I was reading from the book of John immediately before I got your mail. This words of our Lord "In my father's house there are many rooms" (John 14:2). I have two question, 1) I believe it is dangerous to totally stick with any translation because what a lot of people practise today as Christians is a result of translations and thereby miss the point. I believe most problem in the Christendom is as a result of translation, false interpretation and commentaries that led to wrong doctrines. For example I was discussing with a JW guy over Trinity, in the course of reading to them about Jesus being a member of the Trinity, after reading with him he told me that in my KJV translation, "And the word was God" God is written beginning with uppercase while the bible he was reading from God is written begin with small letter just to state Jesus is no way near Part of the Trinity. I was very surprised because what JW follower are teaching is as a result of what their leaders want and they even have their own translation and they also read from it to backup their doctrines and teachings.
Now which one is the true word? 1) there are many rooms 2) there are many mansions. The most confusing part is the second part: how can it be that a house which I believe is smaller in proportion to mansion have many mansion? Please if you have a way to put me through. Second, as we know and I have read from your site the "Last Things", that God will still reside on the New Heaven and the New Earth with New Jerusalem where righteousness dwells, and that Christ will reign on Earth for a millennium to complete the ages. Why would Christ be promising another mansion, house or room? If so, then He is probably talking about building the New Heaven, Earth and Jerusalem. Unless if that part is not part of the bible. May be am totally confused about the whole thing. PLS can you help me as always? In Christ whom I serve.
Always good to hear from you, my friend. Reading the Bible is very important; building doctrinal positions strictly on a single translation is always dangerous – you are right about that! As I usually tell people who ask about these issues, it's a good idea if possible to check several translations at least whenever a person has a question like this. As you so wonderfully point out, cults thrive on restricting the meaning of any passage to what their particular false doctrines need to have it say. We who want to grow in the Word want to know what the passage really says and really means – even if that ends up forcing us to find fault with ourselves or our approaches or our previous understanding of the truth. Being refined by the truth in the power of the Spirit is the only way forward in the Christian life.
As to this particular passage you ask about, the problem is really an English one. The English words "mansion" and "manse" both come from the Latin root meaning "to abide", so that, etymologically speaking, both words would mean nothing more than "abode" (i.e., a place wherein to "abide" – which is the correct thing to understand here in John 14:2). As we use that word in the US, at any rate, an "abode" may be large or small, rich or poor. Language is a growing, living thing, and the true meaning of a word is determined by how people are currently using it, not from its etymology (of which most people will be totally unaware). In contemporary U.S. English, a "mansion" is large and opulent, while a "manse" is the home provided for a pastor by his church (usually small and humble – a truth to which as a "preacher's kid" I can personally attest). Etymologically, they ought to mean exactly the same thing, but we have specialized the two very specifically in our modern usage. That is the biggest problem with the KJV, namely, the fact that the English language has changed quite noticeably since the early 17th century (not to mention the fact that modern American English is also different from that of the UK), and the import of many of those changes is not immediately obvious to casual readers of that version. That is certainly true in this case: KJV's "mansion" is meant merely in the sense of "a place to stay", without any supposition about what the place may be like in terms of its size or quality. In that sense, this was (at the time – before the word picked up its modern connotations) a good translation of the Greek word mone which is a simple noun based on the Greek verb for "remaining", just as mansio (the Vulgate noun from which KJV took its cue) is a Latin noun based on the Latin verb maneo which also means simply to "remain" or "wait" (i.e., they are all parallel words derived from the same Indo-European root). In the 17th century, Greek, Latin, and English were all parallel on this point – but English has now changed in terms of the connotations of the word "mansion".
What our Lord is saying here is that He had to depart in order to make a place for believers in the third heaven. This was literally true for those He was speaking to, Peter and the apostles. When they died, they went to be with the Lord in the presence of the Father (whereas before Christ's ascension Old Testament believers went to the paradise below the earth since the victory of the cross had not yet won; see the link). From that point on, they were, as Jesus promised, where He was, and they always will be. You are correct that when our Lord returns, they (along with the entire Church) will return too in resurrection, and at that moment "all [believers] who are alive" will also be "caught up" in resurrection to participate in the second advent and the Millennium (1Thess.4:17; see the link). Where we live on the millennial earth will be a function of the "job" our Lord has for us as part of His administration (and this no doubt depends on how well we have done for Him in this life: 2Tim.2:12; Rev.2:26-27; 5:10; 20:6; cf. 1Cor.4:8), but following our 1,000 year reign with Christ, the Father will make His home with us in the New Jerusalem on the New Earth forevermore. What our particular "place to stay" will be like in New Jerusalem, we cannot say, but in my opinion it is safe to say that it will be more wonderful than we can at present imagine (and will also relate to our particular reward; see the link). Whenever we depart this life, we will from that point forward be with our dear Lord Jesus, and we will have nothing whatsoever to be concerned about. We will always have "a place to stay" with Him from that time forward and forevermore.
In anticipation of all the heavenly wonders to come,
I am reading your work on Satan's Kingdom and I am finding it really helpful. As a seminary student who is passionate about this area I am anxious to find insightful sources. Would you mind sending me your bibliography for this work? I am especially interested in the area of Satan's Order of Battle and strategies leading up to tribulation and eschaton.
Thank you so much,
Good to make your acquaintance. Thank you for your interest in the Satanic Rebellion series. As to your request, however, there really is no bibliography to speak of. Most of these materials are original, based upon independent research and study of the Bible. Where there has been some significant input from another source, that will be found in the footnotes. I do need to add that my understanding of these matters was originally founded upon the teaching I was blessed to receive from Col. R.B. Thieme Jr. (please see the link). The information on the angelic hierarchy, however, was originally developed, and the scriptural references and analysis of passages provide the support. It's not helpful, I know, for citations in a seminary setting; however, the purpose of this ministry is individual spiritual growth rather than academic publication.
