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Eschatology Issues XVIII

Word RTF

Question #1:

Hi Bob,

What does Psalm 122:7 "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem" mean? I heard Christian Zionists say that this verse applies to the modern day capital of the State of Israel, but I'm not too sure about that interpretation.

Response #1:

"Christian Zionists"? I know what you mean (I think), but Zionism is a political ideology and a completely secular one at that. That makes sense too, because if a person wants to see the biblical promises to Israel fulfilled and feels that the only way that can happen is through human political action, well, at least they can't think much of God and His abilities since He needs all that "help" from them.

If you are asking for my interpretation, this Psalm is both a contemporary, literal prayer for the peace and security of the capital of biblical Israel of David's day, and may also be taken as prophetically looking forward to the time when Israel is restored and ruled by David as the Messiah's lieutenant in the land during the Millennium. It certainly doesn't have anything to do with the present day secular state of Israel. For one thing, the justification David uses for this prayer request found in the last verse makes that impossible: "For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity" (Ps.122:9 NIV). The temple was destroyed by the Romans nearly two thousand years ago and will not be rebuilt even in an incipient form until the Tribulation begins. This Psalm is all about asking for God's blessing upon the focal point of the worship of God by the people of God, but in modern day Israel there is no worship of God going on, no temple, and precious few believers of any stripe.

I have no problem in praying for any person or group of people for whose salvation one may be desirous. But there is certainly a danger in injecting politics into anything spiritual, and this area is not an exception – just the opposite.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Dear Robert,

Is the current Israel in her 'Aliyah' prophetic? Or is it more a human effort? These questions are in regards of Ezekiel 20: 33-36, which refers to an act of Messiah as a future event.

The blood of Christ gives us the boldness to enter into His (Father) presence,

Response #2:

Always good to hear from you, my friend.

Indeed, there is a plethora of passages which make it clear that "all Israel" will not be regathered into the land until the Messiah returns and regathers them (you can find the full discussion of this at the link in CT 6: "The Regathering and Purging of Israel").

It is also very clear from scripture that a Jewish state exists during the Tribulation. That is taken for granted in every passage of scripture which discusses the end times. The Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and the further devastations following the Bar-Kochba rebellion in the next century resulted in the removal and/or flight of most Jews from the land (though not all, as is sometimes assumed); that is not predicted in scripture – and neither is the (necessary) return of many Jews beginning in the 19th century and accelerated after WWII in the 20th. But that "return" has been the result of a political movement (Zionism; see the link), and is unquestionably only partial (the vast majority of Jewish people in the world today do not live in Israel), and so cannot constitute the fulfillment of the prophecies of regathering in any way. God clearly is in control of all events which happen in all of history, but there is a very large distinction to made on the one hand between a man-made political movement which has only brought a fraction of the Jewish population worldwide back to the land, and a divinely mandated complete return of every Jewish survivor orchestrated by the Messiah Himself once He has taken up rule in Jerusalem.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #3:

What does this verse mean?

"This is what the Lord says: 'The people who survive the swordwill find favor in the wilderness; I will come to give rest to Israel.'" (Jeremiah 31:2)

Response #3:

This refers to the regathering of Israel on the threshold of the land following the Tribulation in the early days of the Millennium (cf. Hos.2:14 and see the link).

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi Dr Luginbill,

I hope you and family are doing well, and having a great start to this new year!

I was just studying, and using your essay on the Resurrection in review, and I'd like you to clarify something for me. Am I understanding your commentary correctly in that there is a 3 part Resurrection, and that before that time there is an "interim state" which will characterizes believers' bodies for who have died already: first Christ, then, those who are taken up to be with Him at His coming. Then, the "catchall" is at the conclusion of human history where both the unredeemed as well as the millennial believers – and those believers will not see death due to the seamless transfer of the Kingdom to God by Christ, will receive their eternal bodies? And this is the third phase of the Resurrection?

Thank you as always for your accessibility.

In Him,

Response #4:

Good to hear from you, my friend.

Yes indeed, that is it in a nutshell:

(23) But each [will be resurrected] in his own echelon. Christ [is the] first-fruits. Next [will be] those belonging to Christ at His coming (i.e., the 2nd Advent). (24) Then the end, when He will hand the Kingdom over to the Father, after He has brought an end to all rule, all power, and all authority. (25) For He must rule until He has placed all His enemies under His feet – (26) and death is the final enemy to be done away with.
1st Corinthians 15:23-26

Jesus was first; the Church comes second at the second advent; the Millennial believers (the "friends of the Bride") are resurrected at the end of history – which is also when all unbelievers are resurrected. The sheep and goats judgment of Matthew 25 deals with both of these, the sheep being the millennial believers, the goats being all unbelievers of all time.

For more, please see the link: "The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride"

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Dr. L

I do not understand the following quote: “And since all believers who survive until the Second Advent will be resurrected at that time...”

If the believers have survived until Christ’s return, how can they be resurrected? They survived. They’re not dead. I don’t understand.

Response #5:

Hello Friend,

Good to hear from you again.

The resurrection (of believers) takes place in three phases:

(23) But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. (24) Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.
1st Corinthians 15:23-24 NIV

The first phase is Christ, and His resurrection has already been accomplished. The last phase or "end" takes place at the end of history when all of the millennial believers (aka "the friends of the Bride") will be resurrected. But the middle or second phase, the resurrection of the Church (the "Bride of Christ"), takes place at Christ's "coming", that is, at the 2nd Advent which occurs at and marks the end of the Tribulation. That is when "the dead in Christ rise first", followed by "we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever" (1Thes.4:17 NIV). So this middle phase of the resurrection, the resurrection of the Church, is mainly composed of those who have died (from Adam and Eve to the point of Christ's return) but will also include those who are believers and "still alive" at the point of the 2nd Advent, having survived the Tribulation both spiritually and physically.

(51) Behold, I tell you a mystery: not all of us will fall asleep (i.e., some will experience the living resurrection at Christ's return), but all of us will all of us be changed (52) in [that] moment of time, in the blink of an eye, at the final trumpet blast (i.e., announcing the end of the Tribulation and the Lord's return). For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will rise incorruptible, and we too (i.e., believers still alive) will be changed [at that time (i.e., the Lord's Second Advent return)].
1st Corinthians 15:51-52

(15) For we tell you this by the Lord's own Word, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord (i.e., the Second Advent which brings the Great Tribulation to a close) will not precede those who have fallen asleep. (16) For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout of command, with the archangel's blast on the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first (in resurrection), (17) then we who are alive and remain will be snatched up together with them in clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and in this way we shall always be with the Lord.
1st Thessalonians 4:15-17

So the term "resurrection" for what happens to those believers who are still alive when Christ returns is probably technically not the best (since as you point out they are not dead), but it is the one traditionally used since what happens to them (and possibly "us"), i.e., the transformation of the first body into the eternal or "resurrection body", is precisely what happens to the rest of the Church who have already passed on. The only difference is in their (possibly "our") status before the transformation, not in the nature of the transformation itself.

Hope this answers your question. You can find out more at the links:

Peter #27: "Tribulational Security"

The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride

Please feel free to write me back about any of the above.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Dear Sir,

I appreciate the time and effort that you have obviously put into your studies so that others of us may learn, thank you.

When you give the time periods of the churches in the Tribulation series: Ephesus - 12 years; Smyrna - 360 and so on, where do you get these time periods, they are very interesting and I would like to know where they came from.

Thank you for your time and wisdom

Response #6:

Good to make your acquaintance (and apologies for the delay – busy time here).

In terms of the time periods of the seven church eras, this is explained at the link: "Chronological and Historical Overview" in CT 2A, and defended and further explained at the link: "What Church era are we in?". The seven churches – to me very clearly – must represent the consecutive trends of the Church Age: cf. Rev.4:1: "Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this" (lit., "after these things", namely, what our Lord has just said in the preceding two chapters). Therefore it is really only a matter of splitting up the time between the writing of Revelation and the beginning of the Tribulation (i.e., the 1,956 years). The method I used was informed by historical events as discernible from the details given in chapters two and three for reasons discussed in the links. This is an interpretation (as opposed to something directly taught in scripture), but it is certainly an informed one, and in my view any proper interpretation of the seven churches could only quibble about the precise dates given. I have seen other interpretations which approach the problem in a very similar way, but none which I personally feel have given a reasonable explanation, based upon scriptural parallels, for the divisions I have preferred. The additional persuasive point for me personally is that these divisions result in the eras matching up with what we do know of prior Church history very precisely. But the truly important point for any Christian looking at this issue is to realize that we are presently in the era of Laodicea, and so take to heart the ramifications of that realization (i.e., the Tribulation is close and therefore spiritual preparation very necessary). If a reader gets that point (which I believe to be beyond argument), then the precise divisions of the eras are of less consequence (though I certainly do stand by this interpretation completely).

