Dear Doctor Luginbill, WOW! You are the epitome of graciousness and patience! I say this after reading this weeks e-mail postings ... as well as some in the past. I am relatively new to your site and am loving it. There is so much to read and digest. At times I find myself really wishing all this was in print so that I could underline and savor. Thank you sooo much for "being there" for we searchers. I started looking to see if there was anyone out there, besides myself, who didn't believe in the Rapture. That's how I found you. Do you honestly believe that we have 16 more long years before the Tribulation? Things seem pretty out of control NOW. Also, is a 26 year old really going to rule the world? Can't get my head around that one right now. Thank you again for your site. With You in Christ!!
Good to make your acquaintance and thanks for the encouraging words!
As to being in print, there is an RTF option for every email postings (i.e., a generic word-processing file which MS-Word and most other programs can read). Many readers who prefer print do print these things out themselves.
The interpretation advanced at Ichthys on the likely date of the commencement of the Tribulation is, as I often remind readers, just that: an interpretation (although it is one I firmly believe is correct for the reasons explained at the link: "2026"). That the Church Age lasts 2,000 years seems unavoidable to me especially for anyone who sees value in the 7-Millennial Day interpretation of God's Plan for human history (i.e., the Millennium is the seventh "day" and lasts a 1,000 years, and anyone can calculate the genealogies in the Old Testament for themselves and see that from Eden to Nazareth is approximately 4,000 years: see the link: "The Specific Chronology of the Seven Days of Human History"). So if approximately 2,000 years separate the first advent from the second, then the only question really is where to "start the clock". There are a number of problems with "starting the clock" at Christ's birth. For one thing, the cross is the focal point of history, not the virgin birth, as admittedly important as that event was. Moreover, if the "clock" had started at our Lord's human birth (ca. 2 B.C.), then the Tribulation should have been over by now. Things are indeed getting interesting, but there have been even more interesting times in human history past. World War II certainly must have seemed to Christians who are concerned about these matters as if it might be bringing on the end of the world. The fact is, there are no unfulfilled prophecies which are predicted by scripture to occur before the Tribulation commences (except for the general trends of the seven Church eras in Revelation 2-3 which do not provide any sort of calendar from which to calculate; see the link). So while contemporary events certainly do seem to be trending in that direction, in my opinion Christians are well-advised to stick to scripture as their one and only guide about these issues: when the Tribulation begins, everyone will know it (see the links: "Signs of the Coming Tribulation" and "The Thunderous Voices, Lightning, and Earthquake").
On the beast's age at the time of the commencement of the Tribulation, that is just a guess on my part (based upon the year 2000 seeming to be an appropriately "magic" number that might gain him some additional converts). But he could end up being much older (or even younger but like you I would be skeptical about that). One thing to keep in mind on this point too is that antichrist's "unique" origin, being half angelic in the manner of the nephilim (see the link), means that he will be "exceptional" in ways the world will marvel at, and if he does turn out to be a prodigy who is doubly admired on account of his abilities and charisma at an exceptionally young age, well, that will just be an added benefit for him in his ascension to power. For he will be deliberately mimicking our Lord Jesus and putting it out to the world that he is "the Christ" ("anti-Christ" means "substitute Christ" as well as "opponent of Christ"), and our Lord's exceptionality at a very young age (teaching the teachers in the temple at twelve) is certainly well-known.
Thanks again for your enthusiasm for the Word of God!
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
I am reading your exegesis on end times at http://ichthys.com/Tribulation-Part3B.htm and find it very interesting so far. I have not read the entirety but do you know who the false Christ is at this point and do you know when about is the 7 year peace treaty?
In Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior
Good to make your acquaintance.
The seven year treaty (which runs less than half its term) is covered in the study you reference at the following link: Antichrist's Alliance with Israel. The treaty will not be made until the Tribulation begins.
As to the identification of antichrist, while it may be possible to hazard a guess when we get somewhat closer to the beginning of the end, I personally would be very wary of anyone trying to make a positive identification before the Tribulation actually starts. In the 1930's, Hitler (or Stalin or Mussolini) would have been a persuasive candidate. Even on the Tribulation's threshold, it may very well be that one or more individuals who seem to be the beast will turn out not to have actually been so. So much will change and so rapidly once the Tribulation starts (on account of the removal of Holy Spirit restraint, the unleashing of the "mystery of lawlessness", and the "empowerment of evil" sent into the world; see the link: the Causes of the Great Apostasy in CT 3A), that the political landscape in particular is likely to be turned upside down within an at present unimaginably short length of time. For more on this and related questions please see the following links:
Antichrist: Alive and Well and Living on Planet Earth?
Israel and Antichrist in Eschatology
More on Antichrist and his Kingdom.
Antichrist and Babylon.
The Beast: Some Questions about Antichrist.
Aliens, antichrist, and eschatology.
Antichrist's 'desire of women' in Daniel 11:37 et al.
The 7 Trumpets, the 7 Kings, Nephilim, Antichrist and Revived Rome.
The reign of antichrist: 7 years or 3 and 1/2 years?
Do feel free to write me back about any of this.
In Jesus our dear Lord and only Savior,
Thank you kindly for responding. I really mean that. I've been alone in my faith for 25 years. Good or bad. That's the way the Lord has made it be. I call it providence. However, for the last 5 months I have been studying Scriptures and world events at 12 to 15 hr days. Its been giving my wife quite the puzzlement. I'm maybe too involved right now. But Jesus spoke about the better things in Luke 10: 41 " Martha , Martha...." I do believe In Jesus Christ as the One and Only God come in the flesh to make a covenant with God the Father for our sins. I would like to share my faith with you about end times. My concerns and my hopes in these times of trouble. The times of Jacobs distress. Many events are happening now that are troubling and very deceitful in politics, economics and religious affairs. Events that have me researching Scriptures from morning to evening. Researching information throughout the internet on world affairs. I also hope we can share our faith in a manner which is consistent with Scriptures. To build one another up, to encourage one another. I also have strong views. Almost unshakable. Yet, I think I am flexible and able to look "into these things" to examine the Scriptures to see if these things are true.
If I may. I would like to share 3 views I have about end times.1) The Rapture 2) The Beast and 3) The tribulation. Perhaps it is sufficient to state my views on this matter briefly and then seek your advise before elaborating? Not in a manner which is adversarial but more on an openness to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. in brotherly love. Love in the Spirit.
1) The Rapture. \\I believe this to be a great hoax. A deception to seal the great falling away spoken of in 2 Thess. Briefly. I point to these verses; "Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,.." This as you know is almost completed. It will be sealed when those who believe in the rapture will be left behind angry at the great deception . ( both the apostasy and the man of lawlessness are revealed before "he" is taken out of the way) . AS to what restrains him (THE MAN OF PERDITION) now is very obvious. It is not the Holy Spirit per se as some would believe. " only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way". The answer lies in Daniel both in Chapter 12:1 and in Daniel 10: 13 " But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me....". There we understand Michael is guarding over the people. He is in charge of protecting the people. And so, there will come that day where the Lord will instruct Michael to be "taken out of the way". Thus the man of sin who oppose himself and exalts himself against all will exalt himself and oppose himself.... Which the Lord will slay with the sword of His mouth. See 2 Kings 6:15.
2) The Beast. According to Daniel the "prince" will slowly come to prominence. He will not just appear on the stage to extol the virtues of dominance. But simply start his "ministry" in a timely fashion mimicking Christ Jesus. In a humble manner. He will start his rise on the world stage, as he is now doing, in a manner consistent with his plans. His planners are very aware that he is the messiah. Actually, one may say he can even claim a direct claim to the throne of King David. He has the training in all forms of dark sentences and 1) military training, 2) economics and 3) diplomatic shrewdness etc...And I can assure you. He only has the power and authority to be the Savior of this world when the great economic collapse occurs shortly. Only because his kingdom does in reality have all the wealth of the world in present form. He will also be steeped in occult. Very New Age. Very New world order. I believe, albeit very speculative, I know him. He is a prefect match to imitate Christ Jesus. Absolutely prefect in counterfeit.
3) The tribulation. We understand the tribulation cannot start until a "firm covenant with the many" is herald on the world stage. Breaking the impasse in the Middle East now for over 50 years, since the establishment of Israel in 1948. But the "many" are most definitely being tamed now in the Middle East. This is why the middle east is going thru an "arab spring". Its precisely timing the New Age doctrine according to New World Order specifics. According to Isaiah 17:1 Damascus must fall.( It will within the coming weeks) At this point. I am only speculating. But the number 13 is very occult. A Peace Treaty is extremely near. And EU Foreign Minister Catherine Aston is saying she expects a peace treaty by later this year.( Sept) Which may be tentatively mentioned but not signed until next year. 2013 . Only speculation at this time.
These are just a brief synopsis of my views in viewing Scriptures.
As mentioned earlier. I am open to strong criticism or another point of view for the edification of the body of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
I certainly do agree and teach that the pre-Trib rapture is a false doctrine (see especially "No Rapture" and "The Origin and Danger of the Pre-Trib Rapture Theory"), and that antichrist will claim to be Jesus Christ (covered in Coming Tribulation part 3B: Antichrist and his Kingdom, and see also: "Antichrist: Alive and Well and Living on Planet Earth?"). As to the Tribulation, Daniel 9:27 states that the seven year treaty with Israel will be abrogated "in the middle of the [70th] week", that is, at the Tribulation's mid-point where the Tribulation becomes the Great Tribulation. Therefore the treaty itself cannot predate the commencement of the Tribulation. That certainly fits with everything else we know about prophecy and the Tribulation, viz., there are no specific events prophesied for the Church Age (i.e., the trends of the seven Church eras are not tied to particular dates, merely sequential eras [see the link]; see also the link: "Signs of the Coming Tribulation"). So we will not be able to tell for certain ahead of time who antichrist is or even which country is Babylon, his native land (although the latter is in my view virtually certain [see the link] and the former may indeed be possible to assume with a high degree of accuracy before the Tribulation actually commences).
