Yesterday I shared some thoughts on the Dispensationalism seminar that we completed at The Master’s Seminary. Today another seminar came to an end—Seminar on Eschatology. This, too, was a Th.M. seminar done in a roundtable-discussion format. This course had eleven students. This course was broader than the Dispensationalism seminar and included study of the following issues:
--Models of eschatology (New Creation Model vs. Spiritual Vision Model)
--Premillennialism vs. Amillennialism and Postmillennialism
--Futurism vs. Preterism
--Rev 20 and the Millennium
There were also research papers from the students. These included a discussion of the kingdom's relationship to mercy ministries; a theology of water in the eschaton; the literary structure of Revelation; the lake of fire; Jeremiah in the book of Revelation; Premillennialism in the OT; Acts 15’s use of Amos 9; the Eternal State; and the practical importance of eschatological hope.
One issue that came up over and over again was the importance of understanding the relationship between the New Testament and the Old Testament. As with the Dispensationalism seminar there was a strong rejection of the idea that the NT reinterprets or changes the meaning of OT texts. We also observed that there is strong continuity between the OT prophetic expectation and the NT expectation. There are things promised in the OT that even from the standpoint of NT eschatology are still future such as: (a) a coming abomination of desolation (Matt 24:15); (b) a coming salvation and restoration of Israel (Matt 19:28; Rom 11:25-26); a coming antichrist and desolation of the Jewish temple (2 Thess 2); a coming Day of the Lord (1 Thess 5; 2 Thess 2; 2 Peter 3); a future for Jerusalem (Luke 21:24); and the restoration of the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6). Thus, the student of the Bible must properly discern which aspects of eschatology have been fulfilled and which parts are still future from our standpoint.
In sum, the class concluded that the key to properly understanding eschatology is a sound hermeneutic and a New Creation Model approach that shakes off any remnants of Spiritual Vision Model thinking. God’s plans include spiritual and physical matters, and individual and national matters.
I am excited about the sound theology that these men in this Eschatology seminary will be taking to their pulpits and ministries.