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Eschatology Issues V:

Daniel's 70th week,
'It is not for you to know the times or the seasons',
Children who survive the Tribulation, Psalm 83,
'a nation against a nation',
and 'thus shall all Israel be saved'

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Question #1: 

Hello Bob,

How are things? I hope they are going well. I know you are a busy man, but I also know you like to help us understand. I know what I believe and I guess I ask because I need to be able to answer. Anyway, I've found lately that people are now stating that the "he" in the verse in Daniel 9:27 isn't the anchrist but it is Jesus and that He confirmed a 7 year covenant...but in the past. I know you hate checking out links to these sites, but I guess what upset me more is that the website I had talked to you about before and to which I have removed myself, is becoming so wrong to me. Although I don't post there, I still go to read the threads every now and then.

As much as I wanted to be a part of a God-fearing group, there were always one or two who were always coming around with convoluted ideas that I didn’t believe in. I would then watch others coming around to their views. As much as I wanted to be able to say something, my skills in debating are no where near theirs as far as concordances and the original languages. I finally had to leave for it began upsetting me in real life. I had wanted it to be a blessing and that just wasn’t the case anymore. I wrote one of the administrators about my worries about one of the other members and a couple of months down the line, sure enough the member finally came out and admitted they were a preterist. But, it took that long for anyone to do anything and in the meantime he had changed a lot of peoples ideas. The admin finally told him that maybe he should join another site, one in which had more in common with his views.

They now have one detailing whether the Tribulation is 7 years, in which the majority don't believe is and state there is no scripture which states that it is. So while that debate was going on it has gone even further to state what I’ve stated above…that the "he" isn’t AC, but Jesus and that none of it will happen during the Tribulation. That there will be no temple, that we, his church members are the temple and that all of it is allegorical. I know the difference, but there could be even newer Christians who read this site and I just want to say something, but feel I am not learned enough to do so. I’m upset again but keep hoping that one of the more learned members will come and finally put someone in their place. I know there are some people who’s minds we can never change, but in the mean time many are being influenced. It is just so sad to me.

I did a search on the internet and I have found that most are coming to believe all of this. I truly believe people aren’t going to their Bibles anymore, even though they may claim to, but are depending on the internet and "man’s" ideas about scripture. I know they may be looking for teachers, just as I did with you, but I can’t believe the things that are out there. Boy, was I lucky and that my prayers were answered in you! Here is an example of a completely wrong idea, but will be so believable to some:

Historically, Protestant scholars have not applied Daniel 9:27 to a future period of tribulation at all! Neither have they applied the "he" to the Antichrist! Rather, they applied it to Jesus Christ. Notice what the world-famous Bible commentary written by Matthew Henry says about Daniel 9:27: "By offering himself a sacrifice once and for all he [Jesus] shall put an end to all the Levitical sacrifices." Another famous Bible commentary, written by Adam Clarke, says that during the "term of seven years," Jesus would "confirm or ratify the new covenant with mankind." Finally, another well-respected old commentary declares: "He shall confirm the covenant—Christ. The confirmation of the covenant is assigned to Him."

The following 10 points provide logical and convincing evidence that the "one week" spoken of in Daniel 9:27 does not apply to any future seven-year period of tribulation at all. Rather, this great prophetic period has already been definitely fulfilled in the past!

1) The entire prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 covers a period of "seventy weeks." This period applies to one complete, sequential block of time. This prophecy would start during the Persian period and would end during the time of the Messiah.

2) Logic requires that the 70th week follow immediately after the 69th week. If it does not, then it cannot properly be called the 70th week!

3) It is illogical to insert a 2,000-year gap between the 69th and the 70th week. No hint of this gap is found in the prophecy itself. There is no gap between the first 7 weeks and the following 62 weeks. Why insert one between the 69th and the 70th week?

4) Daniel 9:27 says nothing about a seven-year period of tribulation, or about any Antichrist.

5) The focus of this prophecy is the Messiah, not the Antichrist. Modern interpreters have applied "the people of the prince" who would come to "destroy the city and the sanctuary" (verse 26) to the Antichrist. Yet the text does not say this. In the past, that sentence has been applied to the Romans, who under Prince Titus did "destroy the city and the sanctuary" in A.D. 70.

6) "He shall confirm the covenant." Jesus Christ came "to confirm the promises made unto the fathers." Romans 15:8. Nowhere in the Bible is Antichrist ever said to make or confirm a covenant with anyone! The word "covenant" always applies to the Messiah, never to the Antichrist!

7) "He shall confirm the covenant with many." Jesus said, "This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many." Matthew 26:28. Jesus used the same words, because He knew that He was fulfilling Daniel 9:27!

8) "In the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease." The 70th week was from A.D. 27 to 34. After three and a half years of ministry, Christ died in A.D. 31, "in the midst [middle] of the week." At the moment of His death, "the veil of the temple was rent [torn] in twain from the top to the bottom." Matthew 27:51. This act of God signified that all animal sacrifices had at that moment ceased to be of value. The Great Sacrifice had been offered!