I certainly do think that it is true that there will be a pre-Trib "ramp up" on behalf of Satan's forces in order to prepare the ground as much as possible for those dark days ahead. Indeed, that most likely has already begun (after all, antichrist had to have been born at a sufficiently long interval ahead of time), and no doubt the current developments in the Middle East are part of that. In my reading of these things (which you will also find primarily at the link in CT 3B), the accentuated threat to Israel from a worldwide Islamic movement headed by a charismatic leader (whom many Christians who do not know their Bible well enough will assume to be the antichrist) will be the catalyst for the beast's rapid political consolidation of power in Babylon and throughout his revived Roman empire. No doubt the authoritarian yet secular regimes in that part of the world had to fall first in order for a large-scale religious unity movement to flourish. However, the peace treaty of Daniel 9:27 will be between the beast's empire and Israel and will not (apparently) involve any other countries.
As to Isaiah 17:1, according to Unger (Commentary on the Old Testament), this prophecy "was fulfilled when Tiglath-Pilesar took the city in 732 B.C., reduced it to ruins, and slew Rezin, its king". To the extent that this passage does have a double fulfillment in eschatology (as I say at the link in CT 1, I see this chapter as "a type of the regional allies of antichrist; persecuting Israel but ultimately destroyed"), I would prefer to find that fulfillment taking place once the Tribulation actually begins. Numbers are often significant in scripture, but our own calendar is completely arbitrary (Jesus was most likely born in 2 B.C.) and its invention only goes back to the sixth century A.D. So while I too am watching event with a biblically-informed perspective, in my view it is impossible to predict their precise course until the Tribulation begins and we find ourselves on much firmer ground since scripture gives a very clear "road-map" to those seven years. Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead in ca. 33 A.D. If the Church Age is two millennia (corresponding to the two millennia of the gentile age and the two millennia of the Jewish age which are all-three-together fulfilled by the single Millennium, the seventh "age day" or human history; see the link), then the Tribulation, while close, will still be over a decade away at present (please see the link: "When will the Tribulation Begin?").
However, the Spirit is the Restrainer, and the removal of His active restraint upon excesses by human beings and satanic forces alike during the Tribulation does much to explain that coming time's intensity of evil. Please see the links:
The Restrainer (in SR 2)
The Removal of the Restrainer (in CT 2B).
Thanks again for your keen interest in God's Word and please feel free to write back about any of the above.
Yours in Jesus Christ, our dear Lord and Savior,
I enjoyed your feedback. I see we view scriptures much alike. Witnessed by the Holy Spirit guiding us into all truth. Be of the same mind. I see the tribulation starting next year. Or I should ask this first? Is chapter 6 of Revelation the start of the tribulation? And chapter 13 or 12 the start of the great tribulation? The reasons I have started hoarding food in my basement is due to the many articles and videos pointing to a total economic collapse by 2016 or 2017 at the latest. Which will make the "mark" an ideal way to allow people to buy and sale. NBC is telling its viewers 2017 to receive the "mark" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agVeiMYDOT0
But starting at the end of 2012 or at the beginning of 2013, after the US election, things are going to take a turn for the worse. Since this will give Obama another four years until the 2016 election which will usher in Jeb Bush. First, the people need to go through the great purge. Because they cannot come to Christ if misery is not in their lives. Living in abundance tends to take peoples eyes off the Lord. So the Lord not wanting for any to perish must bring them to despair for their salvation. Gold going thru fire. All worldly affairs point to the Mayan calendar being the dawn of the New Age cycle. And 13 is a very occult number for New Age or New World Order advocates. So 2013 seems to point to this very much. Through 2013 to 2016 we are going to witness a vast deterioration of the US currency. The currency as it stands now is bankrupt. A valuable , insightful site to check out world affairs is by a Jewish Professors at globalresearch.ca
This site is very good to determine when things are going to come undone. It is not a religious site. Prices in food and oil have already started to come up and millions are already dying in Africa. This is the depopulation agenda by the UN Agenda 21, espoused by Bill gates, Ted Turner, George Soros etc... The bible (New Testament) will be outlawed soon, Within the next 4 to 5 years. In Canada, its seeds are already beginning. This New World Order agenda is no longer hiding its colors in darkness anymore. A clear view of this was in this years Super Bowl half time show by none other than the high priestess Madonna. The Illuminati is clearly on display. At this years London Olympic games. The show will outperform that of Madonna. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWfDhkBKfac
Her interview with Anderson Copper CNN was very telling of the half time show. She liken it to the Hollies of Hollies. Another aspect of the crash of the dollar. Clearly all credible financial expert are predicting an apocalyptic crash never seen before in the history of mankind.
A lot of people are not seeing it. They are on the kool-aid. Mind numbing themselves into hell. But the Lord is all loving and He has it all under control. He will awaken them from their deep slumber. From the hypnotic trance they are under by mass communication in all its forms and guise. CNN has lost 50 % of its viewership in March alone. People are waking up. They are tuning in to alternative media. Which will hasten the internets restriction very shortly. Its already begun. There are times I try to open a link and it shows me a 404 error page.( i/e. censored)
Having 20/20 vision on this one is all hindsight but if it starts in 2013 then it will be all done in 2020. All credible newsworthy reporting that is not Christian is ramping up the tribulation. Or a New Age. Governments are jockeying for the final curtain call. The curtain is about to open. The Emperor is naked but his shame makes him that much more brazen to conquer in full view of his lies and deceitful schemes. Unrepentant he must fulfill Scriptures by the luciferian doctrine espouse by Aleister Crawley, Albert Pike and Helena Blavasky.
"[W]oe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing he has only a short time." Rev 12:12
The devil will get the world to finally worship at his feet by lies and murderous schemes. He will usurp what he could not attain by adhering to the truth. For he is a fallen angel destined to burn in eternity by the gnashing and weeping of teeth for his merciless cruelty which deserves an eternal torment by our God. The enemy of our Lord and Savior. The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Satan has been judged and found guilty.
Jesus warn us today,
" And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book."...." Yes, I am coming quickly" Rev. 22:7; Rev 22:20
" And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he is thrown into the lake of fire." Rev 20:15
Please look into these matters diligently please.
In Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.
As to your specific questions, in terms of the book of Revelation, the Tribulation begins after the seventh seal is opened and the preliminary "half hour" (six months) passes. In my calculation of these matters (always given with the caveats at the link "2026"), this will most likely take place in fall 2026 (so that the second advent takes place precisely two thousand years following the cross and the resurrection: 2033). The Great Tribulation commences at Revelation 11:15-19 with antichrist's war on Moses and Elijah. The Coming Tribulation series where all these matters are discussed is, I would hope, "diligent" (it is at the very least extensive comprising more than 1,000 single-spaced pages; see the link: The Coming Tribulation Series).
I am happy to hear that we are in accord on general principles. As far as specific approaches and the application of the truth is concerned, we do differ it seems. In my opinion, a person could master all secular news and even come to appreciate what is true, untrue, in-between, and precisely to what degree, and still not be an inch closer to understanding the truly important issues here or really know anything more about when the Tribulation will commence. That is because the only place where we can find anything really helpful about this is the Bible. No extra-biblical revelation exists which has anything to do with eschatology. We may be able to make informed judgments about general trends, but even that will only do us any good to the extent that these observations support what we have already learned from scripture and would know perfectly well from scripture completely independent of "the news".
The upshot of all this is that all the "noise" flying around in the devil's world may be interesting, but it is not really capable of helping us except to the extent that we use it to motivate ourselves to do what we really ought to be doing as our number one priority anyway: grow and prepare spiritually. On the other hand, to the extent that this "noise" distracts us from true spiritual priorities, to that extent over-focusing on it does have the potential to harm us in two ways: 1) it takes time and energy away from true spiritual growth and spiritual preparation; 2) it can bring us to accept false ideas which seem persuasive but which do not actually accord with scripture. This is in fact a major temptation for that small number of genuine Christians out there who are actually accepting of the truth that the Tribulation is a near-term possibility and one which will most definitely not be avoided by any "rapture".
As I often say, therefore, an ounce of truth stored in the heart through faith will prove to be more valuable when the Tribulation does begin than a ton of supplies stored in the cellar. I have much more to say on this whole topic in part 7 of Coming Tribulation (see the link and also: "A Brief Code of Conduct for the Tribulation"). One thing to note here is that to the extent that we are looking to material means to avoid trouble in the Tribulation, to that extent we are already spinning off on a tangent: faith in and faithfulness to Jesus Christ will be the only way any Christian will survive the Tribulation, and many of us are not destined to do so in any case. One third of the true Church is destined to be martyred. But if we are doing everything we can think of to survive, does that not presuppose us to avoiding precisely what Jesus may be calling us to endure in glorification of Him? To endure martyrdom in a way that actually does glorify our Lord will require a very well grounded faith.
The time is short, as you note. If we spend our time on the news and material preparation, by definition we will have less time and effort to spend learning God's truth, growing in our spiritual maturity, and learning to apply to our daily lives that truth we are committing to our hearts by believing it and that is really the only preparation which we can be certain will stick with us in those trying times to come. Learning all we can from secular sources will not prevent the Tribulation from coming. Stockpiling will not ensure our survival the beast can take it all away in a moment. However, everything we can learn about the Bible, not only about eschatology in particular but the whole realm of truth which produces an edifice of maturity in our hearts when we make it our own by faith, will pay dividends in this life and the next, regardless of whether the Tribulation happens to tomorrow or if we do not live to see it.
In Jesus Christ our hope and our help, regardless of what may betide.
Thank you for answering my questions,
Indeed I do see we differ as to the timeline of the beginning of the tribulation etc. Yet, it is important that we acknowledge our differences in light of what they are. At the end of the day, my analysis is due to come into full view next year, 2013, while your view is far off in a distant time. This is of itself very telling and interesting. Accordingly, next year (2013) should dispel my understanding of world events with scriptural interpretation. I should be proved wrong altogether. Yet, I am confident on the ground I stand. Not 100% but 99.9%. Until next year Bob (2013). Let us continue to wait for this world to finally rid itself of its great evils.
In Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.