Happy to discuss this with your further.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Dear Sir,

I understand where the 360 years for the five churches come from but I am wondering how the division of time came about, is it historical evidence if so from where? I am not disagreeing, just trying to understand. You have the Ephesian Church at 12 years (70-82) The Laodicea Church at 144 yrs. and the rest at 360. Why is the Ephesus Church only 12 and the Laodicean Church 144, why not the reverse? The 360 I understand as the Jewish calendar days, but the rest I am not clear on. Thank you for your time.

Response #7:

Both of these eras, Ephesus and Laodicea, with less years than the other five ages are truncated on account of the deficiency of their performance. Ephesus has "abandoned" her "first love" according to our Lord (Rev.2:4), namely, has shown a serious lack of attention to the truth of the Word of God, while Laodicea is so offensively lukewarm about that same truth that the Lord is "about to spit you out of my mouth" (Rev.3:16). These are also the "bookend" ages, occurring first and last respectively. So it make sense for these two to be the shortest for that combination of reasons. Given the biblical significance of the number "12", it also makes sense for the length of these two eras to be multiples of twelve. Once we determine the starting point (the end of the apostolic age / John's time of writing) and the end point (the end of the Church Age, the beginning of the Tribulation), and once we accept the 360 years as the length of the other five ages (based on the Jewish calendar as you note), the only question then left is how many 12's for each of the other two?

The number 144 has much to recommend it for Laodicea on the cusp of the Tribulation which will be characterized in its early days by the ministry of the 144K witnesses; if we take that as a hypothesis, we will be left with 12 years for Ephesus about which church era our Lord says, "If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place" (Rev.2:5 NIV). From everything we know about the era following the apostles, there was no repentance, no return to making the Word of God central to everything – so much so that the extra-biblical teaching of the apostles was lost and the truth which remained in the preserved Word of God was no longer properly understood and mostly not understood at all to judge from the writings of this period – a fairly shocking development for a group only one generation removed from Peter, Paul and John, many of whom had seen these apostles personally. So seeing Ephesus come to an end quickly (after only twelve years from the point of John's writing of Revelation) jibes with the historical record.

Similar is the case of Laodicea: calculating backwards 144 years from the commencement of the Tribulation yields the year 1882 which is directly in the midst of the period where secularism, rationalism, Darwinism, and modern skepticism has begun to infiltrate the church visible in an overwhelming way (and one may add also emotionalism which is the counterpart of lukewarmness because emotion does not sustain nor spiritually edify in and of itself). Moving then to the other five periods which are now set firmly in place between the first and the last, the historical events within the church visible likewise seem to square quite well with the description in Revelation. For example, Philadelphia will now begin in 1522, five years after Luther posted his famous 95 theses, and the year in which his New Testament in German came out, making the Bible finally available to his countrymen who were not clergy (the era Philadelphia being characterized by a rekindled appreciation for the Word of God). Similar historical contiguity may be found in the dating of the other eras according to this system (see the previous links for the details). This was my method in a nutshell (again, please see prior links).

And, again, as I stressed last time, this is an interpretation. To me it is quite clear for many reasons that the seven churches are in fact seven consecutive eras of the two thousand year Church Age (and I'm not the first nor the only person to have seen this). Indeed, it is very hard, in my view, to argue against this point given what our Lord says to John at Rev. 4:1: "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this" (NIV; lit. Gk: "after these things"). The seven churches "happen", and then all of Revelation thereafter (the events of the Tribulation and beyond) happens "after these things" (i.e., the Church Age).

That said, I reiterate, the most important point to glean from this teaching is the fact that we are at present in the very late stages of the era of Laodicea, that most Christians are not at all prepared for what is coming (being lukewarm), and that it behooves us as individual Christians who are made of aware of these truths to get "red hot" for the truth of the Word of God and prepare spiritually as best we can and as rapidly as we can for that most spiritually challenging time in the history of the world, the soon to come Tribulation.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #8:

A few months ago I had the rare opportunity to speak to a Southern Baptist Ministers Meeting. Early on I made a comment, which implied that I did not believe in a pre-trib rapture. At that point, a hand went of up from one the pastors to ask a question: "But, brother! "Isn't the pre-trib rapture the blessed hope?" I offered one of those "not exactly" responses. But, how typical and telling is the mentality contained in such a question. Is it any wonder, "Like people, like priest"?

I have come to discover that being Post-Trib is not "the end all to cure all." In fact, some, if not many, Post-Tribbers hold to some of the most "off the wall" views in Christendom. They tend to focus on conspiracy theories of every sort, judgment on everyone and everything outside of the Church and labeling them as "enemies of God," exposing all sorts of clandestine operations, apocalyptic catastrophes having little or no redemptive value, NWO, galactic aliens, giants, survivalism, Replacement Theology, and a very myopic view of God's Big Picture with respect to the "whole purpose of God." They have an insatiable appetite for information and comparatively less on true Godly knowledge rooted in the Scriptures. Frankly, it is this expression of Post-Trib that concerns me far more than Pre-Tribbers. But, in my view, the one common denominator is that in their own way they are "barking up the wrong tree."

Response #8:

It's certainly true that the present day level of interest in the truth among the majority of our brethren is very low and declining. The irony is that many of our fellow believers in the church-visible imagine that they have arrived in terms of biblical and doctrinal knowledge and spiritual growth. Just as our Lord says, "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" (Rev.3:17).

On pre vs. post, while without pure faith in Christ there is no salvation, there is certainly no other "one doctrine" that makes or breaks. Christians are supposed to desire and come to know all of the truths of scripture. I've never liked labels in this respect, and your apt observation is an indication of why. And, after all, just because someone says "I'm a Christian", doesn't mean that we can then have total confidence about their morality or ethics or understanding of the truth – or anything else. That is because being saved is only the start:

But with respect to the progress you have made [in your salvation], keep on advancing in the same way [as you were saved in the first place] (i.e., through receiving, believing and applying the truth)!
Philippians 3:16

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas and a happy 2017!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Good morning Dr Luginbill,

I hope this note finds you well; and even more so in the fullness of His presence than when we last corresponded! He is faithful, amen?!

Just a point of quick clarification I'd like, regarding your exegesis/commentary in particular. With such fullness and precision you have divided some truth here, and at times that achieved result demands by default some ambiguity, for Scripture itself is like that at times. In other words what I am having trouble clarifying with your works is whether you by Scripture identify any specific component or event of the eschatological unfolding as the indication or initiation of the tribulation. For instance some studies, which do have the same overarching spiritual and theological trajectory as yours, have the rebuilding of the temple and the rise to power of the antichrist as a clear marker of commencement. Whereas you entail them in the first half but don't seem to draw any chronological parameters for them. Therefore as it regards your teaching on the seals, the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit, et al, I see clear the implications; but from what I've been reviewing in your studies, it still begs the question when or by what will we know that the tribulation (for which you have set such distinct timelines, etc) is about to or has begun? Is there any defining development that will indicate that what you have expounded upon as happening behind the veil so to speak has begun?

Very kindly, and with much appreciation for your labor in love of God through Christ, and your brothers and sisters in Christ,

Response #9:

Good to hear from you, and thanks much for your good wishes.

As to the subtext of your question, my methodology is to try to gather together everything scripture has to say on any topic, understand that material to the best of my ability in the Spirit, then provide a systematic treatment which encompasses everything which can be said on the subject at hand. Sometimes this does require a bit of deduction to fill in necessary gaps, but I always try to make clear where I "get" what I get and how I have come to the conclusions to which I have come (without getting too deep in the weeds when it comes to explaining linguistic analysis unless it is a case of some controversial point).

As to the question itself, I am aware that some have suggested that the temple will have to be rebuilt before the Tribulation commences. That I find nowhere in scripture; add to that the fact that Moses and Elijah are the logical ones to preside over a legitimate rebuilding inasmuch as they will be operating with a unique divine mandate being prophets and having been uniquely resuscitated to life, whereas any unbelieving Jewish persons or group which may try to do this before the Tribulation begins will not be acting under divine authority at all (not even being believers). Some others suggest that the temple won't be rebuilt until the Lord returns, but that interpretation is based upon a misunderstanding of Zechariah 6:12-13 (which passage actually means "build up" or adorn the preexisting structure; see the link), and ignores clear biblical evidence that there will be temple in Jerusalem during the Tribulation (e.g., 2Thes.2:4; cf. Rev.11:1-3).

