I won’t label my beliefs concerning Eschatology. I’m sure some would label it one thing or another, but I despise labels. I especially despise the label theologians typically give my view of the end-times, because the label implies I disagree with the Scriptures, which is far from the truth.
First, I will tell you that the only thing I believe a Christian needs to understand and believe about the end-times is that Jesus Christ will return, that this return could be at any time, and that when He returns He will gather His children and judge the world. As for the rest, I will quote my Lord who said “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” (Acts 1:7) In other words Jesus told his disciples, “It’s none of your business when I come back.”
So we must study Eschatology in light of the fact that our Lord and Savior told us it was not for us to know the specific details. The whole mystery surrounding the end-times is there on purpose. God does not want us to know what is happening until it happens.
In John 13:19 Jesus said, “I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.” And this, ultimately, is the purpose of prophecy. It is not so we can see things coming and perhaps react differently, but so that when it comes, we will know that it was from the Lord. The Jews spent about 400 years trying to figure out how and when the Messiah would come, and nothing turned out the way they expected. Even the disciples of Jesus, who believed in Him, were still expecting the conqueror Messiah up until the Crucifixion. I believe most people today are as confused about the end-times prophecies as the Jews were about the Messianic ones 2,500 years ago.
So then, the prophecies about the end-times are not really for us, unless we are the generation that sees it come to pass. Of course, almost every generation of Christians throughout all of the last 2,000 years has believed it was that generation. People today see signs and try to match headlines with passages from Scripture, shouting that it proves we are near the end, but each generation has read the papers (or heard the town crier) and believed the same things. Jesus tells us this is foolish.
And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.
Jesus tells his disciples there will come a time when Christians will be desperate for the end to come, and will desire to see it, but will not see it. And people will come trying to delude you into believing it, but to resist them. He says that He will come as quickly and as unexpectedly as a lightning bolt.
My point in this introduction is that to argue or contend about issues of Eschatology is fruitless and sinful. Christ has basically told us that we cannot know when it is coming, that we can be led astray by trying to find out, and that the purpose of the prophecies are for those who are experiencing it, that they will believe and draw strength from it.
I hope, as we explore the prophecies of the Day of the Lord, you will keep an open mind and separate yourself from any preconceptions.