If you have not already read it, you may find the Coming Tribulation series helpful in this respect (see the link).
Please do feel free to write back any time.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Regarding God's theocratical rule you wrote: 'God is not at present theocratically administering the world in an outright and absolute manner. He did so in the past (before Satan's fall, and on the re-created earth before Adam and Eve fell)...'.
But wasn't Satan already there when the earth was re-created? And if so, then why do you consider God's rule absolute at the time?
The first Eden and the Eden of Adam and Eve have in common that God's ruled absolutely . . . and yet allowed free will. It was Satan's fall that corrupted the first Eden and Adam and Eve's fall that corrupted the earthly paradise. God rules but allows free will. How happy it will be when the time for all of our decisions of that nature is behind us, with those who have chosen for God with God, and those who have chosen an eternity without Him no longer free to corrupt or incite corruption!
Hello again Dr Luginbill, I pray you and your website continue to help followers of Jesus grow in faith and understanding.
I was wondering, is there an exact point in the bible where Satan was given authority over the earth? cf. Luke 4:6. I find this phrase very similar to Jer 27:5 where they state they give to whomever they please, any thoughts?
Lastly, does God give a reason as to why he would want to create a race of beings that resemble himself and for them to have rulership over his creation: e.g Lucifer's original position and Adam in Eden? Ironically, why not just rule over his own creation from the start?
Good to hear from you – and thanks so much for your prayers!
As to your questions, it's a nice parallel you adduce, but I think ESV/NIV et al. are closer on Jeremiah 27:5 than is KJV et al. What we have there is probably a "future sequence" in the Hebrew, so that the "giving" is general rather than historic (i.e., "I give/will give it to . . .", rather than "did give /gave"):
"I have made the earth, the men and the beasts which are on the face of the earth by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and I will give it to the one who is pleasing in My sight."
Jeremiah 27:5 NASB
As such, this verse can be both Messianic and can also refer to the Lord's direction of human affairs. Consider this one of many parallels:
"The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people."
Daniel 4:17 NIV
As to the point of Satan's dominion, surely this is the point of the fall / ejection of Adam and Eve from Eden. The Lord had placed "all things" under Adam's command (Gen.1:28), but this was lost, at least in part, when paradise was lost. The devil's control, however, is limited. He is for that reason described as "prince of the power of the air" (Eph.2:2), meaning that he "hovers over" things, but is not able to completely and physically dominate them (if he had that ability, mankind would have been wiped off the earth a long time ago; see the link: "the limits of Satan's control" in BB 2A). Satan will gain this type of almost complete control for a time during the Great Tribulation under the aegis of his son, anti-Christ, but that empire will be destroyed before it can completely destroy the world. So the devil's "offer" to Christ was both ironic (in that Christ made the world and will return to rule it completely through the power of God) and disingenuous (since the devil could not fully deliver on such a promise even if he had any intention of doing so).
As to the whys and wherefores of God's creation of the universe, in my book it all comes down to the love of God. We might as well ask "why does anyone want to have children, since they could very well consume and enjoy the things of this world themselves without having to share them otherwise?" But God does desire to share Himself with us, and that is blessed beyond expression. Not only that, God is not willing to force Himself on us. He will only share Himself with those who want Him back. He certainly could have made a world of automatons who had no choice – just as I suppose mankind could theoretically produce robots . . . but who would want them as substitutes for children? And how much He loves us! In order for our choice of Him to be genuine, He had create the perfect world from the standpoint of offering the perfect choice. That in turn meant that many would reject Him . . . and that necessitated the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to atone for the sin that genuine free will made inevitable. What Jesus did for us on the cross cannot really be understood this side of heaven (perhaps not even fully there), but it explains everything: His love, His goodness, our genuine choice, and the way in which things have to play out in time in order for Him to "work all things out together for good".
There is more about all this in BB 4B: Soteriology.
Yours in Jesus Chris our dear Lord and Savior,
Hello again Dr Luginbill, I am very thankful for your website over the years and I pray you will continue to help others understand God's word. Once again I had a few questions I was hoping you could help me with.
What is the context of Isa 13:12:
I will make people more rare than fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir. (ESV)
Good to hear from you as always – and thanks so much for your kind words (and especially for your prayers).
As to your questions:
Isaiah 13:12 is referring to the severe depopulation of the earth during the seven years of the Tribulation (see the link: in CT 1 "The Day of the Lord Paradigm").
Why will there be a new heaven? What's wrong with the current one.
The present cosmos is cursed and tainted by creature rebellion – analogously to the way in which are present bodies are infected with sin. Just as we need new bodies because "[this presently corrupt] flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" so also our eternal inheritance will not be in the "perishable" present heavens and earth but in the "imperishable" ones to come (1Cor.15:50). That is why, in place of the present heavens and earth where sin and rebellion have made their home, we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth "where righteousness dwells" (2Pet.3:13). God's original habitation was on earth; the third heaven is a temporary "battle headquarters" until the rebellion of Satan is finally put down; at the close of history, when every moral creature God has made has decided his/her eternal future through using the image of God to choose for Christ (or against), and when the old world with its corruption has been burned away by fire (2Pet.3:10-12), the Father will again make His habitation on earth – the new earth – and we will dwell with Him and with our dear Lord Jesus from that point forward and forevermore in the New Jerusalem which comes down from heaven (Rev.21:1-3).
