I believe the first time I ever saw the term “ eschatology ” was when I was thumbing through the classic work, “Systematic Theology” by the late Rex A. Turner, Sr., years and years ago. The term simply refers to “a study of last things.” Indeed, the afterlife intrigues many people. What will happen after death? Will one cease to exist? Will some eternal entity reincarnate the dead into another creature? People pose endless questions concerning that which is beyond our grasp, at least, without divine revelation. The Bible gives just what we need concerning eschatology, and without such, we would be in the dark, groping for knowledge that is impossible to perceive. In fact, Jesus taught much concerning it. If we look at some of His teachings while He was on earth, we could refute many false doctrines that many teach about this subject.

Jesus repudiated the doctrine of universal salvation. Many in our society and world today believe that God will save everyone and anyone because He is so good and gracious. In fact, former President George W. Bush reacted to the death of seven astronauts in Space Shuttle Columbia back in 2003 by alluding to their place in heaven, regardless of how they lived or whether they obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, Jesus repudiated such thinking when He said in Matthew 7:13-14,

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

With this as His background, He later explains that only those who obey the will of God will inherit heaven (7:21-27).

Jesus repudiated the doctrine of annihilation. Atheists certainly believe that when one dies, he simply annihilates and ceases to exist. Yet, others who claim to be Christians believe that the wicked souls will be annihilated rather than live eternally in torment (i.e. Edward Fudge). Jesus repudiated such when He said in John 5:28-29,

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Jesus repudiated spiritualism, such as psychics and necromancers, who claim to be able to speak with the dead. The great magician Harry Houdini told his closest friends and family that his ultimate feat would be to come back from the dead to speak to them. Naturally, he never did. Currently, we have several well-known spiritualists airing on television who deceive far too many in our world of their faux powers. Jesus denied such activity in His account of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:27-31. The rich man desperately wanted to go back and speak with his family, but he could not.

Jesus repudiated the idea of having a second chance after death. The Buddhist’s doctrine of rein – carnation and the Catholic’s doctrine of Purgatory are just a few of such doctrines. Yet, Jesus spoke a parable about a rich fool who said,

And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? (Luke 12:19-20)

There would be no second chance for him. Jesus repudiated the teaching of miraculous power apart from the word of God. With so many false doctrines concerning miracles, including those to take place with the afterlife, Jesus explains that one could never separate miracles from scripture (John 6:44-45; 8:31-32).

Jesus repudiated the doctrine of temporary punishment. For those who think that the punishment of the wicked is only temporary, consider again the teaching of Jesus about the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:23-26.

We might not know every answer to every question concerning the afterlife, but certainly God revealed exactly what we need to know in order to be prepared to meet Him in that time (cf. Deut. 29:29).

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