How will we know when the Tribulation itself has begun? While there are numerous tribulational events (chronicled throughout the Coming Tribulation series) prophesied to occur during those seven years, events that our Lord told us very specifically should be an encouragement because they forecast that "the end is near" and His return ever closer (Lk.21:28), there will in fact also be a set of unmistakable divine signs that the seven years have just begun (unmistakable for any believer who has set his/her heart on looking into these things, that is):

(1) And when He opened the seventh seal (necessary to commence the Tribulation), there was silence in heaven for about half an hour (a six month delay wherein the eschatological calendar is moved forward to the fall from the spring). (2) And I saw the seven angels who stood before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. (3) And another angel with a golden censer came and stood by the altar, and much incense was given to him so that he might offer it for the prayers of the saints on the golden altar in front of the throne. (4) And smoke from the incense went up from the hand of the angel before God for the prayers of the saints. (5) Then the angel took the incense holder and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it to the earth. And there occurred thunderous voices and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
Revelation 8:1-5

These signs will thus be seen and heard around the world, leaving believers, at least, in no doubt about the situation (if we have bothered to learn the most basic things the Bible has to say about all this).

Given that this is an "issue" in evangelicaldom at present, I would encourage you to have a look at the following link "Signs of the Coming Tribulation" (in CT 2B), wherein a number of false assumptions about the start of those last seven years before our Lord's return are explored and refuted. Directly following are some helpful suggestions for "trend watching" which, while not providing definitive proof of just how close the Tribulation may be are nonetheless good to consider for any believer interested in using scripture to evaluate the "signs of the times". So please have a look at the link, and do feel free to write me back with any questions you may have.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Dear Dr Luginbill,

Thank you as always for your thought-full reply. For the sake of fellowship I want to mention that in reading your reply to the subtext you perceived in my email, it occurred to me to assure you that whatever came through my words was meant only as commendation. More, my spirit bearing witness with yours in regards to the approach I observe you taking as you "look into these things." It's rarer than ever to find those whom one can be confident studying after, and given the times especially it is of great value to us to be able to employ the labor of others so that the peculiar labor of an individual saint can more effectively and abundantly bear the fruit it ought to in due season. And your work I believe will be such a source of Life, in Christ's enterprises through me.

I will be sure to utilize the response as well as the excerpts/references you included in your email.

Enjoy this beautiful fall season! I'm in New England...where are you? Fall...the season of the Lord's return. Might it be a day that looks like the one I'm enjoying to look at out my window just now? We'll see.

In brotherly love,

Response #10:

Thanks much for your good words, my friend. It is clear that you have a good heart, and I certainly didn't mean to suggest that I took any offense. I think believers who are committing to study under any teaching ministry have a right to have certain basic questions like this answered. They may not always like or understand the answers they get, but that is part of the process of determining the Bible teaching ministry which is right for them.

Here in Louisville we are just now getting into the fall colors (they usually peak the end of October). TBD whether it will be an exceptional fall or not, but I have seen a few striking trees already on my daily run. The weather is quite nice! We'll have to find something else to complain about down here for a couple of weeks anyway I guess.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – for whose return we breathlessly wait.

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Just started your study of the Seven Churches of Revelation and have the following question:

Where did you get the information to support the number of years for each of the seven churches?

I have read the following at another site:

Nevertheless expositors disagree as to the beginning and ending dates for each era. The differences are minor and it is perhaps impossible to pick a precise year. The seven church ages telescope into one another as opposed to abruptly starting and ending. However, here is a typical date range:

Ephesus - 31 to 96 - Apostolic Church
Smyrna - 96 to 313 - Roman Persecution
Pergamos - 313 to 538 - Age of Constantine
Thyatira - 538 to 1517 - Dark Ages
Sardis - 1517 to 1739 - Reformation
Philadelphia - 1739 to 1900 - Missionary Age
Laodicea - 1900 to the end - Drift to Apostasy

I would note that the dates you supply seem to me to be more accurate.

Just wanted your opinion on the above.

Thanks so much,

Till we meet in the Celestial City,

May the Lord bless and keep you.

Your friend,

Response #11:

I did not get these dates from anyone else but proceeded from the same position that these seven churches were consecutive eras and were prophetic of the Church Age so that there would be a reasonable, non-arbitrary set of divisions. History was a guide in seeing where those divisions should be made, and also the Jewish ceremonial calendar and the latent information contained therein (link). Here is a link where I answer this (more or less the same) question; you will see that although I didn't know it at the time, others have realized the essential thesis and its correctness:

The Seven Churches

Do have a look and please feel free to get back to me on this.

Also, if you don't mind, could you please let me know where you find this alternative scheme (who is the author)?

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hello Doc,

I would be happy to supply the link to the Website I got this info on the eras of the seven churches:

http://midnightoilbooks.com/historicism/revelation/the-seven-churches/

On the Home Page of this Website it shows: Historicism. It does not list the author. I hope this helps you. I will look at your link and forward any comments I might have.

Regarding the following which is in the link you gave me:

The specific trends of church history that correspond to the description in Revelation chapters two and three is given under each specific Church-era. In a "nutshell" the seven churches cover from 70 A.D., the end of the apostolic, formative, pre-canon period to 2026 A.D. (the beginning of the Tribulation), a total of 1,956 years (i.e., two millennial “days” of a thousand years, excluding the age of the apostles on the front end and the seven years of the Tribulation on the back).

My only question is: Why are the age of the apostles on the front end and the seven years of the Tribulation on the back, excluded?

My comment: The Church-Era's line up with the historical years of each church and the Laodicea Age is most definitely applicable to the present, from the looks of where most churches are today, and it is only going to deteriorate more and more.

The reason I make this statement is: It is getting harder and harder to find a true Biblical church which preaches according to what God says, not what the hierarchy says or agrees too, because they want to be politically correct so they don't loose their 501c3 status as a non-profit organization.
In my opinion the church should not be tax-exempt.

Well, I apologize I got off into issues that are not relevant to the topic at hand. Always good to talk with you by email.

Be forever blessed in Jesus our Lord and Savior.

Your friend,

Response #12:

It's all relevant, my friend.

Thank you for the website address. I could not find any attribution for the website whatsoever, but they do identify some authors of some articles – and I notice that they also include some supporting the hoax of "British Israelism", so staying away would be a good idea. Indeed, I would advise any wise Christian to have nothing to do with any website or books or "church" where it was not made clear right from the start who was teaching and what they were teaching and with whom (if anyone) they were associated.

As to your other questions here, the seven churches are the era of the Church when it is mature and on its own; so the apostolic era is excluded because the "functional church militant" was still in the process of forming and transitioning from a Jewish state to a largely gentile trans-state organization (defined by the Spirit rather than geographical borders), administered by men gifted by the Spirit to guide others through the (after the apostles) completed Bible which would now include the New Testament. The Tribulation is excluded because it is the precursor or the "dark before the dawn" of the Day of the Lord and is a joint era between Israel and the gentile wing of the Church (or, to put it another way, a time shared between the ages of Israel and that of the Church), wherein Israel again will take the leadership role (through Moses and Elijah and the 144,000).

I certainly agree that things are not only getting progressively worse but that the pace of degeneration is increasing to the degree that anyone with a lick of spiritual common sense can easily see that things cannot go on like this much longer (not and have any chance of a positive response to our Lord's question at Lk.18:8).

But you, dear friend, keep on making spiritual progress and keep on fighting the good fight of faith. There is great reward along that path, and a well done from our Lord and the end of the road.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hi Bob,

Happy New Year to you! I hope you are doing well my friend I saw on Facebook where it was your birthday recently so I hope you had a very Happy Birthday and that you are richly blessed in the new year ahead of you. I wanted to let you know that I finally completed my website, www.seriousfortruth.com . You will finally have a chance to read some of my writings for a change. I included a few articles on my site that you wrote to include:

1. An article about cults - http://www.seriousfortruth.com/425820949

2. An article about the Trinity - http://www.seriousfortruth.com/425214834

3. An article about if Christians can serve in the military - http://www.seriousfortruth.com/425559316

I also included your website in my "Wise/Recommended Ministries" page - http://www.seriousfortruth.com/426990154

I think my teachings/articles match up pretty well overall with what you teach/write about. Here is a topic I wrote about called the "Mandela effect" which is a new harmful 'wind of doctrine' which is bringing harm to the body of Christ but I'm not sure if you've heard of it before. There are groups on facebook with hundreds or thousands of members that promote the Mandela effect. The largest group has over 7,000 members. Here is a link to my article on that subject in case you are interested in learning about it: http://www.seriousfortruth.com/429421295

One area that I've had to rethink more about is the area of final days prophecy. The end-times timelines that I've read about have just seemed too overwhelming for me to fully comprehend most times. I honestly believe that the seals have already been opened and that all of the trumpets have been 'blown' except for the soon to come 6th trumpet (World War III) and the 7th trumpet of Armageddon. I don't believe that end-times prophecy is anything that we have to be dogmatic about and I think in many key areas we are in agreement about it. If you would like to look at my prophecy page it is here: http://www.seriousfortruth.com/425036048

Well, I just wanted to update you on everything since we have not written to each other in awhile. I always think about you though and keep you in prayer. I'm so thankful for your friendship, encouragement, and guidance!!!

