WHY ESCHATOLOGY IS IMPORTANT TO US ALL

The following article is by Michael J. Vlach, Professor of Theology, at The Master’s Seminary. The Master’s Seminary opened its doors in 1986 to provide post-graduate theological training on the campus of Grace Community Church. He specializes in the areas of Systematic Theology, Historical Theology, Apologetics, and World Religions.

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 but, we are also looking for our Savior, with whom we will spend eternity.

Why do some churches neglect serious study of eschatology? One issue is complexity. There are many eschatological details in the Bible to work through and harmonize. So there is hard work to do in this area. Also, when we see godly men disagreeing on prophetic issues, it can be disheartening. Another reason might be that some don’t want to be linked with those who have abused eschatology. There are those who have become obsessed with the end times by offering a date for Jesus’ return, or treating many current events as fulfillments of biblical prophecy. Thus, some have swung from the abuse of eschatology to no interest whatsoever.

But these are not good reasons to avoid the study of eschatology. Here are 7 reasons churches should take eschatology seriously:

1. Eschatology is a major part of the Christian storyline

Eschatology is a major part of the Bible’s story. By “story,” I’m not talking about fiction. I’m talking about the narrative of the Christian worldview. Since Christianity is rooted in history and real historical events, God’s story includes past, present, and future events. All should be taught. We simply should not ignore prophetic events that are future from our standpoint—events such as the Rapture, the Day of the Lord, the Second Coming, the Millennium, and the Eternal State. We must also talk about heaven and hell, and the coming New Earth. To avoid discussion of eschatology is to avoid an important part of the Christian worldview.

2. We are called to preach and heed the whole counsel of God

There are large sections of Scripture devoted to prophesy, many of which still need to be fulfilled from our current standpoint. For example, the events of Ezekiel 36–48 still need to occur. In the New Testament, passages like Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, much of Luke 21, 1 Thess. 4-5, 2 Thess 1-2, 2 Peter 3, and Revelation 6-22 describe events that still need to happen. We cannot ignore these passages. Paul says in Acts 20:27, “I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.”

If your church does not teach what the Bible says about the future, the whole counsel of God is not being taught.

3. People are interested in the future

Christians are interested in what the future holds. But if we do not teach eschatology, we are denying important biblical information for those who want to know what the Bible has to say about the future. We are also withholding a major source of the hope that the Scripture wants us to have.

4. Eschatology is a motivation for believers

Eschatology changes our lives because what we do now impacts our future. Paul viewed everything he did in light of his standing before Jesus someday. In 2 Timothy 4:7-8 Paul wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

5. Eschatology has a purifying effect on the believer

Eschatology is meant to transform our lives in the present. Why should we live sensibly, righteously and godly? Because Jesus is coming again. 1 John 3:2-3 states, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

James 5:8-9 also says, “You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord, is near. Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.”

The study of biblical eschatology is a motivation for godly living

6. Eschatology gives perspective to the troubles and trials of this age

We live in a fallen and tragedy-soaked world. We are all physically decaying and dying. Evil seems to triumph. Without Jesus, there is no hope, only despair. But for the Christian, there is the hope of resurrection and the restoration of all things (1 Cor. 15:20-28; Acts 3:21). Romans 8:18 states, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

The sufferings of this present time are real, but they are not comparable to the glory that is to come.

2 Peter 3:13 says, “But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”

The coming of Jesus and the restoration of all things are future realities that give Christians hope and the joyful realization that the turmoils and trials of this age will not last forever. Righteousness and goodness win in the end. Christians need that message.

7. Eschatology warns the unbeliever of coming judgment

Biblical eschatology does not teach that the story ends well for everyone. It exists as a frightening warning to those who have not believed in Jesus. Eschatology warns all people that there is eternal punishment and banishment from God’s kingdom and the presence of God for those who do not repent. We should do what John the Baptist did—warn people to flee the wrath that is to come (Luke 3:7-8). Just as there is both judgment and resurrection for the righteous, there is also resurrection and judgment for the unbeliever.

In sum, biblical eschatology is an important part of Christianity. For these reasons, all true churches should embrace the importance of biblical eschatology and share its truths with Christians and unbelievers alike.

