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The Tribulation:
Timing of, Preparation for, and Conditions in

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Question #1:

Greetings Professor, thank you for your words of encouragement. I was reading one of Dr. Earnest Martin's lectures/sermons regarding the Tribulation. I must say I have learned a great deal from some of his teachings. I was a little vexed about one particular teaching entitled "How to Fully Escape The Tribulation." He mentioned that the best way to escape it, would be just to avoid the area.

Here's a paragraph from the lecture:

"There is a central fact about avoiding the Great Tribulation that all of you readers will admit is truth. If a person IS NOT in the area where the Great Tribulation will occur, then that person could fully escape that time of intense trial (and this means entirely and without a shadow of exposure to its consequences). Lets face it, if one is not in the area, then any person could NOT be a participant in that ominous trial mentioned by Christ in Matthew chapter 24. So, if you want to fully escape its consequences then do not be in the area OR do not be exposed to situations where the Great Tribulation will occur. In a word, do not be caught up in an environment that will cause your involvement. Obviously, if you are absent from the region (or regions) where it happens, then you will escape it and its consequences."

Do you think there is any truth in this? I am asking because I believe in seeking wise counsel. V/r

Response #1:

I agree with you completely. The sermon you mention is typical. In my opinion, very few have taken the time to really understand everything that the scriptures have to say about eschatology, and the result is usually (as it is here) some very large misconceptions. What I find particularly "vexing", to use your phrasing, is that individuals such as this have no problem sharing their "teaching" with others, when it ought to be very clear to them in the Spirit that, at the very least, they don't have these things adequately figured out.

The Tribulation as I hope would be obvious to even a casual reader of the book of Revelation in isolation will be a world-wide phenomenon (e.g., Rev.3:10; 12:9; 13:3). There is no place to escape it. The best I have been able to do here is to postulate that (biblical, tribulational) Babylon seems to be some sort of a safe haven (to some degree) until it is completely destroyed before the second advent (hence the need for believers to flexible enough to stay, then flexible enough to leave at the right time when the command to "flee Babylon" is given; see the link). But even in the beast's home country, there will be persecution of believers, and we certainly cannot expect that nation to be unaffected by all of the terrible satanic trends (or the ancillary effects of the divine judgments) prophesied to occur. A high degree of spiritual preparation will be necessary for all believers who may find themselves alive in those dark days, in order to navigate them with faith intact to the glory of our dear Lord Jesus Christ.

I think one of the reasons for the present, pathetic understanding of these matters is the persistent false belief within evangelical-dom (the only people who take eschatology seriously at all) that the Church will be "raptured" or resurrected before the Tribulation begins. That is not the case as you know (see the link).

Finally, the flight mentioned in Matthew 24 as it affects events of the Tribulation is restricted to Jewish believers in Israel at the time of the Great Tribulation's commencement, half way through the Tribulation proper. These are the converts of Moses' and Elijah's ministry (and of the 144,000), and they will be given an escape and a safe haven to "ride out" the remaining three and a half years. But they are at that point dwelling at the epicenter of the beast's coming program of persecution, and would be wiped out stock and stem but for this special divine protection (this is covered at the link: in CT 4 "The Dragon's Persecution of Believing Israel"). The rest of us will have to "enter [our] chambers" . . . "until the indignation is past" (Is.26:20), making up our minds ahead of time to suffer through by God's grace whatever may betide (even if martyrdom be our lot).

Yours in the hope and patience of the kingdom of Jesus Christ our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Brother Bob: Thank you for your reply!

Just as you had said something to the effect that you were not worthy to clean the sandals of the Apostle Paul, I do not feel worthy to take up your time with my questions, but am very grateful to you that you took the time to respond.

As a merchant mariner (my title is 2nd Engineer) it is the nature of my work that I do not know when I'll be leaving or where I'll be going - it could be tomorrow or it could be weeks down the road, and I might catch a ship at a nearby port, or I might be flown out to anywhere in the world. Every job is new and different. Ive been doing this my entire working life, first in the Navy for 10 years, and now as a merchant mariner for 20 years more. The last few weeks before I go back to sea is characterized by a sense of urgency and haste, and I have to admit to some anxiety, even after doing this for 30 years.

It is with this since of urgency that I ask my questions, because I know that tomorrow I may very well be on a ship, and unable to ask, you or anybody else, anything. It gives me pause to reflect that this may be the way it will happen in the tribulation one day we have easy & free access to information and Christian fellowship, and the next day we simply dont.

There is so much that I would like to be able to discuss with you! But time is of the essence, so I will try to be succinct:

With regards to Matt 2:23, your answer, "So I don't think it is a question of our Lord's contemporaries having different information; just one of understanding, expressing and phrasing that information in ways which take us 21st century believers a little study to understand sometimes." is sufficient for me. While I said I wasnt hung up on it, I have to admit that there was maybe a little tiny seed of doubt as to whether or not our (KJV) Bible is really complete or not - that maybe it might be missing something. (I have noted already some parts you claim are not canon, and I don't dispute nor accept that - requires some study on my part, which I have to wait for till later).

With regards to my question of the importance of Israels rebirth as a nation, I was both shocked and intrigued! by your answer: "As to contemporary Israel, my firm position on this is that there are no biblical prophecies for the Church Age (see the link) -- which refer to specific events, at any rate" This position is the antithesis of what Ive ever heard, read, or otherwise have been taught and will take a lot of time for me to study, ponder, and digest I have the "Coming Tribulation" series downloaded on my laptop, so I can read it while onboard the ship.

Ive read enough of your studies to know you do not believe in a pre-tribulation rapture of the church (this is going to be very distressing to a lot of folks!). Ive only had time to skim through the message but what I garnered seems compelling. Additionally I have the sense that you feel that the tribulation is almost upon us (forgive me for commenting without actually reading what youve already written but like I said, time is of the essence, and I will be reading it all as soon as I can when Im on the ship).

I fully believe that we are in the end times, but Im somewhat timid to make such a declaration to all my relatives, friends, and neighbors preferring instead to say, "if were not in the end times, I believe were in for some hard times" a notion that most all of the older folks that I talk to believe, but a message that seems completely lost on the younger folks (my son included).

Now to the crux of the matter: Anticipating that the Church will be going through the tribulation, (or if not the tribulation, then very likely some hard times looming ahead) what should we be doing now, individually and especially collectively (as the Church), to prepare ourselves?

[A very excellent secular study on hard times looming ahead by Chris Martenson is called "The Crash Course" at http://www.peakprosperity.com/crashcourse]

Spiritually, I would submit, we need to read, study, pray, witness, trust God, and have real (hard copy) Bibles, references, study guides, etc.

What about becoming more physically prepared? My wife and I believe in prepping, but one persons prepping is another persons hoarding, which one pastor did warn us against. We think its a good idea to know how to grow some of your own food, save seeds, put food by, stock up on quantities that can tide your family over during lean times, try to reduce waste, reuse, repurpose, etc.; try to make ones home more energy efficient (and maybe even energy independent) etc. etc. etc.

I DO NOT subscribe to the idea that we need to stock up on guns and ammo to prevent the marauding bands of heathens from taking our stuff when the times get rough (I know quite a number of otherwise seemingly "good Christians" who believe we need to do just that) I just dont think thats what Jesus would do. Instead, I would hope to be "a safe harbor in the storm" to be able to help any that need our help. The "marauding bands of heathens arent going to be gangs of thugs, but are going to be our friends, neighbors, relatives, acquaintances, fellow church members, and towns people, who failed to prepare ahead of time, and are now cold, wet, dirty, and hungry, and in need of our help.

Your thoughts on what, if anything, we should be doing to prepare for the tribulation/hard times ahead?

Thanks again for all your hard work!

"Fair Winds, and Following Seas" a mariners blessing

Through Christ,

Response #2:

You are most welcome and thank you for all of your (overly kind) words. As long as you are downloading, I recommend that the Satanic Rebellion series, which was written as a prolegomenon to the Coming Tribulation series, be read first (if time permits), because it explains the reasons behind the eschatology scripture contains (see the link). The Coming Tribulation series does have sections on what you ask about in part 7: "A Tribulational Code of Conduct" and "Preparing for Tribulation". See also "A Brief Christian "Code of Conduct" for the Great Persecution" (in part 4) and "Code of conduct for the Tribulation" (email response). Finally, I also would recommend the email posting "Preparing for Tribulation" (different from the previous link of the same name).

As you can see from the links, I get quite a lot of questions on this subject. What I usually like to point out is that the Tribulation will be different from any other period of human history in several critical respects which are apropos of this issue: 1) there will be no safe haven; 2) all government will be in the hand of antichrist (by its mid-point); 3) the fundamental witness of believers during this period will be that of martyrdom. It is also important to point out that antichrist will pretend to be Jesus Christ. He will also put it out that the Mahdi is the real "antichrist". So it is entirely possible that believers who are intent upon resistance will, out of ignorance but also out of mis-application, be ensnared in his movement. This will all call for careful judgments to made at the time which are impossible to make in detail at present, judgments which only spiritually mature believers are likely to make correctly, prudently weighing what is called for at each particular time. We do have consider that it may be possible that even groups which recognize the beast as antichrist and wish to take up arms against him will, in addition to being highly unsuccessful, be operating outside of the will of God. I can't know that now, but I do know now that if I am going to die anyway, I would rather it be in God's will than outside of it, and I would rather it be as a martyr with a good witness and reward than as a rebel not authorized by God to rebel who loses his witness and reward (Eccl.3:1-8).