God bless you richly my dear friend,

Response #13:

Good to hear from you!

Facebook has the wrong birthday. That's sensitive information that can be used to hack a person's accounts. I tried to delete my birthday many years ago, but FB wouldn't let me do it – so I just changed it to Jan. 1st (the most obvious "this is not really my birthday" day I could think of). But thanks anyway – I did have one last year.

Congratulations on your website and on your continued determination to serve the Lord! I wish you much success. Thanks also for including some of the things from Ichthys. I had never heard of the "Mandela effect" before. A theory of collective "false memories" could be a way to undermine almost anything. To the extent there is actually anything to it I suspect this has to do with the present sloppiness in all things historical and the present very weak ethos about checking facts (very understandable in a society which is moving away from the written word to an entirely visual interface).

As to eschatology, the seven seals are previews, so to speak, of what is in the book of Revelation (see the link). The first four give the trends of the first three and a half years; the fifth and sixth the two major trends/events of the Great Tribulation (being the Great Persecution and Armageddon respectively); the seventh seal when opened begins the Tribulation (nothing can happen until the book is opened, and the seals prevent its opening until they are all broken). When the Tribulation begins (it has not yet begun), there will be no doubt about it on account of the signs which accompany its commencement, signs which will be heard and felt throughout the world (Rev.8:5). The trumpets are the warning judgments which occur in first half of the Tribulation (as opposed to the punitive judgments of the bowls in the second half; see the links). They will likewise be unmistakable, just as described in scripture. I know it is fashionable in some evangelical circles to allegorize away the terrifying things found in Revelation, but they are in fact very literally true. Blessedly, we have a few years yet before these things begin to take place. All the more reason for believers who understand the importance of scripture to take all possible measures to be spiritually prepared before the fact.

Best wishes for your website!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Dr. Luginbill,

Thanks for your reply and your explanation, which I will study thoroughly.

While I was meditating on "The Last Day", I came to understand the "literal" meaning of 2 Peter 3:8.

"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

I go back to the very beginning of Genesis when God created everything. He says of the first day:

"And the evening and the morning were the first day", and so till the 6th day.

Then it says that God rested on the 7th day in Genesis 2:

"By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done."

So God blessed the 7th day or 7,000th year [Millennium] and made it holy. I view these 7 days as literal 24 hour days.

"And there was evening [6 PM - 6 AM - 12 hours, and morning or day [6AM - 6PM- 12 hours".

The eschatological days in my understand are 1,000 years (literal) in duration. e.g. Adam to Jesus - 4 days or 4,000 years. Jesus to some time from now ? - 2 days or 2,000 years. From sometime from today till the end of the Tribulation, the Battle of Armageddon would be included in the 6th day which we are in now. From end of Battle of Armageddon to End of Millennium is the 7th day, or the "Last Day". That Last Day is a day of literal rest for us believers, Jesus will dwell with us on the earth that is now, and we will reign with Him. Sometime from the end of the 7th day ( very short time) the earth we now live on will be destroyed by fire. God will create a new Heaven and new earth, therefore the 24 day will cease, because there will no longer be a literal sun and that there no longer be a night. God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit will be the light in the New Heaven and New earth.

We use the sun rising and setting as our means of counting the evenings and mornings.
So the way we humans counts days is different than how God views days, according to 2 Peter 3:8. Ours is a 24 clock, God has a 1,000 year clock so to speak.

Revelation 21 says:

"Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea."

I believe that the Millennium is that Day, that Last Day, when we will "enter into that rest" that God has prepared for us. Speaking of this "rest", I would say that Hebrews 4 points to that 7th day of rest with Jesus during the Millennium.

"Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.” 5And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”

I know that when we are saved we are "resting" or should be "trusting" in Him every day, but I think that there are multiple meanings. I would really appreciate your thoughts on what I have said, to get your understanding and to know that my thoughts are Biblical.

Till we enter into His rest,

Thanks so much,

Response #14:

Good for you!  Yes, this is exactly right.  I would even agree with your Hebrews chapter four observation as a good application of the truth (though as you realize the interpretation has to do with our "faith rest" in Jesus Christ; see the link: "The Law, Love, Faith-Rest and Messianism").

For the seven millennial days, please see this link for the details of what I have taught about it (excerpt is from SR 5):  The Seven Millennial Days.  Incidentally, this interpretation (which was a given in the early church before the false teaching of Augustinian amillennialism took over) allows us to see with some confidence that the Tribulation is very close now (see the link).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #15:

I have had this theory for several years, due to a large book we have called A wall chart of world history ISBN 0-88029-239-3. My pastor has been recently covering the book of Genesis. He discussed Enoch, how he broke the pattern as the 7th from Adam and "God took him" Then during my usual Sunday afternoon nap I was brought to think about whether the millennial days were marked by a sunrise and sunset like "evening and morning were the first day" and wondered if Enoch was roughly halfway through the first thousand years. I got up and did some looking at things, Today I ran across your information which is amazing. Since I had started this timeline graphic and attempted to fill things in, I thought I would share it and give my thanks to your labors on this subject.

My thinking was that the transitions are fluid and varying like sunrise/sunsets because I could not nail things down very exactly... Hence I used only general timing. Some of the church age stuff I am more at a loss as to what the significant events would be. Certainly your explanations based in 2-day periods are more clear. Anyway, I believe we are in the transition to the sabbath rest. (My timeline concept should show next.)

Response #15:

Good to make your acquaintance, and thanks for sharing your chart. It is true, for example, that the Tribulation will be split exactly in two, and also that all of human history is split exactly in two (by the cross). One thing to keep in mind when working with biblical dates such as this is that the "start point" is critical to get right. The cross, our Lord's sacrifice for the sins of the world where these were all propitiated by His spiritual death in bearing them, took place, as best I can reconstruct, in 33 A.D. There was no "year zero", and in fact the B.C / A.D. system was not even invented until the 5th century (by Dionysius Exiguus). Before that, everyone in Christendom calculated dates based mainly on the traditional foundation date of the city of Rome (i.e., the A.U.C. system). The details for all this, if you have not run across them yet, are to be found at the link in SR 5, under "specific chronology of the seven days of millennial "days" of human history" (see the link).

Happy to answer any questions you might have after perusing this.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hello Bob.

Thank you so much for your response. I just threw generic dates on my little chart as I am still researching some of the dates and was more focused on the idea of a "transition" period which I was calling a "Sunrise" and "Sunset" not in the sense of an exact moment but of the spectacular color display and the "golden hour" as photographers call it. I actually already agree with 33AD to 2033AD based on similar presumptions, but certainly without your rigorous study. I also believe that the generation that saw Israel become a nation in 1948 will not pass. Regardless we seem to be really close.

Response #16:

You're very welcome.

Yes, I think we are pretty close. It's certainly prudent for Christians to operate on that assumption at all times in any case since, after all, we should always be looking towards the kingdom and not to this world. As to 1948, in my interpretation of things the Church is the mystery age, being only dimly foreshadowed in the Old Testament and, as such, having no OT prophecies associated with it – all prophecy as yet unfulfilled looks toward the Day of the Lord and the period directly preceding it, namely, the Tribulation. The seven churches of Revelation constitute an exception only in the sense of providing a preview of the trends each of the seven church eras has exhibited, but without any prophecy of specific events. This is all a long way of saying that while, clearly, there had to be a Jewish presence in Palestine before the events of the Tribulation could take place, the year 1948 itself is of no prophetic significance – nor is the fact of the secular state of Israel's declaration of nationhood. I find it necessary to point this out inasmuch as there are many false systems of "prophetic interpretation" about in the ether these days which make a great deal out of that date, and it is my job to head off the acceptance of false teaching so far as it is in my power to do so.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hi Dr Luginbill,

Quick request for clarity on your timeline/chronology regarding the Tribulation/Great Tribulation: am I understanding correctly that the seven trumpet judgments are intended to commence around 21 months into the first half on the tribulation? It looks like you have them placed around the summer of 2028? And then headed directly into the Great Trib/7th trumpet?