8. I would add to Michael’s reasons, an eighth, Apocalyptic Evangelism.

There are more prophecies about Jesus second coming than there were of His first coming and yet there were many of those. Christians who understand the prophetic events that are to unfold prior to Jesus return, first to rapture the church, and then after God’s wrath has been poured out on the earth with the Scroll, Trumpet and Bowl judgements, He will return to this earth and rescue Israel. He has unfinished business with His nation. All the O.T. prophets prophesied their Messiah would rule the nations from Jerusalem. Jesus will rule and reign with the resurrected saints on this earth for 1000 years. Obviously, we are in a unique position to use this knowledge in evangelism. To explain to unbelievers what is unfolding in our day and to warn the church of the coming tribulation, even great tribulation. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:8-13. Jesus spoke these words and Mark recorded them as follows ” For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be. And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. Mark 13:19-20

HOW TO BE LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

Torben Sondergaad delivers an amazing message on how God is moving the Last Reformation Movement on from their present location in North Carolina. How God provided the present premises just over 12 months ago was miraculous. Most of us realise that in these “last days” it is like we have gone into “fast forward”, events good and bad are unfolding rapidly. The world is getting darker by the hour but at the same time God is also stepping up the attack of His warriors to expand the Kingdom of God. This move by the Last Reformation is an example of how quickly we can expect change as we follow the Holy Spirit’s lead.

“I’m very excited to share with you that God has been speaking to us these last weeks. It came as a big, big surprise when suddenly, two Fridays ago, He told us we have outgrown the Ark, and He has a new place for us. We have now been renting this place for over one year, and it has been amazing times! We’ve had many training schools – many people coming by, being trained and sent out… At this moment, as this video is being made, there are twenty teams around the neighboring cities, preaching the Gospel, healing the sick, and making disciples. We’ve had an amazing time here in North Carolina, but Friday a couple weeks ago, God spoke very clearly… Our time is over. The Ark is moving. Saturday, the day after, a man came from Tennessee and asked me if I need another building. This became the beginning of an amazing journey, a crazy story where God has been speaking through dreams and confirmations, and we are now sure our time here is over, and God has another place for us. We are so excited to share this with you! We have not gotten the new place yet, but we walk by faith and not by sight. We know it’s time to move on. The reason we’re doing this video now is that we want all of you who are living near us in North Carolina, in this part of America, who want to connect with us, to know that in a few weeks we will be going to another place. So, if you want to meet us, meet our teams, set up a house fellowship, do a mini-kickstart, or anything with us in the next few weeks, please let us know. At this link here, you can see a video we did a few days ago where we tell more about how we are ready to come and serve where you are.

JOIN THE CALL TO PRAYER

Join the global call for prayer and repentance.

In Australia, the Aboriginal Christian Elders of Australia, led by Ps Peter Walker, will lead Australia’s churches in a National Solemn Assembly. If you click on Ps Peter Walker you can hear his powerful testimony from alcoholic to Aboriginal Christian elder.

We are in the last days prior to Jesus’ return. Already, fulfilled Bible prophecies make that clear, starting back in 1948 with Israel being re-established as a nation and ever since in the Middle east, wars and rumours of wars. Make sure you are part of this important and maybe last significant prayer effort to see God change your nation.

LAWLESSNESS WILL INCREASE IN THE “LAST DAYS”

Over 100 prominent evangelical leaders who attended the fourth night of the Republican National Convention where President Trump accepted the party’s nomination for a second term were met with fiery threats from rioters while leaving the White House grounds, and even attendees — including older adults and those with disabilities that were also reportedly attacked as well.

Jesus told us that in the last days before His return to earth to rule and reign with a rod of iron. “ because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” Matthew 24:12

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Democrat supporters. The party of empathy. Throwing two middle fingers in the face of an old lady walking

Freedom advocate and founder of the KAIROS Company who also attended the speech told The Christian Post that he experienced the riots firsthand. “Violent provocateurs waited for us (and others) outside the White House gates in the city’s jurisdiction, at nearly midnight,” Moore recalled.

“Rather than succeeding at intimidating us with their vicious threats of violence, expletives, blasphemous slogans, hatred, and intolerance they simply proved the very points the president made in his speech. I saw it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears. What’s awful is that the very thing this does is take away the voice of peaceful protesters, whom we want to hear.”

CALIFORNIA UNDER JUDGEMENT?

