Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve written on eschatology (the study of the end times), but thanks to a friend, I’ve got the bug to write about it, so I figured I would do an article once a week on the subject.
Before we get to that, though, I think it’s important to talk about the approach I’ll be taking to set the stage for the following articles.
First, I believe that when we read the Bible we must first ask how the original audience would have understood what they were reading and what the Spirit meant to convey through the original author or speaker.
For example, when we read Ephesians, we need to know a little bit about the history of the Ephesian church from the book of Acts and perhaps some cultural information about them. In studying books like 1 Timothy, we would want to look up other mentions of Timothy in the Bible, figure out where he was a the time (Ephesus), and look at relevant books of the Bible.
For the gospel accounts, our approach might vary slightly. The original audience, for instance, would be those who originally heard Jesus speak. Our approach changes ever so slightly because the gospel accounts are narratives. We can ask to whom were they originally written, but much of that information is left up to speculation with scholars from different areas disagreeing on the dating, authorship, and audience of the book.
Second, we must remember the test of the prophet from Deuteronomy 18:21-22. That is, when a prophet says something is going to happen but it doesn’t happen, we have no reason to listen to or fear that prophet. On the other hand, if what they say does come true, then we should listen to them.
So the study of Bible prophecy has implications concerning the validity of Jesus’s claims to be the Messiah, the apostles’ authority as witnesses of Jesus, and the legitimacy of the New Testament altogether. For if what Jesus and His apostles predicted didn’t come true, then why should one look at their other words, sermons, and letters as anything but, at the most, good advice with no eternal implications?
Finally, this study is not intended to answer all of your questions. In fact, it may provide more questions than answers. Instead, look at this as a study on how I read the Bible. Perhaps, at the least, it will give you better insight to some of my other articles and where I am coming from in them.
That being said, these articles will mainly be focused on the timing of the coming of the Lord, not the nature. What I mean by that is we will mainly be evaluating what the expectations of Jesus and His apostles were in regards to when Jesus said He would come again, not how. While I will talk about the how at length in some passages, it won’t be a major focus of mine throughout the articles for reasons you will see later.
Now, I encourage discussion in regards to these posts. Leave a comment, message me, or call me and we can talk about anything you’d like. All I ask is that you be courteous, assume the other person’s integrity, and try to end the conversation as brothers and sisters in Christ because the truth is, at the end of the day, our unity comes through Christ, not our end times beliefs or speculations, unless, of course, they hinder us from loving our neighbor.
I’ll post the first article in this series sometime this week. If you disagree with the first or second major points above (in bold), let me know why because continuing without agreement on those two points doesn’t make any sense. Anyways, I’m excited to be writing this series. We will take it slow so to give you time to chew on what I write, but it will also allow us to be balanced in other areas. Again, reach out to me publicly or privately with any questions or concerns.