Scripture is very clear about the need for us to be alert no matter what. Regardless of whether we live to see the Tribulation, we will all go through significant personal tribulation in this life, at least if we have made it our profession to "live godly in Christ Jesus". Studying these matters and informing ourselves of the doctrines with which they are concerned is therefore very spiritually beneficial in any case.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
I hope you are doing good? I am reading Coming Tribulation part 3B, 3. The Rise of Antichrist, C. The Party. Here is a small portion of you have written there,
"It stands to reason that this inner following would be privy to his(Antichrist's) true origin and plans, and be in full complicity thereto, as opposed to those who are later "amazed"...."
Does this mean that the inner circle of the antichrist would know that he is Satan's seed? Or would they consider him as the "Messiah"?
Great to hear from you! I have left the language here deliberately vague because there is a limit to what can be squeezed out of these verses. I have no doubt that the "ten horns" the highest level of the inner circle whom I believe also have a demonic origin as the beast does will know precisely that he is the devil's seed. To what degree the next level and the rest of antichrist's inner circle will be privy to this particular piece of information I cannot say, and you may be correct that many of them will assume (wrongly) that he really is the Messiah. It will doubtless be a case of some guessing correctly, some incorrectly, and some being "along for the ride" because of the opportunities they see for self-advancement rather than any sort of conviction about who he may or may not be.
I am in prayer for your deliverance, my friend.
In Jesus who died for all of our sins to present us blameless before the Father on that great day to come.
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
"He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake." (1 Peter 1:20)
The Bible makes it quite clear that there are at least two distinct eras: the Jewish era (aka, the era under the Law) and the Church era (the era represented by the seven churches in Revelation). Peter was referencing the time he's living in as the "last times." Given that this cannot possibly refer to the last times of the Church era, this therefore must refer to the last times of the Jewish age instead.
In your eschatology, you place the ending of the Jewish age at A.D. 33, but given that Peter's first epistle was written between A.D. 33 and A.D. 70, could it be possible that the Jewish age did not end at A.D. 33, but rather with the destruction of the temple in A.D 70? If this be the case, then your timetable would have to move forward by seventy years.
Thanks for reading,
Thanks for the email. There are two salient points which affect the interpretation of this matter: 1) I consider the seven years of the Tribulation to be a joint period shared by the ages of the Church and Israel (so the Jewish age is not completely over yet, technically speaking; see the link: "The Tribulational Overlap"); 2) Peter was writing to the Church as a whole, not merely to Jewish believers (1Pet.1:1-2; 2Pet.1:1): the phrase in verse 20, "last times" (lit., "at [the] ends of the times"), is referring to the eschaton generally, that is, everything which follows the coming of the Messiah. Of course, the fact that there would be two advents and a 2,000 year gap between them was something even prophets "tried to find out" about without being able to distinguish clearly between "the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow" (1Pet.1:10-12). Just as the "day of the Lord" can refer to everything leading up to the 2nd advent and everything which follows (i.e., the Tribulation and the Millennium) in addition to the actual day of Jesus' Return (see the link: "The Day of the Lord"), so the "last times" can be anything after Jesus' victory on the cross:
Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
1st Corinthians 10:11 NKJV
Finally, adding that much more time to the Jewish Age would put the period significantly over the 2,000 years which seem to the requisite time in accordance with the "Seven Millennial Day" interpretation (see the link for the chronology).
Please feel free to write back about any of the above.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
Please explain to me what you meant when you said "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 Jerusalem."
Thanks and blessings
Always good to hear from you. What I mean by this is that there are a growing number of Christians and Christian groups that are becoming concerned about the end times (a good thing) and even coming to see that they will not be "raptured" away so as to miss the Tribulation (a very good thing to realize), but who are also becoming a bit obsessed to the point of wanting to go prematurely to the focal point of these coming events, namely, Israel. That is not at all a good thing where gentile believers are concerned because scripture only relates the possible (temporary) returning of Jewish believers (the 144,000) to the land during the first half of the Tribulation under the ministry of the two witnesses, Moses and Elijah. At present, beyond the important priority of Israel Paul talks about in Romans, there is no distinction between gentile and Jew in the Church of Christ and of course that is how it will be in eternity when we gentiles are each given a tribe and are fully integrated into Israel in the New Jerusalem where there "will be no more division" (the correct translation of Revelation 22:3, not "curse"; see the link). During the Tribulation, however, a joint period belonging to both the ages of Israel and the Church, Israel will again come to the fore to prepare for the Messiah's second coming. Gentiles who mistakenly try to "horn in" on the prophesied events instead of persevering in the place and ministry where the Lord has put them will be asking for big spiritual trouble and may receive big physical trouble as a result as well if they think to escape the effects of the Tribulation by heading to Israel before the time. After all, Israel will be the epicenter of many of the most troubling events and the most horrific persecutions which take place during those seven years. For those believers who live in Babylon, however, the time will come when we do receive the divine command supernaturally proclaimed to "flee Babylon!". It is fair to ask, "flee to where?", and at that point, during the last months of the Great Tribulation, in my view (as taught in the section referenced below), the only place whither to flee will be Jerusalem, the place of the Messiah's incipient return. Leaving before the command will be a mistake; failing to leave for the proper place after the command will be a mistake. As is often the case in the Plan of God for our lives, timing can be everything. There is a time to wait on the Lord but, when the Lord provides escape, any hesitation is always dangerous.
See the link: "Flee Babylon!"
Hope this answers your question, but do feel free to write back about any of the above.
Yours in Jesus our dear Lord,
I haven't delved into your works yet, but where are you again on the church in the Tribulation and which of your booklets handles that?
The Coming Tribulation series (see link for main page) is finally complete. The final part, part 7: Preparing for Tribulation: A Tribulational Code of Conduct which, in good USMC fashion is actually the 9th installment (parts 2 and 3 got so long I split them into an A and B segment each), was posted last fall. This is a fairly long series, well over 500,000 words (2+K pages) even without part 7, so it might take some time to get through. It also has a five part introductory series: The Satanic Rebellion (see the links). If you want to get the flavor of it, I recommend having a look at part 3B: Antichrist and his Kingdom.
Best to your family!
Yours in Jesus,
Hello! How are you doing!? Well in Bible this question came up and I volunteered to search it out. What is the Day of The Lord and what is Day of God ? What is the difference.
Day of the Lord = judgment Day of God = eternity Rev. 21
We are studying 2 Peter. Thank you
Always good to hear from you.
Yes, you are correct that in 2nd Peter 3:13 with his mention of the "day" Peter is focusing on all of eternity, the day which will never end after the "day" on which the present universe is destroyed and replaced with the eternal one. Of course this is a judgment of sorts too. The Day of the Lord is the more common term for our Lords bringing on of the judgments and blessings of the last days, and it can span all of eschatology from the commencement of the Tribulation until the end of time (though it more specifically often means the 2nd Advent). I have more about the explanation of the context of the passage in 2nd Peter that has occasioned your question at the link: "The Day of the Lord (2Pet.3:10)". See also the links:
"The Day of the Lord"
The Day of the Lord I
The Day of the Lord II
The Day of the Lord Paradigm
End Times Interpretation II
Yours in Jesus Christ for whose return we dearly long,
Thank you, good to hear back from you. Now I went to the below link and clicked on; I just scanned the pages but will read them. I noticed the Tribulation, I felt like it was saying Believers will be going through the Tribulation. I feel Christ will return for His Church (believers) dead and alive in Christ first, and then the Tribulation will begin. Then those that remain that do not take the mark and except Christ during that time with be with Christ for eternity. Where is the take on this area. Thank you
I grew up in a Presbyterian environment (where eschatology, as was the tradition in Calvinism, was not taught), then later "cut my teeth" theologically under a pre-Tribulation ministry. I was very gung-ho and believed pre-Trib at the time, but the more I read the Bible and especially the more I read and studied it in the original languages, the more it became crystal clear to me that scripture does not teach three advents of Christ, and that the few passages which are sometimes taken to refer to a rapture before the Tribulation actually refer consistently to the 2nd Advent. Yes, believers will go through the Tribulation. Not only that, but one third of believers will fall away and follow the beast in the Great Apostasy, while an additional third will be martyred during the second half in the Great Persecution. Those believers who survive along with anyone saved during the Tribulation, most notably that minority of the Jewish people who do respond to the first-half ministry of Moses and Elijah and the 144,000 will be "caught up together in clouds to meet the Lord in the air" as He returns to rescue Israel at the battle of Armageddon. Then ensues the Millennium, and those saved during Christ's 1,000 year reign will be resurrected at the end of history (these are the "Friends of the Bride" who complement one for one "The Bride" aka the Church). The multi-part Coming Tribulation series covers all of these issues in great detail, including a complete exegesis of the book of Revelation (see the link), but as to your specific question the following three links will give overview and specific treatment of the pre-Trib "rapture" problem:
The Problem of Tribulational Security (in Peter #27)
The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory.
In Jesus our dear Lord for whose return we wait in eager anticipation,
Are you teaching at Illinois college ? So what denomination do you follow now that you are not in the Presbyterian church. From what you share your looking at through the Calvinism teaching? I am in a Four Square Church. When I read your answer, it makes a person think about their walk with the Lord, I do not want to put doubt in my mind then fear would be the next step. What I see on the news and what Dictators are doing to their own people; the Anti-Christ has got to be as sick/evil if not more. Will we as believers be able to stand firm in Christ and go through the Tribulation. I live in a town where I feel we are sheltered from the crime and violence that other towns face around us. I do believe God is all powerful and He will keep us in perfect peace. God is in control and we need to be in God's Word knowing Him and growing in Christ to share Christ with others for His Glory. Blessings
No, I'm a Greek and Latin professor at the University of Louisville. As explained on the site (see the link: About Ichthys), this ministry has no denominational affiliation (deliberately), but is generally within the evangelical tradition, broadly speaking.
I quite agree that once it becomes clear that the Tribulation will not be avoided by the generation of Christians alive when it begins, the whole approach to the Christian walk is likely to change: for the good in every way. In my opinion, one of the reasons why our final Church era of Laodicea (see the link) is so lukewarm is precisely because many Christians today are under the mistaken impression that they "don't have to worry" about "all that" because they will be "raptured". Not only is this wrong idea going to result in many entering the Tribulation woefully unprepared, but it will also no doubt cause many to doubt their faith at that time (since the deliverance of the "rapture" did not occur as they had thought it would), and make them prime candidates for the Great Apostasy (see the link).
