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Question #1: 

Bob,

Which generation do you feel Jesus is referring to in Matthew 24:34?

"I tell you the truth, this generation1 will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened."

Response #1: 

Good to hear from you.

The Greek word translated "generation" does not necessarily, as in the English word, presuppose a longevity of 20-40 years. Rather the word is often talking about a "type" or "group" of people rather than always having to refer to a chronological "generation" as is commonly supposed (wrongly). The "type" in question in Matthew 24:34 is the legalistic sort of Jewish unbeliever who refused to accept Jesus' Messiahship at the time of His first advent, and then continued to refuse His deity and work on the cross even after the resurrection:

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob".
Romans 11:25-26 NIV

Thus "hardening" (against the truth of Jesus Christ) is the characteristic of "this generation" to whom Jesus refers, and, as Paul's expansion of the point above makes clear, "this generation" will continue until they actually see the Messiah return in all of His divine glory at the second advent. Until that time, the same characteristic of "this generation", namely, of serving God legalistically through a type of "worship made up only of rules taught by men" (Is.29:13), is destined to continue.

I have more about this at the following links:

Eschatology Issues I

"This Generation"

Feel free to write back about this. Hope all goes well.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #2: 

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

I keep reading Matthew 24, and I cannot help but intellectually notice the fact that the apostles ask Jesus about the temple.

Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings.

"Do you see all these things?" he asked. "Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." (Mat 24:1-2)

"Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until /all these things/ have happened.'' (Mat 24:34)

However, spiritually, this seems dissonant. It seems like these verses are still talking about the future. How do you resolve this?

Sincerely,

Response #2: 

Good to hear from you again. Since you mention that "It seems like these verses are still talking about the future", I take it that your question has to do with our Lord's remark about "this generation" passing away. That comment, coming in Matthew 24:34 follows Jesus' 30-plus verse synopsis of the events of the entire Tribulation. So the "this generation" comment is not just about the temple but the whole of pre-second advent eschatology: "this generation" will abide until our Lord returns and "those who pierced Him" look upon Him and repent (see the link: "The Repentance of Israel at Christ's Return").

The word at issue here is "generation", and while it can be used in ancient Greek in our modern sense, in this instance it refers not to a temporal category but to a behavioral category. Jesus' generation was for the most part hardened at heart against receiving Him as the Messiah, and Paul tells us that this characteristic hardening at heart will continue until Christ's return (Rom.11:25). So Matthew 24:34 is not saying that all of eschatology will unfold within the disciples' lifetime (and clearly it did not), nor that the present generation was going to abide until the second advent (clearly they have not), but that the same hardness of heart directed at Him by His contemporaries would abide among the majority of the Jewish people until they actually see Him returning in glory. There is more about this at the following links:

Eschatology Issues I (Question #1)

This generation shall not pass.

Apologies in advance if I have misunderstood your question. Please do feel free to write back in any event.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3: 

Dr. Lugenbill,

Again, thanks for your time. Not certain you would be interested, but I have found this newsletter rather interesting. It goes against the conventional wisdom that "no man knows (present tense) the hour or the day" as traditionally understood. The quote is actually a reference signifying relation to the setting of... ? Passover.. I believe. And even though one may not know the exact hour or day, we should absolutely recognize the season. Combine this with the message in Daniel and the Revelation that in the last days, a certain book or code shall be opened...

http://freepages.religions.rootsweb.ancestry.com

/jimmylewis/Newsletter_Jun2011.htm

An even more peculiar source for me (though I recognize the connection to the Herbert W. Armstrong and the old Worldwide Church of God). The Trumpet Magazine. Whereas Rabbi Lewis has been very educational in regards to Hebrew connections, I believe the Trumpet is quite accurate in regards to the Arab revolt of this past Spring and the very real danger of the European Union in conjunction with the papacy.

Again, kindest regards,

Response #3: 

I couldn't make your link work, and while I am very skeptical about the theory reported, I certainly agree with your take on this: "even though one may not know the exact hour or day, we should absolutely recognize the season". How true! Yes, that is not the "conventional wisdom", but, as is often the case, the conventional wisdom is wrong. My interpretation of this passage is exactly along your lines (quote from The Satanic Rebellion, part 5, footnote #60):

The "unknown day and hour" of Matt.24:36 and Mark 13:32 merely indicates that we may know an event is imminent without knowing the precise day of the year and hour of the day in which it will occur. After all, this comment occurs immediately following the parable of the fig tree where we are told by our Lord in no uncertain terms precisely to pay attention to scripturally significant events and not to ignore what the Bible has to say on these matters (cf. Matt.24:32-35; Mk.13:28-31). Acts 1:7 is often mistranslated "It is not for you to know", but should be rendered "It is not for you to decide the times and the seasons". The Greek verb gignosko commonly has this meaning of "decide" especially when it is in the aorist as it is here. The context strongly supports this revised translation since our Lord immediately adds "which the Father has ordained by His authority". That is to say, Jesus' point is that it is the Father who has decided these matters; they are not to be decided by your wishes. For our Lord's disciples had just very clearly expressed the wish through their question in the preceding verse six for Him to establish the Kingdom immediately. Therefore our Lord's reproof in verse seven is not a commendation of complete ignorance about the Father's timetable, but rather a reminder to them that it is His will in these matters that counts, not theirs; they would have to remain patient, even though from their perspective the time seemed ripe for the commencement of the Messiah's kingdom. We must also take into consideration the fact that this statement was given to the apostles prior to the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost. The Spirit is the agent of inspiration, chronology included, who, as Jesus had already made clear, would be the One to relate to them "the things to come" (Jn.16:13; cf. 2Pet.1:16-21). Since they will later come to understand the "things to come", verse seven must also be understood in conjunction with verse eight: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you . . .", a statement that clearly includes the previously promised further revelation of the Spirit (not excluding information about the end times). This is why, a few short years later, Paul can tell the Thessalonians the exact opposite of Acts 1:7 (that is, as it is generally misconstrued): "concerning the times and the seasons, you have no need that anyone write you, for you know very well . . ." (1Thes.5:1-2).

See also the link:

Eschatology Issues V: "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons".

You should know that, at least in my considered opinion, there are no unfulfilled prophecies left to occur before the Tribulation begins (see the link: in CT 2B: "Signs of the Coming Tribulation"). Revelation 8:5 tells us that when the seven seals are opened (beginning the Tribulation), that after a "half hour of silence" (a six month reprieve which moves the eschatological "clock" half a year forward for an October to October beginning and end of the Tribulation consonant with the Jewish ceremonial calendar; see the link), there will occur "thunderous voices and flashes of lightning and an earthquake". These worldwide phenomena will be our first unmistakable signs that the Tribulation has begun – but, aside from informed speculation about how current events might be developing in a way to more easily allow the specific tribulational scenario the Bible provides, there are no definite signs to come before the end times actually begin. Blessedly, we do have a pretty good idea when that will be (please see the link: The Date of the Tribulation).

Yours in Jesus Christ our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #4: 

Bob,

It may seem somewhat elementary to you, but I did not consider or recognize a three heaven cosmology, until this past year or so. And again, the things I now believe are not completely by study. I have thus far only briefly looked at your latest link, but viewing the throne of God diagram put me in mind of something revealed to me in study of Ezekiel about two years back. The image of God on the throne with the wheel within a wheel is essentially a description of the Milky Way along the lines of ancient astrology... (which ever way the wheel turns it is always facing Ezekiel (or earth) The four faces are a man (Aquarius) lion (Leo), bull (Taurus) and an eagle (the very ancient sign of Scorpio)...

I do believe there may be one or two signs left, but they involve (IMHO) the EU as the king of the North. Using Daniel rather in addition to the Revelation. Not all of this has been fulfilled, though it could be argued as largely fulfilled in the Crusades.

God Bless,

Response #4: 

I take the "wheel within a wheel" language to mean the wings (one set of them, that is) of the cherubs interlaced with the wheels to propel them (for the full explanation, see the link: in BB 2A: Angelology: "The Cherubs"). This link will also provide my explanation of the four faces each cherub possesses (and the reasons for it). As to identifying these faces with astral patterns, I know of no verse in scripture which would lead me to think any such thing was meant (let alone identifying the faces with particular symbols of the zodiac). As you are no doubt aware from our previous correspondence (not to mention the material at Ichthys), I find this sort of identification spiritually dangerous (as well as unfounded).

As to the possibility of any further unfulfilled prophecies before the actual commencement of the Tribulation (again, see the link: "Signs of the Coming Tribulation"), my reasons for believing and teaching that there are none remaining are two-fold: 1) everything in Revelation from chapter four onward when John is told "I will show you what must take place after these things" in verse one (i.e., after the Church Age trends of the seven churches) happens during the Tribulation itself, and all of the prophetic information about the end time found elsewhere in scripture clearly attaches to some event or other described in Revelation 4:1ff.; 2) there are good reasons why there are no signs to come before the Tribulation begins since the age of the Church is the mystery age, the age when in completely unexpected fashion two millennia would be intercalated between the first and second advents. After the fact there are scriptures which explain this age of grace (the Jewish ceremonial calendar and the seven days of human history exemplified by the seven days of re-creation, for example; see the links), but this development was a very big surprise, even to the disciples.