There is much we cannot know until the "balloon goes up", but, yes, it is getting close. One of the things you will find in the Satanic Rebellion series is the interpretation of the seven days of human history, and the extrapolation that there are only two millennia between the cross and the return of Christ (which places the commencement of the Tribulation only a little over a dozen years away at time of writing). So while I would say that we are not technically in the end times at present (except to the extent that the Church Age is by definition part of the end as being its threshold), we are certainly of the cusp of them.

The bottom line for all this is that I believe your spiritual common sense position to be exactly correct: spiritual preparation is what is needed more than anything else, and that more than anything is what will prove to be invaluable once the Tribulation does begin (how else are we going to be able to make all of those tough judgment calls correctly or have the spiritual fortitude to bear up under the extraordinary pressures?). So while I too believe in preparation of every godly sort, since we do not know what material steps might be useful for us to take now which might be of some use then and I have to believe that if there were specific steps we ought to take that the Lord would have included something about this in scripture then it certainly behooves us as Christians who are responding to the whole counsel of God to do with even more zeal as we see the end approaching what we ought to be doing anyway: growing spiritually, walking with Christ, and helping others do the same (Heb.10:25; 2Pet.3:11-12). Five minutes of Bible study now wherein we actually learn something valuable for our growth, application and guidance down the road is likely to prove of more value than a cellar full of canned goods then. After all, if we are rounded up before we can pop the lid on the first can of Spam, what good will those material items be? But any truth we have stored away in our hearts and made our own by faith will help us to endure whatever the Lord has called us to endure however things work out in those difficult times to come.

As I often have recourse to say, while we don't know of a certainty whether or not it will be our lot to endure the Tribulation, every Christian who is advancing will have his/her share of personal tribulation. The method for surviving, enduring and honoring God is the same for both: living courageously according to the truth we have believed in absolute faith in His deliverance however that will be defined by Him and giving a good witness to the world in so doing. In this approach there is great reward (see the link). I cannot believe that God will punish us or find fault with us for not storing up enough ammunition et al. But He is clearly not pleased with those who fail to fulfill the basic mandate of the Christian life of growing spiritually and drawing closer to Jesus Christ through the truth of the Word of God and of helping others do likewise through whatever gifts and ministries He has assigned us. And if physical preparations distract us from the truly necessary spiritual preparations we are called upon to make, then it seems to me we have made a bad bargain indeed.

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
Luke 10:41-42 NIV

Best wishes for a safe voyage in Jesus Christ our Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Tribulation preparation, what does that look like to you, when you and I have had the best of every thing?

In light of current events in the world and my own financial future the only way to plan for the future is to be able to live by faith. This mind set does not exist in the church that I have known . I since just after WW II and am facing a different life as a believer in the time that I have left. I have faced death, that was easy; living is what's hard. I know that I am headed to a higher level of faith because of how I am seeing my future. The result of being a doubled minded man is not my option. I have been self employed in family business all my life and control was my thing; surrendering every thing and living by faith is not easy. I try to picture my self surviving with nothing, not being able to buy or sell; that helps bring living by faith and living moving and having my being in him into perspective. God is good!

Response #3:

Good to make your acquaintance. Thank you for your email and also for your commitment to prepare for what is soon to come.

I agree with much of what you say here and take encouragement from your determination to live for the Lord, and I think that with the positive attitude of putting the Lord first contained in the text of your message, you will do well indeed in your personal preparation for all that is to come.

As to your subject line: "Tribulation preparation, what does that look like to you, when you and I have had the best of every thing?"; I receive many emails from all over the world, and I can tell from these (and also from other reports and from personal observation and experience) that many Christians today do not have it easy at all. Testing is a part of every believer's life (see the links: "Personal Tribulation" and "Sharing the sufferings of Christ"). But testing is something God gives us rather than something we choose for ourselves. What Christian would seek out pain, privation or persecution? Clearly, even doing so would be wrong (i.e., as a sort of self-willed asceticism). Our part in spiritual growth is to make it our goal to seek our Lord Jesus and to love Him with all our hearts and minds and might, to learn the truth of His Word, to believe it, to live it, and to help others do the same. If we are growing and progressing and serving Christ in this way as we should, there is no question but that the evil one will oppose those good actions; and it is also the case that our Lord prunes those who do respond in order that they may bear even more fruit (e.g., Jn.15:1-2). This road to Zion is not an easy one, but we have nothing to fear if we are holding tight our Savior's hand.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
2nd Corinthians 4:8-10 NIV

So while I rejoice that you may have been enjoying "the best of everything", let me assure you that the Lord is preparing His people for what is to come through all manner of testing and personal tribulation. I have, am and expect to continue seeing and hearing about these things (not to mention experiencing them).

The prosperity test is often the one believers have the most trouble handling, so the fact that even in good circumstances you have adopted this godly perspective is a very good sign. Most Christians today and most churches are lukewarm on all such matters this is the era of Laodicea, after all (see the link):

I know your works, that they are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! As it is, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am about to vomit you out of My mouth. [I will vomit you out], because you say "I am rich and have become wealthy and know no lack". And you do not realize that it is you who are the one who is wretched and pitiful and poor and blind and naked.
Revelation 3:15-17

So it is not surprising that for most lukewarm Christians, especially in the west, life can be very easy, and so it is no shock how the un-biblical notion that "we are here to enjoy life" has become dogma for many. Such people are in for a rude awakening especially as in evangelical-dom in general most think they will be "raptured" out of trouble before it even begins.

As the whole tone and tenor of your message rightly proclaims, we should all be preparing spiritually as best as we can and as thoroughly as we can and as fast as we can. And the fundamental preparation? Spiritual growth. If we commit to that course, we can be assured that God will provide all the testing and trials we need to strengthen so as to temper our faith and give it the resiliency necessary to endure whatever may come, even if martyrdom be part of that picture (please see the link: "Preparing for Tribulation" in CT 7).

Yours in the One who died that we might live eternally with Him, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd of the sheep,

Bob Luginbill

Question #4:

Robert,

Hope you are doing well. I wanted to ask you about end time prophesy . Today is a scary time in our world. How is the best way in your opinion to go about business. I read a lot and it is scary but confusing and I have enough problems worrying about all the current events and how they tie into prophesy. My wife has cancer and had a double mastectomy and we are dealing with that. Keep us in your prayers and thanks again for all your great words. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks,

Response #4:

I'm sorry to hear that things have been so rough for your wife and you. I have been praying for you both and will certainly continue. I have just added you and her to my prayer request list at Ichthys.

As to your question, the simple answer is that we ought to do as we always should have been doing. However, in practical terms, I find nothing wrong with using the lateness of the hour and the impending cataclysm to motivate ourselves to buckle down and do more in terms of improving and accelerating our spiritual growth, spiritual progress, and exploitation of the ministry opportunities our Lord gives us day by day. The better prepared we are, the better we will be able to cope with all that is to come (please see the link in CT 7, "Preparing for Tribulation").

That is the lens through which I try to view all contemporary events. There is no unfulfilled prophecy destined to take place before the Tribulation commences, so all we may glean from the kaleidoscopic swirl of history as things devolve in that direction is just that assurance that the time is short. The Bible gives us enough information to be able to tell with certainty how we are to navigate the difficult times ahead, but not all of the details as to how these things will come about and move from the end of the Church age to the beginning of the Tribulation in terms of all things geopolitical. In my view, it has to be enough for us to see that contemporary events are confirming what we already know, and to stay focused as a result on our true top priorities of growth, progress and production, taking care not to be overly alarmed as things deteriorate in the world. We have put our entire faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and have pledged Him our lives. We live for Him, and we are ready to die for Him if need be. When the Tribulation begins, that will be the fate that awaits a good portion of the Church. But instead of fearing martyrdom we need to adopt now the divine attitude about it: all who truly die for Jesus Christ will be members of an elite group forever, and guaranteed the crowns of righteousness and life (see the link in CT 7: "Do not fear martyrdom or persecution").

The troubles we are experiencing now are difficult and hard to bear, but they are preparations for what is yet to come. In Jesus Christ it is possible to find joy and encouragement in that truth, not easy, but possible. This is the stuff of spiritual maturity without which there is no significant eternal reward.

You are both in my prayers for deliverance in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #5:

Good Morning Dr.,

I am under the assumption Israel was gave the whole region mentioned in the Bible, more than they occupy now?

Response #5:

That is certainly true, my friend. However, scripture is very clear that it is the Messiah who will be the one to restore Israel to her promised borders. Everything that happens before Jesus returns is merely prelude to prophecy. You can find out more about this at the link:

The Regathering and Purging of Israel

Have a wonderful Christmas! Here's also wishing you and your family a terrific 2013!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Thanks so much for responding Robert! I am just amazed at your articles and the length and depth of them. I will definitely share your site with a few people I know who crave some healthy and wise teachings. I am currently reading the articles about Satan's rebellion and fall, since you wrote that we should read this prior to reading the tribulation articles.

I have a number of friends who think it is such extreme heresy if someone believes people are "born in sin" (original sin), so unfortunately I know they would reject your site immediately over such a minor thing as that. I think many of them have been influenced by the website called "standing the gap" concerning the issue of original sin with the teacher Mike Desario. Mike has some good teachings of truth, but he also has a tendency to come across in a negative and harsh way which is so very common for many bible teachers. And then there is the other extreme where the teacher comes across as quite kind and friendly yet they lack immensely in the area of truth such as Charles Stanley, Chuck Swindoll, Joel Osteen etc. It's nearly impossible to find the perfect balance of a teacher having a gentle and kind nature, yet teaches the fullness of truth. In fact, I think your website is the first I've found that does that. Milton Green (who lived in the 80's), had this rare balance too, but he seemed to have a fairly big focus on 'deliverance' which made me feel uneasy.