9) "For the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate." Jesus plainly applied this "abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet" (Matthew 24:15) to the time when His followers were to flee from Jerusalem before the destruction of the second temple in A.D. 70. Jesus told His 12 disciples, "When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies [the Roman armies led by Prince Titus], then know that its desolation is near." Luke 21:20, emphasis added. Those disciples did "see" those very events. Christ’s very last words to the Pharisees from inside the second temple were, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." Matthew 23:38. Thus Daniel’s prophecy about Jerusalem becoming "desolate" was exactly fulfilled in A.D. 70! Jesus understood this perfectly.

10) Gabriel said that the 70-week prophecy specifically applied to the Jewish people (Daniel 9:24). From A.D. 27 to A.D. 34, the disciples went only "to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Matthew 10:6. At the end of the 70 weeks, in the year A.D. 34, Stephen was stoned by the Jewish Sanhedrin (Acts chapter 7). Then the gospel began to go to the Gentiles. In Acts chapter 9, Saul became Paul, "the apostle of the Gentiles." Romans 11:13. Then in Acts chapter 10, God gave Peter a vision revealing that it was now time to preach the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10:1-28). Read also Acts 13:46.

The explosive evidence is overwhelming! Point by point, the events of the 70th week have already been fulfilled in the past! The following eight words found in Daniel 9:27: "confirm...covenant...many...midst...sacrifice...cease... abominations...desolate": all find a perfect fulfillment in Jesus Christ and in early Christian history.

What are the implications for these beliefs? No one seems to say what they would be and how it would change everything we know about the Tribulation. If they believe it all happened in the past, what possibly could they hope for in the future. How can they believe all of that is past and then believe the rest of scripture about Jesus' second advent. Wouldn't changing this one verse have an impact on their beliefs about that too? I wouldn't know as I've never even contemplated that idea.

In Christ,

Response #1:  

Good to hear from you as always. This weird twisting of scripture is disturbing, but not at all unprecedented; it is also predicted:

For the time will come when they will not put up with sound teaching, but will [instead], desiring to have their ears scratched, heap up by their own [devices] teachers to match their specific lusts. And they will turn their ears from the truth and resort instead to fictions (i.e., made up by these false teachers).
2nd Timothy 4:1-3

Indeed, even though my web-ministry has become progressively more available day by day, and even though I am doing more things to increase its web-visibility, the competition for traffic to the site from all sorts of questionable sources seems to be increasing even more. This is of no great concern to me: my job is to study, teach, and make sure in a reasonable and godly way that the material is accessible, discoverable, and available. I have total confidence in the Lord that He is able to direct anyone who is really looking for the truth (and to/for whom this ministry is apt to speak) to my doorstep (so to speak). It is in that vein that I would view your no doubt correct apprehension that an ever greater number of people are being drawn in and deceived by sloppy and/or deliberately deceptive teaching (God knows which is which).

You have not asked for one, so I am not providing here a point by point refutation of the "ten points" (although I will address your initial concern, the issue of Daniel 9:27). Suffice it to say that the very first point is wrong, and that since all of the other points are hung on this faulty "peg", all one needs to do is pull the first peg out for the entire collection of nonsense to fall to the ground (all these points are eminently refutable in their own rights as well, of course, but overlooked here in the interest of saving time and effort – do feel free to write back about any that concern you).

The notion that this person in Daniel who makes the covenant could be Jesus Christ is so ridiculous (really blasphemous) on the face of it that in many ways such a claim serves as a very good caveat emptor written in bright bold letters: "This if false teaching; stay away!" Any Christian with a Bible will see the danger of such a horrible suggestion with only a glance at the context. I quote here from the NASB (though I have translated these verses myself ) – just to make clear here that any reasonable translation will lead unequivocally to the same result:

26"Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. 27"And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate."
Daniel 9:26-27 NASB

Please note that 1) the Messiah is "cut off" before the "prince" comes; 2) the "prince's people" are the Romans who destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D., and Christ is Jewish, or course, not "Roman" in any sense, even a metaphorical one; therefore 3) this prince makes the covenant – so that he cannot be the Messiah, both because the Messiah has been cut off and has not yet returned, and because this prince is clearly associated with the Roman empire, albeit prophetically, and is specifically excluded from being part of Israel, since he is prince of another "people".

