Prophecy and Practicality
Because prophecy is an integral part of scriptural revelation from Genesis to Revelation, a neglect of this important theme leaves one with an incomplete theology as well as an incomplete philosophy of life. Christianity by its nature is eschatological in its anticipation of the glorious future. Without a future climax to history, Christianity is left without a reasonable explanation of life.
-Systematic Theology, Lewis Sperry Chafer
When I was a boy much of my Biblical training was centered on the subject of eschatology. Eschatology is the study of "last things," and of course Biblical prophecy is at the essence of this final section to systematic theology. As I grew older I began to resent that most of what I knew about the Christian life was abut a future experience. While this was all good, it left me feeling at times like I had no firm footing in the present. How was I to apply an understanding of rapture and Great Tribulation to my own daily life in the peace and quiet of rural Kentucky? The study of unfulfilled biblical prophecy just didn't seem to scratch my itch for personal holiness through a deeper relationship with the Savior.
Like many, I moved on from those eschatological conversations with my elders back home and on to college where I aligned with a ministry group that studied the letters of the apostle Paul more intently. This is not to say that you can't find prophecy in the Pauline epistles; one need only turn to the two letters for the Thessalonians to remedy that, but Paul addressed the issues of my then-current felt needs as well as the deeper needs that I was longing to deal with. Honestly, these upcoming weeks will comprise the most intense personal study I have done on the subject of prophecy for a long time.
My guess is that I won't be alone in this endeavor. Even the greatest theologians like Charles Hodge have to confess a lack of devotion to the study of the last things. If you're like me, this will be an opportunity for you to reconnect with the truths of our Blessed Hope. We need to remember that history is moving toward a conclusion. On a day-to-day basis we tend to be eschatologically ignorant if not outright agnostic. The upcoming weeks will give us all an opportunity to repent of that ignorance and reestablish a fresh faith in our coming Savior and King.
I want to invite and sincerely urge you to go all in on this 10-week consideration of your own practical theology and philosophy of life. As much as living in this world feels like a treadmill on the incline, we are genuinely on a road that leads to the consummation of all that has been promised. I am thankful for my own personal renewal in terms of eschatology and pray you enjoy the same refreshing experience.