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Question #1:  Dear Dr. Luginbill, I pray all is well with you. Would you explain Daniel 8:14? When does the time of the 2300 days begin and end? Blessings,

Response #1:   I have written this passage up in some detail – in part 5 of Coming Tribulation (see the link in section I.5 under "The Jewish Rebellion"). Essentially, this gives the period of antichrist's occupation of the temple during the second half of the Tribulation. It equates to around 38 months (since "evenings and mornings" result in what amounts to a "double count"; i.e., one evening and one morning = only one day but counts for two of the 2300 parts). The reason why it is not 42 months (as is usually the case in descriptions of the Great Tribulation) is that antichrist will depart from the land towards the end of the Great Tribulation in order to quell a rebellion in the north occasioned by the darkness of the fifth bowl judgment. That is the opportunity for the prophesied Jewish revolt (which in turn supplies the target and the impetus for the Armageddon campaign). The last four months or so of the Tribulation will see the temple, having been recaptured and ceremonially cleansed, in the hands of the rebels, whose power is finally broken just at the point when Jesus is about to return (Dan.12:7). You will find exegesis of all of the above in the link provided, but here is the passage from CT 5 which deals specifically with Daniel 8:14:

(13) And I heard one of the holy ones who was speaking, and he said to the other holy one who was speaking, "How long will this vision of the daily sacrifice and of the [spiritual] rebellion (i.e., apostasy) which produces desolation and of the handing over of the holy [place] (i.e., the inner court) and of the trampling down of the host be?" (14) And he replied to me, "Until 2,300 evenings and mornings have passed. Then the holy [place] will be purified."
Daniel 8:13-14

This passage in Daniel allows us to reconstruct the timing of the rebellion with great specificity. It will be recalled from the chart of the bowl judgments above, that the supernatural darkness which strikes the beast's kingdom of revived Rome will occur at the beginning of the eighth month preceding our Lord's return at the end of the Great Tribulation. That is to say, the fifth bowl judgment occurs 1,120 days into the Great Tribulation and 240 days from its termination.[footnote: That is, according to the prophetic-year scale of 12 thirty day months per year consistently used in scripture to describe this period (Dan.7:25; 9:27; 12:7; Rev.11:2; 12:6; 12:14; 13:5)]. Of course, the addition of the requisite "solar days" and the fact that the end of the Tribulation will be "shortened for the sake of the elect" (Matt.24:22; Mk.13:20), means that we can take our Lord's assurance that "no one knows the [precise] day or the [precise] hour" quite literally (Matt.24:36; Mk.13:32).] The information in Daniel's prophecy above further assures us that the beast's pollution of the temple, begun it will be recalled at the Great Tribulation's outset, will last for 1,150 days (i.e., 1,150 evenings plus 1,150 mornings). This means that it will take just over four months (130 days) after the fifth bowl judgment begins for the Jewish rebels to re-occupy the Temple Mount and complete the requisite ritual purification of the holy place (a process which took the priests under Hezekiah half a month to complete: 2Chron.29:17). Thus the beastís departure from Israel, the formation (or coming out into the open) of an armed resistance, the capturing of the Temple Mount, its ritual purification, and antichristís reaction in mounting the Armageddon campaign will all happen in rapid-fire succession as the pace of events accelerates toward the Tribulationís end. The re-conquest of the Temple mount will certainly not mean the end of armed struggle within the borders of Israel. Part of antichristís modus operandi of rulership worldwide will be to cement his control through the use of “fortresses” (Dan.11:38-39), strong points manned by his loyalists as a hedge against just such attempts on his regime, and scripture indicates that the same will be true in Israel (Is.2:15; 25:12; 30:25; Zeph.1:16; 3:6; 3:15 [Hebrew only]). Once the rebellion begins, these strong-points will no doubt be occupied not only by the beast’s residual garrison, but also by those Jews whose allegiance to antichrist has passed the point of no return (as, for example, the “king” of Israel: Zech.14:15-17). Given the progression of the Armageddon campaign (see section VII below), we can expect a number of these outposts to hold out until antichrist returns for Armageddon, and thus for the struggle to continue right up until our Lord’s return (Dan.9:26), for it will be His Second Advent which destroys the beast and delivers Israel rather than this rash attempt at self-deliverance.

Hope this answers your question. As always, feel free to write me back about any of it.

In Jesus for whom we wait,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Dear Dr. Luginbill, Thanks for your quick response. I feel very blessed to have you as a source of Biblical information since I have left the church some years ago and rely on you for true scripture interpretation. The reason I asked about Daniel was because an SDA friend insists that the 2300 days starts at 457 BC when they say the decree to rebuild Jerusalem was given that year and thus started the 2300 days and ends in 1844 AD when Jesus left the earthly sanctuary for the heavenly sanctuary. My feeling is they have to isolate 1844 as something special since the Messiah did not return to earth like they and others at that time had predicted He would so they use Daniel 8:14 to support their ideology. I have not completed the study in which you mention this verse but I see that it is in the first few pages so I will go back and study that more closely. Again thank you and our Lords blessings and peace to you. After going to this Bible study I do need His peace. However, it does challenge me to seek the truth and increase my knowledge of the Biblical truths that we all need especially in these end times!!

Blessings,

Response #2: 

You're very welcome. And thank you for your encouraging e-mail. Dealing close up with those heavily invested in cult interpretations is perhaps the most difficult sort of apologetics ministry. I know it must be hard on you. But if this is what the Lord has called you to, well, I know for a fact that "showing the flag" of truth is always beneficial to some, even often some who seem to be 100% committed. Just the realization that these "facts" they have bought into do not overwhelm you – and that you have reasonable, biblical responses to them – has got to make some of them think twice. We often do not know what effects our ministries are having at the time – some things only God knows and will only be revealed on that Day. Our part is to persevere in the work of ministry He has given and in the spiritual growth to which we have all been called.

I rejoice that you are doing so!

May the Lord keep you safe in every way as you stand up for Him and His truth.

In our Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #3:  

It seems that many of the people with whom you correspond believe that the church is called to the new Jerusalem (see the link). But it is clear that the church is called to heaven and that the new Jerusalem comes down out of heaven to the new earth. ("And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven......." Rev. 21:2). I would very much appreciate knowing from you how you conclude that the church is called to the new Jerusalem. And I would also like to know how they interpret Rev. 21:2.

