Ichthys Acronym Image
Ichthys home navigation button

Eschatology Issues XV

Word RTF

Question #1:

Hi Bob,

Will the penal code of the law of the old testament, and the strictness thereof, be in effect during the millennium? I liked the grace and freedom provided in the Church Age, and it is very hard to imagine any loss of that as a positive development.

Sincerely,

Response #1:

I don't think you have to worry at all about the Millennium from this point of view because you will be some sort of judge or official administrating the law in your resurrection body at that time, and so you will know perfectly what the rules are and how to apply them.

Here's a link to what I have been able to discern about this issue: "The Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ".

Since the shadows are now gone, and since that will only be all the more obvious once our Lord is here on earth in person as the ruler of the world, there really won't be any need for the regulations that have to do with symbolic separation and sanctification which constitute a good deal of the Mosaic Law. Some of that obviously pertains to the penal code as well, and of course there are also aspects of that code which necessarily took into account the technology and pagan environment of the time, not to mention the existence of institutions which are not as prevalent today and which will likely be non-existent in the Millennium (e.g., slavery, polygamy). So no doubt there will be major differences. Another thing to factor in is that the physical environment will be blessed and restored to near Eden-like conditions (the curse on the ground having been removed), and also there is the fact that our Lord will conduct an administration which is perfect in every way (and we will be part of that).

I'm really looking forward to it, and I think you should too, my friend!

Hope things are getting better for you and your family. I'm keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Wonderfully written, very sound wisdom and as always Bob, I appreciate you. Yes, the Holy Spirit is unbelievably powerful and anyone who has been saved has felt that power, it was amazing when it happened to me. I didn't faint, see angels or hear voices but there was this intense feeling of emotional pain and regret followed by the sensation of a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders or even soul. Eh, what can I say, I'm not a gifted writer but you know what I mean. I can think of at least 3 or 4 times that God has saved my life, spared me from a certain death, one time I had a Christian woman witnessed to me about 30 seconds after a car accident (where I should have died) but I was too blind and ignorant to listen to her. Point being, perhaps if everyone had experiences like that faith would come easier; but then most older people have had near-death experiences or incidents where they could have been killed. Let me ask you this, in your career as an officer in the USMC, were most of the men you served with believers, more so than say the general population?

I pray for them not every night but most nights I do remember to pray for them and I also pray for my enemies, something that has humbled me a great deal. It works. Jesus (as always) was spot-on when he said that because it softens your heart. The one that comes to mind is Luke 6:28: Bless them that curse you, and pray for them who despitefully use you. I'm sure there are others. I have taken the liberty of ignoring the latest predictions; there seems to have been a lot of them in the last few years, September 23rd 2016 (some are saying) is when the rapture will occur. Is this not blasphemous, to predict a day that Jesus will return? There was a time where I might have been hoodwinked but not anymore.

I hope that things are going well with you my friend and that the issues that were troubling you last year are being resolved in a positive way through God's grace. I will continue the prayers for you and yours as well.

In Jesus Christ

Response #2:

Thanks for your prayers, my friend. I keep you and your family in mine as well every day. I would say that the population of the USMC when I was in many years ago was comparable to that of the society as a whole when it comes to believers/non-believers. Then again, while on active duty I became reunited with my faith through the ministering of a fellow officer with whom I am still good friends today. Also, most of my seminary cohorts who shared a common background of faith were ex-USMC or had that or some service connection. I suppose it depends on the time and place. While I was on active duty, I was seriously injured in a training accident, but I was never shot at during my time in service. The experience of someone putting his life on the line in Afghanistan or Iraq for many years would no doubt be a quite different one (and worthy of respect). Yes, they do deserve our daily prayers.

On the future, people who know nothing of the Bible are fond of making predictions about the coming of the "rapture" or the Tribulation. "No one knows the day or the hour", but the Bible has plenty to say about the chronology of the years to come. As I often say, I can't predict anything; I can read the Bible. I believe that there are seven days of human history which parallel (by God's deliberate plan) the seven days of reconstruction in Genesis chapter one. Since in terms of biblical chronology four thousand years elapsed before the coming of the Messiah (minus seven years as described in Daniel 9:24-27), and since the millennium will by definition be a thousand years, that would leave 2K for the Church, and the count would not have begun until the cross and resurrection of Christ. Since the likely date of that pivotal event of all events was 33 A.D., that makes 2033 the likely date for the second advent. Subtracting seven years for the Tribulation (a joint time of the Church and Israel), would make 2026 the start of the Tribulation. That is an interpretation but I have never heard it seriously challenged – at least not by anyone who believes that what the scriptures teach about eschatology is to be taken literally and not allegorically. If you'd like a more detailed account, here is a recent link to get you started: Eschatology Issues X (see Q/A #4).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hi Bob,

I came across this painting of Nero:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ee/15-07-05-Schlo%C3%9F-Caputh-RalfR-N3S_1528.jpg

You see, I have this image I came up with my head of the last judgment, and how the unbeliever looks like, and it's the ugliest possible image, while still keeping normal human proportions and "typical" appearances, while appearing nonetheless as a lump of animated flesh.

And I realized that this painting perfectly captures that image.

Sincerely,

Response #3:

Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder. Guess that goes for ugly too. We "are who we are" in resurrection – the disciples recognized Jesus after all. What that means for those condemned can only be speculated upon. At the last judgment, John saw the dead, "the great and the small" standing before the great white throne, which indicates some differentiation of status obvious even then. Being cast into the lake of fire, and what seems to me from my perspective in the truth something worse, being without the Lord for all eternity, are bad enough without the addition penalty suggested here.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi Bob,

Regarding there being no prophesied event in the Church age, this statement is false and I can prove it:

(1) The Church age begins at 33 AD

(2) Jesus Christ prophesied, and I quote: "Do you see all these things? Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." (Matthew 24:2)

(3) Jesus Christ's prophesied event occurred in 70 AD

(4) Therefore, there exists one prophetic event that was fulfilled during the Church age

Q. E. D.

Response #4:

The lower portion of the "wailing wall" is commonly agreed to date to our Lord's day, and is still intact, after all. I doubt it was part of the temple because of the location (it's more likely part of retaining wall for the temple mount and may not even have been visible in our Lord's day). What the devastation accomplished by antichrist's siege of Jerusalem will do to that wall and to the (not yet) rebuilt temple is not mentioned in scripture (except for the passage you cite), but it will be dramatic (e.g., Zech.14:2). No doubt this explains why the Messiah will need to "build up" the temple (Zech.6:12-13), even though Moses and Elijah will already rebuilt it – that is what 2nd Thessalonians 2:4 must mean. The word used there, naos, usually does mean "temple", but it is derived from the Greek verb naio meaning "to dwell", so it is not completely clear to me that naos makes it impossible that Moses and Elijah will erect some sort of non-permanent structure analogous to the tabernacle as opposed to building a permanent structure (though LXX usage for the word naos is always of the temple proper). In any case, the passage you cite, while it may have a contemporaneous application (as many of the verses in the immediately following Olivette discourse do), has its as its main interpretation the tribulational events which Jerusalem will endure just prior to the second advent.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hi Bob,

Will there be science and technology in the millennium? So many of the OT prophets talk about camels and swords and other primitive technology; should this be taken literally?