In 1 Kings 22:20 why did God ask the host or heaven who would go down and entice Ahab? Do Angels become lying spirits to fulfill Yahweh's purposes?
God makes use of all things and of all creatures to accomplish His perfect plan and perfect purpose: there is nothing which happens in time and space which was not decreed before He initiated creation (see the link: in BB 4B "God's Plan to Save You"). As such, even His use of evil spirits is entirely consistent with this all-encompassing plan, perfectly designed to work "all things out together for good for those who love Him" (Rom.8:28). Everything that happens in history could only happen because God preordained it to happen. He thus makes use of everything in a perfect way, including the free will of moral creatures, mankind and angelic kind alike, without at the same time compromising that free will. There are a number of instances of this sort of thing recorded in scripture (though you cite the most famous one). See the link: "God's use of evil spirits" in BB 2A.
I was wondering if the light that God allowed to shine prior to verse 4 in Genesis 1 is the same light that will rule over the new earth? The Sun doesn't seem to be directly stated when it was made? Was the Sun made after the "let there be light stage"?
The only reason there is no light in Genesis 1:2 is because of God's judgment on the universe in response to Satan's revolt. God is light, and the original universe was suffused with light. There are only need of "light giving" bodies during this phase of human history wherein light has come into the world of darkness (so that the contrast may be evident to all) – just as Jesus came into the darkness of the world as the Light of the world (Jn.1:4-10). God's presence will be enough to suffuse the entire universe with light in the new heavens and new earth – and there will no longer be any darkness then in any case (except in the lake of fire).
What is the significance of the Angel taking away Zechariah's speech because of unbelief? Would Satan or his angles be able to perform similar miracles?
The Lord allows the devil a lot of leeway in his administration of his world system, but Satan's control is far from complete. Since angels are angels, it is certainly possible that as an angel he and his minions might be potentially able to do whatever angels are represented as doing, whether fallen or elect. However, we know from the story of Job that the devil is not allowed to harm believers without prior permission, at least not in any serious way. What precisely are the "ground rules" for action without specific permission we cannot say because scripture does not spell them out, but since it seems clear that Satan would immediately kill all believers if he were allowed to do so – and he is certainly able to do so absent divine restraint – we can say for sure that the protection God provides us through angelic agency and in every other way is substantial and perfectly planned out. Given what the Bible has to say about these matters and what historical experiences indicates, it seems that the devil and his crew are generally allowed more leeway in causing "normal" or "normal seeming" problems (as with Paul's thorn in the flesh), whereas overtly miraculous or highly destructive actions (as in the case of Job) are generally not allowed and are actively restrained and prevented. The Tribulation will see much of this restraint removed in many ways as the Restrainer will be removed (see the link), and as the devil's son, antichrist, will come to rule the world (blessedly, only for a short time).
Why is America and Satan so adamant about promoting sin and evil? Their efforts seem tireless!
There are no end of lies and sin and evil in the world. One of the reasons the devil is so interested in promoting any lie or sin or evil is to get Christians to react and join some crusade to oppose said lie/sin/evil – so that in the end they will be dancing to his tune on the other side by seeking to "fix the world" through politics instead of doing what the Lord wants us to do: grow spiritually, progress in the faith, and serve the Church of Jesus Christ according to the gifts we've been given. This deception is precisely how antichrist will get so many lukewarm Christians to follow him, namely, by crusading against "the devil" – although he is the devil's son. Please see the link: "Politics and Society in Satan's World System".
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I hope this email finds you well.
Ezekiel 28: 12 -17 refers to Lucifer as the ‘cherub who covers’ and also the ‘covering cherub’
I would like to understand this phrasing better.
1. How should one understand the meaning of ‘covering’?
2. It mentions the word twice in relating to these stones. What is their significance?
3. Does the word have a specific meaning in its original usage at all?
Any ideas or pointers to previous discussing would help.
Good to hear from you.
Here is what I have written about "covering" in this passage (the quote is from part 1 of the Satanic Rebellion series):
j) He Who Covers (Ezek.28:14): The primary reference for this passage is Exodus 25:20, where the cherubs who stand above the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant (the representation of God's throne) are said to spread their wings and "cover" the seat (the same Hebrew verb, sachach, being used in both contexts). This same verb is also used of the veil "covering" the holy of holies (Ex.40:3; 21). The main idea here is one of "shielding" or "protecting" as can be seen from the use of the word in the Psalms (e.g, Ps.5:11; 91:4; 140:7). Satan's original position can thus be described as that of the ultimate "imperial guard", charged with warding off all that is profane from the exquisite holiness of God (the function now, as we have seen, of numerous cherubs). It is a tragic irony that Satan's position as a bulwark against the profane has been altered by his own rebellion into that of a promoter of all that is detestable to God's holiness. In contrast to Satan, Christ kept Himself completely chaste from sin, so that in fulfillment of the Father's plan He might "become sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2Cor.5:21).
As to the meaning and significance of the gem-stones and their relationship to the gem-stones of the high priest's breastplate and the gem-stones on the gates of the New Jerusalem, you will find all of this broken down in great detail with diagrams at these links (the first link below is most apropos of your question; please keep reading past chart #1):
The Gemstones of the High Priest's Breastplate and their relationship to the Gems of Ezekiel (in SR 4)
The Gems and the Gates of New Jerusalem (in SR 5)
The Gemstone Foundations and the Tribal Gates of New Jerusalem
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Thanks for the answer.
I will read the details.
