Dear Teacher I have been watching a lecture series on YouTube on Church History. I chose to do that since staying focused on significant reading has been hard for me for a while now so that I haven't been able to go very far with Williston Walker's book. The series is by Dr. Ryan Reeves of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. I can't say much for his understanding of the Bible; he does seem to have some sympathy for the Roman Catholic Church, but I could be wrong about that. The more I have listened to him, the more I am convinced that no true Catholic or Orthodox member could be saved. The rationalizations that they have for rejecting the sufficiency of the Cross are incredible. And I recognized in much of the descriptions of their soteriology ideas that are now baked into theologies I'm familiar with in the Methodist and Pentecostal churches. I did grow up wondering what it meant to be saved despite being steeped in church and Sunday school. And I read a lot of material from the so-called "Word of Faith" movement (unknown to me at the time though). The way it looks to me is that as soon as the Reformation took off, Satan simply planted people in the new movements that promptly began the process of corrupting the Gospel again in these new places that were coming up. Some of those seeds they planted are now maturing with heads and founders of so-called "non-denominational" and denominational churches aspiring to be popes too and turning their little churches into dens of thieves and complicated, inbreeding theologies. I keep seeing this even when I give any given church or system the benefit of the doubt. I'm growing more inward again from all of that exploration that began last year. It seems like a good idea to go back to being extremely guarded and cautious in my assumptions about people's love for God and His truth. Where there appears to be zeal, it turns out not to be for the truth, and when I probe for any receptivity of the truth, a process of corruption kicks in. So, I'm looking forward now to setting up somewhere and simply putting out the things that God has given to me and see who comes to check them out. [omitted] Your student in Jesus
You have a wonderfully acute sense of what is true and what is false, my
friend! I am very much inclined to agree with you on the possibility of
anyone who deigns to stay in one of those salvation-by-works
organizations being saved. As I've mentioned in the past, I'm officially
agnostic about it in dogmatic terms, but why would anyone who really did
belong to Jesus Christ "by grace through faith" continue to put up with
all that falsity?
On church history, Walker's book is very much the same way, and you would find elements of this worldly and "ecumenical" approach in most other church histories as well, including, sad to say, Schaff's classic, multi-volume set. To some degree this is inevitable, I suppose, because, after all, the things which survive in popular culture enough to be documented are generally NOT the things important to God. Consider that if all we had to go on for the history of the apostolic era were contemporary secular records, then we would barely even know anything about what the apostles really did. I like to think that we few who are striving to know and teach the truth are written in our Master's record of present times, but I'm pretty sure that no ink whatsoever has ever been spilled on Ichthys or anyone associated with it. Not complaining! That is a blessing indeed, but it shows you the limitations of church history from the standpoint of those of us who might like to know about the genuine believers of any era and what they were up to.
Great observations about the devil's tactics. That does indeed conform to what I know about all denominations and Christian groups – as well as to what we see in the trends of the seven church eras of Revelation (see the link). Something for all of us to think about as we grow closer to the time when his operations will be turned up more than just a notch in infiltrating and manipulating the church visible and bringing it all into his fold (along with all other religions).
I'm keeping your meeting in my prayers. I'm not conversant with your culture, so please bear this in mind regarding the following comment. It seems to me that for better or for worse, you are who you are. I've never been comfortable (nor at all successful) in trying to be or in trying to present myself as someone or something I'm not. I've always been a great deal happier – and a great deal more successful in the legitimate things I've tried to accomplish in this life – by being myself and letting others take it or leave it. That doesn't mean being rude or without manners. That also doesn't mean being lazy about doing things that need to be done. But it does mean that me myself where I am at and who I am has a lot to do with the choices I've made in my life, choices I can't change, and choices that for the most part (at least since my youth) I don't regret whatsoever. Maybe if I were a best-selling author of some great Classics book, or teaching at Harvard, or hobnobbing with big names, etc., some people might be more inclined to give this ministry a better hearing – but if so, I'm pretty sure it would be for the wrong reasons. If I had spent more time on my career, it would have meant less time on the ministry – and I don't regret one second of time I've spent on this ministry. Because, in the end, the least coin of my Lord's "well done!" is more important to me than any sort of human viewpoint success in this miserable world. Similarly, no doubt you could have had a budding career by now . . . if you hadn't spent so much time on the Word of God. But where would you be then? I know you want to make a good impression, and I know that you'll do your best, but I for one am proud of you the way you are – and I'm pretty sure that __ feels the same way.
Your friend in Jesus Christ,
I'm so happy you managed to get off of that personnel committee this year - what a relief. God is good!
I really wouldn't like to be in the position where I had to fire someone. I realise it has to be done sometimes but I'd hate to be the one who has to do the firing. If it were possible I'd want to give the person as much opportunity and help as I could in correcting any problems instead. But I'm glad I'll never have to do any of that kind of thing.
The queen died today. I hope she's with the Lord now. She talked quite frequently about her Christian faith - about having a "personal faith in Jesus Christ". It's just the same as I hope and pray for everyone - even though I know that won't be the case.
I hope you've had an easier day working from home today. Back to work for me tomorrow as well.
I didn't know that about the queen. Good to know!
It was busy but I got it all done. Long faculty meeting tomorrow after teaching four. We'll be talking about the proposed reorg of the college – proposed by our dentist acting provost for reasons no one can discern. But this first inkling we're getting is only to be about whether and how it will affect our JEDI efforts (justice, equity, diversity, inclusion) – not how it will affect our teaching, our research, our ability to do our jobs, etc. Should be 'fun'.
Yes, I'm very grateful to the Lord to be off of that committee. They're having to come up with the rubrics for evaluation and correction – and termination if not met. And no one has run this by legal! What a potential disaster. Hope my colleagues have professional liability insurance. I'm staying away from it like the plague.
Happy Friday tomorrow!
Tiring day for you today (me too) - but we made it to the weekend!
Hope your faculty meeting wasn't too painful. Curious that you have a dentist acting provost. He must enjoy it - maybe he's moving on from teeth!
Seems like their focus has shifted away from the real reason you're all there - to teach etc. I have a feeling we're going to be seeing a lot more of this JEDI stuff everywhere. I cringed a bit when I read in one of your email postings about your last merit letter - "they" referring to you. Never had any of this when you first started teaching at U o L. I guess things are only going to get worse in this world.
