Over the years, I have encountered people who seem to want to put different truths in a king of league table. This is based on the matter of things which are essentials in comparison to non-essentials. Now this basic principle is correct but problems are quickly encountered when truths are placed in the wrong table. One such doctrine known as eschatology, the doctrine of the last things is commonly placed in a lower table in comparison to truths such as the Trinity or the deity of Christ. While it is true that having a right eschatology does not affect your standing with respect to salvation by grace through faith, it cannot be treated as a secondary non-essential doctrines.
Why is this? Well, my experience over the years is that a certain position on the last things, impacts the way you approach the Bible and then seek to interpret it. This is especially true with what is known as a dispensationalist view, one which becomes almost obsessive with the current world events. A friend of mine used to attend a brethren church, but this was before I knew him. He told me that during the Jewish six day war that one of his brethren elders produced a chart in church explaining that this war marked the end of things in this current supposed dispensation. Unfortunately, the war only lasted six days and by the following Sunday the man's chart was useless. However, nothing was said about how wrong the assertions had been the week before and this left my friend re-thinking his eschatology.
Everyone on a reformed pilgrimage will have to re-think some aspect of their eschatology at some stage and a book that has helped many, including myself is "More than Conquerors" by William Hendriksen. This an interpretation on the Book of Revelation; one which is a stable and helpful reformed approach to the doctrine of the last things.
The Lord Jesus Christ said "See that no one leads you astray" and in relation to the doctrine of the last things we must heed this warning. Furthermore, what we believe affects the way we live and our doctrines cannot be separated from our manner of life. Holding to a wrong understanding of eschatology means that people do not work and live as they should to glorify God. I have another blog post that expounds this understanding on the Book of Revelation and the link is: http://kevinbidwell.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=Book+of+Revelation