Purpose of this Session
Eschatology is that branch of systematic theology which deals with the doctrines of the last things (From Gk. eskhatos meaning ‘last’, and logia meaning ‘discourse’).
The Scriptures have much to say about the last days. Isaiah 46:10 says that God knows and declares the end from the beginning, and Jesus Himself often talked about events that would come to pass in the last days. Although definitive details and timings are matters of controversy, there are certain events that are generally accepted as certain and imminent by most scholars.
Every generation since Christ has watched and prayed, expecting the imminent return of Christ in their lifetime. This has led some to be sceptical of the reality and imminence of His return, but events prophesied by Jesus Himself, and other prophetic pictures in the Bible, indicate that we live close to the return of Christ.
For the student of the Scriptures, Christ’s admonition to watch and pray should be pre-eminent (Mark 13:28-37).
In this lesson we will be taking a broad overview of eschatological truth as presented in the Scriptures. There are many books that seek to go into great detail about the events that are upon or about to come upon the earth. Rather than try to lay out a definitive timeline, we will instead concentrate on those events that will most definitely take place, and leave the timing to the Lord. We do know however that prophesied events are more imminent today than any time before, and that the prophetic season for Christ’s return is certainly upon us. The daily news we read and hear is catching up with the news prophesied centuries before, and we are witnessing the culmination of all things.
The End Times and Last Things are hot topics, and interest in them has increased over the past century. Thousands of books have been written seeking to set out the things pertaining to Christ’s second coming, the introduction of the anti-Christ world ruler, the tribulation, rapture and millennial kingdom. The proliferation of material and opinion has unfortunately left many people more puzzled than they were before they began, and has caused many to shrug their shoulders and neglect the study of last things.
This could well be a devious strategy of the enemy, because he knows that if we take an honest look at what the Bible says about the end times, we will discover that we win, and he loses with flying colours! It will also prepare us for those things that are about to come upon the earth, and sanctify our hearts in anticipation of the Lord’s soon coming.
There are several core subjects that are generally considered in connection with the end times, and to some degree we will be looking at each one of them in this module of studies.
1. The Second Coming of Christ
2. The Rapture
3. The Tribulation
4. The Anti-Christ
5. The Millennial Kingdom
In the following sessions we will summarise some of the concepts and teachings we have covered before, pulling them together in the context of this study of last things.