Thank you in advance.

Response #3:    

I'm not sure what you mean by "the church is called to the New Jerusalem" or "the church is called to heaven". Believers go to heaven when they die, but that is a temporary situation (just as believers going into Hades to "Abraham's bosom" was temporary until Christ's ascension and His leading "of captivity captive", taking all the Old Testament believers to heaven with Him once His victory was a reality; see the link: in BB 4A, section I.5.o.2.3, "The transfer of believers from the paradise to the heaven at the ascension"). But just as Jesus is "waiting" until His enemies are made "the footstool" of His feet, waiting, that is, until His return at the second advent, so too believers in heaven are waiting to return with Him, and He will ever rule on earth, as its regent during the millennium, and as co-regent with the Father in the eternal state after history is over. The third heaven is the temporary abode of God, and has been ever since Satan rebelled (separation of the sacred from the profane, though earth was the original seat of God's throne: see the link, "The Seven Edens"). Ultimately, just as the Son came to earth, and the Spirit came to indwell believers, so the Son will return in glory, and the Father will return to earth when "God is all in all". Thus all things will be restored to their pre-rebellion perfection, only better to an incalculable degree. Heaven is a temporary place. "Heaven" as it is often thought about, the eternal state of believers dwelling with Jesus and the Father is the New Jerusalem ("pearly gates and all"), and will take place on the earth at the end of human history following the last judgment of unbelievers and the expunging of all sin, evil, and corruption from the universe once and for all as we inhabit "the new heavens and new earth" with the Lord forevermore.

What is heaven like?

Heaven and Hell

New Jerusalem

The New Earth and the New Jerusalem

Gates of New Jerusalem

In anticipation of that glorious day.

Bob L.

Question #4: 

Shalom,

How can we imply or suggest a 1000 years between the 2 Resurrections of Dan. 12:2 (Righteous vs. Unrighteous) with respect to the mandated time constraint of Dan. 12:7? Dan. 12:6 asks the question, 'at what time MUST ALL of the WONDERS be completed by,' whereas Dan. 12:7 answers that specific question.

Daniel 12:7: And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.

Also, in chapter 9 of the prophetic Book of Daniel the Texts is primarily focused on a period of cumulative weeks as we eschatological theologians all known as Daniel's 70 Weeks. As such, these 70 Weeks is God's chronological calendar for prophetic events both then and future with respect to Jerusalem and the Jewish people. To this end, it must be noted that God's 70 Weeks Chronological Timetable is in and of itself accurate to the absolute. If not the entire schedule of prophetic events would be meaningless. Therefore, with respect to this majestic prophetic calendar of events God did NOT approximate their timing but calculated them with meticulous purpose and precision. Having said this, every Timepiece records a beginning time as well as an ending time which is analogues to a 'slice' of an object – no matter how thin we may slice the material there is ALWAYS two sides. Such is the case with time in the natural world which both has a defined beginning and a defined ending. Therefore, in the natural, time is finite and so is Daniel's 70 Weeks – they have an EXACT finite beginning and an EXACT finite ending. Going forward, in Dan. 9:25 we read that, "from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto (UNTIL) the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks:" Therefore, from the 'going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem' was, as recorded by history, indeed 7 Weeks. Meanwhile, the 1st finite SECOND on Daniel's prophetic Clock was the 'official' commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. The last finite SECOND on the prophetic Clock for that same period of 7 Weeks was when the city of Jerusalem was 'officially' rebuilt. Thus, the total time elapsed from Daniel's 70 Weeks at this point was 49 years. This chronological time period had a 'specific starting time' and a 'specific stopping time' – not one second less and not one second more. This is equivalent to the graphical line of our birth and death – we cannot be born 1 second sooner or die 1 second later – life is finite. A straight line has a point of origin and a point of ending. Therefore, the 7 Weeks began at finite point A and ended at finite point B. Meanwhile, from the rebuilding of Jerusalem UNTIL the 'Official' arrival of the Messiah was from the finite point B, the former ending of the 7th Week of Daniel (Jerusalem rebuilt) UNTIL the completion of the finite point C of the 69th Week (official arrival of the Messiah). Not only did the 69th Week of Daniel herald the arrival of the Messiah but the Messiah heralded the close/end of the finite 69th Week (last second of the last minute). With a total elapsed time of 434 years, whereby adding the two elapsed times together form point A to point C we have a cumulative total of 483 years to (UNTIL) the 'Official Arrival' of the Messiah concluding the 69th Week. When Dan. 9:25 declares that it will be 69 full Weeks UNTIL the official arrival of the Messiah that does not mean 68.7, 68.8, 68.9 Weeks, etc. – it means what it says, the full completion of 69 Weeks (483 yrs.) marked His arrival. For example, if I tell you that I will be there at 1:00 p.m. We are talking about the perfection of God here (no me), and one who has the resources to do what He says, therefore, does that mean that I will arrive at 12:59 p.m. or at 1:01 p.m. – No, it means I will be there at EXACTLY 1:00 p.m. As stated before a 'Timed' event(s) has a defined beginning point (A) and a defined ending point (B), etc. – not one second more or not one second less – God did NOT approximate. Meanwhile, in Dan. 9:26 we read the small but simple and straight forward Passage that follows:

And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut offÖ

There are ONLY two legitimate schools of theological thought regarding the interpretation of the above Passage. The two scenarios are as follows but are by NO means one and same.

Scenario # 1: And after the full completion of 69 Weeks (483 yrs.) the Messiah shall have been cut off. Meaning that by the ending of the 69th Week the Crucifixion was COMPLETED also. As such, this scenario includes BOTH the 'official' arrival of the Messiah and the Crucifixion – ALL within the finite confines of Daniel's 69th Week itself.

Scenario # 2: And after the full completion of 69 Weeks (483 yrs.) the Messiah shall then be cut off. Meaning that before the cutting off of the Messiah could take place a full 69 Weeks had to elapse first. Then the cutting off followed or was AFTER the full completion of the 69th Week.

If we then analyze and evaluate Scenario #1 we find that if the 'official' finite arrival of the Messiah was not even UNTIL the 69th Week and in and of itself concluded the allowable finite time for that said 69th Week – there was absolutely NO time left in the 69th Week for the Messiah's Crucifixion. As stated before God did NOT approximate these times. Therefore, this proves to be a false scenario mathematically.