The "king of the north" is antichrist in my interpretation of these matters (and of this point I think there is really very little doubt; see the link: BB 3B: Antichrist and his Kingdom). What is often imperfectly understood, even among those who study these matters at some length, is that antichrist is also (and primarily) the ruler of Babylon (which is most definitely separate from the seven kingdom "North"; see the previous link for details).

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5: 

Hello,

I was viewing the contents of your web site, some pretty interesting things. However, I have this one question concerning the year 2026 as the probably date of the start of the trib.

While I'm not trying to pull a Harold Camping (or even a Hal Lindsey) in trying to date-set the Lord's coming, it seems like alot of stuff is really starting to go down prophetically. Even though yes, Obama is another puppet on a string by the Illuminati, at the same time, one can't deny everything is really in free-fall mode. Almost every report of the economy is near-hopeless (hiring is getting worse and worse, the USA lost its AAA credit rating-meaning Tbills are no longer 100% risk free, Obama became the 1st President declaring pre-67 borders on Israel, etc). And not to mention too other things like Apostasy in the Church has really gone to an all-time low (partly thanks to Emergent doctrine hijacking 1000s of churches, lots of false bible versions being used, seminaries being infiltrated for quite some time now by Jesuits, etc), gay marriage slowly getting legalized across the world, and to make matters worse, almost every entity in our society is yoking with Islam (including some of our churches, as people like Warren, Bill Hybels, and the Vatican are pushing ecumenism).

I also saw a film titled Hollywood's Satanic Influence (I think that's the title) today...it's as if with all the filth they put in there (and how Hollywood practices the occult), one can't imagine it's hard to get any lower than that.

Overall, pretty much America is ripe for judgement. If we make it to 2012, it's not like we won't be any better with let's say Rick Perry (who reportedly has worked closely with Islamic groups and has put Islamic studies in TX public schools). Anyhow, yeah, we've been in tough times before, but not like this what's unfolding.

Anyhow, no, I'm not writing this email to attack you or anything (please don't think that), but was wondering if it's also the case if time is really, really running out. I know Jesus is on the throne and has the final say, however, you look at the state of the church now, the state of our society, culture, etc...can it get any lower? It's as if in a couple of years gay sex would make its way within the church walls. Look at the Southern Baptist Convention, this year, they elected a pastor who's part of his city's Interfaith group as 1st Vice President (Fred Luter from New Orleans).

Response #5: 

Good to make your acquaintance, and thank you very much for your email. My apologies for the delay in responding. I was out of town and then got hit with a wicked flu upon my return. I am still recovering and only now starting to dig out on back emails.

As to 2026, as I often point out (and as you have no doubt read), this interpretation is based upon a number of assumptions which, while I do believe they are correct, must all be so in order for that date to be right. In a nut-shell, the date is based upon understanding two millennial days for the Church Age (which correspond to the preceding two millennial days each for the gentiles and for Israel, all of which are complemented by the final millennial day, the Millennial Kingdom of Christ). If that assumption is correct (and of that I am personally convinced), then the only important question of dating becomes when to start and stop the 2,000 years. Jesus was almost certainly born in ca. 1 B.C., so we are well past the 2,000 year mark if that were the start point. However, it is really the cross and subsequent resurrection of our Lord which is the focal point of history, and that dates to 33 A.D. in all likelihood. I get fall 2026 by subtracting the seven years of the Tribulation (seeing it as a joint part of the Church and Jewish ages), and by moving the start point from Passover to the Day of Atonement in understanding the half-hour of silence in Revelation 8:1 as half a year (a not unprecedented prophetic phenomenon).

Of course, Jesus is indeed Lord of all, and He is certainly free to change the prophetic calendar around if He and the Father so will it. However, this has not been the case in the past, so that I am fairly strong on these conclusions. Any of the other assumptions may be incorrect as well (though I do not believe they are for reasons laid down in the pertinent studies: see the links below). Possibly the most dramatic shift of "schedule" would come if the seven years turn out to be an additional period of human history (as is the 33+ year period of the life of Christ) rather than part of the present 2000 year period of the Church. That would result in the Tribulation occurring in 2033, however – that is to say, later not earlier (and the same would be the case if the seven years are part of the Age of Israel but not part of the Age of the Church so that there would then be no overlapping of time periods).

I do understand what you are saying about the state of the world et al. from a biblical point of view. It is always wise to watch for the trends, and they are certainly not encouraging as you chronicle so well. However, it is also true that when it comes to human history things can often get far worse than we may at present imagine (even without the commencement of the Tribulation). So while I think you do well to remind us of the spiritual dangers abroad at every turn and of the reality that God can change things at will when it comes to prophecy, from the standpoint of interpreting scripture with the hermeneutics that scripture itself provides, I personally don't know of any other prophetic "peg" that would allow the commencement of the Tribulation to be moved up (especially now that the 2000 year anniversary of our Lord's birth is now much more than seven years in the past). But as to watching and waiting, you are very good to remind us that Christians need to remain alert about this critical matter:

Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.
Mark 13:33 NIV

Just in case you missed them, here are some pertinent links where the specifics of the above are detailed:

The Specific Chronology of the Seven Days of Human History.

When will the Tribulation Begin?

Biblical Chronology of the End Times.

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus, for whose return we so eagerly watch and wait.

Bob Luginbill

Question #6: 

Dr. Luginbill,

First off, thank you for the email response. I have this one more question...

Assuming the trib starts in 2026 (or 2033), could any of the following events happen before then, fwiw...

1) North American Union

2) China replacing the USA as the new "superpower"

3) Rome falling (ie-whenever I read Rev 18 on Mystery Babylon falling, which I feel it's the Vatican, it just doesn't sound like it's God's final judgement on the world. When MB falls, it seems like the whole world will be watching it)

4) "Alien" Disclosure - maybe this won't be part of the 2nd The 2 "strong delusion" Tribulation, I don't know, but if let's say Obama makes it official, you can bet his sagging approval ratings will skyrocket.

FWIW too, I'm post-trib as well - my big gripe with the pre-trib theory is that you have Christians in 3rd world countries like Africa, North Korea, and the Middle East that are getting persecuted daily (and don't have the finances the average American has), but en yet American churches have been deceived into thinking blessings = material wealth. Sometimes we can all forget about the saints we need to pray for daily.

Anyhow - was wondering if it's possible if America could very well fall, lose its superpower position with any of these 4 events above before 2026 (assuming it goes this far). The OT prophecies like Jeremiah give clear warnings over rejecting the gospel and judgements that would happen (ie-giving over to the sword/enemies).

Response #6: 

You're very welcome.

As to your questions, I am agnostic about a North American Union, both as to whether it is likely to happen (to paraphrase Niels Bohr, "Prediction is difficult, especially about the future"), and also whether or not it would have any bearing on the end-time events scripture does detail.

As to China, given that country's minimal Christian connections and her historically inward looking foreign policy (she is very chauvinistic but sees herself as the center of the world and wants others to court her rather than desiring to occupy great swaths of territory not traditionally felt to be part of greater China; i.e., look out if you're the Philippines, but Ecuador can probably rest easy), and the prediction of Revelation 16:12ff. which indicates political quiescence in the east until just before Armageddon, I think it extremely unlikely that China is mystery Babylon. For that reason alone, I think it very unlikely that she will actually eclipse the actual mystery Babylon (i.e., the US) before the Tribulation begins (after all, as it says in Rev.17:15, "The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages" [NIV], indicating that country's preeminence over all the other nations of the world, and that would have to include China if China is not mystery Babylon).

Rome, in Revelation, is not the present day city of Rome and it is not the R.C. church; Rome in biblical eschatology is the seven-cum-ten nation confederacy which the beast, the leader of Babylon, comes to control during the Tribulation's first half. It cannot fall at present because it will not exist per se again until the early days of the Tribulation's first half (it "comes to life" during the Tribulation; cf. Rev.17:8, a verse equally applicable to revived Rome and to antichrist), and is only completely united under antichrist at about the midpoint of the seven years.

As I have opined in the past, it is very possible that antichrist will not forswear rumors of an alien origin. He will be, at least initially, "all things to all people", only for evil rather than for good. The thing of which Christians need to beware will be his claim, which will be persuasive to many, that he is the true Messiah.

Yes, it is very true, and one of my major disappointments as well, that modern-day Christians are focused upon materialistic success rather than spiritual progress. That explains in part why this ministry is on the internet, and why it is so difficult to find any substantive teaching in the average local church.

The details on most of the above is written up in one place or another of the Coming Tribulation series (see the link). I'm always happy to provide more specific links.

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7: 

Bob what do you think of Matthew 10:23: "you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes"? It seems "incorrect"!

Response #7:

I'm not exactly sure what you mean, but I'll have a go and let you get back to me if I'm missing the import of your question.

This passage, in addition to containing instructions for the disciples in their pre-advent heralding of Jesus imminent coming to Jerusalem, is also prophetic of the ministry of 144,000 and their similar pre-2nd advent ministry. For example, verse 36 is a quotation from Micah 7:6 which likewise has a clear tribulational application. In addition to this sort of thing in the gospels, it is also very common in Old Testament scripture for the two advents to be mixed, and Jesus' generation often confused them. I explain this phenomenon in part 1 of Coming Tribulation, section IV.1.a "Prophetical Foreshortening". You can also find out more about the ministry of the 144,000 including other gospel passages which apply both to them and to the 12 and/or 72 sent out prior to the cross at the following link: in CT 2B: "The Sealing of the 144,000".  And see also this link:

What does Matthew 10:23 mean?

