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The Seven Churches, the Judgment Seat of Christ,

and other issues in Eschatology

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Question #1: Dear Dr. Robert.  Some of the dates in regard to the 7 churches are new to me given that I have been shown through other Scriptural exegesis that the dispensational period of the 7 churches began with:

Ephesus from (the time of Christ to 100 AD). Smyrna (100-322); Pergamos (323 - 538); Thyatira (538-1798); Sardis (1798-1833); Philadelphia (1833-1844); Laodicea 1844 - THE END).

These dates are taken from a comprehensive study of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, (see Daniel and the Revelation by Uriah Smith, Pacific Press Publishing Assn., Mountain View, California). I would appreciate you thoughtful insights on these areas as I am genuinely a
*Berean* in search of truth. My only desire is to have the Word of God securely fastened to my heart, mind, soul and spirit. Thank you for your godly wisdom and may God bless and reward you with more blessings than you have room for in this life and Eternal life in the world to come.

Response #1: Thank you for your good words. As to my teachings on the Seven Churches, the introductory section in Coming Tribulation part 2A gives the basis for the chronological framework presented in that study. The specific trends of church history that correspond to the description in Revelation chapters two and three is given under each specific Church-era. You probably have already gotten to this, but, just in case, 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).

The Church eras are mostly of equal length – 360 years (corresponding in years to the equal number of days in a standard Jewish year of twelve lunar months of 30 days each). Ephesus is exceptionally short on the front end as it is a transitional era standing between apostolic rule and normal church governance (lasting 12 years corresponding to the twelve apostles of the Lamb), as is Laodicea on the back (lasting 144 years, corresponding the 144,000 Jewish witnesses whose ministry most dramatically marks the return of Israel the fore), also transitional between normal church governance and the reassertion of Jewish predominance during the Tribulation (partially as a response to gentile failure during that era – and we can certainly see that failure in the dearth of substantive Bible teaching since at present). The specific "A.D." dates of all the Church eras mesh convincingly with major events in church history when this system of division is applied.

As to Mr. Smith's book, I cannot say that I am familiar with it, so please forgive me if these comments do not do justice to its contents or scholarship. I must say that I am always encouraged to find others who likewise see in the seven churches a division of the Church Age that progresses forward into the Tribulation, although by "the end" it is possible that Mr. Smith means the unbiblical "pre-tribulational rapture". Even so, I find this overall exegesis encouraging inasmuch as the trend otherwise in contemporary eschatology is to spiritualize away this and other basic truths we are meant to receive from these two crucial chapters of scripture.

A couple of observations:

1) A.D. 100 seems a very tenuous date. After all, the B.C./A.D. system of chronology was only invented circa 500 A.D., so that "100" is the most arbitrary of dates, especially since in God's chronology it is the sacrifice of our Lord on the cross and the glories which follow that mark the true start point of the Church Age (i.e., 33 “A.D.”). To my recollection, we know very, very little about the Church during this time (i.e., from the close of scripture in ca. 68 A.D. to the arbitrary 100 A.D.), certainly almost nothing that can be pegged to this date despite its nice round number. It may be that Mr. Smith is assuming that this is close to John's death, but, as I have tried to show in CT 2A and later studies, John most likely went to be with the Lord around A.D. 70, a victim of Nero's persecution (the evidence that puts the date later is most unconvincing).

2) In Rev. Smith's schema, the two Church eras of Sardis and Philadelphia are extremely short, together not amounting to a single normal human life span. Inasmuch as it must be admitted that each of the seven churches is quite different in many respects, it is hard to see from the evidence of church history or even from normal human experience how trends could have been so different over such a short periods of times.