Yes indeed God is in control, and the more we begin to realize this and grow in it through careful attention to the Word of God, the better prepared we will be for whatever we are called upon to endure in the way of personal tribulations, and even, if so wills the WILL of God, for the Tribulation itself.
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
The 24th chapter of Matthew points to a fact that was revealed to me. Jesus said the Gospel must go around the world. When you examine history the Gospel has MOVED WEST from Israel to Europe then to the USA and now is in the process of moving into Asia. I am speaking of the center piece. The Next stop will be Israel. Meaning it has returned to where it began! A revival will break out and Jesus will return as he promised. NOTE THAT THE TABERNACLE FACES EAST AND THE ONLY APPROACH THAT IS INDICATED BY WHAT JESUS SAID WAS THE TRUTH WILL COME FROM THE EAST GOING WEST. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. Do you agree or not? It certainly fits the FEAST Of ISRAEL in sequence and time.
Good to make your acquaintance. It is an interesting idea. Of course our Lord actually said "and this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world" (Matt.24:14), and "the gospel must first be preached to all nations" (Mk.13:10). Our Lord does not actually specify any particular direction. During the first century, the gospel fanned out in all directions, and a case can certainly be made for the Word having been preached around the entire globe by dedicated missionaries and other evangelic outlets since at least the 19th century. There does seem to be some response today to the gospel in certain areas where it has not previously been warmly embraced, but that is at least as true of Central and South America, for example, as it is of Asia.
As to eschatology, we currently live in the last of the Church Age eras, that of Laodicea (see the link). The hallmark of our present time is lukewarmness, and that does certainly seem to me to reflect the type of response to God's truth we are presently witnessing around the globe and particularly also in this country. During the waning days of the Tribulation, John is given to see an angel who has "the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth to every nation, tribe, language and people" (Rev.14:6 NIV). Between this message, clearly heard by everyone who lives on the earth prior to the Bowl Judgments, and the efforts of the 144,000 and the two witnesses during the Tribulation's first half, it seems clear to me that the gospel message, though violently opposed by the beast and his cohorts, will readily available around the world during those seven years and with no particular geographical restriction or direction. Finally, it is also worth pointing out something that many miss about this point of the preaching of the gospel worldwide before the end, namely, that a very large part of that will be accomplished during the Tribulation's second half, the Great Tribulation, by the martyrs, the one third of the true Church destined to be put to death by the beast. This giving of the gospel during the better part of the final 42 months will be clearer and more precise than ever before, because the Holy Spirit will be making it so:
On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Matthew 10:18-20 NIV
In anticipation of our Lord's return on the other side of those trying days.
Hope your doing well.
Would like to know, is Daniel 9:27 talking about Christ or the anti-christ?
This verse is almost universally understood as referring to anti-christ, because he is described here as the one who sets up the "abomination of desolation" (see the link) in the temple court. Here is a link in CT 3B to where I translate and discuss the passage: Daniel 9:27.
Hope you are well too!
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Hello Dear Brother;
I have just started to get into all your writings as I have received them from a friend. Thank you from my heart for all your labor and service to the Body of Christ. since your writings are extensive it will take me some time to get thru all but what I have read so far, I have a few questions and I ask these not with a judgmental heart but a burning heart to know the truth:
1. Concerning the seven churches in Revelation: Do you not think that these churches can also represent churches which exist today? I realize that they represent a chronology of church history but do you not think that Thyatira can represent the Catholic Church for example thru the Dark ages until Luther and the Reformation and then Sardis the Protestant Church until the appearance of the Brethren in Plymouth, England who then represent the real brotherhood of Philadelphia, the church of brotherly love. And then of course the church of Laodicea represents the churches which have deviated from Philadelphia and that all these four still exist today? Do you not think that any assembly today of true brethren, brothers and sisters in Christ who meet with no affiliation of an organization and who meet as the Brethren had the vision from the Lord to meet in the 19th century, represent Philadelphia IN PRINCIPLE? Surely this is what the Lord is after and has been after since the first century churches. So in other words what I am asking and saying is that these seven churches represent a way of the churches and church life and a principle of meeting and that it is the church of brotherly love whether they be two or five or one hundred who when thay meet simply as brothers without a Nicolaitan ( over the laity) system of hierarchy and aspire to meet in brotherly love and service, then still today represent the principle of Philadelphia. Please if you have not already, look into, The Orthodoxy of the Church by Watchmann Nee ,who writes about this much more extensively than I am describing here.
2. Are you familiar with the local churches derived from the Living Stream Ministry of Witness Lee who on my view wrongly thought that these seven churches also meant that we today are to meet according to the principle of one church one city? So in other words you have many groups throughout the world who meet as the church in London or the church in Toronto or New York. It is an extensive ministry and I ask this because I have read that you were in Irvine Cal during the late 80's and you must have come across these ones. There was and even is a local church in Irvine still today. What ,if you have any, your thoughts about this principle of meeting and if you have encountered these ones many of whom are true brothers in Christ,what are your thoughts about them? As you may know Witness Lee was with Watchman for many years in China and he has perpetrated the idea that this is exactly what Watchman was teaching and practicing in China until 1948/9 when he was thrown into prison by Mao. Others who were with Watchman especially Brother Steven Kaung ( Christian Fellowship Publishing out of Richmond Va.) whose ministry if you do not know I would highly recommend( Steven was affiliated with T Austin Sparks, another wonderful ministry all in the internet) absolutely refute the fact that Watchman taught and practiced the one church one city idea. The principle if you have never heard this is that because you have these seven local churches in Revelation, and this is how the believers met in the first century, that we are to meet as one in the city or town where we live as the church in that city or town. Thus as I said you will find many churches throughout the world meeting in this way and believing that if you do not meet this way you are not following what the Lord has laid down in the Holy Script. The one main problem I find in this is that when the first century Christians as the church, the ecclesia, the called out ones, met in the city where they lived, THEY WERE THE ONLY ONES at that time so they could call themselves the ecclesia in that city( if they even ever referred to themselves in this way at all). But we do see Paul referring to the saints in this way( the church in Rome, the church in Corinth etc). I ask this because I go back to my first question about the principle of Philadelphia. I simply believe there has to be more than Laodicea today even though we are surrounded by it all over the world and there must be a cry out to all true seeking Christians to come out of any man made system and meet simply as brothers in love in Christ. "When two or three meet IN MY NAME I am in the midst "said our dear Lord, so if we could come out of all organized man made things and meet and pursue the love of Christ among us, would we not be meeting according to the principle of Philadelphia? Truly the Lord desires oneness above all things but when we meet as two or fifty we need to meet representing the whole Body of Christ and not as some separate entity. This will save us from sectarianism.
Brother I have many more questions and things to say but I will wait until I get much deeper into your writings. I simply hope this can begin and extensive and deep relation which can as the Bereans look into all the matters of His Holy Word. Again thank you for your labor of love and service from which many will be fed and profit spiritually. In Christ, Switzerland
Good to make your acquaintance. Thank you for your email, for your thirst for the truth, and for your respectful attitude (both of which latter two things I find very rare these days).
As to the interpretation of the seven churches, there is perhaps no part of the scriptures which has received so many widely varying explanations. I see that we are in agreement about the most important point, namely, that these churches represented things to come. That seems to me very clear from Revelation 4:1 where John is told "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this" (NIV). The "this" is the treatise on the seven churches which has just concluded in the previous chapter with the church at Laodicea. Since the churches are meant to prophesy things to come, and since the book of Revelation in toto gives what is essentially a chronological treatment of the Tribulation, it certainly would fit the context if the seven churches should be taken as chronological prophecies as well. I say prophecies, but there is an important distinction to made between these seven descriptions and what one normally finds in biblical prophecies. In Revelation 2-3 we find no discernible events; what we find instead are descriptions which can be best characterized as trends. Matching the general descriptions up with the history of the Church (which in general terms we are now able to do with historical hind-sight), they appear to me to fit that history wonderfully well. The main point I would wish to make here is that these descriptions are trends only and do not completely define every single Christian life within the era in question and the descriptions certainly allow for groups or local churches which run counter to the trend, for good or for ill. I do have to say that in my view the description of the lukewarm and lackadaisical attitude of Laodicea seems to give a very precise picture of present-day Christianity. The exceptions you and I may note, therefore, would seem to prove the rule (and verify the description) rather than refuting it.
As to Watchman Nee's attitude to denominationalism, I certainly do share it, and my determination to stay true to God's Word despite any sort of traditional or political influence has made it necessary for this ministry to exist without any such ties whatsoever. I am not intimately familiar with Lee's movement, but on "one church to a city", I think this was most probably the historical genesis of the Roman Catholic and other ancient denominations. When there are too many Christians in a city to meet in one place and when the geographical difficulties become too great to make such a thing feasible, it is natural for smaller subgroups to be developed but if they want to feel "part of the mother church", then right away we have a denomination if that desire is implemented by means of creating any sort of earthly inter-church organizational structure. In my reading of the New Testament, a church is local by definition, and, apart from apostolic direction (which ceased before the seven church eras began), there is no biblical mandate or authorization for any subordination of any one church to any other church. You can find out more on my "take" on these issues at the following links:
Church Polity: Elders and three other passages.
Some Questions on Church Polity.
Salvation and Church Affiliation
Thank you again for your interest I would certainly be happy to correspond with you about these matters further.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior, the Head of the Church whose Body we are,
Hullo Bob ... just received this from my friend in South Africa ...about Mount Hermon and the nephilim. It mostly ties in with what you have said. There is a list of "articles" at the bottom of the one on Mount Hermon - a whole lot of subjects. The second one on "Secrets I have not read yet, but it will go over any way.