Hope this helps – feel free to write me back if I missed the boat on this one.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #8: 

Hi Doctor Bob!

I have just two questions..but let me say this first: its very rare indeed when I have studied someone's teachings, that I get up from my chair and shout the victory and greatly rejoice in the Word of God, as I repeatedly have studying under your..well, magisterial teachings!

As a child no more than 8 years old sitting in our family church and following in our Bibles our greatly esteemed uncle Robert, then one of Detroit's politically well-connected pastors (counted on to deliver the vote to the powers that be), as he read out loud a verse of Scripture, I was greatly appalled (with something not unlike choler) at how carelessly he handled a verse..no one else seemed to notice..I did, and vowed then and there never to do so myself. Now I live here in Sweden, 19 years, but this never changed!

But, thanks be to our Father, and our blessed Lord, I was saved under Doctor Benjamin J. Good, one of the very few Greek scholars of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World Churches (although their teaching and tradition of operating in certain spiritual gifts, i.e., speaking in tongues, were unscriptural).

So to my questions: concerning the premise you use in many other places based upon the "Restrainer" in II Thess. 2, and also what you consider as the "144,000"Jewish male evangelists of Revelations 7.

I believe the King James translators takes us on a wild goose chase with their rendering of II Thess 2: verse 6 and 7, and must be entirely recasts to show Paul's use of the Greek word "Katecho" in both verses.

And I believe as Paul was indeed a Rabbi, so he was using the method Midrash, and so employed the two verses as a single couplet wherein a single subject is repeated, with a slightly different meaning in the second part in comparison to the first part.

"Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what (katecho) witholdeth that he might be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (katecho) will let, until he be taken out of the way."

There we learn that the Beast could not be manifested on earth as long as he (masculine) now "Holdeth fast" [to his place in the Heavenlies], Rev.12:7. That he will hold fast until he is "cast out" ( a Hebrew aphorism) this casting out is described in Rev. 12. where Satan is about to openly manifest it. In the meantime, "ye know what (neuter) "holdeth him" ( the Lawless One) fast, that (the Lawless one) may be revealed in his time.

Well, Paul could write this to the Church of Thessalonians, as he has previously told them, so they knew, but we don't know. All we know is that it cannot be a person who holds the lawless one fast, because the word is in the neuter gender, so it can only be a place...the pit of the Abyss, I believe...out of which he comes "stepping up out of." And in any case, the traditional view cannot be correct, which takes it as the Holy Spirit: what does the Holy Spirit "hold fast"? I think that the wrong translation of the Authorized Version and the Revised Standard Version arises from ignoring the fact that the verb is transitive, and must have an object! Something must be held fast.

Further confusion is also introduced by not preserving the important different between the genders, which I think you know yourself is neuter in verse 6 ("THAT which holds him fast") i.e., in the pit of the Abyss; and the masculine in verse 7 (He that holdeth something fast) i.e., his position in the heavenlies etc. One, the Beast, "holds fast", while the other, the Lawless one, is "held fast". (And while staying within these two questions, there is a subtopic here, by which we are being loudly asked, that if this Lawless One is in fact a human being who is now being held fast in the Abyss, then the real question arises: how and when did he get there in the first place, if not as the Scriptures also tells us by way of Acts chapter 1 verse 25, that our Gracious Savior's 11 apostles made honorable attempts to find Judas Iscariot's replacement, "when he fell by transgression...that he might go to his own (Idio) place"?, which in the context here above, is the Abyss? nd, as we are also frankly told simply by the deadly ascription of his title "The son of predition" THAT IS GIVEN to both, that Judas and the lawless One, of the Antichrist, are one in the same, I fail to understand why we all cannot say OUT LOUD, WITHOUT THE LEAST EQUIVICATION that Judas Iscariot is THE ANTICHRIST!!).

Our having proper regard to these four facts:

1) The meaning and usage of the verb.

2) The fact that it is transitive.

3) The distinction between the two genders in verses 6, 7; and

4) The undoubted idiom in verse 7---cast out, it seems clear that II Thess 2: 6-7 has suffered much at the hands of our most valiant and learned King James translators, and so needs to be entirely recast.

Now to my second question concerning the 144,000 being male evangelists, all Jewish ones at that? I'm not so sure if this traditional view had its origins in The Scofield Bible and its subject-based Topical chain reference system or not, but I recall first picking up a book on it in the 70's which made this very argument that the 144,000 were in fact all Jewish male evangelists who would begin preaching precisely at the point where Christian preachers would be taken out of the world. However, this traditional view contradicted John's own testimony of what he had heard from the Lord Jesus Christ through his angel: "And I heard the number of them, which were sealed..." and he emphatically states these which were sealed "Were and hundred and forty four thousand...OF ALL OF THE TRIBES OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL." But the tribe of Judah...the Jews, are only one of the 12 tribes of the children of Israel. How then, can they be 144,000 Jews? Listen Bob, when I used the phrase "study under" as I apply it concerning my teachers, that's exactly what I meant, and this "teachable spirit" is what we all must have and try our best to maintain when we are learning from others with far greater knowledge than we have ourselves. As I used to say: I'm not really studying the Bible, I'm studying my Lord so that I may know Him. Therefore it matters not a whit to me who is right or wrong, so long as it is God Who is glorified in us both.

So please let me say this without rancor, that I believe in my own heart that our Christian teachers of the recent past did in many ways rule out the Jews, taking all the blessings for themselves, and leaving the curses to Israel in the flesh even though Paul so emotionally warned Christian not to do so. Without getting pedantic about this, this seems to arise from our own selfishness. "We" belong to the Church, and therefore all "we" read "we" take for ourselves, not hesitating to rob others of what belongs to them. Thus they reduce all these tribes to one, and that a Jewish one, then throw out a bone of evangelism for these to take up after "we" are gone. And what if the Church of God is not even the subject of the book of Revelations...cause I just cannot see that it is! Not only because the Apocalypse bears from one end to the other, the character of an Hebrew prophecy, but because of the Hebrew character of the book in its use of idioms, expressions, words and phrases, which as some as remarked cannot be called Greek, and indeed is called "bad Greek". Though the language IS Greek, the thoughts and idioms are Hebrew; and this links it on, not to Paul's epistles, but to the Old Testament and shows that its great subject is God's final dealings with the Jew and the Gentile, and not the Church of God. All the imagery-the Temple, the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, the Altar, the Incense, the heads of the twentyfour courses of priests ( of which the pattern of David's was a copy). And what of the fact, the entire book is address from the very threshold- to Servants, and not to sons, isn't it true that the Church of God is never addressed as servants in the epistles, that this is peculiarly the title of Israel in the flesh? And, where do we ever meet the word angel having to do with the Churches of God which Paul planted? But we do meet with the word angel in connection with the Synogogue (though admittedly not in the OT), but however, there was an officer, who was called Sheliach Tzibbur: Tzibbur meaning assembly, and Sheliach, the Angel or Legate of the Assembly, and the Leader of Divine worship, from (shalach), to send. The chief officer was the Archisynogogos, or "Ruler of the Synagogue"; and after him came the Sheliach Tzibbur; or "Angel of the Assembly" who was the mouthpiece of the congregation; his duty was to offer up public prayers to God for the whole congregation. Hense his title; because, as the messenger of the assembly, he spoke to God for them. Not only this, but the extreme difficulties expositors have had with all their many and contradictory applications in their attempting to shoehorn past church history in the first two chapters of Revelations was created, I believe, by fitting the Seven Assemblies where they have no place.

As to these "Seven lampstands", ought not this Hebrew expression to at once send our thoughts back to the Golden Lampstand of the Tabernacle of Exodus 25: 31-39, One lampstand with seven lamps, indicative of Israel's UNITY in the Land and in the City? But here in the scene of John's Holy vision, the scattered condition of the nation is just as distinctly indicated by the fact that these "seven lamps" are no longer UNTIED into one lampstand. The nation is no longer in the land, for Jerusalem is not now the CENTER, but the people, Israel..in the flesh... are scattered in separate communities in various cities in Gentile lands. So that just as the One lampstand represents Israel in its Unity, the seven lampstands represent Israel in DISPERSION...and tells us that Jahweh (bless His Holy name), is about to make Jerusalem again the CENTER of His dealings with the whole earth. I believe you have even argued yourself that prophecy is not now for the Church of God (hope I'm not miscasting what you said here) but I agree, Prophecy is not for the Church of God, but revelation is, for the Church. And I would argue even further to say, that prophecy is "special instructions" for an earthly people, and for their arrival to a physical place: back to the Land of Promise. This is why I believe that the polemical/Hermenuetical styles of Biblical expositors serve to put far too much burden on the Two Witnesses as to obscure and greatly diminish, in my opinion, their first and foremost work: As the Moses and Aaron anti-types who lead the children of Israel, the 144,000, back in the land of their fathers in a 2nd Exodus in accordance with their preaching unto Pharoah/Antichrist: "let my people go!" I do not see where the Church of God has anything whatsoever to do with these two olive berries of Jah, nor with YaHshua in the character of a "Judge" addressing servants under a covenant of "works", as we see here. And, I would further argue that, far from being merely "144,000 Jewish evangelists", but, as John testified, these are 144,000 male heads of the families of the 12 tribes of the children of Israel who are going to be led back to the Land of promise by these new Moses and Aaron leaders standing at Jerusalem for this very purpose. I must insist that they are the male heads of families, because of the fact that the whole Bible entire, from Genesis to Revelations is most often, if not always, addressed only to Males heads of families, and their wives, who stand for the "House of their fathers" in all the Tribes of Israel. And given the average size of Messianic families today, this would easy amount to over 800, 000, besides those rebels and refusniks who will themselves fall in the "wilderness of the people" before they arrive at their final destination. So I believe its no exageration to say there will be well over a million people who will start that journey on Isaiah's "highway of Holiness" in the 2nd Exodus. I believe these exact numbers, as all of them...are important to our Father, so much so that He has a special angel, the person of which is obscured by the King James ambiguous rendering of Daniel 8: 13 of the Hebrew word for the angel Palmoni, "the wonderful numberer" whose duty I believe is to stand and count the total sum of the elect, or both the Church and the children of Israel, and its he who will one day say to the Father, "we have the whole count!"