As to the first point, the faulty peg on which this 10 point interpretation hangs, its essential invalidness can be seen from the following quote: "This period applies to one complete, sequential block of time". In fact, Daniel's prophecy deliberately and specifically splits up the 70 weeks:

So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.
Daniel 9:25 NASB

Not only is there a gap here (and it is a highly significant one for the interpretation and application of these verses; see the link: "Antichrist's Alliance with Israel"), but also we should note well that the seventieth week is notably absent – and that alone shows the last seven years are to be considered separately. There is certainly plenty of information elsewhere in scripture which connects up these seven years particularly and the Tribulation in general (see the link: "The 42 Months"), but we need not go any farther than the context above to see very clearly that the assertion of a "sequential block of time" as flowing necessarily from this passage is entirely counter-intuitive and demonstrably wrong. That is to say, such an interpretation goes exactly contrary to the way these verses read.

Finally, the implications of believing lies regarding the Tribulation are the same as believing all other lies: it produces negative effects on spiritual growth. In terms of this particular false teaching, it is likely to have the same or similar effect as believing in an erroneous pre-Tribulation rapture, namely, the real possibility of finding oneself in the midst of that terrible seven year period completely unprepared.

I hope things are going better for you and your family. I continue to keep you and situation in my prayers.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #2:  

Dear Dr Luginbill,

You mention in your series on 'The Coming Tribulation' about the seven churches at the beginning of Revelation representing the seven ages of the church, and you have come up with dates for these ages. Now, I am familiar with the former teaching, although have never understood how it is clearly supported in Scripture. The latter I find even stranger, and whilst I suppose I ought to give what you have written closer examination, I thought Jesus clearly taught that no-one would know the day or hour of His return. Now, if your theories were correct, surely we can in fact know the day or hour (Matt. 24:36 and elsewhere)- you give the ending of the 'Laodician Age' at around 2026 and the Tribulation as the seven years following. Isn't this contradicting what the Lord Himself said? And is it in any way adding to the words of the book (Rev. 22:18) which the Lord also warned us not to do? (I suppose this could be meaning the text itself, and that is all?)

I am writing this partly by way of query and partly by way of concern (I hope!) that your teachings may be gravely 'off' in this point- I hope you may prove me wrong!

Many regards,

Response #2: 

Good to make your acquaintance. Since your question about the seven church eras is predicated upon your concerns about Acts 1:7 (KJV: "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons") and Matthew 24:36 (KJV: "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only"), allow me to address this issue first. For it seems clear to me that any explanation involving specific dates will be found unacceptable prima facie for all who take these passages to mean that 1) we cannot know anything from scripture about future dates, and 2) we are out of bounds in attempting to investigate what scripture says about these things. Let me say by way of introduction that neither or these passages teaches any such thing. Scripture contains a good deal of information about the end times and much of it is chronological in nature. For example, every conservative biblical exegete of whom I am aware considers that the Tribulation will last seven years and that the Great Tribulation will last exactly half of that time (alternatively described as 42 months and "a time, times and half a time") – of course they believe this, for the Bible is very specific about these matters. But if the passages which concern you, cited in the first paragraph above, mean that we cannot and should not draw such conclusions it would be inconsistent for Bible teachers to do anything more than pronounce these specific measurements in Daniel and Revelation "mysteries" which we cannot understand and should not seek to try to do so.

To take the two passages in reverse order, in Matthew 24:36 our Lord is speaking about the time of the "coming of the Son of Man" (exactly the question posed to Him by the disciples in v.3), that is, His Second Advent. Note that He says that the specific "day and hour" are not known, but it would be running quite against the grain of this chapter to conclude that our Lord is telling us that we are to have no idea whatsoever when He will return. The whole context is in fact giving us a wealth of information about the specific series of events that must precede His return with the express purpose of protecting us from making mistakes about the timing of the Second Advent (so as to fall in with false prophets who claim to be the Christ, antichrist in particular). In the immediately preceding context, moreover, our Lord tells the disciples very directly that they most definitely are to watch for these events in order to get their chronological bearings:

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
Matthew 24:32-33 KJV

The point of this parable is that just as we can get a very good general idea about the timing of the seasons from observing natural phenomena, so the believers of that coming time of trouble will be able to get a very good sense of "where they are" in the Tribulation from the events that occur. In other words, just as we might not be able to tell the precise moment of spring's arrival from the budding of the trees, yet we are not going to be off by very much if we pay close attention to these things – a few days or weeks at the outside, but not months and certainly not years, so it will be for those in the Tribulation awaiting the Second Advent – if, that is, they actually do make a point of studying what the Bible has to say about the timing of these events.

I believe that if you do make a point of reading the Satanic Rebellion Series and the Coming Tribulation Series (see the links), you will see that the chronological information scripture provides is very precise (cf. Dan.12:11-12: "And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days"; KJV). We may not know the exact day or hour, but the year and time of year are another story entirely.

In verse 22 of Matthew 24 we find out why it is that we cannot pin down the precise day: "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (KJV). Indeed, the fact that "the [tally of] days" (i.e., the precise length of time of the 42 months) has been reduced indicates that there is a precise tally of days in the first place. Therefore this passage, Matthew 24:36, apart from not saying anything about any future event except the Second Advent, also only relegates the area of uncertainty to a very small ambit, "day and hour", even as in the context our Lord actually encourages us to be mindful of these precursors of that blessed event so that we will have a good chronological "feel" for where we stand in the eschatological calendar ("when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors").