The headlines read “It seems like all Hell has broken loose in California

Governor Newsom Declares Statewide Emergency Due to Wildfires. Aug 19, 2020

Gov. Newsom Declares Statewide Emergency Due to Wildfires

Newsom’s order states that “there are currently hundreds of fires actively burning during these extreme weather conditions throughout California.” And “the number of fires actively burning statewide, as well as throughout other Western states, has resulted in a strain on California’s mutual aid system, making it increasingly difficult for jurisdictions to obtain the necessary in-state and out-of-state firefighting resources to respond to these fires.”

Developing: Fires explode across Bay Area, burning homes and sparking mass evacuation. Aug 19, 2020

DEVELOPING: Fires explode across Bay Area, burning homes and sparking mass evacuations…

(ETH) – Fierce and fast-moving fires caused by lightning storms are sweeping across the Bay Area of California and elsewhere in Northern California and the fires have exploded overnight, burning homes and causing thousands to flee.

According to the latest reports, The most recent fires stretched from the wine country to the Santa Cruz Mountains, moving at dangerous speed amid an intense heatwave that also has produced rolling blackouts in the cities. According to Yahoo News, “Officials have ordered the evacuation of the western edge of Vacaville — a city of 100,000 residents about halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento — in the area of Alamo Drive north of Interstate 5 and west of North Orchard Avenue, according to a Facebook post by Vacaville police.

California struck by nearly 11,000 lightning strikes in past 72 hours. Aug 19, 2020

California struck by nearly 11,000 lightning strikes in past 72 hours

(ETH) – It seems like all Hell has broken loose in California over the past week with wildfires, coronavirus, earthquakes, wildfires and now some experts are warning that a series of fast-moving fires in the San Francisco Bay Area and other locations in Northern California was caused by intense lightning storms — that exploded overnight, burning homes and causing thousands to flee.

In fact, a recent report is indicating that nearly 11,000 lighting strikes took place in a span of just 72 hours. According to KTLA 5, Northern and Central California experienced an unusually active sequence of largely dry lightning strikes on Sunday morning, and was the most widespread and violent in recent memory in the Bay Area on one of the hottest nights in years, This report comes from Daniel Swain, a climate scientist with UCLA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research

SPIRIT OF LAWLESSNESS

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The spirit of lawlessness, a spirit that despises authority and that cultivates chaos. And it is a spirit that is at work throughout America today, leaving a train of destruction in its path.

Paul wrote these important words in Romans 13, words that we need to put front and center during these times of cultural upheaval.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. (Romans 13:1–5)

Protesters set Bibles and American flags on fire over the weekend in Portland, Oregon. (The Sun YouTube channel)

There is something else that is animating these rioters to burn Bibles and the American flag. As Ian Miles Cheong, managing editor of Human Events tweeted, “I don’t know what burning the Bible has to do with protesting against police brutality.

Do not be under the illusion that these protests and riots are anything but an attempt to dismantle all of Western Civilization and upend centuries of tradition and freedom of religion.

Yes, it is beyond ludicrous to suggest that the burning of Bibles has any connection at all to the death of George Floyd, himself a professing Christian. And it is ridiculous to think there is any real connection between the Bible and police brutality. It is an open expression of hostility to the Judeo-Christian God and Judeo-Christian values. It is the thumbing of the nose to divine authority. It is overt rebellion

The spirit of lawlessness is at work. Jesus said lawlessness would increase in the last days before His return. “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” Matthew 24:12

“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10

IRANIANS FINDING SALVATION IN JESUS CHRIST

Iran is facing a wave of internal turmoil and covert attacks that are undermining the radical regime’s nefarious plans. Even as the violence escalates, hope is rising among Iranian citizens who are finding salvation in Jesus Christ.

Whether it’s the exploding coronavirus, mysterious fires at nuclear and military facilities or protests, Iran’s ruling Islamic clerics are facing unprecedented challenges as the regime tries to maintain an iron grip on the nation.

All this comes against the backdrop of ongoing government protests and a remarkable revival that’s witnessing thousands of Muslims turning to Christianity in the midst of COVID-19.

That’s why we are calling this a pandemic of hope,” said Mike Ansari, who runs Mohabat TV, one of the most popular Christian satellite channels in Iran.

Ansari told CBN News that Mohabat TV is recording 10 times more online salvation’s than this time last year.

We are registering around 3,000 personal decisions by Iranian Muslims to leave Islam for Christianity during this revival,” Ansari said.