The area of eschatology is such a nightmare of confusion overall. Since I have such great respect for how you share the gospel and your views about Spirit baptism etc., I am now interested to read about your eschatology views. I thought I finally had it figured out when I learned about partial preterism, but now that I see you hold to futurist views, I will have to reconsider my views again.

I am working on a gospel video since I'm trying to share the gospel in a more hopeful and positive way, since I think some of my past videos tend to be a bit pressuring. Your site is giving me a few helpful insights for this which I'm thankful for.

Eventually I want to see if your site has teachings about a Christian's ability to defend themselves and their families, and concerning the issue of war etc. This has been one of the most difficult issues for me to understand. Most of my friends believe fully in "turning the other cheek", but I don't think that is the final answer always. I was amazed to see that you had served in the military because as I read through your website some, I pictured you as someone who spent decades in college lol. I was in the Army back in the late 80's for a couple years.

I feel so blessed that you wrote back to me and thank you! I had sought for a 'pastor' in the past, but could never find one that made full sense to me in many areas. I think you may be someone whom I could truly see as a true pastor for me. I'm very thankful for that since I've normally had to learn everything concerning the Lord's truths basically all on my own.

May God continue to bless you so richly and I pray He continues to use you mightily,

Response #6:

Good to hear back from you and thanks again for your encouraging and inspiring words. They are greatly appreciated.

On self-defense, to put it in a nutshell, the Bible prohibits the taking away by individuals of the free will of other individuals through murder et al. The Bible does not prohibit the defense of the free will of others against this sort of crime, whether the defense comes from individuals or the state or whether the threat comes from individuals or a foreign state. A good case can be made that failure to defend oneself or one's family or one's country against evil attack is both immoral and un-Christian. We Christians are indeed to "turn the other cheek", but this means putting up with all sorts reproaches, inconveniences and ill-treatment from other individuals and from the state. It does not include being inert in the face of attempts by others to do us or our families (or our countries) serious or mortal harm. It is somewhat amazing to me that so many Christians can't seem to make out that obvious (and critically important) distinction. We are here in this life to choose. Murder and other serious crimes as well as tyranny and oppression from without remove that choice in part or in full. This is why scripture is so emphatic about the need to respect genuine temporal authority:

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
1st Timothy 2:1-2 NKJV

It is impossible to live "a quiet and peaceable life" if one if one has been dispatched by the wicked, foreign or domestic. Here are some links where the topic is discussed:

Christian Love: The Golden Rule, Christian Military Service and Self-Defense

Turning the Other Cheek: Christian Freedom and Responsibility

Christian Military Service

Christian Military Service II

What does the Bible say about War, History, and Politics?

On the whole topic of eschatology, it is true that it can be confusing but it is also vitally important because of the lateness of the hour. Those are two reason why I have devoted so much time and effort to the subject. In my view, things are really quite a bit simpler than most people make them out to be. It seems to me that much mis-interpretation has come about as a result of wishing to avoid accepting the obvious and taking scripture at its face value on this subject. In any case, while the Coming Tribulation series is self-contained (see the link), the Satanic Rebellion series is the preferred prolegomena for it. These are both large undertakings, however, so you might want to have a look at some of the email responses which also cover some of these issue. Here is a sample of links which serve as a preface:

Interpreting Revelation

The structure of the book of Revelation.

The Book of Revelation:  Some Questions.

What is meant by the "10 days" of Revelation 2:10?

Eschatology Issues III: Over-focusing on Revelation

The Resurrection (Peter #20)

Eschatology and the Old Testament

The 7 Trumpets and the 7 Kings

Things to Come I: The Half Hour, the 144,00 et al.

Keeping running the good race in Jesus Christ!

Bob L.

Question #7:

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

Thanks for your response.

You raised another question about legitimate defense. Would not that legitimate use also exist during the tribulation? While martyrdom or cleansing or whatever it will be called is an "official" government action and futile to resist, looting and rape will still exist. Why would that be any different then than it is now?

Thanks.

In Jesus Christ,

Response #7:

That is an excellent point. I am certain that it will take a very strong level of spiritual maturity for believers to navigate these difficult seas ahead and discern what it is appropriate to do in any given instance. One of the main differences in the Tribulation will be that most of our troubles of this sort will come from "authority", and the primary thing I have meant to stress is the inadvisibility of believers making plans to resist authority. "Free-lance" crime will be the same then as now. It is an open question as to whether and to what degree we who keep faith with the Lord will receive the same sort of divine protection in these matters as the 144,000 will receive (see the link). So, yes, we should no sooner give over our right to defend ourselves against crime than we should bind ourselves to "tell the truth" to the forces of antichrist if they ask the whereabouts of other Christians. Spiritual common sense will still apply.

Thanks for the important observation!

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

I would have to say that it's difficult enough to navigate today's seas let alone tomorrow's. I shudder to think of that it will be like in the future. It appears the persecution has already begun.

The biggest dilemma for me is that, even knowing that there are specific signs for the tribulation, there are many characteristics of the tribulation that I see beginning now. I think the four horsemen, for example, are already riding. Maybe only dress rehearsal, but if so, it doesn't auger well when the real show starts which is the only thing that really frightens me; having to endure that test. If I survive that long, I will be too old to put up much of a fight. It's not a defeatist attitude just a sober look at reality. I trust the Lord will use me as he sees fit.

I agree that "preparing" to survive the tribulation is much like preparing to defeat the 3rd Marine Division single handedly. Preparation is best confined to putting up summer's produce for the winter.

Thanks for your insight. As always, it starts me on a rather long re-evaluation of old beliefs.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #8:

You're very welcome.

And thank you for your fresh insightful perspective too!

In Jesus who is our only safe fortress,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Thanks Robert D! I really got the wrong understanding for Rev 20:5 because I didn't consider the words in brackets un-scriptural; thank you again . As for Amos8:11-14, there is a famine and thirst for the word of God with which he will cause the people to run here and there in search of it and others fainting to no avail. Does this happen during the great tribulation, and if so, where is the word of God or those who can preach it? Or is it past any way? Somebody brought this up for the pre-trib support; how do you understand it?

Response #9:

You're very welcome.

As to Amos 8:11ff., yes indeed this is applicable to the Tribulation. I treat this in CT 3A at the link: "The dearth of Bible teaching".

I don't see this as a proof of any "pre-Trib rapture"; the Great Apostasy and, soon thereafter, the Great Persecution are both sufficient to explain why genuine Bible teaching will be rare in the Tribulation: on the one hand, in absolute terms few will want it (even less than today, if that is imaginable although I imagine in the two thirds of the Church who do not apostatize will be more zealous for the Word than ever before); on the other hand, those who persevere in teaching or even in learning are likely to be among the first to be locked up and/or martyred by the beast (and that accounts for another "third" of the Church).

Yet another reason to be diligent to while the sun is still shining, for the days of darkness lie directly ahead.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Robert, Could the blueprint of Jesus' revelation to John also at the isle of Patmos also relate to the same?

Response #10:

Both visions have to do with the future, but on the mount the vision concerned the second advent; on Patmos John received the entire book of Revelation, which contains, among other things, 1) the message to the seven churches (the trends of the Church Age), 2) the entire history of the Tribulation preceding the second advent, the second advent (with many details not in the account of the Transfiguration); 4) all of future eschatology thereafter. So they are both prophetic visions, but the latter is much heavier on details. Also, and very importantly, John was commanded to "write these things down", because Revelation is the template for our understanding of all that is yet to come, being the mold into which all other prophetic information about eschatology needs to be poured to get the full picture. That is what the Coming Tribulation series does, by the way (see the link), namely, it uses Revelation as the organizational framework to write the history of the coming ages according to the Word of God.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hello Sir,

I hope your visit to your mom was great. I pray for your mom's good health. I am presently reading "Coming Tribulation Part 7", you wrote something I am not able to understand:

"3) The counter-intuitive nature of prior tribulational preparation: The Tribulation will be a unique period of history in many ways. The fact of world-wide satanic control with no safe-haven will mean that for any idea of a "resistance movement" in particular there will be no comparable prior experience to use as a model. In the past, individuals who were opposed to national religious policies were able to flee to sympathetic countries or to uninhabited quadrants of the globe or at least to make common cause with a large plurality of their fellow countrymen (with usually some region of a polity experiencing religious revolution holding to the previous views and being willing to defend them)."

I don't understand the last part:

"or at least to make common cause with a large plurality of their fellow countrymen (with usually some region of a polity experiencing religious revolution holding to the previous views and being willing to defend them"

Please help.

In Him,

Response #11:

Hello my friend,

Thanks for your email and for your concern for my mom. I had a good trip and she is doing very well for someone of her age (93). I hope you and yours are doing well too. I keep you in my prayers daily.

As to your question, what I mean to do with this (perhaps too) complicated sentence is to complete the contrast between prior history and the Tribulation from the standpoint of the individual Christian. If a person is experiencing persecution for the sake of Jesus Christ today, it may be possible to 1) move to another country (as did many of the Huguenots who abandoned France in the 17th cent., for example), or 2) find some sympathetic group within one's own country, perhaps in another region; or at least find someone else or some group of people who are sympathetic and can lend support, at least emotional support. To take your country as an example, there are some people from India in this country who came here after converting to Christianity (for example, I knew a very nice family of the same when in seminary out in California). And I am sure that there are some places in your country where Christianity is better established and where it might be safer to be a believer in times of persecution (my mother's physical therapist is a Hindu and says where he grew up there was very little in the way of Christian missions in his area). Or at least one might hope to find the emotional and prayer support of other Christians (and perhaps material support as well) from other parts of the country. And, after all, we have been encouraging one another, you and I, in spite of a massive geographic distance.

