Friday, January 30, 2009

Searching for Eschatological Balance (Esch 102)

Eschatological Extremes
As we undertake our study in eschatology, we need to avoid two extremes.

1) Eschatology is Everything
Because eschatology is such an exciting subject, some people go overboard. Eschatology becomes an obsession. Every passage of the Bible seems to be about eschatology. Every book read is about eschatology. Every conversation turns to eschatology.

They become “prophecy experts,” studying eschatology to the exclusion of everything else. They follow the situation in the Middle East carefully, trying to see how every event fits into their prophetic calendar.

Obviously, this kind of an unbalanced approach to the Scriptures leads to an unbalanced approach to life.

2) Eschatology is Nothing
Perhaps as a reaction against the over-zealousness of “prophecy experts,” many have adopted an agnostic approach to eschatology. Their attitude is, “Studying eschatology is pointless. It doesn’t matter what I believe about the end times. Jesus wins in the end, right?”

While there is some truth to such sentiments, this is also an unbalanced approach to the Scriptures.

Eschatological Balance
Eschatology is one of the most confusing issues in the contemporary church. However, we do not solve this problem by either over-emphasizing or under-emphasizing eschatology. Our goal is to be balanced in our approach. How can we achieve such balance?

The Scriptures are our guide. We derive balance from the Scriptures. We ought to speak of eschatology as little or as often as the word of God does.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What is Eschatology? (Esch 101)

In January, our church started a series of classes on Eschatology. I will be publishing the notes on this blog over the next couple of months. Enjoy!

This morning, we begin a new series on Eschatology.

The word eschatology is made up of two words: eschaton = end; logos = study. Eschatology is a study of the end, or as is usually stated, a study of the end times.

Traditionally, eschatology has been concerned with the second coming of Christ, the resurrection, the final judgment, and the eternal state.

Popularly, eschatology focuses on the rebirth of the nation of Israel, the tribulation, the rapture, and the millennium.

As there is much confusion over these issues, we will be spending the next few months sorting all of this out. We will not be able to cover every detail or look at every passage, but we do plan to focus on some of the principle eschatological texts including:
  • Daniel 2, 7, 9
  • The Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21)
  • 1 Thessalonians 4-5; 2 Thessalonians 2
  • The Book of Revelation
We will also touch on other eschatological texts such as:
  • Ezekiel 40-48
  • Zechariah 14
  • 2 Peter 3
  • 1 John 2