If we then analyze and evaluate Scenario #2 we find that the 'Crucifixion' must actually have taken place AFTER the full completion of the 483 years of Daniel's 69th Week, as stated. Thus, the Crucifixion was outside of the 69th Week. So what does the Hebrew Scripture itself say?

In Dan. 9:26 the translated Hebrew word (Karath) 'shall be cut off' is used in this Passage as a Hebrew Imperfect denoting an 'incomplete action – an Imperfect future action. Therefore, the only possible alternative is that the Messiah 'officially' arrived at the closing of the finite 69th Week and was Crucified at some point during the 70th Week.

Response #4:   

On the first point: The issue really is "what is the antecedent of all these things?" To which I would answer that "the astonishing things" Daniel most has in mind and to which intention the angel responds are the events of the Great Tribulation. Really, this is the only time period to which the phrase "time, times and a half" can possibly refer. Whatever other construction one puts on it would require expanding the (clearly) 3 and 1/2 years inordinately. Daniel was not aware, and that angel Gabriel does not give him the slightest indication that there would be any interval between the first and second advents, for example. But we know now that from the day of the crucifixion until the end of time will be at least 3,000 years before all is said and done. Given that the most salient information given, the very things about which Daniel is most concerned, are indeed the events of the Great Tribulation, the final 3 and 1/2 year before Christ's return, this answer by Gabriel is entirely consistent with prophetic revelation about the end times elsewhere.

Second, the previous e-mail. Were we to try and fit Messiah's full life into the seventieth or part of the seventieth week, we would have to expand that week four or five fold in order to yield the requisite amount of time. In my view, this is unnecessary. By way of explanation, here is how I translate the key verses:

(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.). [Jerusalem] will be repopulated and rebuilt with streets (i.e., residential reconstruction) and fortifications (i.e., military reconstruction) [and will remain so] even during difficult times (e.g., the occupation of Antiochus Epiphanes). (26) And after the sixty two weeks, Messiah will be cut off and have nothing (cf. Is.53:8), and the people of the prince who is coming (i.e., antichrist) will destroy both the city and the holy place. And his end will come with a flood (i.e., the "flooding away" of his armies at Armageddon), and until that end there will be wars – [appalling] devastation has been decreed.
Daniel 9:25-26

This verse is usually misinterpreted, so attention to the break-down between the 42 and the 7 weeks is urged. All that is left is the final week, the week of the Tribulation. The phrase apropos of your e-mail is "until Messiah the prince". This phrase might be interpreted to be restricted to the birth of Christ, and in my view as can be seen above that is its main application. But as I see it there is nothing in the two verses that prohibits us understanding "until Messiah the prince" as meaning the birth of Jesus and His life thereafter. The layout of the chronological scheme of the seven millennial days requires in any case that we understand Messiah's life as an interval or interlude in the divine seven millennium schema. Otherwise, the Tribulation should have begun in ca. fall 1999. It clearly did not. Jesus' whole life is the "conjunction of the ages" mentioned at Hebrews 9:26 (please see the link: in SR 5, "The Specific Chronology of the Seven Days of Human History"). Since all other prophecy points in the precise same direction, I don't find anything out of place in Daniel's telescoping of the entire life of Christ into one "point", namely, the terminus of the sixty-nine weeks. For such it clearly is. After the sixty-nine weeks, there is an intercalation of two additional millennia (in which we presently find ourselves). But at the end of those two thousand years, beginning with the last seven (shared in common by Israel and the Church), we find Daniel's seventieth week, a full seven years of Tribulation as Revelation demands by any sort of chronologically based interpretation.

Yours in Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5:  

Hi Bob,

I have another question, since the author I was reading from also included scripture which he perceives that we will eat and drink in heaven. I only ask, because we were having this discussion on the forum I told you about regarding "fulfilled prophecy" and we were divided on the subject. Some got very defensive for we were also discussing whether we would live together with our spouses and loved ones as we do on earth...do the angels eat presently, etc. I think you get the gist. If you go to his site...and read further down then what I pasted in the email...he goes on to give scripture that we will eat in paradise...the tree of life given as the example used by Jesus.

Please, what are your thoughts? Thank you,

Response #5:    

It is very hard to be dogmatic about what we will and won't do in eternity. We are looking now "through a glass darkly", and our entire perspective will change dramatically when we are resurrected and living in the New Jerusalem. For example, we know that John was overcome by the heavenly glories he saw to such a degree that he was unable to restrain himself from attempting to worship the angel who was showing him the visions (Rev.19:10 and Rev.22:8-9). This goes to show that our imagining of things from the verbal descriptions of Revelation, Hebrews, and elsewhere, necessarily falls far short of what our experience would be viewing even a glimpse of such things in this body, and so how much more will that not be the case after the resurrection?

In general terms, I think it is more than fair to say that when it comes to present day activities which we may enjoy and anticipate in the future, that if it will be good and right to continue in one form or another in eternity, that we shall certainly do so; but that if it will not be in our future to do so, then we shall not regret it for a moment. It is very difficult for us down here on earth in these limited and sin-infested bodies to imagine and even to get our heads around the concept of just how indescribably marvelous and great God really is. I would imagine that just being with Jesus, when we are perfect and can appreciate Him perfectly, will make a trillion years seem like the blink of an eye. The wonders of the times to come are in fact so incomprehensibly astounding that to assume that some of the basic human pleasures of the present day would ever be missed (if they are to be missed) is to misunderstand the magnitude of the wonders of God.