Well, my English is not the best and is rather stilted from living here in Sweden all these years, but I sincerely hope it was sufficient enough to make myself clear to you as to my views, which, I might hasten to add, your marvelous scholarship has in no small way greatly contributed to in confirmation on so many points, I must say. And you truly are the go-to guy when the foundation and basis of any text needs to be gotten first of all. And may our Lord and Master Yahshua richly bless you and your family in this mighty work you are doing in His Name Doctor Bob...I thank you from the bottom of my hearts, for there is none like you.....

Standing firm in His word, under His blood

Yours faithfully

Response #8: 

Very good to make your acquaintance. I am always pleased to here when these writings have contributed to the spiritual edification of my brothers and sisters in Jesus! I also appreciate your in-depth, personal study of the Word of God. I believe that is so important for all Christians who are intent on accomplishing the Lord's purpose for their lives. I also am also very appreciative when someone can disagree with some aspect of this teaching and not "throw the baby out with the bath-water". After all, the great majority of Christians are not gifted to be teachers, and there are very few who are who ever get around to doing the many years of background work necessary to get to the point of being able to employ that gift effectively. When one adds the facts that 1) no teacher is right 100% of the time about 100% of the teaching, and 2) everyone will have preconceived ideas or notions which are going to knocked down by correct doctrine (that goes for diligent teachers as well, of course), were every Christian to part company with a teaching ministry every time he/she disagreed with what was taught, then very soon no Christian anywhere would be learning anything from anyone else (and the entire Body's spiritual growth would suffer dramatically). In that spirit, let me entertain your questions.

As you know from reading the pertinent studies at Ichthys, I teach that the Restrainer in 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2 is the Holy Spirit. That seems to me to be very clearly the case for a whole host of reasons. First, the Spirit is the divine Agent of restraint of evil throughout angelic and human history (so this ministry in context is entirely consistent with what we know about the Spirit's work everywhere else; see the link: The Restraining Ministry of the Holy Spirit).

Second, Paul's main point in context is that the resurrection cannot occur until the Tribulation and the unmistakable events it contains first take place; since in that context the particular restraint of the Spirit in preventing the Tribulation is well-known from Revelation chapter 5-6 in the form of the seven seals which keep the book of Tribulation closed, we know that it is the Spirit who keeps the Tribulation from happening until its appointed time (and thus must be the One who keeps antichrist from appearing before the appointed time; see in addition to the previous link, "The Restraining Ministries of the Spirit").

Third, since only divine power can keep Satan and his plans in check, the Restrainer has to be one of the Trinity, and as the Spirit is characteristically the One whose work is "felt but not seen", He must be the One who is doing the restraining here (as is His wont).

Fourth, since, as you recognize, the repetition of the phrasing here has to be teaching the same thing, therefore the subject of the verb in both cases has to be the same, and only the Spirit can be referred to as neuter as well as masculine (because the word for "spirit" in Greek [pneuma/ πνευμα] is neuter, His title can be modified by a neuter participle, and because He as God is masculine, He in His own Person as the Restrainer is modified by a masculine participle – and we find both things happening here).

As to your four points, let me address them seriatim:

1) The meaning and usage of the verb: The Greek verb katecho, while it can mean "contain", also very commonly means "hold down" or "keep under restraint". Indeed, that is the base meaning of the verb and the idea of containment is only a metaphorical development. Since a person cannot contain a person (except in the sense of restraint), the meaning of "contain" will not work whereas "restrain" not only works but makes perfect sense. By the by, the word Abyss in Greek is feminine so that it cannot be the subject of either participle.

2) The fact that it is transitive: Indeed, I certainly take the verb as transitive in both instances, the Spirit (subject) is restraining the revelation of the lawless one, antichrist (the object).

3) The distinction between the two genders in verses 6, 7: Indeed, and the Spirit is the only Person who can be described in this way for the reasons mentioned above.

4) The undoubted idiom in verse 7---cast out, it seems clear that II Thess 2: 6-7 has suffered much at the hands of our most valiant and learned King James translators, and so needs to be entirely recast: Here I admit a bit of perplexity. There is no "casting out" in the Greek text of 2nd Thessalonians 2:6-7. In Revelation chapter 12, verse 9, the verb is the passive of ballo (ἐβληθη), "throw", to which most versions add "down" since the direction is from heaven and to the earth. No trace of anything like what you mention here in the actual Greek text.

Finally, on antichrist, there are only two ways in scripture in which the dead return to life: resurrection and resuscitation. Since the unbelieving dead will not be resurrected until they are all so brought up at once at the last judgment, this would have to be a resuscitation in Judas' case (along the lines of the widow of Zarephath's son; see the link: Transmutation, Resuscitation, and Resurrection). However, that is impossible in Judas' case, since such resuscitation cannot take place once the body has fully decayed (the only cases of resuscitation long after death are those of Moses and Elijah, the two tribulational witnesses, and that future mission explains why both of their bodies were miraculous preserved for just that event; see the link).

As to the 144,000, this objection seems to me to flow from the use of the words "Jews/Jewish". I understand that some folks (wrongly, in my view) have a problem with the use of these words to describe Israelites. If you have such issues, do feel free to substitute the words "Israelites/Israelite" in these studies. I am using them as synonyms of each other. It is certainly clear that John, a Jew/Israelite, understood Jews/Israelites as those being referred to in Revelation chapter 7 – how could 12,000 men from Reuben, for example, be anything else? As to their being men, the reference in Revelation 14:4 to the effect that they have "not defiled themselves with women" puts their gender beyond argument. I admit to being a bit confused on your objection here, because, unless I am misreading, at the end of your discussion you seem to embrace the same interpretation (at least broadly construed).

As you will know from the Coming Tribulation series, I certainly also do see the ministry of Moses and Elijah and the 144,000 as being directed at Israel – though those who respond will be in the minority (these are they who escape the beast in Revelation chapter 12). And as you certainly must know from even a peripheral glance at the eschatological portions of what is presented at Ichthys, the notion that Christians today will escape the Tribulation through some "rapture" is completely unfounded in my view (best links to start with for a full review of what I teach are "The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory." and "No Rapture").

Yes, the book of Revelation has many Jewish/Israelite elements – but what book of the Bible does not? The entire Bible was written by Jews/Israelites and in no case were Jews/Israelites not at least some portion of the recipients. Moreover, that nation is the root stock upon which we gentiles have been grafted (Rom.11). The idea of Church versus Israel is, in any case, a completely non-biblical concept, and one which is responsible for much false doctrine (see the link: "Israelology"). The Church of Jesus Christ consists of all who have believed from Adam and Eve to all who will believe until Jesus returns, and its foundation consists of the prophets and apostles, all of whom are Jewish.

Thank you again for your good words and for your enthusiasm about the Word of God. I am greatly encouraged by your support and encourage you to keep on fighting the good fight of faith through close attention to the truth contained in scripture. For knowledge and belief of the truth is the only way forward on the high road to Zion.

Please feel free to write back about any of this.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #9: 

Hi Doctor Bob!

Thank you for your very kind, prompt reply to my questions. Yes, I do find many things in your teaching of which I certainly do disagree with, but yet and still my own duty to the cause of Christ our Lord gives me boldness to deal freely with your arguments: yet never, I hope without the full awareness that we all must give an account for every word spoken, even on the internet. Denominational hair-splitting and doctrinal infighting, and excoriating of one's opponent's contrary views is something I try to avoid at all costs. I made a (failed) attempt (I'm afraid) to give a much deserved honorable nod to your skill and dedication in your many, many years of training and hard slogging to become that kind of superlative teacher of the Scriptures which you have become, but its not all that easy to give the kind of complement I meant to give you. I like your style of sweeping, broad-brush systematic theology teaching which looks to take in at once all the particulars of a given subject and inter-weave it by precept and reference to the Bible entire as a whole, but I believe there are weaknesses obviously inherent in such a grand approach, and by this I mean those pesky "little foxes that" can potentially "destroy the vine" of particular, individual golden nuggets of truth, which stand on their own merit.

Okay, so on to my previously submitted question about your view on the "Restrainer" in Genesis chapter one. I have already read the link you suggested, previously, just as I am reading everything else you have written. I'm sorry Bob, but I just don't see where its actually there! I'm a Jew myself, and though not a native Hebrew speaker, I have lived in Israel and do speak Hebrew, and so when I see this Hebrew word rachaph translated brooding, especially as its described as fluttering softly on the pa n ym-face of the roaring/billowing deep, it has not the slightest negative hint, to my way of thinking, of something as being at all violent as the word Restrain would certainly imply as a matching or using greater counter-force to the thing being restrained. But "brooding" seems to have more of a sense of "mothering", as you would see the young of certain animals or, especially, birds hatched at one time and cared for by the mother.