Thank you!

In Him,

Response #17:

For my best interpretation of the probable date, see the link.

The first six trumpet judgments last twenty one months and end at precisely the Tribulation's midpoint. Thus the seventh trumpet unleashes the Great Tribulation, which is the last act of human history prior to Christ's return:

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven saying, "The world Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ has [now] come, and He will rule forever and ever. Amen".
Revelation 11:15

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I hope your Monday morning got off to a good start and that your mouth is feeling better!

On Christ's empathy in Lazarus' death and raising from the dead. The more I think about it, Christ probably had more reason to cry over Lazarus than anyone else around Him. Christ was Lazarus's creator and He loved Lazarus more than all of his friends and relatives loved him because Christ's love for us is greatest, deepest love that exists. More than anyone else, because of His close and flawless connection to The Father and knowing/believing in the Old Testament scriptures, He had the greatest understanding of the utter waste/tragedy/evil that is death. Death is, after all, what He had come to vanquish and seeing one of His sheep in the grips of it (and the other sheep grieving), I think, caused Him emotional pain. I think this is another small detail in the Gospels that help us understand Christ's character, and as you said "tells us a great deal about Him." It is a good example to give to unbelievers when trying to describe Christ's love for us.

I need to re-read your Christology study, but it makes me wonder, with the kenosis, how much of Jesus's deity was allowed to influence Him when He became human. For example, as a human, did Jesus recall "memory" of when He created Lazarus, as God? When He found out that Lazarus had died, could he recall/picture the actual time when Eve ate the fruit and died spiritually (the first death of one of His creatures?). I think that you teach that all of that knowledge (His omniscience) was not accessible to his human mind at all times. And I think you teach that it is the Holy Spirit that mediated Christ's kenosis?

And thank you for your advice on hermeneutics. When I start to read the book, I will probably email you with questions. You said "It is true that any proper appreciation of the truth of scripture writ large must conversely flow from individual scriptures themselves in a virtuous cycle (where truth builds up truth), but exegesis for anyone failing to have a good deal of the essential truths of scripture under one's belt first results inevitably instead in a vicious circle (where mistakes reinforce mistakes)." That is why I really like your method of teaching the the structure of Ichthys - how all of the information is organized topically instead of verse by verse (even though you do have some verse by verse studies). It was the best way for me to learn God's Word as an immature Christian starved for truth. It is the way to study that I will recommend to other Christians, because it really helped me. Curt's Basic Training series are great too. Now that I have learned so much through your Bible Basic series, I do feel strong enough to study the individual books of the Bible in depth, verse by verse (and of course I am still studying Hebrew).

And that brings me to a question I have about the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar's 1st dream in Daniel Chapter 2. When the king dreams about the rock cut from the mountain and smashes the statue, I understand that symbolizes God's eternal kingdom on earth, established through Christ. I think this is how you translated Daniel 2:44-45(a):

(44) And in the days of those kings (i.e., in the end times), the God of Heaven will establish a Kingdom which will not be destroyed forever. Nor will that kingdom be surrendered to another people. It will crush and put an end to all those other kingdoms, but this [Kingdom] will endure forever. (45) And in that you saw that a Stone was cut out without [human] hands from the [living] Rock [of a mountain] and that it crushed the iron and the bronze and the clay and the silver and the gold [of the statue], the Great God has made known to the king what will happen after this [in the future[ (i.e., when Christ crushes the kingdom of antichrist).
(from http://www.ichthys.com/4A-Christo.htm#Daniel 2:44-45a)

My question is: The rock (which you translate as "stone") is cut from a bigger mountain (which you describe as “living” in your interpretation). Does that symbolize Christ’s incarnation/becoming human? The way I see it, Christ, being God, IS the living mountain mentioned, but a stone is cut from it and “sent” to smash the statue. A stone is smaller than a mountain, just as Christ became humble in his humanity. Just as the stone is sent to strike the statue, Christ was sent earth to save us through His work on the Cross. I know the stone smashing the statue (at with the feet, the Beast's empire) represents Christ defeating the Beast’s army at Armageddon but also of His work on the cross (which is the foundation of that later conquest at Armageddon)?

I hope I have a good understanding of the interpretation. I just want to make sure I am not "over-analyzing" it.

In Christ's Love,

Response #18:

Good to hear from you, and thanks for your prayers!

The surgery went fine but it will be a minute before I'm completely back in sync. I was able to go to work today and teach my classes, however. So praise God for that!

As to your question, in the context, everything about the statue has to do with rulership of the world by secular power throughout history, and the smashing of that power by the stone/rock is very clearly a symbol of divine power crushing all human, worldly power and replacing it, then establishing a kingdom, clearly from God, which will last le'almayah, "forever". The "forever" is not to be taken to mean "beyond history" and into the eternal state (this word in Aramaic here and its corresponding Hebrew word really means "far into the unknown future"). The reference is to the Millennial Kingdom of Christ which will provide the sharpest possible contrast between God's direct rule over sinful mankind through the Messiah and all that has come before, especially the regime of antichrist.

As to the Mountain of Rock vs. the Stone of Rock which is cut from it, I think the parallel with the incarnation is a good one. This image is indeed consistent with Christ being sent from God, and of course the only way that could happen was for the Second Person of the Trinity to take on human form. In this particular image/vision, of course, the prophet is given to focus on the second advent, not the first, and that is typical in the Old Testament (and possibly helps to explain though not to excuse how so many learned people could have missed the OT teaching of the first advent).

Your observation demonstrates that the incarnation, namely, the Messiah being directly part of God, is hard to overlook in this symbolism. Whatever the Mountain is, the Stone/rock hewn from it must be as well. That is as far as I would want to push the symbolism here. When it comes to visions/images such as this, it is usually best not to interpret them beyond the parameters that are set for them by scripture. This image/vision is supposed to teach divine sovereignty over human history and the final end of sinful human control when that is replaced by the Messiah; but it is consistent with the Messiah being the God-man . . . and it would be hard to argue from this prophecy that He is not divine.

I always appreciate your insightful comments and encouraging words. Thanks for both!

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I am still currently reviewing your study stated in the subject line, and I have a question and a comment. You have quoted Daniel 11:30b as follows:

“Then he will be stricken [as if dead], but will revive. Therefore he will be enraged at the holy covenant, so that on his return [to Israel from the far south] he will take action [against it] (i.e., eliminating Moses and Elijah and ending the sacrifices).”
Daniel 11:30b

I have read some different translations, here is one of them;

"30 For the Citians issuing forth shall come against him, and he shall be brought low, and shall return, and shall be incensed against the holy covenant: and he shall do thus, and shall return, and have intelligence with them that have forsaken the holy covenant. (This is Brenton's Septuagint translation)

I understand your comment on the following Hebrew word:

While there exists a variety of opinions among lexicographers and commentators about this difficult form, what we have here is most likely the niphal (i.e., passive) perfect of the verb cha'ah (כאה), meaning to strike, smite or scourge (hence the translation, "he will be stricken").(61)

It would appear that the translators, did not consider what you have written about the above meaning to strike, smite or scourge. How then, without having the knowledge that God has given you, how is that one who does not have that knowledge of Hebrew going to be able to correctly render the Scriptures? I believe what you saying is true, but I have no way to verify the validity of your translation. So, what am I to do? Thanks for your help.

P.S. I am too old to obtain a PHD in Classical languages such as you have, and I don't have the years of knowledge from the study of Hebrew, etc. Frustrating too say the least. I would say that many of those teaching today may have a Bible degree maybe a BS or BA from seminary, but I don't. I have only gained my knowledge from many decades of my own study, and I will say that the Holy Spirit is my helper, and He will lead me and guide me into all truth. These so-called prophecy teachers don't impress me at all about their knowledge, especially since most of them teach a Pre-Trib rapture heresy. Thanks so much for your help. One needs to study each of your studies at least twice and I believe more, as it is not easy to grasp all the information supplied.

Blessings to you,

Response #19:

Good to hear from you as always, my friend.