That’s 3,000 people each month who’ve decided to follow Jesus Christ since the pandemic began in March.

“People in Iran are just not happy the way their economy is going, the way the government is robbing them of their national resources and exporting Shia Islam to the neighboring countries, so they just don’t trust their government,” said Ansari.

The large number of people leaving Islam is causing a backlash against the church. Dozens of Christians have been arrested and imprisoned for responding to the gospel message since March.

“During these critical times for the regime, there’s a tendency, historically, for the regime to really crack down on religious communities like Christian converts, and we see that today,” Nader told CBN News.

Iran is one of the world’s most dangerous places for Christians. Yet, Christianity is growing faster in Iran than in any other country in the world.

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14

TAKEN CAPTIVE THROUGH PHILOSOPHY AND EMPTY DECEPTION

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception [pseudo-intellectual babble], according to the tradition [and musings] of mere men, following the elementary principles of this world, rather than following [the truththe teachings of] Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity (the Godhead) dwells in bodily form [completely expressing the divine essence of God]” (Colossians 2:8 -9 AMP).

Political correctness is a control issue and a bullying tactic, used by the politically left special interest groups, and their fake news media outlets, to oppose and oppress free speech and religious freedom. They quickly label anyone and everyone who disagrees with their unnatural, crazy worldview, as a bigot, racist, and every other derogatory name they can come up with.  

You know we live in a mad, crazy, politically correct world, when the natural is unnatural and the unnatural is natural; when right is wrong and wrong is right; when normal is abnormal and abnormal is normal. In this world, God does not exist or if acknowledged is powerless and homosexuality, trans genders, same sex marriage are all acceptable lifestyle choices. God’s laws on sexuality and morality are unacceptable.

The further down the political correctness road you go, the further away you get from common sense. God has given each of us a conscience. In our hearts we know what is right and wrong but a rebellious spirit is increasingly evident in society. This should not come as a surprise to Christians that rightly discern the Word of God. Godlessness, lawlessness will abound in the last days before Jesus returns. Moreover, even though Jesus and glorified saints are ruling here on the earth during the Millennium. Scripture tells us they need to do so with a “rod of iron”. People, at least some, will still be rebellious not wanting to submit to God’s laws, God’s commandments. It appears the Millennium is a transitional period, the curse has not been totally lifted off the earth as people still die and people will still need to repent and accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour in order to inherit eternal life. We know Satan is bound for most of the thousand years but he is released at the end and is still able to assemble a great army to come against Jesus. The following Scripture reveals the outcome.

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.Revelation 20:7-10

Judgment Before the Great White Throne

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11-15

The New Heaven and the New Earth

​” Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4

FINANCIAL RESET INEVITABLE

How many of you read my post “Covid 19 Coupled with a Major Debt Crisis – What’s Next?” dated June 15th 2020? I thought this to be one of my most important posts for 2020. If you have not read it, can I suggest that you do.

In that post some of the best qualified economic/political pundits gave their views on the likely outcome of Covid 19 coupled with the existing debt crisis of most countries. Debt levels are so great that even with interest rates barely above zero, countries cannot pay down the debt. It also means their currencies are next to worthless.

A FINANCIAL RESET IS INEVITABLE WAS THEIR CONCLUSION

In Australia debt is rising fast. No government can stop the inevitable financial crash.

As you would expect, the combination of failing revenue and runaway spending has resulted in a boost to government debt with total government liabilities at $1.3 trillion by the end of May – $300 billion higher than expected.

Net debt has hit a record $463.7 billion compared to $373.6 billion in the previous financial year, virtually destroying the Morrison Government’s stated aim of clearing all government debt by the end of the decade.

The Finance Department numbers are sobering but few are arguing that the Federal Government has been spending too much – indeed much of the economic commentary is urging them to ramp up spending now that interest rates have effectively reached their lower limit and the economy still needs stimulus.

The key to how the Federal Government will react to such calls will be announced by Treasurer Frydenberg in an economic update in late July, with the 2020-21 budget now due to be released in early October.

This is all part of God’s end times scenario. If your trust is in governments, yourself, or anything other than God then it is misplaced. Only He can give you true peace, the peace that comes from realising that He is in control, He has revealed the truth about the world and us in His Word (BIBLE) and we know the end of the story. Jesus will return first to rapture His church and then to rule and reign 1000 years from Jerusalem.

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
“when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus… when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marvelled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10