The Lord God of creation is not here restraining anything of a negative nature, He is in fact, as it were, "sitting", and "hatching" something good, and nourishing it to its full maturity.

As it is, I believe this error of interpretation owes quite a lot to the King James translators certainly uncalled for rendering of Deuteronomy 32: 8-:

"When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the people according to the number of the [children of Israel]." "For the Lord's portion (of land) is His people's; Jacob's (land) is the lot of His (God's) inheritance."

The subject is land here, so we need to carry the subject over to verse 9 and there see just what Land is the Lord God going to have, after He has divided the rest to a fallen mankind. But, why did they use the phrase "children of Israel" when the Hebrew texts says b'ney ha-Elohim, or "sons of God"? I can read it myself, so I know that's what it says: sons of Gods. Well, I believe they did so, because of the King's remit that they should avoid controversy and all cost, and this passage has a very dark and foreboding implication for our world, because if we use the sons of God as we ought to do, then we have to face the principle of covenant-making as the basis of the legitimacy of Satan's ownership of the earth by default. And that the angels here are fallen "sons of God", who like Satan receive their inheritance when the Lord God divided the land according to their number, as we catch riveting glimpses of such extreme fallen angel territorial possessiveness in the book of Daniel. Far from slinking about and walking on eggshells..they own it lot stock and barrel!

And this certain fact is dramatically confirmed In Revelations 5 by a mighty angel in possession of the title deed of the whole earth in his hand which only the Lamb as the Gaol, or kinsman Redeemer of us humans, could qualify to open the Seals, and mighty too, enough to put in the power and regain the property lost by Adam, the purchased possession, which the Father, Who is the Covenant-keeping God had before apportioned out the legal owners: the sons of God.

So while it may be a comforting thought to us that the Holy Spirit might be restraining evil from bursting out in all its terror and destructiveness to overwhelm us, its just that the problem with it, is that the Bible simply does not say, either directly or indirectly that the Holy Spirit is now or ever have operated in any comparable way in the unseen world, as "the Prince of the power of the air" as a power with control in the world. "The [whole] world lies under the [darkness of] wicked one." And the only Light is the Holy Spirit working [within] God's children in this world. True enough, the fallen angels do need to be restrained, but the Scripture teaches that the Elect angels of God are used for that job, so there really is no crying need for His Spirit to have control of the world illegally, but God does this, the way He has always confined Himself to do things with man, by making an agreement, a covenant with some man on earth i.e., Noah, and Abraham. Plus, I don't really feel that its Cricket for the Father to be bullying His fallen sons with His Spirit over the inheritance of land they legitimately own, anyway. In my personal experience knowing the Father, its just not His manner to do such things. That's what we call Cracking out of turn...loading the game in your favor, so to speak, rather than allowing for the whole world to be in the grosses sinful straights as its humanly possible for people to act, and still save them, by love no less, and snatch them from the Devil who have everything going for him...now that's Glory for our Father's reputation if there ever was any. The only thing I can see as being supremely vanquishing in the game, is the Word of God. I have used that Sword to restrain evil, not only within myself, but all those here who know me as well.

So I don't think you made the case! Strong assertion is not fact Bob! Plus I don't believe you can use the much mishandled and uncertain verses of II Thess. 2 which do not, in my estimation speak of the Holy Spirit as the Restrainer, but which you used to support your case in Genesis, and then you turn around and then again base the case in Genesis upon the traditional but very faulty exegesis of II Thess. 2, when they should be argued and proven separately, and in my book. That is coming dangerously close to eisegesis: teachings that expresses the interpreter's own ideas, bias, or the like, rather than the meaning of the text itself (Smile!). Probably no one's said that to you in a long time Bob.

But I meant it in the spirit of love, to challenge your very good arguments which I feel may have gone beyond what the Scripture does actually say. And I hope you will accept it as such?

In the Spirit of "Restraining" Grace

Yours in Christ our Lord

Response #9: 

Good to hear from you again. Let me start by saying that we can save time by not fencing over a defense of the KJV. To be honest, I had already learned Hebrew and Greek before I got around to ever getting through that particular version the first time (I was brought up with the RSV and spent a lot of time with the NASB in seminary, and came to love the NIV – with major reservations of course). The KJV is an exceptional literary translation and very important to know for understanding the development of the English language. It is also important for understanding many misconceptions not only Christians but the English-speaking world at large have about the Bible, as you have pointed out well. However, since you would be hard put to find any occasion in my own teachings where anything I have said is the result of the KJV's diction, we can move on from that topic. Whatever disagreements you may have with this ministry, I can assure you that the "errors" are my own based upon my own study of the Bible in its original languages (even if in some cases I have come to similar conclusions others have reached).

As to Genesis 1:2, the negative nature of the phrase including merachephet (מרחפת) stems not from the meaning of the word, "to brood" (a descriptive term from husbandry not meant here to be taken as sinister), but from the overall context. Darkness is sinister – so is the sea. Please see the link "The Context of Judgment in Genesis Chapter 1" for the details on why it is that the Spirit's action must be taken in context as one of restraint of evil (characterizing restraint as "violent" is clearly not what I am doing nor is it necessitated by restraint, so the participle is entirely fitting in the context).

So as to making the case on this point, if all the evidence is considered regarding the Genesis gap (see the link), this is a very clear example of the Spirit's restraint. Secondly, my exegesis of our context in 2nd Thessalonians is not exactly traditional and was provided for you in some detail. Dismissing it out of hand and without evidence is not an argument (at least not one capable of persuading me). So here we have a second, very clear case of restraint by the deity, and only the Spirit can be described in these terms, neuter and masculine (for the reasons given). Thirdly, the scriptural testimony about the Spirit's role in the restraint of sin in the individual believer is overwhelming (ignoring it is not an argument), and I invite you to peruse the previous links on that. Fourthly, Genesis 6:3 very clearly describes the Spirit in the role of restraining the evil of the pre-flood civilization. Finally, in our context, the removal of restraint has wider effects beyond the allowing of the coming of the man of sin; the removal of restraint also unleashes "the mystery of lawlessness". Compare 2Thes.2:7 with 2:9-12 (see "the mystery of lawlessness" in CT 2B and "the unleashing of the mystery of lawlessness" in CT 3A), and note that the opposite of the removal of restraint is accomplished by "the Spirit" in verse 13. Beyond all argument, no force other than the divinity could be capable of that kind of restraint, namely, of tamping down human lawless behavior worldwide (relaxed when the restraint is removed).

Clearly, the devil's influence in this world is great, but how hard would it be for him to destroy every human being on earth at any time (resulting in immediate victory)? No problem at all – except for divine restraint. The fact that there is much satanic activity on earth is not an argument for a lack of present Holy Spirit restraint; rather, our continued existence and the lack of tribulation-like terror at present is a testimony to it. The fact that God uses human beings to do His will does not mean that He doesn't also use angels; the fact that He uses angels, does not mean that He does not also accomplish much directly through His own power as He obviously does (and, specifically, through the Spirit's agency).

Finally, the angel in Revelation 10 with the scroll which represents the book of Revelation is a clear type of Christ, foreshadowing the Second Advent (see the link: in CT 3A "The Angel with the Scroll"). This symbol has nothing to do with the fact that the seven seals of the book represent the Spirit – the One who restrains the Tribulation from happening before the time as is graphically represented by His presence in the symbol of the seven seals on the book which itself is the Revelation of Jesus Christ. So here is another important proof of the Spirit's restraint, one which along with all the others listed above would have to be addressed for anyone convinced by the biblical evidence to discard this important doctrine: the Spirit is the One who seals, and seven is His perfect number. No removal of the seals, no opening of the book of Revelation; no removal of Holy Spirit restraint, no commencement of the Tribulation.

Thank you again for your kind words and good efforts for the truth of the Word of God.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #10: 

Hello Dr. Bob

I really appreciated your time in answering my two questions, I must say that your replies were very helpful to me. Of course, I am well aware that you have studied Greek and Hebrew and much more besides, and I think your Ministry is so valuable, I cannot imagine any work done in the Scriptures for any purpose that wouldn't be greatly enhanced by studying the great themes you have set out in your foundational teaching in the Bible, and I believe they ought to be required reading for every minister of the Gospel. Let me just say, that your teachings, which do in fact, give a broad scholarly account of what the Bible does say, are of themselves of inestimatable value to me, and I hope, as well, to all the others I have continued to share them with, both here in Sweden and Norway, and to those I have and am sending the links to your ministry's website.. this before I wrote to you myself. The relatively minor points of disagreement I have raised does not, to my way of thinking, diminish in any way the truth of these wonderful Orthodox Christian teachings, and the crying need for such great work in the Word of God that you have done here.

