Greetings. I have just come across your website while doing a search on Eschatology and the book of Revelation as I have been pondering on reading and studying the Bible more than I have been before. I have found the material thus read interesting and helpful, and prompted to email you with some questions I hope you may be able to answer.
I was prompted to do the search on the two subjects after hearing someone teach briefly on the importance of Eschatology and that the book of Revelation was not divinely intended by God to be the last book in the Bible but that men decided on the chronological order of the books.
In addition, the teacher also mentioned that the book of Revelation does not so much speak about the end time but rather more so teaches and describes the different stages that man must go through in one's lifetime and the judgements and encounters that he would have with God, in his walk with Him (God), some teachings I have heard relate this to chapters 2 and 3.
Also is it true that John received the words of the book of Revelation in segments and not all at once and that he had a scribe who wrote what he saw for him, and that these manuscripts were brought to the people who compiled the Book of Revelation?
I would appreciate your response to these questions if you can.
Good to make your acquaintance. Thank you for your interest in this ministry, and also for your determination to get to the truth of scripture. Nothing is more important for a Christian who wants to grow up spiritually in order to serve our dear Lord Jesus effectively.
The nine part Coming Tribulation series available at Ichthys is a comprehensive treatment of Eschatology (with the Satanic Rebellion series being an important prolegomenon to it). The Coming Tribulation series uses the book of Revelation as its organizational template and contains a complete original translation and exegesis of the entire book. The reason for this is that Revelation is, essentially, a chronological treatment of everything yet to happen when the end times arrive.
As to your questions based upon the teaching to which you refer, I would have to say that I strongly disagree with all of these positions and the assumptions which underlie them. The Bible is the absolute and only standard of Christian faith and practice, so that all attempts to undermine the doctrine of its canon are very dangerous.
It is true that the order of the books of the New Testament is not divinely inspired, but all of the books themselves plainly are. It was natural to place the book of Revelation last for a variety of reasons: 1) it was the last book written; 2) as the "revealing of Jesus Christ" to the world, it forms capstone to the completion of the canon; and 3) it deals with the end times, almost exclusively.
The book of Revelation is the last book in the Bible as it itself proclaims:
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
Revelation 22:18-19 NIV
The book was written by John in ca. 64-68 A.D. (see the link).
The book is all about eschatology. I do understand that there is a form of false teaching out there which seeks to allegorize everything, but even for this school of pseudo-interpretation, doing so for the whole book seems quite a stretch. Revelation is no Pilgrim's Progress. The only parts which are symbolic are the ones which tell us so (John maintains this distinction very carefully throughout the book).
Finally, on the theory that the book was compiled in bits and pieces, let me note that this entirely contrary to what John actually tells us (i.e., he says he was taken up on one occasion and wrote what he saw; e.g., Rev.10:4). On the other hand, there is not a shred of evidence that anyone but John was involved in the writing: no names, no tradition, no actual ancient statements that suggest that, no alternative texts. This seems to be an attempt to apply the false theory of the composition of the Old Testament (i.e., the "documentary hypothesis") to the New Testament. Given that the span of time between the composition of the NT books and our earliest evidence for them is so much shorter than is the case for the OT (less than a century for parts of John's gospel, for example), that false view has even less validity for the New Testament than it did for the Old.
Much about the book of Revelation is misunderstood. I do invite you to have a look at Coming Tribulation (as well as Satanic Rebellion), and hope that you will see that the interpretation given therein comports with a high view of biblical inspiration. Here a couple of shorter links to help you get started:
The structure of the book of Revelation.
The Book of Revelation: Some Questions.
What is meant by the "10 days" of Revelation 2:10?
Eschatology Issues III: Over-focusing on Revelation
Thanks again for your interest – please do feel free to write back about any of the above.
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I agree that we must be careful and have to discern spirits. I just say that there are true prophets (though not so many as I can see) too and we have to be careful when we evaluate whether someone is man of God or not. I'm sending you in an attachment some new evidences about 2036.-2043 Tribulation period.
This is also useful and interesting:
Apologies for the delay in response. I had a look at your document, and have many questions. Perhaps we could start with a few critical ones:
1) Since scripture directly identifies the millennia of human history as periods of precisely 1,000 years (e.g., Ps.90:4; 2nd Pet.3:8; Rev.20:2-7; compared with Genesis chapter 1), what is your specific reason for rejecting this biblical number and preferring a number which never occurs in scripture?
2) Why do you think the cross took place in A.D. 26/27? I have it in A.D. 33 (see the link for the chronological details).
3) Why do you quote from a fictional 18th century pseudepigraphical "work", the falsely named "book of Jasher"?
4) What hermeneutic rationale do you provide for including things that have happened since the close of the canon as interpretative supports? In my view of these things, there is no prophecy about the Church Age except for the trends of the first two chapters of Revelation in the seven churches (see the links).
One additional observation: the life of Christ is the "conjunction of the ages" (Heb.9:26). Therefore all the worrying about the OT chronology is a bit of rabbit trail. I do as much of this as is necessary in the links previously provided (to show that there are 4,000 years of history according to scripture before the birth of Christ), but the date of the second advent is obvious from adding two millennia to the date of the cross (= ca. 2033). The OT chronologies merely serve to demonstrate that in fact four millennia preceded the birth of Christ.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Don't mind for delay. I understand that all of us have some other duties.
1) I'm not sure what number which never occurs in scripture you mean that I use. Probably, you mean 2010, but it is derived from time passed between creating of Adam and Abraham's birth - exactly 2010 years. And, it is image of time between start of public mission of Jesus Christ in 26/27 AD and His first appearance during The Second Coming, i.e. The Rapture of the Church in 2036/37 AD. And, I nowhere deny the millennium of human history as periods of precisely 1,000 years. I use it in various cases, e.g. as it is 2000 years from Adam to Nimrod, so it is from start of Christ's public mission in 26/27 AD to coming Antichrist to power in 2026/27 AD, etc.
God said: "And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected." (Luke 13:32) One day is like 1000 years. So, He didn't say that He will finish His victory over evil after two days (2000 years), but in the third day, e.g. after 2000 + x years (where x<1000 :)). So, from start of Christ's public mission in 26/27 AD to start of Christ's judgement I don't count 2000 years, but 2000 + x years. Why x = 10, you can see as from upper comment about 2010 years from Adam to Abraham, so from representation about 2300-1200 cycle I have sent you before in the attachment.
2) I don't think that cross, i.e. death and resurrection of Christ took place in 26/27 AD, but in 30 AD. 26/27 AD is start of Christ's public mission. You can see about that here:
3) The Book of Jasher is mentioned in Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18. Reading and comparing with canonical Bible, it can be seen that The Book of Jasher is The Holy Scripture too. As there are false apocryphal books like Gospel of Thomas and so on, so there are true apocryphal books like The Book of Jasher, The Book of Enoch, etc.
4) Bob, I don't understand this question well. I would ask you to clarify it.
All the best from The Lord Jesus,
On your responses . . .
1) Based upon the chronological information in Genesis, I have Adam's creation at 4112 B.C., and Abraham's birth at 2164 B.C. – 1,948 years. See the link: in SR 5 "Chronological Days 4-3".
2) The crucifixion cannot have been in 30 A.D., since that would make our Lord only 26 + at the time when Luke says He was about to turn 30 (Lk.3:23). See the link: in SR 5 "The Life of Christ".
3) The so-called book of Jasher currently in circulation is a very late forgery. Also, the canon consists of 39 Old Testament and 27 New Testament books (according to the Latin/English rendering). None of the apocryphal or pseudipigraphical books of antiquity – of which there are a plethora – are divinely inspired, and so can add nothing directly to our understanding of divine truth. But this book you reference is not even of ancient provenance. It was "cooked up" in the 19th century.