One thing bothers me. Why would God need ‘shielding’ or ‘protection’. It would seem to be a completely unnecessary requirement.
How would one explain the requirement?
Yes, it's absolutely unnecessary. It's ceremonial and honorific. After all, God doesn't need us . . . at all! Rather, we need Him . . . completely. The entire plan of God and the creation of all with the image of God is for our benefit. God does all these things out of love for us, and the opportunities we have as Christians to fight this fight in which we are engaged so as to win eternal crowns involve doing things God could easily do for Himself. We are given opportunities from His grace out of His love, and the positions we will hold for all eternity are, again, for our benefit in His gracious and loving giving to us of all things . . . in Jesus Christ. Satan rejected these benefits, but we are coming into all the blessings of God in time in eternity as a result of his rejection.
For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 NIV
Yours in the One who is the Gift of Gifts, Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior.
God bless and I am still reading your CT. I read it every night diligently for an hour a day so I can absorb God's words. I have a questions. Excellent analysis on Rev 4 when he speaks about "Seas". How you broke it down in terms of "firmament" and separation of heaven and hades was great. It took me awhile to comprehend but prayerfully the Spirit helped.
I have a question. If the "sea" was a barrier to separate a holy God from sinful man, why is it that in 1 Kings 22:19-22, Job 1:6-7 demons and satan had access to God throne? Why were they not immediately destroyed? The reason why I say that is in Rev 12:7-13, during the war in Heaven, Michael won the war and satan was finally cast out of God's presence.
I can't seem to reconcile this and need direction. Does it have something to do with fallen angels not actually in God throne's but in the "sea" or firmament area? But if that is the case, how can we reconcile 1 King 22:7-19 where it explicitly says "God's throne"
Thank you very much and may God continue to richly bless your ministry.
Yours in Christ.
Good to hear from you . . . and thanks as always for you diligence in studying the Word (and for your kind and encouraging words).
Revelation is written in an essentially chronological manner. There are some previews and the like (i.e., the seals), but, generally speaking, events proceed from John's day, through the Age of the Church (the seven churches), to the Tribulation, and through the Tribulation event by event, ending with the return of Christ, then the Millennium, then last judgment and the eternal state. So Revelation 12:7-13 hasn't happened yet (it happens at the Tribulation's mid-point). Satan is the accuser who, even now, accuses us and all of our brothers and sisters before God's throne on those occasions where all the angels gather in heaven.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down."
Revelation 12:10 NIV
We know this also from the book of Job (chapters 1-2). Many people have trouble reconciling the fact that the devil and his minions were not immediately thrown into the lake of fire for their actions so many years (eons?) ago, but our God is a long-suffering God who in patience gives us all time to make our decisions . . . in the hope that we will turn to Him – and in the process demonstrates even to the rebellious the folly of their ways.
And consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,
2nd Peter 3:15 NKJV
Here are some links that also address this issue:
Satan's Access into the Presence of God
Satan Appearing before God
And on the waters, in addition to what the CT series has, you might find this link helpful too:
Waters Above, the Firmament, and the Genesis Gap.
Please do feel free to write me back about any of this.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
In Revelation 20, it mentions Satan being released from the bottomless pit and goes out to deceive the entire world and the number of the army is innumerable. Then fire comes down out of Heaven from God Almighty and devours them. If Satan is a spirit, how does he deceive the entire world? Can he manifest himself in a physical form?
Always good to hear from you, my friend – I hope you are doing well (I keep you in my prayers).
The devil, along with all angels, fallen and elect, can most certainly manifest themselves (we know the devil appeared to our Lord during the first advent, for example; and there are plenty of examples of elect angels appearing to believers in scripture). At present, the devil and his angels seem to be prevented from doing so. There is much God forbids fallen angels from doing (and we know that they are terrified of being cast into the Abyss for violating His commands: Lk.8:31). After all, the demons are powerful enough to destroy all mankind over night, if God did not set boundaries.
As to the "Gog-Magog" revolt which will occur just before the close of human history (see the link), we are not told how, precisely, the devil will effect this revolt against the perfect government of Jesus Christ, but in my opinion it is only Satan who is released, so that he is able to get the whole world marching behind him through his own efforts of deceit and in spite of the millennial blessings the world has been enjoying under perfect Messianic rule – which only goes to show the hardness of human hearts and also that salvation is not "environmental" but a matter of choice, pure and simple. The devil accomplishes most of what he accomplishes today through "ideas" rather than personal appearances or possession or any of the "entertaining" activities ascribed to him (real or imagined). There is much more on this at the link: SR 4: "Satan's world system". Getting believers "fired up" about some politically hot topic (instead of looking to the Word of God and the ministries Christ has for us), for example, is much more useful to him than putting in a personal appearance – that way, Satan gets us to do his work for him.
Yours in Jesus Christ who has already won the victory over the evil one.
I'm in the process of reading The satanic Rebellion: Background to the Tribulation, and I am reading the intro to The Genesis Gap. It sounds to me that you are of the belief that Satan's miscalculation is that he did/does not believe that God will carry out punishment for the rebellion. Could you confirm for me whether this is your understanding?
I have been listening to Pastors and Preachers for my many years in Christ, and have always been confused about what I hear them teach on this topic. I have always heard God saying in the Bible that satan and the wicked have said in their heart God will not judge. I have a little bit of a problem accepting the common teaching that satan somehow thinks that he will be victorious in the end. In Ezekiel 28, God speaks of lucifer being in the very presence of God, whose glory and presence is enough to kill us on the spot. It seams a stretch for me to accept that any creature who not only has seen God, but was a Cherub that covers in the very presence of God continuously, would have an ounce of confidence in defeating Him.
