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Eschatology Issues XXI

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Question #1:

Hi Bob,

"Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, 'The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, "Here it is," or "There it is,” because the kingdom of God is in your midst.’”
(Luke 17:20-21)

It seems like this is another verse that speaks against postmillennial interpretations, because “the Kingdom of God is not something that can be observed,” while the earthly eschaton imagined by postmillennialists is a kingdom that can be observed. It is very dangerous to look for signs and an Earthly kingdom. Too many Christians are waiting for an Earthly messiah.


Response #1:

Good points! Here is something else the Lord had to say:

"And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!"
Matthew 24:31-33 NKJV

Putting aside for a moment what your passage, Luke 17:20-21, means, in the passage just quoted above (also found in Mark and Luke), we are told unambiguously that we are supposed to watch for the signs of the second advent when the Lord will bring in the millennial Kingdom. Does Luke 17:20-21 really mean we can't do precisely what the Lord has commanded us to do above? Certainly not. In fact, keep reading the verses that come directly after that passage:

Then He said to the disciples, "The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’ Do not go after them or follow them. For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day."
Luke 17:22-24 NKJV

Carefully considered, we see that the caveat in our passage is given to distinguish the unmistakable second advent from assuming that some false Messiah is the Christ (antichrist in particular) – because "the kingdom of God does not come with observation" – which is to say that it will not evolve or come gradually on the scene; rather it will come in a blaze of glory. So the approach of the Pharisees is all wrong – that is what our Lord is pointing out. If they expect to hear via the grape vine that the Messiah has arrived to rule the world, they are completely in error. But of course Jesus IS and WAS the Messiah. That is why He says "the kingdom of God is in your midst" – a kingdom they were unwilling to accept. And if there were any further question about all this, that is, why if He is the Messiah and if the second advent is a glorious event, did they not see it, our Lord adds after the verse above:

But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
Luke 17:25 NKJV

The cross had to come before the crown (and then the gentiles would be added to the Church in great numbers during our age, the mystery age of the Church). That – the timing and execution of the Plan of God in this most important and foundational aspect of it – was a mystery that even the godly and the angels wanted to know more about (1Pet.1:12; cf. the disciples' question at Acts 1:6: "wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel" KJV). But these religious individuals were only looking to argue. And our Lord exploded their arguments – though they weren't able to understand because such understanding only comes through the Spirit and through faith.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #2:

With regard to 1 Corinthians 7:29, I’m still thinking of the expression "has been shortened". Why does Paul use the perfect tense here, which seems to suggest that it is shorter than originally planned, instead of saying "it is short", for example? And secondly, would you say that he has primarily the eschatological meaning in view, even if these words have got an obvious application to our lives?

But this I say, brethren, the time is short.
1st Corinthians 7:29 KJV

Response #2:

Yes, this is definitely an eschatological reference: Christ may be return at any moment (God has the right to shorten anything). And even if He tarries for two thousand years and comes according to the schedule in scripture, He can certainly call us home at any time: so we live with imminence every day.

On the perfect tense, first, Paul (along with most NT writers) seems to use that tense somewhat differently than is the case in secular Greek; in any event, the perfect is the hardest of the tenses to nail down precisely because it is optional the way Greek actually works – so no two writers seem to use it in exactly the same way. That is even more so true in the NT where the writers have a Hebrew background, and it does seem that the influence of Hebrew (and its translation in the LXX et al.) makes the perfect both more common and also less unlikely (and therefore less significant) than would otherwise be the case. Here, because of the periphrasis (i.e., perfect participle plus the verb "to be"), I take the participle synestalmenos more as an adjective than as a true perfect in terms of tense. This same sort of thing happens in Latin too where it is difficult to tell sometimes whether the perfect participle plus the copula is a true perfect or a simple predicate construction. Here, the latter seems preferable: "the time (ho kairos) is (estin) short (synestalmenos)" or "is in a shortened state", the expanded translation being merely reflective of the emphasis provided by this construction. Possible English translation: "the time is very short" (that, at any rate, is what it means).

Question #3:

Revelation 12:17 b - "those who obey God's commandments" is this in reference to enduring faith or a life walk of obedience to all of God's commandments?

Response #3:

And the dragon was enraged at the woman, and he went away to make war with the rest of her seed, [even] those who are keeping the commandments of God and maintaining their testimony to Jesus.
Revelation 12:17

The second part of the verse also has "and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (NKJV). This is a Tribulation context and two phrases taken together show that we are talking about believers here who have been saved by grace through faith; and we are talking about good believers too because they do what the Lord tells them to do (as opposed to the many in the gray area at this point who are flirting with the apostasy into which many will fall). All believers will be targets of the beast after his attempts to crush the Jewish believers are defeated by their effective escape (detailed in the previous verses of Revelation chapter twelve); this thus refers to the Great Persecution, the horrific attack on believers around the world that results in the martyrdom of one third of the genuine Church – the event that makes the Great Tribulation "great" – from the standpoint of suffering.

Question #4:

Crown of life mention in Rev 2:10 is it for higher rewards because of the persecuted nature of these believers or is this an exception and awarded to any believers irrespective of the maturity level as long as they are rewarded?

