In my opinion, some of the most overlooked portions of the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy are the chapters right after the final battle in The Return of the King.  In these chapters, Tolkien expresses a vision for cosmic renewal that closely mimics the one laid down in the biblical accounts themselves.

In Rev 21:5 we read, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’”  God has declared that one day he will set all things right. Likewise, at the end of The Return of the King, Tolkien describes how evil has been vanquished and all things set right.

After all, in these final chapters there is a gathering of the “saints,” a great feast, new songs of praise, and even a final wedding. Frodo and Sam even receive crowns on their heads.

This sentiment is best captured by one of Sam’s statements, which is one of my favorite in the entire story.  After the ring is destroyed at Mount Doom, Sam wakes up from his sleep surprised he is alive and surprised to see Gandalf.   Then he says, “Is everything sad going to come untrue? What’s happened to the world?”

This statement is quite profound because it is different than asking whether good things are going to come true.  Rather, it asking whether sad things are going to come untrue.

Thus, Sam’s statement, like Christian eschatology, recognizes that there is currently something very wrong with the world.  It is a place that is filled with sadness.  Cursed by sin.  Groaning as it awaits its redemption.  And in the final consummation, those sad things will be made untrue.  The curse will be rolled back. The world will be changed.

We are reminded by Sam’s statement about the whole point of eschatology.  Eschatology is not so much about millennial positions or the structure of Revelation, but is primarily about the problem of evil and how that problem will be solved.  Eschatology is about how one deals with the sad things in the world.

In this sense, then, everyone has an eschatology.  The believer, the atheist, the agnostic, the Hindu—everyone has to give an account for how evil is going to be dealt with.  The question isn’t whether people have an eschatology, but whether it is a compelling and coherent eschatology.

And the Christian worldview, I believe, has a compelling and coherent eschatology.  It can explain why the world is the way it is (the Fall), it can provide a definition of evil (violation of God’s law), and it can provide a real hope for the future (God will destroy evil and set all things right).

For this reason, eschatology is not a topic that should be reserved for theologians or scholars.  It is a topic for every Christian, and, for that matter, every person.  We all live in a dark world.  And there is no message more relevant to those living in a dark world than a message about how that world will one day be changed.

And that message, perhaps more than ever, is needed in a world haunted by the coronavirus.

So, let us be eschatological Christians. Not in an effort to win debates about which millennial view is correct, but in an effort to proclaim hope to a world that desperately needs it.

31 Responses

  1. The message of knowing and recognizing the wrongness and sadness of the world we live in, and not ignoring it when we can, and that there will be a complete renewal by God in the end time, is powerful, rejuvenating, hopeful and much needed for all humans. Thanks Dr Krueger.,

  2. I know someone is very distraught how there is no justice in the world. Primarily they are concerned about this because of holding on to all the resentments of those who sinned against them and others they care about for decades. This person attended Fuller Seminary and got a MDiv degree. And when I was trying to encourage them, about eventually God would judge, because He knows the true condition of one’s heart, and would one day, return and destroy all things, judge the unrepentant sinful people, and create a new heaven and a new earth away from sins corruption. They had no idea what I was talking about. It is very sad, because at Fuller and other seminaries Eschatology is not even a requirement to study for the degree, let alone is it preached about in most churches, in an educated way, so people could apply the hope that future brings for the struggling Christian. (I am not referring to the old “rapture is coming to fly us all away” from it stuff, which of course may happen). When we as Christians have hope for the future with Our Lord, we can be led by God through anything He asks us to go through, for His own purposes. And we can be confident He will be with and sustain us. Psalm 23.

    1. One problem is the current narrative of replacement theology; that is, the church replaces the nation Israel. Also, I hear preached that the church is the new Israel. This is false doctrine.

      Another problem is this idea of tribalism. The 144,000 of Revelation 7 relates to the nation Israel, not the church. The church is sealed with the Holy Spirit. It is Israel – male, Jewish, virgins, evangelists – that need the seal of living God, during the great tribulation time period.

      A third problem is the false prophecy that the rapture of the church happened in the first century. I’ve heard this preached from the pulpit.

      Some Christians teach that we are resurrected to the earth, not heaven. This is an example of false teaching and false prophecy that Jesus said would occur in the end time. It is unsound doctrine.

      1. What verse in the Bible says Christians are resurrected to Heaven and not the Earth?

        1. It doesn’t exist. Revelation 20:4-6, speaking of the first resurrection, specifically cites the role beheaded Christians will play in reigning with Christ. He reigns on the earth. See Zechariah 14, Psalm 2, Isaiah 2:1-4, Isaiah 11, Isaiah 65:18-25, Ezekiel 47-48, for example.