I do firmly believe that our Lord has more than one Household of believers, and whether they be Christians of the" Household of Faith", or those of the "House of Israel", in the flesh..to which I was myself called to over thirty years ago, Yahshua is still the Head of the House. And what our "fencing", as you mentioned, so to speak, has shown me so clearly, is that the two don't mix any too well. To give just one example: the Lord himself asked me to give up all my friends, my family, my wife, and my country, and leave them all behind and to come here to Scandinavia, where He revealed to me great and awesome revelations concerning the great Return of Tribes of Israel to the Land of their fathers. As I write this, they are all scattered throughout the world sitting on their suitcases waiting. They are in desperate straights for "Special instructions" (i.e., prophetic directions). The Book of Revelations is really their book and not yours. I think its yours only by application and encouragement, as yours is the "waiting for the Lord from heaven", so you are "coming" ones, not "going" ones....on your way to that physical Land in your flesh. So you can see why those "Seven assemblies" (qahal) would be read as actually seven stages of Israel's history. But because you handle the Word of God so straight and accurately, you inadvertently confirmed what the Lord has already revealed to us, and for that I will be forever thankful for you as His servant in your labors, not only for Christians, but also to us of the House of Israel.

So thanks Doc.

Hope to see your face on that Great Day.

Yours in Yahshua

Response #10: 

Thanks for all your good words. I am relatively confident that you rate me far too high, but I am always very pleased to hear that these studies have helped my brothers and sisters in Jesus forward along their way to Zion.

In the very near future, all these things will begin to happen – no more sitting on suitcases, as you put it. I firmly agree with what you say here that the return to Israel – both before and after the Messiah's Second Advent – is for Israel. But blessed will they be who importune one of the returnees to be taken along (Zech.8:23). During the Tribulation, as I teach and interpret, the 144 thousand minister to Israel, and the return at that time is for Israel. The only possibility I see for any gentile contingent making its way to the land before Jesus comes back is for those commanded to "flee Babylon". We will have to go somewhere. I see no other biblical indicated objective at that time outside of Jerusalem. All that lies in the future, albeit a not too distant future, when Moses and Elijah will fill in all of the details we now long to know.

Until that time, I wish you great success in your continued ministering on behalf of our dear Lord Jesus.

Your friend in Him, a gentile grafted into the root-stock of Israel by the grace of God, and a member of Jesus' qahal as a result forevermore along with all who love Him with a love incorruptible.

Bob L.

Question #11: 

Hello Dr. Luginbill!

All is well in biblical terms thanks to your prayers and wisdom. I have a few questions regarding the symbolism in the book of Revelation. In the book of Revelation is says that there are demons bound in the Euphrates river and the army of demons numbering in the millions.

Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. (Revelation 9:14-17)

I've heard several commentaries saying that these horsemen are the Chinese army because of the number which parallels China's army. But the bible describes them as "demons". Are these demon possessed men or real demons in physical form? Also are the angels that are loosed from the Euphrates river really bound there, or is it symbolic?

God Bless,

Response #11: 

You are correct: the Bible says they are demons and they are demons indeed. The part about the Euphrates is frequently misconstrued by the various versions. What the text actually says is that these demons are released at the Euphrates river, not bound there. They are bound in the Abyss. Here is how I translate the verses in question:

And the sixth angel sounded [his trumpet]. And I heard a voice from the golden altar which is before God saying to the sixth angel with the trumpet, "Release at the great river Euphrates the four angels who are in bonds [in the Abyss]".
Revelation 9:13-14

The "entry port" to the Abyss is apparently located near biblical Babylon (cf. also the "highway to heaven" aka "Jacob's ladder" in the same vicinity), and that accounts for the confusion in the way most of the versions render this passage (incorrectly). You can read all about this "second woe" at the following link: in CT 3A: "The Second Woe: Demon Destruction".

Thanks as always for your kind and supportive words.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #12: 

Dear Sir,

The concept you discuss "The seven days of human History". Whilst I have read your discussion, I am lost between the link you draw from the reference material to the conclusion. Seemingly the reference material (bible) is quite vague, or should I say "open" to contemplation. Yet you line reference material up with the conclusion you draw with a firmness and confidence. How come? I have read other discussions, pre, post and omni millennialism, but in ignorance I have not come across your distinctive perspective. I am at a loss to even mount a counter. My rather pathetic confusion can best be explained as follows:-

In your creation days 5 and 6:

Your hypothesis uses this (quote below) for justification amongst many others

All the nations (i.e., gentiles) which You have made will come before You and will worship You, O Lord, and they will give glory to your Name.

Psalm 86:9 (cf. Revelation 15:4)

My question 1-

Where the term "gentile" "worship" is used or inferred- so whilst this is correct, how does this directly link back to the days 5 and 6 as being the "church"? And "filling water and the next day with aquatic animals" with Israel and/or church. I don’t see the direct correlation you offer?

My Question 2-

If the old testament was the "direction post" to Christ Jesus, then the Jews were critical to the maintenance of that direction. Surely then once Christ was recognized as THE Christ, then both the direction post and the need for it’s maintenance, were redundant. In effect making the "new" testament the new direction post…how then is the old testament relevant for today’s direction?

In appreciation of your patient answer.

Kind regards,

Response #12: 

First, my sincere apologies for the long delay in response. About once a month, I check the forwarded emails on my server just in case something important was not forwarded for some reason or was caught by one of the spam folders that guard my account. I only found your email the other day through this process.

As to your two questions, first, the seven day interpretation of human history is not unique to me. As I believe I point out in the course of developing it at the link you probably accessed, "The Seven Days of Human History", it can be traced all the way back to one the Greek church fathers, Irenaeus (see the link). As I also point out in the course of this exposition, the fact that the end of history is a one-thousand year "millennium of rest" would, if no other evidence at all were forthcoming from the Bible, invite us to compare this millennium of rest to the seventh day of rest in Genesis chapter one, and then extrapolate six prior millennia of history as corresponding to the six literal days in the Genesis account which precede the Sabbath. And once we even entertain this hypothesis, we will find that an abundance of other scriptural information supports it (this additional evidence is of course developed in the study cited).

As to the other particulars of the parallels between the seven literal days and the seven millennial "days", I do grant you that they are just that: parallels or analogies. That has to be the case since a day is not a millennium, and since the seven days included tangible acts of creation which while they are parallel and analogous to God's development of His Church are not, obviously, identical to that process. This sort of symbolic parallelism is in fact quite frequent in the Bible (for example, the Christological significance of virtually every aspect of the Mosaic Law, the analogous pattern of history taught by the Jewish calendar, and the "Day of the Lord paradigm", to name but a few of the major instances of this phenomenon – see the links). Once one accepts the principle that there is a link between the seven days and the seven millennia, the parallels noted in the study seem to me at least to be fairly persuasive. Naturally, not everyone will agree, and it is certainly true that because we are dealing with an "A represents B" situation (rather than an "A = B" one), the proof will not seem conclusive to some.

I hasten to add, however, that this really is a case of "the sum being greater than the parts". That is to say, the millennial day interpretation does not rest upon one single piece of evidence but on the entirety of the whole. To put it another way, I will grant you that just by reading Genesis chapter one a person would be very unlikely to conclude that the filling up of the earth with fish and birds on day five and with terrestrial animals and livestock on day six was meant to correspond to the vast expansion of the family of God during the two millennia of the Church Age. However, once we have come to understand and believe that days five and six do, in fact, represent and stand for the Church Age, then this vast expansion of creatures with spirits (as opposed to inanimate vegetation) is surely significant and invites just such a comparison. I can understand if you do not agree (I certainly do believe it to be true), but I would hope that no one would discard the truth of the seven days = seven millennia because of disagreement on this one rather small point.

As to your second question, the Old Testament is wonderfully full of all sorts of divine truth, and even those aspects of the law which prefigure the Messiah are still most blessed to read, consider and learn, even though we are no longer practicing the ceremonial aspects of the law:

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4 KJV

These words are not only true, of course, but seem to me to hit the mark perfectly here. I and most other Christians I know derive great encouragement, guidance, spiritual instruction and hope from reading the Old Testament. The entire Bible is God's complete book of truth, written in eternity past and brought to light in time through the agency of human authors inspired by the Holy Spirit (Dan.10:21; cf. Rev.22:19). All scripture has always been and always will be a blessing – even on that wonderful day of eternity when we "know even as we are known" (1Cor.13:12).

Once again, my apologies for the unintentional and long delay. Please do feel free to write me back about any of this (and n.b., sending email to me without html formatting will make it less likely for your message to get sidetracked).

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #13: 

Hello Sir,

I hope you are fine? Was everything that John saw in Revelation chapter 4, in the form of vision? did he really see the father?

Keeping you in my prayers.

In our savior Jesus Christ,

Response #13: 

My understanding of Revelation and of this passage in particular is that we should always assume what John sees is not a symbol but "real", unless there are good reasons from the text and context to think otherwise. In the case of the Father in chapter four, while it is true that God is spirit, it is not unprecedented for the Father to make Himself visible (technically called a theophany: see the link in BB 1: "Definition of Theophany and Christophany"). Since the throne and the altar and the book and the cherubs and the elders and the other angels and the departed believers John sees in the third heaven are not symbolic representations, I think it is very clear that this is the way we are to take the description of the Father in chapter four as well (especially since He is the One sitting of the real throne, holding the real book, and being attended to and worshiped by real angels). It is true that Jesus has the symbolic appearance of a Lamb in chapter five, but He is most certainly "real" too – and really there – only manifesting a symbolic outward appearance for the sake of the particular truths being taught and emphasized by the Spirit in this context: Jesus is "the victorious Lamb who has taken away the sins of the world" and has won the right thereby to begin the apocalypse, the Revelation of Himself to the world beginning with the Tribulation. The four horsemen are also symbolic (of the trends of the Tribulation's first half), for example, but that is made very clear (especially in the full Greek text which has some significant differences in this section from what occurs in English versions) when they are each introduced by one of the four cherubs with the formula addressed to John, "come over here and look!" (whereupon John comes, looks, and sees each of the four symbols in turn). So in his ecstatic vision, John is given to see 1) real things with their natural appearance; and 2) real things with a symbolic appearance which is meant to emphasize and to teach very particular doctrinal points which their natural appearance would not necessarily do – and that is not obviously true of the description of the Father here. So I think it is clear that the Father falls into the first category, and that is true with the majority of what John sees throughout Revelation (with notable exceptions like the Lamb, the great whore Babylon, the Woman Israel, the Beast, the Dragon, and the four horsemen).