Hope you have a nice weekend. Try to grab some rest.
Keeping you in my prayers.
It wasn't too bad – just very long and I'm exhausted. Blessedly there is
now some respite.
Yes, he's also from Ireland! Just hope he gives us a Guinness or two before he starts pulling OUR teeth.
I also apologize for not being more empathetic about the loss of your QE II. I was really surprised about what you told me, but I noticed in the coverage over here (it's all anyone is talking about, interestingly), no one has said a single word about her belief in Christ. I did notice that there was a huge rainbow spotted over Buckingham Palace yesterday. VERY interesting.
p.s., I also heard that her motto (so to speak) was "never complain, never explain". Sage words – I do enough of both just in these emails!
Your post this week (9/3/22) answered a question long hovering in the back of my mind -- and raised another; about which I don't expect an answer. Since I'm largely unaware of my everyday sins, I pray for forgiveness of all. Those that I know, I ask forgiveness for those but it always bothered me that I didn't know all of them. When you tied it to the Lord's prayer, it all became clear. Thank you. Why I can't connect those obvious dots annoys me.
You have said that "for thine is the kingdom, power..." etc. at the end of the Lord's prayer is a gloss -- what is actually wrong with it? While it may not be in scripture, I don't see where it hurts. I often ad lib in my prayers, What is wrong with adding that?
On another topic, I read in many places in the old testament of "Baalim." My assumption is that that is a plural. If that's correct, does that refer to multiple idols as I'm inclined to understand or does it refer to multiple gods? Or is that a distinction without a difference?
I hope you're satisfied with your new crop of students and the administration is leaving you alone to do your job. I'm happy to learn that your classes are full. How is your niece getting along? Stay well.
In our Lord,
You're most welcome as always, my friend. "Connecting the dots" is what
pastor-teachers are supposed to help the Body of Christ do. I'm happy to hear
that sometimes I do "hit the nail on the head".
As to "what's wrong", with adding "the doxology" (I believe Henry VIII came up with it), there's nothing wrong with it at all. But people intone it as if it were the Word of God and it is not. I pray plenty of things on a regular basis which are not word for word in scripture – but I do know the difference.
On the plural of Baal – what a good catch! It's generally taken to be either 1) an emphatic plural (I doubt that) or 2) speaking of local Baals (in the same way that there is a Zeus of this place or activity and a Zeus of that place or activity). In my opinion this plural is used to call attention to the fact that Baal does not exist and that only its idol (of which there were many) is "real" in the sense of being a tangible, visible statue, thus demeaning the idea of pagan gods.
Got a nice birthday message from my niece. They seem to be coping, but I'm sure it's not easy. So thanks for those prayers!
Enjoying a nice respite from classes tomorrow (Labor Day).
You've connected many dots including some of which I wasn't aware. Thank you. All part of learning, I guess. (I thought I would be done with that at this point. Instead, I'm learning more.) The doxology has been part of my habit for so many years, it doesn't feel right leaving it off. Part of the Methodist upbringing, though for the life of me, I can't find where "forgive us our trespasses..." comes from. "Forgive us our sins,,," seems more straight forward and I think the intent of the original.
Thanks for the clarification of "baalim." Idols seemed more reasonable after reading of the tearing down of groves, asherah poles (same thing?) and altars. I'm growing more cautious of my assumptions as I grow older. Not to mention, that with a phenomenal resource like you, it would be foolish to not ask.
Enjoy the holiday and barbecue!
On trespasses vs. debts, both refer to sins. Matthew 6:12 has "debts",
literally, "things we owe"; Luke 11:4 has "sins", but adds "as we
forgive everyone who 'owes' us (same root as "debts")". "Trespasses" is
the KJV (and other versions) way of translating paraptomata in
Matthew 6:14 which is the explanation or expansion of this part of the
prayer, so our Lord is clearly using the word as a synonym for the other
words – they all mean sins; this one literally means "a falling by the
wayside" or misstep – which I suppose is what a "trespass" literally is.
Asherah poles were apparently "totem poles" but specifically dedicated to that particular pagan love goddess. Groves are groves and were considered sacred places throughout the ancient world when specifically dedicated to some deity.
Always glad to hear your questions, my friend!
Matthew 6:14 -- another dot I didn't connect. Thank you. At least, I won't have to change my habit in regards to that.
Asherah poles, phallic statues, perhaps? I'm constantly amazed how little has changed over history. We don't learn, do we? In considering the cities destroyed by the Lord,, NYC, LA, DC or Chicago and surrounding seems reasonable prospects for later day Babylon. Apparently the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah took in a lot more territory than the two cities. So why not here?
If God is the same from beginning to end, should we expect any different? It also seems, throughout the Bible, weather was used as punishment. Are we under divine judgement? Drought down here, flood up there. As a further curiosity, if the Lord motivated the Persians to liberate the Jews, is it also possible that the Lord is motivating the US military and climate change advocates to bring about the drought and floods? Weather modification, after all, has been a military project since 1947.
Sorry. Idle questions, I pray all is well with you and yours.
In our Lord,
I'm pretty sure it's not a matter of learning but of choosing. "If only they
knew . . . " then they would do X and not Y goes back to Plato. The communists
built a whole system around that lie. People "know"; they merely have been given
the ability to blot out what they don't like and make their own "truth" – which
is actually the devil's (see the section on
"hardening the heart" in BB 4B at the link).
Reading over Jeremiah's chapters on Babylon's fall just yesterday and today (Jer.50-51), the destruction certainly seems to be near enough to total to be considered total. Strong forces "from the north" will swarm all over Babylon "like locusts" (Jer.51:14), and the "north" is antichrist's revived Rome, the kings and kingdoms regarding whom the Lord "puts it into their heart" to destroy Babylon (Rev.17:15-18); certainly sounds like a massive invasion covering the whole of Babylon.
Whatever mild disruptions we are currently experiencing, they are nothing like what will happen during the Tribulation – and not even on the same page with Babylon's final judgment. I am pretty sure that "all this" around the world constitutes merciful prodding on the Lord's part to get the attention of what few there are who are willing to be awakened before the balloon goes up. But I see no particular indication of response yet (just the opposite). God is showing Himself merciful and just at the same time – as He always does. But that is no guarantee of appropriate response from those to whom He is showing mercy, not even believers (just look at the exodus generation).