4) What I mean by this is that not "everything goes" when it comes to interpreting the Bible. There are interpretive rules. Some of these are universally agreed upon by most conservative theologians, while others are unique to a group or even to one exegete. But the point is that everyone who does this sort of thing on a serious level will have to be consistent in approach as to how the Bible is to be interpreted. When I ask others for their "hermeneutic" it is to save time for both parties. To use a crude analogy, if your approach is "binary" and mine is "base 12", clearly we will be talking past each other to no particular purpose. To be specific on this question I asked you, in my hermeneutic of prophecy, the historical events of the Church Age are not delineated in the Bible (only the trends of the seven church eras). Therefore in my understanding of these matters, since the Bible says nothing about the specific occurrences of this 2,000 year period, any search for significant events between the resurrection of Christ and the commencement of the Tribulation (when the end times with which biblical prophecy is concerned finally begin) is not only a fruitless one but will be misleading, especially in any attempt to establish chronology. The foundation of the secular state of Israel in 1947 is one such false cornerstone which many people adduce as evidence for one thing or another. However, as mentioned, my interpretation of the biblical scheme of history and the prophecy of the Bible precludes that date as being significant for any purpose. I am certainly happy and able to support that principle of interpretation, but my point here is that I personally will not agree with any "evidence" flowing from such extra-biblical sources.
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I understand essential reason for our different view on this topic. It's because you don't recognize The Book of Enoch, The Book of Jasher, The Second Esdras and so on, as The Holy Scripture and I recognize it as The Holy Scripture. I would just advice you to read at least some of those books or parts of them, and you will be insured it is word of God. God's word is God's word, whether it is canonical or apocryphal. We should just differ false and true apocrypha but not refuse true with false ones. And check all information (or rumors sometimes) about these books in light of word of God.
All the best from The Lord Jesus,
I'm afraid that we will have to "agree to disagree" on this point. I have read much of this material (it was a special area of study for me in seminary), and when I apply the "Chafer test" (referring to L.S. Chafer of Dallas Seminary fame), I find all of these non-biblical materials utterly lacking of any indication of divine inspiration: merely by reading these books you reference it is made absolutely clear – in my opinion – to anyone well-versed in genuine scripture that they are not scripture. As in listening to Jascha Heifetz vs. your humble servant playing the violin, there is simply no comparison.
Yours in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world,
I was wondering when the eschatology section http://ichthys.com/2B-Eschato.htm will be finished on your website. Thanks
Good to make your acquaintance. I have been working on this section of the Basics series for some years, and it will probably be quite some time before it is available. The reason for this is that with the completion of the Coming Tribulation series in addition to the Satanic Rebellion series, these matters have now been covered in much greater detail than the BB 2B synopsis will eventually include, so that this is not my top production priority at present.
I encourage you to have a look at these two series above in the meantime. Also, there are many Q/A postings which deal with eschatology in response to readers' questions (see the link). Do feel free to write back if you have specific questions.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
God bless and how are you?
I am still reading CT but this is somewhat related. I have not gotten to the abomination part in reference to the antichrist but didn't Manasseh the king of Judah after Hezekiah have an abomination that causes desolation by erecting idol in the temple This is in 2 Chronicles Chron 33? I knew he repented and God forgave him.
Just wanted a better understanding of the difference. Is it primarily because one did not repent and the other did or could it be that Manasseh was Jewish and therefore did not apply.
Yours in Christ.
Very good to hear from you. I hope things are going well with you and yours. Things are about the same here (prayer is still appreciated).
As to your question, Manasseh did set up a wooden idol in "the house of God" (2Chron.33:7), and this was certainly not the only time that the temple was defiled (e.g., 2Chron.29:5). The "abomination which causes desolation", however, is a talking idol which is prophesied to be erected in the temple court rather than in the temple itself (antichrist will seat himself in the temple: 2Thes.2:4). So what the beast and his false prophet will do will be absolutely unique and unprecedented in the annals of evil hitherto.
Here are two links, one to the CT reference and one to a Q and A posting, that have to do with this subject:
The Dragon (Rev.12) and the Talking Idol (Rev.13)
in CT 3B: "The Abomination of Desolation"
Do feel free to write me back about this, especially if I missed the import of your question.
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I was asking your thoughts on the following timeline. Work concerning the Balfour century is at:
Good to make your acquaintance. Passing over many issues I have with some of the things I find here and on your site (e.g., in my considered opinion there is absolutely no biblical prophecy that applies to the events of the Church Age, at least in terms of specifics; the seven churches of Revelation give trends; see the links), on the question of history's biblical chronology we seem to have come to the same conclusion that Irenaeus came to in the mid-second century (indicating that it was an apostolic teaching), namely, that human history consists of seven millennial days (see the links). As I often point out, the facts that the seventh day is a day of rest, and that the millennium is 1,000 years of rest, and that "one day with the Lord is like a thousand years" (Ps.90:4; 2Pet.3:8) would invite us to posit a seven thousand year plan for humanity in any case.
Your estimate for the commencement of the Tribulation is three years earlier than mine, and this seems from a brief perusal of your charts to be due to the "key element", as you put it, of the assumption of a 4 B.C. date for the birth of Christ. While many do accept that date, in my opinion it is erroneous, being based largely on the extra-biblical testimony of Josephus, a very questionable source for those who have studied him with some care (and there are questions about what he does actually say in this case as well; see the link). One of the biggest problems with a 4 B.C. date is that it runs afoul of the most likely date of the crucifixion / resurrection when independently developed: 33 A.D. You will find my chronological reconstruction of these dates at the following link: The Life of Christ.
You should also know that like many former adherents of the erroneous pre-Tribulation rapture, years of biblical study eventually forced me to disgorge that very dangerous and non-biblical false doctrine. Here are a couple of links on that topic, if interested:
The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Thanks, Will try make time to read your series.
The basis selected for Jesus birth was wiki. Second was the agreement 4bc gives with Dan. 69 weeks. That being only after baptism did God declare, "my beloved son in whom I am well pleased."
"Diverse approaches have been used to estimate the chronology of Jesus, ranging from the comparison of the accounts in the Christian gospels with Roman and Jewish sources regarding facts such as the marriage of Herodias and separately the Jerusalem Temple, to correlation with the well established chronology of Paul of Tarsus, to astronomical analysis based on an approach first suggested by Isaac Newton. Two independent approaches can be used to estimate the year of birth of Jesus, one based on the nativity accounts in the gospels, the other by working backwards from the date of the start of his ministry. Most scholars assume a date of birth between 6 and 4 BC."
In the final analysis, I look on time as entirely in the hand of God to either shorten or length time based on events. Thus any calculation is at best an approximation. Is good to see we are close on estimates. I doubt you will have much success at rewriting or getting the authors of wiki to allow descent. Even rightful rebuttal, from one even so learned in that specific time age. My dealings with wiki, is they are very chic and wiki while good, should never be taken as absolute. except in sense it is the absolute opine of the "keepers" . The keepers are in divergence of stated wiki practice. I would never donate a hares breath to the org under current management. About the pretrib rapture my reservation is that pretrib implies several resurrections. Whereas scripture indicates at most 2. That of the just and the dammed. For if during the trib, people are saved, and certain some are beheaded, then There must be more than one resurrection of "the just". However scripture as I read, indicates only one resurrection of the just. And that in several places and parables.
Thanks – I'm not worried about Wikipedia. The site always reflects the bias of the contributors without any true editorial correction or institutional caution – so it always has to be taken with more than a grain of salt. Case in point is the reliance on "astronomical evidence" here. If by this the authors mean the star of Bethlehem, in truth that was a miraculous event and not something that can be found in astronomical data (not a comet or any such thing – it actually led the wise men to Bethlehem and stopped over the inn where our Lord was); if, on the other hand, they mean the darkness on the day of crucifixion, this was also miraculous and could not have been an astronomical eclipse – they don't last three hours – so there is no way to calculate anything about our Lord's life from "astronomical evidence".
I do apologize for an apparent misunderstanding though. I am not a believer in the pre-Tribulation rapture (please see the previous links).
For some reason I got the wrong impression from your site that you were.