Good to hear from you!

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #14: 

Hello Sir,

Sorry to bother you again. The appearance of the Father in the "vision" is not symbolic. I understand this. But, its still in the form of vision. The special worship of the Elders is future and so it was not actually happening at that time, but only in the vision. Sir, does John see the Father apart from the vision?

In Him,

Response #14: 

No bother at all! It's always great to hear from you, and I thank you for your questions.

There are two issues involved here. The first is, what is a "vision"? John was placed into an ecstatic state to be able to see all that he saw in receiving this "unveiling" (revelation), but that entailed his effective transport to heaven, spiritually speaking. As I put it in CT 2B, he was "spiritually ushered into the third heaven". This is analogous to Paul's experience shared with us at 2nd Corinthians 12:1-7 about his similar visitation to heaven, wherein he says "whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth" (1Cor.12:2-3 KJV). Both Paul and John were really "there", but, as Paul cannot tell and as John does not say, we do not know anything more about how God accomplished this than what we can see in scripture, namely, that through some spiritual and supernatural means both men were enabled to be in and see "paradise", the present place of God beyond the known universe.

Generally speaking, when people talk of "visions" they are referring to divinely provided sights and sounds given to a believer who is awake (as opposed to a divinely provided dream to a believer who is asleep). Visions and dreams both are given to believers on earth. Daniel and Ezekiel, to name two prominent prophets of God whose visions are extensive and well known, are not said to be taken to heaven as Paul and John were (whether in the body, or out of the body, no one but God knows). In the case of Paul and John, these were, technically speaking, both "revelations" (2Cor.12:1; Rev.1:1) rather than visions. Paul and John both saw things that were heavenly but real (although Paul was not allowed to write down what he had heard and seen, while John, on the other hand, was commanded to do so). Paul did have visions too (e.g., Acts 9; 16:9-10), but the experience related in 2nd Corinthians 12:1 was a revelation, literally, an unveiling – of something supernatural by supernatural means. The same is true for John here, and it is worth noting that the word "vision" (Gk., optasia or horama) does not occur in the book of Revelation (horasis in Rev.9:17 is frequently mistranslated in this regard). Peter saw a vision in Joppa in Acts 10 when the table cloth loaded with "unclean" animals was lowered from heaven to him; Paul and John were in some way actually transported to heaven, and what they saw was real:

I know a man, [a believer] in Christ – fourteen years earlier such a one was snatched up to the third heaven (in his body perhaps, or out of it, I don't know – God knows).
2nd Corinthians 12:2

After this I looked and, behold, a door was standing open in heaven. And the voice which I had heard before (sounding to me like a trumpet) was saying, "Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after these things!"
Revelation 4:1

We do not have the details of what Paul saw, but we also do know that some of the things John saw in heaven were symbols, and a very important part of the interpretation of the book of Revelation is to correctly distinguish between what is symbolic and what is not. It is not terribly hard to make the distinction, as shared in the previous email, but it is so important that I spilled perhaps a bit more ink than necessary on the subject (apologies if that obfuscated the main point).

So to sum up so far, the entire book of Revelation from chapter four verse one forward is a revelation, not a vision, and only a few things which John is given to see during this experience are symbolic. Most of what he is given to see has its "actual appearance", and the Father as described at Revelation 4:2-3 belongs to the latter category, not the former.

The second issue which much be considered relates to the fact that God is spirit. The Father does not have a physical body as our Lord Jesus does have and has had ever since the virgin birth. Nevertheless, the Father does, as this passage shows, choose to commune with His creatures, and since we creatures cannot perceive the imperceptible, He has chosen to manifest Himself in something which is clearly very similar to human form (i.e., in Theophany). Indeed, since human beings look the way they do only because this is how God made us (physically), and since He also made us internally/spiritually as a reflection of Himself (i.e., the "image of God" which gives us free will and is a mirror image of divine Will), this is not at all surprising. We see a similar self-representation of Himself by the Father in the book of Daniel:

(9) I kept looking until thrones were set down and the Ancient of Days (i.e., the Father) took His seat. His attire was white as snow, as was the hair of His head, [white] like the purest wool. His throne was aflame with fire, and its wheels were a blazing fire. (10) A river of fire was flowing, and it poured forth from before Him. Thousands upon thousands were ministering to Him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before Him. The court was seated and the books were opened. (11) Meanwhile, I kept looking on account of the sound of the arrogant words which the horn (i.e., antichrist) was speaking. I kept looking until he was killed and his body destroyed and given over to the burning fire. (12) As for the remaining beasts, their dominions were taken away, but an extension of life was given to them for an appointed time and season. (13) I kept looking during my vision of that night, and behold – with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming up, and He approached the Ancient of Days (i.e., the Father) and they brought Him before Him. (14) And to Him was given dominion and honor and a kingdom, so that all nations and peoples and tongues should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away, and His kingdom one which will not be destroyed.
Daniel 7:9-14

The willingness of the Father to reveal Himself to us in this way – and we will see Him as such for all eternity (Rev.21:3; 21:22-23; 22:1; 22:3; 22:5) – is indeed a blessing, and a most marvelous thing to anticipate by us who have not as yet had the privilege of seeing Him face to face. But it is also important to remember that Jesus is the One who reflects the Father perfectly in every way, and in most Old Testament cases was the One who was, as the Father's representative, standing in for Him and representing Him to the human race (compare Isaiah 6:1-13 with John 12:37-41 where it might very well have been assumed that the appearance was of the Father instead of the Son acting for Him were it not for John's commentary). We believers of the Church Age have been incredibly blessed to know Jesus in a personal way, the Son of the Father given to the world that all who receive Him might be saved. If we really do "know Him", having "seen Him" through His Word of truth, then we really have seen the Father too in a spiritual sense – which is far more important than any visual manifestation.

Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us." Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.
John 14:8-9a NIV

In anticipation of that great day when we shall "know even as we are known", yours in Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #15: 

Hello sir,

Thank you so much for explaining this to me. I remember now that you do speak about some of this in a email response, an email you received from pakistan I guess. But, In CT series you do say that this is in the form of vision. That's why I was a little confused.

"Although John sees the things mentioned in these verses in the form of a vision, the throne and all the paraphernalia of God's throne room in the third heaven are true heavenly realities, and are here described as they existed then and as they most certainly exist now. This is true even though God is spirit, and does not require this or any other localized residence in the material universe, whether on the visible earth or in the invisible third heaven (1Ki.8:27; Acts 17:24-25)."

Thanks again for helping me

In Him,

Response #15: 

You are most welcome. As you point out, I have not been completely consistent in my use of this terminology throughout the Coming Tribulation series. I have never read or heard of a systematic theology or commentary drawing the kind of distinctions I have been attempting to make here, and in responding to your emails I was trying to make technical distinctions which I have not previously adhered to in my own writing. While it was not wrong, I believe, to call what John sees in Revelation chapter four and following a vision or visions, as your very pointed questioning makes clear the use of the word can create confusion.

Let me take one more "bite at the apple" on this. First, heaven is real. If we were to die today, as believers we would be transported into the presence of God, and, having received a temporary or interim body, we would "see" Him and everything that is there. That would not be a dream, nor a vision, nor a revelation. We cannot, or course, in these mortal frames see what is going on in the third heaven. And if God wanted us to have a direct look at what is there (only true in the case of the apostles Paul and John, as far as we know from biblical testimony), that would require a very special "opening of a door" and an "up" lifting "in the Spirit" in order for us to receive that Revelation (as detailed in Rev.4:1-2). The question of whether we would be "in the body" in this experience of heavenly reality or not, scripture leaves open (2Cor.12:2-3).

My desire was to distinguish this unique experience from the notable experiences of some of the Old Testament prophets. When Isaiah says in chapter six "I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple" (Is.6:1), it is proper to describe this as "a vision"; it is divinely provided, but Isaiah gives no indication of having been in any sense taken to heaven to see it "face to face". It is not symbolic (as, for example, Daniel's vision of the four beasts is in many respects), but it is also not "heavenly" because it was given to Isaiah on earth. What John saw in heaven was real, and he saw it from heaven, actually "being there", at least in a spiritual way (so even if we call both experiences "visions", there is a critical distinction between the two).

The reason why your initial question about the Father is such a good one is that John is given to see some things in heaven in a special way, and some even in a symbolic way. That is to say, his experience is different from that of angels and departed believers who are viewing these things as we speak not only because of the unique circumstances in which he saw them but also because of the fact that this was a very special revelation of things to come. This second factor of "special revelation" entailed 1) seeing many things happen which have yet to happen (e.g., chapter 19 is the Second Advent, after all), and 2) seeing some things presented to him in a symbolic rather than in a "real" way.