You've raised many new questions! Your link from Bible Basics rings very true and describes where we are today. And getting more perverse as the days go by. Yes, it's by choice. Like using drugs. Never could understand that one either, and I'm a child of the '60s.
If what I remember of WWII history, Hitler and Mussolini both adopted trappings of the Roman Empire -- or at least what they thought were trappings of the Roman Empire. Both countries were in the old Roman Empire. I suppose we can look forward to a revival of that evil in the coming years. Many times I've been tempted to read Gibbon's "Decline and Fall" but never worked up the gumption and now my eyes are so bad, it's unthinkable. I couldn't make it through "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" -- too disgusting.
Much here to ponder. Bob, I'm truly thankful my time is very short.
There are better books on the subject than that second derivative "rise
and fall" book, but Gibbon's is a classic. To be perfectly honest I
could never manage to get all the way through it myself either (nothing
to do with eyes); sort of like reading "War and Peace" but without the
characters. So much of it is later history. The ultimate "fall" is
Byzantium in 1453. My interest in Rome is focused on the first centuries
BC and AD.
Antichrist's revived Rome will be territorial. I'm not sure if that will include anachronistic trappings (no need for it in the biblical expression of those events, but nothing preventing such things either). We'll have to wait and see – but not too much longer. Your time may be short but THE time is also short. It really is mind-boggling to think of what all is going to happen in such a brief period of time. But then, I never expected the whole Covid thing, for example (and many other things which are presently happening). Then again, I'm not much on prediction (never have been). Blessedly, we have the Bible.
When I looked at Gibbons many years ago, it struck me as a multi-volume Proust (which never enthused me, either.) As I understand. The 1st century, either side. was Rome at it's height. If I remember correctly. Caesar had already crossed the Rubicon and Rome was on the way down, though I don't think they knew it yet. Bob, you're scratching memories from a long. long time ago! I wonder if there's a parallel between Caesar and the Rubicon and the Biden administration and our border business today... I certainly don't think Biden can equal Caesar though I suspect he imagines that. Caesar strikes me as like Patton. Both brilliant but both flawed.
I have to admit. I have many suppositions and theories, but the only thing I have on which to rely is the Bible -- and you keeping me from going off the deep end. I assume that if it's not detailed in the Bible, it's not relevant. I am beginning to understand how the scroll can be sweet in the mouth but bitter in the stomach. I don't know what frightens me more -- antichrist's minions or my neighbors. Maybe they're the same.
In our Lord,
"I am beginning to understand how the scroll can be sweet in the mouth but
bitter in the stomach." Indeed, it is much more enjoyable to learn about the
Tribulation than it will be to experience it. That pretty much explains the
origin of the pre-Tribulation rapture canard.
"I don't know what frightens me more – antichrist's minions or my neighbors." There may not be a distinction.
Do not believe a friend. Do not put your confidence in a companion. Guard the entrances of your mouth from her who lies in your bosom. For a son will treat his father disgracefully, and a daughter will rise up against her mother, and a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law. A man's enemies will be those of his own household.
Micah 7:5-6 (cf. Jer.9:4-6; Matt.10:34-36; Lk.12:51-53)
Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.
Hi Bob and family,
Reading through Revelation 8: 1, I was wondering how to relate the ½ hour to an earthly time, i.e. is there a way to calculate that ½ hour into a time frame of days, weeks or months for better understanding.
I know maths isn’t a favourite topic of yours but I’m sure your grasp is much better than mine!
Hope you’re doing well with winter approaching – ours has just ended, quite cold and wet with predictions of the wet to continue well into spring and summer.
As always my dear friend,
I interpret that to mean six months. The cross and resurrection took
place in the spring, but the set of Jewish festivals that represent the
Tribulation and the second advent take place in the fall. A six month
delay puts the seven year Tribulation right on track to end with the
Lord's return in the fall of 2033 (if the interpretation is correct),
2,000 years plus six months after He ascended (with the final "week" of
the Age of Israel overlapping the final seven years of the Church Age;
see the link).
Here's the main link on the half hour of silence: Revelation 8:1-5 (in CT 3A)
Weather finally moderating here. Just ended the first two weeks of classes. Things are going pretty well so far. Keeping you and your family in my prayers, my friend.
Thank you for your time and effort but I wonder, are we talking about the same thing?
Using the known prophetic time of one week = 7 years. Or similarly, one day = 1 year.
A Luna year has 365 days, so one hour is 1/24 of a day.
365 divided by 24 = 2.16 weeks, or 15.20 days – 15 days approx.
So the half-hour is 1.08 weeks or 7.6 days – 7 days approx.
If we use the Jewish year of 360 days and using the same maths,
360 divided by 24 is 15 days.
So the half hour is 7.5 days – 7 days approx.
OR if we use the Jewish year of 355 days,
355 divided by 24 is 14.79 days.
Making the half hour 7.4 days – 7 days approx.
I am using the word approximately here as scripture says, and when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven, about the space of half an hour.
What think ye? Am I wrong?
Again as always dear Bob,
When these increments are not meant to be taken literally but rather meant to symbolize larger periods of time, an "hour" is a relatively short time period; a "day" a longer one. The "days" of the 360 days throughout Revelation (see the link) are literal days, but I do not interpret the half hour as a literal thirty minutes and see no biblical reason to do so. This is just a way of saying, "a relatively short time". There aren't any other places in scripture which would guide us to make any sort of calculations about it, so we are left to try to figure out the answer to the question, "what relatively short time period could be meant here in this context?" Since 1) we are talking about the commencement of the Tribulation, and since 2) at this [future] point in Revelation, 2,000 years minus seven since the cross and resurrection, it will be spring time, understanding the delay as a six months – to put the calendar square with the prophecies related to the Jewish festivals – seems logical to me. If it were only a few minutes, there seems no reason to mention any delay; if it were only a couple of days, then Christ would still have to be returning in the spring – and the whole symbolism of the Jewish calendar and cycle of festivals would be then be wrong-footed. Here is what I've written about this previously:
First of all, it seems clear enough for anyone who takes Revelation seriously and has any experience with biblical hermeneutics and prophecy that the "half hour" is not meant to be a literal thirty minutes, but instead is meant to represent some longer period of time. The thrust of my comments in CT 3A are primarily directed towards this issue since the average reader accessing this study (especially if it is not being done in the sequence of the series with the benefit of the hermeneutical explanation in part 1 etc.) is likely to be most put off by the idea of smaller time periods representing longer ones unless that concept is explained and backed up (thus the first footnote). Since with your question you make the same assumption as I do on this issue, we can agree that the half hour here must refer to some longer period of time. Therefore the only true question remaining is "how long a time?". It is true, at least I firmly believe it to be true, that the seven days of creation symbolize the seven millennia of human history. But it is also true that in biblical symbolism days can represent single years as well as millennia, most famously in Daniel chapter nine where in the "seventy sevens" or "seventy weeks", each "week" or "seven" or "group of seven days" stands for seven years, and I don't know of any interpreters who take Daniel and Revelation to be more than mere allegories who haven't understood the last "seven" to be the seven years of the Tribulation. Clearly then, a day in this prophecy must be equal to a single year, not a thousand years, and given the other passages which deal with the measurement of the Tribulation, I would say that there is no question but that this is the standard metric used by the Bible for measuring the Tribulation.
