Mailbag

The Mailbag: Eschatology

 

Can you provide some good resources on eschatology?

Could you answer this question I have about a particular branch of eschatology?

I’ve received a few different questions about eschatology recently. Eschatology is the division of theology that deals with Christ’s second coming and all of the various events and characters involved therein: the Antichrist, the rapture, the millennial reign, the Great Tribulation, etc.

I’ll just be totally transparent with y’all: I’m not equipped to answer questions on eschatology. Every time I’ve sat down and tried to study eschatology, I’ve found it very confusing and have ended up throwing up my hands and walking away from the study materials in frustration. This is partly because, from my perspective anyway, eschatology is largely educated guessing, and our various theories of what will happen when and in which order don’t really matter. I mean it’s not like you’re going to stand before the Lord on Judgment Day and He’s not going to let you into Heaven because you were pre-millennial instead of post-millennial. And it’s not something that should have any impact on our day to day fellowship, work, and worship with other Believers.

When Christ returns, events will unfold as laid out in Scripture. Until then, we have a limited understanding of what will transpire and the order in which those things will transpire. Here’s my eschatological framework:

• Jesus is coming back for Believers (praise God – I hope it’s really soon).

• Anybody who tells you Jesus has already come back is either lying, deceived, or more ignorant of eschatology that I am (if that’s possible).

• Everything the Bible says about Jesus’ return is true, even though we may have a hard time understanding how all the passages work together. There may be some passages that seem to contradict each other, but we know that’s not the case because God does not contradict Himself. The seeming contradictions happen because our brains are finite. Just because we don’t understand how two pieces of the puzzle can fit together doesn’t mean God doesn’t know how to fit them together perfectly.

• I honestly don’t think anybody in the church era, living or dead, has ever had a 100% perfect, no mistakes or misunderstandings, eschatology. And you know what? It doesn’t matter. When Jesus comes back, He’s going to do things exactly the way and in exactly the order that God has sovereignly predestined that they occur. You don’t get extra points for knowing ahead of time exactly what’s going to happen when, and, at the point of Christ’s return, you’re not going to find anybody who’s interested in listening to “I told you so!” pontifications.

• I think it is much more fruitful to spend our time evangelizing the lost and discipling the saved so that the church will be spiritually ready for the return of Christ. Whatever may happen in the days surrounding His return, we know that none of His sheep will be lost.

• If you enjoy studying eschatology, by all means, go for it! Dig into God’s Word and see what it says! Just a few words of caution:

Don’t become obsessed by it, and don’t let it replace your regular Bible reading time.

Hold your eschatological views loosely and don’t let them come between you and your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Make sure you’re handling Scripture rightly and in context.

If you’re listening to or reading a particular teacher’s materials on eschatology, make sure that person is doctrinally sound in general.

So, can I answer your questions on eschatology or provide you with good resources I’ve personally used? No, but here’s what I can offer:

• Assuming you attend a doctrinally sound church, start with your pastor. Set up an appointment, and ask him to explain the view of eschatology he holds and other views he may be knowledgeable on. Does your church as a whole subscribe to any particular eschatological view? Can he recommend any good resources on eschatology?

• After checking with your pastor, if there’s a well-known doctrinally sound pastor or author whose theology you generally find yourself in agreement with, check his website for resources on eschatology or e-mail him and ask for his recommendations. (Note: Just because you agree with the rest of his theology doesn’t mean you have to agree with his eschatological view.)

• Some seminaries offer online courses (some of them are even free!). Find a good doctrinally sound seminary (yes, unfortunately even seminaries need to be vetted these days) and see if they offer any courses on eschatology. You may want to check out The Master’s University, The Master’s Seminary, Southern Seminary, and Reformed Theological Seminary for starters.

• Don’t get your eschatology from fictional books or movies about the end times. Just…don’t.

• My friend Gabe Hughes was recently asked about eschatology resources. He suggested a few on the August 2, 2019 episode of the WWUTT podcast (around the 24:11 mark). This would be a good place to start.

• I’m going to ask you readers for some help here. Can you suggest any doctrinally sound books, articles, videos, sermons, etc., on eschatology? Leave a comment in the comment box below. (For everyone reading the comments section: A) We’re not going to have any arguments on eschatology in the comments section. B) Please know that I have not vetted any of the suggestions that will be made. Compare everything to rightly handled Scripture, and if it doesn’t match up, chuck it.)