The English Bible has a very long and complicated history. Wycliffe's translation was followed by Tyndale's (and both paid with their lives for their efforts), then the Great Bible, the Geneva Bible, the Bishop's Bible and then the KJV – and Wycliffe was not the first person to put major parts of the Bible into English, nor, obviously, has the KJV been the last. What all translations down to the present moment have in common, however, are 1) the fact that they are inextricably connected to the past (translators have read the older versions and are heavily influenced by them), and 2) the fact that translators have massive amounts of work to do and are not concerned so much with rethinking everything from the ground up so much as producing a modernized product which sounds good and, ideally, makes use of new information about text and discoveries since the previous version(s); that is to say, Bible translators are not Bible exegetes – and even when they are, their purpose in producing a translation of the entire Bible is not exegesis but translation. So in spite of the truth that "all translation is interpretation", most operate on a kind of autopilot most of the time.

This is not to say that a translator won't correct what he feels is an obvious error or mistake, but there is a heavy conservatism in play when it comes to producing a version, one which guarantees that each new version will tend to sound a lot like the last one. The bottom line here is that without looking at a passage with the intent to understand it completely, no translation is going to veer far from what was produced in the past; and, as I say, translators of the entire Bible don't have the luxury of trying to actually understand every passage they are translating to its depths – they couldn't do that if they lived a thousand years. When we add to this the fact that most translators are not Bible teachers with a deep understanding of the actual truth even if they are highly qualified academics (as both a highly qualified academic and, I hope, a teacher with a deep understanding of the truth, I appreciate the difference). Finally, even if the person in any given version "got" what Daniel was saying here (and believe me when I say it took me a number of years to figure this all out), I am sure that his editor and editorial committee would have been loath to depart so far from the longstanding tradition. After all, we want our books to sell.

I checked multiple translations in English, and the modern ones all follow KJV which follows Geneva – but I notice that Wycliffe does have "and he shall be smitten" (which is of course correct); and I notice that the Great Bible has "smytte"; the Bishop's Bible has "he shalbe sorie" (which at least gets that something happens to the beast); Tyndale didn't translate this part of the OT. As to the Septuagint, it actually has tapeinothesetai (ταπεινωθήσεται), meaning "he shall be laid low" – which might be either physical or emotional or both, and so can also be translated "be humbled" or "humiliated" (so Breton's translation is wrong, influenced no doubt by the Vulgate or other English translations); the Latin Vulgate seems to be the origin of the mistaken rendering inasmuch as it has indignabitur, "he shall be indignant" (which is more of an active response on the beast's part than chronicling something that happened to him as the object).

Q: What is a person to do? A: Find a good Bible teacher. God provides for all who are interested in the truth (I also recommend Curt Omo's Bible Academy). Trouble is, now that we have at our fingertips more information about the scripture and its languages and background than ever before in human history, few men are interested in enduring the hard course of preparation necessary to dig into and discover the truth so as to teach it – no doubt at least in part because fewer Christians than ever before are interested in hearing it (i.e., it's no way to "get a job" . . . or status or respect).

That makes what you are doing in actually dedicating yourself to finding out the truth – and believing it once discovered – more important than you may realize.

As always, thanks much for your good words.

Keep fighting the good fight of faith.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you so much for your reply. Well, there is no Bible teacher among all the Pastor's that I have met that fit the description of a "Good Bible Teacher". The only one I have ever found is the one to whom I am writing to at present. Had I not found your website, I would, at least I don't think I would have learned what I have learned in the past few months. The Bible says to give "honor" to whom honor is due, and I honor you for your many years of study and for the tremendous amount of work you have done to place all these studies on the website for all to use.
You are to be commended for your diligence. I know and understand that God receives the glory from you, and that is as it should be. I have met many Pastor's, and have had difficulties with most of them. God knows what they have and have not done for His flock and they will have to answer for that. It is hard to forget the past and move on, but the old memory gets in the way sometimes.

Again, I am so thankful first to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that I have found your material and am learning so much from it. Secondly, I have never met anyone, and I do mean anyone who has the knowledge or skills to provide the in depth teachings you have compiled.

May God so richly bless you and keep you in good health. I heard a good expression today.

Lord, I don't know what to do, So, I will keep my eyes on you.

Blessings to you my friend,

Response #20:

Thanks so much for your exceptionally kind words (Ps.115:1). I surely appreciate them. And thanks even more for your prayers.

Feel free to write any time.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior who is our all.

Bob L.

Question #21:

I have been studying your teaching on Gog/Magog. If I am understanding this correctly it goes something like this; America is not only physical end time Babylon but also Magog (I get this but I don't quite understand where you get the cryptogram). We give rise to the antichrist personality who will lead three campaigns in the Middle East with the third leading to the abomination of desolation. The battle of Gog/ Magog is actually the same as Armageddon, meaning that the Lahaye/Lindsey interpretation with Russia and Iran invading Israel is false. The kingdom of the north is Europe which is under the control of the American antichrist, represented by the two legs of Daniels statue, Babylon and Magog (I'm a little confused on this part as well). Any links to teaching on the cryptogram and Daniels statue would help and of course anything else you think appropriate.

Response #21:

In terms of eschatological Babylon, I always wish to stress that since the Tribulation has not yet begun, this  "mystery" Babylon technically does not yet exist, even though I am personally very confident about its probable future identification. In terms of the cryptogram, Hebrew uses only consonants in its written form (the vowels were [mostly] added later).  So Babylon in Hebrew is bbl (of course it's written right to left in Hebrew: lbb), whereas Magog would be mgg (ggm).  In the Hebrew alphabet, beth is the letter preceding gimmel, and lamedh is the letter preceding mem; so by shifting the letters of Babylon one place each in the alphabet order and reading the trilitteral root backwards, Babylon = Magog. 

This may sound odd and unlikely to us, but we find other such cryptograms in the Old Testament as for example where Leb-Qamay is used for Babylon at Jeremiah 51:1 by means of a similar cryptogram (explained at the link).  "Sheshach" is another example of this (e.g., Jer.25:26; 51:41), where the first consonant of the Hebrew alphabet is substitute for the last and then the second for the second to last so that Sheshach (sh-sh-ch) = Babel (b-b-l).  This is nothing like "Bible codes" or anything of the sort; it is a divinely ordained way of giving the adversarial nation an alternative, significant name (Leb-Qamay = "heart of those who rise up against Me"; Sheshach = "lustful / overfed one [perhaps]"; and Magog = "place of Gog"), and still making it possible to see who is being talked about.  This is particularly the case with Babylon which has both an ancient historical existence and a "mystery" or future eschatological existence (cf. Rev.17:5). It's not a critical point, but the cryptogram does help the reader to see that Magog is Babylon (future, eschatological Babylon, that is), if that were not already clear enough from the context.

Your synopsis is correct in all respects. And, yes, it is sadly true that very many self-styled teachers out there in evangelical-dom have made a complete hash of eschatology and everything the Bible has to say about the end times. No doubt the horribly mistaken view that there will be a pre-Tribulation "rapture" of the Church has contributed to the sloppiness – because after all this is "only for fun" and "won't have anything to do with us". Such individuals are in for a very rude awakening both when the events begin to occur in a few short year and also when they have to give an account for their false teachings.

The two legs of Daniel's stature. I'm not sure what the confusion is (please feel free to expand on that point). Statues of people are supported by two legs, with each leg supporting the whole body. Similarly, antichrist's power will consist of two props, Babylon (the mystery country of the west which otherwise does not figure in prophecy) and Magog, the "north country" whence most of Israel's attackers came (Assyria, then historical Babylon, then Rome), coming down through what is today Syria and Lebanon. The "north" in the end times will be Europe or "the Revived Roman Empire", the second prop of antichrist's power of which he will gain control during the early days of the Tribulation (with help from the seven kings who rule the seven "provinces" of Rome / Europe) following his prior seizure of power in Babylon.

Here are some links to where these things are discussed from a variety of viewpoints (as I say, do feel free to write back for clarification of any of the above):

Daniel's Vision of the Great Statue (in CT 3B)

Gog and Magog in Revelation

Who are Gog and Magog (Ezek.38-39)?

The 7 Trumpets, the 7 Kings, Nephilim, Antichrist and Revived Rome.

Israel and Antichrist in Eschatology

More on Antichrist and his Kingdom

Question #22:

Hello Dr.

