6 Practical Reasons to Study Eschatology
Harold Camping has a lot to answer for, not least that his outlandish views about the end of the world have increased skepticism, even among Christians, about the value of studying eschatology. Let me try to win you back by providing six practical reasons for studying the Bible’s teaching on the last things.
1. Eschatology helps us to teach the church
The Church needs teaching on this subject, not just because neglect produces a dangerous vacuum, but also because eschatology is the capstone and crown of systematic theology. As Kuyper said, it sheds light on every other doctrine and answers questions that every other theological subject raises. Louis Berkhof wrote:
In theology [proper] it is the question, how God is finally perfectly glorified in the work of His hands, and how the counsel of God is fully realized; in anthropology, the question, how the disrupting influence of sin is completely overcome; in Christology, the question, how the work of Christ is crowned with perfect victory; in soteriology, the question, how the work of the Holy Spirit at last issues in the complete redemption and glorification of the people of God; and in ecclesiology, the question of the final apotheosis of the church (Systematic Theology, 665).
2. Eschatology helps us to worship God
Worship should be the end of all theology, but especially of eschatology. When we think of the resurrection, the defeat of Satan, the final and perfect judgment, the new heavens and the new earth, and eternal fellowship with Christ and His Church, we surely cannot but amplify our worship of God. If our eschatology does not result in greater worship of God, we are either in error, or we are approaching the truth in the wrong spirit.
3. Eschatology helps us to serve with zeal
The fact that the end is nigh should not make us passive waiters for the inevitable nor induce a fatalistic inactivity. Rather, the New Testament links belief in the imminent end of all things with zealous service. When we consider our great hope, the eternal blessedness of heaven, and the great need of fellow sinners, we should be motivated with greater passion for lost souls and the glory of God.
4. Eschatology helps us to hope in the midst of trouble
Sometimes Churches and Christians face trials from which they will not be delivered while here on this earth. In the midst of disease, pain, and injustice, it is vital to have a lively hope of resurrection life. That alone will fuel faithful endurance to the end.
5. Eschatology helps us to prepare for judgment
One of the reasons why so few are ready for judgment is that they do not know there will be a judgment. In addition to getting ourselves ready, eschatology should motivate us to help others get ready too. While obsession with the last things is dangerous, omission is even more dangerous.
6. Eschatology helps us to look forward to heaven
Sadly, even for Christians, concern for this present world too often smothers interest in the world to come. Eschatology keeps these vital ultimate truths in our view and encourages us to look beyond this world and to long for the heaven of eternal life with Christ and His people.