In Jesus our dear Lord,
As I study Daniel and Revelation about the abomination that makes desolate I have always thought it represented the gold dome over Solomon’s temple. While searching other websites, I came across this:
Jerry Landay in his book, The Dome of the Rock (Newsweek, New York, NY, 1972) p. 18, records that when Khalifah Omar entered Jerusalem in 639AD, he was met by Sophronius, Bishop of the Jerusalem Church, who showed him around the city. Seeing the temple mount (then in rubble), Omar declared that he was going to build a memorial to Muhammad on the original site of the temple of God. Sophronius exclaimed in horror, "Verily, this is the Abomination of Desolation as spoken of by Daniel the prophet," and it now stands in the holy place. Though Sophronius was a very old man of about 80, Khalifah Omar put him in prison and to forced labor, the severities of which killed him. The Dome of the Rock being the Abomination that maketh Desolate is not a new theology. It's a truth that's been with the Church for over 1300 years, but somehow we have managed to forget the prophetic words of Sophronius, Bishop of the Jerusalem Church.
Why through the ages, has this been silent? I’ve never heard anyone condemn this building onto the temple site from Billy Graham to the pope. Please share your views on this, because I truly trust your wisdom.
Your friend in Christ our Saviour,
The "abomination which causes desolation" will be the cult statue of antichrist which the false prophet erects in the temple court at about the Tribulation's mid-point. When it is set up, that will be the sign for believing Jews in Jerusalem to "flee" to the desert where they will be cared for during the Great Tribulation. This statue is described in Revelation chapter 13:14-15 as a likeness of the beast which the false prophet will cause to speak and which followers of antichrist will be required to worship. So it's not on the scene yet, and can't be as long as there is at yet no "temple court" (the temple not having yet been reconstructed).
You can find out more about this at the following links:
The Dragon (Rev.12) and the Talking Idol (Rev.13)
in CT 3B: "The Abomination of Desolation"
Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Do you have a chart or diagram showing Daniels 70 week prophecy? Do you believe there is a unforetold gap between the 69th week and the 70th week?
Yes, there is a gap: Daniel's 70th week is the Tribulation; you will find a number of charts et al. on the Tribulation at the following link:
Ichthys Bible Charts and Illustrations
The passage itself is explained (including the meanings of the different divisions) and translated at this link:
In CT 3B: Daniel 9:24-27
Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
I recently ran into a passage I haven't been able to "figure out." Zephaniah 1 seems to be clearly talking about the coming end of the age. Verse 8 says "And on the day of the LORD’s sacrifice— I will punish the officials and the king’s sons and all who array themselves in foreign attire." In my mind the day of the Lord's sacrifice refers to his crucifixion. The proceeding verses describe that day in a way that seems to portray armageddon. I would think that the day of the Lord's sacrifice, and armageddon are two distinct separate days, although this passage seems to put them in the same time frame. What am I missing?
As always, thank you for your ministry,
Good to hear from you.
It is certainly true that the cross is the "great sacrifice" by which we are saved. However, it is also true that Armageddon (see the link) is sometimes called a sacrifice as well because of the great slaughter which will attend it (Is.34:6; cf. Rev.19:17-21). So I think this is a case of the "Day of the Lord Paradigm" (see the link), wherein near contemporary fulfillment of a judgment (in Zephaniah's time) is deliberately contrasted by the Spirit to the ultimate day of divine judgment at our Lord's return: "for the Day of the Lord is near" (Zeph.1:7).
Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
I've been somewhat keeping track of the news lately, and have seen the escalating violence happening over at Israel, especially over the past few days. I'm not normally one to jump to 'end of the world' conclusions, but do you think this just may perhaps be a sign of something? Just asking what you think.
I think that there is no doubt but that from every perspective it is plenty clear to see that the world is virtually hurtling towards the end. With the current pace of change in all things, the idea that "the end can't come for many centuries" is not supportable.
Best to be ready for when the Tribulation begins (see the link).
Keep up the good work of spiritual edification – in truth, that's the only way to prepare.
In Jesus our dear Lord,
You know, it's funny. I too am like many who think something is coming. I have studied a lot but probably only know a fraction of what you do. Regardless, here is my opinion of what is going on now and how it meshes with what you are saying. I'll work backwards.
year 2033 - Beginning of millennium
-7 years 2026 - Beginning of tribulation
-7 years 2019 - Rapture
-7 years 2012 - Great falling away due to times and predictions.
Good to make your acquaintance.
I certainly agree with the first two line-items here.
However, there is no pre-Trib rapture (see the links: "No rapture" and "The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory"). Even if there were (which there isn't as parousia always refers to Christ's second advent return in the NT – that is the word used at 1Thess.4:15, the most commonly adduced "rapture" proof-text), I don't see any rationale for placing it fourteen years before the commencement of the Tribulation. I have never heard of that one before: most evangelicals who have convinced themselves that they won't have to endure the Tribulation place that "rapture" just before its start or occasionally at its mid-point. The apostasy does come first, as 2nd Thessalonians 2:3 makes crystal clear. However, that passage connects the Great Apostasy with the revelation of antichrist, an event which is inextricably linked to the Tribulation throughout scripture (not to so many years ahead of time – even though we certainly do live in the lukewarm days of Laodicea; see the link).
In any case, if your schema were correct, we would already know who antichrist is . . . or shortly would. But the concealment of that identity is one of the keys to his initial success. He will proclaim himself to be "Christ", after all, and in furtherance of that claim (and in furtherance of that camouflage) will proclaim the head of the Islamic confederation, aka "the Mahdi", to be "antichrist".
I have many links on this subject. In addition to the Coming Tribulation series (see also the Satanic Rebellion series), you might consider beginning with the following:
Antichrist: the Mark, the Number, and the Identification of the Beast
Antichrist and his kingdom (CT 3B)
The Mark of the Beast (in CT 4)
The Number of the Beast (in CT 4)
Israel and Antichrist in Eschatology
The 7 Trumpets, the 7 Kings, Nephilim, Antichrist and Revived Rome.
Antichrist: Alive and Well and Living on Planet Earth?
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 reign of antichrist: 7 years or 3 and 1/2 years?
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Can I ask...when your not busy to briefly explain what actually happens at "Judgment" and what is it? I am slightly confused still nowadays after becoming "born again" and taught that one's sins were wiped. And starting off with a "clean-slate".
I hope you don't mind me firing the odd question to you.
Good to hear from you again, my friend. As Paul describes it succinctly in 1st Corinthians chapter three, the judgment of believers is very much different from the judgment of unbelievers. We will be evaluated for our time here on earth after salvation in order to determine the level and degree of our eternal rewards. There is an entire system of these rewards which will determine, among other things, our eternal residence in New Jerusalem. I have written this up in detail; please see the link: "The Judgment and Reward of the Church". Essentially, as long as a believer makes it through this life with their faith intact, that person will receive a resurrection body, a full share in Jesus Christ, and will dwell in the eternal city with Him and with us all forever. For those who do more than that, responding to the Lord's mandates to grow, progress, pass tests, and help others do likewise, the rewards are wonderful to contemplate (e.g., Moses "regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward": Heb.11:26).
You are right about the issue of sin for believers. These will not be an issue at the Judgment Seat of Christ – but all of our false efforts will be burned up before Him, yet we shall be saved "even though only as one escaping through the flames" (1Cor.3:15 NIV). But that point about sin is also true of unbelievers. Christ died for all sin. The only sin for which He could not die, the unpardonable sin, is the sin of rejecting Him and His work on the cross. Therefore unbelievers have chosen to stand on their own works before God instead of on Christ's work. That will be the substance of their judgment, the so-called "Last Judgment", namely, the excruciatingly detailed demonstration to them, each and every one, that they are not good enough to spend eternity with God even if they think they have done "good things" (see the link). When they are not found in the book of life – their names having been wiped out for rejecting Jesus Christ – the consequence will be their condemnation. Please see the link: "The Last Judgment".
Hope this helps. Please feel free to write me back about any of the above.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
If you would be so kind - I need to borrow some or your Greek grammar language skills. Is the Greek "heis" of Rev. 6:1 implied to be an ordinal "ONE"?
Revelation 6:1 KJV: And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals . . .
Likewise, is the greek "heis" of Jn. 8:9 implied to be an ordinal "ONE"?