Thank's once again for such a prompt and informative response to my questions. I've read the attached links and I can say I am beginning to obtain "epignosis" concerning your teaching on Magog. I was really more confused on the cryptogram and how you came up with this as well as how you incorporated it into Daniels statue than I was with the statue itself. With four years of college as a religion major and shelves full of books on bible prophecy this is the first I have ever heard of this teaching. The studies I was involved with in college and church instructed me that Magog is Russia and Gog is their leader, all the books teach the same, it's been drummed into my head along with other false doctrine for years, but I'm willing to be corrected. World events shaping up the way they are I've been asked questions about Ezekiel 38-39 and have been hesitant to give an answer. One can read the news and see the Russia/Magog interpretation taking shape but so far my response to the question has been that "things may not be what they seem". My knowledge of Hebrew and cryptograms is practically zero. Are there any introductory level books that you could recommend for someone like myself? Hebrew for dummies? Cryptograms for boneheads? Seriously , I would like to know where you got this teaching from, did you figure it out yourself? For the record I do not doubt your authority on this matter, quite the contrary, everything I have read in your personal communication with me an all that I have read posted on Ichthys, demonstrate your ability to accurate handle the Word of God.

Response #22:

You're most welcome, my friend.

I don't find it surprising that you've heard only this one view. Ever since Hal Lindsey split from my old pastor and mentor Col. Thieme, evangelicals have been seeing Soviet Hind helicopters in Revelation chapter nine, et al. But it seems to me that it ought to be obvious even to these rapture-devotees that taking current events and trying to splice them into the Bible is going about things in precisely the opposite of the correct way: we ought to let the Bible teach us and accept what it says even if, in the case of prophecy, it may seem unlikely from the human viewpoint that things will turn out the way it says they will. In the history of prophecy already fulfilled, things turned out precisely the way the Bible said they would, and of course we know that will be the case in the future as well. So, really, the only type of question we should be asking is whether or not we are interpreting the scriptures correctly based upon what they actually say; and the test will not be the resemblance that interpretation may bear to current "facts on the ground".

The Russia interpretation is based entirely, from what I can tell (these folks are usually big on conjecture but short on attribution of scriptural evidence), on Ezekiel 38:2, taking the word ro'sh (רֹאש) as referring to Russia – when in fact the word means "head" or "chief" wherever it occurs (hundreds of times in scripture). Secondly, the Hebrew accentuation links "head" and "prince" together in a construct phrase ("chief prince") which is closer together than the two following elements. Granted, these accents were supplied by the Masoretes and are not inspired, but they represent the way that the Hebrew is naturally taken, i.e., connecting "chief" and "prince" as an almost hyphenated phrase. On the other hand, one would expect that if "Rosh" were one of three elements, there would be an "AND" afterwards (waw), which is absent. I will also note that of all the versions I consulted, only the much more recent ones (notably NKJV and NASB which have obviously been influenced by the Lindsey crowd) have published "prince of Rosh" instead of "chief prince". That point aside, it would be nice to know what evidence these translators and interpreters can provide that justifies taking this very common Hebrew word to mean something absolutely different than what it actually does mean? William White, in TWOT, the standard OT vocabulary commentary used in seminaries et all, doesn't even mention the possibility under the heading of rosh. One generally can't merely come up with a theory, then put it forth as fact, without even a smidgen of objective external evidence that it might have some validity. Isn't this exactly what we accuse (theologically) liberal interpreters of doing?

On cryptograms, I don't know of any books devoted to the subject. I would suggest a scholarly commentary on Jeremiah or a good Bible dictionary, IDB's article on "cryptography", for example.

Apologies for the shortness of this (and any typos) – must dash!

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,,

In your study stated in the subject line you state the following:

Gog, as was pointed out in section II above, is a prophetic name for antichrist, while Magog refers to his home country, Babylon, a "super-nation" which holds sway over a larger, composite empire (a.k.a., "revived Rome").

In Revelation 20 scripture states the following:

"7When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore.

By the time this scripture is fulfilled, Gog, or the antichrist is already in the Lake of Fire as stated in Revelation 19:

19 "Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur."

Is not the "beast" the antichrist or Gog as you state above, so how can the reference you make of Gog be the antichrist as he is in the Lake of Fire?

Can you clarify?

Thanks again,

Response #23:

Ezekiel 38:2 speaks of "Gog of the land of Magog", meaning a person ("Gog") who is the head of a territorial nation ("land of Magog").  Revelation 20:8, significantly differently, speaks of "the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog", meaning that "Gog and Magog" there is a shorthand description of all the peoples on earth ("the nations").  So these two passages are speaking of different subjects of different events.  The Ezekiel passage refers to antichrist and his land/confederation attacking Israel at Armageddon; the Revelation passage refers to all the gentile nations on earth (the national "Gog and Magog") attacking Jerusalem at the end of the Millennium.

Ezekiel 38-39 describes Gog as assembling peoples from all over the world to attack Israel (e.g., "Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops—many people are with you"; Ezek.38:5-6 NKJV). This is literally fulfilled at Armageddon. But the principle, i.e., that of assembling all of the world's nations against "the camp of the saints" in Jerusalem, is repeated again at the end of the Millennium (and so, opposite-wise, Psalm 2, while it bears a striking resemblance to the events of Armageddon, is actually speaking of the Gog-Magog rebellion).

Since all of John's readers ought to be acquainted with the Ezekiel passage, the phrase "Gog and Magog" is a very effective way to get the point across that all of the world's gentile nations will be summoned to Israel (again) on that last day. No matter how remote or numerous, all of the gentile nations of that day will be deceived and will throng to Jerusalem to attack the camp of the believers. No doubt John is given to make this significant change in the phraseology (i.e., from "Gog [person] of Magog [territory]" to "Gog and Magog" [= collection of peoples]) in order to avoid any potential confusion that might otherwise result.

There is much more about all of this at the following links:

Who are Gog and Magog (Ezek.38-39)?

Gog-Magog in Revelation versus Ezekiel

Gog of Magog (in CT 5)

Magog as Babylon

"Israel and Antichrist [Response #18]"

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

In Hebrews Chapter 4 God is telling about "The believer's Rest " that is coming. In Verse 1 He says: "

Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it."

In Verse 3:

"For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS”; 5and again in this passage, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.”

In Verse 6:

Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience,

In Verse 8:

For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that.

1. It would seem to me that, provided that my interpretation is correct, that all these " Days" are included in the "Seventh Day" which to me points to the Day of the Lord, the Last Day, the day of rest from all our works which would be the time specified as the Last Day of 1,000 years of the Millennial reign. Can you tell me if I my understanding is correct please?

2. Also, there are a number of events which happen during this 1,000 (Last Day, Day of the Lord). Namely: Revelation 20:1-3:

"Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time."

We read in Revelation 20:7-10:

"When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 8and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 9And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

I am thinking that those who follow Satan during his release from the abyss are "unbelievers" who came through the Tribulation still alive, and the children which were born to them during the Millennium? Am I interpreting this correctly or? After this final failed attempt by the arch deceiver, and his incarceration in the Lake of Fire for eternity, the Great White Throne Judgment takes place. Yes or No?

3. 2 Peter 3 Verses 10, and 12 are somewhat confusing for me.

"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare".

Verse 12:

"as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.

This verse references "The day of the Lord", which I thought was a direct reference to those days of the 1,000 year millennial reign, The Last Day.

It appears to me that "The Day of God", is maybe referencing the "Great White Throne Judgment", and during this time is when what God has written through Peter will take place at that time? Am I thinking straight, that the "Day of God" is not the same as the Day of the Lord, the Last day? That is the only way I can see, but I am perhaps not seeing everything clearly, that these events line up which each other.

Would really appreciate your time for helping me solve this mystery?

Thanks always for your great help, and humble spirit.