Sincerely,

Response #5:

It's difficult to tell. I can envision either a literal return to pre-industrial revolution conditions, or an accommodation of scriptural descriptions with as yet non-existent technology. Certainly, the later is progressing in ways and at speeds that seem incompatible with the spiritual (or even physical) survival of the human race. Under divine administration, however, these excesses could (and would, if applicable) of course be perfectly controlled. The tower of Babel offers a good parallel of divine intervention to force a reversion to more primitive conditions (the splitting up of humanity into language groups set back political aggregation by millennia – in fact we still haven't "caught up" in this regard and won't even do so at the end of the Tribulation, blessedly). But since scripture offers parallels for contemporary language used in a way so as to be able to accommodate later technological developments (e.g., many of the descriptions of Armageddon speak of horses and of course give no inkling of motorized vehicles), I suppose we shall just have to wait and see. It will be a time of supreme blessing regardless, and we, the Church, being in resurrection bodies at that point, will have no need of technology in any case.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and soon returning King.

Bob L.

Question #6:

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.
JOEL 2:31

Have a good day doc; After that eclipse in the last time I am wondering if this is to be taken literally or figuratively. Hope to erase some confusions. Give me a hand doc. Thank you so much. God bless you!

Regards in Christ,

Response #6:

The darkness at the second advent is supernatural (not an eclipse in the sense of predictable celestial mechanics). It is literal, but also highly symbolic inasmuch as the return of our Lord will be "light" putting an end to the darkness of the Tribulation and the reign of the beast. This is written up at the following links:

The Supernatural Darkness at the Second Advent (in SR 2)

Signs of the Second Advent (in CT 5)

"Blood Moons"

I'm praying for deliverance for you from your distressing situation, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Have a good day again doc! With your response I just remembered a scripture below that has been bothering me ever since I read it. This verse has been used by many that the signs told by Jesus has already happened at the destruction of Jerusalem, since Jesus said 'the generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened'. Hoping to hear more from you about this doc. Thanks again. God bless you!

"Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened."
Luke 21:32

In the Name of our Lord Jesus,

Response #7:

The phrase "this generation" comes first from the Old Testament and refers to a type of worldly people rather than being chronological in application. Here is the "locus classicus":

Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation (הַדֹּור זוּ / haddor zuh) for ever. The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.
Psalm 12:7-8 KJV (cf. Deut.32:5; 32:20; Ps.95:10; Prov.30:11-14; Jer.2:31; 7:29)

"This generation" (<Gr. genos) as used by our Lord refers to the fact that the Jewish people by and large would be (and have been) hardened against accepting Jesus as the Messiah until His return (cf. Rom.11:25); i.e., they would continue to be "of this type" until seeing Him with their own eyes. The problem of interpretation only comes in when people assume that the English word "generation" used to translate dor/genos must mean what it normally means in English and must thus be taken to mean at most about 40 years – but that is not what the Greek word genos or the Hebrew word dor means in these passages where type rather than chronology is in view. For more, see the following links:

"This generation" does not mean 20 years.

What did Jesus mean by "this generation"?

"O Faithless generation!"

"This generation" (Q#1)

"This generation" (Q#7)

Which generation is "this generation"?

The generation of hardness

What does "this generation" mean?

English "generation" does not equal Greek "generation"

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hi Bob,

"Thus says the Lord GOD: 'No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or UNCIRCUMCISED IN FLESH, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among the children of Israel.' "
Ezekiel 44:9

This verse seems to imply a literal, physical circumcision as a prerequisite for participating in these sacrifices. Will the procedure for those outside of Israel wishing salvation be to become circumcised?

Sincerely,

Response #8:

It won't be and never has been a prerequisite for salvation. However, during the Millennium, there will be a restoration of many of the forms of ancient Israel – as memorials – to comport with the fact that her prophesied Messiah is ruling as her King.

Scripture is very clear that circumcision of heart is what is important.

...and in Him (Jesus Christ) you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;
Colossians 2:11 (cf. Deut.10:16; 30:6; Jer.4:4)

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hi Bob,

What are "the cities of the gentiles" talked about in the seven bowls section of Revelation?

Sincerely,

Response #9:

One could also translate this phrase in Revelation 16:19 "cities of the nations"; the "great city" is Jerusalem, so the contrast/comparison is between the destruction of the other cities around the world in addition to Jerusalem. This earthquake will cause unprecedented damage worldwide. As it says in the previous verse, Revelation 16:18, "No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake" (NIV). This is all covered at the link in CT 5: "Earthquake and Hail".

In our dear Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Bob,

How do you reconcile this

"They must not marry widows or divorced women; they may marry only virgins of Israelite descent or widows of priests. They are to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean." (Ezekiel 44:22-23)

with this

"This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile." (Romans 3:22)

Response #10:

As you no doubt know, I am not a hyper-dispensationalist. However, it is certainly true that different divine regimes require different behavior on our part. Before the Law, eating pork was not a problem; for those in Israel under the Law, it was; now it isn't; in Eden, meat wasn't eaten; but it was authorized for Noah and his descendants. Similarly, the 70 sent out by the Lord were instructed not to take anything with them; but later our Lord tells the disciples that after He departs they will need swords to protect themselves; but during the Millennium "the lion will lie down with the lamb" and "swords will be beaten into plowshares". The verse you reference is a millennial verse and has to do with the millennial regime of the kingdom of God (wherein, by the way, some non-Jews will be appointed Levites: Is.66:21).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hi Bob,

How do you reconcile this:

"Listen, I tell you a mystery: we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."
I Corinthians 15:51-52

with the fact that when the seventh trumpet is blown in the Book of Revelation, the resurrection does not happen immediately at that instance (as it seems to be implied in I Corinthians), but rather the beginning of the Great Tribulation occurs?

Sincerely,

Response #11:

Trumpets are used for all manner of signaling (cf. 1Cor.14:8). The seven trumpets have to do with the warning judgments of the first half of the Tribulation. This trumpet you ask about mentioned at 1Cor.15:51-52 (and also at 1Thes.4:16) is a signal given at the Tribulation's end. If we were allowed now to hear the notes of the various trumpet signals, we would understand that they are different all the more, just as in the Army "reveille" is easily distinguishable from "assembly" (e.g.) in our modern collection of bugle calls. The same sort of thing applied in Israel where different trumpet calls were employed for different purposes:

To gather the assembly, blow the trumpets, but not with the signal for setting out.
Numbers 10:7 NIV

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hi Bob,

I just thought I'd send this to you about CERN since a various last day teachers think it could relate to Revelation chapter 9. I'm sure you know a lot about CERN, but I did not and this video is very detailed and thoroughly explains the major facts about it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e62z5zJjp2I

Also I thought you might find the following to be interesting since at least one of these men has a doctorate degree as you do and they both intelligently speak about the last days and in this video they are discussing how CERN could fit into those days:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-adgSd_645I

I hope you have a blessed and great weekend!