John 8:9 KJV: And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one
Yes and no. This use of the cardinal number "one" in a sequence of ordinal numbers instead of the more usual ordinal number "first" is not unprecedented in scripture. For example, the same thing happens in the Hebrew in the account of the seven days in Genesis (Gen.1:5 says "one day" or "day one", not "the first day"; see the link: "The Hebrew word for 'One' "). This technique is used in both cases in order to give emphasis to the sequence as of being one of critical importance. Here is how I translate the verse:
And I saw when the Lamb opened one[, that is the first,] of the seven seals . . .
The usage in John 8:9 is different; the Greek heis kata heis is an exact equivalent of our English "one by one" – which simply means individually/sequentially. However, you should know that this part of what the KJV has printed, the pericope of the "women caught in adultery" (Jn.7:53 - 8:11), is most definitely not part of scripture – it is a forgery foisted upon some late manuscripts (none of the early ones) which unfortunately made its way into the KJV (see the link).
Yours in Jesus our dear Lord,
It has been a while since I wrote to you but I have been reading a good amount off your website. A question on the confusing issue of pre and post tribulation. Matthew 24 V 29-32 says a trumpet will be sounded to gather the elect. Where will this elect be? On earth? But it says again from one end of heaven to the other? If this elect will be on earth why doesn't the verse mention earth? What does four winds mean and what are they?
I hope you will be able to offer your usually excellent exegesis.
Good to hear from you! The phrase "from the four winds" indicates the four quadrants of the earth. That is also what "from one end of heaven to the other" is meant to convey. After all, the angel is sent from heaven to earth, and the topic under discussion is the "distress" of the Tribulation which happens on earth. And the nations (of the earth) are the ones who see these events. Just as vultures circle in the sky – but are visible from earth – so it will be at the resurrection which occurs at Christ's return. The dead in Christ will rise first, then we who remain will be caught up with them in clouds, resurrected too and swept up to meet with our returning Lord "in the air". Please see the link: "The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride".
Please do feel free to write me back about this.
In anticipation of that wonderful day to come!
Yours in Christ,
I've now started reading through Revelations a couple days ago (or yesterday, I don't quite remember) and am now on Revelations 4. I've had a couple of questions, and a couple regarding previous and Old Testament chapters and books. Firstly, though, I peeked ahead through Revelations a little bit. I must admit, I don't want to say I was shaken, but I can't help but feel a sense of nervousness from what I read. I don't really understand why, but when I read ahead -especially to passages regarding the lake of fire- I feel nervous. Is it just the idea of it that's causing ths feeling?
I was going to ask who the man was with the bronze feet, the sword in his mouth, the seven stars in his right hand, but I think I understand who it is: it's Jesus. The sword in his mouth is the power of his Word (or is it God's word? Or both?), so the man being described in revelations 1: 9-20 can only be our Lord, right? Anyway, I do not wish to brag or boast, and am trying to only make an observation, but I'm much better off in my faith now then I have ever been since being saved, and especially beforehand. Why then do I feel nervous about revelations, especially concerning the lake of fire? I'm not even concerned over the time of trial or the great apostasy, but the very mention of the lake of fire gives me pause. Is this false guilt I'm feeling?
I hope to hear from you soon.
Good to hear from you – and to hear that you continue to progress with your Bible reading and personal spiritual growth.
You are absolutely correct that the Person in chapter one is Jesus Christ.
As to the book of Revelation generally, the Coming Tribulation series (see the link) contains a complete exegesis of the book, as well as an original translation of all of the verses. The Satanic Rebellion series is the prologue to it (and Coming Tribulation assumes that the reader knows most of the information the previous series contains).
Revelation can be challenging as we anticipate all of the troubles to come – especially seeing as how it getting so close now. But a Christian who has put his/her faith in Jesus Christ has absolutely nothing to fear, not from anything in this world . . . and certainly not in the next. Jesus has promised us that we who are His will be with Him forever. Scripture is filled with promises of God. We should strive to believe them and hold them fast to our hearts so as not to be "swept to and fro" by anything we see or hear (Eph.4:14).
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, [there] you may be also."
John 14:1-3 NKJV
Yours in Jesus Christ in whom we have life eternal – and with whom we will be forever.
Greetings Brother Bob – I have been hard at it trying to finish part 5 of the Satanic Rebellion before we start the next Bible Study. I download and print out each page of your study, read as many of your supportive scriptures as I can, read what my Study Bible says of the same scripture. Hence, it is a long time running the whole series! I love it. It makes my Bible come alive like never before! Which does not mean I have no questions that I usually bug you about! Such as: Will the long awaited DAY be when Jesus returns to begin the Millennial period of Rev.20? Where we will be "priests of God and of Christ and reign with Him for a thousand years"? In our glorified resurrection bodies? Has 1Thes. 4: 13-18 has transpired? Meaning that the final battle of Armageddon and the Great White Throne Judgment all hold off another thousand literal years? I fear I among stumbling among the trees, having lost sight of the sequence of the forest. Any links you can offer to answer this will sure be appreciated.
Thanks again for your enthusiasm about Ichthys.
As to your question, yes, there is an entire nine part series which explains all these things in great detail, namely, The Coming Tribulation series (see the link). The resurrection occurs at the second advent, following the Tribulation; that is when the Church is evaluated; this is followed in turn by the Millennium, and after the 1,000 years wherein we rule with Christ in our eternal bodies, the end will come (including the Great White Throne judgment of unbelievers); this is followed by the new heavens and the new earth and our blessed and blissful eternity with Jesus Christ in the New Jerusalem. There are many other postings at Ichthys which deal with these issues besides the (nearly) thousand page long CT series (Armageddon, for instance, takes place at the second advent; see the link). Have a look at this one (as sort of a way to get your feet wet in regard to the most salient issue you raise here), then do please feel free to write back with other specific questions: "The Timing of the Resurrection".
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I found your site while searching end times theologies. I have been working on a timeline of mine since 2008. You may be interested in the research. According to the tracking of time for the church from the time of Christ's death on the cross to today. It's only the year 1982. Interesting. Please check this out and let me know any thoughts you may have.
Good to make your acquaintance. You have produced a very attractive chart! Also, I certainly agree with some of your basic assumptions/conclusion, to wit, that the cross/resurrection is the dividing point, and that the seven years of Tribulation should be subtracted from the two-millennium long Church Age to find the start of the Tribulation (since the two thousands years mark the distance from the cross to Christ's return at the second advent, after the Tribulation).
A couple of observations: 1) You seem to have placed the birth of Christ at 3 B.C. As that is a unique positioning I would be curious to know how your arrived at it; 2) I don't see how your 30 A.D. date for the crucifixion/resurrection can work with this prior date if Christ began His three and half year ministry just before His 30th birthday, as Luke reports; 3) In my view 33 A.D. is a much more likely date for the crucifixion/resurrection: please see the link: "The date of the birth of Christ and the crucifixion of Christ".
Yours in the One who died for us, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Firstly, let me genuinely express my appreciation for your feedback and for taking the time to review the details in the chart. It means so much for me to engage in discussion on these subjects with a brother. Thank you so very much. I would welcome any other thoughts or comments. I am trying to find a way to present these to churches as a study aid to help raise funds for my time here at Bethel School of Ministry. Let me know if you know of any that would be interested. Thanks. Now to your questions:
Anno Domini (AD or A.D.) and Before Christ (BC or B.C.) are designations used to label or number years used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars. This calendar era is based on the traditionally reckoned year of the conception or birth of Jesus of Nazareth, with AD counting years after the start of this epoch, and BC denoting years before the start of the epoch. There is no year zero in this scheme, so the year AD 1 immediately follows the year 1 BC. This dating system was devised in 525, but was not widely used until after 800.