Now these 'days' are also called "times" elsewhere in Daniel (Dan.7:25; 12:7). This "times" terminology is repeated at Revelation 12:14, although elsewhere in Revelation the same idea is expressed in literal months (but also tied to the idea of three and half years; i.e., Rev.11:2; 12:6; 13:5). Given that an hour is a basic unit of time, half an hour equaling half a "time" in the sense of a year in Revelation 8:1 is not a great interpretative stretch, especially since the "hour" has to refer to some very specific unit of time whose interpretation will easily occur to anyone familiar with prophecy and the context. Indeed, "hour = year" may not be a dogmatic certainty, but since years/times are the most important units of delineation scripture uses for measuring the Tribulation, it would seem to me that the onus is on an interpretation that favors another metric. Secondly, the point that the half year shift is something we might have anticipated even without this passage is one I believe to be not insignificant. Our Lord was crucified in the spring, for Passover is in the spring; but the Jewish ceremonial calendar virtually demands that He return in the fall, for all the festivals which represent the events of the second advent (before, during and after) occur in the fall cycle of festivals. Therefore whatever the exact year of the beginning (and ending) of the Tribulation, it seems inconceivable based upon this evidence that there would not be a half year hiatus. Finally the word "half" used in our context is very significant. In my experience with biblical prophecy and symbolism, the exact splitting of something into two parts is unlikely to represent anything fractional or difficult to apply or insignificant, but the pause of half a year to line the calendar up perfectly with the Old Testament cycle which was itself, of course, predictive and prophetic, seems to me to fit the interpretive bill precisely, and to do so in a way that no other interpretation I have ever seen or heard can do. As I say, I freely admit that it is an interpretation, but I do firmly believe in the truth of it based upon the foregoing.
Happy to discuss this further if you wish. Hope you are doing well, my
friend! I keep you and your family in my prayers daily.
Again thank you for your time and effort in responding and I wish I had your insight as I’m the first to admit that my insight is nowhere near your level, and I am thankful I can always come to you and get good advice.
There have been many instances where others have written to you for advice on anything but yet, haven’t grasped what you’ve said to them but it’s clear to others – and I don’t want to fall into that category if I can help it.
I’ve read and reread this last email but it seems I’m still not quite understanding it, perhaps because I only have the Bible for understanding, not forgetting the Spirit, whereas you have much more than that, your studies on Biblical history have taken you further.
I agree that this scripture heralds the beginning of Tribulation, which makes it important scripture.
You mention this – Secondly, the point that the half year shift is something we might have anticipated even without this passage is one I believe not to be insignificant. Our Lord was crucified in the spring, for Passover is in the spring; but the Jewish ceremonial calendar virtually demands that He return in the fall, for all the festivals which represent the events of the second advent (before, during and after) occur in the fall cycle of festivals.
Can you expand further and also explain why the interpretation of one week = seven years, one day is a year doesn’t fit in this circumstance.
So why couldn’t the half hour refer to seven days – approximately.
As always my friend,
No worries, my friend. I'll have another go.
The Tribulation is the recommencement of the Jewish Age which is still seven years short of completion, i.e., it is "Daniel's 70th week" (Dan.9:24-27). Most commentators agree on this. The main difference in the interpretation advanced at Ichthys is that in my take the Church Age shares this seven years in common with the Jewish Age, the Tribulation thus constituting a melding together for their last seven years of both ages as Israel and Gentiles are symbolically united in the Church which is completed just before the Lord returns (see the link).
The upshot of the recommencement of the Jewish Age is that the symbolism of the festivals becomes even more important than otherwise (i.e., Moses and Elijah supervise the rebuilding of the temple, at least the prototype, and reinstitute the sacrifices and festivals associated with it; see the link). In the Jewish calendar of festivals (see the link), the spring festivals primarily represented the crucifixion (Passover) and resurrection (Firstfruits) – so that not for no reason was our Lord crucified at Passover and ascended just before Pentecost. He fulfilled the deeper symbolism of these festivals. The fall festivals, however, speak primarily about temporal judgment (Trumpets: Rosh Hashanah), the repentance of Israel (Day of Atonement: cf. Zech.12:10; Rev.1:7), and the regathering of Israel for the Millennium (Booths or Tabernacles). That is to say, the fall festivals are the ones associated with the second advent.
There is more about the symbolism of all of these at the links above; important to add here is that the way the calendar is set out also leads to seeing it as a road map for the entire seven day millennial plan of God, with the fall festivals occurring after the gap which represents the Church Age – the festivals which symbolize our Lord's return book-ending that gap. All the more reason for our Lord's return to be expected in the fall, not the spring.
That is what I mean about positing a delay of six months even without the verse in question. Since our Lord was crucified and resurrected at the very time the festival symbolism indicated, we are right to infer that His return will likewise coincide with the appropriate festival group, that is, in the fall. Since this verse, Revelation 8:1, does indicate a delay – right at the point in Revelation when the Tribulation is about to begin – that is how I take the half hour.
Are we right to take the half hour as six months? I believe so. Now John could have been led to write, "half a year" instead of half an hour. That would not be symbolic but literal. If the half hour is literal, it doesn't have any import for interpretation that I can see . . . and that would then be an odd thing to include since everything else in the book is important and nothing else in Revelation deals with such minute increments of time. If it is symbolic, which I am sure it is, the only question becomes, what time period (and it must be time) does it indicate?