          1. I know it doesn’t exist. I asked the question to shed light on the subject. So much of the church’s teaching today concerning the last things does not come from the Bible, but rather a dispensational system that is false and artificial. There is no pre-trib rapture and the church and Israel aren’t as separate as you would think.

        2. response to David Kyle
          from Franz

          Well ….. actually there are several places where the church is pictured in heaven or at least NOT ON EARTH after the rapture. The point/purpose of the rapture is to remove the church from the earth before the wrath of God inflicts judgement on the earth. There is absolutely NO verse that places the church on the earth at the time of the wrath of God. It is what Jesus promised … and God is not a liar.
          1Th 5:9  For God didn’t appoint us to wrath, but to the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 
          the rapture = salvation from the wrath of God

          1. Great multitude standing before the throne in heaven.
          Rev 6:17  for the great day of his wrath has come; and who is able to stand?” 
          wrath has come … church MUST be gone … where are they ??? … which way did they go ???
          Rev 7:9  After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no man could count, out of every nation and of all tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands. 
          Rev 7:10  They cried with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation be to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 

          2. those reaped here are gathered up together to Jesus … not thrown into the “great wine press of the wrath of God” on earth.
          Rev 14:14  I looked, and behold, a white cloud; and on the cloud one sitting like a son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 
          Rev 14:15  Another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Send your sickle, and reap; for the hour to reap has come; for the harvest of the earth is ripe!” 
          Rev 14:16  He who sat on the cloud thrust his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. 

          3. the church/bride of Christ is in heaven with Jesus. Heaven opens and then Jesus and the bride descend to heaven at this time…. post-wrath
          Rev 19:7  Let’s rejoice and be exceedingly glad, and let’s give the glory to him. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready.” 
          Rev 19:8  It was given to her that she would array herself in bright, pure, fine linen: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 
          Rev 19:11  I saw the heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it is called Faithful and True. In righteousness he judges and makes war. 

          4. the church is not on the earth during the indignation / wrath of God.
          Isa 26:19  Your dead shall live. My dead bodies shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in the dust; for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth will cast out the departed spirits. 
          Isa 26:20  Come, my people, enter into your rooms, and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourself for a little moment, until the indignation is past. 
          Isa 26:21  For, behold, Yahweh comes out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity. The earth also will disclose her blood, and will no longer cover her slain. 

          5. those alive are caught up (raptured) to join Jesus and the dead in Christ … IN THE CLOUDS … IN THE AIR … not on the earth. If the Lord descended to earth at this time … the text would have said so explicitly … but it does not … because Jesus DOES NOT decend to earth at this time.
          1Th 4:16  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with God’s trumpet. The dead in Christ will rise first, 
          1Th 4:17  then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. So we will be with the Lord forever. 

  3. Guilty as charged! That is not a passage I remember. It is such a contrast to the relentless battle against evil that marks so much of the Trilogy. Thank you for this! Amen. I am so very thankful that I know that this world is NOT all there is! There IS a better world coming! Not for all, but for all who have fled to the Son for Refuge. Psalm 22:12 And, as Jewel the Unicorn says in The Last Battle, “I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life.” Thank you, Dr. Kruger! May we hold out that Hope to a worried and grieving world!

  4. The parallels are astoundingly similar.
    There are so many big words in Christendom. There ought to be a poster similar to the elements table for slow learners like me.
    You hear of this type or that type of teaching or preaching, this word and that.
    I am not sure which movie it is but Bilbo makes it back to his home only to find his fellow hobbits auctioning off his stuff and he is required to prove who he is. Upon doing so he finds rest, comfort and great satisfaction.
    Narnia (the musical) also has a song about the world being made right again. Meanwhile I think NASA has settled for a type of life on Mars and stuff like that.

    1. The movie to which you refer is The Battle of the Five Armies, the 3rd movie in the Hobbit trilogy. A poignant scene indeed.