According to virtually any source Christ was actually born between 3-5 BC. The Gregorian Calendar erroneously places his birth at 1 and counts forwards from there. We know that he ministered for 3.5 years due to gospel accounts of the Passover's he attended. Pontius Pilate ordered he crucifixion and he ruled between 26 - 36 AD. We know that Jesus began his ministry at 30 (Luke 3:23) the age when a father would take his son into the town square and announce that his son was now of age to speak for the father's business and could conduct and agree to contracts. (Geza Vermes, Jesus the Jew, p.21. Cf. D.Flusser, Jesus, Herder & Herder, New York, 1969, p.20). Therefore when you do the math from a birthdate that is more accurate then dear Pope Gregory, you end up with a birth date of between 3-5 – you next add his 33.5 years to this and a more accurate date of his death falls around 30AD. To have a death date of 33AD you'd have to have Christ born at the beginning of our current calendar in accordance to Pope Gregory and I can't find a source that would conclude that Christ was really born in the year 1. Hope that helps. Based on that, I see no significance in any Mayan 2012 hype. It's really pretty funny. I do see interesting things going on currently though that lead me to conclude we are so very close. Many of these are links or comments in the white boxes near the end of the timeline under end times.
Blessings in Christ
You are most welcome. As to your latest response, it is the phrase "According to virtually any source" with which I would quibble. As a professional ancient historian, I have looked into these matters fairly closely and would wish to stress that when it comes to specific extra-biblical chronology, there is very little for anyone to rest upon securely when it comes to dating the birth of Christ. You are correct that there is no "year zero", but this is precisely one of the problems I see with your schema. For a variety of reasons, 33 A.D. is to be preferred as the likely date of the cross/resurrection of our Lord. This would necessitate a 2 B.C. birth date if correct. On the other hand, 30 A.D. would make 5 B.C. the year of our Lord's birth, and that is problematic: There is no "wiggle room" in the year for the reasons outlined in this excerpt from the previously shared link (n.b.: important footnotes 61-63 are omitted here simplicity' sake):
To begin with, we know from Luke 3:1 that John began baptizing "during the fifteenth imperial year of Tiberius" (i.e., from August 19th of A.D. 28 to August 18th of A.D. 29).(61) Since Luke states that Jesus was "about thirty"at the commencement of His public ministry (Lk.3:23), an event that post-dates the time when John began baptizing, there can be little doubt that the birth of Christ is to be fixed ca. 1-2 B.C. To place Christ's birthday any earlier would make Him "twenty-something", not "about thirty". Moreover, this phrase is best taken (and arguably can only be properly taken, especially given Luke's penchant for precision: cf. the precise dating of John's ministry at Lk.3:23) to mean that while Christ had not yet reached His thirtieth birthday, He was very close to doing so, that is, He was 29 and set to turn thirty that same calendar year.(62) If we accept December as Christ's birth-month, therefore, He will then have been born in 2 B.C. (only one year earlier than supposed by the Christo-centric calendar we now use, established by Dionysius Exiguus ca. 525 A.D. at the behest of Pope John I).(63) It is impossible within the scope of this study to detail all of the chronological details and arguments connected with Christ's birth, but the 2 B.C. date, in addition to being based on the only two clear chronological references in the gospel (i.e., Lk.3:1 and 3:23), is also recommended by three other important factors. First, it allows for a three year ministry of Christ (as required by the chronological details of John's gospel as we shall see when discussing the date of the crucifixion). Secondly, it allows for a crucifixion date of 33 A.D., by far the most likely date when independently derived (see below). And, thirdly, it squares most precisely with the universal census mentioned by Luke (Lk.2:1-3).
The dates of the census and date of the crucifixion are covered immediately following in this excerpt from SR 5. Most of the suppositions about earlier, alternative dates make great use of Flavius Josephus, but 1) he is a quirky pseudo-historian of very questionable reliability, and 2) when it comes to his reference to the birth of Christ there is an argument to be made that he is conventionally understood incorrectly (see the link).
In any case, your dating on this matter is not out of tune with what most people do; I just don't happen to agree with it. In case you have not already done so, a very good place to wet one's toes with these issues is Dr. H.W. Hoehner's Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ (Zondervan: Grand Rapids, 1977).
I also forgot to mention that you are also "spot-on" in your comments that make it clear that the darkness on Calvary was no normal "solar eclipse" – our Lord was judged for the sins of the world during those three hours, so it is an incredibly important point to get right.
Keep fighting the good fight of faith.
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Thanks for this. Could you help me understand it though. If Christ was, as mentioned here, crucified on 33AD and born in 2BC this would make him 35 years old at death. I have not heard that before. I can't see in these conclusions anything in regards to the precision of the prophecy in Daniel 9:25. The 69 weeks of this prophecy track from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to Christ being declared exactly 483 years. 69 x 7. This year would be 26AD when Christ would have been 29, and turning 30. In that I agree. But this date of this would have to move back to align with the prophecy of Daniel. Do you think this would play into the dating of his birth? The December birth month is also new to me. I was under the impression that most considered earlier in the calendar year a more likely birth month. What are your thoughts? It's also interesting to note the 2000 time span between the covenant with Abram and the death of Christ on the cross in 30 AD. Did I misread this Bob?
Thanks for your assistance.
Let's see if I can explain it this way:
If Christ was born in December of 2 B.C.,
He would have turned 1 in December of 1 B.C.,
He would have turned 2 in December of 1 A.D. (there being no "year zero"),
He would have turned 3 in December of 2 A.D., . . . . .
He would have turned 33 in December of 32 A.D., and He would have been crucified and resurrected the next spring in 33 A.D. at the age of 33 before turning 34 the next December.
As to the 483 years, this represents the time between the order to desist of Ezra 4:6ff (ca. 485) and the birth of Christ (ca. 2 B.C.). Please see the links: "What are the 69 Weeks in Daniel 9:25?" and "The Specific Chronology of the Seven Days of Human History"):
(24) Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to complete the rebellion and consummate sins (i.e., to bring apostasy to the full), to atone for iniquity and bring in everlasting righteousness (i.e., the saving work of Christ), and to seal up vision and prophecy and anoint the holy of holies (i.e., the coming of the Kingdom). (25) So know and understand that from the issuing of a decree to desist [from rebuilding Jerusalem] (in ca. 485 B.C.: Ezra 4:6-23), and for the rebuilding of Jerusalem (decreed forty-two years later in ca. 443 B.C.: cf. Ezra 7:11-28; Neh. chap.1-6; taking a further seven years to fulfill) until Messiah the prince there will be seven weeks (i.e., between the decree and the rebuilding) and sixty-two weeks (i.e., between the rebuilding and the birth of Christ in ca. 2 B.C.).
Please feel free to write me back about any of the above.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Thanks for the recent reply. I have another question though. How does your time of 2 BC work as King Herod was already then dead and had been for 2 years. Thus the account of the massacre of the innocents and the flight to Egypt would have been from whom? In looking into this it is now making me think my date, if anything is too early. What are your thoughts on that? Thanks for your insights.
You're very welcome.
Here's the answer, from the link previously supplied, footnote #63:
63. 2 B.C., as opposed to 1 B.C., is also required because of the need to place the birth of Christ before the death of Herod (cf. Matt.2:1-19). Although many have found such a late date for the death of Herod impossible, it is important to note that our only source for the earlier dating of his demise is Flavius Josephus, a somewhat dilettantish historian. Moreover, it is entirely possible that Josephus' statements in this regard have been wrongly interpreted in any case. See W.E. Filmer, "The Chronology of the Reign of Herod the Great", Journal of Theological Studies 17 (1966) 283-298, who proposes January of 1 B.C. as the time of Herod's death. This date leaves ample time for a December 2 B.C. birth of Christ, the events of Matthew 2:1-9, and the death of Herod immediately following.
Yours in Jesus our dear Lord,
Dear Dr. Luginbill,
Thanks for the information about a possible church to attend in the Phoenix area. I tried reaching these people, but no one called me back. They might have moved or something.
What do you think of the amazing events unfolding right in front of us? I am becoming terrified with the possible outcome of all this. Do you have any suggestions? I know this is a broad question, and that an answer could have many angles, since there is a spiritual as well as a physical aspect to consider. Can you please shed some light?
Thank you and may God continue to bless you!