Everywhere else in Revelation, periods of time, the months and days, are all literal months and days. So we have to look elsewhere for help in interpreting symbolic time periods. Hours are also used in scripture symbolically for longer periods of time:
Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father."
John 4:21 NKJV
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him."
John 4:23 NKJV
"Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth."
Revelation 3:10 NKJV
So we are right, I believe to take the "half hour" as a longer period of time in
Revelation 8:1 as well. But since it is a half an hour, it represents half a
period of whatever time it is referring to. The only significant period that
would seem to fit is a year, and half a year also has the virtue of fulfilling
the calendar shift explained above as being necessary for the Tribulation's
commencement in the fall so that the Lord's return will occur seven years later
also in the fall. 2,000 years since His crucifixion and resurrection would be
half a year too early, half a period of time, "half an hour" as it is put in
Revelation 8:1. Hence the delay.
As to making calculations based on a 24 hour day for symbolic prophecy, I don't know of any place in scripture where this happens. We also have the problem then of "from when?" I mean, if it were "seven days" or any other period of time, starting from what point of time are we delaying, however long we are delaying? If we are not talking about the commencement of the Tribulation, Revelation then gives us no other calendar start point then to anchor to. What we do have is the fact of Christ's resurrection in the spring and also the fact that the Jewish calendar cycle virtually demands a fall return. That being the case, seven literal days – or any length of time other than six months – would seem to have no particular meaning I can discern. However, a six-month delay, half a period of time, half of the calendar year, seems to me to fit perfectly.
As to "why?" scripture puts things this way, after all, our Lord's entire ministry was spoken to unbelievers "in parables" for the reason that they might hear but not understand – because they weren't really interested. Having it written in this way requires true interest to figure out (on the part of a pastor-teacher / biblical interpreter) and true interest to find such a person / teaching ministry on the part of a believer without that gift and training. So this makes perfect sense to me as well.
I hope I've cleared things up a bit! Do feel free to have another go on this.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Doc, in a world where even superficially professing Christ while living like the rest of the world gets you persecuted often times, how much more truly following Him? I feel like I can't take any kind of beratement or even criticism without completely breaking down...what do I do?
He who observes the wind will not sow,
And he who regards the clouds will not reap.
Ecclesiastes 11:4 NKJV
I believe it to be a mistake to play the "what if?" game. In the verse
above, with that attitude, a farmer would starve. You have to trust the
Lord that, no, in fact, the worst you can imagine will NOT happen –
because He will protect you. And even if the worst DID happen, He will
deliver you from it.
We don't want to be like the Israelites who blamed Moses and rebelled against the Lord whenever anything went wrong. And we sure don't want to be even worse and become petrified about things that only might happen.
"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Matthew 6:34 NASB95
We are supposed to live life one day at a time, trusting the Lord to provide for us, protect us, and guide us. If we trust Him – with just a mustard seed's worth of faith – it will all work out alright.
And we know that, for those who love God, He works everything together for good – [that is to say,] for those who have been called according to His plan.
Just listening to your study on the Trumpet Judgements and I am a bit confused. At what point in the time line do they occur?
I understand what you said about the 1st lasting one month and the 2nd two months etc.. The 5th Trumpet Judgement lasts five months then and is one of the 3 woes. I thought these though are the locusts who torment the people who have taken the mark of the beast or am I wrong here? Would that mean these judgements do not start right at the beginning?
I thought the mark of the beast was at the midway point and at the point of the Great Tribulation and these locusts were the Trumpet Judgement for taking the mark but that would not be a warning Judgement if a person has taken the mark it is already too late!
Do these locusts appear twice then? I am super confused right now but it will be from my muddled noggin!
Thanks my friend!
Keeping your working week in my prayers!
p.s. so is the third woe, the Great Tribulation? The persecution of the Saints?
Yes, the third woe is the 42 months of the Great Tribulation, and it is
"great" because of the persecution of the saints.
The locusts of Revelation chapter nine, the first woe (lasting five months), attack "only those who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads" (Rev.9:4), which means unbelievers. There is as yet no "mark of the beast". That marking only begins (along with the concomitant persecution) at the Tribulation's mid-point, after the commencement of the Great Tribulation (Rev.13:1ff.).
The trumpets are warnings, yes. The bowls are retribution. The thunders are the fulfillment judgments.
Here's a link to a graphic that shows where they occur on the time-line.
Feel free to write me back about this.
I'm not sure if you received these emails then?
Can add another p.s. then? I am reading Jeremiah and about them being led into captivity by the Babylonians but they are told to submit themselves to this but also that the Babylonians will later be punished for this action. Is this a model for the Tribulation then? So would I be right in saying that we should submit under the rulership and not rebel under the antichrist but draw a line at worship? Also to draw a line at doing anything sinful but still be law abiding citizens? Though drawing the line of telling on and outing people in hiding? This is what our Lord was telling His people as they were taken off, that they were to endure this and not grumble and wait in faith for deliverance. I am seeing a pattern here, over and over in the Word of our Lord using other nations to judge and to test His people and that they are to respond in faith to wait to be delivered.
This is what we all go through continually through our testing here and then this is also the same in the Tribulation the biggest test of them all.
I have to say that I did shudder listening to your MP3 on the Trumpet Judgements but then very relieved to hear that these are not for us but to give unbelievers last chances to seek the Lord.
To think that even in the midst of such a huge Tribulation that our Lord and God is still for us and will be there for us through it if only we seek Him and wait on Him is an incredible comfort to know and even helping me so very much on my walk even now!
Glad to hear you got the latest email! As mentioned, hotmail UK has done this
before; not sure what the issue is. But if it only happens once in a great while
and is over within a day or two, I suppose it's not the end of the world. There
was a day when we had to wait weeks for snail-mail from the UK, even if went by
As to your question, that is an interesting parallel. There are some differences, but Babylon then is the model for Babylon in the near future, and the description of its rise then as authorized by the plan of God certainly applies to mystery Babylon as well, if only for the purpose of being destroyed. Compare our Lord's words to the Pharaoh of the exodus:
"But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth."