Response #4:

The crown of life is clearly related to endurance of difficult testing – which comes to all mature believers in one fashion or another after they have proven consistent in growth (Jas.1:12; Rev.2:10). If the question is whether or not a person can get a crown of life (by enduring serious persecution) without being spiritually mature (so as to have also the crown of righteousness), while I cannot perhaps be dogmatic about it I certainly doubt it. It is certainly possible for the enemy to persecute believers who are not mature; getting through that persecution with colors flying – giving a solid witness for Christ – would seem very difficult if not impossible except for the spiritually mature. The Lord knows the details about what goes on in the heart of each and every person, of course, and we will all be given to hear the full story at the judgment seat of Christ (see the link: "the Judgment and Reward of the Church").

Question #5:

The reward for overcoming in the 7 churches of Revelation is it for all believers (Basic Inheritance) or believers at the higher rewards level? To me these are basic inheritance of all believers if they overcome but i am confused about the Crown of Life.

Response #5:

CT 2A (at the link) is where these things are taken up "church by church", and there are a great many rewards included in Revelation chapters two and three, some universal which will fall to the lot of every believer who "endures until the end" (e.g., the white stone with the new name), some specific to spiritual status (e.g., the crown of life), some of greater or lesser degree depending on specific achievements for Christ in this life (e.g., reigning with Him). Overcoming is getting to the end with faith intact (Matt.10:22; 24:13; Mk.13:13; cf. Lk.21:19); no one will be in the New Jerusalem without that.

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
1st John 5:4 NKJV

But there is "overcoming" and there is enduring persecution while maintaining a good witness. The Lord never lets us be tested beyond that which we are capable of enduring (1Cor.10:13). True martyrdom for the Lord, being placed in the position of having to show by one's death that one loves the Lord more than life, is the stuff of mature believers who take the next step – that is what the crown of life is awarded for (see the link: "the Judgment and Reward of the Church").

Question #6:


Good morning. We will be going to use at least one of your studies. 1st and 2nd Peter or a study on the 69 days. Another we are thinking of doing is the MacArthur study on Israel’s Future

What are your thoughts on MacArthur?

Response #6:

He's an alum of my seminary and I heard him speak there many years ago. Wasn't too impressed at the time (see "Apologetics, Legalism, Cults and Philosophy", Q/A #15), and haven't had any reason to change my opinion since. One thing apropos of this study you mention, MacArthur is pre-Trib and also (hyper) dispensationalist – both of which positions may potentially warp his understanding of Israel's future; see the links:

Dispensations, the Church, the Rapture

Dispensations, Covenants, Israel and the Church I

Dispensations, Covenants, Israel and the Church II

Moreover, it is a general weakness in evangelical teaching nowadays to see a firm barrier between Israel and the Church – but Israel is part of the Church and the Church is founded on the prophets and the apostles, all Jews (Eph.2:20). The "wall of partition" has in fact been broken down (Eph.2:11-16), so that now there is no division between us and God – or between gentiles and Jews – since it has been taken away by the cross. So there is now no "Jew or gentile" in the Body of Christ: we are all one in Him (Col.3:11). The key point about "dispensations" from the biblical point of view is the difference in the means and methods that the Lord uses to "dispense" His truth at different times; it was different in the Age of Israel than it is today during the Age of the Church – but it is the SAME truth, and all from Adam and Eve to the end of the Tribulation are part of the same Church. See the links above for more about all this.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hello again, Dr.,

I should have read a little further because I see the answer in part:

Throughout the course of the Millennium, however, many more will believe – gentiles as well as Jews – as the human race, lately decimated by the events of the Tribulation.

I agree totally with you on the other question. I had forgotten about the fact that "often times" prophecy has a dual application. I still have a question on the covenant the Lord makes with Israel and Judah. You state the following:

This is the "wedding of the Lamb" of Revelation 19:7. The Church is thus complete at the return of Christ, but there are many who will turn to Him after He returns with His bride.

According to one of the ref. Jeremiah 31:31 where it says "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant with I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to......

I would have thought that this would be the covenant Jesus made when He came the first time? Or is this another covenant? So, according to your statement above, there will those Jews and others who come through the Tribulation and are saved during the Millennium?


Thanks again and I thank the Lord for you.

Your friend,

Response #7:

No problem, my friend.

As to covenants, they are greatly misunderstood in general, not appreciated for what they are on the one hand and blown up into things they are not on the other – by all too many.

