The Destiny of the World and the Work of Missions -- By: Michael Pocock

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 145:580 (Oct 1988)
Article: The Destiny of the World and the Work of Missions
Author: Michael Pocock

The Destiny of the World and the Work of Missions

Michael Pocock

Associate Professor of World Missions
Dallas Theological Seminary

[Editor’s Note: This article, first published in the International Journal of Frontier Missions 1 (July 1984): 215-34, is reprinted here with minor editoral revisions and is used by permission.]

While many people are almost agnostic in matters of eschatology, declaring that nothing can be known for sure, Marxists and neoorthodox thinkers1 and liberation theologians2 are hard at work on the subject, and it affects what they do as their mission in life.

A person’s concept of eschatology has a definite effect on his life and service right now. To radical thinkers, eschatology is a study of where things are going, and as such it controls their lifestyle and concept of ministry and mission. Until relatively recent days, eschatology was a concern primarily of conservative evangelicals, but after the cresting concern for prophetic truth in the 1890s few people outside the dispensational premillennial camp have been doing much thinking about eschatology except to react to the premillennial dispensationalists.

The somewhat divisive arguments about the timing or order of Second Coming events have led some to disregard the issues in favor of “getting the job done.” But it must be remembered that the “job” to be done takes place in the context of eschatological truth.

In Acts 2:17 Peter indicated that the events of Pentecost were happening literally in “eschatological days.” The writer of Hebrews indicated the same when he wrote in Hebrews 1:2 that the

earthly ministry of Christ was taking place in the last days. The sense of living in a time sphere that could end at any moment permeated the ministry of the apostles. Their expectation of the return of Christ qualified their own work and they expected it to do the same for others. “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat” (2 Pet 3:11–12).

Quite clearly, Peter and the other New Testament writers, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, were not dissuaded by the passage of time from their belief that Christ could come a...

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