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Eschatology, the study of end times, may be one of the most debated issues in theology. I have heard some people say, “It really doesn’t matter”; “It’s too complicated, why study?”; and “Too many people fight over it, I don’t want to fight”.

Those objections may have a glimmer of truth to them. First, people can have differing views of eschatology (on some level) and still have the gospel right. People disagree over whether or not Israel will be restored and a seven year tribulation, but both groups still place their faith in Jesus Christ and have been atoned for and will stand next to each other in heaven.

Second, it can be complicated. But complicated does not equate to invaluable. Third, it is true people fight over this doctrine. But to be honest, there are debates on every point of doctrine: predestination, gifts of the Spirit, church membership, women teachers, and etc. Do we avoid a discussion because it can be debated? Does a debatable doctrine mean we should not study it? There is a fair warning here thought too. Doctrine is not in Scripture to be debated, it is there to transform us to worship Him in holiness.

Doctrine is not in Scripture to be debated, it is there to transform us to worship Him in holiness.

God gives at least three reasons why eschatology is important.

First, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). How does this relate to eschatology? First “All Scripture” means all Scripture, not just parts of the Scripture. The debate over eschatology centers around God’s Word. This means passages about the end times are inspired by God and profitable. Also note, it is God who wants the content of the Scripture, in the Scripture. Eschatology is profitable. So when someone says, “It doesn’t really matter” God says eschatology is profitable. Profitable for what? Eschatology profits the believer by teaching us, reproving us, correcting, and training in righteousness. Yes, eschatology, understood affects our holiness. In fact, God says the purpose of Scripture is “that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Eschatology, being a part of Scripture is taught by God to make us adequate and equipped for EVERY good work (= ministry).

Second, Paul inspired by God says, “Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18). What are “these words”? In context, it is the end times. In this context Paul speaks about the resurrection awaiting all believers. Our grief over a believer is a hope filled grief because we know believers are resurrected to a new life (1 Thess 4:13). In this context, Paul also addresses the return of the Lord (1 Thess 4:16-17). This text also teaches the rapture (1 Thess 4:17).[1] All of these issues are eschatology issues dealing with end times. You, believer, should find comfort in the future return of the Lord, the rapture, and your future bodily resurrection. Death has no dominion over us, we have eternal life. Understanding the details about the end should help provide comfort and hope to me and be a part of my encouragement to “one another”.

Finally, Matthew records the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24-25. Matthew writes his Gospel to make disciples (28:19ff). He records five major discourses teaching us what it means to be a follower after Jesus Christ. The discourses in here are didactic and seem to equip the disciple on proper thought and action. The Sermon on the Mount teaches who disciples are and what they do. Matthew 18 prepares disciples for life in the body of Christ — church. Matthew 13 teaches us about the kingdom. The Olivet Discourse is about the end times. Apparently eschatology is important enough for a disciple to know and understand it in order to be a disciple.

Is eschatology important? Yes, it is not written for the purpose of fighting with other Christians. Yes, eschatology is discussed from God’s mouth for our edification and understanding. Yes, we should find hope in the future. Yes, God sees it as important. If the Lord says it is important, then should it be important?

[1] For more information on the rapture see our series.