I have felt, contrary to most of the teachings I hear from mainstream Pastors, that satan's delusion is not that he can defeat God, but that God is too merciful to execute judgement on him.
Have a very Merry Christmas Bob, and thank you for your ministry and personal guidance over the years.
Good to hear from you again. On your question, I entirely agree – this is what I have concluded as well. Indeed, the only way I can see that the devil was able to convince a third of angelic creatures to follow him into revolt was by both offering them something they lusted for and also by convincing them that it was safe to rebel against Almighty God. Specifically, I believe the devil convinced himself and others that God could not mar His creation beyond recognition by destroying those He had created. What the devil failed to take into account was that he and his could be replaced – by us – even though that replacement came at the greatest price imaginable, the spiritual death of Jesus Christ (necessitated by the creation and inevitable fall of mankind). This hypothesis is fleshed out in the first part of the Satanic Rebellion series, "Satan's Rebellion and Fall from Grace"; see specifically section IV.3.b, "Satan's Revolutionary Platform".
Thanks for all your good words, and here's wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas as well!
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Could you please clarify Romans 14:10-12:
But you, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you also belittle your brother? For we will all stand before God's tribunal as it is written: "As I live", says the Lord, "every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue will praise God" [Is.45:23]. So then each of us will give an account to God concerning himself.
By saying 'every knee will bow to Me' is it meant that this will happen at the day of judgment? Since this is not the case with many people here in this life and many will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, I just wanted to discern the time when this prophecy will become reality.
Yes, while it has application to God's humbling of mankind's pride whenever this takes place (notably also at the 2nd Advent), this passage refers specifically to the final judgments -- of reward for believers (as Paul employs it in Romans 14:10-12) and also to the last judgment of unbelievers (see the link).
Could you please clarify 1 Corinthians 13:12:
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
Is the meaning of the last part of this passage 'as I also have been fully known (by God)'?
Yes. How wonderful to contemplate that in resurrection we shall have such wonderful and vast knowledge of God Himself!
You wrote: Further, although during the Millennium, prayer will be answered immediately (Is.65:24).
This section in Isaiah starts: 'New Heavens and New Earth' (between verse 16 and 17) - hence I thought this could refer to the New Jerusalem rather than the Millennium?
It is true that, technically speaking, the eternal "new heavens and new earth" do not arrive until after human history has completely played out at the end of the Millennium. However, we have to do here with another case of prophetic foreshortening or conflation (link). From Isaiah's perspective, the return of the Messiah represents "the end" even though we know today through additional revelation that the end times or "the Day of the Lord" actually lasts a thousand years plus. Also, there are certainly aspects of the description of the blessedness of the earth later in the chapter which we are in position to know now must be millennial rather than eternal (e.g., children and death, even though rare). So here we have another case of a prophecy the penultimate eternal future being consistent with all that will happen later even though in some respects it also points to the absolute eternal future. Isaiah focuses first on the end of all things old and the beginning of all things new (that is, the end of the Day), then shifts focus to the Day itself and the blessings of the Messiah's rulership, a common enough phenomenon is OT prophecy (see the link: "The Day of the Lord Paradigm").
Philippians 2:9-11: For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Since not all believed and will believe in our Lord, why does the passage say 'EVERY KNEE WILL BOW'? Does it refer to the Second Coming or Last judgment?
I take this to mean that even unbelievers at the last judgment will be forced to accept and admit the reality of the Lordship of Jesus Christ – the very thing they refuse to do in this life.
Could you please 'walk me through' Luke 23:28-31:
Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, "Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!" Then "they will say to the mountains, 'Fall on us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!'" For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?
With regard to the 'barren women', etc., are they blessed as they will not have to worry about their children when the hard time comes?
Yes, things would be so bad during the Roman destruction of Jerusalem that it was actually better for those who had no children to worry about (and have to watch perish).
Do by 'the Roman destruction of Jerusalem' you refer to the historical event that took place or to the events preceding our Lord's second coming?
I am referring to 69 A.D. when the Romans destroyed the city.
In reading these two stories about Sodom in Genesis and Gibeah in the book of Judges (in the NIV) it seems that in some places they are word for word. The timing seems to be from Abraham till the time of the Levites. The story sounds so much the same, yet there are differences. Was this situation that common then? When society and the government officially approves this conduct, should we expect such things. Perhaps we will flee to Zoar (close to Zoar Ohio).
As always, I look forward to your comments
Your Friend in Jesus
There are parallels between the two passages, but a good many differences as well. The main point of comparison you seem interested in is the sinfulness of the inhabitants of Sodom paralleled by the sinful behavior of the men of Gibeah. We have no idea what the "law" was in Sodom, but that what the men who assaulted Lot's house did and were trying to do would not have been illegal under any system of justice seems unlikely. The men of Gibeah, in stark contrast, should have been judged by the Law. Perhaps that is the real point of comparison. As it says at Psalms 12:8, "the wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men" (NIV), meaning that where there is no enforcement of law (regardless of how good the law might be), there will be lawlessness of every sort (cf. Eccl.8:11). We may understand why in Sodom there was no restraint on such illegal activity, but the fact that there was no such restraint in Israel, and that even after the fact the people of Benjamin preferred protecting their fellow tribesmen over following the Word of God, merely adds force to the commentary the author of Judges affixes (for the second time) to this story under divine inspiration: "In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit" (Jdg.21:5; cf. 17:6). When true justice begins to diminish and then evaporate as was the case in these two instances, there will be hard times for believers, that is for certain.