A covenant is an agreement, a "testament", and the word both in Hebrew and in Greek (berith and diatheke respectively) bears a deliberate resemblance to a "last will and testament" because of the necessity of blood – death – to make it valid (Heb.9:16). In terms of God's "making agreement" with human beings, there is really only one covenant / testament: the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The "Old Covenant" looked forward to the cross through shadows; the "New Covenant" looks backward and sees the cross and Jesus Christ clearly. The Jeremiah "New Covenant" anticipates both this reality of the new replacing the shadows of the old and also the restoration of Israel during the Millennium (something that has been delayed by the mystery age, the Church Age, wherein Christ is fulfilling His Church, bringing gentiles in large numbers into it was well as the Jews who constitute its foundation and ultimate organization; see the link). There is a good deal more detail at the following links:

Old vs. New Covenants

Dispensations, Covenants, Israel and the Church I

Dispensations, Covenants, Israel and the Church II


"The Old and the New Covenants"

"Calvinism, Covenants and Catholicism"

The Last Supper

The Old and New Covenants (in SR 5)

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Professor, this guy is stealing your teachings on eschatology


Response #8:

I wouldn't worry about it. Anything actually true belongs to the Lord in any case! I take my stand with Paul:

What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.
Philippians 1:18 NKJV

With the Tribulation fast approaching, the more truth out there believed by as many Christians as possible will be a decidedly good thing, pretty much however it happens

But I do thank you for your concern in any case, my friend.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

You wrote: "[Genesis 6:3] suggests a double judgment of the most extreme severity. In a mere 120 years (brief by the extended life spans of the time), God would all but bring the human race to an end. And for the progeny of those who would survive in the postdiluvian world to come, the longevity Man had previously experienced (nearly a millennium in some cases) would be reduced to a scant 120 years, and this would be a maximum norm scarcely ever approached, and only rarely exceeded."

I'm not clear about this - how do we know that the verse speaks of a double judgment? Could you also provide your translation of it? It has clearly caused a lot of difficulty to the commentators.

Response #9:

The words of Genesis 6:3, "His [mankind's] days will be", is indeed fulfilled in the two ways suggested, but it is true that one has to know what happened immediately after this prophecy both during and after the flood to see this point.

Question #10:

What I meant was on what basis do we know that this judgment entails both of these applications?

Response #10:

Double fulfillment of prophecies is very common in scripture (see the link). For example, Immanuel was both a contemporary child of Isaiah whose name was symbolic of the future and of course also most importantly the Son of God who would come into the world to save us from our sins. So when are told by the Lord in Genesis 6:3 "My Spirit will not strive with Man forever in their sinful manner of life - for this [is the way of] flesh. Therefore his days shall be 120 years", it is not obvious at first whether this refers to humanity going forward, meaning that in place of the nearly 1,000 year life spans we see before the flood there will now be a much shorter upper limit on human life (with few exceptions), or whether this refers to the end of mankind on earth 120 years hence (with the exception of the remnant). We see from what happens after this prophecy is given that both things are true: the flood happens 120 years later, and after the flood 120 years is the extremity of human life.

Question #11:

Hi Bob,

I was having a conversation with a relative recently about the statements in the New Testament that go something like John 13:18:

I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. (KJV)

Other examples of this sort of thing that come to mind include the untying of the donkey and colt for the Triumphal Entry (Matthew 21:4), and the various things that happened at the end of the Crucifixion (John 19:24, 28, 36).

Critics of the Bible (i.e., not us) might point out that anyone could put together Old Testament prophecy to try and prove their validity – that these statements are just a way for Jesus to con other Jews into believing he is the Messiah. How is one to answer these people?

Also, we were curious about exactly how these events were foreordained. On first glance, it sort of looks like events in the present were being controlled by past prophecy: like some sort of self-referential loop, things were happening merely for the sake of fulfilling prophecy. Now, I don't think this is why these events are mentioned in the Bible, but I don't have a particularly satisfying alternate explanation. Thoughts?


On a more practical note, I'm starting to buckle down and get ready for Fall semester. I noticed from last year that a big hurdle for me in learning Greek was getting the alphabet and pronunciation down so that words would "stick" when I memorized them. Do you have any internet resources you would recommend for learning the Hebrew alphabet and pronunciation before classes begin?

Finally, I was wondering if you have an opinion on topical indices like Nave's Topical Bible and Torrey's Topical Textbook. Similar to general cross references, the inclusion of some verses over others is somewhat interpretative, but the indices can be helpful as a jumping off point for research on a subject. What do you think?

Yours in Christ,

Response #11:

On prophecy, there are many passages in the Old Testament that are the beneficiaries of double-fulfillment or in some cases typological anticipation of the Messiah. For example:

"But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. David said about him":

‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’

“Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it."
Acts 2:24-32 NIV

Prophecy is just that. It foretells what will happen in the future, and the largest part of OT prophecy which does so has to do with the Messiah, His first advent, His return, and His kingdom, in one way or another. David, as the first king of Israel "after God's own heart" was a type of Christ, and so many of his experiences and inspired words presage the coming Christ. It seems to me that all of your examples fall into this category. I'm happy to discuss individual passages.

As to critics, anyone who would take the position you describe is not worthy even of shaking the dust off our feet at them. Whenever anyone betrays hostility to the Word of God there is no hope of us convincing them of anything. We can only help with the truth for those who are open to the truth. The Bible is the Word of God, so anyone displaying disdain for it has made their choice, at least for the time being, and only God knows what sort of life event/experience might shake them up so as to take another look.

