises that if one reads it you will receive a blessing. This promise is made twice in the book, once at the beginning and once at the end.
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. (Revelation 1:3).
Behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of prophecy in this book. (Revelation 22:7).
He would not have made that promise of blessing while tricking His children by making it impossible to understand it.
Dr. Nathan Busenitz delivered this “Premillennialism and History” lecture (also below embedded video) at The Master’s Seminary Chapel last year. He began with the following premises:
Why does eschatology matter?
1. Hermeneutics. One’s view of last things reveals his approach to interpreting the scriptures.
2. The issue of hope. God has given promises in His word as to what the future entails. These promises are the substance of our hope. We as believers are called to pace our trust in those promises.
3. Holiness. Last Things, the truth about what us to come are revealed to us in the scriptures to impact and motivate our lives in the present. An accurate understanding of last things is necessary to equip us to obey in the present. Our future hope promotes present obedience.
It isn’t just theoretical theology, eschatology matters.
Here is the video if you care to watch. Enjoy His word, all of it, including Last Things!
“Premillennialism and History ” by Dr. Nathan Busenitz – TMS Chapel – February 6, 2018 from The Master’s Seminary on Vimeo.