Exodus 9:16 NKJV
In terms of how believers are to comport themselves, I think what you say is
completely in line with what I have suggested previously, namely, that it makes
no sense for believers to consider armed resistance to Babylon. That will not
work since the beast is prophesied to come to control the entire world by the
Tribulation's mid-point. We don't have to bestow on antichrist the title of
"legitimate authority" to see that such resistance is not only not wise but not
in the plan of God for individual believers. Your parallel certainly reinforces
that. The Jews who refused to "bow their neck" ended up making themselves
enemies of God and suffered a bad end in Egypt for all their efforts to escape
just that, whereas God blessed the exiles in Babylon proper – and brought their
progeny back to the land in due time. For those of us living over here, the need
to be fleeing at the right time, in accordance with an unmistakable command,
will be the thing to keep in mind (for those who survive the persecution, that
And yes, it is very comforting to remember that the judgments from God are NOT aimed at us who are walking with our Lord – and will not touch us. Whatever we suffer will be as witnesses to Him through refusal to bow to the beast's religion (just as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah refused to do).
and a p.s. for you: I'm also resending the other email after this one.
What does the f and s stand for in the diagram please?
Do the seals and the trumpet Judgements run parallel and does the first trumpet judgement start at the beginning of tribulation?
I have another visitor staying in my moth hotel! It might be a Buff Ermine Moth or a Ruby Tiger one! Very excited! It seems to enjoy Dandelions which is great as everyone hates what they do to lawns!
Hope you have a smashing weekend my friend!
On the diagram, F = fall; S = spring
The seals describe trends during the Tribulation; the first four run through the entire Tribulation but manifest initially during it's first half; five and six are the trends of the Great Tribulation (persecution and judgment respectively); seal seven opens the book and begins the Tribulation (see the link)
The trumpet judgments don't begin until half way through the first half of the Tribulation, and they end with the beginning of the Great Tribulation (that is what the seventh trumpet / third woe is).
Great! We're starting to get butterflies here too . . . ever since I cut back the mammoth sunflowers. I think they were obstructing the "flight path" and scaring them off.
Good to hear you doing well, my friend!
And glad to be back in contact (other "hotmail" emails are still getting bounced).
Just a few more things I need to understand here with this section.
So are the Trumpet Judgements warnings? So can people turn to God and be saved at this time?
I understand the general trend and main reasons behind apostasy but what I cannot understand is that if apostasy is of the real believers and not just nominal then how can these judgements not turn them to faith? They will be in no doubt these are from God due to the magnitude, constancy and supernatural quality. Why would this not turn them to God? Also considering that they will see that these judgements will not fall on believers who remain faithful? I guess I can't imagine a heart that hardened that is not willing to turn to be saved under such terrifying and terrible circumstances.
Maybe I am underestimating just how hard hearted humans can be?
"So are the Trumpet Judgements warnings?" Yes, that is exactly what they
are. They are designed to warn the world against joining the beast's religion.
"So can people turn to God and be saved at this time?" Yes, but apparently very few will do so (cf. Rev.9:20-21).
Apostasy means rebellion from the faith on the part of a believer. There aren't any variations or categories of it. As to "how can these judgements not turn them to faith?", it is a good question, but of course we who believe are often confounded by the fact that any unbeliever would ever prefer the lake of fire to submitting to the will of God – or that any believer having "tasted that God is good" (e.g., Heb.6:4-5; 1Pet.2:3) would ever turn away from Him from whatever motivation. But it does happen (e.g., Lk.8:13). This is all about free will. And, yes, it would probably be impossible to do so without the process of hardening of the heart – which is also an entirely freedom of choice process (please see the detailed explanation of this in BB 4B: Soteriology at the link).
It's good to be able to be in "comm" with you! Hotmail is still blocking as of this AM.
Yes, social media is awful stuff. I hate it and stay far away from it. I
don't think anyone could spend a lot of time on it and not be warped by
I too am for keeping private things private. If I went totally in that direction, however, I would never post any Q/As on Ichthys. It's often a dicey question of what to include and what to leave out, even though the postings are anonymous. But putting up pictures and spilling one's guts – and blabbing about other people – that is beyond the beyonds in my book.
If it is any consolation, almost all of the serious believers I've had contact with through this ministry have similar situations to one degree or another, that is, feeling more or less on an island where they are the only ones interested in the truth. Some islands are more isolated than others. Many of my correspondents have no one, or else families who are hostile to their efforts to grow. We all have our own crosses to bear for the Lord. Whatever shape they take, exactly, it's part of being down here, part of the testing to see just how much we do love the Lord . . . and how much resistance we are willing to punch through. Everyone has their breaking point, a point where they start to lose patience – just ask Job. But the more we are determined to live our lives above all this, living in the joy of New Jerusalem in spite of being physically here, the happier we are now and the more highly we will be rewarded then.
This world can't be fixed. Usually neither can personal situations. God helping us and blessing us, we can cope, things may get better, but it is a trap to get too invested past a certain point in things which, in the end, don't matter nearly as much as the spiritual battle we are fighting.
I am keeping you in my prayers for all this, my friend! There are worse things than taking a day off for oneself when you feel about ready to snap.
Thanks for listening Bob - you've helped me a lot - you always do! Yesterday was
a tough day, my patience has been stretched to the limit and I'm very tired but
nothing will stop me from continuing to press on for the Lord. Who cares what
anyone else thinks or says or does. Today is a new day and the only thing that
matters is that I'm pleasing the Lord.
I hate living in this world - but it won't be for long now. We're only here for a short time. We're sojourners just passing through but it's still precious time to live our lives for the Lord. To give our all for Him and for His glory. To do what he wants us to do. To fight the good fight of faith. And there's amazing blessings and eternal rewards in that.
Thank you Bob for the brilliant job you do posting the Q/As each week. Reading them has helped and encouraged me so much over the years. You put them out there and so many times, especially recently, it's exactly what I've needed to read - perfect timing! I can tell you that the Spirit never fails to do His part in encouraging, guiding, convicting, teaching and confirming things to me. Sometimes in such precise detail for me and in ways that no one else could know and it amazes me. I'm so very thankful to the Lord for this. It's just the exact opposite of what I was saying to you about how people can use social media to tear others apart and cause so much damage and division. That's the world for you. But we aim to do the opposite - to encourage and build each other up in the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
More than anything else right now, the Spirit is impressing upon me to focus on my spiritual growth. Having the zeal and the desire to know our spiritual gifts and particular ministry is an excellent desire to have. I've been through very similar experiences in my life to some of your correspondents. Experiences where I could possibly help others but for now I understand more than ever the importance of my own spiritual growth. I can and I do help and pray for and try to encourage others but I don't fret over what my specific ministry might be. And I have peace about that. We're called to peace in everything and at all times and as long as I'm walking closely with the Lord day by day I have nothing to worry about. I'm right where He wants me to be and there's no better place than that. When I'm prepared and in the Lord's good time I'll know exactly what and where and who He wants me to minister to - it could be in the Tribulation. I don't think we have to force anything - the Lord will open up the way and it will be clear to see. That's what I believe anyway.