As to loops, I believe we've discussed this sort of thing before. There is a reason for absolutely everything that happens in this life because it is all part of the perfect plan of God. I take the prophecies of scripture as promises and as demonstrations of God's absolute faithfulness. We would believe Him completely even without the fulfillment of prophecy, I hope, anyway, but it is very nice, very encouraging, and very edifying to have these as well.

Here is a great link for Hebrew pronunciation: Hebrew audio Bible
There are different ways of doing this, of course, but the above will certainly get you into the ballpark.

As to cross reference tools, I love the NIV marginal cross references; NASB is OK but not as full; I never got anything much out of Naves or Torrey's, but anything that helps us remember or find a good companion passage is a benefit. The best thing, as one of my seminary professors said to effect, is to become so familiar with your Bible that you become your own concordance. Barring that, of course, concordances are very helpful with this process of finding things, not only English (Strong's and the NASB one are the ones of personal choice) but also Greek and Hebrew ones (Moulton-Geden for Greek; Mandelkern for Hebrew – but there are others which are also helpful for Hebrew).

Best wishes (and prayers) for a wonderful semester!

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Greetings Professor, I went on YouTube last night just to mess around to see what was out there. When I tell you there are literally hundreds maybe thousands of false teachers regarding the end times and raptures. They are trying to use any and everything available to connect to the Book of Revelation. So I was going from channel to channel trying to explain to their followers that there are no unfulfilled prophecies of any specific events in scripture between the first Pentecost and the commencement of the Tribulation.

It's absolutely sad how so many are being deceived. I can truly see why the Antichrist is going to deceive so many so very easy.

I absolutely don't know what to do at this point. Sometimes I feel like my words are falling on death ears.

I feel like I'm casting pearls to the swine.

Response #12:

Very good to hear from you, my friend, as always.

You are one of the few who understands – correctly – that there are no unfulfilled prophecies before the Tribulation begins (see the link). And you are right that so many are trying to make hay out interpreting contemporary events through a false prism of eschatology. It's a good way to gain followers and make money, sell books, pack the auditorium, get famous, feel important . . . deceive people; but it doesn't serve the Church of Jesus Christ well.

Here is what I read in scripture:

(1) The Spirit explicitly says that in the end times certain men will rebel from the faith, giving their allegiance [instead] to deceitful spirits and demonic doctrines. (2) With their own consciences seared away and speaking with the hypocrisy of men [who peddle] lies, (3) they will [instruct their victims] to refrain from marriage, and to keep away from certain foods – which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and fully understand the truth.
1st Timothy 4:1-3

And . . .

So be aware of this, that in the last days there will be difficult times. For [in those times] there will be men (i.e., false teachers; cf. chap.2) concerned only for themselves, devoted to money, egotistic, arrogant, blasphemous, not concerned for their parents, ungrateful, irreverent, implacable, slanderers, uninhibited, savage, despising the good, betrayers, impetuous, megalomaniacal, devotees of pleasure rather than lovers of God, possessing an [outward] appearance of godliness, but [in reality] having rejected its [true] power. From such men turn away. Of this sort are those who [even in our own day] worm their way into households and take captive the [spiritually] weak who are loaded down with sins, leading them astray with various lusts, [victims who consequently,] though always learning, are never able to accept the truth. In the same way that [Pharaoh's court magicians] Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, for their minds have been corrupted and they have been found wanting concerning the faith. But they will not keep on striding forward forever. Their folly will become obvious to all, just as in the case of those two.
2nd Timothy 3:1-9

So it is going to get worse before it gets better. All the more reason to hew even closer to the truth ourselves, making spiritual growth, progress and production our top priority.

I'm very encouraged to hear that you are engaging on this issue. It's not for me to say, of course, but perhaps leading others to the truth on this and related issues is the ministry the Lord means to open up for you. If so, there is certainly much work to do – as your brief foray into the thick of it has made abundantly clear!

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #13:

I literally had to get off of social media due to all of the misinterpretations of scriptures. I couldn't take it anymore. I found myself spending hours trying to correct so many people spreading their false doctrines regarding the end times.

If this is indicative of what things will be like in the near future, it's easy to see how the Great Apostasy will happen.

People are so caught up in the Illuminati conspiracies and worried about what they think men "can do" that they totally disregard what the Most High is [definite] going to do.

I also got tired of the constant complaining about the government, the police, and paying taxes just to name a few. What they fail to understand is that without a government, without order - crime and anarchy takes over. I can pretty much guarantee you and anyone else that when the Most High removes the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit allowing the Antichrist take office —they'll be begging for our current administration.

I'm sorry Professor, I just needed to vent.

Your Brother in Christ

Response #13:

Very good points, my friend! There are no political solutions now and certainly won't be when the beast comes on the scene – but everything is in God's hands.

Sometimes when we're really growing spiritually over a period of years since our growth happens like that of a plant – invisible to the naked eye without time-lapse photography – our maturity comes on almost unawares (cf. Mk.4:26-29); as a result, we often don't realize just how far apart our thinking and perspective has departed from that of the world, even that of immature believers. And we will need every bit of that godly perspective once the Tribulation begins. I do pity those who are not preparing for the storm ahead of time – spiritually preparing that is.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Virtues of befriending the Jewish people:

"When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, 'This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.' So Jesus went with them."
Luke 7:5-6a

Response #14:

Indeed! But believers do need to realize the distinction between Jewish believers and those of Jewish heritage who are not in Paul's words "of Israel" – at least not yet: we have great hope for them at this time in particular because of the soon to commence ministries of Moses and Elijah and the 144,000 to which many will respond.