Let me know what you think
Love in our most precious Lord Jesus
On the Mt. Hermon article, it seems to me to be another one of those sensationalistic "Nostradamus meets Bigfoot" pieces of syncretic theosophy. Here are some of the more obvious problems I noted, just for example (anyone of which would have normally had me "clicking out" as fast as my index finger could carry me):
1) Quoting Jewish Rabbis. I have spent enough time in my life consulting Jewish materials outside of the Bible to tell you that they are universally unhelpful in almost every way. The earliest of these, the Mishnah, is exceptional in that it is in Hebrew (almost everything else is in Aramaic) and does occasionally therefore furnish some vocabulary parallels (but even this early "source" contains nothing of probative value). If these Rabbis knew the least thing about the truth they would have believed in Jesus Christ at the time or His apostles after His ascension. As it is, almost nothing they have to say conforms with what scripture says, and, indeed, they always seem to value their traditions ahead of the Bible itself (just like the Roman Catholic church).
2) The Book of Enoch. This is a fake. Enoch lived before the flood, and I think it is safe to say that Noah didn't take any books with him on the ark. Moses is the first writer of scripture, and he wrote nearly two millennia after Enoch's birth. Jude quotes Enoch the man being given the information supernaturally by the Holy Spirit (as was Moses to write Genesis) then sometime probably around the 3rd century A.D. this pseudepigraphical work was produced, plagiarizing the verse in Jude in order to make it look like the "Book of Enoch" was a legitimate and ancient work (not at all an uncommon or unparalleled phenomenon in ancient literature). Most scholars date Enoch centuries earlier, it is true, but only because they wrongly value Jude 1:14. To a secularist with a low or more likely no view of divine inspiration, the idea that Jude borrowed from a non-inspired work is no problem for them (even though the truth is exactly the reverse). Here are some links on that:
The Book of Enoch I (in Q/A #2)
The Book of Enoch II
Enoch's Walk with God and Some Questions in the Gospels
More on the Book of Enoch
3) Og and Bashan. Although this comes from the Bible (finally something from the Bible), many people make this mistake of thinking that Og was a Nephilim which he most certainly was not. There are no Nephilim after the great flood (at least not mentioned in the Bible, not, that is, until antichrist). Og is said to be of the Reph'aim a very large race of people but entirely human (part of the Amorites). KJV muddies the waters by calling them "giants", so check any modern English version when you see that term (it's a mistranslation in KJV done for reasons that are too involved to into here regarding the LXX). The ten cowards among the twelve spies who searched the land and gave a bad report that resulted in the 40 years of wandering in the desert do call some of these people Nephilim, but only because they are scared of them (not because they were really Nephilim which they were not). Here is what I say about that in SR 5:
For properly understanding the mention of "Nephilim" in Numbers 13:33, the context is all important. The naming of the Amorites in Canaan "Nephilim" comes from the cowardly scouts sent to spy out the land. Their discouraging and faithless testimony caused the entire congregation to fall into sin and so to die in the desert instead of inheriting the land of promise. In their fear, these malingerers clearly fastened onto the most intimidating name they could imagine to dissuade their countrymen from attacking the land. The statement that the inhabitants they saw were Nephilim was a metaphorical exaggeration (analogous to when we call a tall person a "giant" today), just as when they proclaimed "we are grasshoppers in their eyes" (similar to Deut.2:10-11; cf. Deut.2:20-21). These Amorites may well have been men of stature (cf. Amos 2:9), but they were not true Nephilim.
4) Archaeology. I'm no fan of the conclusions of modern archaeology in general, and everyone knows that Mt. Zion is Jerusalem (e.g., 1Kng.8:1).
5) Dan. The Danites have nothing to do with the Spartans (another famous lie built on yet another pseudepigraphical work that came from some human being's fantasy rather than from the Holy Spirit).
6) Antichrist from Dan. Yes, that is also what I teach, but for the reasons that are put forward in CT 3B (see the link). You don't have to go to the Midrash to prove it.
So I guess you can tell I'm not a fan of this article! I briefly had a look the other link, but as soon as I saw "Mayan Apocalypse 2012" I clicked out. The Mayans were a devil-worshiping pagan civilization wiped out by Roman Catholic marauders. Nothing they said is of any use to me.
In Jesus Christ the Lord who is the only Truth the one Way and Eternal Life,
Sorry to have sent you all that stuff! The one on "secret" etc not so good?!
I am not going into "The coming Tribulation" part 4, for awhile and then back to Apocalypse. There is not much time left for me as I am getting on in years! So the dear Lord has a lot of straightening out to do for me after all my wanderings. No matter, even if it was just to teach me one or two things I will plough on.
Many thanks for your wonderful site - don't worry to keep replying - I plod on..
Love in Jesus
No need to apologize! I appreciate you and your spirit. These things are important at any age by my calculations were are only a few years out.
Thanks again for all your good and encouraging words.
Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
I have been doing quite a bit of reading, Satan's World System. I intend to send this link to my Christian friends and family, I've found from past experiences, trying to share this type of information with those who don't believe is futile (at best) Not that attempting to share the word of God is not in the cards for me, but if they don't respond to that, it doesn't make much sense to send them links of sites which take hours of reading to get through. I've attempted to do this in the past and for the most part, the emails get deleted and they either deny ever seeing them, or claim they must have erased them by mistake.
You mention in your article that there was a lot of demonic activity during the days of Noah and there will be again in the end times. Doesn't it seem like we are seeing a lot more of this activity? Over the past 12 years, since the turn of the century, this world has become an increasingly frightening place for many. Perhaps Satan and his demons are becoming increasingly active because we are nearing the end. Although this could certainly be said for the 20th century as well, during World War 2, many people must have thought that the world was coming to an end. The difference is, Americans are much more accepting of evil practices than they were even 20 years ago. The political races have gotten so ugly that I refuse to be involved in them, when you vote, it seems you are simply choosing the lesser of evils for lack of a better term.
What's really sad is that people still think there is hope for this world, that a president would be able to make sweeping changes that bring lasting peace and harmony in not only America, but the world. Satan already knows he is defeated, why does he continue to play the game when he has already lost? I suppose he is really only interested in bringing as many souls as possible into hell?? I guess for now, he is free to roam the Earth. I remember one of our pastors telling us that hell was actually located in the center of our planet, not sure of this is true or not but it makes sense. Satan and his demons must have a place they congregate. Heaven is a complete mystery though, must be an awe inspiring site!
I guess for me, it's time to move on in life and find a new career. This is difficult to do in such a hopeless world, but in medicine at least I'll be doing something to help others and in a bad economy, at least it's a steady job.
How are things going at U of L? I often wonder how you get along there, it must be difficult being a man of God in the world of academia. I'm sure there are Christians, but I imagine they are few and far between in such an environment.
I will continue to read your site, will move on to other sections in the coming weeks, thanks and God Bless,
I certainly would agree that things are "going south" very fast in our day, and I wouldn't want anyone to get the impression that I don't see a tremendous amount of activity on the part of the evil one and his minions as being fundamentally involved in the degeneration of the world that is part and parcel of the devil's plan. The difference between now and the days of Noah is the type of involvement. That was Satan's first major attempt to infiltrate humanity as a whole in a physical way, and the dire result for his followers who participated incarceration in the Abyss has removed that approach as an option for him for the most part ever after (there are apparently some exceptions: antichrist for one we know for sure, and probably also the ten kings who rule his revived Roman empire; see the link: the ten kings as nephilim). We can certainly expect things to get worse (spiritually, anyway) as the Tribulation draws closer.
You certainly make a good point about the unrealistic expectations people have about politics. What disturbs me is that this includes most Christians. You would think someone who has sworn allegiance to the King would realize that our citizenship is not of this world (Phil.3:20; cf. Jn.18:36), and that this world belongs to the evil one and will until the King returns (Jn.12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 1Jn.5:19). It is a mark of spiritual immaturity in my view to live in this world as if "what we see" really is "what we get". In fact, of course, the spiritual realities behind the visible plane are of far greater import (e.g., 2Kng.6:16-17). By the way, hell or Hades has three compartments: 1) torments (the place of departed unbelievers); 2) paradise (the place of believers before the ascension, now unoccupied), and 3) the Abyss (the place demons who violate the Lord's ground rules for the present conflict are incarcerated). See the link: "The Keys to Death and Hades". You will not find the devil "in hell" yet. That is the last place he wants to be (see also the link: "The Lake of Fire").
Best wishes for your new career! I am praying for you daily, for rebuilding everything with more blessing on the other side of that rebuild:
"The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten."
Joel 2:24-25a NIV
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Thanks very much for the links and your description of hell, I never realized there are 3 distinct compartments although the paradise section sounds a bit misleading, but I think I know what you're referring to. On a brighter note, I imagine heaven is without flaw, a place of beauty that can't be imagined with our earthly minds, a place where there is no fear, disease, anger or evil. As I have tried to explain to non-believers time and time again, what is the purpose of life without heaven? Why would we even be here if there was no life after death, how can a person's soul die? It can't, it's not possible. Our soul ends up in one of two places. I know you're aware of that but this is something I often ask people who don't believe.
I know God exists outside of time, for all intents and purposes, our clocks and calendars mean nothing to him, perhaps this is why things appear to happen so slowly to us. It's interesting that there are still people out there who believe we can travel through time, reach light speed and travel outside our solar system. NASA has accomplished a lot over the past 50 years, but they will never find a way to travel at light speed. The unmanned Voyager ship that took off in 1977, when I was in first grade, is now 11.3 billion miles from Earth. It probably has a velocity of around 70,000 feet per second, at this rate, it would still take thousands of years to reach another solar system. Point being, God has put many limits on technology, in terms of what we as humans can do. NASA uses slingshot maneuvers in an attempt to gain velocity in space, but the limits have already been set by God, science will never triumph over God, which is what they (seemingly) want to do. Just as governments will never bring lasting peace.
I have a question for you, is there a specific prayer a person should say to become born again? I was in Teen Challenge a number of years ago and I had three pastors praying over me as I said a prayer, I don't recall what it is but I wept as I said it and recall feeling the Holy Spirit coming into me. This is what I remember and I knew it was real. I want to pray with my father before he dies, and I believe he will repeat what I say and pray with me, but I want to know what to say. I know this does not mean he is automatically saved, but like you said, where there is life, there is hope. I want to have a no man left behind policy in place for my family, so that they will not go to hell if I have anything to say about it. At some point, I believe they will be in a place where they need to call out to God.