3) Dispensationalism: We all owe Dr. Scofield a great debt of gratitude for his pioneering work in seeing the differences in the administration of the Word of God in different eras of history. But just as his thinking changed somewhat over time, so I would argue that much of what one would call "classic dispensationalism" today has become an overly dogmatic attempt to impose Scofield's somewhat meritorious but imperfect system upon all of scripture in a defining and dispositive way. Dispensations do not really organize history. Rather they explain how God has made His Word available during different periods of history. The Gentile, Jewish, Church and Millennial Ages of history are really the lynch-pins of biblical chronology (and there are many other things to consider as well!). Please see the link: The Five Dispensational Divisions of Human History (in SR #5). I say all this merely to point out the possibility that Mr. Smith's chronology is overly influenced by this theory (although, as I say, I would have to read the book first).

4) Daniel: On the same point, since Daniel is concerned with Jewish history past, present, and future, that book is extremely pivotal in any study of the Tribulation and beyond (i.e., the "Day of the Lord" in toto). However, the Church Age is a mystery that was not revealed before the Advent of our Lord, so that I would be skeptical of any information in the book of Daniel that would be used for the purpose of delineating the periods of an age that was deliberately shrouded from view at the time of its writing. Once again, this is only a preliminary observation.

As I say, I am very pleased to hear about the over all thesis of this book. I think if one comes away with the understanding that we live in the age of Laodicea (with all that implies, both for our own spiritual condition and for the threat and proximity of the Tribulation ahead), then I would say that Mr. Smith has done a service (even if I would disagree with some of the finer points of his interpretation).

In our dear Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #2: 

I was asked what Judgment the Christian must go through and when. I know the Great White Throne judgment judges those not in the Book of Life. Is it only or works that are judged: we must all give account?

Response #2:

The quick answer is that believers of today (and the entire Church of Christ) will receive their evaluation for "the things done according to the body" (2Cor.5:10) in the early days of the Millennial Kingdom following our resurrection at our Lord's return. The Great White Throne judgment occurs at the end of the Millennium and is the final event of "time" and human history (this is when all unbelievers will be judged). We are all judged "according to our works" or better put "according to what we have done", "whether good or bad" (2Cor.5:10 again). What we believers "have done" first and foremost is to believe in Jesus and follow Him faithfully during this life, ideally having passed whatever tests of faith have come, and having helped others to do so too through the gifts we have been given in the ministries into which we have been variously led.

Naturally when everything we have done is weighed in the balance, much of it in many cases will have been pointless, and only what has truly been done for Christ will last, shining as "gold, silver and precious stones" instead of being burned up as "wood, hay and stubble" (1Cor.3:10-16). But while we may "suffer loss" for our wasted opportunities, and while thereby not all believers will receive the crowns of righteousness, life and glory (given for attaining spiritual maturity, successful endurance of testing and successful completion of ministry respectively), all will at least be saved and thus have a full share in the resurrection and the kingdom – a full share in our dear Lord Jesus Christ! – with those who have responded to the call for spiritual advance, witness, and service having earned eternal crowns and their concomitant  rewards which will delight them and glorify their Lord forever (see the link: “Crowns”).

Unbelievers, on the other hand, do not have any of this. They cannot rely on the work of Jesus Christ for their salvation, since they have rejected Him (either actively or passively by refusing to turn to God through His Son in life). As a result, they have only their own earthly "deeds" to show for their time here on earth, and even where those deeds are acts of which we might approve (such as giving money to charity) it will be shown at the last judgment of the Great White Throne that nothing they did was immaculate, and nothing they did could ever blot out the sin they committed. It will be shown that they rejected God's way of salvation (either actively or passively), and foolishly sought instead to stand on their own insufficient works and merits. No matter how "good" a person may have behaved, and no matter what great "good" a human being might do in this life, only the blood of Christ, that is, His death for sin on the cross, could ever possibly wash away the slightest or the smallest sin. Certainly, no act of human "good" could ever diminish or compensate for sin in any way. Even to think like this is to impugn the character of God and trivialize the sacrifice of the Son of God – if it is so easy to buy off the justice of God, then why would He have to send His one and only Son to die for the world?

