Ten Reasons Why We Must Study Biblical Eschatology
by Daniel Lim
Why study biblical eschatology? Eschatology comes from the Greek words “eschaton” and “logia,” which mean “last things” and “study.” Eschatology is therefore the study of the last things. The “Apocalypse,” as popular culture knows it, comes from a Greek word that means “to reveal.” In a biblical sense, it is understood as the revealing of the end of days for humanity in this current sinful age and the dawn of a new incorruptible age. The return of Jesus Christ to the earth as He promised is both a great day of glory and a terrible day of judgment that has profound implications for how we live our lives even now.
1. Expanding Literacy for This Vital Subject
As people who are objects of God’s mercies and saved by His grace, we have every reason to look forward to the day of our Lord’s return. Many of us neglect biblical eschatology because we fail to grasp the vital relationship between the gospel and the last days. While we wait in expectation, let us live out the reality of our future resurrection by studying the key component of redemption that is our final glorification at Christ’s second coming.
2. Understanding the Primary Reasons for Christ’s Return
If the Bride of Christ understood the zeal of Jesus to return for her as declared three times in the closing chapter of the book of Revelation, she would be consumed with the same zeal and urgency (Revelation 22:7, 12, 20). In Revelation 22:17 a vision about the mature Church of the last days—embracing her identity and her destiny—cries out in agreement with the Holy Spirit, “Come!” The lack of understanding and lack of excitement in Christ’s covenant Bride pertaining to her own wedding day at Christ’s second coming reveals a crisis of love in the Church.
3. Vision for Maturity
A Church with a keen understanding of the main purpose and central themes of the Apocalypse will be preoccupied with an active day-by-day living out of the great commandments and the Great Commission (Matthew 22:37–39; 28:18–20). The Church that has her eyes fixed on the coming of her Bridegroom, King, and Judge will be actively engaged in abundant prayer, gospel witness, and good works of every form in preparation for her “kittel” (a Hebraic wedding garment made from fine linen) on that day (Ephesians 4:11–16; Revelation 19:7–9).
4. Motivation to Be Witnesses to All Nations
The fullness of the preparation of Christ’s eternal Bride involves both qualitative and quantitative transformation. The qualitative dimension involves the transformation from glory to glory into the image of Christ—from creatures made from the dust of the earth into the perfected eternal Bride of Christ, full of glory like jasper. The quantitative dimension of the preparation of the Bride involves the ingathering of the redeemed from every tongue, tribe, and nation—Jews and Gentiles received through the gospel of the kingdom of God. A clear conviction that arises through the study of biblical eschatology fuels the Church with the urgency, assurance, and power to disciple the nations and fulfill the Great Commission.
5. Blessings in Obeying the Prophetic Scripture
Another reason to study and understand the Apocalypse is simply the blessings attached to Christ’s commandment to read and keep the words of prophecy as they are, neither adding to nor subtracting from them (Revelation 1:3; 22:6–20). The Scripture further describes those who watch and pray for Christ’s second coming as those who live wisely (Matthew 25:1–13; 1 Thessalonians 5:1–11). The act of faithful watchfulness includes studying and keeping the words of His prophecy so we are not overtaken by the rampant deceptions that Jesus warned us about in the last days (Matthew 24:4–5, 11, 24).
6. Understanding Our Resurrection and Hope for Eternal Glory
That which Jesus accomplished on the cross of Calvary in Jerusalem was effectual and complete for our eternal redemption. We are born again as a new creation when we repent from dead works and place our faith in Christ. However, the fullness of our redemption that was purchased by His blood is only manifest at His second coming. Our corruptible body will only put on incorruption at the sound of the last trumpet (Romans 8:18–22; 1 Corinthians 15:52–55; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18). The entire created order is yearning and waiting for the fullness of the revelation of the completed redemptive effect of the cross. Therefore, the study of the consummation of redemption is truly the study of the restoration of all things in Christ.
7. Motivation for Unceasing Prayers on the Earth
An understanding of the works of the Holy Spirit in the last days empowers the Church to partner with the Lord in prayer. In Luke 17–18, Jesus taught His disciples ceaseless prayer through the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge in the context of His return. He emphasized the importance of not losing heart in persistent prayer and expectation of the Father’s answer of speedy justice for His elect who cry out day and night. Proper focus on biblical eschatology not only fuels the Great Commission but also fuels night-and-day prayer across the earth which will release the power of the Holy Spirit upon the Church.
8. Living in Holiness Daily
In his second epistle, the apostle Peter wrote boldly about the positive impact of a keen awareness of Christ’s eschatological return on our daily mindset, motives, uprightness, and understanding (2 Peter 3:10–13). A clear picture of what is valuable in eternity at Christ’s second coming helps us see the vanity of many of the matters we deem important in this temporal, earthly life and focus on living before the eyes of God with labors of worship which yield fruit that will stand the test of refining fire.
9. The Priority of the Final Mission
Just as there was one generation of old covenant saints who experienced the transition between the old and new covenant during Christ’s first coming, there will be a final generation of saints on the earth that will face this unique dynamics of Christ’s second coming. The gospel of the kingdom will go forth in power, reaching every tribe and every nation in the midst of a world of increasing deception, lovelessness, and lawlessness (Matthew 24:14). Therefore the church in every generation has the responsibility to pass on clearer and clearer truth about the last days to the generation that will eventually live and minister victoriously in and through the end (Daniel 11:31–35).
10. Revelation of Jesus in His Person and His Works
Finally, biblical eschatology makes no meaningful sense without the understanding of the glory and heart of Jesus Christ. Our passion for biblical eschatology focuses on the glory of the Son of God. In my study of the Apocalypse of John, I discovered more than one hundred descriptions of Jesus Christ, many of them unique to that book. We are invited to behold Jesus as He is unveiled in the book of Revelation, the Jesus “who is to come.” Such beholding of our coming Lord produces transformation and maturation into His glory and is essential to our discipleship.
What is your top reason for studying eschatology?
If you’re seeking a place to go deeper in knowledge of the end times, we recommend IHOPKC’s Center for Biblical End-Time Studies. Take courses on-demand that provide an introduction to the end times, address the importance of Israel, and take you further into the 150 chapters that deal primarily with Jesus’ return. Learn more >>
- Senior Leader, IHOPKC
- Facilitator, Onething Global Leadership Summit
Daniel Lim served as the Chief Executive Officer of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City (2008-2020). He was trained at a Baptist seminary (MA in World Missions) and served as a Baptist pastor in Southeast Asia. With a passion for the gospel of the kingdom of God and the glory of Jesus Christ, Daniel teaches at conferences, churches, universities, and seminaries throughout the nations.
Daniel is the author of Bible 360°: Total Engagement with the Word of God. Daniel is married with two children. One of his children went home to be with the Lord in 2008 during a crisis relief effort.