In the Tribulation, however, these options will most likely not be available any longer. Family members will be betraying each other to the forces of antichrist, established "Christianity" will be entirely in his camp, and there will be no place in the world where these things will not be the case. I am not saying that there will be absolutely no Christian to Christian contact (I am certainly hoping that there will be); but I am saying that in my reading of these matters, the things we take for granted today, even if our access to the truth and those who embrace it sometimes seems far less than what we would wish, will most likely be rare and difficult to receive at all in a world under the beast's sway. To be ready for that dark time, we shall all have to do a great deal of personal spiritual preparation in order to have the resources necessary to survive spiritually and to help others do the same and that in turn must explain at least in part the personal tribulations we are currently experiencing (training for the time ahead).

I hope this explains it. The prose could be better, no doubt!

Your friend forever in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

In Daniel 12:1 I read:

"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book."

Is it reasonable to understand that deliverance to be via physical death? For those that die in the tribulation (or even now, for that mater) would the "twinkling of an eye" to which Paul refers not occur at the moment of death?

Would it be unreasonable to understand that those whose names are written in the book will die prior to the onset of the tribulation proper and the ones to which Revelation 7:14 refers be those whose names were written in the book and killed after the start of the tribulation?

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #12:

I cover this passage in part 4 of the Coming Tribulation series in section IV. The Dragon's Persecution of Believing Israel (see the link).

In a nutshell, I take this passage to be referring to Israel and the Lord's miraculous protection of those who have believed (under the auspices of Moses, Elijah and the 144,000) in their flight from antichrist at the Tribulation's mid-point.

The Lord brings about all manner of deliverances, but it is rare (perhaps unprecedented I can't think of an example off hand) where death is described as a deliverance. I will allow that it may be and it is true that we often talk about the departure of those who have suffered heroically in this way, but in my remembrance it is not a biblical formulation.

Also, the language here is pretty difficult to ignore. Michael is the agent of the deliverance he is certainly not putting the people to death. The individuals in question are "the sons of your people", i.e. Daniel's people, which seems as if it must refer to believing Jews. Thirdly, the time is specified as the Tribulation (not before it). And finally the people who will "escape" (this cannot refer to death, in my view), are said to be the ones "written in the book of life" (the two phrases are in apposition and must refer to the same group). It should also be noted that there is no more prophecy of any specific future events in the Bible before the Tribulation actually begins, so that whatever may happen before that time, it is not to be found in scripture (the prophecies of the seven churches in Revelation 1-2 are prophetic trends with no specific historical event per se [such as this one] included therein).

In anticipation of the return of Lord on the other side of that great divide,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Well, that sent me back for a rethink. I had always understood the woman to be the church which included those grafted onto the vine.

That does raise another question which I also thought I had settled in my own mind. Since we will face the tribulation (and the insanity leading up to it) can I understand that, per Jesus' example, deadly force is justified in the case of assault or imminent bodily injury of oneself or neighbors? After all, he sent the apostles out armed for a reason, I believe. I am taking my understanding mostly from Matthew 24:43 and understand the warning about those who live by the sword to apply specifically to the situation of Christ's capture and generally to those who choose to live as mercenaries or assassins.

Have I misunderstood?

In Jesus Christ,

Response #13:

That's a controversy-charged question among Christians these days. You are certainly correct in the implication of your question that timing is everything. There is a time for war and a time for peace, etc., a time for all (opposite) things (Eccl.3:1-8). My confirmed view of this problem is that things will change in this respect as soon as the Tribulation begins and the Holy Spirit's restraining ministry ends (see the link). Now, we are certainly within our rights to protect our persons and property with legitimate self-defense. During the Tribulation, however, there will be no legitimate government and no place to which believers may withdraw (until almost the very end; see the link: Flee Babylon). One of the main themes of the Tribulation, especially its second half, the Great Tribulation, will be that of the martyrdom of believers. Fully one third of the true Church will lose their lives for Jesus Christ. Clearly, if we are taking up arms against antichrist in some sort of guerrilla war, that would complicate this issue (at the very least) a martyr who refuses to worship a false god (as in Daniel's three friends) is different enough from a warrior who dies in battle (sacrificial as that most definitely is), because the one does not oppose the evil government while the other is resisting a foreign power. But in the Tribulation there will be only one power after antichrist's consolidation of power (after which the Great Persecution begins), and that power will be brought to an end only by the Lord's hand at Armageddon (all of which things raise the question of the legitimacy of violently opposing the beast before that time). So there are some significant differences in how a Christian should behave before and after the start of the Tribulation (Eccl.3:8b). You will find the details on this at the following links:

Surviving the Tribulation?

A brief code of conduct for the Great Persecution

A Tribulational Code of Conduct

Have a look, and do feel free to write me back about this.

In Jesus Christ who died for us and for whom we live . . . and are happy to die, should that be His will for us.

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hi Bob,

Even though you've said not to get involved with politics and although I take these words wisely, I still find myself bombarded with much of the world's events and can't help pondering the inevitability of the parallels with what God has told us in His Word to that of the world around me. I sit, not in despair, but in a place where we have been given the prophetic view of what our world will become. What should be despair is more a frustration, but I know I shouldn't be and so I pray that God's will be done. It came to me because of what you have taught me in your studies, that we have been given the image of God; that image is almost more than one could bear when faced with knowing the future, a future that looks so grim and at the same time knowing it must happen because that is what God has decreed. It is almost as if He were giving us a glimpse of what He must endure as He watches all of us in this world knowing plainly ahead of time what that will be. I know He is in control and I know His ways are true. Do you believe that Him allowing us to know the future is part of this image we have been given, which is also part of Him and is it on the same level as when He allowed us the knowledge of both good and evil? Meaning, we're both part of the ultimate, yet minuscule, part of Him that He allowed us to become, which is like Him? And if so, since we know all of past history was His intention to begin with, are we to use this knowledge, both past and prophetic future, not only to draw closer to Him and the blood of Christ, but also to be privy to, again, a most minuscule part of Him; to know Him and what He must go through? Because watching the world play out exactly as our Lord has stated is powerful to one's faith, but also, to a degree, sort of frightening in a strange way. I suppose sort of an imminent need to, as it already should be, to evangelize, but also a need that you'd think would prove the Bible true outside of its main purpose of life through the blood of Christ. I find those who would warn of a global elite trying to form a New World Order sift through the same frustrations that Christians do when trying to witness to the saving grace of our Father through Jesus Christ. It's mirrors and is being orchestrated almost play by play and yet the majority are still blind to the ultimate ending. It's almost comical to read the many derogatory statements against Christianity, or should I say the lies about it, when they are trying so hard to 'witness' to exactly what the Bible states. If only they knew that this is what the Christian has been trying to do for centuries. Anyhow, I would love your thoughts on this and I thank you.

In Christ,

Response #14:

Always good to hear from you. One thing spiritual growth should do is help us begin to start taking things less personally and instead to see them from God's perspective more and more exactly as you are doing (good for you!).

The distinction I would wish to make here is between the image of God per se, that is, the ability to make important choices in regard to accepting and applying the truth on the one hand, and the truth itself on the other. Every human being has the image of God; few use it to accept His Gift. Every Christian has the image of God . . . and the Spirit of God; few make use of these wonderful empowerments to learn and accept all the truth God has made available in His Word.

As to knowledge about the end times, John is told (as Ezekiel was told) that these truths would be "sweet to eat" (Rev.10:9-10; cf. Ezek.3:1-3), but they soured John's stomach. Meaning, in my view, that the experiences of the Tribulation will be difficult, but there is no reason why we cannot enjoy the process of learning about them and contemplating them ahead of time. After all, the Tribulation is primarily a time of God's judgment upon those who oppress His Church, and of the vindication of the truthfulness of their witness followed immediately by the return of our Lord and our resurrection. We can glory in these things now even though we do not have to suffer the concomitant troubles just yet. Everyone who is truly on "God's team" will be blessed, vindicated, delivered, glorified and rewarded; only those who throw the Gift of life in Jesus Christ back in the Father's face will be cursed, reproved, crushed and destroyed. The Father has compassion for all as evidenced by the fact that He sent Jesus to die for all; but He also loves us who received His Son and will deliver us, even as He will pay back in full the arrogance of those who reject Him and persecute us (2Thes.1:3-10). For He is love and He is also righteousness. The more we adopt His perspective, the more we can be loving and desirous of the salvation of all but at the same time take satisfaction in our complete vindication through the process of the coming Tribulation. The latter will be an ever increasingly important part of our future perspective as humanity's collective heart grows ever colder and harder under the pressures of that difficult time to come.

"Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."
Luke 21:28 NKJV

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?"
Revelation 6:9-10 NIV

Don't despair. Don't get frustrated. The evil one is ever attempting to get Christians into just that dual mindset (through all sorts of machinations). We have to learn to trust the Lord even when the going gets really tough, remembering that He has it all in hand in His all-encompassing plan, even if we are presently uncomfortable, under pressure, being persecuted, or see no way out of some impossible situation. But nothing is impossible with God.

In Jesus who is our hope, today, tomorrow, and forevermore.

Bob L.