Response #12:

Good to hear from you.

While I grant you that many aspects of contemporary science and technology do seem to beg the question of how much longer the human race can survive (and how much longer Christians could possibly be free to follow the Lord) without divine intervention, it is important to remember that God is omnipotent. He doesn't have any need of worm holes or any such material means to bring on the last days or the events prophesied to take place therein. Angels do have a "port" to the third heaven already (Jacob saw it: Gen.28:12), and there is a "port" to the Abyss as well (Rev.9:14 in the Greek); how and when that will be opened is detailed in Revelation (see the link; it doesn't have anything to do with CERN).

Back in a previous generation it was trendy to see the demons of the fifth and sixth trumpet judgments as "Russian attack helicopters" and the like. This sort of equating of biblical descriptions with contemporary paraphernalia is never hermeneutically sound, even if it is provocatively sensational.

Hope you and your family are doing well! You are in my prayers day by day.

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hi Bob,

"They have the appearance of horses; they gallop along like cavalry."
Joel 2:4

Notice that whatever Joel saw in his vision, they were things that had the appearance of horses, but weren't actually horses.

"The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD."
Joel 2:31

Scientific calculations show that there will be a perigee lunar eclipse on October 8, 2033, which will cause the moon to turn blood red. This corroborates with your timetable quite nicely.

Response #13:

That is interesting. Thanks!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hi Bob,

How is it possible for Thyatira to be thrown into the Great Tribulation when she was almost 1000 years into the past according to your analysis of the seven churches (link)?

Sincerely

Response #14:

The answer is that there is no definite article in the Greek which says "into tribulation" not "into the Tribulation" (so it's not THE Tribulation being mentioned here). All who wish to follow Jesus Christ will be persecuted (2Tim.3:12) and know personal tribulation (1Pet.1:6-7). The Tribulation gets its name from our Lord on account of its unique intensity and worldwide expanse.

Question #15:

I have a question in regards to the chronology of the days of mankind. The kind of days where each day is an age lasting 1,000yrs and the overall human history lasting 7 days, or 7,000 yrs. I found an article expounding on that theory and they were using verses I don’t remember/couldn’t find on your explanation of the theory. These verses seem to further support the ages of mankind theory, but I wanted to run them by you and see if you think they’re taken out of context or if they textually fit. I included their remarks below in an effort to save you time from combing through the whole article, but here’s the link if you want to see the whole thing yourself:

 http://oxfordbiblechurch.co.uk/index.php/books/the-keys-of-time-bible-chronology/755-chapter-2-the-overall-time-structure-keys-1-2

I’ve been frequenting your site for about a decade now so it’s useful and tremendously appreciated. Your work is well thought out, unique, and trustworthy. Keep up the good work and know that it’s highly valued and worth the effort.

"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the LAST DAYS (the last 2 DAYS or 2000 years) scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying Where is the promise of his Coming?"
2 Peter 3:3-11

And later in these verses is the admonition to not be ignorant of god’s timing (1 day = 1,000 years). They also say that John gives a conclusive confirmation of this pattern of time in Revelation 20:1-7 by referring to a following period of 1,000 years 6 times.

"Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel saying in the 10TH DAY of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house." 6 "And ye shall keep it up until the 14TH DAY of the same month, and the whole congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
Exodus 12:3 and 6

Jesus was set aside as the Passover Lamb, 4,000 years before He died on the Cross. Thus we have exactly 4,000 years from Creation to the Cross

Jesus will restore Israel again after a time. Then we are given the Timetable: "AFTER TWO DAYS will He revive us, in the THIRD DAY He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight."
Hosea 6:2

Thus 2,000 years after the year of the Cross (not His Birth), Israel will be fully restored by God in the 2nd Coming

3. The Good Samaritan returns after 2 days from saving him - 2 denarii (Luke 10)

4. The Transfiguration (type of the Kingdom) after 6 days (Matthew 17:1).

Abraham’s journey with Isaac to sacrifice him is an example of the ages of time. Abraham sets off on the journey and "then ON THE THIRD DAY Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off" Genesis 22:4. The two days Abraham journeyed represents the 2,000 years from Abraham to the Cross. At this time God revealed to him what would happen 2,000 years later. "God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering" (v7).

*God is the architect of the AGES of man. Hebrews 1:2: "by Whom also He made the AGES".

Hebrews 11:3
"Through faith we understand, that the AGES were framed by the word of God."

Respectfully,

Response #15:

It's good to hear from you again, my friend!

I do use some of these verses in my exposition of this issue (here is link to where the discussion is simplified to a smaller file: "The Seven Millennial Days of Human History"). The other verses besides Revelation 20:1-7, 2nd Peter 3:3-11 (based of course from Psalm 90:4) and the Hebrews quote, all of which I use, I would only accept for consideration as applications rather than engendering this interpretation as they do not provide outright proof (i.e., I don't adduce them as such and at best would only be comfortable with including references prefaced by a "cf.", if that). I don't say that they aren't consistent with the seven 1,000 year millennial days, only that they may not teach it directly. In my opinion, since the other verses (and the seven Genesis days) clearly do teach and do refer directly to this architecture of the ages, it's better to stick with what is clear rather than to dilute that clarity with other things which will seem "not so clear" to those who are unconvinced (because they are in fact "not so clear"). If I were convinced that they taught the doctrine directly, I'd use them. In terms of practical matters, for a doctrine like this which is so misunderstood by so many people, adding in things which might be illustrative but framing them as if they were dispositive has a tendency to weaken the argument – as in a debate where one side uses ten arguments, one of which is very weak, and the other side then pounces on that one weak argument to discredit the whole.

Still and all, it's good to hear that there are other folks out there who are "getting with the program", and I appreciate you putting me on to the link.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hi Bob,

http://www.be-ready.org/space.html

Read the whole thing, it's quite good. Sounds like a mixture of you and me, to be honest.

Sincerely,

Response #16:

I can think of a lot of reasons to doubt that "all this can go on much longer" (so that the end times must be close) without getting into the impossible notion of space travel – but that's certainly one thing for the list.

Thanks.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Well, space travel can't be too impossible, since we went to the moon. It's just extremely infeasible.

There's also this statement from God Himself:

"Look!" he said. "The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them!
Genesis 11:6

Response #17:

An excellent parallel, and I agree; that is what I meant and that is the right lens with which to view these things, namely, the impossibility of faith abiding on earth in the face of current technological and political trends extrapolated forward: even if mankind were around for another 100,000 years without annihilating itself, from a spiritual perspective, even without the imminence of the eschatological end, that would seem impossible – just as it would have been impossible even to get to this point without the intervention of the Lord at the tower of Babel which destroyed political union of all mankind and set back technological development by millennia – for our benefit.