Hope you're doing well.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hi Bob,

I hate to say it, but there might have been a very simple reason why so many “church fathers” and reformers preferred amillennialism: they hated the Jews and did not want to see their restoration. So motivated by this hatred, they “creatively” reinterpreted passages that spoke of a restoration of Israel as either being fulfilled in the church or of being pure allegory.


Response #15:

It's an interesting supposition. I would sooner guess laziness as a cause and/or an infatuation with allegory (both of which infected the early and medieval church).

Question #16:

Hi Bob L

Many thanks for your kind offer to help me in me debating the scripture. Many years ago back in the 1970's I became aware of the theory about "British Israel" and also other people saying that the Jews in Israel are not real This is something I think is untrue since Israel seems to be blessed as I look at it today. I was wondering if you ever wrote on this matter.

Many thanks

Response #16:

You are most welcome. The false theory you allude to is indeed untrue and very dangerous too. Those who claim to be Jewish today are Jewish. The people who are living in the British isles are not Jewish – with the exception of those who are in fact Jewish. I have had occasion to respond to questions on this before. Here are some pertinent links (and do feel free to write back about any of this):

The 144,000 are Jewish

Who is True Israel?

Who are the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?

How Many Tribes do the Jews of Today Represent?

Are the Celts the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Greetings Professor, I'm studying the Seven Days of Human History section and wanted to know why is the first year starting with "ca. 4065?"

→ Days 1 and 2: The Gentiles: (ca. 4065-2065 B.C.)

One more thing Professor. Was Adam 47 years old during the time of the fall, and eviction out of the garden? V/r

Response #17:

The methodology is explained later at the link: "Days 4-3 and 2-1".

In a nutshell, the chronology is worked backward from the birth of Christ (ca. 2 B.C.). Four millennia plus the seventy years of the Babylonian captivity minus the seven years of the as yet not having transpired Tribulation brings us to 4065 B.C.

As to Adam's age, based on the chronologies (as treated in this section of SR 5), his creation would have occurred in 4112 which would indeed make him ca. 47 at the fall. Of course he was created as a fully formed and fully functional adult. So we can say that before he fell Adam had lived a full lifetime by our standards – about 70 years old (since we don't "get it" generally speaking until our early twenties). If the Lord prevented the devil from launching the temptation until those years had passed (and the temptation did not occur until those years had passed), then we see therein the grace of God in allowing sufficient time from any perspective for the first couple to learn enough to be able to say "no!" before they failed to do so.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I have a question dealing with the phrase "It will come about after this" in connection with Acts 2:16 "but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel", and in Verse 17: "And it shall be in the (Last Days), plural days, God says, ..."

Question: With what time frame or which part of this prophecy is "after this" referring to?

Thanks so much for your clarification as always.

Your friend,

Response #18:

Good to hear from you, my friend.

As to your question, in Old Testament prophecy we have a phenomenon known as "prophetic foreshortening" (see the link), and that has to be taken into account to explain this verse and Peter's quotation of it. In a nutshell, the prophets of old did not understand that there would be a Church Age: it was a "mystery" (e.g., Eph.3:6) even though foreshadowed in the Jewish calendar et al. (link). Nor did they understand that there would be a long gap between first and second advents – which explains why they were "searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ (1st advent) and the glories that would follow (2nd advent)" (1Pet.1:11 NKJV).

The Church Age is the "mystery age", the mystery being primarily twofold in respect to 1) the gentiles being brought into the family of God in amazingly large numbers "that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel" (Eph.3:4-6; cf. Eph.3:8-9; Col.1:26-7), and also in respect to 2) the 2,000 year period over which this would be accomplished. The Church is to be found in the seven millennial days which correspond to the seven days of re-creation and also in the Jewish ceremonial calendar (see the link), but in both cases the precise interpretation was veiled analogously to Christ and His suffering not being seen clearly before He actually came into this world in the flesh.

One more thing to factor in here is that Acts is an historical book which records what was said and done without necessarily endorsing it, even in the case of the apostles (see the link). After the cross, resurrection and Pentecost, all of the apostles had a steep learning curve to climb, so that Acts represents a period of transition from the Age of Israel to the Church Age where a different "dispensation" (that is, a different system of "distribution") of the truth would apply: e.g., no more temple, priesthood, Mosaic Law, but a community of believers around the world composed of Jews and gentiles both, gifted by the Spirit for the mutual edification of the Body of Christ.

