Sunday, June 23, 2019

Eschatology 101

Eschatology 101

By Pete Garcia

Several years ago, an Omega Letter member named Ron Maurno delivered to us the ‘Bible Prophecy 101’ letter, which I for one, was tremendously blessed by. He gives a summation of all the major points in the prophetic Scriptures. In a similar manner, what I would like to do now is to just focus in on one section of that summation, eschatology.
It’s been said by many Christian to the author, that the study of prophecy is irrelevant to the here and now. I would counter, by quoting the famed comedian George Burns,
I look to the future, because that is where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.
While this present age darkens, and our world seemingly becomes more unhinged by the day, we know according to Scripture, that God has a grand plan for us, and a future beyond compare. I hope this helps you in your journey.

Bible Prophecy: God’s foretelling of what’s to come. Since God is exists outside of time, He is able to see the end from the beginning, and all therein. (Isaiah 46:9-10) 28% of the Bible is prophetic in nature, beginning with Genesis 3:15(protoevangelium). There were ‘near’ and ‘far’ prophecies. Near being fulfilled in the life time of the person delivering the message, and far, would be any of which would come to pass beyond that prophets life.
Eschatology: the word being a compound of two Greek words, Eschatos, meaning last or final things; and ology, meaning the study of, so it is a part of theology concerned primarily with the study of last things or final events.
So while all Eschatology fits into the concept of Bible prophecy, not all Bible prophecy is eschatological in nature. For instance, Bible prophecies concerning Christ’s first coming were prophetic when they were given, but are not considered eschatological today.

Bible Prophecy…

~Defends the authoritative power, truth, inerrancy, and divine inspiration of the Bible (Isaiah 46:9-10Jeremiah 3031Ezekiel 36-39, etc.) “Thus saith the Lord”
~No other book, religious or otherwise contains the same claims, nor the perfect prophetic track record of the Holy Bible. (Isaiah 55:11)
~Ex: Christ fulfilled 109 specific prophecies concerning His birth, life, death, and resurrection. Jesus used prophecy to confirm that His message was true, and did so by telling His disciples ahead of time, so when it happened, they knew it what was supposed to happen. (John 14:2916:4Luke 24:25-27)
~Gives hope in dark days (2 Peter 1:19-211 Thess. 4:13-18)
~ We are commanded to watch and understand the times we live in. (Mark 13:35-37Luke 12:371 Thess. 5:1-8)
~Gives a practical purpose for everyday life:
Prophecy is not meant to tickle the ear, but to turn our feet toward God.
~Meant to provoke us to holy living. (1 John 3:2-32 Peter 3:11Titus 2:13)
~A powerful tool for evangelism. (1 Tim. 2:42 Peter 3:9)
~Serves as warning that time had a starting point, and likewise, has an end.
~Revives a sense of urgency in our lives concerning the coming of Christ (Matt. 24:42)
~Is all about Christ (either directly, or indirectly). (Rev. 19:10Luke 24:25-27)


Biblical hermeneutics is the study of the principles of interpretation concerning the books of the Bible. It is part of the broader field of hermeneutics which involves the study of principles for the text and includes all forms of communication: verbal and nonverbal. (Source: Wikipedia)
Understanding that Bible prophecy has a ‘value added’ to the Christian walk, we now turn to the differing viewpoints within eschatology. All of these viewpoints come about, by either one of two methods of biblical interpretation, or hermeneutics.
Literal: means the literal, grammatical, historical, and contextual reading of a passage is taken at face value, unless the surrounding passages convey otherwise.
Non-Literal: means the passage is not taken in the above manner, but either a spiritual metaphor or simile, or allegorical approach is applied to the text at hand.
Secondly, a person who takes the non-literal position, is not to say that they take the whole bible in non-literal fashion. Rather, they take the non-prophetic passages literally, but then apply a non-literalism (allegorical, metaphorical, etc.) approach in varying degrees, to prophetic passages. So for the most part, they would think they have a literal understanding of the Bible (i.e.…Creation, Noah’s ark, Moses, David and Goliath, and even prophetic passages that pertain to Christ’s first coming), usually are taken in a literal manner. Non-literal interpretation is usually only reserved for passages pertaining to events that have yet to take place.
Three main branches of hermeneutical thought within Orthodox Christianity based off of the framework in which one develops an eschatological view point, is derived usually, from one of three main views:
~Covenant Theology

Dispensationalism (DISP)

Dispensationalism; comes from the Greek compound word, oikonomia, which simply means ‘house rules’. It is used some 20 times in the NT and represents the following words; Steward or stewardship, administration, dispensation, or manager. The definition, according to Dr. Charles Ryrie is as follows:
Dispensationalism views the world as a household run by God. In His household world God is dispensing or administering its affairs according to His own will and in various stages of revelation in the passage of time. These various stages mark off the distinguishably different economies in the outworking of His total purpose, and these different economies constitute the dispensations. The understanding of God’s differing economies is essential to a proper interpretation of His revelation within those various economies.
It is based on three simple premises:
~A plain, normal, literal, grammatical, historical interpretation of all Scriptures.
~A recognition, that Israel is not the Church, and the Church is not Israel.
~ The overarching plan, is God’s glory.
A Dispensational view point is a natural consequence of a consistent, normal, literal interpretation of scripture. Two points up front to consider: the first is that God never changes. The second, is that although the entire Bible is for the Christian, the entire Bible is not too the Christian. Anyone who goes to Church on Sunday with clothes on, doesn’t sacrifice small animals, and doesn’t consider themselves under the thumb of the Mosaic Law would have to agree.

Rapture/Translation 2nd Coming/Estab. Kingdom

1 Translation of all believers 1 No translation at all
2 Translated saints go to heaven 2 Translated saints return to earth
3 Earth not judged 3 Earth judged & righteousness established
4 Imminent, any-moment, signless 4 Follows definite predicted signs including
5 Not in the Old Testament 5 Predicted often in Old Testament
6 Believers only 6 Affects all men
7 Before the day of wrath 7 Concluding the day of wrath
8 No reference to Satan 8 Satan bound
9 Christ comes for His own 9 Christ comes with His own
10 He comes in the air 10 He comes to the earth
11 He claims His bride 11 He comes with His bride
12 Only His own see Him 12 Every eye shall see Him
13 Tribulation begins 13 Millennial Kingdom begins


We must remember that belief-systems have consequences.
If one believes that the Kingdom began at the Cross, and we are in the Kingdom now, than one could justify the need for a Pope (Vicar of Christ), or Crusades, or Inquisitions. If one group believes they have replaced the Jewish people as God’s chosen, they could justify ignoring national Israel and supporting things like Divestiture or Palestinian terror causes. The Nazi’s managed to remove the Jewishness from their Bibles, in order to theologically justify the Final Solution.
I’m fond of saying that error begets only more error. And while eschatology is not core to one’s salvation, it is key to one’s understanding the complete word of God. How you understand the end, will largely drive how you live today. One recommended source for seeing how Christianity began its journey away from the first century construct, is in “Theology Adrift: The Early Church Fathers and Their Views of Eschatology”.

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