    2. “And so they crossed the bridge and passed the mill by the river and came right back to Bilbo’s own door.
      “‘Bless me!  What’s going on?’ he cried.  There was a great commotion, and people of all sorts, respectable and unrespectable, were thick round the door, and many were going in and out—not even wiping their feet on the mat, as Bilbo noticed with annoyance.
      “If he was surprised, they were more surprised still.  He had arrived in the middle of an auction!  There was a large notice in black and red hung on the gate, stating that on June the Twenty-second Messrs Grubb, Grubb, and Burrowes would sell by auction the effects of the late Bilbo Baggins Esquire, of Bag-End, Underhill, Hobbiton.  Sale to commence at ten o’clock sharp.  It was now nearly lunchtime, and most of the things had already been sold, for various prices from next to nothing to old songs (as is not unusual at auctions).  Bilbo’s cousins, the Sackville-Bagginses were, in fact, busy measuring his rooms to see if their own furniture would fit.  In short, Bilbo was ‘Presumed Dead’, and not everybody that said so was sorry to find the presumption wrong.
      “The return of Mr Bilbo Baggins created quite a disturbance, both under the Hill and over the Hill, and across the Water; it was a great deal more than a nine days’ wonder.  The legal bother, indeed, lasted for years.  It was quite a long time before Mr Baggins was in fact admitted to be alive again.  The people who had got specially good bargains at the Sale took a deal of convincing; and in the end to save time Bilbo had to buy back quite a lot of his own furniture.  Many of his silver spoons mysteriously disappeared and were never accounted for.  Personally he suspected the Sackville-Bagginses.  On their side they never admitted that the returned Baggins was genuine, and they were not on friendly terms with Bilbo ever after.  They really had wanted to live in his nice hobbit-hole so very much.” —The Hobbit, Chapter XIX: The Last Stage
      Unlike in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation, Bilbo was unable to produce a document on the spot that the auctioneer would accept as proof of his identity.  (In fact, his contract in the book [actually a note, found early in Chapter II] was much shorter than the new one Jackson created for the first Hobbit film and did not require his signature.)  “The legal bother,” of proving his identity, “lasted for years,” and even then many—especially Otho and Lobelia Sackville-Baggins—refused to believe it, and just to get many of his own things back, he had to buy them back, when they were his to begin with.
      All this to say, that we should reference the book when discussing Tolkien’s monumental work, not adaptations of the same into other media, for the former is authoritative, whereas the latter is not.

  5. Eschatology is the upcoming millennial kingdom where the Lord Jesus Christ rules the earth on the throne of His Father, David, in Jerusalem for 1000 years.

    1. In addition, eschatology is the study of end time prophecy, such as the church age ends and the kingdom age begins.

  6. This indeed is a timely message. With all the end time and apocalyptic speculations in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, this article brings lots of hope especially for the believer: we who anticipate a new heaven and a new earth where there will be no more sorrow.

  7. I agree in principle with your main point. However, how is it wise to ignore what God has placed in His holy Word because you think it is hard to understand? Revelation 20 comes before Revelation 21. God put it in there for a reason. He talked about the one thousand years. So it must be important to Him. And it should be to us. I don’t think it is right to pick and choose from the Eschatology, the study of the last things in God’s holy Word, only what you wish to focus on. Study all of it and get it right. That is what the Holy Spirit desires.

    As Dennis Clark wrote, it cannot get much clearer than Jesus ruling on the earth for one thousand years. Six times mentioned in Revelation 20. Six times! Is God not trying to help us understand something?

    If you’re going to use some scripture please use it all in its context. Don’t leave out the parts that Our God thought important to include.

    And yes, I agree. Biblical Eschatology is critical for all believers to understand.

    1. I agree completely. I am passionate about sharing eschatology as God has opened my eyes to see it. I invite you to prayerfully check out my website, God bless.

    2. I think Christianity has a shared eschatological overview that is primary much like how many denominations share the Apostles creed or the Lords Prayer in a unifying way.

      The secondary things are the doctrinal differences with doctrinal knowledge/interpretation. To get bogged down in that on a scholarly or Theologian-y way may be to miss the overall or primary message or how it contrasts with atheism, humanism etc. At least that is how I understood Dr Kruger’s position.

      Otherwise we could debate (until the cows come home) a pre/post-millennial position, symbolic vs literal etc, etc. Dennis Clark says this, William Hendrickson says that, one synod says this, one elder says that or “Is Everything Sad Going to Come Untrue?”…. Eschatology in the common words of life and conversation?

      Its not easy I know, we are called by a holy God to grow in grace and knowledge but without wisdom or love it can all amount to nothing where we can become a very loud and unpleasant noise.

      1. Dean, I appreciate your reply. However, I would disagree that the interpretation of the millennium (one thousand years – 6x) is a secondary issue to be avoided and not bogged down with. I would not want to tell the Lord that something He mentioned 6x was secondary and not worth our effort to understand and get right. I would assume you would agree that there is a right way to interpret the millennium and numerous wrong ways. With that being the case, do you not believe that God wants us to study hard and come to the correct interpretation? I understand that godly men will have disagreements over this, but that does not mean we should dismiss it as unprofitable and secondary. I would not want to stand before God some day and say that I considered any part of His holy Word as secondary. It is all worthy of our study. It is all worthy of coming to a conviction about, again and again, until we are right.