Since truth is lacking, he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey.
When the righteous exult [in victory], it is most beautiful [to behold], but when the wicked rise [to power], men hide themselves.
Proverbs 28:12 (cf. Prov.28:28)
When there is no [respect for] divine communication (lit., "vision" [from God]), the people are unrestrained, but he who obeys the Law will be blessed.
(12) Now because of the increase of lawlessness [at that time], the love of the many will cool. (13) But he who endures until the end, this [is the one who] will be saved.
As our Lord in this last passage makes clear, the Tribulation will be the time of the greatest consequences of this sort of unbridled lawlessness. But as to fleeing, there will be no place to run (since antichrist will rule the world), until we receive the divine proclamation to "Flee Babylon!" (see the link).
Keep progressing in faith and in the Word, my friend. That is the only way to stay safe in the end.
In Jesus who is our Refuge in all that we endure and will ever have to face.
Thanks for the prompt reply, and sharing God's wisdom. On this subject (Gen. 13:13: "Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord"), in order to be sinning would they have to know God was not approving of something, or was it just the fact they were not being led by God?
Sin is sin, regardless of whether a person knows or thinks it's a sin. Ignorance does not remove responsibility. That is one reason why under the Law most of the sacrifices were for "sins of ignorance" or "unintentional sins". But as Paul says in Romans, even before the Law the consequences of sin reigned "even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam" (Rom.5:14 NIV; n.b., Rom.5:13 is universally mistranslated – it actually means that people don't take account of / take notice of sin when it is not specified and spelled out in the same way they do when it is specified in more detail as it is in the Law).
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil empowered the consciences of Adam and Eve and all mankind after them to "know" what was wrong and what was right (see the link); the conscience can be seared/hardened, and frequently is, especially by unbelievers (see the link). But even if a person so debilitates the God-given faculty of knowing that something is wrong, if and when they do that wrong thing, it is still a sin. And the more outrageous the offense, the more certain it is that the natural consequence recognized that at some point (i.e., before hardening) – which explains why most human codes of conduct from entirely different civilizations generally include the same sorts of basic provisions in terms of what is definitely "illegal".
For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them.
Romans 2:14-15 NKJV
Yours in Jesus Christ who died for the sins of all mankind, ignorant or arrogant, so that all might be saved.
Thank you! I found your reply informative and your links educating.
Now, I want to talk about Jesus famous prophecy on how it will be when he returns, which is also in Luke 17.
"And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." (Luke 17:26-30)
The first layer of meaning is that Jesus is warning his disciples not to be fooled that just because things are going fine up to today, that they will be so tomorrow. For just as all of these calamities arrived unexpectedly, with no prior history or forewarning to the dead, so will his coming arrive.
However, reading this passage in this way is like reading the letters to the seven churches as a checklist of qualities Jesus expects from his church. It's true, but it misses the point. As we all know, the seven churches are the seven eras of Christian history. And as we all know, there are two hidden prophecies in Jesus' warning.
The last warning is an allusion to the days of Lot, a clear warning that same-sex sex will be normal in this society, since God has made an example of out Sodom for going after strange flesh (Jude 7). (An aside: those who falsely claim that the phrase "strange flesh" refers to sex with angels deliberately forget that God /made an example/ out of Sodom. To put it simply, were someone to accuse another of being a sodomite, would the first thing that should come to his mind be that he had sex with angels? Therefore, we understand /exactly/ what was the example God made out of Sodom. Q.E.D.)
However, the days of Noe contain an even more important warning. In the days of Noe, there was much violence in the land, and there was no death penalty. Thus God established a covenant with Noah and all of his descendants (that is, all of humanity), and this covenant required that every time a man is murdered, he will require the blood of the murderer (Genesis 9:6). So what Jesus is saying is that for the second time in human history, the world will be without a death penalty when he returns. The /only/ society in the history of the world that was like this was the world before the flood!
So it will come to pass that all nations, including the USA (or whatever remains) will not only have normalized same-sex sex, but also no death penalty. Because of this, I also believe that Islam (in its present form) will be completely destroyed, and whatever will emerge will be a new form of secular paganism. The UN's push for both of these things should leave no doubt in our mind.
You're very welcome,
As to your new question about the interpretation of Luke 17:26-30, the point of comparison actually used by our Lord is the sudden destruction that came upon both the pre-flood generation and also upon the city of Sodom. This same sudden destruction will be rained down upon the armies of antichrist at Armageddon. That is the similarity. It is true that this sort of sudden destruction coming from the Lord of course will fall upon those who are exceptionally guilty and deserving of this kind of unique judgment, but there are great differences between the three groups, as we know from elsewhere in scripture, and nothing in our Lord's words either here or in the companion passage in Matthew 24 authorize us to override these distinctions. The armies of the beast will all have taken his mark and will be assembled at Jerusalem in order to destroy Israel and fight against the returning Messiah (that is their primary sin); the pre-flood generation had mixed its seed with demons and aside for Noah and his family, "perfect in his generations", was no longer genuinely human (that is their primary sin; see the link: "Fallen Angels, Demons, Nephilim, and the Devil's Methodology"); the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were grievously sinful (Gen.18:20) "against the Lord" (Gen.13:20): to be sure, we see an exceptional example of that in Genesis chapter 19, but I think it would be better not to imagine that their sinfulness was limited to this sort of behavior.
