Eschatology is the study of “last things.” From “eschaton” meaning “last.” Eschatology is the belief system about how God will bring the present age to an end and what will occur in the next age or ages and the nature of the final and eternal order of the cosmos. The Bible has much to say about eschatology or “last things” in both Old and New Testaments and in nearly every book of the Bible. Our eschatalogical view should be informed by and deal comprehensively with the entire biblical revelation concerning last things.
Our view of Scripture will naturally affect how we develop and understand eschatology. Any interpretation of last things that is borne from a low or liberal view of Scripture that does not affirm the full inerrancy of Scripture must be denied. Even within evangelicalism, however, there are multiple perspectives that can be broadly classified in four major views: amillenialism, historic premillenialism, dispensational premillenialism, and postmillenialism. These views can be broken down into even more nuanced positions, but these four categories pretty well cover the gamut.
Here are certain affirmations about eschatology that are foundational to our study whatever our position:
1. Eschatology is the study of “last things” including the consumation of this present evil age, the inauguration of the next age/ages, the nature of the next age/ages, and the nature of the final, eternal state of the cosmos, and the end of both the righteous and the wicked.
2. Our eschatology should be developed from a high view of Scripture and the full inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture.
3. We must affirm the truthfulness and the inevitable fulfillment of every prophetic passage, however we interpret them.
4. Our eschatology should not have any “parts left over.” Every prophetic passage must be dealt with.
5. Our eschatological view must be informed by all passages pertaining to last things. We should not omit difficult or challenging passages from our study of this matter.
6. It is profitable and beneficial to set aside preconceived concepts and beliefs about eschatology and simply allow the Word of God to speak to us afresh.
7. Place yourself under the text, not over it. That is, allow the Word to rule and teach us, rather than sitting in judgment of the Word and making it agree with us.
8. Be faithful to wrestle with and embrace whatever conclusions that are drawn from the Scripture, no matter how difficult or challenging.
9. Subjects entailed in biblical eschatology: Israel, Antichrist, Millenium, Tribulation, Rapture, Resurrection, Judgment, Heaven, Hell, New Heavens and Earth, Glorification, Wrath of God, and of course, the Second Coming of Christ.