But as it is written: "What the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard, and [what] has not entered the heart of man, [these are the very] things which God has prepared for those who love Him".
1st Corinthians 2:9

To take eating, as an example. There will be a tree of life extending along the banks of the river flowing down through the center of the New Jerusalem, however it says of its fruit that it will be for "the therapy of the nations", by which I understand "enjoyment" (no one will ever be sick in eternity):

And He showed me the river of the water of life, bright like crystal, coming forth from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of the [New Jerusalem's main] wide street and on both sides of [this] river [of the water of life] was the tree of life, producing twelve crops, offering its fruit every month, month by month. And the leaves of the tree are for the enjoyment (lit., "healing" or "therapy"; Greek: therapeia) of the nations.
Revelation 22:1-2

While "enjoyment" might mean eating, this is not really the way to put this in Greek. Now we do know that the resurrection body will be capable of eating, since Jesus deliberately ate in the presence of the disciples after His resurrection in order to reassure them that He was not a ghost but a real, bodily human being (albeit now with a vastly superior and immortal body). He also implies to the disciples that He will eat with them "in the kingdom of heaven" (Lk.22:16), and one of the wonderful occurrences following the second advent will be the "wedding supper of the Lamb", prophesied throughout the Old Testament and the New (cf. Is.25:6; Matt.8:11; Rev.19:6). But then we also have in 1st Corinthians 6:13, "Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them". This is the NASB translation – some versions say "destroy", but I disagree. The word here for "do away with (or destroy)" is katargeo, a very common NT word with a wide variety of meanings; "render inactive" or perhaps better "obviate / make unnecessary" would work best in the context (cf. the "doing away with" certain spiritual gifts in 1st Corinthians 13 where we know that this is a temporary deactivation, not an actual destruction – the same verb is used).

Therefore if I were forced to reconcile these passages, it would be along these lines: we shall be capable of eating, and while human history continues there will be times when we shall eat, but we will not require food, and it may very well be that we will have no particular desire for it, even if we still find it enjoyable to eat; this would not be a "loss" – far from it – only the passing from "childish things", to use an analogy, to things much more exciting than we can hope to imagine at present. To press the analogy just a bit, when were children, we played with toy cars and trucks; we could still do so today, but it doesn't even enter our minds to do so since we have the real thing, if still interested. When we were children, we played at cooking; we could still do so today, but it doesn't even enter our minds to do so since we cook up a storm for real, whenever we wish. And if that is true of mere worldly things which have been replaced by other things of this world, how much more will such not be the case when we are dealing with heavenly realities which exceed our wildest dreams?

(17) For this present light affliction of ours is working out for us an eternal weight of glory beyond any possible estimation. (18) [Let us] not [then be] having [any] regard for what can be seen, but [instead] for what cannot be seen. For the things which can be seen are ephemeral. But the things which cannot be seen are eternal.
2nd Corinthians 4:17-18

I hope this is of some help.

In anticipation of the wonderful day of days when we shall be face to face with our Savior and behold the beauty of the Lord forevermore.

Bob L.

Question #6: 

Bob, I am having a problem proving from scripture that the tribulation is indeed 7 years. Of course, I looked to your site first. This is all I could find, at this time:

e. Daniel's 70th Week: The final "seven" in the vision of the seventy sevens (or "weeks" of years) given to Daniel (Dan.9:20-27) is, in fact, the Tribulation. In the middle of the final week of years, for example, the "abomination of desolation" is set up in the temple by antichrist ("the prince who is coming", v.26; cf. Matt.24:15; Mk.13:14).(8)

Then I thought, why is anyone questioning this and what are the ramifications if it wasn't 7 years. I've scoured the net with the question "how long is the tribulation" and have found that many do indeed question it. (like so many other things in the bible) Look at this list from http://www.angelfire.com/ca/endtime/trib.html (just one of the many sites that question it.)

Difficulties with this theory should cause us to ask the question, "Is it true or false?" This tribulation scenario is not found in the Bible. This theory is created by combining interpretations of various passages from both the Old Testament and New Testament, assuming they are related, and piecing them together into this theory of prophecy. The basis of this theory is found in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. Jesus told the disciples the temple would be completely torn down. The disciples asked Him when this would happen, what would be the sign of His coming and the end of the age. Jesus proceeded to list the signs of things to come. The events He listed showing the signs of His coming and the end of the age is known as the Olivet Discourse. Although this discourse is the foundation of the Seven Year Tribulation Theory, they show almost nothing in common. Consider:

1. Jesus never said the tribulation would be 7 years.

2. Jesus said all would happen in their generation.

3. Jesus never suggested any sizable time gaps between the signs.

4. Jesus never said the Antichrist would rule the world.

5. Jesus never said the tribulation would involve the entire world.

6. Jesus never suggested the temple would be rebuilt after it was torn down. There is no prophecy in the entire Bible that a fourth and future temple will be built.

7. Jesus never said the first half of this tribulation would be prosperous, while the second half would be the time of great distress.

8. Jesus never said Armageddon would bring an end to the entire world.

I'm flabbergasted! Not only the above, but that Jesus already came back, in reference to His second coming and how "the world" only meant the Roman Empire and more. I see here they are only going by what Jesus states in the Bible, but what of the other prophecies, by others, like Isaiah and Daniel? They are taking Jesus words as literal and that when He says "this generation will not pass away until..." meaning the apostles would be there for His second coming, that Armageddon is a hoax. Their list goes on and on using scripture. It's one thing to go on and on about it, but to leave the reader with nothing to pin their hopes on and basically saying the Bible is not for us and that's it. What a bunch of garbage. I sent them and email telling them so! They just leave the readers high and dry. I can't believe it, but then do...I just never realized that they would use the very Bible to bring it down. I'm sorry. This upset me very much. I know I shouldn't allow it to, but with the way things are going, I can truly believe that the Trib is real and we are on the cusp of it, just as you state, according to scripture. Bob, I do very much need some words of encouragement from you. I just so feel for people who will be tricked by such things. My heart cries out for them.

In Jesus,

Response #6:   

Everything you have said here is correct. The entire Bible is the Word of God. People who try to reduce scripture to the "actual words of Jesus" by definition ignore His actual words:

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
John 5:39 KJV

"I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you."
John 16:12-15 TNIV

Thus the entire scripture is "the mind (i.e., thinking) of Christ" (1Cor.2:16), and, in terms of eschatology in regard to questions such as the one posed about the details of the Tribulation, the book of Revelation in which these are most voluminously expounded is, after all, "the Revelation of Jesus Christ", and John received this revelation from Jesus Himself – that should surely make these things "His words". Yes, a week, in biblical prophetic terms, is seven years. For a list of the passages which detail the length of the Tribulation proper and of the Great Tribulation, its second half, in particular, please see the link: The reign of antichrist: 7 years or 3 and 1/2 years?

Revelation very clearly shows that the temple is indeed standing/rebuilt during the Tribulation -- this is where Moses and Elijah minister (Rev.11), and this is where the beast takes his seat "as if he were God" (2Thes.2:4). As to the other nonsensical issues advanced in this snippet . . .

