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SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY, ESCHATOLOGY PART 1 of 4

Written by: Hillebrand, Randall    Posted on: 04/20/2005

Category: Theology


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY      Part 1

ESCHATOLOGY

By RANDALL J. HILLEBRAND

OUTLINE:

ESCHATOLOGY

  I.  Hermeneutics and eschatology
      A.  Literal interpretation
      B.  Historical interpretation
      C.  Grammatical interpretation
      D.  Contextual interpretation
      E.  Dispensational interpretation
          1.  Definition of dispensations
          2.  Dispensations (economies)
          3.  Means of salvation in each economy --  By faith

II.  Millennial views
      A.  Postmillennialism
      B.  Amillennialism
      C.  Premillenialism

III.  Rapture views
      A.  Posttribulational
      B.  Midtribulational
      C.  Partial rapture
      D.  Prewrath
      E.  Pretribulational

IV.  Understanding the "Day of the Lord"
    A.  What is the day of the Lord?
        1.  Definition -- Isaiah 13:6-16,14:1-7; 2 Peter 3:10
        2.  Characteristics of the tribulation portion of the day of the Lord.
    B.  When will the day of the Lord occur? -- Mal. 4:5; 1 Thes. 5:1-3;
        2 Thes. 2:1-12
        1.  After the coming of Elijah the prophet -- Malachi 4:5-6; Luke 1:13-            17
        2.  After the rapture of the church -- 2 Thes. 2:1-3,7-8
        3.  Like a thief in the night -- 1 Thes. 5:1-3

V.  Understanding 2 Thessalonians 2
    A.  Issue: The rapture and the day of the Lord -- vss. 1-2
    B.  Chronology of the onset of: The day of the Lord -- vss. 3-12
        1.  The apostasy must come first -- vs. 3a
        2.  The man of lawlessness is then revealed -- vss. 3b-5
        3.  The man of lawlessness will be revealed after the restrainer is
            removed -- vss. 6-12

VI.  Tribulation Period events
    A.  Chronology from Matthew 24-25
        1.  Chronology of tribulation events: Matthew 24:1-31
        2.  Preparation for the tribulation and related events -- Matthew
            24:32-25:46
    B.  Chronology from the book Revelation and other passages

VII.  Tribulation period progresses like labor pains (1 Thessalonians 5:3)

VIII. Trumpet Issues Relating to End Time Events

IX.  Miscellaneous note on Prophecy

    A.  Pretribulational rapture
    B.  Judgment
    C.  Tribulation period
    D.  Millennial kingdom
    E.  Eternity




INTRODUCTION:

WHY STUDY SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY?

The study of systematic theology helps believers to systematize what the Bible teaches on a specific subject.  In your time at Kiev Christian University you will study the following areas of systematic theology:

  * Theology Proper (The study of God)
  * Anthropology (The study of man)
  * Bibliology (The study of the Bible)
  * Pneumatology (The study of the Holy Spirit)
  * Christology (The study of Christ)
  * Soteriology (The study of salvation)
  * Ecclesiology (The study of the church)
  * Eschatology (The study of end time events)

When you can see what the Bible teaches on these subjects within their proper context and dispensation, you will be able to better understand the Bible and these areas of theology.

Also, you will be able to better understand how to live your life in a more Christlike manner.  I say this because every person has a theology (theo = God; -ology = study of).  Even an atheist has a theology.  It is just that their theology and our theology is different.  Theology from an atheistic point of view is that God does not exist.  Therefore, the spiritual realm does not exist; we are nothing more than the result of evolution and biological processes; we have no soul; there is no heaven or hell; there will be no future judgment.  This is the theology of the average atheist.  This theology directs them in life.

What about you?  What is your theology?  How does what you believe about the Bible (correct of incorrect) direct your life?  Your decisions?  Your future?  This is why theology is crucial to our lives, because we all have a theology by which we live.  So as we study together this semester, we need to ask God to make these biblical truths real in our personal lives; and as we rely on them on a day-to-day, moment-by-moment basis, we will have victory over our flesh and the devil.  So when we are confronted with the happenings of everyday life that seem to contradict the truths we understand about God, we can call upon the truths of His inerrant and infallible Word for stability and direction.

OUR COURSE:

In this course we will study Ecclesiology and Eschatology.  In Ecclesiology we will study about the church, and in Eschatology, we will study about end time events.  These two topics of systematic theology were put together so that you as the student can see what the Bible teaches about the church and what God has planned for the church, as well as for the world in the future.  The Bible teaches a lot about both topics, so I hope that you will find the information interesting and challenging.


ESCHATOLOGY

INTRODUCTION:

Many today see eschatological passages as unimportant and unclear.  The attitude seems to be that we really cannot accurately understand these passages, so I am not going to be concerned with them.

My view of eschatology is that, though we may not understand everything that is presented in the Scriptures about future events, that we can understand a number of things.  I believe that to do this it takes a lot of hard work, because I believe that eschatological events are a part of the meat of the word ("solid food"), and not the milk (cf. 1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:12-13).