Until the Lord comes back, be about the business of sharing the gospel. We want to take as many people with us as we can.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

15 thoughts on “The Mailbag: Eschatology”

  1. My eschatalogical journey has been down a long and winding road. The following PDF book finally grounded me in what seems to be in my view the best, most logical, and consistent biblical interpretation of end times. monergism.com has a download link to it, along with an article written by Peter about the book.

    The Book of Revelation – A Study For the Called and Chosen and Faithful: Come, Lord Jesus
    by Peter M. Dietsch

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  2. Recently John MacArthur released video sermons on this topic. I’ve watched them, and I’m taking it into consideration before I reach a conclusion.
    I want to research the scriptures myself and look at other views and spend some time in prayer during this process.
    I feel kind of like you do, I’m not ready to put my steak into a position just yet. I do feel like it’s important when asked by unbelievers and I want to have the right answer. Until then, I’ve been sharing the information I’ve gathered so far.

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  3. I loved Voddie Baucham’s and Grace Family Baptist Church series of sermons on Revelation. You can listen in it’s entirety (except for the letter to Ephesus) on sermonaudio.com
    My take, whether you are pre-trib, mid trib, post-trib…Jesus is coming back for His bride. Hallelujah and Amen.

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  4. Hi Michelle and her readers,

    I grew up being taught one particular eschatology–that at any moment, Jesus would appear in the clouds and gather all the Christians, so they wouldn’t have to suffer during the subsequent great tribulation. This belief was challenged suddenly when God answered a prayer to understand a verse. So, I prayed, “If Pre-Tribulation Rapture exists, where is it?” and I went searching the Word. He answered that prayer using Scripture, too. You can read my end times testimony from my website, overcomingthetribulation.com. In addition to my testimony, I answer many popular arguments from various eschatological perspectives, and I write blogs as well.

    God bless.

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  5. In addition to John MacArthur, I can highly recommend pastor JD Farag from Calvary Chapel and Jan Markell from Olive Tree Ministries podcast and Understanding the Times conference.

    Over the years I have been strongly led to believe in a Pre Trib Rapture which is not the same as the Second coming of Christ. Having said that, like you mentioned, that is not a salvation issue. But the convergence if so many prophecies coming to pass or beginning, the urgency is great tonreach as many as we can!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I also recommend resources from John MacArrhur, and one of the books I found most helpful in solidifying my eschatological understanding is “Understanding End Times Prophecy” by Paul Benware. Excellent, thorough explanation!

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  7. I feel the same way, sister! I want to understand, I really do. I wish we didn’t need sleep so much, if I could only use those extra 6ish hours towards study just maybe I could grasp it. Thankfully, we will have eternity!

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  8. John MacArthur’s Commentary onRevelation is an excellent resource. His use of scripture reinforces his teaching. I value Dr MacArthur and his teaching.

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  9. I lean partial prederist & see some truths in pre-mill (after being pre-mill then A-mill then studying all in depth and seeing scripture support for all 3. I’ve landed on I don’t know and PTL he does. All that said, I do think it’s important to identify the Mid East Beast or Mystery Babylon. Basically, Romen or Islam? While he’s pre-mill, I love Joel Richardson He’s teaching me a lot middle eastern history and scripture. Amazing stuff that has spurred me on to study the Word more!

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  10. Hi Michelle –

    I attend a very small church in rural Arkansas and we do not have a pastor. We have been looking for several years with no luck. My husband is a deacon and he has tried to help with preaching as have other men in the church, but he would be the first to tell you that he doesn’t feel qualified to preach. We have contacted Christian colleges for prospects but so many young preachers graduate college with young families and a lot of student loans and we cannot afford them. We are praying and seeking God’s guidance and I think He led me to find you. Do you have any suggestions for us? Thank you for your ministry.

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    1. Janice- Let me see what I can do. Is it OK to share your e-mail address (z…..4@gmail) with anyone who contacts me privately? Also, I need to know where, specifically, you are in Arkansas, and what denomination your church is. If you don’t feel comfortable disclosing that info. in a public comment, please drop me a quick e-mail at MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com.

      Like

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