Question #18:

Hi Bob,

I hope you are doing well. Whenever I listen to the following two men I have a tendency to think of you and that you might think quite similarly to them. This is only a half hour long and easy to listen to and I wanted to share it with you since I don't remember if you discussed this type of subject matter in your eschatology series, besides what you shared about concerning the Nephelim. What Dr. Tom Horn and Steve Quayle share about here reminds me very much of Rev. 9:6 when men seek death from the tortures they endure, but death flees from them (perhaps due to their changed DNA and they are not able to die?) I thought you might like to listen to this short and interesting video. God bless you richly my friend!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChFxv579uIY

In Christ Jesus our faithful Lord whom we long to be with forever,

Response #18:

Good to hear from you – I'm keeping you and your family in my prayers day by day.

Thanks for the link. I appreciate it because it's good to keep abreast of the rabbit-holes evangelicalism is going down these days. About the only positive thing I can say for this is that it is true that what is going on in science and technology today is an indication that things aren't going to be able to go on much longer as they are currently developing (that should be obvious to any Christian reading both the Bible and the newspaper). There is a lot out there now on Nephilim in eschatology, and issues of DNA. In fact, while antichrist is the devil's seed (and while it is likely that the ten kings are also nephilim), that is the extent of this sort of thing in the soon-to-come Tribulation. The mark of the beast, for example, has nothing to do with DNA, nor will antichrist's political, social and religious manipulation of humanity need to concern itself with such things. People during that time will be more than happy to worship the beast and take his mark. And in fact, as I have often demonstrated, the issue of free will is key to the devil too: he wants to have everyone worship him and his son through their own choice (there will be plenty of coercion but not to the point of absolutely taking away free will). The scorpion-like stings of the fifth trumpet judgment will be leveled on all unbelievers (the "seeking death" part refers to the intensity of the pain wherein a person would "rather be dead", but will be too incapacitated to do anything about it). In truth, I fear these fellows do more harm than good. It's good for Christians to be thinking about the end times if it gets them to prepare spiritually, but no good if it is only stoking some morbid curiosity which results in false information and no particular spiritual preparation.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hi Bob,

"I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me... I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me."
Matthew 25:36, 40

Can we take this as evidence that somehow there will be believers in prison, even during this blessed time, the Millennium?

Sincerely,

Response #19:

I treat this passage in general terms at the link: "The Judgment of the Sheep" (in CT 6).

Two points. First, this judgment gives us a blanket evaluation framed in generalities – as is necessary since in the real thing all judgments will be individual and personal rather than collective. In those terms, the sorts of things our Lord brings up for both the sheep and the goats (millennial believers on the one hand and all unbelievers on the other), are meant to be understood as representative of saved behavior and unsaved behavior throughout human history. Second, while there is much we don't know about the Millennium, it does seem inconsistent with the perfect world rule of the Messiah to have believers wrongly imprisoned. Of course we have to allow for believers making mistakes which might result in their imprisonment in some small set of cases. More likely: to the extent that this is applicable to actual events in the Millennium, these special circumstances would obtain to the time of the Gog-Magog rebellion at the end of the thousand years. We don't know how long this rebellion will last, but it must take some time for the devil to enlist the entire (unbelieving) world and assemble them at Jerusalem for an attack of the great city of the King. In the course of this rebellion, we can imagine that all manner of terrible things will be allowed to occur, including the false imprisonment of believers throughout the world. So this passage is true of all history in general terms, and also in its specifics to the end of the Millennium.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Connection Between Matthew 25 and Obadiah 1:12-14?

"You should not have gloated
    when they exiled your relatives to distant lands.
You should not have rejoiced
    when the people of Judah suffered such misfortune.
You should not have spoken arrogantly
    in that terrible time of trouble.
You should not have plundered the land of Israel
    when they were suffering such calamity.
You should not have gloated over their destruction
    when they were suffering such calamity.
You should not have seized their wealth
    when they were suffering such calamity.
You should not have stood at the crossroads,
    killing those who tried to escape.
You should not have captured the survivors
    and handed them over in their terrible time of trouble"
Obadiah 1:12-14

Response #20:

There is certainly a parallel to be drawn. Obadiah speaks of the literal humbling of Edom, spoken about elsewhere in scripture, notably in Ezekiel chapters 25, 32, 35-36 (and in numerous other places in the prophets), but also importantly for our purposes in Isaiah chapter 34 where there a deliberate eschatological parallel is made. The main reason I would see this connection as in the realm of application as opposed to actual fulfillment of prophecy is that the situation at the end of the Millennium will involve more than Edom on the oppressing side (i.e., most of the population of the inhabited world) and more than Israel on the oppressed side (i.e., all believers worldwide at that point). And also, of course, Matthew 25 is giving a synopsis of good and bad behavior which covers all unbelievers from the beginning of time (the goats), whereas the believers are composed of only those who have just come out of the Millennium (the Church already having been resurrected).

However, there is a clear parallel of diction here, and that is certainly not accidental. Our Lord may have had this passage in mind when He spoke the words of Matthew 25.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Hi Bob,

Suppose an outsider to Israel in the Millennium would like to be saved. Will obedience in the millennium require anyone who is not in Israel to abandon their nationality and move to Israel, or can he still be an obedient believer in his own country?

I'm scared of the Millennium because I fear that Jesus Christ is going to demand that the gentiles take Jewish customs if they want to be saved. I fear that the logical conclusion of dispensationalism is that God arbitrarily imposes behavioral restrictions/commandments on people just for the sake of seeing who is willing to dance the right way in order to avoid having their skin burn in eternal agony with fire and sulfur.

And you have no choice but to obey because God is God and he does whatever he wants to do.

Sincerely,

Response #21:

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
1st John 4:16-18 NIV

I wouldn't worry about it. God loves us and God knows what He's doing. Also, I don't find any requirement in scripture for millennial gentiles to follow Jewish customs in order to be saved; there are stipulations to attend festivals, but that seems to me to be more of a political thing in the sense of acknowledging the Messiah's reign. Additionally, there is every indication that we believers are going to be an integral part of the administration. At that point, we will be in resurrection and sharing in Christ's rule.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Dr. Luginbill: I’ve written before. I’m a lay Lutheran Christian. I am impressed by the volume, but more particularly the quality and detail of your expositions. Thank you for your God given gifts..

As the blurb below indicates I’ve been trying to understand eschatology, starting from my handicapped position as a Lutheran etc. I hope to try to awaken others to this issue and what is stated below might be my first email on the subject.

I like in the future to gain knowledge from your site. By chance do you have any teachings that come to your mind that would be particularly applicable to the effort I hope to do?

I thank you for the time you will spend dealing with this letter ... And any direction from you would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Folks I am a 75 year old Christian from a Lutheran denomination. One who over the last ~40 years has been struggling with many aspects of recent Lutheran theology and practice? But more recently having slowly discovered that many mainline churches do not take very seriously many of the events that the Bible prophesies that will occur in toward the last days. They don’t take them very seriously because they inherited a theology (this theology is called amillennialism) way back in the 1st century that allegorizes or spiritualizes many of those books, and chapters. I have found however, that many people have been led by the Spirit to take more seriously those books etc. then their church organizations do. I, also find myself in concurrence with them. Those who have chosen not to ignore or diminish God’s word since, I believe, He gave it to us for good reasons and those reasons may be of ultimate importance in our days then they may have been formerly.