For more on all this please see the link: Peter #18. Here is an excerpt:
 

When our Lord returns to the earth, in victory and glory, we too shall be gathered together to meet Him (1Thes.4:12; 1Cor.15:50-58). The time of our Lord's second advent and of our "gathering together with Him" (2Thes.2:1; cf. Is.27:12-13) also begins the time of our evaluation and reward (Matt.16:27; 19:28; 20:8; Lk.14:14; Rev.11:18). Following his glorious conquest of the devil's world at the 2nd Advent (Matt.24:29-31; Rev.19:1-20:6), Jesus Christ will conduct a thorough evaluation of Israel (Is.1:25-28; 4:2-6; Ezek.20:33-38; Zech.13; Mal.3:2-3; Rom.11:26). It is also at that time that He will judge all of the newly resurrected believers (for the purpose of granting eternal rewards on the basis of service: Rom.2:16; 1Cor.3:10-17; 2Cor.5:10). This extended "judgment-day" will terminate with the final resurrection of millennial believers at the conclusion of "the Day of the Lord" (a term encompassing the 2nd Advent and Millennium as one grand event: compare 2Pet.3:10 with 2Pet.3:8; see also Acts 2:20; 1Cor.3:13; 1Thes.5:2; 2Thes.2:2), their judgment, and the final judgment of unbelievers at the Great White Throne (Rev.20:11-15).
 

See also the following link:

                            Eternal Rewards

In hope of a full reward on that great day to come - a confident expectation for all who faithfully follow Him and help others to do the same.

Bob L.

Question #3: 

Dr. Luginbill, Friends at work who believe in the pre-tribulation rapture argue that since no man knows the hour or day of our Lords return that then proves their point that Christians will not be here because so many scriptural events need to be met in the 7 year tribulation time line and we would know when Jesus would return, i.e. the 2 witnesses, the rebuilding of the temple, the rise of the antichrist, the mark of the beast to be able to buy and sell, do they have a point? Or is the exact day and hour still unknown , all be it, at the end of the 7 years, give or take a day or two? I thoroughly enjoy your site and learn daily from it. May your ministry continue to be blessed!
 

Response #3:

I think that you have "hit the nail on the head" with your observation that "day and hour" is certainly a more confined point of time than "week and month", let alone, "season and year" (which is as far as I see scripture specifying, and even that comes with certain caveats; see the link: "The Date of the Tribulation"). Rather than supporting their argument, the specific information you reference given in the Bible about the timing of the Second Advent certainly seems to me to beg the question, "why is it there, if we are not supposed to get anything out of it at all?" After all, according to the pre-trib thesis, only unbelievers will be left behind, that is, those who do not believe the scriptures anyway (and it would be hard to go from zero to complete understanding in a few short years, especially with no teachers around who understand them either, even if they were saved at the commencement of the Tribulation – and how would they be saved without any witness in the first place?). It strikes me that the fact that pre-trib rapture proponents have to resort to convoluted argumentation of this sort to support their case only serves to point out what I and many others have been saying for some time: there is no biblical evidence for a pre-trib rapture. Quite to the contrary, the Bible is consistent in focusing our hope on the return of our Lord once and for all (not on some vaguely defined prior, partial return).

Here is what I have written about this point and this passage in Coming Tribulation part 2B under "Fallacies about the start of the Tribulation":
 

2. Fallacy #2: The unknowable nature of the time removes the urgency of this issue: It is true that the Bible does not provide us with an explicit calendar of coming events, and that it is therefore impossible to state with dogmatic authority the precise day on which the Tribulation will begin. However, that does not mean that believers are relieved of the responsibility of considering this matter, of watching and waiting, of gleaning what may be known from scripture, and of doing everything within the capabilities they have been given to prepare spiritually for that coming time. The negative aspects of this second fallacy are thus twofold: 1) the idea that seeking to know is wrong-headed, even possibly blasphemous, undermines proper seeking of guidance from the Bible; 2) the idea that since precise knowledge of the exact time is unavailable that therefore no spiritual preparations are necessary undermines proper efforts to prepare spiritually. This combination of misapprehensions creates a "head-in-the-sand" effect which is inimical to scriptural searching and spiritual preparation – exactly the opposite of what scripture enjoins.