Here's a great one I remembered today:
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."
Your friend in Jesus
It's always my pleasure.
This is a wonderful email – let me know if you'd be willing to share this one (happy to edit out anything you want).
Thanks for YOUR encouragement – I always very much appreciate it, my friend.
I'm glad you have gardening at least. I still like to look at plants
even if they don't like me back lol. Did I tell you my last plant died?
I think I give up on plants (mean growing them myself).
There is this idea in the secular world. That is you are all buttoned up and controlled all the time, when you finally blow, you go much further than the people who weren't so like that.
Plants aren't people . . . but they resemble them in many ways. House
plants are notoriously fickle. If they are unhappy for any reason, they
let you know it . . . by croaking. Over-watering is a problem.
Under-watering they don't like. Too much light. Not enough light. Pot
too big. Pot too small. The one thing I have learned about house plants
is if you manage to get them in a place and situation and watering
routine they like --don't change anything!
As to past abuse, that is a good place to leave it. As to life texture, as I often say, anyone making an investment in the Lord instead of in the world is genuinely shrewd beyond all present understanding.
“But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Luke 12:20-21 NKJV
Speaking of growing things, our own personal spiritual growth is what we should be focused on. And soon enough we will reap that harvest, if we keep up the good work and don't grow faint.
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Galatians 6:9 NKJV
Ezk 3:20 it states here that the person who turns from his righteousness his
works will be forgotten.
1 Cor 3 talks about if anyone's works survive they will get an award, but if anyone's works is burnt up they will suffer loss.
Also Paul was to people he referred to as spiritual "babes in Christ" implying the the context is about not getting any reward if you remain that way.
There does seem to be any mention of a group where some works are burnt and some survive. No middle group mentioned. Doesn't that suggest either you have works and none burnt up or a person has all their works burnt up?
Two groups of people nothing in between
The Ezekial verse seems to imply this all or nothing approach. Two groups of people.
Ezekial 3:20 doesn't it suggest that a person who leaves can never save up any rewards if they do return.
I have affirmed before that there is ONE way to lose reward, namely, losing/abandoning salvation through apostasy:
Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.
2nd John 1:8 NIV
The Ezekiel passages is speaking of the saved versus the unsaved,
including apostates, and God's dealing with them in this life. That is
an either or situation. That is entirely different from 1st Corinthians
chapter 3 which is addressed to believers. All those discussed there are
believers, judged not in this life (as those in Ezekiel are) but after
resurrection. So the two passages are not at all parallel.
As to "babes", the spiritually immature will be very slightly rewarded indeed! And every apostle and later good Bible teacher always was / is desirous of his charges getting red hot about spiritual growth so that they may win all three crowns of reward along with all manner of other rewards that are given for anything specific a person does for the Lord in this life in the power of the Holy Spirit.
In 1st Corinthians 3:10-15, Paul was writing to a specific congregation, one which was not advancing as they should have been and which was staking their claim on following one apostle or another. Paul tells them this was wrong, and warns them to remember that all will be judged before Christ.
Since he is giving a foretaste of what all believers will face in eternity, he only needs the one category there: believers. The outcomes are where the difference lies. All believers will be judged by the Lord; all will have their work tested by fire; all erroneous false works will be burned up; all genuinely good works (by God's estimate, not what people call "good works") will be rewarded. This holds good for all. But each will receive his/her own reward, large or small. So this is not either/or as in Ezekiel.
If you want verification of the fact that there are variations of rewards, see the parables of the minas and the talents. These are discussed in detail at the link.
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
In our Bible Study this morning I came across these verses that I had not realized they were for the End Times until now. Here are my thoughts I have documented, and I would appreciate your comments.
John 6 verse 39 40 with John 12 verse 47 48 with the Book of Revelation.
John 6 expounded. KJV Cohesive with Revelation 20:6.
“ 39And this is the Father's will which hath sent me[the 1st Coming of Jesus Christ], that of all which he hath given me[the true believers] I should lose nothing, but should raise it[true believers] up again at the last day[at the beginning of the 7th day, also known as the 7,000th year of mankind on this earth]. 40”And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
The First Coming of Jesus Christ was according to God the Father’s will, which was for salvation made available to all mankind, but only profitable for those who received and believed in the Gospel.
Revelation 20:6. KJV Cohesive with John 6:39-40.
“ 6Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
All believers from Adam to the time of the last day, will be raised from the dead[as stated in John 6:39-40], along with those believers who are still alive at the End of the Tribulation.
John 12:48. KJV Cohesive with Revelation 20:11-15.
“ 47And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world[the 1st coming of Jesus Christ]. 48He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
The First Coming of Jesus Christ is also displayed in John 12: verse 47 when Jesus says “I came not to judge the world, but to save the world”. His ministry or assignment from God the Father was to preach the Gospel. His sole purpose was “to seek and to save that which was lost”.
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is referenced in John 12:48.
Jesus says that whoever rejects His saying, that is the Gospel, will be judged at the end of the Millennial reign of Jesus, also called the Last Day, at “the great white throne judgment”.
Revelation 20:11-15. KJV Cohesive with John 12:48.
“11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
This ought to drive those pre-tribbers nuts, but they would probably reject it hastily, because they don't want to know the truth.
I don't know what the LORD will do with those who have rejected His Word?
May God Bless you always,
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
I no sooner sent my email to you, then I get one from a pentecostal who I knew from years ago, who sent me a video that I should look at.
I viewed the video up to a point. It was about the Pentecostal churches need to look at their doctrine, as there has apparently been some who bring in doctrine they don't like and it is being accepted.
I replied to the email they sent me, and this is what I said.
1. They need to study and restudy, and study, and study the false doctrine of a secret rapture, or rapture as they call it.