I believe there is potentially great ultimate danger that we Christians may experience, if we continue in our indifference regarding understanding God’s Word, especially His Word that is applicable as the last days of this age approach.

Therefore, it’s my wish to use this media to send information in future letters that begin to explain what I hope will be information that may be helpful for us.

Blessing

Response #22:

Good to hear from you again.

I admire your dedication to the truth, and am encouraged by your desire to spread it to others. The road of apologetics is often a rough one, however, and I don't want you to be discouraged by the opposition that is sure to come. Individuals in certain groups may respond, but it is nigh on impossible to change an entire group from the inside out.

"Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."
Matthew 9:17 NIV

The introduction you include seems very appropriate to me. The one thing I would wish to change is the idea that amillennialism was an "agreed doctrine" in the first century. The history of doctrinal development (which is really the history of doctrinal confusion in the church visible following the high-water mark of the apostolic age) is complicated (and very incomplete since we only know about organized religions which have left records), but it does seem pretty clear that on the subject of discounting the Millennium (and Revelation along with eschatology generally), Augustine's writings were the influential turning point (5th cent.); these were accepted by Rome and the Roman church (which did not complete its transition into the R.C. religion we know until several centuries after Augustine), as were most of his opinions (another one that has done great damage is his misunderstanding of "original sin"). The early church generally accepted a literal Millennium; it took some generations of allegoric interpreters such as Origen to break down the belief that the Bible means what it says.

Do feel free to write me back any time about any of this.

Best wishes for your success in ministering the Word of God to His Church.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Dr. Luginbill:

Thanks you so much for your response and encouragement.

I am convicted that as much of what the Bible says, as possible, should be taken even literally unless it seems obvious that aspects should not be. Being one without the benefit of a theological education, I really struggle with dealing with the nuances of the millennial views. My judgment then is that I need to believe what the Spirit is convicting me of and also what my logic seems to tell me. So, as of now, unless those inputs change I believe in the idea that the millennium is as literal as it is written.

My version of logic tells me this is a safer understanding of the millennial understanding because:

In my experience in the Lutheran church many aspects of Scripture, that related to futurist ideas are rarely spoken of or only pieces are as seems to meet the pastors need.

Because of the above, any preparation for events that precede the 2nd coming are not spoken of, such as deception, the beasts, the danger of the instead of Christ (Satan I presume) etc.

Consequently, it seems to me, even if another understanding of the millennium where in fact more correct, the practical application of the amillennial view is to leave Christians ill-informed and susceptible to worshiping the false Christ. All this seems in my understanding to occur because we are convinced that we already live safely in the millennium and the only future event of significance is the actual return of Jesus (therefore all is well...).

So, my question is: How flawed is my logic?

Thanks for your honesty and commitment to the Lord.

Response #23:

Very good to hear from you again, my friend. I think your logic is rock-solid. In fact, it is precisely the sort of thing I try to point out all the time to my friends in the traditional denominations. For a recent exchange of this sort, please see the link: "Eschatology Issues IX".

This coming vulnerability due to blindness in regard to something about which scripture has much to say is not confined to the traditionals; indeed, most evangelicals are "pre-Trib", meaning that they believe they will be "raptured" out of the world before the Tribulation begins. The net effect of that false teaching is essentially the same as the amillennial view: adherents don't really have to be concerned about the prophetic scriptures which deal with the Tribulation because they won't have to experience it personally – or so they wrongly believe. In fact, a very large part of the reason why it is so important to get the true "post-Trib" view correct (meaning that we will only be resurrected at the Lord's second advent return after the Tribulation) is that unless we understand that it not only CAN happen to us but that in a very short while it WILL happen to us, we are unlikely to do the things NOW to prepare spiritually that will help us to get through to the end THEN once the pressure is on.

And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.
Joel 2:32 NIV

For the danger of denying our imminent entrance into the Tribulation, please see the following link: Peter #27: "Three False Doctrines which Threaten Faith".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #24:

I am doing well and thank you for your continued prayers. It is interesting to see all the hoopla about ISIS and the comments about restricting Muslims. I see a trend or hint of what could possible be during the tribulation. I believe God gives signs even though it might not play out exactly.

In Christ our Lord.

Response #24:

I'm very glad to hear you are doing well!

Yes, I think that there is no question but that we can see many trends at work today which are indications of precisely what the Bible demonstrates will happen once the Tribulation begins. The growing polarization and the clear fact (to any objective observer) that there is nothing anyone can really do about it is certainly one of those "table setting" trends in my opinion. This may not give us any particular insight into precisely how tribulational events will unfold once the Tribulation begins (there are many blanks to be filled in, after all), but it should provide added motivation to take this all in deadly earnest and prepare as best we can for what is coming soon.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Good morning Bob!

I would like to know how you determined the times the books of holy scriptures were written, but for now, may I know what your basis for your conclusion that the three epistles of john and the Revelation were written before the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem?

Thank you very much,

Response #25:

Good to make your acquaintance. As to your question, when it comes to dating any piece of literature from the ancient world, one is always dealing with inference. In this case, the persuasiveness of the inference is higher than normal. First, the book of Revelation is the last book in the codices in which it is found. Given that the order of books in the major codices is not always precisely the same (e.g., Acts occurs with the Pauline epistles in Sinaiticus), that positioning is evidence of it being the last book written chronologically as well. Its absence from some other mss. is a further indication of its relative lateness, the idea being that it took the longest time to be fully circulated of all of the canonical New Testament works. Nearly the same arguments hold for the epistles of John; one can say with some assurance that they are earlier than the book of Revelation, both from the finality one finds at the end of the latter (i.e., Rev.22:16-21), and also from the fact that the epistles give the impression of being written prior to the former (cf. especially 1Jn.2:18; 2:22; 4:3; 2Jn.1:7).

As to the dating of Revelation, this is the most solid point of all, albeit one that is usually missed in treatments of the book. Nero is the sixth king who "now is", i.e., at John's time of writing (Rev.17:10); Nero was the last of the Julio-Claudian emperors to be followed in the far future by the "seventh king" (antichrist). Since Nero was assassinated in 69 A.D., we have a terminus ante quem for the book. As stated in footnote #1 in CT 2A:

The historical testimony for placing the death of John later is somewhat contradictory and entirely unconvincing. The "evidence" that does survive is derivative – both the traditional date of the book of Revelation and that of John's death are suspiciously juxtaposed with Domitian's admittedly fierce persecution of the Church. But Irenaeus' statements from which these dates are largely derived (see especially Adversus Omnes Haereses 5.30.3: Irenaeus is good on theological issues but notoriously deficient in chronological matters) are in themselves confusing and open to interpretation. It is easy to see how early historians without any particular evidence would naturally wish link John's death with a martyrdom at the hands of Domitian. For details and commentary see R.H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids 1998) 12, n.60, and R.H. Charles, The Revelation of St. John v.1 (Edinburgh 1920) xlv-1. However, as was argued in part 1, Revelation is best taken as having been written toward the end of the emperor Nero's reign. For Nero is the sixth king who "now is" at John's time of writing (Rev.17:10: see discussion in part 3B, section II.1.c.4), the last of the Julio-Claudian emperors to be followed in the far future by the "seventh king" (antichrist). Therefore that John's death should occur shortly after the writing of this final book of the canon and prior to the end of the Old Testament dispensation of temple worship (which ought not extend past the point of the Church's full operational status with the passing of the apostles) is far a more likely construction of events.