This last point, the gift of the Spirit (who both baptizes us into Christ so that we are one with Him and also indwells us for special empowerment) is the other thing that makes the Church Age so unique. As such, namely, being a mystery age (that is to say, mostly unknown before it came on the scene) as well as being "the last stop" before the events of the end times (along with the Tribulation of which it shares a part), the Church Age "punctuates" or separates the two advents, and this means that the prophecies which apply to the end times can in some respect be applied to the Church as well. That is why Paul says, for example, that "these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come" (1Cor.10:11 NKJV).

The Church Age is not technically "the end times" but it is the sign of the coming of the end times . . . even though it lasts two thousand years (after all, a thousand years in the Lord's eyes is "but a day": Ps.90:4; 2Pet.3:8). That is the sense in which Peter (rightly) saw the miraculous pouring out of the Spirit on the Church's first Pentecost. The verse you ask about, Joel 2:28, is firstly speaking of the Millennium, but we now see that it also applied to the Church Age which is the precursor to the Millennium; and Joel is given to anticipate this by his ordering of events, with the Spirit's outpouring referenced first in vv.28-29, and with the signs of the second advent following after that outpouring in vv.30-32 – something that really only makes sense once we realize that there is a Church Age and that it will also commence with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.

Did Peter have all this digested when he gave his speech in Acts chapter two? Doubtless not. He did not understand yet that the gentiles were to be co-heirs with the Jews in the Church of Christ, not until Acts chapter ten when he was given detailed instruction on the matter by the Spirit Himself. But his application of the prophecy was correct in accordance with Joel's order events.

As far as "the last days" in Acts 2:17, this is Peter's unique and probably personal translation (the Hebrew MT has "after this" and so does the Greek LXX which is most often quoted in the NT) – and no doubt reflects his new understanding of what has just happened with the coming of the Messiah and His resurrection and ascension and with the gift of the Spirit: "these are the last days", in Peter's view. And they are indeed so, in that we are now – in the Church Age – on the threshold of eternity . . . and have been since that first Pentecost.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #19:

I have been reading some of your articles related to the meaning of "overcoming" (as found in Rev 3:21), and would like to ask a question about the implications of being "one who wins". As I read several of your articles/email responses to the questions of others, I wondered if you had ever been asked to talk about a belief that those in hell can be saved out of hell. I, personally, do not find evidence in the Bible that this is God's plan and purpose, but I know someone who believes that is what Scripture teaches. Is there anything in Scripture that can be interpreted to mean that even those who have rejected Christ throughout their lifetime (and have died physically) will have yet another opportunity to be " one who wins" in the end....for eternity? His position is that God continues to call sinners to repentance (even in hell), and is willing to forgive the repentant (even in hell)!

Thank you for your response,

Response #19:

Good to hear from you.

Let me assure you right off the bat that you are correct: once this life comes to an end, the eternal fate of all is sealed. In fact of course, that destiny is written into the plan of God before creation began, with the wisdom of God completely anticipating every free will decision that everyone would ever make. We "overcome" by our faith/trust in Christ:

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
1st John 5:4 NKJV

Those who die in their sins having refused to acknowledge through faith the One who died for them are lost. It would not be a fair test of what a person "really wants" to have them be able to change their minds in torments. That is because no one wants to be there, obviously. No unbeliever wants "hell" as their final abode – they just also want no part of God, no part of Jesus Christ, and have no intention of surrendering the smallest part of their will to the will of God no matter what . . . as long as they have a true choice (which is what this life is all about). That is the hardness that resides in the heart of unbelief. And if they had ten thousand years, they would never change (unless coerced). This God knows full well (Ps.44:21), and will prove at the last judgment (Rev.20:12) even if good-hearted believers aren't able to see now it in some cases. There are many "good people" (by the world's standards) who on their deep inside are in no way willing to adjust their thinking and will to God and to His command to honor Jesus Christ. And if every person in hell were released and given a million years back "in the world" to have another chance, no one would change – once back in charge of their free will.

This life is where we demonstrate what is really in our heart of hearts, and all the secret things of our hearts will be revealed on that day (Rom.2:16). For believers, we are showing after salvation how much Jesus Christ really means to us (whether that is a little or a lot), and unbelievers are demonstrating with every thought in every waking moment that while they do want to live forever, they do NOT want to be subject to the Lord – just like the devil. There is much more about all of this in the major study BB 4B: Soteriology (at the link).

As to the "position" of your correspondent, there is no biblical support for it at all. Of course, that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of people and some groups who believe and teach this. That is true, after all, for every false doctrine you can name, and these false or misguided groups and individuals always feel that they have "biblical support", usually by twisting a few scriptures and frequently by basing their arguments on inductive reasoning which is faulty. I would certainly be willing to demonstrate how any passage claimed to support this false doctrine is incorrect, but I can assure you that there aren't any passages that actually teach this – it is a (dangerous) false doctrine.

Question #20:

Last brief question. Abraham's Bosom, is it Abraham's and not Adam's because he is the father of faith as opposed to Adam who brought sin to mankind?

Response #20:

Following others, based on Luke 16:22, I do use the term "Abraham's Bosom" for the place where believers went after death before Christ's ascension. Our Lord, however, also calls it "paradise" in Luke 23:43 – that would be the better name, however it might also be confused with other paradises if used in an exegetical study without further explanation to differentiate them (see the link: "The Seven Edens").