Before moving on to Acts 1:7, "it is not for you to know" (KJV), allow me say a word about the date 2026. This date is not a prediction; it is an interpretation (one with which you are certainly free to disagree). As such, it is derivative of scriptural information, and of course every aspect of the interpretation is open for discussion. Please understand: I believe it to be correct. But because it an interpretation I have been as forthcoming as I can be about the "pillars" upon which it is based. As I say in part 5 of the Satanic Rebellion Series where it is developed and first introduced (see the link):

As we are to watch events in preparation for the trying times to come, so also we ought to make use of whatever specific chronological guidance the scriptures offer us, for it is certainly there for a reason. When we accept this principle, the issue becomes one of accuracy in interpretation. The most potentially controversial piece of information developed below, that is, the projected date for the commencement of the Tribulation, is based upon the following suppositions (all of which are treated within the context of this study):

* The seven millennial day interpretation is taught in scripture and meant to be understood and applied.

* The Church Age will last for two millennial days or 2000 years.

* The Church Age commenced following the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

* These events took place in 33 A.D.

* The Tribulation belongs to both the Church and Jewish Ages and is therefore to be subtracted from the 2000 year total when calculating the start of the Tribulation.

* The half hour of silence in heaven at the breaking of the seventh seal (Rev.8:1) signifies a half year grace period that shifts the start point from spring to fall.

* Scripture gives no indication of either shortening or lengthening of this time-line, and therefore no such change of schedule is anticipated.

The above points are all presented here as true, and the analysis upon which they are based is set forth below. Clearly, deviation from any of the above will alter the entire scheme. It is also true, as we have already said, that alteration of the schema presented below is certainly within the power and authority of the Almighty. The very end of the Tribulation, for example, will be shortened by some undisclosed amount of time (Mk.13:20). Rather than undermining the theory advanced in this study, however, Mark 13:20 in actuality supports the importance of paying heed to the Bible's chronological information. For if "the days are shortened", then surely this means that there was a definite heavenly timetable in the first place. Secondly, Mark 13:20 indicates that the shortening mentioned is a matter of days, weeks at the most (i.e., not enough to change the general time-line given below). This is certainly in line with the very specific tally of days and months given in Daniel and Revelation (Dan.7:25; 8:14; 12:7; 12:11-12; Rev.11:2-3; 12:6; 12:14; 13:5).

Acts 1:7, were it to mean what it purports to mean as it occurs in translation in most of the versions, ought to rule out any idea of getting any sort of spiritually important chronological information from the Bible. The idea of "dispensations", or of the length of the Millennium, or of the length of the Tribulation, or indeed of any concept of how long humanity has been on this earth or for how long it will be before the return of Christ or the commencement of the eternal state would be rendered impossible to discover and invalid to attempt to do so. As we have seen, this would clearly be inconsistent with a whole host of other passages which have as their main purpose to convey just such information.

It is important to recognize that in the context Jesus is responding with this statement to another question from the disciples in the preceding verse: "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6 KJV). Clearly, our Lord's purpose at Acts 1:7 is to disabuse the disciples of the false notion to which they were still clinging that there would only be one advent. After making the statement in Acts 1:7 in response, He next says in verse 8 "(a) But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: (b) and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. " (KJV). The (b) part of this second response outlines in a nutshell the future history of the Church Age, while the (a) part assures the disciples that they will soon have the Holy Spirit . . . so that they may understand (cf. Jn.14:26 KJV: "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things").

Simply put, there was much that the disciples did not and apparently could not "get" until the advent of the Spirit. Therefore instead of launching into a long discourse on eschatology now that the time was short before His ascension, our Lord passes over their mis-impression that He was (or ought to) "restore the kingdom at this time", and instead assures them that they have much work left to do before He returns [the (b) part of verse 8] and that they will be led to understand all these things in good time once the Spirit arrived [the (a) part of verse 8]. The question for our purposes here, then, is how does verse 7 fit into this discourse?

The answer is that verse 7, understood correctly, fits into Jesus' narrative hand and glove. Judging from the sequence of discussion, it ought to mean something like "don't worry about the restoration of Israel; it's not time for that yet", rather than "you can't ever know anything precise about the future end times", which is the effect of the way the verse is translated in most of the versions. Even working from English versions, since when the context is correctly analyzed and understood the sentiment seems completely out of place, we ought at least to wonder about this verse which is inconsistent not only with Jesus' words here and elsewhere but also with the whole tone and tenor of scripture on these matters (not to mention, as we have seen, the very specific information about "times and seasons" given elsewhere in the Bible).