For that we should watch carefully is clear (Matt.24:42-52; 25:1-13):
 

And [Jesus] was saying to the crowds, "When you see clouds coming up at dusk, you immediately say 'A storm is coming', and that is what happens. And when [you notice] the south wind blowing, you say 'There'll be a hot spell', and that is what happens. Hypocrites! You know how to evaluate the appearance of the earth and the sky, but how is it that you don't know how to evaluate this [critical] time?"
Luke 12:54-56
 

And that we should prepare carefully while we can is equally clear (cf. Matt.7:24-27; 25:14-30):
 

So Jesus said to them, "For a little while yet, the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so the darkness doesn't overtake you. While you have the Light, believe in the Light, that you may become sons of light.
John 12:35-36
 

Matthew 24:36 ("No one knows the day or the hour") is neither a command nor an excuse for believers to make a virtue out of ignorance and willfully ignore the issue. For one thing, Matthew 24:36 is speaking about the precise timing of the 2nd Advent, not, that is, the timing of the Tribulation's commencement, but of its termination (cf. Zech.14:7). And even so, the fact is that, just a few verses earlier (Matt.24:22), Jesus had told us that this approximation of the time of the 2nd Advent would be a matter of days, not of weeks or months, and certainly not of years. Secondly, this statement about the unknown day and hour comes in the immediate context of the parable of the fig tree (verses 32-33), whose stated lesson is that one can and indeed should be on the lookout for that particular future event – one cannot know the precise hour, but the faithful believer can and should form a close approximation of that coming time.
 

And here is a further footnote from that passage which deals with another popular
passage often used by those of the opposite point of view:
 

FN #86: Acts 1:7 is often mistranslated in this regard, and should be rendered “It is not for you to decide the times and the seasons” (a common meaning of the Greek verb  gignosko, especially when it is in the aorist as here), since it is immediately explained by “which the Father has ordained by His authority” (i.e., the Father has decided this; it is not to be decided by your wishes). Jesus' disciples were clearly expressing the wish through their question in verse six for Him to establish the Kingdom immediately. We must also take into consideration the fact that this statement was given to the apostles prior to the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost. The Spirit is the agent of inspiration, chronology included, who, as Jesus had already made clear, would be the One to relate to them "the things to come" (Jn.16:13; cf. 2Pet.1:16-21). Since they will later come to understand the "things to come", verse seven must understood in conjunction with verse eight: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you . . .", a statement that clearly includes the previously promised further revelation of the Spirit (not excluding information about the end times). This is why, a few short years later, Paul can tell the Thessalonians the exact opposite of Acts 1:7: "concerning the times and the seasons, you have no need that anyone write you, for you know very well . . ." (1Thes.5:1-2) – by this time the Spirit had revealed more information about future eschatology.
 

I hope this will be helpful to you in this matter. Please do feel free to write me back
about this or any other questions you might have. Thank you so much for your
encouragement and prayers.

Yours in our Lord Jesus with whom we have been seated in heaven until that time in
the ages to come when our Father fully demonstrates to us the surpassing wealth of
His grace and goodness in Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #4: 

For Daniel 11:44, the KJV reads: “But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.

Q1. Please explain what could be troubling in both the east & north, the east may possibly be referring to the marching of the 200 million, but as to the north? I have no idea.

Q2. Do we know where geographically speaking, this great fury of the antichrist will be directed?

Looking forward to the next installment of Coming Tribulation. Your insight is always greatly appreciated!
 