Question #15:

I was reading about the Tribulation today on your site and it is very overwhelming. My wife and I have young kids and to think we may have to go through a persecution period so extreme, is very daunting. I pray that the Lord gives me the strength to get them through it. V/r

Response #15:

I think it's a very reasonable reaction for believers who begin to realize that "this stuff is real". However, we also need to realize that the Lord will never put on us anything we cannot bear (even if it may seem otherwise: Ps.23:4; 1Cor.10:13; Heb.13:5). Whatever may come, He has it all planned out to the last detail. He is perfectly capable of keeping us safe in the eye of the storm, if that is what is ordained for us. But whatever is ordained for us, we know that it is "working together for good" if only we continue to love Him with all our hearts and follow Him closely (Rom.8:28). Even if He leads us into the valley of the shadow, we know that we are in the right place if we are with Him. He is our Shepherd; it is impossible for us to lack anything. Our part is simply to trust regardless of what we see, hear or feel. Not the stuff of immature faith, it's true, so that there is all the more reason to take every opportunity to prepare spiritually before that dark day arrives, remembering always that at its end, our dear Lord will return and we will be ever after face to face with Him.

In the One who endured so much more than we will ever have to even to get to the cross where He bore the sins of the world to save us from death our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hello Bob,

I pray you and yours are well. Im enjoying the brilliant fall colors God has made for us again this fall. Truly amazing!

I have a question about the Tribulation, again. We discussed this a little in a previous email, but I would like some clarification, if you dont mind. If it is my lot to go through the tribulation, Im worried about apostatizing. Im doing my own bible study on the book of Matthew ... trying to see it from a fresh perspective with the help of the Holy Spirit and not just what Ive been taught over the years. Matthew 24:24, Ive been taught, meant that there will be false teachers that will do wonders to deceive the elect, if possible. The "if possible" was explained that the signs and wonders will be so good and believable that the elect would fall for it, if it were possible, but its not possible because of Gods protection. I read in one of your email explanations (The Plan Of God) that the "if possible" means that there are those who are the truly elect that will be able to be deceived because it is possible. Obviously, I dont want to be one that is deceived.

My question is what do you mean by truly elect? My understanding is that all believers are elect/saints. Now, using the Parable of the Sower, the three soils that are saved are the rocky, thorny, and good soil. Are the truly elect that you are talking about all three of these soils, with those falling away (deceived/"If possible" people) the rocky and possibly thorny, or are the truly elect only the good soil?

I guess what Im having trouble wrapping my head around is what Ive experienced in the past, and what Im reading or thinking that Im ready now in this CT series and emails. My understanding from what Ive been reading on your site is that any believer can just walk away at anytime. I can imagine that its true. I cant imagine myself doing that or wanting to do that. I dont say that in a prideful way. Ive had to be spanked and pruned many a time for drifting, but I never lost faith. I cant imagine not having God in my life and it scares me to think that at a future time that I could be possible. God has never left me or forsaken me, just like He said. I guess I expect that if Im walking with Him and He knows Im trying that He will protect me during that time from falling away. He will never give us more than what we can handle and I believe that. He loves us more than we can imagine and I believe that, too. Im doing everything I can now to spiritually prepare, if indeed I make it to the tribulation (who knows, I might die tomorrow!). I feel like Im in hand-to-hand combat with the devil all day/every day (praise God!). I must be doing something right! I know, though, Im not doing it on my own. He is helping me! I know I cant go through any sort of tribulation on my own.

So thats where Im at now. Any clarification, words of wisdom, etc would be greatly appreciated!

In Christ,

Response #16:

Good to hear from you. Keep fighting the good fight I am keeping you in my prayers.

I agree with all your conclusions here. The one small quibble is with "truly elect". I have used this phrase only one time at Ichthys (in CT 3A), and in the context I think it is pretty clear that what I mean is "really believers" as opposed to "Christians in name only who are not really believers". As to the issue of apostasy, this is covered in detail in BB 3B (see the link). Apostasy is not "easy" or "accidental". It takes a willful turning away from the Lord. Most people who do apostatize do so within a short time of first believing (that is the sense I get, anyway, both from the various iterations of the parable of the Sower and also from personal observation and experience). Anyone who has "been through the ringer" as you have and is still a solid believer in Christ as you are is not "going anywhere" in spiritual terms. Indeed, you are "going places" spiritual good places. Most believers who demonstrate that they will never apostatize have a different problem when they get lackadaisical about spiritual growth, namely, the danger of becoming involved in gross sin of one sort or another which, if left unchecked, can result in the sin unto death. Since there is an (apparently) large group of believers who can so sully their Christian witness that they force the Lord to take them out of this life in a horrible way and yet STILL are believers, it is safe to say that apostasy is not something you (or anyone else) need worry about as if it were a trap that might be stumbled into almost by accident.

Rather than being concerned about that, in my view you should realize that what the Lord is doing is preparing you for what comes next. The time is short, and that probably has something to do with why He "got a hold" of you when He did and has been directing you as He is. I am noticing this trend a counter-trend to the apathy and lukewarmness of Laodicea generally among the few who are willing to respond to Jesus Christ: the Lord certainly seems to putting those of us who are serious about His Word through some special "boot camps". There is a reason for this. Now on the one hand we don't enjoy the pain (who would); and on the other hand we may inclined to worry that if we are having problems with this now what in the world will we do when the balloon really goes up (Jer.12:5)? But we need to trust our dear Lord, remembering that He knows absolutely everything that is going to happen and is getting us ready in just the perfect way. One way of maximizing this preparation is to use it as a counterweight to worry: if Jesus is preparing us, He is doing it perfectly, so we will have nothing to worry about when the time comes, because we will have been perfectly prepared by Him; so accept the preparation with joy, knowing it's not meant to destroy us far from it! it's meant to protect us from future threats. We Christians all need to learn better how to "eat" the worry, and fear, and despair, and anger, and self-pity with which the world is awash (and to which we are vulnerable as emotional human beings), and remember that all of these things are worldly things; that God is in complete control of everything; that we only need ask "what is the right thing for me to do?", then do it, letting the chips fall where they may, and trusting Him that it will all "work together for good" (Rom.8:28). It's not natural it's supernatural. And none of us gets "good" at this without training.

Welcome to the Lord's boot-camp.

In Jesus our Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hi Bob,

Thank you for the email. I apologize ... looks like I caused my own mess and worry on this one. I had been reading the CT and clicking on links and looking at emails all at the same time. I went back to read the CT 3A that you mentioned and, if I had read a little more, would have had that question answered for me. The email I was reading at the same time (Plan of God) was talking about "true Christians" and this was stated from the person asking the question and not your response. I try to research what I can on your site before asking questions because I know youre busy. I thank you for setting me straight on this.

I thank Him daily for shaking me back into reality and for bringing me to this site after all the other bad ones Ive been to. I know He had been dealing with me but instead of doing my part in the training process I was thinking He would do the changing without much, if any effort, from me. I was hiding under the cot in the barracks, I guess! lol Thank you for the good words, encouragement, and your prayers. Makes it a little easier to "soldier on"!

In the One we gladly serve,

Response #17:

You're most welcome there's no need whatsoever to apologize. I'm just pleased to see and to be a small part of your spiritual progress in Jesus Christ.

In our dear Lord and Savior.

Bob L.

Question #18:

You're also far more qualified to answer this than I am: is it just me, or does present day secular liberal culture seem really similar to the hellenistic culture of antiquity?

Response #18:

There's not much evil and depravity from antiquity that we can't find duplicated in our day. As that is true now even before the end times, it makes a person realize just how grim things will be once in this regard once the Tribulation begins and the "empowerment of error" takes hold of the unbelieving population (see the link).

Yours in perseverance in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #19:

There's also another thing I've been wondering. If we do go through the tribulation, where are believers supposed to go? Especially the ones whose families take the mark. Its not like they can live with them anymore. Does the bible give instructions on what non-Jewish people are supposed to do?

Response #19:

The Tribulation will be a difficult period for many reasons, and you certainly bring up legitimate concerns. In terms of one's place of abode and separation from evil influences, we will just have to trust the Lord to make provision for us individually at each step and stage He has, of course, already done so in the Plan of God decreed before time even began. In terms of "where to go" in separation from one's larger national residence, you are correct that only the Jewish believers in Israel are lead to a particular safe-haven at the Tribulation's mid-point (precisely because otherwise they would all be destroyed in the Great Persecution). My view, as expressed throughout the Coming Tribulation series (see the link), and whenever I have weighed in on this in writing about the subject at Ichthys, is that the Bible is describing a time when there will be no safe-haven for gentile believers. In times past, the institution of nationalism guaranteed by God in His division of the nations at the tower of Babel has meant that there was always somewhere in the world whither persecuted believers might flee. Not so the Tribulation, since antichrist will rule the entire world. That is the main reason why what might "work" in another period, in terms of resistance or going underground or "survivalism" or emigration, will not be a way to avoid trouble during those most difficult seven years. Please see the links:

Surviving the Tribulation?

A brief code of conduct for the Great Persecution

A Tribulational Code of Conduct

The one place believers will be most tempted to go is the one place they should not go (at least not until the right time), namely, Israel. That is because Israel will be the beast's headquarters from the mid-point of the Tribulation onward, and the focal point of the persecution of the Church (after Moses and Elijah depart) precisely why the Jewish converts of the first half of the Tribulation are led to a place of special refuge in the desert.