2. They need to see if their doctrine of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is correct.
I made a remark to the effect that when a person is Born Again, at that time they are baptized with the Holy Spirit.
He will probably freak out when he gets my reply, and that will be the last I probably will hear from him. Most pentecostal churches, pastors and congregants have not the faintest idea about either of these two doctrines, and could not even defend them at all.
Just thought I would relay this to you. The churches have gone absolutely berserk in my opinion, especially the pentecostal's and their cousins the Charismatics.
Blessing to you my friend, I am so glad that I can get the truth of God's Word and not tradition and false doctrine.
Great work as always, my friend!
Of course we want all of our brothers and sisters to come to the truth on all points. The pre-Trib rapture doctrine is like dope. It makes a person "feel good" and gives permission to be lukewarm . . . because what does it matter? But if these individuals internalized the fact that living through the Tribulation is a very real possibility – and for the younger ones a near certainty, I would say, then they might be motivated to get cracking with spiritual growth (which of course they should so in any case regardless).
As to charismatics/Pentecostals in particular, they want to identify the emotional release that their practices encourage as "the Spirit" – which is a mammoth mistake. That also contributes to actual lukewarmness because they are not building up their faith as a result; they are instead founding it on the shifting sand of emotion which will collapse at the slightest real pressure.
Putting those two mistakes together produces huge vulnerability.
As to "driving pre-Tribbers nuts", however, I think you underestimate the ability of people who have bought into this and related lies to be oblivious to the truth. After all, the truth is right there in the Bible . . . for anyone who is diligent about reading the Bible and seeking after its true meaning, even without solid Bible teaching. If they were serious about the truth, they would have figured this all out for themselves – or found a good teaching ministry to help them – long ago.
Keeping you and yours and your health in my daily prayers, my friend.
I'm getting a bit confused about dispensations again. I'm studying Jeremiah and
the Unger commentary talks about sabbath keeping and temple rites in Ch17. I
know that Jesus is our sabbath now so that means we don't swap Sunday for
Saturday as a new Sabbath. I have to admit that sometimes I do still stumble
over this. If there is housework to be done on Sunday? Can I do it? Or should I
not. It is something I still wrestle with from time to time. I know that when I
mature more and more, I won't stumble. It would be good to be able to read the
OT without stumbling over the old covenant.
So will the Jewish believers be like Gentile Christians during the tribulation or will they bring back Sabbath observance and temple rites? In Hebrews it says that to carry on with the rites is open shame to Jesus Christ. Also I know that the temple rites will be brought back in the Millennial kingdom?
It is very confusing to me! I really appreciate how patient you are with me other these things. There are many legalistic Hebrew Roots folk around these days and that doesn't help so I give them a very wide berth!!
Will try to update those prayers later today.
Thanks again my friend!
On the status of believers during the Tribulation, that seven years is
the final "week" of Daniel's seventy weeks and thus is part of the
Jewish Age, revived at that time (Moses and Elijah will supervise the
rebuilding of the temple and the re-institution of the festivals and
rites). In my interpretation of events, the Tribulation is also the last
seven years of the Church Age. As such, there will be a distinction
between Jewish and non-Jewish believers, but that has always been the
case . . . in terms of this world. In Christ, we are all one Body, we
are all one Church, and that will certainly be the case in eternity as
gentile believers will find ourselves fully grafted into the "Israel of
God" forevermore (Gal.6:16).
The fulfillment of all of God's prophecies and promises is important, and that is at the basis of understanding all these issues. A lot of folks have questions about the sacrifices of the Millennium, it turns out. I have explained these as memorials to the spiritual realities to which the Law pointed; so while they are similar in terms of appearance, their meaning is significantly different (n.b., there is no indication from scripture that the entire Law will be re-instituted). During the Tribulation, I am very sure that the 144K and Moses and Elijah will be making it very clear that the reestablishment / restoration they oversee has to do with the above and is not a return to the Law per se. The following passages speak of that memorial restoration.
Jesus answered and said to them, "Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things."
Matthew 17:11 NKJV (cf. Mk.9:12)
Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
Acts 1:6 NKJV
"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began."
Acts 3:19-21 NKJV
It sounds as if you've found these explanations already at Ichthys, but
I'm more than happy to go into these matters more deeply if you have
Keep up the good progress for Jesus Christ, my friend!
I understand what you mean when you say sometimes it's a challenge when we don't have the prod of someone needing our help today. I know that I need to be prepared as much as I can - not only for others but for my own spiritual safety too. It's not that we should be afraid but even for mature believers it isn't going to be easy. So it helps to keep that in mind too. I read in CT today that it's much better to be zealous for Jesus Christ now rather than awaiting the "shock treatment" of the Tribulation to provide motivation. We'll be grateful for any and all spiritual growth and preparation we're able to make ahead of that trying time.
Although I'd like to be able to help those who want or need it - I haven't forgotten about the other side of it as well. How intense the persecution will be and the opposition that even family and friends could throw my way. It's perhaps something that we don't like to think about but it's there in the Bible and we can't afford to ignore that either. We still have to be prepared for anything. I think about Micah 7:5-6 and Matthew 10:36. But then I remember the verse you gave to me last week.
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid".
In our dear Lord Jesus
That's right! Soldiers aren't necessarily keen on training, but no one
thrown into combat ever complained about having too much training. It's
not clear that any material preparations we make now will end up
benefiting us, but we definitely won't regret any spiritual preparations
we've made (in fact, material preparation could hurt if it either takes
time and focus away from spiritual preparation now or causes us to rely
on what we've got rather than who it is we serve then).
Indeed, just because things will be difficult does not mean they will be impossible. Nothing is impossible for the Lord. He has never let us down and He never will, not even during the time of greatest trouble the earth will ever see. In fact, that is part of the point of us going through it, just as was the case for the Israelites He delivered from Egypt: the tougher the going, the greater God's glory in delivering us (and the greater our reward if we but commit to trusting Him with all our hearts).
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."
Exodus 9:13-16 NIV
If we need the Egyptians plagued, He will do it; if we need them held
off, He will do it; if we need a way through the sea to escape, He will
provide it – and drown our persecutors in the process. In fact, that is
the believers' experience in the Tribulation in a nutshell (see the
"The Analogy of the Exodus").
Thanks for your prayers,