Good to hear from you, my friend. I am sorry to hear that this "lead" came up cold. I'm not sure it would have been your "cup of tea" in any case. There are in truth very few ministries out there where the Word of God is actually being taught, so that one is perhaps willing to be a little forgiving of errors when one such is found. Even then, the finding is difficult. But as always you are certainly welcome here at Ichthys!
As to the times we are in, I do think that there is an acceleration of worldwide instability which is creating a climate that makes the unfolding of the end-times events increasingly more plausible. For those of us who accept the truth of the Word of God, that comes as no surprise. Indeed, we would believe that all will occur just as the Bible says, even if the day before the Tribulation begins it looked impossible. Also, it is very true that with the cessation of the Holy Spirit's restraining ministry (see the link), the pace of evil's advance during those dark days ahead will be incredibly swift.
There are no actual prophecies to occur before the Tribulation commences (see the link), but that day is coming quickly. For that reason I always recommend that Christians who understand these things take heed. It is to that end that I have written the Satanic Rebellion: Prelude to the Tribulation, and The Coming Tribulation series. There is a good amount on all these matters in a variety of my email postings, but the above two series give the comprehensive view.
One thing is certain. The days ahead are sure to be "interesting".
In Jesus our dear Lord,
What is there that is Scripturally compelling that mandates that a 1,000 years gap respective of Rev. 20:5 is to be inserted between all resurrection passages when referring to events regarding the first and the second resurrections? For example, Dan. 12:2, 6-7, there is no mention whatsoever of 1,000 years here between the two resurrections respective of the completion of ALL of these wonders by the END of the Great Tribulation. Likewise, there is no mention by Jesus of a 1,000 years gap between the Matt. 25:41 & 46 judgment of the sheep and the goats.
Likewise, there is no mandated 1,000 years gap between the resurrections declared by Jesus in Jn. 5:28-29. Therefore, where is the compelling evidence that mandates that the "REST" of the dead must be retroactively inclusive of ALL unrighteous dead and is not simply those unrighteous sinners who die DURING the 1,000 years subsequent to the 2nd advent of Christ?
If I am understanding your question correctly, I would say that it is not so much a matter of "compelling evidence" as it is a question of trying to reconstruct from scripture when all these things take place. For example, since it would be very hard in my view to maintain that Matthew 25:31-46 or Revelation 20:11-15 do not occur at the end of the Millennium (for very many reasons, contextual and otherwise), we would then be left with the problem of where in scripture there is any indication whatsoever of a prior judgment of the unrighteous dead. Both of these passages are clearly connected with the absolute end. Here are the two main links at Ichthys where the sheep and the goats judgments are covered:
The Judgment of the Sheep (in CT 6)
The Great White Throne of Jesus Christ: The Last Judgment of the Unbelieving Dead (in CT 6)
The book of Daniel is, of course, an Old Testament book and therefore presents the "Day of the Lord" as a unified whole (rather than splitting it up into the parts we now with the benefit of further revelation know exist, namely, the 1st Advent, the Church Age, and the Millennium following the Tribulation). It is a well-known canon of interpretation that the entire 2,000 years of the Church age was not anticipated even by the prophets of Old, as indeed the distinction between the 1st and 2nd advents was not appreciated (e.g., 1Pet.1:10-12; please see the links in CT 1: "Prophetical Foreshortening" and "the "Day of the Lord" Paradigm"). Clearly, there was no other way for the Spirit to present the resurrection to Daniel other than it was presented – without several chapters added to explain that there would be two advents, an intercalated 2,000 year time of calling out the gentiles in-between, and a 1,000 year reign thereafter, all of which, broadly speaking, constitute "the Day" (i.e., it would require the mystery of Christ to be unveiled for any of this to be understood, and that had to wait for His coming).
What Daniel 12:2 and 12:6-7 says is not only true, of course, but is completely consistent with everything else we have learned in the New Testament about how things will occur in the future – as long as we take the difference in perspective into account (see the links above). However, there is no evidence for splitting up the resurrection of the unrighteous of which I am aware, and numerous theological problems with it.
Apologies in advance if I have missed the thrust of your question. Please feel free to write back in any case.
In anticipation of that wondrous day of our Lord Jesus' return,
Thank you for your kind and scholarly response. You have suggested that you find it difficult to theologically accept that Matt. 25:31-46 actually occur at the 2nd. Advent of Jesus - but rather you suggest these cited events all occur at the END of the Millennium. If I understand you correctly, you are declaring that respective of Matt. 25:31-32, Jesus' coming in His glory with all of His angels to separate the nations, (sheep vs. goats) does not actually occur until the END of the Millennium. Likewise, you are equally suggesting that the Saints do not literally 'inherit' the Kingdom (Matt. 25:34) until the END of the Millennium as well. However, Dan. 7:21-22 reveals both a JUDGMENT and that the Kingdom is 'possessed/inherited' by the Saints at the coming of the Ancient of days...and His coming is to destroy the Little Horn. We definitely know that this event is at the immediate end of the Great Tribulation. (Matt. 25:29). Meanwhile, if there is no judgment nor second resurrection of the unrighteous dead as you suggest, then how do we explain the Beast and the False Prophet being cast ALIVE into the Lake of Fire following Armageddon (Rev. 19:20) and the return of Christ with all of His angels? It should be noted that Dan. 7:11 reveals that the Little Horn is 'SLAIN' and his body destroyed and given unto the flames. Therefore, having said this there is absolutely no Scriptures that ever reveal that anyone ever comes out of the ETERNAL PUNISHMENT of the Lake of Fire - for any reason. Thus, the Beast and the False Prophet must be judged before the Great White Throne judgment prior to the Millennium. Moreover, they must also be given, as the old preacher declared, their 'Damnified' bodies where the 'Worm Dieth Not', in order to be ETERNALLY deposited into the Lake of Fire - the place of ETERNAL PUNISHMENT. To this end, in any case in order to place the Beast and the False Prophet into the Lake of Fire there must be bodily change/transformation - this mandates a 2nd resurrection and not a mere mortal bodily resuscitation. While it could prove to be true that these two unrighteous beasts are only the 'firstfruits' of the 2nd resurrection of the unrighteous dead - there is nonetheless a judgment and a second resurrection of the unrighteous that must take place here...unless we want to go down the avenue of special cases. It is easy to insert 1,000 years between prophetic passages - but will it pass the test of required consistent Scriptural necessity? For example, should 1,000 years be placed in this prophecy?
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 (KJV)
The separation occurs at the "end of the Day". Matthew 25 telescopes the second advent, Millennium, and last judgment into a single view – a very typical biblical thing to do before the resurrection of Christ (see the links in the previous email). We know that this is the end because 1) the believers go off "into eternal life" (v.46) and inherit "the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world" (v.34) – that is, the eternal state; but the unbelievers "into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (v.41) and "eternal punishment" (v.46), that is, the lake of fire, the final, second death. In other words, the unbelievers' situation is exactly as described in Revelation 20 at the end of the Millennium whereas the believers are clearly resurrected and inherit the ultimate eternity, the eternal state (as opposed to the penultimate one, the Millennium). Notice too that all are gathered before Him and all either suffer eternal condemnation or enter eternal life – so there can be no Millennium with a population still in their physical bodies from this point forward.
I don't find Daniel 7:22 in any way contradictory to the above. For one thing, Daniel, as explained previously, also telescopes the end times, so that understood from his pre-first advent perspective things had to be described in this way. Even if one wants to take it literally, we who are resurrected at Christ's return will indeed be rewarded immediately and will indeed "possess the [Millennial] kingdom" – although our final and ultimate inheritance is in the New Jerusalem at history's end. We will reign with Christ during the Millennium; we will also have an eternal residence in the New Heavens and the New Earth at the end of the thousand years forevermore.