1) Jesus documents the Tribulation; the fact that He doesn't give its chronology is completely understandable; many things would have to await the Spirit's coming to be understood, and we have the entire remainder of the New Testament following the gospels specifically for filling in doctrinal details on all subjects – precisely according to the plan and to the Word of God.

2) "this generation" refers not to the biological generation of the opponents of the truth but to their spiritual seed. Those who oppose the truth will endure until Messiah has established His reign on the earth, opposing all true teaching in precisely the same way that Jesus' opponents did – in exactly the same way that these people who are upsetting you are doing (i.e., they are part of "this generation").

3) !? I'm not even sure what this is supposed to mean. See point one.

4) Jesus says very little about the beast proper for the same reasons advanced in point one; indeed, given the disciples slowness to receive the truth before the advent of the Spirit the profound content of the Olivet discourse is truly amazing. Additionally, one cannot really read Matthew chapter 24, for example, and not at least have the impression of a worldwide conflagration wherein deception from the devil and persecution of believers on a global scale will be the rule. The fact that the beast's role is not spelled out in this chapter does not mean anything. Daniel chapters 7-12 says plenty about that.

5) See point 4 – "nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom"; plus, there is no indication of any place being exempt: all believers are given the charges to be watchful and careful, so the entire world must be affected.

6) Revelation chapter 11 and 2nd Thessalonians chapter two presuppose the rebuilding of the temple; cf. the model of it in Ezekiel chapters 40-44.

7) I know of no one who says there will be prosperity in the first half of the Tribulation; the seven seals and the trends represented in the first half by the four horsemen along with the trumpet judgments which take place during the first half make it clear enough that it will still be "the Tribulation" – it's just that the second half is exponentially worse, especially for believers, because of the Great Persecution.

8) I certainly don't teach that Armageddon is the "end of the world". Armageddon is the battle which takes place between Jesus Christ and the forces of antichrist at our Lord's return. It will be swiftly decided and entirely one-sided. Afterwards, the present world will abide for an additional 1000 years (the Millennium); only after the end of our Lord's prophesied messianic rule with the present heavens and earth be replaced.

I very much appreciate your solid stand for the truth! Dealing with assaults on the truth are difficult, but they can also be profitable spiritually speaking in that 1) they show a person that their faith is strong enough to handle clever and vicious attacks; 2) they build up that faith when the test is successfully run; 3) they force us to "do our homework" and so become even more solidly grounded in the scriptures and their true teachings.

I do want to encourage you that you are running this race well! Keep on running in faith, and don't let the nay-sayers trip you up.

In the One in whose footsteps we are following on this journey, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #7:  

Hello Brother Bob,

It has been a while since I have written. I have what is probably a common question. When we die, do we immediately go to Paradise, to be with the Lord? If so, who are the Dead In Christ who rise first, in 1Thes. 4:16-17. When does the Judgment Seat of Christ take place(2Cor. 5:10)?

Hope all is well with you. God Bless you and your Ministry.

Response #7:    

Yes indeed, as soon as our spirits leave our bodies we go into the presence of the Lord in the third heaven (Eden or paradise number five – Abraham's Bosom or what Jesus calls "paradise" from the cross is now empty, since all those Old Testament saints were led into the presence of the Father by our Lord when He ascended). See the link: "Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State". For "the Seven Edens" see the link.

The "dead in Christ" who rise "first" are all believers from Adam and Eve onward (except for those who will still be alive when Jesus returns at the end of the Tribulation). In the resurrection, the spirits of the departed (which are now clothed with an interim body and enjoy fellowship with the Father and the Son in the third heaven), are re-united with their physical bodies now transformed into eternal bodies which will never again know decay. This happens at the point of the second advent. See the link: in CT 5: "The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride".

As to the judgment seat of Christ, that will occur for the Church proper (i.e., all who have believed from Adam until the moment of Christ's return) during the early days of Jesus' millennial kingdom as one of the seven post-Tribulation judgments. This issue is included in part 6 of Coming Tribulation (please see the link: "The Judgment of the Church").

I hope this answers your questions, but, as always, do feel free to write back about any of it.

In our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #8: 

In Revelation 22:5 who are we as believers going to reign over?

Revelation 22:5 - And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

Will we reign over unbelievers along with Satan and his fallen angels? It just seems odd to reign over the lost who will be forever separated from God and His presence or ours. Thanks in advance!

Response #8:   

Resurrected believers are promised a share in Christ's millennial rule (and that will constitute the main fulfillment of passages such as Matt.25:19-23; Lk.22:28; 1Cor.6:3; Rom.8:17; 2Tim.2:12; Rev.1:6; 2:26-27; 3:21; 20:4-6). When the eternal state begins, since it will be populated only by God, resurrected believers, and elect angels, any "rule" will be nominal only. It is certainly true that there will be a definite hierarchy among believers based upon the levels of rewards received (which are in turn based upon the quality of service to the Lord here in time on earth; please see the link: "The Judgment of the Church"). However, with everyone perfect in eternity, with no sin and no possibility of sin, there will be no need for coercion or administrative decisions. Things will be as they were in the garden in of Eden, only with no possibility for a fall, and much better to an infinite degree. At the return of Christ, fallen angels will be removed from the earth and it is likely that resurrected believers participate in the process of removing them (fulfilling 1Cor.6:3). During the millennium, resurrected believers will be in positions of authority, ruling with Christ during His millennial reign. But at the end of the 1000 years, the old things will pass away, and new things will come. In the time of the New Jerusalem, there will no longer be any unbelievers or fallen angels, but only a new heavens and new earth "wherein [only] righteous dwells", so that these matters will be a thing of the past as well.

In blessed anticipation of that wonderful day of days with our Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:  

Thanks for your encouragement in your letters and helping me find the answers to the difficult questions in the bible. I have a questions that has been on my mind. It's not essential to the Christian faith but it has made me wonder on a few occasions. What language will we speak in heaven, or will there be a new method of communication? The cherubs in the book of Revelation praise God with the thrice Holy...in what language did the apostle John hear them praise God in? Thanks again!

