Lately, I've been on an eschatology kick. I mean, I'm always fascinated and intrigued by it, but I've been challenged a lot lately by things that I thought were true concerning end times, but I am doing my best to have the mindset of the Bereans.
What really got me challenged was this organization called FAI Studios (Frontier Alliance International) which is primarily a missionary organization oriented towards the 10/40 window, which is primarily Muslim-dominant countries where the Gospel of Yeshua HaMashiach is persecuted. However, they are heavy into eschatology and I was very impressed by how grounded they were in their bibliocentric, and Israel-centric position on things.
Obviously, any theology must be bibliocentric, but I do find it rare for some people to be Israel-centric in their theology. The Bible is Jewish after all, and Yeshua is Jewish after all. Largely, I had already agreed with much of what they were saying as they took a premillenial position on eschatology. However, it was their pre-wrath/post-tribulation rapture position that I initially was at odds with as I was a pre-tribulation rapture position. They challenged me in a way I was not expecting.
They purely used Scripture and not vague inferences to support their position and to refute other positions, and I couldn't argue against it!
What also blindsided me what a unique Israel-centric perspective on eschatology that I had never even heard about before, and I know a lot of Bible and eschatology. Maybe I was too focused on my certain point of view, but again, I had never once heard this kind of perspective before...and it made so much Biblical sense.
I would say the biggest surprise was thinking that Yeshua's Second Coming was a one-day quick event where Yeshua returns, wipes out the Antichrist's forces, and says, "Good job everybody!" No...they're saying this is going to be a procession. A lengthy complex series of events that precede Yeshua's eventual final victory.
Without giving too much away, Yeshua returns to (most likely) Sinai, and recapitulates the events of the Exodus with the eventual leading of Israel back into the Promised Land in a Second Conquest fashion. Yeshua here in the book of Hebrews form is a better Moses, a better Aaron. In the desert, according to prophets like Hosea, He will renew His Covenant with Israel (Jeremiah & Ezekiel), which could even be the Marriage Feast of the Lamb as the Covenant is very much like a marriage ceremony.
It is just so beautiful, poetic, and Scripturally-based that I can't help but believe that this has to be the way it should happen. Most of these Old Testament passages buried within the prophets that I never delved into, or even considered, came to life in light of this perspective on eschatology!
So, given all this, and so much more that I don't have time, nor can express in words, it has inspired and motivated me to attempt to create a harmonization of ALL eschatological passages throughout the Bible, and let *GASP* Scripture interpret Scripture.
I actually recently completed a similar project where I made my own version of a Diatessaron, or a Harmonization of the Gospels. In it, I combine all the similar passages into a (as best as I can) chronological order, strip away all the verse and chapter numbers, and basically have one cohesive story of the Gospels. This is not to say that each Gospel account in its own right doesn't provide a unique and powerful perspective on the ministry and teachings of Yeshua, but this offers an additional unique perspective on all the canonical Gospel accounts into one cohesive account.
This project took me from January 1 to about Thanksgiving to fully complete. I faithfully, nearly every day, would wake up early, make some coffee, and for anywhere from 30-90 minutes slowly make my way through the Gospels, harmonizing each passage, referencing several resources, and cross comparing with my father, who is a 30-year seasoned pastor and holds a near doctorate level of Pastoral Studies.
And, what inspired that project was an idea from my parents to handwrite the entire New Testament as a Christmas present to my paternal grandparents. Each member of the family on my father's side contributed to the task (I had Romans, and maybe another book). It was another year-long project for all of us, some of us waited until after Thanksgiving to start (definitely me), but the finished product was a beautiful gift for my grandparents, and an inspiration for me to pursue projects like these, if not only as a blessing to those around me.
So back to my harmonization of eschatology. I do not expect myself to complete this project in a year. At least one-third of the bible is prophecy, and subject to a million different interpretations. Obviously, I will have a certain framework subconsciously structuring this harmonization, but my hope and prayer is that like the Bereans, I will be open-minded, and let the Spirit guide me into truth, and let Scripture interpret Scripture.
The first phase will be just to compile every possible scrap of eschatological prophecy in order of when it was revealed (historical chronology) and not what I think it should be eschatological chronologically. I will also be roughly categorizing each passage into what sequence of events it is referring to.
Once I feel satisfied with this, I will create a separate document where I will begin to structure the passages eschatologically chronologically, but not begin to harmonize similar passages. This could theoretically become a final product in and of itself as some people would prefer to have this type of a version where you see several passages separate, but all referring to the same event.
The next step would be the harmonization of the accounts and events to create one sequence of one cohesive account of the end times. This would largely condense things as many passages generally refer to the same things. We obviously have limited, generalized details about how certain things will come to pass as regards the Second Coming, the judgments, the Millennial Kingdom, etc. So I may end up keeping both the middle and final versions separate and available for different utilities.
In the end, I hope that Scripture will enlighten us all as what is already revealed, but nothing will compare the end product, as we will all stand in awe of our conquering Savior who will execute justice on the whole world, and usher in an age of glorified, sanctified believers where Yeshua is King, physical and present on the Earth. We will all be in constant immediate communion with Yeshua and see His awesome Glory perpetually forevermore, AMEN!
Blessings and Marantha,