I hope this will be of some help to you. Do feel free to write me back about any of the above.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Good afternoon Bob!

Thank you for your detailed response to my question on your basis for dates for john's epistle and book of revelation. just came back from the Philippines and read your response.

Many years ago, I read a book on the dating of revelation that, contrary to popularly accepted dating, dated the book of revelation as before the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. somehow, I cannot find the book. I must have loaned it to someone before I left the Philippines. the book was persuasive and I got to believe the bases were more acceptable than those of dates around 90ad. however, I completely forgot what those were except for the one that mentioned the temple as if the temple Herod built was still existing. so i was intrigued to find yours also dating it before the temple was destroyed. i wanted to have solid bases for the dating of the book rather than conjectures as what I came across in most late datings.

You mentioned rev 17:10 being an indication that it was talking about Nero. what is your basis for concluding this? why just start the count of these seven kings from and end of the Julio-Claudian dynasty 27bc-68ad? what was the significance of this to the first readers of Revelation? is it because these were the emperors that span the years of the total account of the NT?

Be blessed,

Response #26:

It's always nice to hear when others have come to similar, correct conclusions themselves, simply by paying attention to scripture – so thanks for this (and do let me know if you ever remember the book/author).

On Nero, whatever chronology one prefers, Revelation was written to an audience of believers who lived under the Julio-Claudian emperors. So it was only natural that the Spirit would focus on that dynasty, both because the readers could know nothing of future developments in the empire, and also because the empire, beginning with Julius Caesar (Augustus was "#2", contrary to what some seem to think) was so radically different from anything that had come before. More than that, most would accept that the geographical beast is Rome, contemporary and later revived (in the Tribulation). That being accepted, the seven kings have to be kings of Rome. These can only be the emperors, and they start with Caesar. Nero is sixth on that list; antichrist is "yet to come". So Nero has to be the one who "now is". Starting later would upset any reasonable understanding of the seven kings, on both ends of the equation. The only way "now is" works under any chronology is if that "one" is a Julio-Claudian. The only way there can be five before him is for the emperor in question to be Nero.

Glad you got back safe and sound!

Wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Good evening Bob,

Thank you for sharing your basis for identifying the 6th king as Nero. However, would this not be true IF the dating of revelation has been already determined as before the destruction of Jerusalem. This, I would think, makes the reasoning circular. You did mention this dynasty was radically different than what preceded it. In what way? Would that disqualify the set of six emperors between 68ad and 96ad as the set of kings referred to so that would make that argument correct to date the writing of revelation on 90ad or so.

So far, I am only after the true account. what is of greater importance to me is what kind of erroneous doctrine would arise from wrongly dating the book? Why would wrongly dating this book have more serious consequence than the other books the dates of which can neither be accurately determined?

I like to have solid basis for what i believe in. The reason I am pursuing this is the doctrinal implications this might have.

Be blessed,

Response #27:

Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. I date Revelation to before the death of Nero in 67 A.D. – which is indeed before the destruction of Jerusalem – so I don't understand your first statement.

On alternative datings, I suppose one could start at other points, but why would one start with e.g. Galba (in your alternative)? There's nothing special about him; he didn't even last a single year (there is then also the problem with the "seventh" having to be Domitian and not antichrist; see last paragraph below). The three temporary rulers between Nero and Vespasian hardly qualify as "kings" (they're certainly not anywhere on the level of any of the emperors who preceded or followed). So I suppose the main thing that would disqualify other emperors is that there is nothing whatsoever to qualify them in the first place. The empire started with Julius Caesar and was something quite unique in world history. This was recognized at the time and has been by historians ever after, and also even more significantly by the Bible (e.g., Heb.9:26). Before Caesar, Rome was ruled by the Senate and the people (SPQR). After Caesar and to the end it was ruled by the will of one man, an emperor, a "king", and the empire created the conditions suitable for the spread of the Word of God (hostile to it though the polity itself was). So the seismic shift between Republic and Empire which affected dramatically the entire world of that day is a natural starting point for the list of kings. I know of no other such point and know of no reason to start the list later unless one wants a later date for the book (and that would be circular reasoning).

As to what difference it might make doctrinally, it doesn't make any great difference as long as everyone understands what the seven and the eight are in Revelation 17:11. The kings represent 1) a list of Roman emperors, the last of which "has not yet come": this is antichrist who revives the empire during the Tribulation – that is the key point being made in scripture. The kings also at the same time represent the seven kings of the provinces of revived, eschatological Rome who will give their allegiance to antichrist – who is in that sense "an eighth" king (because he is king of mystery Babylon and from that power base will come to dominate the revived empire). So Revelation itself tells us that there is a dual meaning here by calling antichrist "the seventh" and "one of the eight", meaning, the ultimate Roman ruler (the beast) and the commander of the seven contemporary kings who at that time rule the parts of the then revived Roman empire.

If Nero is the king who "now is", then not only does the list start at the beginning, the most natural starting point, but the six are also naturally separated from the seventh since Nero was the last of the Julio-Claudians, and since there was no smooth succession after his assassination (quite the opposite as we have discussed already). If Nero is the emperor in power when John is writing, we not only have the list starting at the beginning – where all such lists are wont to start unless something is said to the contrary – but also ending at a natural termination point (temporarily until antichrist comes on the scene). And in that case, he is the one who "now is".

I hope this is helpful to you. Wishing you a very merry Christmas!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #28:

Hi Bob,

Will the wall be 1,200 miles high into the sky? If so, then the New Jerusalem will look extremely bizarre.

http://truthinlove.com/gallery/NewJerusalem.jpg

Keep in mind that the fact that the dimensions of the city will be 1,200 stades square does not entail that the wall needs to be that tall.

Sincerely,

Response #28:

You will find all this written up at the following link:

The City's Rim and Exterior Wall

Contrary to popular opinion, Revelation 21:17 does not say that the "wall" will be 144 cubits high (the word "wall" is not present in the verse, nor is the word "height"), but that the sacred interval between wall and city will be of that dimension (later mss. confusing cheilos for teichos; see the link above). The height of the wall is not specified, but John in his flying tour around the city found the gates to be prominent and impressive. We conclude, therefore, that wall is extremely massive (so as to accommodate gates that are distinctive in comparison to the city's majestic proportions), even if not rising to the full vertical dimensions of the city itself.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #29:

Hi Bob,

I learned that in three of the seven ecumenical councils that millennialism was considered to be a heresy. Why has historic Christianity been so opposed to millennialism, and why does modern Christianity seem so predisposed to it?

