One of the things I do with my catechism students is regular Q & A sessions. Rather than having me ask all the questions with them (hopefully) giving the answers, we turn the tables around every now and then. They’re welcome to come to class with whatever questions and I do my best to answer them. Of course, the questions are limited to things pertaining to the Bible, theology, ethics, church life — you know, areas where I might be reasonably expected to know a thing or two. I always enjoy these opportunities to engage the youth of the church and find out what’s on their minds.
Over the years I’ve been doing this, I’ve noticed a pattern. Many of the questions have to do with either the beginning or the end. Young people seem to think a lot about what we could call the bookends of Christian theology: protology (the doctrine of creation) and eschatology (the doctrine of the last things). I suspect that young people are not alone in this regard. Just yesterday, in fact, an 80 year old sister in the church approached me after the service with a question about the new heavens and new earth.
Today I want to share some of the material I’ve prepared on the topic of eschatology, particularly some of the sermons I’ve preached on it.
For my pre-confession students I’ve prepared this eschatology outline. It’s basically a summary of Louis Berkhof’s eschatology chapter in Manual of Christian Doctrine.
I’ve preached at least four sermons on the doctrine of the last things:
Mark 13 includes Mark’s version of the so-called Olivet Discourse. Is Jesus talking about the destruction of Jerusalem or the end of the world?
- Christ our prophet warns of the coming covenant judgment (sermon on Mark 13:1-23)
- The Son of Man will come with great power and glory (sermon on Mark 13:24-37)
Who is the “man of lawlessness” in 2 Thessalonians 2? How can Scripture speak about his appearing first and yet describe Christ’s coming as sudden and unexpected?
- God reveals more about the day of the Lord (sermon on 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)
What about the 1000 years mentioned in Revelation 20? Is this a literal 1000 year reign of Christ? Does it take place before or after his return?
- The return of Christ and the 1000 years of Revelation 20: how should we understand these things? (Catechism lesson: Lord’s Day 19)
Some day I hope to preach a series of sermons on the entire book of Revelation…but since I just started on John, I think that will be quite some time in the future.