What A Wonderful World

A Hopeful Eschatology

 

 

 

 

 

In the midst of these days of uncertainty, when fear is knocking doggedly at our doors, it seems eschatology is all the rage.

In a day when apocalyptic films are on the rise, and the day after tomorrow (get it) is unclear, I’ve seen more than a few folks sharing their “Last Day’s” views with fear, trembling and a little bit of “told you so.”

25 years ago I went to Bible College and took a class on eschatology. In the 25 years since, I’ve lived loved, so what I’m about to share with you is no joke…

When it comes to End Times views:

First, there are several. I can’t remember what they are but there are several.

Second, they are theories based on biblical, historical and contextual interpretations, they are not certainties.

Third, anyone who has a theory, regardless of their depth of knowledge, should probably let those they are proselytizing know it’s just a theory and it’s not the only one.

Finally, if there isn’t room to disagree, if the person presenting an idea is selling something, or if their absolute certainty is causing fear, I recommend taking what the person is hypothesizing with a grain of salt.

When it comes to how I personally navigate End Times views, if fear of punishment plays a role in the theory, it’s a flawed theory. Jesus already exposed and settled that issue.

That’s not to say there isn’t truth to discover in all the theories out there, or insight to be had from well-studied theorists, but, for me, fear of punishment doesn’t get billing.

My theory? Glad you asked.

God is not retributive, He is restorative. Which means God isn’t about punishment, He is about mercy and grace; He is a relentless redeemer who forgives, heals, and transforms.

So I have a hopeful eschatology.

Not sure where that lands in all the “lism” options I learned about in Bible College, it was 25 years ago.

But hope is the word.

I have a hopeful eschatology based off a simple belief that what Jesus did at the cross was a whole and finished work; that His Kingdom, His family, is expanding “until the Kingdoms of this world become the Kingdom of our God” (Rev 11:15); until “on earth as it is in heaven” becomes a reality. (Matt 6:10)

I have a hopeful eschatology based on a simple belief that humanity is worthy of Jesus’ death and resurrection, fully redeemed in Christ, and intrinsically good.

I have a hopeful eschatology because I have a naïve childlike belief that kindness is how the world will be saved and transformed. A kindness received and then given away by those who love because they were first loved. (1 John 4:19)

I posted on Facebook last week that my eschatology could be understood simply by listening to Louis Armstrong’s song, “It’s a Wonderful World.”

“… I see friends shaking hands, saying how do you do. They’re only saying I love you…Then I think to myself, what a wonderful world…”

I have a hopeful eschatology. I believe it’s getting better. For everyone. The whole world. How can I not when Jesus is my friend.

I am not naive to pain and suffering or the consequences of sin in the world; I am not ignoring justice. I simply believe God was in Christ redeeming and restoring all humanity, not counting our deep and broken sense of separation against us. I believe His justice is restorative and transformational.

I have a hopeful eschatology. I think Love, revealed by Jesus’ finished work through sons and daughters who know love, is the beginning and ultimately the fulfillment of every story. We, His friends, are the implementation, a mirror reflection of His restorative redemptive story.

For me, Love, Christ crucified and risen, is the best way to view the End Times. When we view the last days through a restorative lens, healing, hope, and expectation of “all things” being made new (Rev 21:5) can actually become a reality in every area of influence.

So yeah, I get that entire books have been written about the last days. But you’ve probably picked up on the fact that’s not what I’m doing here. I’m not the guy to give an interpretation of the book of Revelation, for that I’d recommend François Du Toit’s Mirror Bible and commentary. If you’re looking for some brilliant theologians to encourage you regarding a good God and a hopeful eschatology, I’d recommend anything written by Bill Johnson, Brian Zahnd, Baxter Kruger, Brad Jersak, Dan Mohler, Danny Silk… these fellas and more have helped me greatly.

For me, the End Times has never been an itch I’ve felt the need to scratch. For me, “No man knows the day or hour” (Matt 24:36) has provided enough data on the subject. I’m not undermining the great thinkers who have provided profound insight into scripture, but my eschatology has to be simple and applicable to all my relationships and to this moment.

For me, the End Times is now, “on earth as it is in heaven” is my mandate, growing sure in love is my strategy, and being kind and faithfully loving everyone around me is my implementation.

Even now, when fear is doggedly knocking at my door, I’m hopeful. Hope is my now and my future. And when it isn’t, I repent.

I have a hope-filled eschatology today. It’s the same hope-filled eschatology I had yesterday and the same one I’ll have tomorrow. How can I not when Jesus is my friend.

And what a wonderful friend, what a wonderful world.

Because I have a little more time than usual, check out my top ten covers of Louis Armstrong’s ode to life and love and lean into His love as you listen. You just might discover your eschatology is a little like mine. If not, no worries, there are plenty of End Times views and we don’t have to agree. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid, it’s our Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

Lots of love.

What A Wonderful World

Louis Armstrong

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world

I see skies of blue and clouds of white

The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They’re really saying I love you

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world


Jason Clark
 is a writer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.

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