In Jesus Christ,
Thanks for this. Heaven, of course, is only temporary. For those of us who have responded to God by accepting His gift, Jesus Christ, eternity will be spent, on earth in the New Jerusalem (not saying we will not have access to the rest of the universe but this, that is, the new earth, will be the focus of it all; see the link: "The Advent of the Father").
One small quibble which reveals the pedagogue in me is the issue of "soul"; really what we are talking about is the "spirit", soul being, biblically speaking, a synonym for the heart (see the link: "The Dichotomy of Man").
About your family, I'm not sure what to tell you about the situation except for the fact that I certainly applaud your efforts to see to it that they saved. I have been praying for them and for you on this ever since you mentioned it some years ago, so I have a stake in your success. There are no magic words. The truth of the gospel is very simple and straightforward: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved". Those who accept the truth of Jesus' sacrifice for their sins and the reality of His Person, the divine Son of God become a human being in order to bear our sins on the cross, are saved. Those who are not willing to "pay the price" of accepting the Father's gift are not. It is hard enough to tell with those we love who are "hard cases" whether or not they are really believers even without the medical problems you are dealing with. The best we can do is 1) set a good example; 2) pray for them constantly; 3) engage with them on the issue when that is appropriate and in an appropriate way. This last element is a "judgment call" sort of thing about which I am reluctant to give specific advice even in what seem to be very clear circumstances. I will only say that while in many things I tend to be reserved and conservative, when it comes to the gospel and any possibility of its legitimate acceptance I tend to be over-aggressive. Not saying what is right or wrong on this we all have to make these calls for ourselves. I only know that God knows what is in your heart and that He has structured your life and life-circumstances accordingly.
My heartfelt wishes for your family's salvation and you have my prayers too.
I came upon your website when looking for a chronological list of the books of the Bible. Your material shows that you have a good understanding of the Bible and genuinely have a belief in Jesus Christ, our Savior. However, in reading some of your material, I understand that you do not teach that Christs bride will be raptured (snatched away) before the beginning of the 7 year Tribulation period. Though I disagree with you regarding this (due to what Ive been taught and reading scripture myself), I was really disappointed when you stated a year (2026) for the suggested beginning of the 7 year Tribulation. The Bible makes it really clear that "no one" knows the day of His return, not even using calculations based on Scripture. I was just wondering why you would make such a prediction when predicting Christs return is clearly against the Bibles teaching.
Good to make your acquaintance. I very much appreciate your twin perspective of 1) being able to make us of good material even if you do not agree with everything a particular ministry is teaching and 2) being courageous in confronting positions you do not see as biblical. In the interest of full disclosure, I was at one time a vehement defender of the pre-Tribulation rapture. Indeed, it was in the process of attempting to defend it that I was forced to conclude that this particular teaching is nowhere to be found in scripture. To take just one quick point, the New Testament talks frequently about Christ's return, His parousia, and whenever and wherever that Greek word is used eschatologically, it either definitively does refer to the Second Advent or is completely consistent with only one return: at the Second Advent. All this is written up in some detail at the following links:
The word parousia
The meaning of Parousia
The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory
Three False Doctrines that Threaten Faith
On 2026, let me say first of all as I always try to point out whenever this topic comes up that this particular date is an interpretation, not a prediction. I only "know" what is in scripture, and most certainly have no independent knowledge outside of the Bible. But the Bible does have a good deal of information about this subject, and that information in my view does invite us to discover what we may: that is why it is in the Bible in the first place. If one believes the seven millennial days of human history interpretation (as I do it goes all the way back to Irenaeus), then since the gentile age ran ca. 2,000 years and was followed by Israel which ran 2,000 years, and will concluded with the Millennium which runs 1,000 years, then anyone with basic math skills can figure out that the Lord will return ca. 2,000 years after His departure. The question then only becomes when to start the count-down and whether or not the Tribulation is "extra" or part of the 2,000 years (assuming we are correct about the date of the resurrection). Here are the caveats I always conclude when discussing this subject (in SR 5 under "Specific Chronology of the Seven Millennial Days"):
"The most potentially controversial piece of information developed below, that is, the projected date for the commencement of the Tribulation, is based upon the following suppositions (all of which are treated within the context of this study):
The seven millennial day interpretation is taught in scripture and meant to be understood and applied.
The Church Age will last for two millennial days or 2000 years.
The Church Age commences following the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.
These events took place in 33 A.D.
The Tribulation belongs to both the Church and Jewish Ages and is therefore to be subtracted from the 2000 year total when calculating the start of the Tribulation.
The half hour of silence in heaven at the breaking of the seventh seal (Rev.8:1) signifies a half year grace period that shifts the start point from spring to fall.
Scripture gives no indication of either shortening or lengthening of this time-line, and therefore no such change of schedule is anticipated.
The above points are all presented here as true, and the analysis upon which they are based is set forth below. Clearly, deviation from any of the above will alter the entire scheme. It is also true, as we have already said, that alteration of the schema presented below is certainly within the power and authority of the Almighty. The very end of the Tribulation, for example, will be shortened by some undisclosed amount of time (Mk.13:20). Rather than undermining the theory advanced in this study, however, Mark 13:20 in actuality supports the importance of paying heed to the Bible's chronological information. For if "the days are shortened", then surely this means that there was a definite heavenly timetable in the first place. Secondly, Mark 13:20 indicates that the shortening mentioned is a matter of days, weeks at the most (i.e., not enough to change the general time-line given below). This is certainly in line with the very specific tally of days and months given in Daniel and Revelation (Dan.7:25; 8:14; 12:7; 12:11-12; Rev.11:2-3; 12:6; 12:14; 13:5)."
And while this is interpretation based upon the list given above, if one does accept the truth of these things, then 2026 is difficult to gainsay as the likely year of the Tribulation's commencement.
The verse "no man knows the day or the hour" is often used (along with similar verses) to discourage making use of what scripture does tell us about such matters, but is that legitimate? For one thing, Christ's words at Matthew 24:36 are in the context of those discussed already being in the Tribulation (not of using scripture to forecast when the Tribulation might begin) and are specifically talking about the Second Advent not the Tribulation's time of commencement. Finally, while we may not know the "day or hour", when we find ourselves in the Tribulation we will certainly have a very good idea of the time frame down at least to the month: the Tribulation lasts precisely seven years as is well known to all who have some facility with what the Bible says about the end times. Here is a link where these issues are discussed:
Eschatology Issues V: "It is not for you to know the day or the hour".
Finally, when you say, "predicting Christs return is clearly against the Bibles teaching", I have to quibble here (Acts 1:7 actually says "it is not for you to decide", not "to know"; see the link). That is not the case even under an expansive interpretation of what Matthew 24:36 might be taken to mean. After all, in the immediately preceding context of this verse our Lord tells the disciples very directly that they most definitely are to watch for these events in order to get their chronological bearings:
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
Matthew 24:32-33 KJV
What I have tried to do in all of these matters is discern what the Bible actually says about such things, and to lay out as clearly as possible how it does and how I have come to the conclusions to which I have come. I would welcome your close perusal of these things as they are developed at Ichthys, and look forward to your further comments and questions.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior for whose return we breathlessly wait.
It's been a while. Just felt the need to check on how pneumatology is going. Frankly, the most exciting thing in my life is "when will he post pneumatology?". I so despair this sinful flesh; I want it gone. And I want a new Bible basics post. How's that going?
I also wanted to ask, as it seems we may live to see the glorious revelation. Or die physically. Do you think it will be more Moses or more Noah. "Stand back," or "build an ark.". I am trying to spiritually prepare for either. Your guidance is always appreciated. I know you are posting a code of conduct, more detailed. I'm thinking both red sea and flood, be prepared for both.
Great to hear from you!
The Tribulation will be a combination of both: relying on the Lord to part the sea, and being able to "float" through the troubles because of prior spiritual preparation. Noah built the ark before the flood, and, similarly, this is the time to be preparing our spiritual ark, truth believed in the heart, which will sustain us during those dark times regardless of how the Lord wants to employ us, whether making it all the way through or glorifying Him in martyrdom.
On Pneumatology, I am at work on it, but it will still be some time coming yet as this subject is very involved: the Spirit is part of everything in scripture despite being hidden from view, and so the Bible has quite a lot to say about Him and His ministries (most of the treatments in traditional systematic theologies are lacking in a number of critical respects, not least of which is precision on the practical ministries of the Spirit to us today). In any case, I am at it, in addition to answering questions and doing weekly postings, and will take your interest as motivation to try and pick up the pace.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
All I got to say is, Uh......NO.
I do realize you put a lot of time into this study but it's not gospel. You know me not but I assure you I'm not lying to you. I'm all to familiar with these points of view for I too started my Christian faith very interested in the real prophecy. I started out trusting these people who taught this subject but I didn't embrace it until I fully understood it AND IT MADE SENSE TOO!! Yours makes no sense. Why? Because your teachings hasn't happened yet! You have no evidence of pretty much ANYTHING! Most of your stuff is here say. You can't prove, without a shadow of doubt, there will be a 7 year tribulation or another temple built in Jerusalem just for starters. Besides, the Bible states that we won't understand what the tribulation is until it is completed in its entirety. As I said, I won't lie to you but I highly recommend that you (((SERIOUSLY))) look at another approach this resource brings, that I will promise you, that will make perfect sense. This choice is yours. You can continue right here in what you wrote or continue to learn more. I won't force you to read this. If you are (only you know this answer) a true believer who wants to know God's Word and continue to learn, then this is for you. It's a free book. That is a book in PDF format! Therefore, I can send it to you via E-Mail or direct you to the web site to get a copy for yourself there. I have learned a lot from this resource and I am still learning but I must warn you!! This information (if you choose to read it) will go against everything you thought you knew about prophecy!! If it was the same as yours, why would I have you read it! :) Also, if this information I will send you is going to do you any good, YOU MUST GIVE IT A CHANCE TO DEVELOP!!!! It is a puzzle you will be putting together and you will NEVER see the whole picture with just one puzzle piece. See how it goes. Find out where this author is leading you. He's no fake, I assure you. I have actually talked to him personally and he gave me a free book because I gave him encouragement.
