Home > Biblical Theology, Eschatology, Hermeneutics > Biblical Theology and Eschatology

Biblical Theology and Eschatology

With all the controversy swirling around the web about MacArthur’s comments I would like follow up with some comments of my own.  Almost everyone in Evangelicalism grows up believing dispensational premillennialism.  I recall in my early years as a Christian arguing vigorously for the position.  I even would grieve and pray for those who did not hold my position.  I was so arrogant.  However, it was not until some faithful teachers began to challenge my presuppositions that I began to see things differently.  I began searching the Scriptures and along with reading some good books on Biblical Theology I began to see how the Bible fit together, which inevitably changed my views on eschatology.  One of the biggest lessons I learned (and continue to learn) is that eschatology involves much more than simply studying the “end times.”  For us to properly understand eschatology we must have a firm grasp on biblical theology.  The moment God created the world it had an intended “end.”  This end is not the end of time per se, but the person and work of Jesus Christ.  Paul speaks to this idea when we writes in Ephesians 1:9-10:

He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.

Therefore, Scripture is both eschatological and christological (biblical theology).  Human history is advancing toward a decreed end (eschatology), which is the summing up of all things in Christ (christology).  That end has begun with the first coming of Christ and will be fully consummated at his second coming.  Thus, for the biblical writers the “last days” have dawned and the blessings of God have been poured out on his people (Acts 2:17; 1 Cor 10:11; Heb 1:2; cf., 2 Tim 3:1; 2 Pet 3:3).  If Scripture reveals that this is the way we should view eschatology, then we must certainly view the book of Revelation in the same manner.  At our church I am teaching through Revelation and one of the things I have stressed concerning the book of Revelation is that although it is the “last” book of the Bible, in many respects it is also the first, for in it we find the re-telling of God’s eternal decree carried out through Jesus Christ from the present heavens and earth to the new heavens and earth.  The book of Revelation is an appropriate climax to the rest of Scripture, because it draws from both the Old and New Testament as one looks to Christ and one looks back on Christ (biblical theology).  The book is given to the bride of Christ that lives in this present wilderness experience. The message is to one of purity and perseverance.  Thus, whether we are talking about eschatology in general or the book of Revelation, both pertain to much more than simply “end time” events.  Both pertain to us here and now.  Will we hear the voice of Jesus or will we continue to sensationalize and misunderstand eschatology?  My prayer is that we do the former.

  1. Kevin Pannebaker
    April 4, 2007 at 3:20 am

    Hi Chad!

    I’m obviously out of the evangelical “loop.” 🙂

    Exactly what comments did MacArthur make that are causing such controversy around the web?


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