The key to translating this verse correctly is the Greek verb here, gignosko. This verb, cognate in its root to our English verb "know" (gno), does very often mean simply "to know". However, in the aorist stem, as we find it here, it often also means "to decide", and that is its true meaning here (though that truth has generally missed):

"It is not for you to decide the times and occasions which the Father has ordained on His own authority".

The effect and importance of the second emphasized phrase is also usually missed when it comes to analyzing this passage. If it were an issue of "knowing", there would be no reason to emphasize the Father's prerogative in ordaining the times to come. As it is, "ordain" compliments "decide" so that the two halves of the verse are purposely parallel:

"You want the kingdom now, but the Second Advent and the coming of the kingdom will happen on the Father's time-table, not yours: it is not yours to decide these matters. But you will understand them better when the Spirit comes".

Understood in this way, Jesus' response is a very apt correction of this persistent and inappropriate longing on the part of the disciples to have the kingdom "now", and is most definitely not a command for them to forego the study of the end times altogether.

Not to get too grammatical about things, but the exegetical point is strengthened by the fact that the verb form of gignosko here is an infinitive and so could just as easily have been put into the present stem – except that in that case it would definitely have meant "to come to know" and could then not mean "to decide". Greek infinitives when they are complementary/supplementary as this one is, do not have "tense" per se but only "aspect" and are generally used interchangeably between the present and the aorist. That is not so in the case of gignosko because of the particular idiom that adheres uniquely to the aorist stem of this verb. For an early parallel of the meaning, compare Herodotus Hist. 1.74.4 where "know" will not work: "they judged/decided (egnosan - aorist indicative of gignosko) that Alyattes should give his daughter Aryenis to Astyages, son of Cyaxares".

The Millennium lasts a thousand years. The Millennium is the "Sabbath" of God's plan for human history. Just as the world was reconstructed in seven literal days (the last of which was also a day of rest), those two facts alone invite us to look for the other six millennia; if there are two for the gentiles and two for Israel before the first advent (as even a quick perusal of the chronologies of the Old Testament will indicate), then the last two will then constitute the Church Age. If this is accepted, then it is merely a matter of deciding when the two thousand years begin (answer: the crucifixion and resurrection ca. 33 A.D.), for we know very well where they end: in the Tribulation.

As to the seven Church eras, once the two thousand years of the Church Age are accepted, the messages to the seven churches in Revelation make considerably more sense as consecutive trends in the remainder of the two thousand years following the apostolic times. For immediately after relating the seven consecutive eras and their trends the angel says to John, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this" (Rev.4:1 NIV), where "after this" has to be what has just been discussed in chapters 2-3, making a sequence of events the only acceptable interpretation in my view. I am certainly happy to discuss that issue with you in more detail as well. Please feel free to write me back about any of this.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whose return we eagerly await.

Bob Luginbill

Question #3: 

Dear D. Luginbill,

I must start off by saying that I have glossed over all of your links, which do have very interesting and compelling material, which I intend to closely study. But first I would like some insight on the following.

1Th 4:16-17 states that both the dead in Christ and those who are alive will be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air. This means that all believers, both dead and living will be raptured and given glorified bodies. This, I take to mean that all those remaining on earth will either be adult reprobates or small children and infants. We all know the fate of the reprobates; the small children would then be the only ones left who will enter the Millennium and eventually repopulate the earth. Will the glorified saints ruling with Christ provide care and sustenance for these children until they can provide for themselves?

Is there any Scripture that depicts the survivors entering the Millennium, and their status in terms of faith? I understand that the two witnesses and the 144,000 will disseminate the Gospel to the world. No one will have the excuse that they did not hear the Gospel before hand, and will therefore be meat for the eagles unless they repent and accept Christ.

Response #3:  

Thanks for your question. My take on precisely what will happen at the second advent is laid out in detail in part six of the Coming Tribulation series (see the link). The gist of it as apropos of your question is that 1) all living believers (as well as the much larger number of previously deceased believers) are resurrected at Christ's return; 2) many Jews will believe immediately upon seeing the Messiah return; 3) those Jews who refuse to accept Jesus will be shut out of the Millennium; 4) additionally, all who have received the mark of the beast will be excluded as well (collectively for these two groups this is "the baptism of fire" referred to by John); however, 5) many gentile unbelievers will enter the Millennium, all who did not take the mark of the beast.

Consider: 1) a significant number of Jews will be saved at Christ's return and so did not take the mark and yet survived; and 2) there will be a sizable number of Christians who were able to survive without taking the mark (those who are alive at the second advent and "raptured"). Since Jews and Christians will be major targets of the beast's persecution and yet will still survive in significant numbers without taking the mark, therefore there can certainly be a large number of gentile unbelievers who are able to survive despite the difficulties that will come from avoiding the mark as well (easier for them as they are less of a target).

