Eschatology: The Creeds Agree on the End Times

eschatology of hope

If your hope is tied to political or cultural renewal as the evidence of Christ’s work in the world, then you will eventually find yourself in despair. — Dayton Hartman, Jesus Wins, p. 55

The world gives us many reasons to despair. Open a news feed app or scroll through social media for even a minute and you’ll find a day’s worth of events and perspectives to grieve.

Despite this, Christians ought to have an eschatology of hope.

And it’s not a hope we need to conjure out of thin air. For centuries, the Church has found profound hope in the return of Christ—it’s written into our creeds.

In recent centuries, the Church has argued more and more about the end times, but the bulk of our history is united on the matter, all sharing a common hope. Look at what the three creeds affirm together:  

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in . . .

The resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Nicene Creed

I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ . . .

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end . . .

I look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Athanasian Creed

[Christ] rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, is seated on the right hand of the Father, whence he shall come to judge the living and the dead. At his coming, all men shall rise with their bodies and give an account of their own deeds. Those who have done good will enter eternal life, and those who have done evil will go into everlasting fire.

No Charts, but Hope

Though there are no charts or timelines in these creeds, they are profound. Christian eschatology of hope is plain in Scripture, and it’s mirrored clearly in our creeds: Christ will come again to establish justice and peace forever.

So, as Dayton Hartman writes, “Resist the urge to despair at the state of affairs in our nation and our world by joining the early Church in simply and confidently confessing: Jesus is coming soon, and Jesus wins” (Jesus Wins, p 58).

***

Learn more about the new book from Dayton Hartman, Jesus Wins.

Comments

  1. I’m not sure to whom you were speaking when you spoke of “our creeds” because from where I sit only some very confused Protestants embrace the Creeds, which are riddled with Gnosticism and other falsehoods. It is appalling to me that scholars accept their every word so uncritically.

    The “Apostle’s Creed” (falsely so-called) has one confess, “I believe in the Holy Catholic Church. **This creedal confession was the birth certificate of the Roman Church!**

    “…The title Symbolum Apostolicum (Symbol or Creed of the Apostles) appears for the first time in a letter, probably written by Ambrose, from a Council in Milan to Pope Siricius in about AD 390 “Let them give credit to the Creed of the Apostles, which the Roman Church has always kept and preserved undefiled”.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostles%27_Creed

    And upon that was built the Nicene Creed which foisted the Gnostic concept of “same substance” on a very taken-a-back bunch of “fathers”.

    But back to the post:

    The apostles lived *before* the day of the visitation upon Jerusalem (though John “remained” until Jesus came (Revelation 1:1)) that Jesus had spoken so much about so everyone prior to 70ad looked forward to it. They (the elect Jews, the Israel of God) had been gathered into Jerusalem to await Jesus’ return. But Jesus had said that before all the apostles died, he would return, which he did, as John is witness.

    The Catholic Creeds are “wood, hay and stubble”.

    • Warren Dane says:

      As I understand it, the word catholic means “universal”. In reference to the church, it is true that the church is indeed universal in faith and thought in respect to Jesus/God/the Holy Spirit. The addition of “Roman” to the term church identifies it not as the universal church, but as those who may make that claim contrary to clear biblical teaching.

      • The “Catholic Church”, then and now is the Roman Church. IE: The “Pope” is the “Bishop of Rome”. When making Creeds they included an oath of fidelity to Rome. I get a little ruffled when I see the Creeds to be de facto canonical. They are political weapons and should be treated as such.

    • bryant wilkerson says:

      I would like to believe the Ante-Nicene church fathers were rather defending the faith against heresy’s and most importantly, defining the theology that cost many a life so that you and I have a chance to do something worthy of Christ’s sacrifice.

    • Colleen says:

      These creeds are simply a summary, if not delivered sermons, of what the bible teaches, that is, the Gospel of Triune God. Many teach these most fundamental truths all the time, in their own words. The creeds continue to be highlighted throughout the centuries because they are well articulated and succinct in delivering the Word of Truth.

      Long before the term “catholic” was tainted by the denomination under that name, it simply meant universal and whole. The holy “catholic” faith, then (when these creeds were delivered), was indeed what the bible defines it to be. Sadly, we cannot use that term today without it being misunderstood because the term is truly redefined by the heresies of the Roman Catholic Church. Still, the Roman Catholic church was not always corrupt like it is now proving the need for such statements of faith.

      The article is simply stating that the three main creeds all agree in the hope and return of Christ.

      And regarding the visitation and return:
      The apostles lived during (emphasis) the day of the visitation of the Lord. The call of Paul and the mystery (OT prophecy concerning Gentiles) revealed to him, was that the gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles which is still on going. Regarding John, he wrote what was still yet to come – well after 70 AD. As Paul told the Thessalonians, certain things (1 Thess 4:16-17; 2 Thess 5:7-10; 2:2-4, 9-11; not to mention all that is in Daniel and Revelation) must still happen before the return of Christ, with the most awaited fulfillment of all prophecy being the restoration of Israel, which clearly has not happened.

      • In my reading the other day I noticed how excellently these verses work together to explain Revelation, Thessalonians and all the eschatology of scripture. First of all, Paul says to his Jewish opponent that they are “storing up terrible punishment” and that there is a “day of anger” coming:

        Rom 2:5 NLT – 5 But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, **you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming**, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

        The day to which he surely refers was predicted long ago where God says that he is “storing up” his wrath against his People:

        Deu 32: NLT –
        34 “The LORD says, ‘**Am I not storing up these things, sealing them away in my treasury?
        35 I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them.’ **
        36 “Indeed, the LORD will give justice to his people, and he will change his mind about his servants, when he sees their strength is gone and no one is left, slave or free.

        It is this “stored up wrath” that Jesus speaks of and says that it will finally fall – on the then current generation!:

        Mat 23:35-37 KJV – 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

        Revelation, then, is about the judgment on the old temple, Jerusalem and the Jewish people and destruction of their covenants with God. (The Jews today have no special relationship with God). And it is about the establishment of the new temple, the new Jerusalem, the salvation and establishment of the polity of the elect Jews/bride of Christ.

        • Colleen says:

          Bill Ross aka Ruminator – could you please explain what you meant in your first post about “The apostles lived *before* the day of the visitation upon Jerusalem (though John “remained” until Jesus came (Revelation 1:1)) that Jesus had spoken so much about so everyone prior to 70ad looked forward to it. They (the elect Jews, the Israel of God) had been gathered into Jerusalem to await Jesus’ return. But Jesus had said that before all the apostles died, he would return, which he did, as John is witness.”

          What do you mean by the apostles lived before the day of visitation?

          And please can you help me understand what you mean by John remained till Jesus came? Are you referring to John’s vision as a visitation and Jesus coming?

          Thank you,
          Colleen

      • excellent clarification ms colleen. thanks.

      • Thanks for such enlightening comment

  2. Postmillennialism seems to becoming less and less common these days. Thanks for this post and for keeping us focused on what matters most: the return of our Savior!