Over the 20 years of my pastorate, I’ve been asked numerous times to teach or preach on the book of Revelation or the topic of eschatology. Most often, it has seemed, the interest was because world events indicated that, “the return of Christ must be soon!” and there was a corresponding curiosity to determine if this was indeed the time. Most stop short of asking for a date, but the curiosity often has the flavor of wanting that date.
Given that so much of the Scriptures relate to events that are yet future, what should be our motivation in studying prophecy? There are at least three primary motives:
First, studying prophecy is an incentive to worship (1 Cor. 10:31). Knowing the truth of God’s final plans for history should produce fear in unbelievers (Rev. 9:20-21) and worship, comfort, and rest in believers (1 Thess. 4:13, 18). If our love and worship of God is genuine, it will calm our fears of the future and all things (1 Jn. 4:18).
Second, studying prophecy is an incentive to sanctification (1 Jn. 3:2-3; 2 Pt. 3:11). Knowing what we know about the future is designed to also produce transformation in us. How can we read of the coming wrath of God and continue in ungodly sin?
Third, studying prophecy is an incentive to evangelism. Since God has spoken these words, they are a certainty. And since they are a certainty, many face the judgment of God without Christ. They are destined to an eternal hell. Knowing these truths should make us compassionate to those who do not know the saving grace of Christ.
These are some of the reasons I’ve been asked to speak on the topic of eschatology to this precious church in Costa Rica.
If you’re interested in following along, these are the notes I’ll be using. I will divide it up into four sessions spread over the next two nights.