So I don't think that it will be a case of a uniform mass of children without any adults. Scripture does not address this issue directly, but we can also say that the best time in human history to be an orphan will be during Christ's millennial kingdom. Further, I would not imagine that in the case of the children of believers who are raptured that God is going to prevent them from doing their parental duties just because they are now in resurrection: they will be on earth, so that I would imagine that the state of such children will be better than it otherwise would have been. For those cases where the baptism of fire creates orphans (as it certainly will, but only in cases where both parents took the mark and the children are not of age), I am confident that the millennial administration of Jesus Christ will care for them marvelously, and that they will be far better off as orphans in the Millennium than they were as children of beast-worshipers in the middle of the Great Tribulation.

Finally, one other thing to bear in mind is the nature of the Tribulation. Hard times, and times which are especially hard in particular, tend to cut down on procreation. Even in the US during the depression and moving into WWII the birth rate went down – then exploded after the war. If there were ever a time when we should predict a sizable drop in the birth rate, it would be during the Tribulation. With all the catastrophes, all the judgments, all the war, all the horrific disease and severe economic deprivation, all the death, I would imagine that the number of children under seven years old at the second advent will be very small, even in comparison with the small number of people who survive the Tribulation (small, that is, in proportion to the number going into it).

I hope this helps with your question.

Yours in the Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #4: 

Hi Bob,

So many questions of late, hope you don't mind. About Psalm 83, I could find nothing on your site about it in my search. I am wondering if this is about an actual war or is it just a pleading prayer preceding war, Armageddon? I only wonder because it also lists many nations in it and I find some think it is a war that is coming soon, one before Armageddon. Are not the only war[s] before Armageddon the two against the southern alliance? This prayer refers to "your people", so I couldn't see it being the ones against the s.a. Is there a war I am not remembering?

Thanks, Bob!

In Christ,

Response #4: 

No, I don't have anything on the site about this Psalm. Much of Old Testament prophetic scripture has a (deliberate) dual application – in order to give the recipients an important point of spiritual comparison (please see the link: in CT 1 "The Day of the Lord Paradigm"). While we can talk about its applicability to the end times, my impression is that Psalm 83 is speaking primarily about a historical event (i.e., an actual conspiracy against Israel headed by Assyria). The specific identification of the time of occurrence of such an attack is, I believe, not certain from the biblical (or secular) record. But judging from my experience with ancient history and historiography generally, that is not at all unusual. Many more mistakes of interpretation have been made by assuming that a piece of evidence must be referring to something else known, than from accepting that there is much we don't yet (and may never) know about the history of the past. This seems to me to be just such a case (i.e., of an otherwise unknown conspiracy that was apparently unsuccessful – no doubt precisely because of Asaph's prayer in this Psalm!).

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #5: 

Dear Bob,

I see many people claiming that the Psalm 83 war is about to happen. I don't remember there being any specific wars of importance outside the 2 with the 'kings of the south' and Armageddon. Of course there will be many wars, as Jesus states there will be 'wars and rumors of wars', so where are people getting this idea and what do you think is being described in this psalm? And could you explain who the names are which are listed as well, pertaining to present countries, if any?

Thanks you.

In Christ,

Response #5:  

Good to hear from you. As to the war in question, while there is nothing in Psalm 83 that indicates directly that it is primarily a prophecy of things to come, it is in fact applicable to the two attacks upon Israel launched by the southern alliance during the first half of the Tribulation. The gist of my earlier response was that people assume they know everything important about what happened in all those prior centuries of Jewish history at their own risk. While there is no record of such a conspiracy actually attacking Israel in the past, that does not mean 1) that one did not occur (and we are ignorant of it), or 2) that one was not incipient, only to be thwarted by the Lord in response to this very prayer (and others like it). However, that also does not mean that Asaph was not being guided to make use of the oft-employed "Day of the Lord Paradigm", comparing end time events to present circumstances to explain, teach and encourage his listeners (see the link).

It is true that Psalm 83 is often seen by interpreters as being prophetic of things to come. One interpreter whose opinion I greatly respect, Merrill F. Unger sees it as such (in vol.1 of his Commentary on the Old Testament). He makes the same point in loc. which I have made, namely, that there was no such conspiracy in past history (at least not a recorded one). However, Unger also says two other things which are also often repeated (and are not entirely correct): 1) that the coalition as named does not accord well with what we know about the tribulational invasion of Israel (in fact it does), and 2) that it may refer to some invasion yet to come prior to the Tribulation (in fact there is prophecy "blackout" between the cross and the Tribulation, with the one notable exception of the trends of the seven church eras). The latter point is not correct inasmuch as scripture deliberately gives us no pre-Tribulation prophecy outside of these trends of the Church Age in Revelation chapters two and three (see the link: "Signs of the Coming Tribulation"); the former is only true of the final invasion culminating in Armageddon. However, as you rightly point out, there will be two prior invasions headed by the southern alliance during the Tribulation's first half, and this description does indeed match up with the forces so involved, at least locally and if adjusted for historical versus contemporary descriptions. Here is how these would break down today (very roughly speaking):

Lot’s descendants: Moab, Ammon = Jordan

Edom = Jordan

Ishmaelites, Hagrites = Saudi Arabia

Byblos, Tyre = Lebanon

Amalek = Egypt (geographically her ancient borderland)

Assyria = Syria, Iraq, et al.

