This post is part of a series of posts on the basics of systematic theology. Why do we need theology, and what are the essential truths to know about each doctrine? All the posts are archived under the category “Theology 101.”
The final primary category of systematic theology is eschatology — the study of the end of all things. Eschatology answers the question, “How does everything on earth end?”
Earlier this year, I provided some extensive notes about eschatology here: “Why study prophecy?” (notes) and here. So I will not repost those posts. You can read what I believe about eschatology there (my position hasn’t changed in the last six months!).
However, there are two considerations that a believer must keep in mind as he considers God’s coming judgment. First, the believer has a great future that surpasses any trials on earth (Rev. 21-22; 2 Cor. 4:16-18). The “worst” day in heaven is infinitely better than the best day on earth.
And secondly, the unbeliever has a terrible future that surpasses any of the fleeting joys of sin (Mt. 25:29-30; Rev. 20:11-15). The worst day on earth is infinitely better than the “best” day in hell.
Eschatology is not fundamentally given to believers so that they can speculate on the day or the hour of Christ’s return (something that is unknowable, Mt. 24:36), but so that believers grow in holiness (2 Pt. 3:11) and a desire to communicate the gospel to those who do not believe in Christ.