Response #9:    

I very much appreciate your kind words and your desire to grow in Christ even more. As to your question, as far as I know, like many of the wonders to come, the Bible doesn't give us a specific answer on this. We know, for example, that there are "tongues of angels" from 1st Corinthians 13:1, and there is a passage which gives some credence to the essential human language being Hebrew (Zeph.3:9) – that was a position of one of my Hebrew professors. It is also the case that the gates of the New Jerusalem will have the names of the apostles written on them, and presumably that will be in a single tongue that all will understand. I think it is abundantly clear that we will all understand each other perfectly, regardless of what the eternal language (or languages) may be. Certainly, God has never had a "communication problem" based upon language with any or all of the many people of different tongues He has communicated with personally or through angels throughout human history. Your question about John is apropos of this: John was no doubt talking and hearing in Greek since that is the language in which he wrote the book and since there is no indication of any other language being used on the occasion of his vision; in fact, in Revelation chapter nine the fact that he says of the demon leader that his name "in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon" also indicates that he was hearing in Greek (hence the need to explain the Hebrew name). None of this does more than whet our appetite, however. This is just one more of those wonderful things to consider as we set our sights not on this present world which is passing away but upon all the wonders God has prepared for those who love Him and His Son our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #10: 

What is your view on marriage in heaven? I've heard two arguments. they're both based off the Sadducees arguing with Jesus about the woman marrying all those brothers. One side says that we'll be like the angels and not marry nor given in marriage. The other side says that woman back then were basically treated like property and that it wasn't their choice to get married, it was all arranged and that in heaven, woman won't be given in marriage but rather they'll have a choice. I don't know anything about cultural aspect then and if that's the frame of mind that Jesus would've been talking from, but what are your thoughts on it?

Response #10:   

There is much about our eternal life that we do not and indeed could not understand this side of heaven. What exactly things will be like in resurrection we cannot say beyond a very few specifics mentioned in the Bible. We can say that our existence will be "more" in every way and that there will be no negatives whatsoever.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Revelation 21:1-4 NIV

We will never know any pain or discomfort or frustration of lack or fear or worry or boredom: all that is pretty hard to imagine or visualize! As to what the relationship will be between men and women, about all we have to go on is Jesus' straightforward statement: "those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage" (Lk.20:34). I take these words at face value, and it makes a lot of sense to me to do so when one thinks about it since marriage has always been focused on attendant procreation, but in eternity, at the end of human history, there will be no new human beings produced, so there will be no need of marriage to produce them. That is about as far as I can take things without embarking on wild speculation.

Sorry that this is not a very definitive answer, but I hope it is somewhat helpful nonetheless.

In our Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #11:  

I wanted to ask if you have on your site info re the following questions on gentile or Jewish Church Age believers. I know some of this is there but your help in pointing out the links is appreciated.

Status and location during the Millennium.

When do they get a resurrection body?

When are they judged re life/works?

Will they interact with those surviving the Tribulation during the Millennium?

What difference will there be between those believers who remain alive until the end of the Tribulation and those who died in it or before it occurred?

Will there be marriage and sex for them (I'm asking these questions due to a continuing conversation with someone else; my answer is no to this one because we will be in a resurrection body without a sin nature and our interests will be elsewhere)?

Will all who remain on earth to enter the Millennium be believers?

Will beer still be proof that God loves us (i.e. was Martin Luther's observation an eternal one?)?

Will I still have this kind of sense of humor?

Response #11:    

By way of intro before I get to your specific questions below, my reading of 1st Corinthians 15:23-28 is precisely the one with which you are familiar (apart from the timing of the "rapture"): aside from our Lord, there are two echelons of believers in the resurrection, and one of unbelievers. All believers from Adam and Eve through the last person to believe before Jesus returns are resurrected ("raptured") at the moment of the Second Advent. Thus we shall be with Christ forever, including during the Millennium. The Church, therefore, actually includes all believers from all prior ages. In resurrection, and fully rewarded (Christ's judgment seat is one of the first orders of business during His millennial reign), we will share our Lord's rule for that thousand year period. At the end of the Millennium, following the destruction of all those involved in the Gog-Magog revolution, everyone else will be resurrected, believers to life, unbelievers (of all eras, and whether living or dead) to judgment and the second death. The believers of this final echelon are the "friends of the Bride" (Psalm 45:14, cf. Revelation 19:9).

The major links for these issues are:

In CT #5, the Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride

In Peter #27, the Three Echelons of the Resurrection

The Timing of the Resurrection.

Transmutation, Resuscitation, and Resurrection.

Aspects of the Resurrection

Aspects of the Resurrection II

The Resurrection.

Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State.

1) Status and location during the Millennium: All who were believers before Christ returned will be on earth, in resurrection, sharing His rule (actual billets to be determined on the basis of reward status).

2) When do they get a resurrection body: All who were believers before Christ returned are resurrected at that moment, the dead in Christ first, then those believers who are still alive (1Thes.4:16-17). Those who believe after this point must wait until the end of the Millennium to be resurrected. This does beg the question of "what about believers who may die (for whatever reason) during the Millennium?" I have not ascertained an answer for that from scripture; I am working on this and related issues in producing part 6 of Coming Tribulation (which also has an extensive section of the Judgment Seat of Christ and the levels of rewards; see the link). One thing we can extrapolate from the current situation is that while departed believers now are not enjoying a resurrection body, they do have an interim body (see the final link in the list above and cf. 2Cor.5:1-3 in the Greek with Rev.6:9-11; 7:9-17). If I were to speculate on this issue, I would surmise that if there are cases of believers who die during the Millennium, they are either 1) resuscitated immediately (as in cases of murder, et al.), or 2) given an interim body so as to still be able to enjoy our Lord's presence. I find no indication that there will be anyone "cooling their heels" for the duration of the Millennium in a third heaven now otherwise empty of human beings.

3) When are they judged re life/works: The judgment of the Church, of all who have believed and have been resurrected from the beginning of human history until Christ's return, will take place in Jerusalem as the last of the "seven thunder judgments" associated with our Lord's return (shortly after the second advent). The Seven Thunder Judgments:

1. Babylon destroyed (Rev.18).

2. The Armies of Armageddon destroyed (Rev.19:1-21).

3. The Beast and the False Prophet consigned to the lake of fire (Rev.19:20).

4. The Incarceration of Satan and his Demons (Rev.20:1-3).

5. Fire upon Magog and the Coastlands (Ezek.39:6; cf. Rev.20:9).

6. The Regathering and Purging of Israel (Ezek.20:34-38; cf. Rev.21-22).

7. The Judgment of the Church (Rom.2:16; 2Cor.5:10; cf. Rev.2:26-27; 3:21; 20:4-6).

As I say, this last judgment will be covered in the upcoming part 6 of CT (see the link: "The Judgment of the Church").