        Yes there should be humility and love. Those should be givens. But having a discussion about sound doctrine is critical, so that we get things right. I simply take issue with anyone claiming that we should just focus on the “it’s going to turn out well” so don’t focus on the details because famous godly people have differing opinions. If that is what we should do then why did God give us the details in the first place? In John 14-16, Jesus explains to his disciples why he gives us the details. He knows that truth about the future will help us with today. The details matter. Not Just Revelation 21 & 22, but chapter 20 and the whole book.

        If I were you I would be careful with what I label secondary. And I would study hard to find the right interpretation of the thousand years, because there is a right interpretation. And In my humble opinion, it matters.


        1. Hi Randy,
          Certainly not stating that Scripture is secondary, rather doctrinal difference (which is not Scripture and therefore secondary). That’s why we have different denominations, to maintain and defend the convictions, teaching etc and to be judged or rewarded in that respect. Sure it matters for everyone, not just the scholar, not just the theologian, but for all who look to Gods Word and commune with Him in all areas of our life. Hope that brings some clarity.

          It all matters, from Gen 1-Rev 22. And yet there is a time and place for various things. And numerical significance although important at times is not necessarily an argument in itself

          By all means stick to your guns (so to speak) But despite our doctrinal difference we can in a unified and (primary) way say everything sad is going to come untrue. The same would be true of these things also because of Jesus who wipes away all our tears and fears.

          I believe in the Holy Spirit,
          the holy catholic Church,
          the communion of the saints,
          the forgiveness of sins,
          the resurrection of the body,
          and the life everlasting. Amen.

  8. How can we say that we live in a dark world when the world we live in has the light of knowledge readily accessible to us more than ever before. This blog and this post is example of it enough. We can communicate and encourage like never before in human history. The Kingdom of Christ is ever expanding and growing and the knowledge of the Lord is literally filling the earth. Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God, which is all believers, by the gospel and the Word, has and is literally changing the world for the better. Simply survey history and the advancement of the gospel and the nation’s being discipled. Amazing. We are the light of the world. If I view eschatology through darkness, than I have already taken a position. And the opposite is also true. If by dark world we mean the reality of the dominion of sin over the unregenerate, let that be “fodder” to do exactly what we are told. Evangelize. God is King and even the devil is God’s devil. God’s Kingdom on earth is established. Go therefore and make disciples.

  9. Regarding debating the nature of the Last Days. What is the point in arguing about it?? As Jesus said himself, only the Father knows the date of His return.
    After seeing all the arguments, which sadly involve namecalling. I have come to my own position.
    I am PanTrib, PanMill, it will all Pan out in the end, and God wins.
    The whole point is, the Christian has real hope for the future, if he/she really trust God for his/her future as an individual.


    1. No one is suggesting we can know the exact date and time of His coming. That’s never been the point of studying eschatology in any seriousness. Not being able to know the exact date is not a valid reason to have an agnostic perspective. Likewise, the lack of agreement by “experts” shouldn’t be a reason, either. God’s Word is not useless or unclear; the enemy of our souls is ready with plenty of pleasing alternatives to the truth. We’ve been given so much in the matter of end times prophecy. Even Genesis speaks about it (chapter 49, verse 11).

      Why does it matter, you ask? Well, from Scripture I am convinced many will apostatize on the foundation of bad eschatology. Consider the foolish virgins. They wait for the Bridegroom. They start out with oil in their lamps (as reflected by the fact that at midnight they say, “Our lamps are going out”). But they ultimately hear, “I do not know you.”

      Recently, people who had COVID-19 have died. The cause of death may be listed as pneumonia or organ failure or something else, but COVID-19 was a foundation or partner to their death. I see the same when I look at Mt 24:9-13, specifically verses 10, 11, 12. They apostatize for different reasons—offended at the persecution and hating their brethren; deceived by false teachers; and letting their love grow cold. But I’m convinced personal eschatology is foundational to all those things. If people expected to experience those things, they’d be much more likely to endure to the end.

      God bless, and if any of this struck a cord, I invite you to prayerfully check out my website at

  10. Dr. Kruger, are you familiar with the music of The Grey Havens? Listen to Jack and Jill, pt. 2.

  11. Dr >Kruger are you familiar with gospel singer Buddy Greene? He appears with Bill Gaither from time to time. He has written and sings the song “All Things Sad’ It s a beautiful song sung by an excellent artist about what you have related in your article

  12. Dr Kruger singer/songwriter Buddy Greene has a wonderful song “All Things Sad” on his album “Looking Back”. I is worth the listen