Response #29:

There has never been unanimity then or now. The fact that there is more truth abroad regarding eschatological matters nowadays is no doubt due to the grace of God preparing those who are willing to be prepared for all that is to come. But whether it is the Roman church or traditional Protestant groups or mega-church Evangelicals, all have a lot to answer for when it comes to ignoring their first obligation of seeking the truth before all else.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #30:

Hi Bob,

Will the Antichrist Control Afghanistan? That country is notoriously the graveyard of the empires, with the USA appearing to have entered that graveyard (and China wanting its turn). Do you think it is realistic to believe that the Antichrist will have success in controlling it?

Sincerely,

Response #30:

Scripture is clear on the point of the beast coming to control the entire world (e.g., Rev.13:7-8).

How might this happen? In my "pre"-construction of these things in the CT series, Afghanistan would probably fall under the territory of one of the three kings who give their allegiance to the Mahdi and, after being completely defeated in two major campaigns, become allied with him to rule the world (the satanic plan all along as even these three are really part of the "ten"). Please see the link: "The ten horns" in CT 3B.

But however right or wrong our attempts at piecing together the specifics in the application of the truths scripture gives us about these events before the fact, the principle clear from scripture is something it behooves us to accept, even it may seem unlikely. Plenty of "seemingly unlikely" things have happened in history, many more in the history of the people of God, and even more will during the Tribulation (cf. 2Pet.3:1-13).

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #31:

Hi Bob,

"Lord, when you went out from Seir, / when you marched from the region of Edom, the earth trembled / and the heavens dropped, / yes, the clouds dropped water."
Judges 5:4

Why would God "go out" from Mount Seir? What does this mean?

Sincerely,

Response #31:

When the Lord arrives for judgment at the second advent, He comes initially from the east (which is why the temple is oriented to open to the east). This verse is also prophetic of the Armageddon campaign of which this destruction of the gentile armies in Judges chapter 4 is a type. See Habakkuk 3:3-6, and the link: "The Winepress of Armageddon".

(1) Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? "It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save." (2) Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? (3) "I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. (4) For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come. (5) I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm (i.e., the Messiah) worked salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me. (6) I trampled the nations in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground."
Isaiah 63:1-6 NIV

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #32:

Dr. Luginbill: Again thanks for the answers you’ve provide to me recently, I continue to use your site as I/we (myself and a few others are starting to dig into this subject)

A dear friend of mine who if I’d help him be in contact with you, so could you give him a little insight as to how to proceed in his and our quest ?

Would you be comfortable passing this on to Dr Luginbil?

Dear Dr Luginbil

My friend has been kind enough to pass on several email exchanges he has had with you recently. Because of his interest in Eschatology he has opened the minds of others, including myself, to want to know more. Tough to do in a Lutheran environment - where pastors and Lutheran scholars have little or no interest to go beyond - (just the word)- amillennial

Dr Luginbil, I hope you might open some doors for all of us. If possible could you guide us slowly and begin at the beginning -

What is End times and why is it important -

Then proceed with a short overview of key points with recommendations of how we might grow into a greater understanding

It's a tough subject to just jump into with just a Lutheran (simplistic) background

Response #32:

Very good to make your acquaintance. There is a tremendous amount of information to be found at Ichthys about the end times in the Bible; eschatology has been a particular focus of this ministry (two major series and many additional postings). Here are the major links:

The Satanic Rebellion series: Background to the Tribulation

The Coming Tribulation series

Together the two multiple part series above run to several thousands of single-spaced pages. I am in the process of doing an "eschatology" study that will be a synopsis of my prior work and much shorter (now posted at the link: BB 2B). In other words, there is a lot to say on this subject – because the Bible says a lot about it.

Let me put one or two things into a "nutshell" for you here in light of your background. First, we are meant to understand many things about the end times (the name used in theological circles for this topic is "eschatology", the study of the "eschaton" or "last" period of history from God's point of view). Second, human history is divided into seven one-thousand year periods, the last of which is the Millennium, a literal one thousand year age wherein Christ will rule the world from Jerusalem (Israel being regathered directly after His return), and we Christians will share that rule with Him in our resurrection bodies (having been resurrected at His second advent return). Third, this final period thousand year age of the most intense blessing the world has seen since Eden will be preceded by the seven worst years in human history, namely, the Tribulation, wherein antichrist will rule the world (the book of Revelation covers these things in more or less chronological sequence beginning with the breaking of the seventh seal which then "opens the book"). The commencement of the Tribulation begins the end times to which all as yet unfulfilled prophecy in scripture applies (although the two thousand year "mystery" age of the Church is a time of imminence of its commencement: these are "the last days" in that sense), and that seven year time of trouble is, by all biblical indications, getting very close indeed. At its conclusion Christ returns (the second advent), resurrecting us and then destroying the beast and his armies at the battle of Armageddon. Fourth, at the end of the Millennium, following a final revolt by Satan when he is released for a little time, the present universe will be destroyed by fire and replaced with the new heavens and new earth; New Jerusalem will descend to the new earth and we believers will dwell with the Lord therein forever, enjoying the as yet untold blessings of this new world for all eternity. In between these two events the last judgment will take place (the judgment of all unbelievers), as well as the prior judgment of the millennial believers to determine their rewards (just as the Church is judged and rewarded at Christ's return).

One other thing worthy of mention in this regard (given the background reported) is that those of us who are alive at Christ's return will be immediately resurrected without tasting death – while those who have previously died in the Lord from Adam to the last death of a believer in the Tribulation are resurrected just prior to this as part of this same resurrection (this may be called a "rapture", but that word is mostly used by evangelicals in teaching the false doctrine of a resurrection preceding the Tribulation – in actuality it follows it at Christ's return). When believers die today, they enter into the presence of the Lord in heaven, and await (in a temporary body/dwelling/robe: 2Cor.5:3 in the Greek, not in most versions) the glorious day of His return we all long for.

There is plenty to say about every aspect of every topic broached here. Suffice it to say that mastering these things is not an overnight project. I am happy to answer any questions you might have. Sinking your teeth into the two major series linked above would be my first choice in recommending a way to proceed. However, if you would like to look into individual topics, I recommend the subject index at Ichthys (see the link) where you will be able to click through to the specific question you are interested in as well as finding other postings which address them, often shorter and written in response to questions such as yours.

Question #33:

Hello Dr Luginbill,

Thanks for the warm introduction. I promise I will look through all of this material. Let me ask again for a shorter End Times intro for many of our friends that have had very little exposure. Maybe just a two page review of why they should be interested.

Once you have their attention then your list of material to research is awesome.

Respectfully

Response #33:

You are most welcome, and thanks much for your kind words.