If trends continue (and given the very short time remaining before the Tribulation begins it is difficult to conceive of how there could yet be any major realignment of the world before then), the best candidate for the Babylon of the Tribulation is the U.S. (see the link). Mind you, I am referring the U.S. of the Tribulation (which does not yet exist because the Tribulation has not yet begun). I mention this because in my studying out of this issue I have found indications that Babylon, as the home country of antichrist, will be the one place which approaches "safe haven" status during those seven years. If believers will have any breathing space anywhere in the world, it is likely to be in Babylon, because she will be the most pampered nation in the world at that time (and there are other reasons for this safe-haven argument as well; see the link: "Eschatology Issues IV, Q/A #5") However, Babylon, of course, will be destroyed by the beast and his followers in the months before the second advent (Rev.17-18). Therefore when the command to "flee Babylon" is heard, it will be incumbent upon all believers within her borders to get out as rapidly as possible (see the link). At that time, Israel, the place of the impending return of our Lord, will be the only logical destination. It's a good example of how spiritual maturity is in great measure bound up with following God's perfect timing. Something that is right at one time is wrong at another, and vice versa (Eccl.3:1-8). Staying put when God means us to stay, and leaving when God tells us to leave, are very important things to do just as in following all of our Lord's commands, we have to do "the right thing" whatever that is "at the right time" whenever that is.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Dear Dr. Luginbill, Just wanted to wish you and your family a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!! I read your emails every week and continue to appreciate your site. One questions I have is about the Tetrad moons scheduled to occur in 2014 and 2015. The blood red moons are to occur on the Jewish Passover and Feast of the Tabernacle. The last time this occurred was in 1967 and 1968 when the 6 day war occurred and before that in 1948 and 1949 when Israel became a State. Do you have any thoughts on if something significant will take place with Israel this time considering the history of the moon cycle, especially since Secretary of State John Kerry is pushing so hard for a peace agreement? I find this all quite interesting and look for there to be signs in the Heavens.

In His name,

Response #20:

Thanks so much and a very merry Christmas and happy new year to you and yours as well!

As to your question/observation, this is the first I've heard about such a phenomenon, but then I'm no astronomer. The heavenly signs mentioned in Joel 2 and Acts 2 are referring to the second advent (i.e., the end of the eschaton, not the beginning). There are predicted signs once the Tribulation commences, but nothing predicted to occur in anticipation of its inception. So while any Christian is right to see in all manner of current events, be they political or economic or spiritual or even cosmological, the "writing on the wall", so to speak, beyond affirming that the beginning of the Tribulation is near, we can't say anything further about the particular timing. This topic is covered at the following links: "Signs of the coming Tribulation" and "Signs of the end?".

I'll keep this in mind! Here's a link a good friend sent me about interesting developments in the solar cycle as well:

http://news.yahoo.com/calm-solar-cycle-prompts
-questions-impact-earth-213912384.html

When the Tribulation begins, we will definitely know it:

Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
Revelation 8:5 NIV

Thanks again for your encouraging words!

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Good day Sir and thanks for the reply.

My confusion of the passage is that if the 2nd advent precedes the great tribulation how will believers either men or women be at peace during the great tribulation and be gathering in the field or grinding at the mill knowing the intensity of the great persecution? I was thinking it would be before the tribulation that believers will be able to do those things that one will be taken and the other left according to verses 40 and 41. Please help me out. Thanks in advance.

Response #21:

The second advent follows the Great Tribulation (which is the second half of the seven year Tribulation). The ones "left behind" in verses 40-41 of Matthew 24 are unbelievers who are not resurrected at the Lord's return while the believers are (see the link: "The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride"). The scenes in verses 40-41 are not of unusual but usual activity. The Great Tribulation will be terrible, but people will still have to go on with their lives as best they can. Those whose depend on agriculture will still have to plow and plant and harvest (for example). While it is true that the Great Persecution will take away one half of true believers, the other half will survive and will be resurrected while yet alive when our dear Lord returns. History offers parallels to this. In all the horrors that engulfed Europe and parts of Asia during World War II, life did go on amid the death and carnage and persecution nevertheless. Those future seven years will render mankind "more rare than gold of Ophir" (Is.13:12), but will not eliminate humanity entirely nor take away the normal necessities of making a living.

Hang in there my friend. The Lord is faithful and will deliver us through these trials and through the ones to come as well.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Hi Bob,

Hope ALL is WELL!!!

How do we Scripturally unquestionably prove that all of the "temple" references of 2Thess. 2:4, Rev. 11:1, etc. are actually referring to a future reconstructed Jewish Temple - The Holy Temple? As such, Matt. 24:15, etc. refers to a "Holy Place" which could easily be understood as Holy Jerusalem, the Holy Temple Mt., or simply a Holy Place...it does not necessarily mandate a Holy Jewish Temple...Besides I thought that Jesus was the final sacrifice - so how could God accept and recognize another HOLY Temple? Meanwhile, we now know for a fact that an Islamic Caliphate is in development which declares that Jerusalem is to be its capital.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXSOGCFaVfQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvlRfnOQpus

Thus, that being the case does the Temple Mt. already have a temple to a pagan "god"? As you are well aware the original Greek Texts had no capitalization nor punctuation. Thus, are the Scriptural prophetic "Temple of God" references to the Holy Jewish Temple of God or to a pagan "temple of god"? In Rev. 11:1 it is an angel that tells John it is a "temple of the god". Once again, if God recognizes another Holy Temple of God after tearing His former Temple down in 70 a.d., then this puts the Cross of Christ to an open shame (Heb. 10:1-18). PLEASE let me know what you think.

Response #22:

Good to hear from you.

Both passages (2Thess.2:4; Rev.11:1) have the exact same phraseology, "the temple of the God", so there can't be any question of a pagan temple here. Also, in 2nd Thessalonians 2:4, antichrist enters into the temple and takes his seat there, i.e., into the temple building proper. John's measuring of the temple courts in Revelation 11 also demonstrates that this is the actual temple. In both verses, the Greek word naos has to refer to an actual temple building (it never describes a mere location). Matthew 24:15 does say "a holy place" but is referring to the idolatrous statue antichrist will set up, and that will not be in the temple building proper but in the temple court (a holy place) so that all the world can see the false miracles which his prophet works with it (that is the meaning in Rev.11:2 of the court given to the gentiles to trample throughout the Tribulation's second half). As I have laid out in the Coming Tribulation series, Moses and Elijah are the ones responsible for causing the building of the third temple so this will not happen until after the Tribulation begins (see the link).

Things are moving fast now, but not nearly as fast as the will once we get closer to the end, and especially after the Tribulation actually starts.

In anticipation of our Lord's return and His merciful deliverance of us in the meantime.

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your kind, prompt and scholarly response. It is indeed true that both 2Thess. 2:4 and Rev. 11:1 each have the same phraseology of "the temple of the God/god". However, it cannot be validated merely from the use of the Greek definite article "the" preceding the word God/god that God/god used in these cited Passages is intended as the one True God or a pagan god. Why not? We also see this same Greek definite article "the" used preceding the god(s) of Acts 7:43, 14:11, and 2 Cor. 4:4 which we know are all pagan. gods. Thus, the mere presence or absence of a Greek definite article does not provide an adequate basis for choosing between "God" or "god" in translating "Theos" in these particular Passages. Meanwhile, the Greek naos does indeed suggest a literal temple or shrine but John's mere measuring of this naos structure by no means substantiates that it is a Holy Temple of the only True God and not a temple of a pagan god. As such, Matthew 24:15 simply reveals that the pagan idol statue will stand in a Holy Place but does not venture so far as to declare nor reveal that the idol itself will be in a naos structure that is likewise Holy...merely the fact that the standing location of the idolatrous statue is Holy and not the naos structure itself. Finally, are you suggesting that the Temple of God referenced in 2Thess. 2:4 and Rev. 11:1 is "OF" God in the sense that God acknowledges ownership of this said 3rd. Temple? If that be the case, as I stated earlier, this 3rd. Temple will be a direct contradiction to the finished work of the Cross of Christ.

Response #23:

In biblical usage, "the temple of the God" has to be just that. It is very clear in any English version and doubly so in the Greek (through the use of the definite article with "God" so that we know it is our God and not a pagan god whose temple is in view). In short, there is nothing else it can be, and I would be very surprised if any alternative translation or commentary which suggests otherwise could be found for these verses.

As to the parallels :

1) Acts 7:43 is not a valid parallel because a) the "god" is identified by name and b) is not mentioned in the context of the temple in Jerusalem. There is only one temple in Jerusalem, God's temple, and there is only one God in the Bible and He is the One who is to be understood in scripture when no other god is mentioned or named in context so as to clearly distinguish it as a pagan counterfeit.

2) Acts 14:11 is not a valid parallel because a) the "gods" are plural and b) are not mentioned in the context of the temple in Jerusalem.

3) 2nd Corinthians 4:4 is a combination of the two above (distinguished deliberately from God and with no temple at Jerusalem mentioned), but goes a long way toward illustrating my point: whenever in the Bible it is a question of a "god" who is not God, scripture is always careful to distinguish between the two so that no one may be in any doubt about the reference. In this verse we do have theos twice and both times with the definite article. However, the first instance is qualified by the phrase "of this age" so that the devil is clearly meant and clearly to be distinguished from "the God" whose exact image is Christ. No one who reads this passage confuses the two and that is exactly the point: if there is no qualification, then God is God.

As to the word naos, first, if the temple is "God's", which as pointed out above it has to be, then that temple has to be in Jerusalem, the only place of God's earthly temple. Secondly, Revelation 11:8 makes it indisputably clear that these events happen in Jerusalem. Thirdly, this measuring passage is meant to be reminiscent of and parallel to the other temple-measuring passages in scripture, namely, Ezekiel 40:1ff. and Revelation 21:15ff. both of which also relate to Jerusalem and God's abode therein, the former to the temple of the Millennium and the latter to the New Jerusalem which will be the equivalent to God's temple wherein we shall dwell with the Lord for all eternity. So that all three measuring passages have in common Jerusalem and God's dwelling place.