It's not a matter of time or even of effort (Zech.4:6), but it is also not a matter of whether or not it "makes sense" to third parties. God's Word means what it means. The study you (apparently) reference, Coming Tribulation part 2B: The Heavenly Prelude to the Tribulation, although extensive (book size: ca. 54,000 words), is only one part of a (currently) eight part series which in turn is introduced by a preceding five part series (The Satanic Rebellion: Background to the Tribulation). From your email, it does not appear that you have done more than give a superficial glance at the one piece you mention, let alone give serious consideration to the whole body of work. That is certainly your right, but it is not adequate to form a sound judgment as to its value. As to your specific comments:
1) "Yours makes no sense because the Tribulation hasn't happened yet". From this and from later comments you seem to have done what many Christians do in reading their English Bibles without access to the original Greek, namely, falsely conclude that some of our Lord's comments rule out knowing anything about the end times ahead of time. Now it would be passing odd if the Bible devoted an entire book of the New Testament to the Tribulation, and quite a large book at that, if it were pointless for us to read it (not to mention the very large portions of scripture in both Testaments which deal with the subject; see the link: Biblical Sources for the End Times). Here is what our Lord says about these matters in the context of His most extensive treatment of this subject in Matthew 24:
"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door."
Matthew 24:32-33 NIV
Since our Lord tells us here very explicitly that we should take note of tribulational events and has just spent a chapter telling us about what will happen, it has always amazed me that this odd position that we should ignore a very large part of the Bible should be taken seriously. No doubt these two verses are at the heart of the justification you allude to:
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
Matthew 24:36 NIV
Please note that this verse occurs immediately after Jesus has just told us that we should pay attention as we do to the fig tree as a harbinger of spring. The "day and hour" are just that, the literal day and hour of our Lord's return. We do not know the precise day or the exact hour He will return, but if we are paying attention to the events of the Tribulation as our Lord tells us to do in vv.32-33, events which He has just spent much time explaining to us in the entire preceding chapter 24, then we will have a very good idea of when the 2nd Advent is close. Please notice also that nothing in this verse suggests that we should not pay any attention to eschatology. Indeed, the entire chapter is about eschatology.
He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority."
Acts 1:7 NIV
This is the second passage that is widely misunderstood on this score. Please note that 1) this verse however interpreted does not give carte blanche to ignore the extensive end times information in the Bible; 2) it is followed immediately by our Lord's promise of the Spirit who will elucidate these matters: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you" (cf. Jn.17:13: "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth" NIV). The problem is actually in the translation of Acts 1:7 in most versions of the verb translated above "know"; in actuality, this is the aorist infinitive of gignosko (gnonai) and should be translated according to common practice "decide". After all, the eleven had just expressed their desire for Jesus to stay and to bring in the kingdom right then and there. That is the reason for His response: it is not theirs to decide (v.7) but they will receive further information after the Spirit comes (v.8). It is ironic and sad that this verse, meant to help explain the Church Age as interposed before the end times, has become for some a justification to pass over all these important matters entirely. There is much more about this point at the following link: "Eschatology Issues V".
2) The length of the Tribulation.
"Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. "And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate."
Daniel 9:26-27 NASB
Daniel's 70 weeks are taken by all responsible exegetes of whom I am personally aware (and from all manner of backgrounds too) to be referring to "weeks of years". Since the week emphasized above is the Tribulation, the Tribulation will be seven years (one day standing for one year). This representation of the Tribulation as 7 years long and the Great Tribulation, its second half, as three and a half years long is a frequent one in scripture:
In Daniel 7:25, the saints of the Most High (i.e., believers) are said to be handed over into the power of the little horn (i.e., antichrist and the Great Persecution) for "a time, times, and half a time", a biblical way of expressing the three and one half years of the Great Tribulation.
In Daniel 9:27, "the people of the prince which is to come" (i.e., antichrist as the ruler of revived Rome) will make a treaty during the last "seven" and break it in the middle of the "seven", that is, during middle of the seven years at the outset of the Great Tribulation.
In Daniel 12:7, the angel speaking with Daniel declares that it will be "a time, times, and half a time" before the persecutions stop and everything comes to an end, that is, the Great Tribulation will last three and one half years.
In Revelation 11:2, our context, the gentiles (i.e., the army of antichrist) will afflict Jerusalem for 42 months, that is, during the entire three and a half year period of the Great Tribulation (albeit under varying circumstances).
In Revelation 12:6, the woman Israel is said to be protected for 1,260 days, that is, during the whole 42 months of the Great Tribulation (expressed in standard 30 day months).
In Revelation 12:14, the woman Israel is said to be protected for a time, times, and half a time, that is, during this same period of the Great Tribulation's three and a half years.
In Revelation 13:5, the unbridled reign of antichrist is said to last for 42 months, that is, for the duration of the Great Tribulation.
3) The rebuilding of the temple. Antichrist is said to take his seat in the temple as if he were God (2Thes.2:4). He cannot do so if the temple is not rebuilt. The temple court is said to be trampled by the gentiles for 42 months (Rev.11:2; i.e., the Great Tribulation). This likewise requires a rebuilt temple. The "abomination of desolation", the statue antichrist's false prophet will empower (Rev.13:15) will stand in front of the temple (Dan.9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Matt.24:15; Mk.13:14). Again, this requires that there be a temple during the Tribulation. I certainly do not teach that the temple will be rebuilt before the Tribulation commences. The most likely scenario is that it will be rebuilt rapidly in the very early days of the Tribulation as part of the restoration ministry of Moses and Elijah, the two witnesses, the ones who direct the ministries of the 144,000 (see the link: The Two Witnesses of the Tribulation: Moses and Elijah).
There are something like 13 e-books available at Ichthys on these matters and much more information in the various email responses which tackle these issues. The interpretations in the Coming Tribulation series in particular are very much a case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts: the overall view of the Tribulation it presents does indeed "hang together" without loose ends (in my opinion and in the opinion of many readers), and given the wide variety of topics it covers, that is at least some indication that it has hit close to the mark (at the very least). So I would urge you to take a more detailed look at these material. They were written to help all my fellow Christians come to a greater understanding of these important matters before the time is upon us and they are all free and available at Ichthys any time.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
So far you have told me nothing new. In fact I knew what you were going to say before you said it, what references you were going to use, how you got to that point and why. Been there and done that. I understand everything you said and I know how you arrived to that conclusion. Do I agree with it? No. I used to. A long time ago, I bought into that theology exactly how you teach it. The proper question to ask me was "Why do you say the 7 year tribulation is in error?" but instead you say my information is in error when I gave you none. If you want to find out, all you got to do is read it. I mean read it in full. Not just the parts you want to read. Read it all. Understand it all. I had loaned a book (hard copy) to a fellow employee of mine and he only read the first few pages of it. Handed it back to me and told me that this book needs to be burned and furthermore, I will be going to hell if I continue reading this garbage AND the author was already there even though he's still alive!!! All because he decided it was wrong and he didn't even read anything at all! So, once again, I have something you need to hear. If you read it, you won't be disappointed. The only way I know of that will disappoint you is if you don't want to hear it when you read it. Just like my friend above. Simply put, you give it no chance. Once again, I must tell you. It goes against everything you teach. It will not fit your doctrine, so don't even try. If you try to see what I sent you matches what you believe, it won't, so I suggest you put away your theology for the time being and read this information IN FULL to get a complete understanding of it ( as I have a complete understanding of yours) and make your final assessment then and not before. Just to be fair, It is unwise of you to tell me I need to believe in your study and not even test mine out truthfully with an open heart as my author friend has done. This author decided one day that he was going to prove the 7 year tribulation to be Biblical because he believed in just about everything you have said to me. Well, it wasn't the case at all. This author is a historian and a Christian believer. He is no fluke as you claim him as well as myself to be especially when you have no clue as to what I'm talking about. Why don't you honestly find out. Be honest with yourself. Did you go into your study you did (and did a very fine job of it) to disprove the Bible and call it a liar? I don't think so. You went there to get the truth. If you read our material, treat it like you did with you years of studying. Don't look for reasons why it won't work. Did you do that when you did your study? I think not. If the Bible says this (in your study), then it must be. Come on. Be fair and honest with yourself. Honestly check it out with an open heart and willing mind!
It is difficult for me to believe that you read my email actually read it and impossible for me to believe that you gave my materials anything more than the most superficial glance. There is much information in the Coming Tribulation series and the Satanic Rebellion series which is unique to this ministry. So there is no possible way that you could have "been there / done that". Further, your flip introductory statement about "knowing everything" I was going to say ahead of time forces me to conclude that you are a prophet of the stature of Elisha or else just "blowing smoke". You tell me that the details on the seven years which included some translations you will not find anywhere else are some sort of inadequate "theology" already considered but rejected by you, but you give absolutely no indication for how the straight-forward meaning they all contain could be misunderstood by "everybody else".
I think a person would have to have a very low degree of self-confidence and be very wanting in faith to accept this sort of thing from an anonymous stranger who will not identify him/herself or the guru he/she follows or the magic book that has all the answers. This is the sort of tactic cults employ all the time, not Christians. So I have to ask you, are you a Christian? I mean, do you believe that Jesus Christ is God, that He took on true humanity, that He died in Calvary's darkness to expiate the sins of all mankind, and are you trusting Him alone for your eternal salvation? If so, I have issues with your approach, brother. If not, I urge you consider that He is the only way of salvation. There is no other way to be saved from the wrath to come.
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
Acts 4:12 NIV
In Jesus Christ the One and only Savior of the world,
What is the context of Isa 13:12?
I will make people more rare than fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir. (ESV
The context of Isaiah 13:12 is a prophecy of the Great Tribulation, when the majority of the world's population will be destroyed through two series of divine judgments, the horrific policies and actions of antichrist, and the final battle of Armageddon. This passage is covered at the link: "Trumpet Judgments".
Why will there be a new heaven? What's wrong with the current one.