Perhaps the main reason I would wish to urge caution in equating these three judgments in this way is that it may tend to bias one's understanding of critical events moving forward. In my interpretation of these things, antichrist is likely to appeal to many groups, even to religious conservatives (he will, after all, claim to be Jesus Christ), and will attempt to deflect any identification of himself as the beast by opposing the prophesied king of the South (a "Mahdi" who will unite the Muslim world against the west in the early days of the Tribulation), styling that other ruler as the real "antichrist". Further, the "empowering of error" (2Thes.2:11ff.) which will befall the world in those days in the wake of the removal of the Holy Spirit's restraining ministry (see the links) will guarantee that people during the Tribulation will not only be just as sinful as ever but also much more keen and willing than ever to act on their impulses (whatever their particular predilection to any and all types of sin and evil may be). Unnecessarily narrowing the template could lead some to believe that one or the other of these two demonic tyrants is somehow "of God" – and little could be more dangerous during those days. Please see the link: in CT 3B: "The Origin, Character and Rise of Antichrist".
Finally, it strikes me that there is a point of comparison between the three situations which is important for believers to note of. In both Noah's and Lot's day, there was a time when obedience was necessary: Noah had to build the ark to be safe: absent the godly response "in holy fear", he and his family would also have been destroyed (Heb.11:7). Lot had to get out of Sodom to be safe: had he not been "righteous" in God's eyes, he and his family would not have been led out before the destruction occurred – but God "knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment" (2Pet.2:7-9). And so it will also be for those of us who find ourselves in the middle of the Tribulation a few short years from now. We, according to our Lord's words here at Luke 17, have to hold on through the tribulation to be safe, not trying to "preserve our lives" but be instead constant in the preservation of our faith.
However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?
Luke 18:8 NIV
. . . but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Matthew 24:13 NIV
Safeguarding our faith, and giving careful attention to the teachings of the Word is the only way to make sure that we don't "miss the call" (avoiding the mark of the beast and leaving Babylon when the command comes, to take but two prominent examples).
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Well, for all the things that Jesus lists that they will be doing, an epic war is not one of them. He said that they would be eating, drinking, marrying, giving into marriage, buying, selling, planting, and building.
"For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." (1 Thessalonians 5:3).
While it is true, judging from information given by 2 Peter and Jude, that angels did produce human-angel hybrids before the food, you are forgetting that there was great violence before the flood, and this did grieve God to the point of establishing an eternal covenant with humanity promising that for every man murdered, he will require the life of the murderers. Whether angels have sex with humans, quite frankly, is beyond human control. However, the movement of forsaking God's eternal covenant is the purest form of smash-mouthed rebellion, and also means that God is no longer obliged not to destroy humanity.
Do not forget that Sodom was made into an example because of its perverted lust (Jude 6), so it is valid to say that homosexuality was the main reason Sodom was destroyed. Furthermore, God promises in Leviticus 18 that homosexuality was one of the few crimes that God would hold /all/ nations, Jewish and gentile, responsible (Leviticus 18:26-28). So the global movement to encourage tolerance of this behavior is also a pure form of rebellion, since Satan is testing God to see if he'll really cause the whole world to vomit out its inhabitants.
Perhaps the most important chapter for understanding end time events is Genesis 11. God noticed that the whole world had one geography, one culture, and one language. And what did God say when he noticed this?
"And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and NOW NOTHING WILL BE RESTRAINED FROM THEM, WHICH THEY HAVE IMAGINED TO DO." (Genesis 11:6)
This is one of the most profound compliments God has given to humanity. Given enough communication, enough resources, and enough planning, anything that humanity sets their mind to will be done. Currently, with the rise of the internet, humanism, free trade (and the threat of nuclear warfare!), and a universal language (the language of computation), it is becoming clear that all the restrictions on humanity are being removed. Because of this, humanity is going to want not to submit to God, as religious conservatism implies, but instead will want to declare itself to be God. It seems like humans are extremely close to declaring complete and total independence from God.
Honestly, if a pagan prophet were to come and declare some kind of supernatural revelation, even if it's one which says that "all paths are right" and "there are no sins", he wouldn't be followed and revered. He would be hated and killed! Why? Because humanity does not want to submit to /any/ kind of higher power. Atheism, even though it implies no afterlife and no purpose, is actually humanity's ultimate wish, because it grants humans complete and total freedom over their minds, and over their bodies. Any kind of supernatural power would be a call for humanity to be its pet, and this is the /last/ thing humanity will want. Instead, humanity is boasting the same chant at Babel, "Is there anything that is too hard for us? We have become like God, and therefore demand our own autonomy."
This is also why St. Peter prophesied the following:
"Knowing this first, that there /shall come/ in the /last days/ scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." (2 Peter 3:3-7)
Notice that Peter says that in the future humanity will want to willingly forget that God created the world out of water and by water, and this is because they are walking after their own lust for complete independence! When they establish this, they can ease their minds of any fear of any future accountability ("Where is the promise of his coming?"), since the comfort of uniformity grants the promise of freedom.
Thus, I believe that the idea of an old-style pagan magician for an antichrist completely ignores what humanity actually wants. This is why I feel that a revival of religious conservatism or an appeal to them will be totally without any appeal.
Good to hear back from you. On Luke 17:37, of course I have given you the simplified picture – just as our Lord in this synopsis of events here presents a simplified picture. He says in verse 30 that these events will take place "on the day when the Son of Man is revealed" – so there is no question but this all takes place at the second advent, and as there is also no question but that the destruction of the beast's forces at Armageddon takes place at this same time, that is surely the destruction He is speaking of in the verses prior to verse 30 in the parallels of the great flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah – both supernatural and near instantaneous destructions of the evil individuals who have set themselves against the righteous. The focus of our Lord's remarks in verses 31-37, however, is not the destruction of antichrist's armies but the rescue of the righteous at the resurrection which accompanies His return (and that accounts for no description of the slaughter). Therefore this synopsis is consistent with everything else we know about the second advent and its concomitant events and causes no problems for those who have the details down even though not every event is described in the same detail (and some of course are not mentioned here at all; this is all detailed in part 6 of Coming Tribulation; see the link).