In telling the story of Lazarus and the rich man, our Lord does not actually use "Abraham's bosom" as a technical place-name but as a literal description: Lazarus lay down on a dining couch right next to Abraham's – that's the reason for the name. This has to do with Greek and Roman dining customs where diners lay parallel to each other at an angle to the common table, so that two next to each other were described that way, head to chest (cf. "Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved", Jn.13:23 KJV).

Question #21:

What does this verse mean?

"who sit among the graves / and spend their nights keeping secret vigil;"
(Isaiah 65:4)

Speculation on your part is welcome.

Response #21:

Unger, whose training was in archaeology (among other things) says of the passage you ask about "The idolatrous practices alluded to have affinities with Canaanite and kindred cults." [no references given] and "Those cults prefigure the rampant occultism of the Tribulation" – with which I thoroughly agree.

So this passage is a reference to otherwise unknown pagan rituals of the Canaanites . . . which prefigure parts of antichrist's religion. Necromancy and spiritism are clearly in view as well, lumped in with all manner of other pagan practices, which likewise have their parallels in the religion of the beast. Here is what I say about a related passage in CT 4 (do have a look at Zech.9:7 too):

4. False Communion (of antichrist's religion): Closely tied to these everyday dietary restraints will be the practice of a false "communion" which will follow closely after the pattern of historical pagan practices (cf. Zech.9:7):

Those who sanctify and purify themselves for the gardens following the lead of the one [characterized] by violence, eating the flesh of swine, and of whatever is an abomination, and of rats will be swept away together (i.e., at the Second Advent), says the Lord.
Isaiah 66:17

The context of this verse (both preceding and following, but see especially Is.66:18-24) shows clearly that while the behavior described is not unprecedented in Israel's past (cf. Is.65:3-5), the disgusting communal meal described above will be the one in vogue during the Tribulation. Therefore the "one with violence",(37) clearly an individual acting as a sort of priest officiating over the proceedings, is best taken to be the false prophet, antichrist's own "high priest" and the one responsible for directing his false religion. The fact that meat will be eaten in this "communion" whereas vegetarianism will be the rule otherwise is not contradictory, for this eating of abominations will represent a "sacrifice" and for that reason necessarily includes behavior not otherwise sought out or condoned. [ (37) Reading tokh instead of tavekh, a change in vocalization but not in the orthography of the MT. ]

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Good Morning,

I hope this letter finds you well and thank you for all the information you have given freely on the end times. And for your time.

I have read your article on the A/C and the Beast. One rules for 7 years the other for 3.5 years yet they are the same person/s. I cannot grasp this. May I ask for you to please explain it to me in a more simpler form. And is the Beast Nimrod?

Thank you.

Response #22:

Good to make your acquaintance, and thanks for your kind words.

As to your question, I should first point out that there are very many articles on antichrist at Ichthys, so I'm not sure which one you are referring to. I will give you a list of links below, but the main file upon which everything else comments is Coming Tribulation 3B: Antichrist and his Kingdom (at the link).

I'm not positive I'm understanding your question correctly (so do please feel free to write back in case you need further clarification), but it seems to me that the confusion has to do with the kingdom of the beast versus the beast himself. The potential for confusing things comes in because the Bible describes both the beast and his kingdom as "a beast", and it takes a detailed knowledge of what Daniel wrote and meant (among other Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles) in order to sort out Revelation correctly.

Antichrist himself is said to be "revealed", that is, made undeniably clear as to his person and role, in the middle of the Tribulation (2Thes.2:3; 2:6; 2:8). That is why the "six hundred and sixty six" test is given at that point and not before (i.e., when the Great Tribulation and Great Persecution begin: Rev.13:16-18; see the links).

The personal beast, antichrist, will rule the entire world for three and a half years. However, that does not mean that he will not exercise great power before that time. The first half of the Tribulation will be taken up with the personal beast's rise to power over mystery Babylon, the kingdom which rules over all the other kingdoms of the world economically and culturally (Rev.17:18), his gaining of power over revived Rome, and his defeat of the "southern alliance" composed of the three remaining Roman provinces.

This empire, revived Rome, is also described as "a beast" in both Daniel and Revelation (Dan.7:7ff. Rev.13:1ff.). And we do get a sense of this dual use of nomenclature in Revelation (correctly translated, that is):

(9) This calls for a mind having wisdom: the seven heads [of the beast (cf. v.3 and 13:1)] are seven mountains whereon the woman sits. They are also seven kings. (10) The [first] five [of these kings] have fallen. The [next (i.e., the sixth)] one is now [alive]. The last (i.e., antichrist) has not yet come, and when he comes he must remain for a short time (i.e., the Tribulation). (11) And [as to] the beast which was and is not, this is the eighth [king] and he is [also] one of the seven, and he is going to [his] destruction. (12) And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they will receive authority as kings for one hour (i.e., time period, specifically, the Tribulation) along with the beast.
Revelation 17:9-12

"A mind having wisdom" simply means that it isn't possible to sort these things out without being thoroughly versed in everything the scripture says on the subject. The "beast" revived Rome has "seven heads" – seven provinces ruled by seven kings who will ally with antichrist, the personal, individual "beast", in the early days of the Tribulation. The remaining three fall to antichrist after two "world war" type campaigns, after which the beast will control the entire world (at the Tribulation's midpoint: Rev.13:3-4).

