I know many Christians who have said to me, “I don’t know or really care how Jesus comes back, just as long as He does.” Now, I do agree with that to an extent. It honestly doesn’t matter how Jesus returns as long as He does, in fact, return. However, if God not only devoted an entire book about his Son’s return but also made many references throughout the Bible, don’t you think we ought to devote some of our time to seek the most biblical answer? It’s like saying, “I believe that Jesus took away my sin, but I never read the Bible to know how the process of justification actually took away my sin and replaced it with righteousness.” I believe one of the reasons many say this is because they are afraid of what’s to come…or what might already be taking place. Now, I’m not going to discuss the differing views of the end times in this blog post; if you ever wish to know my views, I would be more than happy to discuss them. But here, I simply wish to gives reasons as to why it is important for a Christian to not disregard the study of eschatology, and why I believe most Christians do, in fact, do this.
First of all, the end times are the closing chapter to the story of God’s redemption of His people. Think of it like watching a movie. You start from the beginning, see the conflict of the story and the beginning of the resolution, but never watch the ending to see how the conflict is finally resolved. Could you truly enjoy the story to the fullest? I think not. You’re only experiencing a portion of it. But that’s what we do when we neglect the study of eschatology. Eschatology is Jesus finally saying, “Enough!” to the persecution of His bride, and then making all things new!
Secondly, it is also important to eagerly await the coming of Christ because if we knew Jesus was going to return tomorrow, would we not live our lives differently? Think long and hard of what your response would be. Would you be thinking that there’s so much more you wanted to accomplish in this world? Or that you will miss your stuff? If so, you may need to reevaluate your heart; figure out what’s truly important to you. I believe we live the way we do not only because of our flesh and love for the world, but also because we don’t truly believe our Savior is going to return. If we did, our response should be to glorify God to the fullest by witnessing whenever we can and loving everyone around us. We need to make the most of our time right now and live everyday as if it were our last.
Lastly,I know many Christians who are afraid of heaven and the idea of what it will be like, as if the thought of being anywhere for eternity gives shivers down their spine. I get it. However, I think that’s partly because of a misconception of what heaven will be like. We will not be floating spirits with no bodies flying on clouds and playing harps. No, we will be experiencing reality like never before! Everything will be more tangible than ever. We will have glorified, physical bodies that you can touch and feel. How do I know? One of the best passages on this topic is found in John 20:27, “Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve but believe.’” Here, Jesus is showing that He has been physically resurrected! Therefore, if Jesus was physically resurrected into His glorified body, why wouldn’t the same happen to us? And didn’t the disciples recognize Him as well? Heaven will not be a “floaty” place. It will be the most physical, real, and tangible place we have ever known.
Conclusion; eschatology is so important because Christ could return at any moment! Therefore, we need to be on watch for Him. And the best way to do this is by loving the Lord and by loving others, and not being afraid to study His word. We also shouldn’t be afraid of heaven because we can take comfort in that it will not be a foreign, scary concept to us. For the Christian, it will be a place that is the home you’ve always wanted but could never have imagined; a place of love and harmony with people we know and with those we will have the privilege to meet. No more sorrows or tears, just pure joy and delight. All will be made new and we will receive the greatest prize of all; Jesus Christ.