How has my joy been going? I have found that it is a very welcome addition to my efforts at daily prayer times.
It has ranged from recalling and declaring verses based on joy (‘The joy of the Lord is my strength’ / ‘You shall go out with joy and be led forth in peace’ / ‘Therefore with joy shall you draw water from the wells of salvation’), to finding a song and singing it right through from the hymn book, to ‘soaking’ in some atmospheric worship music and allowing the Spirit of God to minister, even to just finding a great big smile on my face at the start of the day as I recall what God has done. I recommend it!
The second part of this blog title, as a very gifted Bible teacher in our church is preaching through Revelation (got to chapter 6 so far, see here for the first talk), is a post that I came across that I wish to quote here, as I know I need to look a little more into end times teaching in the Bible, and yet I have some concern about it, as it’s easy to lose one’s perspective and forget what the purpose of it is.
How many of you, even as a Christian, would scoff at ‘eschatology’ or end-time prophecy and just say it’s a load of gobbledygook? But the reality is, as William Boekestein points out, that we are ALL eschatologists, just as we are ALL theologians (or, for that matter, mathematicians or linguists). None of us can function in life without some sort of approximate, working hypothesis on these matters. That’s why they’re so important.
Yes, eschatology does become more important both as we near our own death, and as we reflect on the fate of world history. Time will tell how close we are to the end (one dear, ageing brother in my church is personally convinced that Jesus will return soon and it will be in his lifetime). But the three suggestions that Boekestein has in terms of HOW we engage with eschatology I believe are vitally important. We need to love each other above all things, and yet too many Christians are at each others’ throats on these issues. You could be forgiven for thinking that pretribulationists, for example, and postmillennialists, are actually sworn enemies (and a lot of that boils down to replacement theology, or assumed replacement theology.
His three points are:
- Don’t speculate about the future. Let your studies be based on the Bible.
- Don’t get argumentative.
- Don’t avoid it completely. You will miss out in so many ways
Read more on his points here (and can I just say that you may find ‘Ask Ligonier’ a very helpful ‘question engine’ for your doctrinal questions, bearing in mind that the platform comes from a place of Reformed theology).
And what I would say, if you are WANTING to explore end-times theology more, is that the main Scriptures are a great place to start, e.g. Mark 13, Matt 24, 1 Thessalonians and of course the piece de resistance, the book of Revelation, which bristles with many violent images and also many incomparable descriptions of our glorious God. Let’s not miss out. I also fully recommend John France’s study on it (link above) as he continues – next study due out after 6th July.