Therefore, I do not expect that you will understand or even agree with everything that I teach.  I simply desire that you approach this topic with an open mind and the willingness to work hard over the following years to find the answers for yourself.

  I.  Hermeneutics and eschatology

      Why is hermeneutics important to the study of the Scriptures, but especially to the topic of prophecy?  It is important because many of the eschatological passages are shrouded in language and context that at times can be difficult to understand.  That is why we need to remind ourselves of the foundational truths of hermeneutics.  Eschatological passages need to be studied well and carefully interpreted if we expect to be able to understand them correctly.

      A.  Literal interpretation

          The literal form of interpretation, also known as the normal form, understands the context of a passage of Scripture in the manner that a person would understand any other piece of literature.  For example, when reading poetry, metaphors, sarcasm, the reader is to understand them as such.  We can see an example of this in Galatians 4:21-30.

When looking at prophetic passages, one must understand that many times symbolic references are made.  Therefore it is the task of the reader to determine accurately, based up the whole of Scripture, if what is being read should be taken literally or as a metaphor.  If it is to be taken metaphorically, then the reader must try to understand the text correctly.

      B.  Historical interpretation

          The historical form of interpretation takes in account the historical context of when the passage was written and/or the historical context that the passage is referring to.  For example, in the Pentateuch Moses writes about past events, therefore it is necessary for the reader to consider the time in which Moses was writing as well as the time period that he is referring to.  The historical passage can be very important when trying to understand the meanings of certain passages.

          We can see an example of this in the book of Jonah.  Why did Jonah not want to go and preach in Nineveh?  Why did he disobey God?  Understanding who the Ninevehites were, what they were like, how they treated those they captured, and knowing that God had told the nation of Israel that the Assyrians would come and take the ten northern tribes of Israel captive if they continued in their rebellion toward God, might give us insight into Jonah's hatred for these people. So historical context can be very important to understanding a passage fully and more accurately.

      C.  Grammatical interpretation

          The grammatical form of interpretation considers the definitions of words, grammar, and syntax.  The student must identify natural breaks in the passage as well as the literary form and ultimately the meaning of the author. 

We can see an example of this in John 21:15-17.  In this passage Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him.  The first two times that Jesus asked Peter this questions He asked using the Greek word for love, "agapah."  Both of these times when Peter answered that he loved Him, he used the Greek word, "phileo."  The third time that Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, He used the Greek word, "phileo."  Peter responded using the same Greek word.

Why did Peter respond the way in which he did?  This is an example of why it is important to correctly understand a passage in its proper grammatical interpretation.

      D.  Contextual interpretation

          The contextual form of interpretation considers the context of the passage within its immediate paragraph, chapter, book, books written by the same author, testament, and then in the context of the entire Bible.  In contextual interpretation the student must also try and understand the passage within the flow of the authors argument.

We can see an example of this in Genesis 1:26.  In this verse we see that God says,  “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness..."  The question is, who is the "Us" that God is referring to?  Cultists might say, God and the angels.  This is why understanding a verse or passage in context is important.  Actually, the next verse -- Genesis 1:27 -- as well as Genesis 5:1, we see that man was made in the image of God, and no one else.  Therefore the "Us" is referring to the plurality of the one God.

      E.  Dispensational interpretation

          1.  Definition of dispensations

              Divinely Determined Economies Which Define Man's Responsibilities in Successive Ages. They are not Ways of Salvation but Rather Divinely Ordered Stewardships by Which God Directs Man According to His Purpose.

          2.  Dispensations (economies)

              *  Innocence (before fall) - Gen. 1:28-3:6
              *  Conscience (from fall to after flood) - Gen. 4:1-8:14
              *  Human Government (from flood to Abraham) - Gen. 8:15-11:9
              *  Promise (from Abraham to the Law) - Gen. 11:10 - Ex. 18:27
              *  Law (from Law to beginning of the church) - Ex. 8:28 -
                Acts 1:26
              *  Church (church age) - Acts 2:1 - Rev. 3:22
              *  Tribulation (tribulation period) - Matt. 25:4-28; Rev. 6-19
              *  Kingdom (millennial kingdom) - Ezek. 36:25-38; Rev. 20:4-6

          3.  Means of salvation in each economy --  By faith

              *  Innocence (before fall)

                Genesis 2:25 "And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed."

                Genesis 3:6-7 "When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings."

              * Conscience (from fall to after flood)

                Hebrews 11:4  "By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks."

                Hebrews 11:5-6  "By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."

              *  Human Government (from flood to Abraham)

Hebrew 11:7  "By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith."

              *  Promise (from Abraham to the Law)

                Hebrews 11:8-19  "...by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed (vs. 8)."

                Galatians 3:6  "Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." (Gen. 15:6)

              *  Law (from Law to beginning of the church)

                Hebrews 11:23-29  "...by faith" Moses did many things for God.

              *  Church (church age)

                Ephesians 2:8-9  "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast."

              *  Tribulation (tribulation period)

                  1 Peter 3:18  "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit"

              *  Kingdom (millennial kingdom)

                1 Peter 3:18  "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit"

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