4) Will they interact with those surviving the Tribulation during the Millennium: One of the key roles of resurrected believers during the Millennium will be the administration of the earth as joint-rulers with Christ. I expect that this will entail every sort of public office imaginable along the lines of bureaucracy today with the exception that this government administration will be perfect in every way (as difficult as that may be to comprehend based upon contemporary parallels). Since resurrected believers will be everywhere and will be directly involved in running the world, it is difficult to conceive of a scenario in which there will not be a tremendous amount of contact between the resurrected and not yet resurrected.

5) What difference will there be between those believers who remain alive until the end of the Tribulation and those who died in it or before it occurred: None whatsoever, at least not anything that flows directly from these specifics. Differences between individual resurrected believers will be based entirely upon their rankings and rewards gained from growth, production, and service to the Lord.

6) Will there be marriage and sex for them (I'm asking these questions due to a continuing conversation with someone else; my answer is no to this one because we will be in a resurrection body without a sin nature and our interests will be elsewhere): For the not-yet-resurrected, certainly. For the resurrected, Jesus says very explicitly that there will be no marriage after resurrection. He does not, nor does scripture in any other place of which I am aware, address this second issue specifically. There is much about the future that we do not know – and that is no doubt a very good thing. We will most certainly be "anatomically correct" in resurrection. The angels seem to be so as well (as can be gleaned from the demons' violation of human/angelic boundaries in Genesis 6). From what I can tell, an argument can be made either way. What I say about this is that if there is sex in eternity, we don't have a need to know about that now; and if there isn't, it would bother us for a millisecond once we have been resurrected.

7) Will all who remain on earth to enter the Millennium be believers: No. All who believe are resurrected when the Lord returns. So, technically speaking, only unbelievers will enter the Millennium, at least at the precise moment it begins. Of course, the majority of surviving Jews are predicted to accept Jesus as the Messiah the moment they see His glorious return, so that at the very beginning of the Millennium there will already be a very large believing population. Clearly, there has to be some "root stock" of non-resurrected human beings to populate the Millennium. At the end of the thousand years, there will be a "baptism of fire" as John predicted, but the ultimate fulfillment of that is the "cleansing of the threshing floor" at the end of the Millennium where all will be gathered up, then separated for the two final elements of the resurrection, of the living and the death (the sheep and the goats). In addition to the vast destruction of Armageddon, and in addition to the purging out of the kingdom at Christ's return of Jews who though regathered still refuse to accept Jesus as Messiah (the sixth thunder-judgment), the fifth thunder-judgment will also punish with destruction all unbelievers who took the mark of the beast (and that certainly constitutes the majority of the survivors). Taken in conjunction with the enormous loss of life for many other reasons during the Tribulation, what this no doubt means is that the Millennium will begin with a very small population relative to the current seven or so billion, and no doubt pushing ten at the time of commencement. But even if knocked down to one percent, 100 million people under the conditions of millennial blessing and expanded human life-spans would rebound to a massive figure in very short order. That is no doubt true even if 100 million is in fact far much too large a figure. Keil and Deilitzsch's calculations for the pre-flood population (which began with only two, after all), was a very conservative 10 million in some two thousand years of sub-millennial conditions. Starting with what must be at the very least some millions (judging from the facts that "we who remain" in 1Thes.4 is a sizable enough category to deserve mention, and that the regathering of Jews from around the world at this time is one of the most prominently emphasized scriptural prophecies), even this small "seed stock" will no doubt prove more than sufficient to surpass our current population levels in very little time.

8) Will beer still be proof that God loves us (i.e. was Martin Luther's observation an eternal one?): I would be very surprised to find out that there is no beer during that thousand years. However, I would be thoroughly shocked if _____ is still around – this is the Millennium we are talking about, after all.

9) Will I still have this kind of sense of humor: This is the Millennium we are talking about, after all.

In eager anticipation of that glorious time to come with our dear Lord Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #12: 

In Ezekiel 47:1-12 it mentions the application of animal sacrifices during the millennial reign of Christ. I was wondering why the necessity for it when Christ had been the ultimate sacrifice. The notes found in my bible says that animal sacrifices during the millennial reign serves as a memorial just as how we observe the Lord's supper today. Why would animal sacrifices be necessary if Christ will literally dwell among his people and rule the earth and be in their presence? Therefore the Lord's supper or animal sacrifices wouldn't be needed as a memorial.

The other question concerns the passage found in Revelation 21:24-27.

24And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

25And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

26And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.

27And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Verse 26 seems to refer to the millennial reign because kings are entering into this new type of Jerusalem similar to that found in Ezekiel, an earthly new Jerusalem centered in Jerusalem and somewhat different from the New Jerusalem that descends out of Heaven from God (Revelation 21:2). What confuses me is that chapter 21 seems to refer to the eternal state and God's heavenly city where immortality dwells and nobody Leaves the city.

Revelation 3:12 - Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

If chapter 21 refers to the eternal state, then why do kings visit the city similar to the millennial reign? Thanks in advance!

Response #12:   

Good questions! I agree entirely with your study Bible about the millennial sacrifices being memorials (see the links:  "the Millennial Temple Rites" [in CT 6] and "Animal Sacrifices during the Millennium"); and I agree with you that it seems a bit odd. The communion analogy is the best way to think of it, but as you say, Jesus will be there in person, so why the need for a memorial? The best answer I can give on that is that while we shall have Jesus ruling in person as the King of Kings, it will still be helpful for people to remember that in the past He was the Suffering Servant who died for all of their sins. Because even revering Jesus as the ruler of the world in the Millennium will not bring salvation; the gospel requires accepting His work on the cross in washing away our sins as well as appreciating Him as the unique God-Man.

