Nick Lica

What does eschatology mean?

Eschatology, technically means „doctrine of the last things or end of times “concerning with the end of human history and human existence. It refers to the events which are still to hapen, both in relation to the individual and to the world. Regularly Eschatology contains topics like future events: the return of Christ, resurrection, judgement, tribulation, the millennial kingdom, and the eternal state. From a biblical perspective, history is not cyclical, but linear. This means that is moving towards a goal. God is driving history towards the ultimate fulfillment of his purposes for his creation.

Because „last days“ were started with first comming of Christ, then we define eschatology as a focus on redemtive work of Christ. Eschatology than focuses not as much on future events as seeing the future through the lenghts of first comming of Jesus and His redemtive work on the cross. Eschatology then is about Christ incarnation, his life, death, resurection and ascention to the Father. As Hoekema put it „The gratest eschatological event in history is not in the future but in the past.“ The decisive victory over Satan was won and every other eschatological events must be seen as the complletion of that process.

“Eschatology is not a projection into the distant future; it bursts forth into our present existence, and structures life today in light of the last days.” - G. C. Berkouwer

1. How does an awareness of what the Bible says about the topics normally associated with eschatology affect the way you live as well as the way you share God’s Word with Christians.

As a pastor, this class is calling me to preach more eschatology topics and after this class I hope to be better equipped to do this with confidence and humility. Eschatological topics are a serious call to every believer into a better a closer relationship with Jesus. Remaining faithul to the Lamb leading and shepherding is crucial for our salvation. Eschatology when proper understood, from the Christ view infuses joy to our lives and hope for the future. Christian life has to be lived with eschatological expectation the God is in control of our history a lives and world. The Revelation gives us also stability in our faith and challenge us to remain faithful to God no matter of circumstances. So in light of this faith, hope, exuberance, trust, courage and and assurance are legitimate signs of Christian faith, because we „know who holds the future“. The book of Revelation should make in our lives not only a paradime shift but a life style of living for the God’s kingdom (Matt 6:33). God’s kingdom was the central theme of Jesus‘ preaching and teaching and this awareness that we are a part of his dynamic a comming kingdom, challange us to live the Christian life with this vision. Every sermon than is a eschatological sermon because is pointing out to Jesus. As the prophecy used a word concerning God’s future in order to speak God’s call (the word of God) to the present, so we Christians must proclaim the gospel following the prophetical pattern: “Because God is going to do this, you must now respond to God in this way.”

The goal of Eschatology is not to satisfy human curiosity about the future events, but rather eschatology’s task is to challenge the hearts of people today in light of God’s future and the destined future of the world.

2. How should eschatology affect the way we worship God when gathering with other Christians?

Eschatology affects our worship too, because worshiping God is a central theme as in the Gospel of John as in John’s Revelation. The Apocalypse divides mankind into the worshippers of the dragon and the beast and those who will worship God in the heavenly Jerusalem. Worshiping God is really an eschatological goal toward God’s people are living and finally eternally devided by the object of their worship. Every main scene in Revelation begins with public worship of God. So God is already worshiped in the heaven in the comunity of his people together with angels and havenly creatures. Revelation reinforce for the church the meaning and importance of corporate worship - A commitment to prayer, praise and proclamation of God love and future judgment. This is the picture we get of worship in the book of Revelation—in “heavenly Worship.” Everybody in heaven appears as totally absorbed in worshiping God, nothing else. We need this dynamic in our worship service. Such worship displays a person’s personal allegiance to God and the Lamb.

The goal of worship in Revelation is to build up the community of faith as an expression of God’s reign on earth. In worship, the people of God confess their sin of "missing the mark" with regard to kingdom-building. They renounce the false allegiances of this world and unite in reaffirming their allegiance to the God whose Reign is known to use through the ministry of Jesus Christ.

Revelation was written to show who is in control. It shows God seated upon the throne (ch 4), which symbolizes his kingship and sovereignty. No matter of church situation, when we worship God, we testify that he is in control of world history, universe and human destiny. Staying faithful in worship is what God will reward at the end. Failing to worship God or not willing to worship Him is going to bring to people eternal consequences.

3. What is the relationship between eschatology and the mission of the church?

Eschatology gives us also a sense of urgency not only in Christian life but also in ministry and our mission. What a motivation for the Chruch to reach out for more people, because Jesus is comming soon. This „eschatological motivation“ we see it in Acts. The early church lived with this sense of expectancy which motivated them to reach out for Christ in their communities. So the mission is a the living out of escatology, is the practise of it. We practise eschatology when we are involved in local and world mission as a individual and as the church. Without mission, eschatology is merely a theory.

These last words of Jesus from Mat 28:18-20 make it evident that eschatology and mission are closely related. Christians evangelize because Jesus, their Lord, is also enthroned as eschatological judge and rescuer. They evangelize to bring people under that coming Lord. The purpose of eschatology is to provide insight into the significance of the present age in light of God’s action in Christ and in the light of God’s future. Believers who understand God future intentions for the world both hear and proclaim God’s word in the present, for they realize that God’s future has implications for life now.

“The spirit and the bride say: Come.” This means that the church is to multiply and accomplish the mission of making disciples of all nations. Revelation makes clear that, in fulfilling its mission , the church will face harsh conflict and dreadful suffering, but will achieve certain victory. Revelation shows how the gospel age will end. In two words is: Mission accomplished!”

4. Why is it important to have a clear understanding about eschatology?

The first reason is to know how to live the Christian life. Without a proper understanding of the eschatology we miss the point of God’s call and we may loose our salvation. The message of eschatology is a hope-producing promise that provides insight into the nature of our age.

We are living in the time of the already and not-yet. The reign of God has come into our world in a decisive fashion. Yet, the consummation of the divine rule lies still in the future. For that day we wait expectantly, and in the light of that day we seek to fulfill our divinely given call in the world.

The second reason is to stand firm in our faith Christ – to understand the Bible. Eschatology is the key to understanding completely critical issues of the unity of the Bible. The false Messiahs who will come, the false prophets that Jesus predicted that will come will draw away those who have not stable roots in Christ and His word. A clear understanding of eschatology is necessary for being faithful to Christ in spite of pressure and cultural seduction.

The third reason is that Eschatology gives us a divine perspective on this world, not merely a hope of escaping it. Eschatology is meant to “function” in our lives: to encourage us (2 Thess. 1:4-12), to exhort us: to live in a way consistent with our hope an expectation. In Scripture, eschatology is always tied to ethics. At the center of eschatology is Jesus Christ.

The eschatological outlook of the NT is well summed up in the words: "Christ Jesus our hope" (1 Tim. 1:1).