The beast and the false prophet are indeed thrown into the lake of fire without a trial and before anyone else. This is understandable since of all individuals their actions have left no need for anything but "summary judgment". As I say about this in CT 6:
As was pointed out in the previous installment of this series, these two are deprived of their part in the final trial, "The Last Judgment", because by their extreme words and actions in serving Satan and in attempting to utterly destroy God's people throughout the Tribulation – a trial in and of itself – they stand self-condemned beyond all doubt or argument. As with the fallen angels, no further trial is necessary to illuminate their choice, since that choice has been confirmed to such an unprecedented extent. The Tribulation constitutes their "trial" just as human history in its entirety constitutes the trial of Satan and his angels (Is.30:32-33; Dan.7:11-14; 9:27; 11:45; Hab.3:13-14; 2Thes.2:8; cf. Jer.25:26; Dan.7:26; Hab.2:2-20).
Revelation does not mention anyone else judged at this time but does detail the judgment of "the dead" – and from the context I believe it would be very difficult to maintain that these are not all of "the dead – after the Millennium is over (Rev.20:1-8) before the Great White Throne (Rev.20:11-15) – which certainly seems to me to correspond precisely to Matthew 25:31 (i.e., the "the throne of his glory" KJV = the Great White Throne).
Finally, 2nd Thessalonians 1:7-10 is speaking primarily of the "baptism of fire" (see the link), that is, the summary execution (but not last judgment) of those who took the mark of the beast and are still alive at Christ's return.
(10) For the ax has already been put to the trunk of the trees. Accordingly, every tree which does not produce good fruit is about to be cut down and thrown into fire. (11) Now I am baptizing you with water for the purpose of [your] repentance. But the One coming after me is more powerful than me and I am not worthy to carry His sandals. It is He who is the One who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (12) His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will sweep clean His threshing floor, and will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
The Millennium is a scriptural reality, if that is what you are asking. I know that many of the Reformers sought to spiritualize it away, but they may be forgiven for that I suppose as they were contending in a struggle of life and death with the Roman church over more basic issues of faith. For those of us today who can study the Bible at our leisure, attempting to ignore the Millennium certainly will not "pass the test of required consistent scriptural necessity".
He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth--Gog and Magog--to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore.
Revelation 20:2-8 NIV
Please see the link: "The Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ"
In Him whose return we breathlessly await,
Thank you for your kind and thoughtful response. PLEASE understand that if I do not vigorously defend my theological notions in the audience of notable Biblical scholars (i.e. you) then I will never know with proven Scriptural affirmation just why I am wrong. Thus, I am not trying to play the role of a dogmatic antagonist but humbly endeavoring as a fervent, assertive and inquisitive student of the Word. Going forwards, with respect to Matt. 24:29-31 and Matt. 25:31, in your published writings you cite ‘three’ Advents/Comings of Christ 1) His 1st Coming some previous 2,000 years ago; 2) His 2nd Coming (Matt. 24:29-31) to be at the Immediate END of the Great Tribulation; and 3) His 3rd and final Coming (Matt. 25:31) subsequent to the Millennial. However, Scripture supports no more than ‘two’ whereas Matt. 24:29-31 & Matt. 25:31 are both descriptive of the one and same 2nd Coming. It must equally be noted that like Advent parallels to both Matt. 24:29-31 & Matt. 25:31 are cited again by Jesus in both Mk. 13:24-27 & Lk. 21:27. Thus, should we subscribe to your 3 Advent supposition we could easily infer here two more Comings respective of Mk. and Lk. as well. Thus, your choice of the four Scriptural citations in making Matt. 25:31 subsequent to the Millennial is individually arbitrary. Moreover, Dan. 7:18, 22 & 27 literally declares, as I have stated before, an ETERNAL Kingdom that the Saints will POSSESS/INHERIT ‘when’ the Ancient of Days comes to destroy the Little Horn – please note the word UNTIL in Dan. 7:22 which establishes the chronology of events. Although, you suppose that the Saints will not INHERIT/POSSES the Kingdom until after the Millennial (Matt. 25:31-46) – whereas Daniel reveals they will inherit/possess the Kingdom at the time of the 2nd Advent of Christ. There is only ONE Kingdom for the Saints to possess/inherit – not two as you imply...a Millennial and a final Ultimate. Meanwhile, you declare that the Beast and the False Prophet do not receive a final judgment but are placed directly into the Lake of Fire. However, there is no Scriptural evidence to support this speculative claim because the Scriptures are actually ‘silent’ on this concern, and we cannot stand an argument based on Scriptural silence. Moreover, what your position on this matter does not even take into consideration is Rom. 14:10-12, 2 Cor. 5:10, Jn. 5:22, Acts 10:42, 2 Tim. 4:1 and 1 Peter 4:5. There is ‘absolutely’ NONE who will not stand before the Righteous Judgment Seat of Christ – this must equally include the Beast and the False Prophet. In summary, when the Beast and the False Prophet are deposited into the ETERNAL PUNISHMENT Lake of Fire – are they given their transformed ‘Damnified’ (where the Worm dieth not) bodies? YES or NO? If they are then there must be a resurrection because only those who participate in a resurrection can receive a transformed/changed body – hence a second resurrection of these unrighteous. Will a resurrection of these two unrighteous individuals have to take place here in order for the Beast and the False Prophet to receive their transformed bodies and to be cast into the Lake of Fire? YES or NO? If not then please explain how they will receive their transformed bodies – because the Little Horn will be SLAIN and his body destroyed and given unto the flames?
Regarding your latest email, I confess to being confused. I have never heard of any three advent theory – let alone advanced such a theory myself. On that point I think you have gotten someone else' writings confused with mine.
On the beast and false prophet, as mentioned and explained, they are exceptional are receive exceptional treatment. They receive no last judgment. What happens to them to make it possible for them to be cast into the lake of fire may constitute a "resurrection" but maybe not. Scripture does not say. Scripture does only speak of one resurrection of the unrighteous. It is important to note that both the beast and his false prophet are nephilim, that is, not genuine human beings. Whether or not, therefore, they are given bodies or annihilated is a fair question, but one not answered by the scriptures as far as I know. All genuine human beings are born by the will of God and given a human spirit by Him – and Christ died for their sins so that they might be saved. It is a fair question whether hybrid creatures, the nephilim, have spirits or not. It seems clear that they cannot be saved and would not be saved if they could be. Christ died for all mankind (not for angels – or for their godless offspring; cf. Heb.2:16).
On the subject of the kingdom, I don't see any contradiction. If we define the kingdom in such a way that by that definition there can be only one we will come to that foregone conclusion. But if we go with what the Bible says rather than imposing that definition-limited stricture upon it, then a Millennium followed by an eternal state will certainly not be impossible – and is in fact biblical. In scripture the Messiah's millennial Kingdom and the eternal Kingdom of the Father are distinguished and distinguishable.
"The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. "Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
Matthew 13:41-43 NASB
It is always hard to prove a negative, but consider just a few points in defense of the eschatology presented at Ichthys which I certainly am convinced is entirely biblical (there are many more – indeed in every passage where these matters are discussed):
1) We share Christ's reign in the millennium wherein opponents are crushed (Rev.2:27); but there are no opponents in the eternal state.
2) Christ reigns for the millennium in the earthly Jerusalem; but the eternal state will see the coming down from heaven of the New Jerusalem (Rev.21-22).
3) The Jewish people alive at Christ's return are regathered into the land for Messiah's rule (see the link); but in the eternal state only the resurrected have access to the city.
4) The Father is not said to be present in the millennium when Christ will rule from the temple in Jerusalem (e.g., Ezek.37:26-28); but in the eternal state the Father returns to the new earth and He and the Son rule without any temple (Rev.21:22).
It would be beyond strange if the Bride of Christ were sitting alone in heaven without the Bridegroom for 1,000 years; in fact the resurrection is always said to take place at Christ's return. Since it does, and since Christ rules for 1,000 literal years after His return, and since that period of rule, the last one in "time", is followed by the eternal state, well, I think you can see by now that the entire eschatological structure actually provided by the Bible is entirely consistent on these matters. I am certainly happy to correspond with you further on this point in case I have missed the thrust of your argument.
