Eschatology is the “study of last things.” It is derived from two Greek words, eschatos, meaning “last, latter, or end;” and ology, meaning “study of, doctrine.” The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary says the “last things” commonly dealt with are those of “second coming of Christ and the events preceding and following this great event.” When speaking of this idea today, most people think in terms of future events; however, properly understood, the study deals with all areas of prophecy related to Christ and both His comings, and the ultimate goal of redemptive history.

Eschatology therefore deals with subjects such as death, Heaven and hell, the actual return of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the judgments of individuals and nations, and the ultimate rest of the saints. These are all things which are yet future, and studying prophecy touches all these areas.

Most discussion of last things centers on the actual train of events surrounding the return of Christ. While details differ-primarily on interpreting Revelation 20:4-most Christians agree that Jesus Christ will return literally to this earth some day, put an end to all wickedness, and finally establish uncontested rule over all things. The New Testament speaks of the “blessed hope, and glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). The Apostle John ends the Book of Revelation with the prayer, “Even so, come Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).

Eschatology should be studied by Christians. Prophetic declarations of future events make up about one fourth of all Scripture, and we are commanded to “study to show yourself approved” (2 Timothy 2:15). Studying prophecy keeps our minds on the ultimate goal of God in history–to make for Himself a people to give Him glory. It makes us mindful that Jesus Christ will return, and prepares us to be ready for and not ignorant of His coming. When we do these things, we will be free from anxiety and ready for whatever comes our way, for we know that we already have the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Craig Alan Myers
March/April 2003