In short, this is a catalog of all of Israel's neighbors in 8-9th century B.C. so that the intended effect is not a comprehensive catalog which we can use to rule out other adherents to the conspiracy as much as it is meant to convey the nature of a region-wide alliance bent on Israel's destruction. In that sense, Psalm 83 certainly does accord well with the two attacks upon her during the Tribulation's first half.

I hope you are doing well; I am keeping you in my prayers.

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6: 

Thanks, Bob

You are probably correct in that we may never know, but I agree that it most likely something that happened in the context of Asaph's prayer and also a Day of the Lord paradigm. With everything that is going on in the world the Psalm 83 is more fervent than ever on the internet, that and the Zionist are to blame and behind everything that is going wrong in the world. lol.

As to my last email about that study about the woman, Israel, I think I have to agree that it is indeed, Israel. Does this have to do with gentiles being jealous of these jews being protected and they feel they are being left blowing in the wind to be martyred by the beast? And also, is it a way of advocating running and hiding during this time? I think I remember in your study that we should remain where ever we are because we cannot serve the Lord by hiding, forsaking trying to save others before it is too late; that if we are to go to prison, then to prison we go, if we are to be martyred then martyred we shall be?

In Christ,

Response #6: 

The final part of Coming Tribulation (#7: won't be out until sometime in 2012, most likely) will address the issue of "what to do" during those difficult times to come. However, as you mention, I have treated this material before, most thoroughly at the following link: A Brief Christian "Code of Conduct" for the Great Persecution. At this point I'm not sure I would wish to issue any blanket recommendation for everyone for the whole seven years (after all, as circumstances change, so must our approach: we are to "flee Babylon" when we are told "flee Babylon!"; see the link: Flee Babylon: Revelation 18:4).

You have, of course, very correctly represented what I have been saying on this issue. Generally speaking, I think that the "survivalist" approach to the Tribulation and the "immediate emigration to Israel" approach are both un-biblical and potentially very dangerous from a spiritual point of view. The former would have us taking up arms against "our own" future government in a contest that will not be blessed with success (as antichrist is prophesied to successfully come to control the entire world, and certainly his home country of mystery Babylon); the latter would place us in Israel without resources or contacts (or, much more importantly, any divine support for what we are doing) – just in time for the two mammoth invasions of the south and (if we should survive) for antichrist's takeover.

It seems clear to me that gentiles will not be included in the miraculous escape to the wilderness and supernatural protection during the second half of the Tribulation which follows. I could certainly be wrong about that, but nothing in scripture gives me confidence to recommend taking such a risk, while much about the situation indicates that it would be the wrong thing to do: beyond all argument, the majority of the individuals involved in that future flight will be Jews living at that time in Israel who responded to the worldwide ministry of the 144,000. Were gentiles to flock (or be allowed to flock) to Israel in similar response, how would it not have the effect of diminishing the essentially Jewish nature of the operation (thus making it less likely that Jews would respond to it)? I have no doubt that Moses and Elijah will prove very capable of directing us to change our thinking on this if it needs to be changed, but scripture portrays the evangelism, the emigration, and the mid-Tribulation flight as an entirely Jewish affair.

It's a matter of debate exactly why it is that so many Christians interested in eschatology are proponents of one or the other of these two false approaches, but my guess is that it has everything to do with putting what is personally "appealing" ahead of scripture. Many people are no doubt very much attracted to the idea of "battling the beast" or moving to Israel (in the abstract, that is, while sitting in their arm-chairs). The serious problems would come when and if anyone took their advice seriously instead of looking to see what scripture has to say about the matter. I certainly would not rule our jealousy as a factor: no one every lost a bet by over-estimating the folly and confusion the sin nature is able to produce.

The Tribulation, as all who make a serious study of it soon learn, will most definitely be "bitter in the stomach" even if contemplating it ahead of time is "sweet to the taste".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #7: 

Hi Bob,

That makes sense, as the Psalm seems more a prayer than an account of an actual war. Many, many people use it as the basis of a near future war...even one they believe will be between Israel and Iran and their present turmoil. These are the same people who believe the Gog-Magog war is a separate war from Armageddon.

So, according to scripture, the only wars within the time-line of the Tribulation will be the two against the Southern Alliance and then Armageddon, which you say on your site is one in the same as the Gog-Magog war...with another Gog-Magog Rebellion after the 1000 year Millennium when Satan is released for the last time?

Until any of these there will be only 'birth pangs' with small wars and rumours of war?

Thank you, Bob for your time.

In Christ,

Response #7:  

Yes, that's it exactly. These three wars will be world-wars, however, and in terms of the number of combatants larger than anything which has yet occurred in human history.