Hope this helps in your search for the truth in any case.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Thank you for your kind response and providing me a scholarly avenue to address my theological concerns. My question to you is quite simple. Will we the REDEEMED as those who will experience the 2nd Advent of Jesus, as either deceased or living, also INHERIT the ETERNAL KINGDOM of Matt. 25:34, at the time of the 2nd Advent - that you suggest to be the Kingdom of God that is to exist subsequent to the Millennium? If not then by default the KINGDOM we the redeemed will INHERIT at the 2nd Advent of Christ is ONLY a ‘partial’ INHERITANCE – not to include your suggested post-millennial SEPARATE Kingdom of Matt. 25:34, which would require a SEPARATE future Kingdom INHERITANCE. Hence, we the redeemed must then inherit two SEPARATE but distinct Kingdoms at two SEPARATE but distinct time intervals – pre-millennial and post-millennial, in order to obtain our COMPLETE PROMISED INHERITANCE, even though Christ’s Kingdom is declared to be an ETERNAL Kingdom and our inheritance to be absolute. Likewise, chpt. 7 of Daniel equally declares the SINGULAR Kingdom of our INHERITANCE/possession to be an Eternal Kingdom – not a temporal one.
The "sheep", the individuals Jesus addresses at Matthew 25:34, are the millennial believers. They are rewarded and enter directly into the eternal state immediately after this second judgment of the righteous, the Friends of the Bride judgment. So their inheritance will be complete as soon as it is awarded.
We, Church, the Bride of Christ, are resurrected at Jesus' 2nd Advent, and are rewarded at that time of His return (see the link: The Judgment and Reward of the Church). We then share in Christ's millennial rule, participating in His administration of the world as part of the blessings promised us (e.g., 2Tim.2:12; Rev.20:6). This is a part of our "inheritance" – as is our resurrection body (which we will have) and our crowns (which we will also have – provided we win one, two or all three through our efforts for our Lord in this life). At this point, however, the New Heavens and New Earth will not yet exist, and the New Jerusalem will not have descended from heaven to earth. The final installment of our "inheritance", at least as scripture records it, will be our dwelling/adobe in the eternal city. Whether or not we will already know about what we shall have been allotted (and I rather suspect the answer to this is that we will, there being no indication of any further judgment and no more testing for us now resurrected), it seems that we will not be enjoying the actual possession of this blessed part of our inheritance until the end of history (even though it is likely that we will know about it and "have it" in the sense of it already having been unalterably awarded to us). I say "seems" because I am assuming, based upon the particular description of the New Jerusalem and the differences between it and the present day third heaven, so far as these are revealed (e.g., no temple in the former but a temple in the latter), that New Jerusalem will not exist until that future time, and that during the Millennium we resurrected members of Christ's Church will be here serving Him the entire time (not "taking off" to heaven from time to time).
I think that addresses your question, but do feel free as always to write back about any of the above.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Thank you for your kind and prompt response. With respect to your friend Gaurav we will most certainly lift his name up before our healing Lord and Savior Jesus and likewise our heartfelt sympathy goes out to his family. Meanwhile, THANK YOU very much for your patient persistence in resending my desired ‘blocked’ response...isn’t technology just wonderful – when it actually works like it suppose to. Going forwards, you state the following respective of the actual ‘timing’ of the granting of the Saint’s INHERITANCE. This the exact point I have been previously trying to make in our earlier communications on this same topic – the absolute ‘legal’ INHERITANCE of the Eternal Kingdom is granted the Saints at the 2nd Advent. However, what you say respective of the chronological ‘installments’ (disbursements/distributions) of that said inheritance is indeed TRUE and future forwards from the point of the pre-millennial – nonetheless, the INHERITENCE is officially granted the Saints at the 2nd Advent of Christ. Therefore, seeing then that the Saints do indeed receive their Eternal Kingdom Inheritance at the 2nd Advent and that Apostle Paul makes it perfectly clear in his 1 Corinthians Resurrection/Transformation dialogue that ALL Saints, both living and dead, will inherit their Eternal Kingdom at this specific point in time – but Flesh and Blood cannot (1 Cor. 15:50), is ALL agreeable with Matt. 25:31-46 and thereby poses no Scriptural conflicts. To this end, then what evidence is there that would mandate or compel us to insist that Matt. 25:34 is NOT to be suggested and understood as the said INHERITENCE of Jesus', Paul’s, John’s, et. al, First Resurrection/Transformation Saints, rather than your suggested post-millennium inheritance?
Moreover, where are the supporting ‘direct’ non-speculative Passages that reveal that others other than the ‘Redeemed’ BODY of CHRIST (the Church) will equally INHERIT (not simply occupy) the Eternal Kingdom?
Thank you so much for your prayers! They are greatly appreciated. As to your further questions, first, as I say, in my view our eternal rewards will be spelled out for us at the Judgment seat of Christ – although, as I also say, this is a deduction based upon the fact that scripture indicates very strongly that there is only that one judgment of the Church (e.g., Heb.9:27), and that would seem to be the natural point of deciding and distributing all these things based upon scriptural parallels (e.g., 1Cor.3:11-15; 2Cor.5:10-11).
As to the inheritance question, to me this is a definition-limited argument. These are always "dicey", and their validity always depends upon whether or not we have absolutely and precisely rendered the definition in question with completeness and specificity. In other words, these sorts of proofs almost always lead us astray if we put any weight on them. For example, many people argue: "God is love" (true); "and the definition of love is always doing good to all and bad to none" (problems here); "therefore God will not condemn anyone" (wrong conclusion based upon using a faulty definition as a proof).
The word group "inherit / inheritance" in the New Testament is based upon the Greek root kler- and has to do with "lot" / "allotment". The Old Testament parallel is the allotment received by everyone who entered the land of promise. That allotment or common "stake" in the land represents the individual lot which every member of Christ's Church will have in the New Jerusalem. However, it is clear from the many scriptures which talk about our eternal rewards that these will consist of many wonderful things, of which this allotment is just one – the allotment or inheritance thus represents all of our rewards taken as a whole. That is why the phrase "inherit eternal life" is possible for example (e.g., Matt.19:29) – i.e., it sums up all the wonders to come.
When we "receive our inheritance" is another question. Scripture uses this language in a few places (e.g., Col.3:24; Heb.9:15), but never as far as I know in a way giving any indication as to whether it is 1) 100% at resurrection; or 2) phased in. "Inherit the kingdom" may or may not mean precisely the same thing. The only place where this phrase is used with any indication of when that inheriting takes place is the passage you are asking about, Matthew 25:34. It is true that all of these things are synonymous, talking in various terms about the glories to come which begin with our resurrection, are spelled out at our judgment, and are realized partially during the Millennium and fully and eternally in the New Jerusalem.
So I'm not sure what we can make of the above in regard to the last things you mention. I believe I gave you a number of reasons for why I interpret Matthew 25 the way I do. Jesus' words certainly say to me that the elect go immediately into the Kingdom after this judgment, which ought therefore be at the end of history; and the damned go off immediately into the lake of fire ("depart!") – and we know that this does happen at the end of history (Rev.20:1-15). So placing the Matthew 25 judgment after the Millennium strikes me as the only proper interpretation (and so quite a bit more than "mere speculation").
As to the Friends of the Bride, there are a number of reasons for seeing things this way, namely, for positing a group of believers saved after the resurrection of the Church. I will leave you with one: Christ rules for a thousand years over a repopulating and repopulated earth wherein the knowledge of the Lord will fill that rejuvenated earth. Surely many will be saved. They too will thus be resurrected at some point (just as 1st Corinthians 15:23-24 lists three echelons of the resurrection of the righteous), and seeing Matthew 25 as describing the judgment following this last resurrection appears to me by far the best solution (really the only solution) to these matters, having considered it and re-considered it many times over many years.
As to the status of the Friends of the Bride, I do agree with you in this respect, namely, it seems to me that the New Jerusalem is meant for the Church (it is actually called "the Bride" in Rev.21:9 = "[the place of] the Bride"), and we do know that the earth outside of New Jerusalem will also be inhabited in eternity (when there is no more "flesh and blood"). I take it that this complementary part of the human family of God will inherit outside while we inherit inside the walls of the City. I have written about that briefly at this link in CT 6: "The Friends of the Bride".
I hope this will be of some help to you. Do feel free to write back about any of the above – and thanks again for your prayers!
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,