As mentioned in the previous email and pointed out in the links provided the "abomination which causes desolation" is in a "holy place" but not in the naos itself (which refers to the main structure of the temple building only and not to the courts et al. that surround it); beyond all argument this also will take place in the temple precinct in Jerusalem as the book of Daniel also makes quite clear (see the link: "The Abomination of Desolation"):

For it is from him (i.e., the coming evil one) that the military forces will issue forth which will pollute the sanctuary (i.e., the temple of God), remove the daily sacrifice, and set up the abomination of desolation (i.e., in the courtyard).
Daniel 11:31

Finally, as to potential contradictions, the Book of Ezekiel makes it quite clear that there will be a millennial temple and a system of sacrificial rites (see the link: "Millennial Worship"). These will not be identical to those of the Mosaic Law, and, more to the point, will be superintended by the Messiah Himself. Therefore there will be no possibility of confusion on the point that the millennial worship will be commemorative and not anticipatory. That is the problem with all attempts to follow the Law today, be it through Sabbath observance, water-baptism, participation in Jewish festivals, following the dietary and other regulations in the Torah . . . or even and especially engaging in animal sacrifices (the biggest error of the Jerusalem congregation to whom Paul wrote Hebrews). During the Millennium, however, failure to participate in the worship established by Messiah will be as big a mistake as insisting on participating today in the similar rituals which foreshadowed His work on the cross but have since been fulfilled (e.g., Zech.14:18). Much in the life of believers depends upon where we are in God's Plan, and doing what is appropriate at the appropriate time, rather than too early or too late (cf. Eccl.3:1-8).

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your kind and prompt response. The phrase "the temple of the God" occurs some six times in the NT with 2Thess. 2:4 and Rev. 11:1 being two of those occurrences that are in and of themselves prophecy by context. Therefore, the correct interpretation (God/god) of these two said prophetic Passages must rest upon a meaning that will neither contradict nor compromise any other Biblical Passages. That being said, if we then insist that these two cited prophetic Passages actually refer to a literal third Jewish Temple that is to be futuristically rebuilt in Jerusalem, with all of its corresponding rites and sacrificial rituals - and this said Temple being appropriated and sanctioned by God Himself, then it is only logical and reasonable to request "specific" Scriptural validation for such a notion seeing that there is seemingly a plethora of Biblical evidence that would appear to be to the contrary...(i.e. Heb. 6:20; 8:13; 10:9-10; et. al.). To this end, it is then also imperative that any cited evidential Scriptures be allowed to speak for themselves and not be embellished by our own individual imaginations or IMO's... Therefore, please cite the "specific" Scriptures that declare a third Jewish Temple will indeed be rebuilt by God in Jerusalem pre-Great Tribulation and pre-Second Coming of Jesus (not to be confused with the Millennial Temple), that will both host and evidence all of the detailed declarations that you cite in your article (link: http://ichthys.com/Tribulation-Part3A.htm#Tribulational Temple). Likewise it is equally fair to ask, what are the "specifically stated" Passages that reveal the 144,000 Jews will actually be the ones who help to turn significant numbers of Jews to God as a consequence of a suggested coming revival in Israel before the onset of the Great Tribulation? In addition, where are the Scriptures that "specifically state" that God, Jesus, Moses and Elijah will be the chief architects of a supposedly new 3rd. Holy Temple that is to be reconstituted/reconstructed in Jerusalem that will practice "memorial" sacrifices unto Christ? Therefore, in all kindness Scriptural FACTS only and not personal IMO's will be most appreciated here. In summary, "IF" we cannot substantiate with clarity and without contradiction that the two prophetic Passages of 2Thess. 2:4 and Rev. 11:1 are indeed viable references to a coming third Jewish Temple to be built in Jerusalem, then we must endeavor to find an acceptable alternate interpretation for these two said Scriptures.

Response #24:

I can't agree with the premise of your latest missile. When you say "there is seemingly a plethora of Biblical evidence that would appear to be to the contrary", the passages you include certainly don't say anything about that subject directly. If it is assumed that the replacement of the Old Covenant with the New Covenant ipso facto prohibits a millennial temple or millennial sacrifices, well, that is not only not a necessary logical conclusion; it is also one which is specifically contradictory to the many prophecies which teach the opposite (shared previously; see also previous link on millennial worship).

In regard to the next points, this is a teaching ministry, not an apologetic one. The reconstruction of the temple, the tribulational ministries of Moses and Elijah, and the nature, purpose and specific witness of the 144,000 are all set out in their proper places in the Coming Tribulation series (as well as discussed at various places at Ichthys). I am certainly happy to discuss specific questions you have about these teachings. I do think that if you read them over you will see that they "stick together", so that as I often have occasion to remark, "the whole is thus greater than the sum of the parts" because the fact that the overall explanation is consistent argues for the parts to be true as well. Finally, in regard to 2nd Thessalonians 2:4, I read as follows:

Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
2nd Thessalonians 2:3-4 KJV

Who is the "man of sin" the "son of perdition" if not antichrist? And when does he appear if not in the Tribulation? He represents himself as God. So whose temple would it be, if not God's temple? The word God occurs here four times. Were it not God that is meant, would we not have some explanation? Since God must be God here, the temple must be God's temple. This temple is built before the second advent since these events occur during the Tribulation.

And in regard to Revelation 11:1, this too describes tribulational events (it's in the middle of the book, after all). The beast, antichrist, is said to kill the two witnesses whose ministry is associated with this temple (v.7). In doing so, they are said to "stand before the Lord of the earth" (v.4). Since they are God's witnesses, and are standing before Him at this temple, how would it not be God's temple? Antichrist does not gain control of this area until he has put the two witnesses to death. And why would he want to or need to . . . unless it were God's temple being protected by God's special witnesses?

Since both of these passages and their contexts relate to a specific temple which is called "the temple of God", since no other "god" or "temple" is present in either context (or anywhere in scripture) to be considered as an alternative possibility, since the abomination of desolation is set up after these events in Revelation 11 and is most certainly associated with the actual temple, and since these events are definitely tribulational, it is necessary to conclude that there will be a temple, the third temple, erected before Christ's return. I posit that Moses and Elijah are the logical ones to superintend this effort. And that also jibes with what else we know about end times prophecy in that there is no unfulfilled prophecy of any specific event before the Tribulation commences (so need for rebuilding before the actual start of the Tribulation). This is an important point, because many Christians today who are overly interested in eschatology imagine that we may see the beginning of construction of the new temple before the Tribulation begins. I think that is very unlikely.

I hope you find this helpful!

Yours in Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your kind and prompt response. What you are pointing me to as evidence for your claim of a God "ordained" 3rd Jewish Temple of the God (ownership) are Scriptures that support a "Millennial Temple and millennial sacrifices" which will not do in this case to validate your claim of a 3rd Holy Jewish Temple "pre-seconding coming" of Christ. Your notion of a God ordained 3rd Holy Jewish Temple BEFORE the second coming of Jesus is in direct conflict with numerous Passages in the Book of Hebrews. Therefore, what I am asking is for you to present Scriptural evidence that supports a 3rd Holy Jewish Temple that will offer MEMORIAL sacrifices unto Christ BEFORE the second coming of Jesus. Thus, once again please do not suggest Scriptures related to a Millennial Temple and its millennial sacrifices.

Response #25:

What passages in Hebrews are you referring to? Are these new ones not already dealt with (please see preceding discussion)?

To take but one passage, 2nd Thessalonians 2:4 specifically and unequivocally states that antichrist "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". This happens during the Tribulation before Christ's second coming. So the only question is precisely when the temple is rebuilt. Since it is actually "God's temple", my conclusion is that it is rebuilt by someone with the authority to do so. In my view, that can only be Moses and Elijah, during their special ministry in conjunction with the 144,000 in the first half of the Tribulation. This works well with the passage cited above because it is at the Tribulation's mid-point, after the "beast's war" on the two witnesses that antichrist abrogates his treaty with Israel and takes up residence in Jerusalem in "God's temple".

Your in Jesus Christ, whose return and deliverance we eagerly await.

Bob L.

Question #26:

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your kind and scholarly response. We do not need new Scriptures from the Book of Hebrews to refute this claim of a God ordained 3rd. Temple - the old ones will work just fine.

What you are suggesting is TWO God sanctioned and ordained Temples actively functioning simultaneously on earth at some point in the future - The Body of Christ (the Church) AND the Holy Temple itself (1Cor. 3:16, et.al.). Meanwhile, seeing that the Book of Hebrews does not support a 3rd. Temple by any means, and there is no mention whatsoever of a MEMORIAL pre-second coming of Jesus Temple either, and we are likewise by no grammatical means obligated nor mandated to interpret the temple of the god (theos) as the true Temple of the God respective of 2Thess. 2:4 and Rev. 11:1 - then why would we insist that a 3rd. Temple would be ordained and sanctioned of God? There is no required Scriptural support that would mandate such. Thus, this is only speculation at best.

Response #26:

So as far as I understand your position, the fact that Hebrews doesn't talk about a third temple and the fact that the Church (individual believers) are sometimes described as temples of God makes a reconstruction of the temple before Christ's return impossible for you to accept? But the second temple was still standing when these scriptures were written, so I don't think we can make much of these verses in that regard.