I take the "wars and impending wars" of Matthew 24:6 to be these first two campaigns/wars of the Tribulation's first half, campaigns which are then explained by our Lord with His words in verse 7: "A nation will rise up against a nation and a kingdom against a kingdom". The Greek conjunction gar (which occurs at the beginning of verse seven) is explanatory, so that in typical Greek fashion it calls attention back to something prior and connects the current sentence to that previous reference as its expansion or explanation. That is to say "For" in verse seven means, "My explanation to you about these wars and impending wars I just mentioned is that a nation will rise up against a nation . . . ".

This verse is translated and explained in part 3B of Coming Tribulation at the following link:

Matthew 24:3-8

The term "birth pangs" is usually used by our Lord for all of the prophesied events of the Tribulation which are truly difficult to endure ("pangs"), but which should be endured with some hope because as faithful Christians we know that the end will be blessed in the extreme (i.e., they result in "birth", and specifically in the resurrection which occurs at Jesus' return and which is our own eternal "re-birth").

Thank you for your enthusiasm for the Word of God!

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #8:  

Dear brother Bob,

Thank you for your response. I was a missionary in Israel and have been writing about the End-Times for about 25 years from the literal Post-trib point of view. I am enclosing the latest version of the Post-Trib Bible study. I believe the Great Tribulation is very close and am concerned about the fact that about 80% of evangelicals are pre-trib, mid-trib or pre-wrath and therefore are not mentally prepared for the Great Tribulation. While this Bible study is only about 1500 words it shows God's Word absolutely contradicts the pre-trib position over 10 times and covers almost every aspect of the Great Tribulation. The Bible study is about 95% Scripture but ties the Scripture together in a very interesting way. Anxious to hear your expert advice on how I may improve this Bible study.

Your eternal friend in Jesus,

PS I believe Moses and Elijah will straighten us all out concerning the 1,000 year millenium. You will note that in the more complete Bible study at the end of my original e-mail I believe that the 1,000 year millenium is for martyrs only.

Response #8: 

You're welcome. I certainly applaud your efforts. The Coming Tribulation series at Ichthys is dedicated to much the same proposition. A quick perusal of your study reveals that we have much in common, but there are a few things with which I would take issue:

1) The Millennium is a literal thousand years (Rev.20:2; 20:4: 20:6).

Does the Bible teach a literal Millennium?

2) Everyone's name is originally written in the book of life (salvation is available to all through Christ's work). Rejection of Christ results in the blotting out of the name (of all those not interested in God's offer: Ps.69:28; Rev.3:5).

"I will surely not erase your name" (in CT 2A)

The Book of Life: Revelation 13:8 (in CT 4)

Tithing and the Book of Life

The Book of Life

3) The last judgment follows the Millennium (as does the final echelon of resurrection: 1Cor.15:23-24).

The Last Judgment

It certainly is the case that those who are assuming, based upon an erroneous belief in a pre-Tribulation rapture, that they have nothing to be concerned about (and are overlooking spiritual growth and preparation as a result) are very likely to be caught up in the Great Apostasy.

No Rapture

The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory.

The False Doctrine of Tribulational Security

The Great Apostasy

Best wishes in your continued efforts for you Lord and His Church!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9: 

Dear Bob,

Thank you for your reply. I will get reading. I read through the email link and I see I have been in error. It is not only a remnant of Jews who will be saved, but by this scripture you quoted, "thus shall all Israel be saved" (Rom.11:26), it seems it is saying all of Israel will be saved. That is a most wonderful thing! Now, would that include the nation's leaders as well? Or, as you've stated in your website data, that since in the Tribulation, all leaders, including the last in Israel, are in league with Satan from the beginning? And does this also exclude any "who say they are Jews but are not". I think this is what has me confused, and forgive me for not knowing the exact scripture. When Jesus speaks of those who are not really Jews, who is he speaking of? And does He mean that they are not from the bloodline of Abraham, or can there be those from the line of Abraham who are not truly Jews?

And also, does the Romans 11:26 scripture mean that all of the line of Abraham will be saved on that glorious day, meaning not even one, will not believe?

Thank you.

In Christ,

Response #9:  

Thanks for giving me an opportunity to clarify. It is an occupational hazard of writing in volume that much of what one says "seems to make sense" to oneself (because the writer knows what he/she is trying to say), but may be elusive to the reader.

"All Israel" means "all believing Jews". For, as Paul tells us, "not all Israel is Israel" (Rom.9:6), by which he means "only those of the faith of Abraham" (Rom.4:16), i.e., only those who believe in Jesus are true Jews in God's eyes. At the Second Advent, those who are who are written in the Lamb's book, that is, those destined for salvation, will believe when they see with their own eyes the Messiah return, and "thus all Israel shall be saved".

The Repentance of Israel

The Uniqueness of Israel

In our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

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