Respectfully, I'm not particularly gifted at evangelism or apologetics. My gifts run toward teaching the Bible to already interested parties. What you are looking for is what used to be called in ancient philosophy a protreptikon, that is, a preface to a study or book that acts as a "hook" to attract new converts. I've always felt that the truth is inherently attractive – for any and all actually interested in the truth. But we all have our own gifts, and so I don't want to second guess my brothers and sisters in Christ who are gifted in this way. Perhaps this is something you will be able to provide/construct once you have grounded yourself in area of doctrine? You certainly know the potential audience better than I do.

The closest thing I have at Ichthys along the lines of what you are asking for is "The Importance of Alertness" (in CT 7). Please also see the link: "Preparing for Tribulation".

Happy New Year, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #34:

Dear Dr. Bob:

Since I last wrote I’m still dealing with how to be a "Watchman", for the promised Tribulation that He will fulfill maybe soon, that is if he allows. I do read from your site and do plan on using the information on it to provide the biblical backup to what ever I eventually release.

Bob I found your site initially a few years ago by searching for others who talked about three earth/heaven ages. I became interested in that concept (which I had never heard of before, being a protected Lutheran), from a gentleman name Dr. Arnold Murray who was on TV (but who is now dead). If you are aware of his teaching, you probably know that many of them are considered by some to be, I guess the word might be heretical. I’m not sure if they are or not for example: (You may comment if you wish.)

3 earth ages

seed of Satan, being real people

that we were created before the world/heavens were formed.

that we participated in the first earth age in the Satanic rebellion.

That those of us who did not rebel against God then are the Elect.

Some of these issues and my questions may not have much to do with the coming Tribulation but I’ll ask anyway:

1) Since I anticipate my audience to be amillennialists, do amillennialsists believe in the Tribulation as you describe it? I read that maybe they do believe things will get worse before the coming of Jesus, but they may not call it the same thing or that its not as bad.

2) How so amillennialists interpret I Th. 2 where it talks about the restraint being removed or there being less restraint? also what other verses etc. backup this concept?

3) Do you believe that we were created before the earth was formed?

4) What is your teaching regarding Satan’s seed, is it physical or is it just those who remain unsaved?

5) What’s your understanding of the election/ who, when, how, etc.?

Thank you for all that you have done to provide the understanding we so badly need, and for all the help you offer even to folks like us.

Blessing

Response #34:

It's good to hear from you again, my friend. I happy to hear also that you are continuing your spiritual forward progress and study in the Word.

As to your questions (and since they do seem to embrace and incorporate what you speak about in what precedes I'll confine myself to these – as always do feel free to write me back if there is anything I may have missed):

1) There are, as with most large theological schools, many variations. However, in general terms amillennialists do not believe that there are specific time periods ahead. At some point Christ will return (that will be "the end"), and that may entail "things getting worse first", depending upon the group and interpreter in question. The key point for our purposes is that they do not see a Millennium, and so do not see the prophecies of scripture which preceded the millennial rule of Christ as anything more than general and/or symbolic (and again, please, we are speaking in generalities as opposed to the official positions of entire denominations as in the various Presbyterian and Lutheran groups, e.g.).

2) In my understanding of the matter, they would see this passage as symbolic (for the most part). Here is what Calvin says about antichrist in this passage: "Now, every one that has learned from Scripture what are the things that more especially belong to God, and will, on the other hand, observe what the Pope claims for himself — though he were but a boy of ten years of age — will have no great difficulty in recognizing Antichrist." Given the problems even in Calvin's day of lining up the pope with the beast as the latter is described in scripture, adopting a very loose symbolic approach in interpretation was/is necessary (for amillennialism to "work" in ignoring the clear sense of almost all prophetic passages).

3) "We" are created when God creates our human spirits at birth within our human bodies – and not before (e.g., Zech.12:1; see the link: "The Creation of Man" in BB 3A).

4) While there may be a symbolic application to all who follow the devil here, the reference in Genesis 3:15 is to antichrist, the beast himself, the devil's son (covered in CT 3B: Antichrist and his Kingdom).

5) The details on election can be found in BB 4B: Soteriology, at the link under "God's Plan to Save You". In a nutshell, God "programs" the elect into the plan of God as saved – based upon His foreknowledge of our choice to accept the gospel and our willingness therefore to worship Him as God for all eternity; those who are not willing to do so self-select to hell (the opposite of "election").

Do feel free to write me back about any of the above, my friend.

Keep fighting the good fight of faith in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior!

Bob L.

Question #35:

Hi Bob,

Paradoxically, I feel as if the secular knowledge of the Church Age of Philadelphia was better than that of our current age. Such a claim may sound insane, but I feel that the knowledge of the world was more coherent, while today, even though we may have a larger collection of facts, we lack an effective theory that puts all of those facts together. The philosophies of Kant and Hegel were far more comprehensive of the nature of truth than that of Darwin. Whenever I start thinking about the facts of life, I find myself drawn more and more to the systems of knowledge of the Age of Philadelphia than of our current age.

Response #35:

Philadelphia was the best age of the seven in Revelation. But we are where we are, and in any case the Lord deals with us as individuals. Better to be red hot for the truth in Laodicea than lukewarm in Philadelphia, after all. Keep desiring the truth.

Question #36:

Hi Bob,

In his Institutes, Calvin strongly affirms that though the spirit has organic faculties, it is immortal and separable from the body. He argues that human ability to reason, perform scientific investigation, invent "marvelous devices," even "divine the future – all while man sleeps" are "unfailing signs of divinity in man."

Yet in a day when computers prove theorems and play chess, it is appears that some of the kinds of rationality Calvin had in mind are in fact mechanical. Because finding regularities in the world, devising ingenious solutions to problems, and proving theorems can be done by computers, it is necessary (and possible) to define more closely what are the "unfailing signs of divinity in man."

Because the human spirit exists, it must have capabilities that are unique to it and it alone and therefore cannot be mechanized. However, we have a problem: playing chess was once thought to be a function of the human spirit, even though now we know that playing chess can be mechanized.

So how can we know by natural revelation whether or not there exist capabilities of the human spirit that cannot be mechanized? And if so, then does that undermine the claim that the existence of the human spirit can be known through natural revelation? And if the existence of the spirit cannot be known through natural revelation, and God is spiritual, then can the existence of God be known through natural revelation?

Sincerely,

Response #36:

When computers get up one morning and decide they want to play chess, and the next morning decide they don't want to play chess, I'll put it on my list of concerns.

We human beings have the very image of God, the ability to choose in all matters great and small – that we might choose for Jesus Christ, the choice that matters most. No other species or category of things (apart from the angels) is comparable in any way.

But the phenomenon of AI is certainly one more indication of the rapid advance of potentially spiritually destructive technology being incompatible with this age continuing for much longer. All the more reason to make every day a day of preparation for the Tribulation – through what we ought to be doing anyway, learning, applying and ministering the truth of the Word of God.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

 

Ichthys Home
 

Bible Options
Bible Study Software