There are niche segments of study within the theological world that are more valued than others. Discernment gets a bad name, often rightly, because many discernment writers tend to drift toward a more “censorious spirit” as Gill said in his Exposition, stating, “Censorious persons rarely have the good will of their fellow creatures” in mind. However as the pendulum tends to swing, it makes a full arc and for a while discernment receives a poor reputation in total, even while there are good discernment writers and speakers out there (Justin Peters comes to mind) mixed in with the cranks and angry ones.
Though all Christians are called to discern between right and wrong, some have been given extra discernment as a gift of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:10). While on the one hand it’s not to be abused, it’s also not to be dismissed. (FMI on the gift of discerning of spirits, go here).
Eschatology is another area of study which also receives a poor reputation, in no thanks to many Christians themselves. Eschatology is the study of last things, AKA, prophecy, especially the period since the First Coming of Jesus Christ. Though it’s forbidden, some date-set and of course the end date at which their predictions pass with no fulfillment make a mockery of Christ’s name to unbelievers and a disappointment to the believers who were drawn in. Others who study eschatology badly simply perpetuate ridiculous theories concerning the end times. Others wrongly insist that eschatological subjects are biblically unknowable.
My blog covers three areas; discernment, prophecy and encouragement. I’ve seen the pendulum swing from side to side in each of these areas over the last 7 years of daily blogging here at The End Time. I have maintained from the beginning of my blogging life and my Christian witness in real life, that prophecy is important – because it was important to Jesus. Last days are spoken of in almost every book of the New Testament. Paul spent a good deal of time teaching it to the Thessalonians. Even as the babes in Christ that they were, Paul pulled out all the stops to ensure that these Thessalonian Christian babies knew the importance of living with a very present knowledge of Christ’s imminent return. Doing so gives us a heart for the lost, a fervency in life, and a strength to look forward beyond persecution or trouble. I refuse to marginalize prophecy as a legitimate area of study.
Here is Michael Holst stating the point of eschatology so much better than I ever did.
12 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE ANTI-CHRIST
by Matthew Holst • April 01, 2016
One of the Apostle Paul’s great preoccupations in both of his letters to the church at Thessalonica is the second coming of Christ. He was not only concerned with getting the doctrine “right” but also with the great pastoral implications of such teaching. In 1 Thessalonians he writes concerning the second coming of Christ in relation to the resurrection of the dead and the gathering together of saints who are alive at that time. In 2 Thessalonians he reinforces what he had already taught at Thessalonica (2 Thess. 2:5) concerning the dangers of the last days, specifically with regard to the great apostasy in the church induced by the revelation of the Man of Lawlessness.
Depending on your eschatological framework, your identification of the Man of Lawlessness and his activities may differ from what I wish to offer in this post. Coming to terms with the fact that there will indeed be a Man of Lawlessness plays an important role in the life of the believer as he or she eagerly waits for the day of Christ’s coming. In days of relative peace, we must ready ourselves and forthcoming generations–especially our own children–for the days of anarchic deception that will accompany the Man of Lawlessness.
We, in the Calvinistic and Reformed church, have not done justice to the Scripture’s teaching on this matter. We often rightly respond to the “Left Behind” industry with dismay and sarcasm. In so doing, however, we have, perhaps inadvertently failed to sufficiently and soberly grasp Scripture’s teaching on this period of history which will be instrumental in bringing about a catastrophic and irreversible apostasy. Here then, are twelve biblical observations about the Man of Lawlessness (MoL) to help prepare us for that day.
For the rest of Mr Horst’s essay, go to the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.
I’d like to reiterate that the Rapture (when Christ calls for His Bride in the air, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17) and the Second Coming (when His feet touch down at the Mount of Olives at the end of the Tribulation, Mt 16:27, Zechariah 14:4) are two separate events.