The current cosmos is tainted by sin. That is why, even in restoration, it is a mixture of darkness and light. But in the world to come, there will be only light, only blessing, and no possibility of sin or resultant judgment for evermore:
Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new."
Revelation 21:5 NKJV
Why must the Anti-christ come in human form?
That is the prophecy (Gen.3:15; see the link). As to why, as an angel, it is impossible for Satan to actually rule the world in a tangible way. His son, antichrist, will be able to do so because he will be physically present here on earth and thus able to act and interact directly within the world of human beings.
What does it mean in Mat. 24 v14 'that the gospel shall be preached in the whole earth as a sign unto the world' does it mean that its going to be an event that will take place in the future like what the two witness and the 144,000 will do that the whole world will see or that the gospel will reach those place it has not before which I believe there are none.
I do agree with you about the penetration of the gospel. The ministry of the 144,000 and the angelic proclamation of the way of salvation (recorded at Rev.14:6-7) are, however, literal fulfillments of this prophecy (see the link).
Is there a rapture' if yes when pre, mid, pre wrath or post . . . if not amill or?
The Church is resurrected at the second advent (see the link); there is no pre-tribulation rapture; see the links:
The Origin and Danger of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Theory
As always, thank you for your detailed responses and words of encouragement - they mean a lot to me. I've just come back from Poland, where I spent two weeks with my family and closest friends. I didn't lack motivation before I went, but having been there, I'm equipped with even greater desire to study the Word, so that one day I can help others grow and the desire to translate your work. It is a sad observation, but in spiritual terms, it felt like walking on the desert. I was like this myself and I'm not saying this as a judgement, but people, and close ones too, so entangled in the issues of this satanic world and blind to the reality are a sad view. What's worse, and this made me think long and hard about my 'family come backs', I was unable to keep my spiritual schedule there. How do you go about spending time with your family and friends? That's a tough one. On one hand, even though there is always room for improvement, I'm very happy having reduced the time on things unrelated to what is real, and my solitary life here in England where I work helps a lot. Although inevitably, we see others from time to time, and it's now clear to see that in my case time in Poland will be a stumbling block to spiritual growth. Any advice on these matters would be much appreciated, I already decided to keep my time there to a minimum, I'm just aware how my family misses me. This is not to say I don't miss them, because I do, but it's now evident that these things can really get in the way of spiritual growth.
While in Poland, I had a few conversations about spiritual matters. Very few sadly, as very few people show the desire to be saved and show any interest in these things. Although, there were a few such individuals, and maybe they can be saved. I would like to ask you to say a prayer for them.
I feel such a relief to be 'back on track' with the study. I send you another set of questions, as always, please take your time.
You wrote: many essential details of eschatology would have to wait until after Pentecost (Jn.16:12-15; and compare the description given at pre-unction Acts 1:7 with the later statements in 1Thes.5:1 and 1Jn.2:20); and added in the footnote: On Acts 1:7 where "not yours to know" is better translated "not yours to decide"; I assume that the footnote only refers to Acts 1:7 and not to the verb used in 1Jn.2:20? Also, if Acts 1:7 refers to 'deciding', then is it still directly linked to the passages you list from the letters that seem to refer to 'knowing'?
Always wonderful to hear from you, my friend. I am thrilled to hear that your trip has given you even more motivation to persevere in this noble task of serving our dear Lord Jesus:
Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer (i.e., pastor-teacher), he desires a noble task.
1st Timothy 3:1 NIV
In terms of coping with those near and dear who are not immediately willing to share your enthusiasm for the truth, well, everyone who chooses the truth over the world experiences the same thing, following in the footsteps of our dear Lord:
And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor."
Matthew 13:57 NIV
For even [Jesus'] own brothers did not believe in him.
John 7:5 NIV
Later on, of course, His brothers did come to believe (James and Jude preeminently; cf. 1Cor.9:5), but we can't expect our experience to be better than our Lord's in this respect (e.g., Jn.15:20 NIV: "A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also"). In my own experience, I think it is certainly possible to continue to maintain fellowship with those we love in this world without at the same time compromising our own allegiance to the truth it is sometimes not easy, it is often frustrating, but it is possible (and necessary when it comes to doing what is right for those who may depend on us in some way, for example). In my own life, I was fortunate enough to have a very good seminary experience in that I was blessed with a circle of friends who were similarly addicted to the truth (and a friend in the truth who introduced me to my mentor in the truth before I arrived there). Those relationships have risen and sunk several times in the decades that have passed since, but each is still an encouragement to me in its own way. And I would be very remiss not to include everyone who has responded to this ministry as very helpful on this score, especially when times are tough you are a very great encouragement to me, my friend! I know that the Lord will give you the emotional help you need to persevere in this great endeavor, just as He supplies all of our needs and I will be praying for that for you as well.
As to your latest round of questions, my answer to your first question is "Yes". My practice is to use parentheses for explanations only, and not to represent words which actually occur or which are to be understood (I use square brackets for the latter; see the link). This is added to explain the actual chronology. The cursing of the tree had actually happened the day before. As to the other point, that is correct. The verb in 1st John 2:20 is oida, not gignosko (which only has this meaning of "decide" in the aorist stem in any case). This passage and 1st Thessalonians 5:1 (which also has oida) are added to demonstrate that the "knowledge" of such matters would be widespread and even assumed as general by the time of the apostles' writing of the epistles.
Could you explain Zechariah 6:15?
Those who are far off will come and build the temple of the LORD." Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. And it will take place if you completely obey the LORD your God.
What is meant by 'Those who are far off will come and build the temple of the LORD'?
The Messiah rebuilds the temple in the sense of restoring and glorifying it (Zech.6:13). It is actually already standing at the second advent, having been rebuilt previously, most likely during the Tribulation as part of Moses and Elijah's revival. "Those who come" in verse fifteen would be contributing to this restoration in the Millennium (cf. Is.56:7 a reference I got from Unger).
One more question regarding Zechariah 6:15. I'm still not sure who are 'Those who come' - are they millennial believers? Also, why are they 'far off'?
Yes. These are millennial believers, and, specifically, those Jews who are repatriated into the Land at Messiah's return (see the link), far off now (spiritually as well as geographically), but brought near (spiritually as well as geographically) at the return of Jesus Christ.
O sing to the LORD a new song,
For He has done wonderful things,
His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.
You refer to this psalm when discussing the second advent - I assume this is prophetic perfect?
Yes. The scene anticipated is the one following the second advent.
Could you explain Isaiah 59:16:
And He saw that there was no man,
And was astonished that there was no one to intercede;
Then His own arm brought salvation to Him,
And His righteousness upheld Him.
Could you please explain the whole passage (similarly Isaiah 63:5-6)?
Isaiah 59:16ff. is prophetic of the Lord, the Messiah, coming to the rescue at Armageddon (for the context, see the link). Likewise Isaiah 63:5-6, where the slaughter of Armageddon is more clearly in view.
You wrote: "to the millennial sacrifices which will memorialize Jesus' work for us on the cross (e.g., Ezek.40-48)". Could you just briefly explain how the chapters from Ezekiel refer to the point you're making here?
These chapters in Ezekiel relate the regulations for the conduct of the revived temple ritual during the Millennium (among other things of course). The reference merely tells the reader where these rituals are talked about. The symbolism is the same as that under the Mosaic Law, but now employed as a memorial rather than to teach what would happen to the Messiah. They will be a sort of "communion" for the Millennium (see the link).
Regarding the three phases of resurrection and the 'friends of the bride' you wrote: "The three phases are thus 1) Jesus Christ, 2) the Church, we who "belong to Him" and raised to meet Him at His return (e.g., 1Thes.4:13-17), and 3) everyone else who is resurrected at "the end" of the Millennium."
Although in 1 Corinthians 15:23-25 the references to our Lord's resurrection and the resurrection of 'those belonging to Christ at His coming' are clear, the resurrection of millennial believers doesn't seem to be explicitly mentioned?
The words "then the end" refer to this last phase of the resurrection which would be well-known to readers of the gospels as referring to the likes of the sheep and goats judgment in Matthew 25:31-46, or even to readers of the Old Testament:
"As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance."
Daniel 12:13 NIV
"The end" is when the final events of history happen, the preeminent of which as the verse above shows is the last phase of the resurrection and the judgment of the righteous and the wicked. The mystery is that the Church will be resurrected before the absolute end, namely at Christ's return:
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
1st Corinthians 15:51-52 NIV
The mystery is that this change (i.e., the prior resurrection of the Church alone) occurs not at the end of history, but at Christ's return:
We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
1st Thessalonians 4:14-17
So when Paul phrases this as he does, had he said, "Christ the first-fruits, then the end", we would know that he was talking about only two phases of resurrection; the surprising thing for his listeners here, called a "mystery" later in the chapter, is the revelation that there will actually be three phases of the resurrection of the righteous, with phase two, the Church, following Christ's resurrection, while the last one will be "those who belong to Him at His coming" (the "Friends of the Bride" or millennial believers at the end of history just prior to the resurrection of those not saved to face the last judgment; see the link).
Regarding the same reply you wrote: "Finally, this group of believers which is resurrected at "the end" (1Cor.15:24), are also represented as "the sheep" in the judgment described in Matthew chapter 25". The passage mentions the end, but doesn't mention resurrection? Also, how do we know that the 'sheep' are the millennial believers as opposed to all the believers at the final judgment?
With constant prayer for you and your ministry and in our Lord,
Christ sitting on his "throne of heavenly glory" (cf. Rev.20:11) and gathering "all the nations" before Him is a scenario which can only be the last judgments, and we know that these involve a resurrection as the only way this could possibly happen (e.g., 2Pet.; Rev.20:11-15). As to "how do we know that the 'sheep' are the millennial believers as opposed to all the believers at the final judgment?", well, the only way that these two groups would not be one and the same would be if there were no "mystery" phase of the resurrection at Christ's return which there definitely is, namely, the resurrection of the Church (see previous question).
As always, my friend, I appreciate your boundless enthusiasm for the Word of God, your careful eye, and your helpful comments and exaggerations. Iron sharpens iron, as scripture says. I always consider it a great privilege to be sharpened by you!
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,