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Eschatology of Hope: Time for a New Perspective?

By January 11, 2017Theology4 min read

Eschatology: Noun / es-kə-ˈtä-lə-jē: A branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of humankind. – Merriam-Webster Dictionary

I recognize the look on the faces of some “Millennials” and “Gen-Xers” when prophecy and current events are discussed.

Their eyes either glaze over, as if to say, “Heard that … too often.” Or they become uncomfortable and clearly communicate, “I don’t want to hear this.”

They might smile and say, “Yeah, come quickly, Lord,” but what they are really thinking (I’ve been told) is, “Hey, I’m young, starting a family or career or just getting out on my own. I’m still figuring out my faith, and what all this means.” If they were raised in church in the past three decades or so, many feel like they grew up with the expectation of the Lord’s imminent return, and they just don’t quite buy it anymore. Many still believe and want to be ready; they just don’t want to listen to “the end is near” for the rest of their lives.

And many people who long and wait for the Rapture of the church are so weary and broken down by life, their attitude is, “Just get us out of here.” The Late Great Planet Earth was a best-selling book in the 70s that ignited a passion for prophecy in many young people, including me. A movement was started with other like-minded literature. But unfortunately, some Late Great veterans have helped foster a mindset and an eschatology (the study of prophecy) that has engendered fear, gloom and doom, and discouragement, as if the world is just simply falling apart and we need to get out of here. I think some even resent it when “prophecy enthusiasts” seem almost giddy about some natural disaster or war that seems to be another piece of the prophetic puzzle falling into place. They need encouragement and hope for themselves and their loved ones.

I believe it is time for the church to pivot, to turn around our thinking.

Not change what we believe, but how we view it; and how we present the hope of the Lord’s return. The world is not falling apart. The world is falling into place!

Jesus said to us, “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28). He didn‘t just say, “ Look up.” He also said, “Lift your heads.” Christians have had their heads down too often for too long.

We need to realize that we believe in an eschatology of hope and victory.

God is doing great and mighty things among His people and in the world. There is a great harvest coming in which are we are called to participate.

I feel for young people whose lives are just getting started, as they hear a constant drumbeat of danger, troubles and a hostile world. No wonder some ask, “What have we got to look forward to and why should we even have kids?” I believe this last out pouring of the Spirit will be multi generational. As the prophet Joel predicted, and Peter repeated in the book of Acts:

“And in the last days … I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17).

We need the energy, passion and vision of the younger generations and the wisdom of the older. But we also need to view and present what God has revealed to us through His Word with hope, victory, compassion and joy. Remember, The world is not falling apart. The world is falling into place! Lift up your heads!

Ray Bentley is the senior pastor at Maranatha Chapel located in San Diego, CA. Ray is married to Vicki. Please visit his website. Also, follow Ray on Twitter, @RayBentley.