It is evident that many people have resigned the area of eschatology to the experts and either don’t think it matters or that they can’t understand it anyway so why bother. All doctrine, our core beliefs about God, matter and color our actions in life. What you believe will determine how you live. For instance, a common idea in eschatology is that we are just waiting for Jesus to come back, or for the rapture to occur. Consequently, everything in the world will just keep getting worse until that time. But is this view doctrinal sound? Is this attitude what the Bible actually teaches?
In Matthew 13, the parable of the wheat and tares (weeds), the Master says, “Let them grow together until the harvest”. What this means is that the wheat, sons and daughters of God, and the weeds (those who do not know God), will continue in the earth until the harvest or last judgment. However, this does not mean Christ does not rule from his throne in Heaven. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, the last book in the New Testament, is a revelation of victory not defeat. The presence of evil does not deter God in his will and purposes. In his wisdom he allows the fruit of unrighteousness to continue until the judgment. But just as the book of Daniel tells us, the kingdom of God is without end and it continues to advance until it covers the entire earth.
Then the kingdom and dominion,
And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven,
Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High.
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.’ Daniel 7:27
The kingdom of God has been given to us as co-heirs with Christ. We have the responsibility to shine the light within us to change our world. When we do not do that, darkness can cover our city or nation. As an example, when Christians stop representing Christ in the workplace, politics, or whenever they find themselves then darkness starts to cover that particular sphere of life. God waits patiently for the generation that will shine his light in every area of life because the kingdom of God covers EVERYTHING.
When we decide everything is just getting worse and we cannot do anything until Jesus comes, then we have missed our purpose. We cease to participate in our culture and our absence makes the world a darker place.
In the book, The Meaning of the Millennium, Robert Clouse explains why our eschatological view matters. He explains, “if the only problem involved in such teaching were abstract speculation about coming events, one might be tempted to ignore the entire affair. This is not possible, however, because many attitudes that a Christian has about society, the church and its purpose, education and culture, and even current events are conditioned by the sort of eschatology he holds.”
Some in the premillennial camp use pressure tactics within the framework of a pessimistic world view. Winning souls is a paramount and important purpose of the Body of Christ, however, we must remember that the Church is a healing community that cares for its members. This love reaches out to every area of life. In contrast, the postmillennialist view focuses on the healing aspects of the Church affecting not only people but human institutions. The effect of the popular premillennialist view is that many tend to have an extreme separatist view in regard to culture, while the less popular but more doctrinal sound views advocate community and affecting the culture with a kingdom mindset.
What we believe matters and affects how we live. Thinking we do not need to know anything about Revelation or the doctrine of the last things is shortsighted to say the least. As we discover how important eschatology is and how dangerous it might be to ignore this theological arena, then we can explore what the Bible actually teaches with a steady hand and a faithful heart.