Response #4:

This passage is referring to events late in the Great Tribulation. Prior to Christ's return, there will be a number of events that set the stage for Armageddon, one of which is included in the passage you mention. It will be helpful to give these to you in outline form first:

1. the darkness of the fifth bowl which affects "the kingdom of the beast"
2. rumors from east and north: i.e., from the beast's kingdom and the east (where he has the most tenuous hold)
3. the beast leaves for the north (with major contingents - leaves garrison only in Israel)
4. revolt in Israel - taking advantage of the opportunity
5. Babylon joins in revolt
6. consolidation by the beast of situation in the north and capitulation of the east (sixth bowl - Euphrates)
7. call to Armageddon (in response to revolt)
8. 2,300 "evenings and mornings" purging of the sanctuary (at least a garrison probably survives in Jerusalem and other garrisons in the land - cf. Rev.11:2 - NOTE - this also gives antichrist a further reason to make Jerusalem the focus of the campaign)
9. destruction of Babylon
10. Armageddon

Please bear with the sketchiness of this list - these matters are covered in the currently in production part 5 of Coming Tribulation. To return to Daniel 11:44 in particular, the beast, at this time, has been ruling in Jerusalem, seated in the temple of God and proclaiming himself to be God (cf. 1Thes.2:4). During the darkness poured out specifically on his kingdom during the fifth bowl judgment, antichrist's hold on Europe and Asia is weakened, occasioning him to depart with wrath to put down all revolts, real and potential. This opens the way for the rebellion in Israel (cf. e.g., Zech.12:5ff), and, because of support for that rebellion from Babylon, the beast's original home country which has likewise seized the opportunity brought about by the divine judgment of darkness on the beast's European kingdom and consequent insurrections, brings about his destruction of Babylon once his situation has improved. So antichrist's fury is first directed towards those in Europe and Asia who take the opportunity to stir up resistance to him, and after that towards Babylon as a whole.

As I say, the full exegesis of these passages lies down the road, but your enthusiasm is a welcome goad that helps to keep me plugging away "in season and out of season".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #5: 

Just a quick question. I have been reading in the news about RFID for medical records and that the government has been talking about a bill in the senate to require citizens to be "chipped". Is this the same as biblical warning of taking the "mark of the beast"? How are we to know what this mark actual is: a national ID card/chip etc. Do we just not go along with any of this? Your ministry is such a blessing!! I'm so thankful I was led to your site!!

Response #5: 

Good to hear from you. I really appreciate your encouraging comments.

I really am not much of a technical person. I have heard something about this, but don't know enough to say anything definitive regarding the technology. However, regarding the mark of the beast, you can find that covered in Part 4 of Coming Tribulation (see the link: “The Mark of the Beast”). A couple of key things about the mark apropos of your question: 1) the process of universal marking doesn't come about until after the Tribulation has hit its mid-point (i.e., it is part and parcel of antichrist's implementation of his mandatory one-world religion, the event that will coincide with the Great Persecution of all true believers who refuse to go along); 2) although there will be the strongest coercion to take the mark, a person will have to knowingly agree to take it for the possession of it to be a sign of condemnation; 3) the mark will be for visible and outward identification so that all who look at the person can see that he/she has committed him/herself to the worship of the beast. So anything hidden such as these chips apparently are will not accomplish the beast's purpose: the whole idea is a show of outward allegiance to him, proclaiming him as the Christ, whereas in fact he is the anti-Christ.

Hope this is of some help,

In our Lord whose Name will be written on our foreheads for all eternity (Rev.3:12).

Bob L.
 

Question #6: 

Dear Dr Luginbill, I would like to ask you something – If the tribulation is likely to start in 2026, what about the 1000 years Revelation is mentioning – where do those years fit in?

Response #6: 

The 1000 years mentioned in Revelation is the "Millennium", the final "seventh day" of the seven millennial days of human history (see the link: "The Seven Days of Human History" in SR #5). This is the time of Christ's reign on earth, the time of Israel's regathering and all of the wonderful things predicted in the prophets (e.g., Is.65:17-25). The Millennium commences at the Second Advent, Christ's return. Jesus returns at the end of the seven year Tribulation. So, assuming that the time frame I have given is correct (for the caveats, see the link: "Tribulation in 2026?"), the 1000 years would begin in 2033 – exactly two thousand years after the death and resurrection of our Lord.

