Some people wonder if the study of eschatology (the “end times”) matters at all. However, this is usually not due to a study of the topic itself, but rather a reaction to the abuses of the study of eschatology. There is much that could be written about eschatology, but for those who are wrestling with whether they should study it all, here are a few basic reasons why the study of eschatology should be part of our spiritual diet.
The Person of Jesus
1The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, (Revelation 1:1 NKJV)
First of all the study of eschatology is the study of the person of Jesus. The book of Revelation opens up by telling us that it is primarily the revelation of the person of Jesus not of events. Those events are not disconnected from the person of Jesus. The first coming of Jesus did not replace the second coming, it set the stage for it by offering mercy before judgment. Therefore if we do not understand Jesus’ second coming there are key parts of His person that we do not understand. It is significant that there are over 150 chapters in Scripture description the unique dynamics of the hour when Jesus comes and 89 chapters in the gospel. The gospel is not just what Jesus did, but also what Jesus will do.
The foundational hope of both the Old Testament and the New Testament is the appearing of Messiah to rule the nations and deliver His people. This event is our great hope and the most emphasized event in Scripture. It is so emphasized in Scripture that the mystery of His first coming was not even understood until after He came and expounded the Scriptures to us (Luke 24:27). The study of eschatology is here most important.
It is Part of Jesus’ Plan of Discipleship for the Church
42Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matthew 24:42–44 NKJV)
Jesus gives His longest teaching on the end times in Matthew 24 and 25 and He repeatedly emphasizes that the church is to be prepared for the end. He emphasizes that when the end comes it will come so suddenly that there will not be time to prepare for it. Therefore, we are to be in a constant state of preparedness for the climax of the age (Matthew 24:42-44; 46, 50; 25:5-10). This means we must understand the main themes and events that will occur at the end. In other words, the end times are part of Jesus pattern of discipleship for the church. We are to prepare for these events in each generation as though we were that generation. Therefore never neglect the study of eschatology.