Another day closer to His coming,

Response #24:

While I would not wish to rule out the Millennium – or the "day of eternity" – as "rests" to which we are to look forward, the "rest" to which Paul is referring in Hebrews chapter four is the day by day, every day, every moment of every day "Sabbath" or rest into which Christians should enter and abide within at all times. Please see the links:

The "Sabbath rest" in Hebrews

The "rest" in Hebrews explained verse by verse

As to the participants in the last revolt at the end of the Millennium, apart from Satan, these are all unbelieving human beings. The Millennium begins mainly with believers since all who have taken the mark of the beast will be destroyed in the "baptism of fire" at its inception (children who've not yet reached accountability would be possible exceptions; see the link). But even though the Millennium will begin with a greatly reduced population, said number will expand dramatically and rapidly so under the edenic conditions of the Messiah's rule, so that by the time of the Gog-Magog revolt (see the link), world population may well exceed by a great deal even what we see today. Everyone who is born and grows up during the 1,000 years will know only peace and prosperity and the "the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Is.11:9 NASB). Yet even so, apparently, as with all other times in human history, most will choose to reject the Lord as their Savior – even though they will be compelled to honor Him as their King. Just as soon as they have the "opportunity" with Satan's release, however, they will rebel:

(1) Why are the nations forming into a mob and the peoples [of the earth] grumbling idly. (2) The kings of the earth are assembling and its princes are gathering together – against the Lord and His Anointed One, [saying] (3) "Let us pull off Their chains, and cast Their cords from us!" (4) The One enthroned in heaven will laugh. The Lord will mock them. (5) At that time He will speak to them in His anger, and in His wrath He will throw them into confusion. (6) "But as for Me, I have anointed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain." (7) I shall relate the Lord's decree. He said to Me, "You are My Son. Today I have begotten You. (8) Ask of Me and I shall give [You] the nations as your inheritance, and as Your possession the ends of the earth. (9) You shall shepherd them with a rod of iron, and You shall shatter them like a potter's vessel. (10) So now, O kings, learn prudence! Take warning, you judges of the earth! (11) Serve the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling! (12) Kiss the Son (i.e., pay homage to Him), lest He become angry [with you] and you perish for your [insolent] behavior. For His anger may blaze up in an instant [if you do not]. Blessed are all those who take refuge in Him."
Psalm 2:1-12

While the first part of this passage is partially fulfilled at Armageddon, the final and complete fulfillment of the whole of it comes at the end of history.

On the terminology for the end times, these terms are all somewhat similar since "that day" is the end, and the end starts to arise during the Tribulation, is fulfilled during a thousand years of Christ's rule, and then terminates in the last judgment. So from the eschatological point of view in scripture (especially in the Old Testament) all of those future events are considered to be part of a single whole; that is to say, "the Day" is the eschaton / eschatological history taken as a whole (described with whatever modifier).This is all explained at the link in CT 1, "The Day of the Lord Paradigm" (so "day of the Lord" and "day of God" are the same, as the context of 2Pet.3 indicates).

Wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas and a blessed 2017, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Dear Bob,

I distinctly remember reading these three chapters of Coming Tribulation. I find them extremely terrifying, to say the least. It seems from hearing it again, that the Lord just abandons us to our fate, helpless, where there will be no manifestation of His wrath as a sign that he has us in his heart, as a consolation or reminder to his people that his judgements are in retribution for what the enemy is doing to his remnant. I m afraid this straightforwardness can have the opposite effect, as you seem to condemn those who stand against the enemy and his system, but are not offering a shred of hope, or know how, on how to deal with it.

I am not trying to minimize the seriousness of the situation, as it is a fact that God does not save his martyrs but instead seems to enjoy seeing them die for Him, as it is the ticket prize for entering into eternity, something we have not even signed on for, that I know. I don't mean to sound blasphemous, but there must be some biblical basis to say that God cries for his children and suffers when they suffer. Or does he not? I cant see God abandoning His faithful to be tortured, decapitated or whatever, and just sit and count the numbers. It seems that there should be some plan for some of his children. I have never head anyone explain why we must pray so that He saves us from the hour of temptation. Is the tribulation the hour of temptation. Also, where are the 144000 in all this? ministering? giving hope? or are we just going to be left here alone to face the monster?

How about the two witnesses? Will they guide the faithful, or newly converts? I don't know, this reading is highly disturbing and gives us a sense of helplessness and abandonment. When I read it, back three years ago in Tucson, I was shocked and filled with despair,

Put a little hope and love in this part, because if God is so cold and sociopathic, then it will rattle the faith of others who are easily swayed and give up.

Yours in Christ Our Lord,

Response #25:

Let me start by asking how things are going with you. When last we chatted, you had been trying to get out of the __ and find some good place here in the states. I have been praying for you along those lines.

These studies can sometimes be a "Rorschach Test" reflecting what's going on in a person's life and spirituality. I'm a little surprised at your reaction. I have had, of course, many emails over the years where folks have expressed fear about the Tribulation and the events related. That is certainly an understandable reaction given all the terrors that most difficult era of human history contains. Through it all, I have tried to assure them (and also in this study you reference) of God's faithfulness to us who believe. The exodus generation was frequently terrified, but God always protected them; yet they never seemed to learn the lesson. The whole point of the Bible containing so much about those final seven years is just that same one, namely, to help us get ready so that we can survive it. Understanding the complete and total goodness and faithfulness of the One who bought us with His own blood and who is going to shepherd us through whatever comes is fundamental.

Part of the issue with martyrdom and times of suffering also has to do with one's attitude towards life, and that is another wonderful advantage of studying the Tribulation – even if it were not so close. What I mean to say is that this world is temporary. We are not here, as Christians, to "have a good life" – although many of us do and we are very grateful to the Lord for all the good things He does give us. But no matter how "good" a believer or unbeliever has it, this life does not last long. There is a greater purpose. That understanding has to be the bedrock of all we think and say and do – otherwise we are only going to be drifting along spiritually, and that is never a good thing. We believers have a hope that transcends this world. We know that we are going to be resurrected and that what comes next is "better by far", as Paul says in understatement, than anything which could possibly be achieved or enjoyed in this temporary world. Because even if we "gain the whole world", we can't hold onto it; so if we gain it all apart from the Lord, the end and the loss will just be that much worse. But if we are living for Him, then even if we lose our lives, we will have gained a reward far beyond present imagination.

As I try to make clear in the series, (genuine) martyrdom is not just a guarantee of salvation – it is a guarantee of higher rewards, namely, the crown of life, the penultimate decoration for meritorious service in this world. So we can be sure that the Lord is not going to be abandoning us and that He has our best interests always in view. If we don't see that, whether in theory or in practice, the problem lies with us, not with Him. After all, He is perfect, and, after all, what He suffered in dying for the least sin is more than all of humanity has or will suffer collectively throughout all of human history. Having loved us so much to do that, we need to understand the troubles of the Tribulation in the context of God's plan and our part in it, and not become overly fixated on our own wants, and earthly hopes and fears. We need to set our sights on the "the things above" at all times, and most especially as we see "the time drawing near".

As to "praying to be saved from the hour of temptation", I'm not sure where that occurs in scripture. Jesus does say: "Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man" (Lk.21:26); but that is entirely different. This is a prayer to be able to endure the Tribulation, if need be, not to be spared from entering it. One third of the true church will endure to the end and be saved (Matt.10:22), and will see with our own eyes the Lord's return, just before we too are "caught up in clouds [in resurrection] to meet the Lord in the air" (1Thes.4:17). The other third – which does not allow its love to "grow cold" so as to fall away, will indeed be martyred – but if we are part of that echelon, we will be out of this world (and out of the Tribulation) and with the Lord, our eternal reward guaranteed thereby. And that is no small thing.

Finally, as to any concern for "rattling the faith" of those who read these things, well, this is the Bible – or at least an honest attempt in the Spirit to explicate the Bible. Anyone who perseveres through teaching they find hard will, if the teaching is genuinely good, be edified in the end so as to grow in peace and love and hope and faith in every way. But watering down the Word is never good for anyone, not for those who receive it and not for those who water it down, regardless of motivation. Is the prospect of the Tribulation daunting? Indeed it is. All the more reason to prepare so as to honor the Lord with our behavior therein if need be.

I'm keeping you in my prayers day by day, my friend!

Be of good cheer. We will all be walking together in white in the presence of the One we love more than life very soon now. At that point, what went on in this world will be of little moment – except that we will never regret a bit of truth we learned, believed, applied or shared.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Forgive me, I had a moment of weakness.

Is heaven that good? I have to be honest: I think I can come up with a better version of heaven than the one God gives in the description of Revelation.

Response #26:

It's no problem, my friend.

Apologies for being a little behind.

I know that when we actually see it, it will be beyond anything we can imagine in our presently limited state. Your Newton quote applies here perfectly as well :

"As a blind man has no idea of colors, so we have no idea of the manner by which the all-wise God perceives and understands all things.” —Isaac Newton (1642-1727), from his treatise "Mathematical Principles"

I think one thing even good Christians fail to realize is that the absence of darkness and the effulgence of the light of the glory of God will be in and of itself something that transcends whatever we may imagine here on earth as "heavenly". And being with our Lord and the Father, and being in the presence of all of our brothers and sisters, and being indescribably happy and unable to be unhappy, having deep and comforting knowledge of all things without any worries or concerns, being in perfect and unfathomably deep peace in a perfect, eternal body, all these things will be wonderful beyond description – and would be even without a New Jerusalem, new earth and new heavens.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
1st Corinthians 2:9 KJV (cf. Eph.1:18; 2:7)

Looking forward to that wonderful day of days to come.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

 

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