In anticipation of that blessed day of Christ's return.

Bob L.

Question #7: 

Hey your study on The Tribulation is great. But I just have a question and I would like your opinion. I am writing a story about the Tribulation at the end of which the resurrection/rapture will take place. I want to make it very simple because this last scene is just the beginning of everything in a way, you know? Could you give me some idea where to look for the details?

Response #7: 

Thanks for your good words. As far as the end of you story is concerned, you could do worse than considering some of the main biblical passages that describe the event: e.g., Matt.24 - 25 (cf. Mk.13; Lk.17 & 21); Rev.19; Rev.1:7; 1Thes.4:13-17; 2Thes.1:5-10; 1Cor.15 for the New Testament; Ps.110; Zech.14:1-4; Jer.25:30ff; Is.63-66 for the Old Testament. Of course these are just some of the highlights – this list barely scratches the surface (please see the link: Replacement II: the rule of Christ and the Kingdom of God [in SR #5]). The best answer I can give would be to read part 5 of Coming Tribulation, but the problem is that it is not yet published (although I hope to have it out in a few months). For now please see the briefer treatment of the Second Advent at the link: CT 2B: "Divine Judgment and the Second Advent". In the meantime, I remain ready to answer any specific questions you may have about this or any other scriptural issue.

Hope this helps,

In our Lord for whose return we so anxiously wait.

Bob L.

Question #8: 

Dear Dr Luginbill,

In Revelation 12:5 ….the woman gave birth to a son, who will rule over all nations with an iron rod. The child was then taken to God and His throne. That is the last mention of the boy in Revelation. Who do you think is this child? Could it be the antichrist?

Yours in Christ,
 

Response #8: 

This passage is treated in part 4 of Coming Tribulation (see the link: “The Woman and the Dragon: Revelation 12:1-6"). The child in Revelation chapter 12 is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the One who is destined to rule the world "with a rod of iron", as we have the same exact language in Revelation 2:9, both passages quoting the Messianic second Psalm, Psalm 2:9 to be precise. The dragon, the devil, wants to destroy this child (whereas Satan is protective of his antichrist), but the devil is unable to do so (cf. Satan's temptation of our Lord in the wilderness in Matt.4:1ff etc., and the devil's orchestration of Jesus' betrayal by Judas: Jn.13:27).

This passage is an allegory, a literary device of which Revelation is full (cf. the beast of Rev.17). It uses vivid imagery to make its points emphatically and teaches through symbolism. Here, the entire history of Israel is condensed into the birth of the Messiah and the later protection and deliverance of the woman Israel. So the allegory covers thousands of years, with over two millennia between the birth of the child and the woman's protection. But portrayed as it is we see how wonderfully close the Messiah and true Israel are, and we also see in encapsulated form the two advents of the divine child who grew to be the God-Man who saved us from our sins, and who will return in glory to rule the world.

Yours in the One who was born to die for our sins, our dear Lord Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #9: 

Can the following Scripture be transliterated as such?

“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.” (KJV - Rev. 13:11)

Improved to: “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and it had a horn 'both' (Greek - duo) like a lamb and spake as a dragon.”

Since duo in Strong's Greek 1417, is duo,doo'-o; a primary numeral; “two” :- both, twain, two.
 

Response #9: 

