Present comfort because of future hope

The Overcomer asks “Why study end time prophecy?”  (As if I need encouragement.)  But it’s a good question.  I have noticed that some of the most strengthening, comforting, and encouraging devotional thoughts come right in the midst of an eschatological passage.  The prophets foresaw the future and received present hope because of God’s future plans.

Example #1 ~ Psalm 46 is a prophetic apocalypse.  Sometime in the future in the midst of kingdoms raging, God will utter His voice and the earth will melt.  In the midst of desolations from wars fought, God will make wars to cease and bring peace on earth.  There is a [future] city which is the habitation of the Most High with a river flowing out from it.  Do these events seem far removed from us?  And yet how does the psalm start?  God is a very present help in the midst of trouble.  Even though waters roar, mountains quake, and the earth gives way, we will not fear.  How does the psalm conclude?  “Be still and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations.”  How many times have you quoted, or had someone quote to you these words of comfort?  “Be still and know that I am God.”  It’s a present comfort because of future hope.

Example #2 ~ Isaiah 24-27 is known as Isaiah’s little apocalypse.  It’s primary application is end times.  The LORD of hosts will reign from Mount Zion in such a glorious fashion, 24:23.  Death will be swallowed up in victory, 25:8.  God’s people will be awakened from the dust of the earth, 26:19.  Many more eschatological events are described here.  Right in the midst of these compelling prophecies is a very present comfort.  In Isaiah 26:3-4 we read, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.  Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.”  Because of God’s future plans, He can be trusted in the present.  God will take care of establishing His reign on earth, abolishing death, and resurrecting the righteous.  We can have perfect peace in the present because of our confidence in God’s ability to handle the future.

Example #3 ~ How many have memorized the verse “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God,”?  I can’t think of a more encouraging thought than to know that we are presently the children of God.  Yet look at the context of this verse in I John.  Immediately before this is the admonition, “And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.”  That’s referring to the second coming, our eschatological hope.  Look at the verse immediately following.  “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”   This is present encouragement, comfort, and hope because of God’s future actions in relation to us.  Christ will appear in the future and transform us to be like Himself, thus giving us confidence in the present.

Why study eschatology?  You’re really missing out if you don’t.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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