Biblical Eschatology is the study of our Christian beliefs concerning end times and the Second Coming of Christ as taught by an exegetical analyses of Scripture. For us to go to the Bible, we have to realize it is a book written in a different language and to a different culture using images, symbols, and metaphors we may not know as well as we think today. Thus, we are to assume a passage is literal until we get to a term that does not make sense or fit. Saying to a non-English speaker, it is raining cats and dogs will not make sense to them, just as beast will not make sense to an America Christian two thousand years removed. So what do we do? Read the Bible right and seek its truth, leaving ours aside.
It is the application of what Francis Schaeffer said as “true-Truth!” What does the Bible really say? Not what I think truth is, but willing to lay one’s truth aside for an honest investigation should not be feared; if you are right, Scripture will pan you out.
If you are wrong, wouldn’t you rather be right on the side of the Bible, regardless of what others may think, or your own pride that may need to be swallowed? Then if you still feel your truth is correct and you did your homework, you are better off. But what usually happens is that we push our truth forward, ignoring logic, sound reasoning, and biblical exegesis such as, what did these terms and ideas mean in their original languages, set in their contexts, genre, and cultural meanings? What did these words from Scripture mean to the human authors used by the Holy Spirit as well as the hearers at the time, not from a newspaper today that is at a different time, culture, and language. This is what real effectual factual truth is in action and in application, asking the question what the bible clearly says in its actual meaning and context not what we think it should say.
Then we have the “popular problem,” or what many people today seek—to just relate it to their personal traditions or trends or theological ideas or worse feelings. “True-Truth” is mathematical and has a definitive answer; Scripture indeed has definitive answers too—If we are willing to look. Most of the time they are in plain sight, because the Bible says what it says and means what it means. But sometimes we get to a term such as “beast” and wonder what that is. So we must ask, what is that, and not assume. A little careful research in quality sources will reveal it and its real truth. Real truth is not always what my denomination or theological framework or my favorite preacher or author has to say, or some comparison of it. Nor is it my truth or what is relative to my feelings, personal thoughts, or ideas predicated by my hurts or outlook or worldview.
- Real “Exegetical Eschatology” simply means we go to God’s Word and take from it and not read into it.
- With “our” truth, we go to God’s Word and read in our will and ideas, what is in it for us, and respond to how we feel at that time with a careless attitude to what real truth is.
In true-Truth we go to the Bible as surrendered beings, seeking to know and glorify Christ because He is Truth as is His Word. This is the science of Inductive and Exegetical Methodology. We get to the real Truth as revealed in God’s Word versus what we want to or feel may be truth. After all, we are removed two thousand years from these times not to mention the language and cultural barriers from the original writings of the Bible from which we glean.
Many great expositors of the Bible have gotten End Times and Revelation wrong—Including me. Why does this happen?
We get lazy and do not do the proper exegetical work or just turn to our favorite mentor or preacher and take his findings at face value, never really carefully examining what and why we believe. Perhaps we just trust our favorite commentary or study Bible and forget they are the words of mere men who may have done a marvelous job at a logical strength for an Epistle like Romans and Matthew, but then took their brains out when they got to Revelation. I did this; I did not use my own Into Thy Word Bible Study Methods I had taught for over ten years before realizing my errors. I just trusted in the charts I received from a mentor. The rules of biblical interpretation were not followed, and misled and confused both others and us.
Biblical Eschatology is seeking what the Bible Actually Says
If we do not follow and use the proper “hermeneutical rules” to interpret the Bible we will end up with bad theology at best and cultism at worst, just as what has happened. Thus, to discover God’s lessons for us, what does the original language, genre, cultural breakdown to the original hearers of this work? What did that term mean to John and those seven churches, not just what we may think they mean today.
We must come to God’s Word with reverence and a surrendered will and seek its relevance using the appropriate tools. Furthermore, when we come to a theory or idea we test them with the same rules. In this way, we can effectively see what lines up to Scripture and what does not. (For more information see Exegetical Methods on our sister website http://www.intothyword.org/)