On Revelation 21-22, these chapters most definitely refer to the eternal state, not the Millennium (the next installment of Coming Tribulation will treat these passages in detail). The Father's advent (cf. Rev.21:22; 22:1-5) only takes place once all sin and evil and evil-doers have been eradicated from the New Heavens and New Earth forevermore – that is, when things have been ultimately restored and when the Father "makes His habitation" with mankind again just as He ruled in the original pre Genesis-Gap Eden on earth (Rev.21:3). Yes, there is some language in these chapters which is difficult to parse. The statement in Revelation 3:12 about being "a pillar in the temple" is clearly metaphorical, meaning that we shall always have fellowship with God as "living stones" in Jesus' building, the Church (cf. 1Pet.2:5); for one thing, as the description of the New Jerusalem makes clear, there is actually no temple anymore in the new city, since "the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple" (Rev.21:22). I do not get from Rev.21-22 or elsewhere that we shall "never leave the city", and in fact the "kings" mentioned must be resurrected believers, indicating some sort of activity on planet earth beyond the city in which we shall all be involved. Just exactly what our eternal lives will be like in this respect is beyond our ken at this point, but suffice it to say that we will almost certainly be doing many wonderful things and going many wonderful places beyond our imagination and expectation at this present time. And as I often say, if we really did know all the details now, we would probably be able to think about precious little else (i.e., too much information would be a distraction – we know all we need to at this point, to wit, our eternal lives and the primary place in which we shall lead them will be beyond glorious and wonderful beyond present understanding). In the ancient world, Athens for example, and in a slightly different way Israel too, the polis or the state did have a capital city or asty, Athens and Jerusalem respectively. But most of the people actually had their homes in the countryside or in other outlying towns and smaller cities. Yet all Athenians came to the asty for festivals and celebrations, for commerce and religious ceremonies, for political and judicial activities; that of course is also true of the Jerusalem of David's day, and it seems likely to me that the pattern will be the same in the New Heavens and New Earth. For on the one hand the Bible deliberately tells about the New Jerusalem in terms of this same pattern – a very large city with 12 gates opening up in all directions (this surely is for the purpose of ingress and egress); and as you point out there are definite statements about produce being brought in from outside by "rulers" of some sort (and we know that we shall "rule with Christ" during the previous Millennium). On the other hand, extrapolating from the pattern of the resurrection body, since it will be just like the present one only better, I would imagine that our future lives will be, rather than subtraction of anything good, rather multiplication of everything good after removing everything disagreeable. What this means in terms of the fabric of our actual eternal lives is unknown at this point beyond the limited though wonderful details the Bible does provide. But we who have trusted God to bring us through the tough times of this life can certainly trust Him that after the testing and trials of this life are past, He will provide us with only the brightest and the best, things beyond comprehension, "eternal delights at Thy right hand forevermore" (Ps.16:11).

In anticipation of that great day to come!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #13:  

Colossians 1:20 reads that things in heaven are reconciled through Jesus' blood. I was wondering what in heaven needs to be reconciled to God?

Colossians 1:20 - And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Response #13:    

Part of the answer lies in the fact that Christ's victory on the cross is the pivot point of all creature history; in fact Jesus' dying for the sins of the world is history. Therefore, through His victory on the cross He has, on the one hand, defeated evil for all time and, on the other, He has made possible eternal life for all human beings who turn to Him. Thus the cross has "solved" the problem of creature history (creature rebellion and creature reconciliation to God), and at the same time has "resolved" the issues that Satan's rebellion and Man's original fall from grace created (the enmity between heaven and earth and God's separation from the sinful earth). Here is how I explain this in Bible Basics part 4: Christology:

Evil had to be defeated at the cross in order for it to be removed from God's universe so that the eternity of the New Heavens and New Earth might begin, and only by Jesus' atoning for our sin could this blessed victory be won and reconciliation effected between God and those willing to turn to His mercy.

For it was [God's] good pleasure for the fulfillment [of His plan] to reside entirely in [Christ], and so through Him to reconcile everything to Himself, having made peace through Him, through the blood of His cross, whether things on earth, or things in heaven.
Colossians 1:19-20

In the Greek, the words translated "to reconcile" are linked grammatically to "having made peace" (as can be seen from this English translation as well). This is what reconciliation is, biblically speaking, namely, the removal of enmity or hostility and the changing of a situation of estrangement to one of peace and mutual acceptance. It says in Hebrews that the holy of holies in heaven needed to be "cleansed" by Christ's blood, that is, not the physical temple by means of literal animal blood, but the heavenly temple by means of the blood of Christ (which is His work in suffering and dying for our sins, not His literal blood):

(23) For this reason (i.e., the inability of the blood of animals to cleanse us from sin) it was necessary for the heavenly exemplars of these earthly representations to be cleansed with better sacrifices than these [earthly ones]. (24) For Christ did not enter into a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one. Rather, He entered into heaven itself, so as to present Himself before God [the Father] on our behalf.
Hebrews 9:23-24

Colossians 1:20 is referring to this same idea. Until Christ, resurrected and victorious at the cross, appeared in heaven before the Father, no human being had been allowed into the presence of God. But Christ brought those who had previously died as believers with Him into the third heaven when He ascended there (Eph.4:8; cf. Ps.68:18). Before they could enter, there had to be an actual "reconciliation" between them and God. They had been saved based upon their faith in the promise of the Messiah, but the Messiah's work in dying for their sins had to be an accomplished fact before the actual reconciliation could be effected. The blood of His Son was the payment the Father required to accept these human beings born sinners into His presence.

At present, God the Father occupies the third heaven because of sin on earth. In the eternal state, once evil has been burned out of the universe, He will dwell with us in the New Jerusalem. Thus, while the two parties in the reconciliation are sinful man and holy God, the two venues of reconciliation are heaven and earth. Only by Christ's victory can the latter two be reconciled (and that will happen completely at the end of the Millennium). And only by Christ's sacrifice can the former be reconciled (and that happened at the Ascension). So by "things in heaven" requiring reconciliation we are to understand 1) the need for a universal solution to the problem of Satan's rebellion and Man's fall whereby the spiritual separation between heaven and earth is removed (so that God the Father can come to earth without compromising His holiness), and 2) the need for a particular solution to the sins of human beings whereby the spiritual separation between believers and God is removed (so that we can enter heaven without compromising God's holiness). It is the blood of Jesus shed for us that accomplishes both aspects of this reconciliation referred to in Colossians 1:20

Hope this is helpful. Please feel free to write back about it.

In our dear Lord Jesus through whom we now have access to our heavenly Father, having been reconciled to Him by His blood.

Bob L.

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