When the term eschatology is discussed some get excited, and others get uncomfortable. According to Millard Erickson the term eschatology means, “The study of last things .” Thus, eschatology deals with things like Heaven, Hell, the consummation of history, and the completion of God working in the world. It has the potential to be a very uncomfortable subject, and that is why it is avoided by so many. This need not be the case as it is a vital part of theology and preaching.
It is so important that it was a message that was taught by Jesus, and replicated by his apostles. We see in 2 Timothy 3:14-17 and 2 Peter 1:19-20 that the apostles told the people to look to scripture, and that scriptures say that God will bring the world to an end . Jesus told his disciples to watch for his return is Matthew 24:42, Matthew 25:13, Mark 13:35-37, and Luke 12:37. Paul speaks of it again in 1 Thessalonians 5:4,6, by telling the church to be awake and vigilant because the end can come at any moment. Jesus echoes that same language to John in Revelation 16:15 . There are many other passages of scripture that mention the importance of eschatology. This may be where some confusion may come in. The study of the end times is not the apocalypse, but Jesus Christ. The end goal of God in human history is Jesus Christ . In Revelation 22:13-16 Jesus describes him self as the Alpha and Omega. These two words are the first and last letters in in the Greek alphabet. The symbolism is great and basically states that Christ is the be all and end all of everything. If our study of eschatology leads us to reading massive amounts of articles, blogs, and watching news all day then its importance has been misconstrued. Eschatology is significant in theology and preaching because it teaches us to keep our eyes on Christ. In addition, through the work of Christ during his earthly ministry that the end times have already started . When we realize that Jesus is the focus of eschatology we will be ready for his return at any time, we will see our responsibility to proclaim the Gospel, and we know that the world will be made right again . Eschatology helps shape out theology because it shows us what the focus of everything is. The focus is Jesus Christ.
1. Erickson, Millard. Christian Theology, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), 1056.
2. Jones, Timothy P., Gunderson, David, and Galan, Benjamin. Rose Guide to End-Times Prophecy. (Torrance, CA: Rose Publishing, 2011), 12.
3. Ibid, 12.
4. Ibid, 12.
5. Ibid, 13.
6. Ibid, 16-17.