On the nephilim, I am glad to hear that we are in essential agreement. I believe that in terms of the actual cohabitation, however, that there was always choice involved – just as is the case in demon possession. So the fact of the mixing of the seed was a great evil in and of itself. I certainly would agree that the picture given is one of great evil and lawlessness generally. My issue was with over-focusing on two manifestations of this evil and lawlessness – important symptoms to be sure, but by no means the only ones. Here is what Paul says about the specific evil that will precede and overflow into the Tribulation:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
2nd Timothy 3:1-5 NIV
Quite a catalog, but surely not meant to be comprehensive (the two sins in question are not even mentioned). The key point and problem here is that the truth is being abandoned wholesale (leading to the great apostasy: 2Thes.2:3; see the link):
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.
1st Timothy 4:1-2
As to Sodom, I certainly wouldn't disagree (nor did I) about all the reasons for its destruction; my quibble is over the extrapolation of one cause (however central in that case) as a central cause going forward, applying it to the Tribulation and Armageddon as a transcendent cause. There is no mention of this sort of activity in any discussion of the great flood, and the passages above in addition to what scripture says elsewhere about the Tribulation, stress the religious aspect even when murder and (general) sexual abominations are mentioned (i.e., at Rev.9:20-21). I think it fair to say that these activities no doubt will play a role, but I am reluctant to give them a prominence scripture does not place on them in this regard – and have to insist on the "religious" nature even of such crimes and sins (antichrist's religious "cocktail" will attempt to offer something for everyone; see the links below).
As to Genesis 11, I certainly wouldn't disagree, and have in fact drawn this parallel many times myself before (please see the links: "Nimrod as a representative type of antichrist (in CT 3B)" and "Satan's postdiluvian attack on human freedom: the Tower of Babel"). Your extrapolation of atheism as the vehicle of choice is eloquently presented, but I fear it may overlook some important and, in fact, scriptural information on the subject:
All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast--all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.
Revelation 13:8 NIV
The beast is not named anti-Christ for nothing. His main vehicle for garnering political support in coming to power, in consolidating power, and in dominating the world will in fact be religion. Far from denying the existence of God, the beast will claim to be the Son of God – and will demand worship of himself and his father the devil as God. Religion, not atheism, has long been the most virulent form of satanic propaganda, and the devil will "double down" on this during the Tribulation. This is a critical point because many spiritually unprepared and lukewarm Christians are prophesied to fall away as a result in the Great Apostasy (see the link), and the most probable manner of that falling away is their accepting of the mark of the beast – which is part of the worship of antichrist, the one who will "will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God" (2Thes.2:4). In my understanding of these things from scripture, just as we may easily extrapolate a virulent and messianic Muslim leader and movement that are very conservative in terms of religion (and very hard on murderers and homosexuals) – and yet are as far from the one true God as can possibly be, so we can also posit a reactionary movement that proclaims this Mahdi "antichrist" lead by a messianic figure who styles himself "Christ" and using the comparison to support the claim (and may likewise be very religiously conservative in such matters – or liberal – or cleverly both at once). This will be a great trap for those who have not paid attention to the scriptures or attended to their own spiritual growth before the events of the end times begin to unfold. You can find more about all this at the following links:
Characteristics of the New Religion of Antichrist
The False Piety of Antichrist's Tribulational Religion
The Anti-Christian Religion of Antichrist and its World-wide Expansion
The Persuasiveness of the Tribulational False Religion
The False Prophet's Administration of Antichrist's False Religion
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Now that you mentioned how both will happen on our Lord's coming (and he's only going to come one more time), I can see how the events in Luke relate to war, and I can see how the ending of Luke 17 will happen on Armageddon.
My other question then, why is it that the Genesis narrative in 6-9 place emphasis on the violence of the earth, and not on the human-angel procreation?
The fact that the "sons of God" and the "daughters of Men" had sex is only mentioned once. However, the flood narrative mentions violence three times (in Genesis 6:11, Genesis 6:13, and Genesis 9:5-6). Personally, when I read through the actual narrative in Genesis, I got the impression that human-angel sex was /not/ the main meaning. It is mainly in Jude and 2 Peter that uses this interpretation.
Glad to be of help. On Genesis chapter six, the destruction of the human race except for Noah and his family is to a large degree a practical, divine solution to an otherwise intractable problem. The human race had been corrupted and only Noah and his family were still "perfect in generations". Violence was surely a symptom of these hybrid creatures, angelic cohabitation was the cause of their existence, and the flood was God's solution to preserving the human race. So it makes sense to me that the violence (which would have threatened Noah and any righteous offspring just as much as the potential of his seed being corrupted too somewhere down the line) would be emphasized in scripture. In verse 3, moreover, we have the first statement of coming judgment – and it follows immediately the description of the origin of the problem, namely, the unholy production of this godless offspring. That is also the reason for the difference in emphasis between Genesis six on the one hand and 2nd Peter 2:4-10a and Jude 5-7 on the other, namely, the two New Testament passages are talking about the offense from the fallen angels' point of view (and relating their punishment), but Genesis six is primarily concerned with Noah and his situation (and so describes the untenable situation on the pre-flood earth that came about as a result of this illicit behavior).
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,