The Greek word dyo is the standard ordinal number "two", very similar in function and usage to our own English "two". The word "both" in English is generally reserved for constructions where two not entirely identical things are considered as paired together, i.e., both of the brothers, as opposed to "two" (or "seven") brothers, stressing the number. Therefore, the Greek word dyo is almost never to be translated as "both" (any more than one would translate the English number "2" as "both" going into Greek or any other language). There are a number of ways to generate the "both" linkage in Greek (i.e., kai, te, amphoteros, hekastos), but dyo isn't one of them. I did check Strong's, and it turns out that, despite the frequent use of the word "both" in KJV, Revelation 19:20 is the only place where dyo is translated "both", i.e., referring to the beast and his false prophet: "these both were cast alive into . . .". Herein we see some rather archaic English usage. Nowadays, it would be more natural to translate for "these two" over "these both" ("these both" just doesn't fly anymore). But the main point is that in this one example, "these both" really means "these two", and the oddity of the archaic usage reflected in Strong's is an old English peculiarity rather than a Greek one (so we can't work the problem backwards and then apply the idiom to Greek, even if it weren't out-dated). The other "fly in the ointment" here is that kerata is clearly a plural, that is, what we have is most definitely "horns" instead of the singular "horn". I think the best thing with this passage is to do what all the versions I know of do and translate pretty much as KJV has (noticing that even KJV doesn't opt for a "both" in this instance): "and it had two horns like a lamb".

In our Lord,

Bob L.
 

Question #10: 

Thank you for your kind response. I get in more trouble with Greek than anyone I know! Oh well, I will just have to keep on digging.
 

Response #10: 

You are most welcome for the help. Greek and Hebrew are pretty complicated. I know for a fact that I never would have gotten anywhere with them if I hadn't made the decision going on 30 years ago now to give up my regular commission in the USMC and head back to school. There were times when the money was tight that I had some second thoughts, but on balance I have never regretted it. I must say that I find your willingness to consult someone with some experience to be a mark of uncommon humility. Nowadays, anybody with a lexicon and an intro to Greek or Hebrew book is likely to style themselves an expert and build some wild theory on mere gossamer instead of genuine grammar. I commend you for your attitude, and I heartily apologize if I lay it on too heavily sometimes. That's the pedant in me. You can't teach 5 courses a semester in Greek and Latin without getting really pedantic about grammar and vocabulary. Please forgive the excess.

Yes, and do keep on digging indeed! No matter what our qualifications or good intentions, we will never find out anything new about the Word of God without continually, lovingly, and consistently digging into it day by day.

In our Lord who is the very Word of God, Jesus Christ.

Bob L.
 

Question #11: 

Can Revelation 13:18 be translated as follows?

Here is wisdom. He who has understanding let him count the number of the Beast:
because it consist of the number of a man; and its (Beast's) number is six-hundred threescore
and six.

For – Greek word gar (gar) .. a primary particle; properly, assigning a reason (used in argument, explanation or intensification; often with other particles):--and, as, because (that), but, even, for, indeed, no doubt, seeing, then, therefore, verily, what, why, yet.

Is – Greek word estin (estin) .. third person singular present indicative of eimi - eimi 1510; he (she or it) is; also (with neuter plural) they are:--are, be(-long), call, X can(-not), come, consisteth, X dure for a while, + follow, X have, (that) is (to say), make, meaneth, X must needs, + profit, + remaineth, + wrestle.

Thus, the reason for counting (calculating) the number of the Beast is because it contains as a component of, constructed within it, the number of a man. (cf. the use of eimi as “consisteth” in Luke 12:15).
 

Response #11: 

 I don't have any quarrels with the Greek text you provide (except to say that "mind" / Greek noun, does not have the definite article in the original text, a fact that doesn't seem of great significance to your particular question). As far as the verb "to be" meaning "consists of / in", that is very unusual thing, and, more to the point, would generally only be the case when used with a preposition to signal / indicate the same (as in the example you cite, Luke 12:15, "does not consist in / of" actually has the preposition "in" / en in combination with "abundance").

As to your conclusion, however, I don't initially see any problem with your proposition (whichever way you translate the verse). In either case, calculating the Beast's number is key to identifying that he (i.e., the person one subjects to the test) is indeed antichrist. Since he will be masquerading as Christ, that will indeed be an important final line of defense for those who are wavering on the fringe of faith under the pressures of the Tribulation and the Great Persecution. I have covered this in some significant detail in part at the following link: “The Number of the Beast” (in CT 4).

In our Lord who is our hope of deliverance.

Bob L.

 


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