Since antichrist is the power behind the state-beast, it was natural for Daniel and Revelation to see the two as essentially one and the same (as in no real difference between Hitler and the Nazi state, between Stalin and the communist empire, etc.).

Here are those other links I promised:

Satan, Antichrist, the False Prophet and the Mark of the Beast

*Antichrist and his Kingdom (BB 3B)

Antichrist: the Mark, the Number, and the Identification of the Beast

The False Prophet's Administration of Antichrist's False Religion

The Rise of False Teaching in the Tribulation

The Persuasiveness of antichrist's religion

Characteristics of the false religion

The Anti-Christian Religion and its Worldwide Expansion

Dangers of cooperating with antichrist's religion

The Mark of the Beast (in CT 4)

The Number of the Beast (in CT 4)

Israel and Antichrist in Eschatology

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

Antichrist: Alive and Well and Living on Planet Earth?

More on Antichrist and his Kingdom

Antichrist and Babylon

The Beast: Some Questions about Antichrist.

Aliens, antichrist, and eschatology.

Antichrist's 'desire of women' in Daniel 11:37 et al.

The reign of antichrist: 7 years or 3 and 1/2 years?

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hello Robert,

Thank you so very much for your reply. I really appreciate the time you have taken.

Let me try and explain my question which has me so confused over the A/C.

The A/C comes on the scene when he confirms a covenant. I call him A/C NO1 and he comes at the 7 year point. Then 3.5 years later the Beast comes out of the pit and I call him man No 2 but he is also man no 1. When man No 2 comes out of the pit does he still look like man No 1 who had died from a head wound. How did man No 1 get into the pit in the first place when he was already on earth 3.5 years previously.

Nobody has yet been able to explain to me how a man comes out of the pit looking like a beast and who is the beast really AS he has been in there for many many 1000 years. He was in there when John wrote the book of revelation so what is he doing walking the earth 3.5 years before he comes out of the pit.

Thank you.

Response #23:

You're very welcome.

First, I believe that all of these issues are addressed in some great detail in the links I shared with you. That said, I'll try to give you the gist here.

In terms of persons, there is only one "antichrist" aka "the beast". It is true that both Daniel and Revelation also describe the antichrist's / the beast's kingdom as a "beast" (for the reasons discussed previously).

The "rising from the sea" (not pit or Abyss) of the beast/antichrist described in Revelation 13:1 is a symbol used by John in the Spirit to bring the reader up to speed regarding where things now stand at the Tribulation's midpoint. This is helpful, because chapter eleven had given us the digression that taught about Moses' and Elijah's ministry, and chapter twelve another one which taught about the escape of the new believers that had responded to them and to the 144,000. This new symbol brings the focus of the narrative back to the beast and his machinations during the Tribulation's second half. It doesn't mean (nor say) that the beast / antichrist did not exist or did not exercise power before this in the Tribulation's first half. Indeed he did. It is a symbol: he is not actually a beast as described nor does he actually come from the sea nor is the devil actually a dragon (he is a fallen angel). So this passage is symbolic of the revelation of antichrist which only fully takes place at the Tribulation's midpoint when he receives the fatal wound and yet does not die and goes on to exert his control over the entire world, taking his seat in the temple in Jerusalem and proclaiming himself to be God (2Thes.2:3; 2:6; 2:8). That is when there will be no further illusions about who this "is", and the six hundred and sixty six test will confirm it for anyone who has doubts – but believers will have long been very much aware of the identity of antichrist by this time: he is the ruler of mystery Babylon who has gained control of revived Rome and conquered the southern alliance so as to control the whole world (for a brief time: the Great Tribulation).

As I say, you will find all this in much greater detail in the links provided last time.

I hope you find this helpful.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

What is your take on this, Dr.?

Response #24:

Starting with Revelation 6:8b, if you'd like to know my "take" on this it can be found at the following link: Summary of the Four Horsemen.

In a nutshell, this half verse refers to the four horsemen together, and is a description of all of the destructiveness of all of the first four tribulational trends (not just antichrist and the false prophet who are included in the summation individually as "the beasts of the earth"). Also, even after the defeat of the southern (Islamic) alliance, and even after Armageddon (in which that former alliance will also participate as allies of the beast), there will still be Egyptians alive, and Cushites, and Assyrians – and the modern day people they represent (as we know from millennial passages in Isaiah in particular).

But I will say that in recognizing that antichrist is an opponent of the Islamic alliance rather than to be identified as its leader you are an important step ahead of most evangelical explanations of this period. The false equating of the beast with the leader of the Muslim nations with whom antichrist makes war during the Tribulation will lead many erstwhile Christians to accept antichrist as their own leader – in leading the "crusade" – and thus make them more disposed to accepting his damnable and damning lie that he is really "the Christ".


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