I was listening to a popular Lutheran radio host yesterday who loves to expose some of the most ridiculous purveyors of prophetic soothsaying on his program. I appreciate the skill in which he tests false prophets and wolves in sheep's clothing.
However, he began that program with an exhortation to his listeners to stop studying eschatology. He says that should only be the purview of a divinity professor focusing on such things for mere academic interest.
This amillennialist went on to say we should just focus on the basics - repentance from sin, the life, death, resurrection of Christ. Well, I think that is true for new converts, but the NT tells us to move on from there.
"Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment." - Heb 6:1-2
Yeah, we got that down. Now we study the deeper things of Scripture, which indeed includes eschatology. If God didn't think it was important, He would not have filled 1/3rd of the Bible with prophecy. Listening to the amils' exhortations to put Bible prophecy on the shelf is what will shipwreck the faith of many believers. Our joyful anticipation of the return of the Bridegroom is the main element in staying in the attitude of expectation.
He charged that those studying the signs of the times were fearful every time they saw something threatening reported on the news. Well, we're all watching the same newscasts - so I would argue that it is those who cannot put today's trends into a prophetic context who have something to fear.
In fact it is those very frightening signs of the times seen on the news that are being watched by the unsaved that is scaring the hell out of so many of them. The obvious perils of this life are driving many hopeless people into their own fantasy lands provided by video games -- an escape from reality -- like Star Trek's Holodeck.
I received an email this morning from one concerned about the encroachment of the great apostasy upon his own beloved Calvary Chapel. He said, "Do we really have a chance to save CC? ...It's pretty close to the time for Jesus to come and he will only find a remnant. It is frightening to think of losing all those souls. What will it take to stop what is happening to CC? "
I agree - it is truly frightening. Remember Jesus' parable of the wedding - the invited guests did not want to come when the hour for the wedding arrived. They were too busy with the things of the world. And the ten virgins, when it was time for the bridegroom to come, they were sleeping and only five had oil in their lamps.
So the time has come to go out to the highways and byways - we are His servants. We'll convince some - but not all will trade their old rags in for wedding garments. Perhaps those people see the signs all around them that what we're saying is true, but are not concerned so much about the nature of their own hearts as much as they are about getting out of harm's way.
We have our job cut our for us.
"Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure." - 1 John 3:2-3
“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” - Luke 21:34-36