If all that is clear, and if it is equally clear what is real (e.g., the Father appearance as described in chapter four) and what is symbolic (e.g., the Son's appearance as described in chapter five), then the other terminology employed is not really important (and we can then use "vision" in a general rather than a technical one to describe the entire revelation or even parts of it).

I hope this leaves you less rather than more confused! Please do feel free to write me back about it in either case.

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #16: 

Dear Professor,

My sets of questions tend to be long and this one is even longer than usual. Please answer at your convenience.

You wrote: '[Satan] and his cohorts are in the process of being replaced in God's family, one for one by the Church, and while in the past in must have seemed as if the requisite number could never be reached'. What do you mean by the 'requisite number'?

Response #16:

Good to hear from you as always. As to your present list of questions:

In the Satanic Rebellion series, through an analysis of the Jewish ceremonial calendar (see the link) among other things, it is shown how the Church when it is complete will equal in number the exact number of the angels who followed the devil in his rebellion. Satan no doubt saw that he and his were meant to be replaced (exactly what he had apparently told his followers would be impossible) immediately after mankind was created (and this was the main reason for his attack on Adam and Eve). The "requisite number", therefore, is the number of saved human beings necessary to replace the devil and his angels "one for one", a number that would have taken eons to reach in the linear progression of the Old Testament succession of the family of God, but which with the advent of the Church Age now has become clear as being right on track to occur by the return of Christ.

Question #17: 

Why when talking about his coming, Jesus uses the metaphor of a vulture and a dead body (Luke 17:37)?

Response #17: 

Two reasons: 1) to illustrate the gathering together of the Church in the sky at our Lord's return as something that will "just naturally happen" (this was apparently a common metaphor: cf. Job 39:27-30); 2) to draw attention to the fact that we all "partake of one bread as one Body" (1Cor.10:17; cf. Jn.6:53), that is, we have this resurrection life only because Jesus died for us. Eagles is a better translation than vultures. In the ancient world, the two birds were felt to be indistinguishable, but connotations of the two for us today are quite different.

Question #18: 

You wrote: 'He will fulfill all the messianic prophecies recorded in the scriptures and will rule the world in glory for a thousand years (Eph.3:10-12; Col.1:20).' How do these passages relate Jesus' ruling the world in glory for a thousand years?

Response #18: 

Jesus is the Plan of God incarnate, and all history is predicated upon Him and His sacrifice. This parenthesis should be placed earlier for clarity's sake. Both verses are meant to support the first half of the statement "He will fulfill all the messianic prophecies recorded in the scriptures", rather than the second (the 1000 years, it was felt, is well enough documented as to require no particular citation).

Question #19: 

You wrote: 'Balaam's prophecies are very much focused on the eschatology of Israel, and this verse looks forward to the second advent (see especially Zech.9:14-15); and Numbers 24:9 (cf. the whole prophecy) to the second advent. The Lion of Judah, the Messiah, is the one who delivers at the second advent and who governs in the millennium. So wherever we see the Lion of Judah in a prophetic context, we are justified in seeking an application to the coming Messiah'.

The lion is mentioned in Numbers 24, but the context doesn't seem eschatological, could you explain Numbers 24:9?

Response #19: 

Numbers 23:24: Balaam's prophecies are very much focused on the eschatology of Israel, and this verse looks forward to the second advent (see especially Zech.9:14-15); and Numbers 24:9 (cf. the whole prophecy) to the second advent. The Lion of Judah, the Messiah, is the one who delivers at the second advent and who governs in the millennium. So wherever we see the Lion of Judah in a prophetic context, we are justified in seeking an application to the coming Messiah.

See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed!
Revelation 5:5

Numbers 24:19: I take this to be a prophecy of Armageddon. Edom is the archetypical "gentile" nation as the most direct contrast with his brother Jacob. This can be clearly seen from e.g. the second half of Isaiah chapter 21 where Edom is used as a type of all the nations hostile to Israel (i.e., the goats). Cf. also on this score Ezekiel chapter 35. The reference to the "city" in my view is a reference to the Great City, Babylon, which will dominate tribulational events. The "survivors" will therefore be those who remain at the second advent who participated in antichrist's "state" by taking the mark of the beast. These will be destroyed in the "baptism of fire" wherein the Lord cleanses His threshing floor at the beginning of His millennial rule (see the link: "Fire upon Magog").

Question #20: 

You wrote: 'In all of the representations in Revelation, this fiery altar of judgment corresponding to the brazen altar in front on the temple on which the sacrifices were burned) does not appear – since the act of atonement has now been completed by Jesus sacrifice'.

I cannot understand - why wouldn't the altar appear anyway?

Response #20: 

The absence of the heavenly altar: It does not appear. As to why not, in my understanding of the matter judgment of sin takes place on earth – this is where our Lord died for all mankind's sins and that judgment of sin had to take place here for this is where mankind abides. Now that this judgment is passed and since it took place here and not in heaven, there is only a need of memorial of the judgment and this the altar of incense accomplishes. The "fire" of judgment comes out from the throne of God, so that judgment of the earth based upon the failure to respond to the Father's judgment of the Son is already well represented in heaven (cf. Dan.7:9-11).

Question #21: 

I know this is not a short chapter, but could you briefly explain the whole Zechariah 11 or direct me to a text about it?

Response #21: 

On Zechariah 11, I have translated most of this chapter and explained the pertinent symbolism at the link. One of the better complete commentaries on the Old Testament which explains things in a "believers way" is M.F. Unger's Commentary on the Old Testament. While I don't always agree, he is usually "in the ball park" and almost always helpful. For a commentary, that is saying quite a lot!

Question #22: 

You wrote: 'It is unclear whether resurrected humans will be in any way involved in physically depositing demons in the Abyss or the lake of fire (elect angels do this where such activity is recorded: Rev.20:1-3; cf. Rev.9:1-3; 12:7-9), but given the superior properties of our resurrection bodies, we will certainly be capable of it (cf. Is.24:21-22)'.

How does Is.24:21-22 relate to human capability described?

Response #22: 

Since writing what you quote, I have written this subject up in greater detail in part 6 of Coming Tribulation. It's too big to paste in here, so may I ask you to have a look at the link (The Incarceration of Satan and his Demons) and write me back if you have further questions? Isaiah 24:21-22, covered there too, merely establishes that the demons are removed.

Question #23: 

Who does Paul has in mind when talking about the man of lawlessness in 2 Thessalonians 2:3?

Response #23: 

The "man of lawlessness" is antichrist. Paul's point in mentioning him here (as well as the Great Apostasy) is to prove by citing two future events that have to precede the resurrection that the resurrection could not have possibly yet taken place (since the beast had not yet been "revealed" and the great "falling away" from the faith had likewise not yet occurred). There is much more on these topics at the following links: CT 3B: Antichrist and his Kingdom and in CT 3A "The Great Apostasy".

Question #24: 

I've got a question about 1 Corinthians 3:10-15:

10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

What does Paul mean by: '15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames'? Is the assumption made here that even the builder who built something that did not pass the test, built it on foundation of Jesus (and that's why the builder will be saved as opposed to being condemned)?

Response #24: 

This passage, 1st Corinthians 3:10-15, is speaking about the judgment seat of Christ, the place where we believers will all be evaluated for 'the things done by means of the body' while we were here on earth (see the link: "The Judgment and Reward of the Church"). This passage makes clear that the things we are actually doing for Christ and doing in the way He would have us to do them are going to be rewarded. However, many of the things that Christians "do for God" are wrong things or done in a wrong way or for the wrong reasons. Christians should not assume, for example, that giving money to a church will result in eternal reward. Such an act may be "wood / hay / stubble" if, for example, it is not a godly church being so gifted, or if the person stole the money given, or if the person is really doing it to gain the approbation of others in the church. There are many reasons why all manner of "works" that pass for "good" in the eyes of the world are not so in the opinion of the Lord (the only opinion that matters), and many reasons why "good works" which might otherwise be legitimate might not in fact be so depending upon the thinking and prior action of the person doing "good". Eternal reward comes from doing what Jesus actually wants us to do for the right reasons and in the right way, and much of the "playing of games" that goes on in this world is none of the above. All this will be revealed on that great day, and it is a comfort and an encouragement to know that much of what the world now despises will be exalted by the Lord when the truth comes out.

"Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last."
Luke 13:30 NIV

Question #25: 

You wrote: Despite our collective eviction from Eden through the sins of our first parents Adam and Eve, the gates of the eternal Eden, the New Jerusalem, now lie open wide for us (Matt.25:34; Rev.21:5; 22:14; cf. Is.60:11).

Does that mean that all of Isaiah 60 refers to the end times?

With constant prayer that the Holy Spirit guides you in your ministry and in Our Lord Jesus,

Response #25:

I do take all of Isaiah 60 as not yet fulfilled and as applicable mainly to the Millennium. However, especially in such passages, there is often a case of "double fulfillment", since there is so much in common and parallel between the Millennial Kingdom of our Lord and the Eternal Kingdom of the Father. Verse 11 is primarily millennial (I use a "cf." here), but we are invited by Revelation 21:24-26 to make the comparison:

"The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. " (NIV).

Thank you so much as always for your prayers! You are in mine daily for your continuing progress in our Lord Jesus.

In Him,

Bob L.

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