I am certainly not the only one to take 2nd Thessalonians 2:4 and Revelation 11:1 in this sense. Indeed, I know of no Bible version and no serious commentator who has taken them otherwise. Not that this is decisive, of course. I merely mean to point out that it is not as if I have advanced some odd or esoteric position here. It is the opinio communis and indeed, I have never heard of another one before this. Honestly, I have read and re-read these passages in the Greek many times over, and I cannot see how they can possibly admit of anything other than the straightforward meaning you will find in all of the major versions and literature on the subject.

Perhaps I can convince you with this. In describing the Tribulation at Matthew 24:15 our Lord says that antichrist will set up "the abomination that causes desolation" in "the holy place". He also says that this is the same idol Daniel prophesied about. Now when Daniel talks about this "abomination" he very clearly states that setting it up will come in conjunction with the desecration of the temple and the termination of the daily sacrifice the Law requires (Dan.11:31; also 12:11). Since, therefore, the beast's cult statue is unquestionably set outside the temple of God, and since this is the same statue our Lord refers to as not yet having been constructed, we do have to conclude that the time of these things will be the Tribulation, and that there will then have to be a temple to be desecrated, a sacrifice to the Lord to be abrogated, and a holy place wherein to put the statue. With that background, "the temple of God" in 2nd Thessalonians 2:4 can hardly be any other than the temple of God, and the temple of God and the altar in Revelation 11:1 can hardly be any other than the temple of God and the altar (where the sacrifice will be abrogated after the killing of the two witnesses later in chapter eleven).

Finally, on this point, there is no reason for scripture to be concerned with the termination of pagan sacrifices, altars, temples and holy places, nor for God's two witnesses to be associated with such a place in any way. The events we have been discussing all happen in Jerusalem, and only make any kind of sense if it is the temple of God we are talking about. Since none exists at present, there will have to be a reconstruction, in the early days of the Tribulation most likely in my view.

I do hope this helps.

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your kind response. The mere fact that the Temple was still standing at the time of the writing of the Scriptures in question has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not God Himself accepted ANY further blood atonement sacrifices for sin subsequent to the Cross - He did not because Jesus was the perfect FINAL blood atonement sacrifice and for all intents and purposes in the mind of God - the Temple and its sacrificial system was null and void (desolate) after the Cross and simply awaiting His 70 A.D. destruction thereof. Respective of Matt. 24:15 and the "Abomination of Desolation" the Idol god of reference, as you have cited, is indeed the same Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel. However, we must not overlook the fact that respective of this same Abomination of Desolation in Daniel's prophecy we cannot simply omit the recorded historical facts of the events regarding Antiochus IV Epiphanes either. They must equally fit into Daniel's prophecies as well. Jesus only declared that when you see the Abomination of Desolation (the idol god) standing in the HOLY PLACE (location) and standing where it ought not be - Jerusalem is a HOLY PLACE and the Temple Mt. is a HOLY PLACE. Nonetheless, if this said HOLY PLACE is to be a 3rd HOLY Jewish Temple then you must prove that God will indeed CLAIM OWNERSHIP of this 3rd HOLY Temple and not simply that the Jews may reconstruct one on their own. However, the prophecies you cited do not address nor prove your suggestion that a 3rd. reconstructed Jewish Temple will indeed be HOLY and under the direct behest and OWNERSHIP of God. The Book of Hebrews is contrary to such a notion. In addition, the "veil" that separates the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies has already been rent from top to bottom at the Cross (Mk. 15:38 - Heb. 10:19-20). As stated before, where are the Scriptures that supports a God OWNED 3rd. HOLY Jewish Temple with no high priest, no acceptable blood atonement sacrifices, no veil, etc., that will offer only your suggested MEMORIAL sacrifices unto Christ BEFORE the second coming of Christ? You have come to the conclusion that the Jewish Sanhedrin and all those of a 3rd Temple system have ACCEPTED Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior and are happily making memorial sacrifices unto Him even before the man AC is ever revealed - Jesus could not even accomplish this in person. If this will be the case there would be no further need for an Antichrist and the Great Tribulation. In summary, what the Jews may or may not build in the future has noting whatsoever to do with the fact of whether or not God will CLAIM personal OWNERSHIP of their work. Thus, with respect to 2 Thess. 2:4 and Rev. 11:1 - before we can call it a Temple of the God we must first be able to prove that God will CLAIM this said Temple for His OWN...otherwise it is merely a temple of the god.

Response #27:

I begin to understand what concerns you here. It's a valid concern, namely, "how would a new temple be a valid temple before Christ's return?" In my view scripture clearly presents this as a fact in the places it discusses the issue, which to my mind should lead us to ask "how?" rather than doubt the veracity of the scriptures which proclaim this fact. I do understand that you are attempting to resolve this apparent "difficulty" by understanding these scriptures in a different way, but, as I have tried to demonstrate, that is exceedingly problematic in terms of these particular passages. For example, since the proof is in the pudding, as we say, I would be very surprised to see an actual translation of 2nd Thessalonians 4:4, for example, which is true to the Greek and yet can be interpreted in any other reasonable way other than that the reconstructed temple where antichrist takes up residence is "God's temple".

The solution to this apparent dilemma (and it is only apparent, not actual), is that the individuals in charge of the reconstruction will be prophets of God, Moses and Elijah, to be precise, and the reconstruction itself will be part and parcel of the Jewish revival led by them and the 144,000 witnesses during the early days of the Tribulation. Since the impetus and leadership will be entirely from God, the "ownership" of the temple will present no problem at all.

I certainly am also sensitive to the issue of animal sacrifice. Clearly, it has no place now in the Church and has not had since the cross as you very correctly affirm. But we do know that during the Millennium such sacrifices will be engaged in as memorials which look back upon the sacrifice of Christ. So it is certainly no great stretch to see similar sacrifices during the Tribulation overseen by Moses and Elijah for the benefit of a born-again Jewish community to be likewise fully understood as memorials of what Christ did rather than shadows of what He was to do. As in all such things, what is in a person's heart is the key. An unbeliever and a believer can pray the same prayer for deliverance, but with the latter heard as belonging to Christ and the other not as refusing to accept Him.

There is much about all of this in Coming Tribulation series. Best place to start is "The Two Witnesses and the Ministry of the 144,000: Revelation 11:1-14".

I do hope you find this of some help in your search for the truth.

In Jesus our dear Lord who is the truth.

Bob L.

Question #28:

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your intelligent response. I can appreciate your comparative temple analysis to a pre-second coming temple vs. a millennial temple. However, please allow me to humbly suggest that the former vs. the latter is a completely different religious and cultural instrument - it is configured as night vs. day and apple vs. orange. Nonetheless, here is where you and I are at positionally on this considerable concern. I have suggested the position that as per their literal interpretative face values 2Thess. 2:4 and Rev. 11:1, conflict with the literal interpretative face vales of many other Scriptures in the Book of Hebrews, and similar others as well. Therefore, I have concluded from a Biblical hermeneutics perspective that I must look for an alternate interpretation solution for the Hebrews, et. al, Passages or either the 2Thess. 2:4 and Rev. 11:1 Passages. To this end, seeing that I am by no means constrained by either greek nor grammar respective of 2Thess. 2:4 and Rev. 11:1 and my intended methodology, I have chosen to interpret and harmonize the greek "theos" as the god rather than the God - where the latter would imply God's personal ownership and the former would not. In the meantime, you have taken the interpretative path that all of the said Scriptures in question, 2Thess. 2:4; Rev. 11:1; Hebrews, et.al, all should be understood at their literal stated face values. As such, to overcome their inherent conflicts with each other - your path to Scriptural harmony for all is to find a happy medium. Hence, your suggested 3rd. HOLY Jewish Temple that will offer only "MEMORIAL" sacrifices unto Christ similar to the model of the millennial temple. While this interpretation of a memorial temple will indeed seemingly resolve these clear Scriptural conflicts - it is nonetheless flawed in its construct, such that there is NO Scriptural evidence to support the notion of a MEMORIAL Temple before the second coming of Christ. Therefore, what you are then left with by this scenario is a seemingly workable solution BUT supported only by speculation.

Response #28:

You are very welcome, even though it seems we shall have to agree to disagree.

Translating 2nd Thessalonians 2:4 as "so that he sits as God in the temple of the god, showing himself that he is God" will not work at all (it is not at all reflective of the actual Greek text as all the other translations in the major versions are). Further, the (false) proof to the world that the beast is "God" is that he is sitting in God's temple. If antichrist were sitting in a pagan god's temple, how would that be proof that he was the God? After all, he is the "anti-Christ" in that he claims to be Christ, to be God, not some pagan god.

The same is true of rendering Revelation 11:1 as "rise up and measure the temple of the god", especially in light of Ezekiel chapter 40 where the divinely commanded process of measurement is of God's temple, not some pagan temple. Why should God be concerned about the measurements of some pagan temple? And since measuring the temple in the Old Testament is measuring God's temple, and since measuring the eternal temple, the New Jerusalem, later in the book of Revelation is measuring God's eternal edifice, wouldn't it be necessary to make clear at Revelation 11:1 that the temple is, in fact, not God's temple? Yes but only if it weren't (and it definitively is). That, after all, is what is to be assumed based upon all other scriptural descriptions of temple-measuring.

So unless and until an acceptable alternative translation and interpretation for each which of these passages may be found, sticking with what the scripture actually says on its face seems the only prudent course in my view (especially in light also of e.g., Dan.9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Matt.24:15 and Mk.13:14). And, as I say, I do not find the contradictions which trouble you to be actual difficulties in fact, understood aright.

In any case, we shall find out the truth soon enough, as all of these things are on the cusp of happening. All the more reason to take pains to cleave as close to the truth as possible now.

In Him who is the truth itself, our dear Lord Jesus Christ.

Bob L.
 

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