Question #1: Dr. Robert, Can you refer me to information on who the peoples will be during the thousand year reign, and how they are selected?
This question has both a very
simple and a very complicated answer. Simply put, all those who survive
the Tribulation and the series of cleansing judgments which follow will
form the basis for the repopulation of the earth during our Lord's
millennial reign; additionally, the resurrected Church (i.e., all
believers from Adam and Eve until the point of the Second Advent) will
rule with Him for that thousand year period, albeit in eternal
resurrection bodies (Rev.2:26-28; 20:4, etc.).
There are, to be sure, many other issues implicit in your question. For example, many Christians believe, incorrectly, that the resurrection of the Church will take place before the seven year Tribulation which precedes the Millennium (on this see: "Tribulational Security" in Peter #27). One side-effect of this misconception will be an increased vulnerability among lukewarm Christians when the Tribulation does hit, making them more susceptible to the Great Apostasy, the falling away of a third of believers during those seven years (see the link: "The Great Apostasy" in Coming Tribulation, part 3A: The Tribulation Begins). It is doubtful that many of these individuals will survive to enjoy our Lord's reign (the post Second Advent judgments are slated to be covered in part 6 of Coming Tribulation). Israel will be divided into three groups during the Tribulation: 1) those who steadfastly support antichrist, 2) those who turn against him in rebellion (these will believe only when they see our Lord return; cf. Zech.12:10; Rev.1:7, etc.); and 3) those who turned to Christ under the ministries of Moses and Elijah and the 144,000 and have been protected in the desert since the middle of the Tribulation (cf. Rev.12; see the link: in “The Dragon's Persecution of Believing Israel” in CT 4). While the third group will be resurrected at Christ's return, we may assume that the majority of the second group are allowed to enter the Millennium, but few in the first group (cf. Ezek.20:33-38; etc.). One of the post Second Advent judgments affects the gentile nations of the world (i.e., the "fire upon Magog" of Ezek.38:6), although some gentiles do survive and respond to the Lord at last (cf. Is.19:18-25; 66:18-21). And, in addition to all the other horrors of the Tribulation (of both human and divine origin: e.g., the baneful policies of antichrist and his minions on the one hand, and the trumpet and bowl judgments on the other), the destruction of the world's most powerful nation, the prophetic Babylon, is also well-attested (cf. Rev.18; etc.).
As I say, there are many potential aspects to your question, and it is fair to say that it was in large part to help answer these and similar questions that I have working for some time to complete the Coming Tribulation series, have previously finished the precursor to that series, The Satanic Rebellion, a series which provides the essential groundwork to understanding the Tribulation.
Yours in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Hi Dr. Luginbill:
James 1:5 tells us to ask for wisdom in faith. Does that mean that, when we have situations in our lives for which specific Biblical directions seem to be lacking, we can pray in faith and we will somehow know exactly how to proceed?
I think you are right that James 1:5
very definitely tells us that God will lead us to the truth in all
things, and in particular in things that are troubling us, if we have
faith in Him and come to Him for help at such times (Heb.4:16). The
context of this passage in James chapter one suggests that verse 5 is
given here in particular for those who are having trouble "having faith"
(v.3) and "letting perseverance do its perfecting work" (v.4). In other
words, there are times when we are under such severe pressure that we
want to blame God ("why me, God?!": cf. Job 7:20) or ourselves (e.g.,
for the "sins of our youth": Job 13:26) - or even both (as in the case
of Job) - when in reality (as in the case of Job) it may not be a case
of our being punished or disciplined, but instead of being tested by the
Lord for the refining of our faith:
In anticipation of this ultimate deliverance, your joy overflows, though at present it may be your lot to suffer for a time through various trials to the end that your faith may be shown to be genuine. This validation of your faith is far more valuable than gold, for gold, though it too is assayed by fire, ultimately perishes. But your faith, when proven genuine in the crucible of life, will result in praise, glory and honor for you at the glorious return of Jesus Christ. Though you have never laid eyes on Him, yet you love Him. And though you cannot see Him at this present time, yet you have faith in Him. For this reason you rejoice with an inexpressible joy that bespeaks the glorious future to come, when you shall carry off in victory the ultimate prize - the deliverance of your lives - which is the very purpose and objective of this faith of yours. 1st Peter 1:6-9
It is at such times that we are most in need of wisdom. For we should know when we are to blame for our own suffering, and we most definitely know that God is not responsible for unjustly causing our suffering (e.g., following recent, gross sin). But when suffering is for a larger and a greater purpose, "sharing the suffering of Christ" (Rom.8:17; 2Cor.1:5; Phil.1:29-30; 3:10; Col.1:24; 2Tim.2:12; 1Pet.4:12-13; cf. Matt.10:38; 16:24; Mk.8:34; 10:21; 10:38-39; Lk.9:23; 14:27; Acts 5:41; 2Cor.4:10-11; Gal.6:17; 1Thes.1:6; 2Thes.1:4-5; 2Tim.3:12; see the link: in CT 2A: ""sharing in the sufferings of Christ" is a part of the normal Christian experience"), this is an experience which calls for great spiritual maturity and wisdom from scripture empowered by the Spirit. As this verse you ask about indicates, such suffering may also requires specific prayer for help in understanding the situation (cf. 2Cor.12:7-10, where Paul reports a case of this exact same sort of situation in his own life).
I do think that James 1:5 not only does indicate that God answers our prayers, but also that we can indeed come to Him with requests for understanding and strengthening of faith (just as we ask Him for any manner of needful material things), and be confident that He will provide it (just as He always does: Ps.37:25; cf. Heb.13:5-6). As long as we ask in faith, we can be confident that He will always give us what we need (Jn.14:13-14). This help may not come in the precise form or at the exact time we would choose it if it were in our power to do so - prayer is often (maybe even mostly) answered in ways and at times that we never anticipated. But persistent prayer offered up in confident belief and held onto in determined faith (cf. Gen.32:22-32 with Hos.12:4-5), will always be answered by our loving Father on behalf of His beloved children in the Name of the Son He loves so much - and in a perfect way that works everything out for our good (Rom.8:28). We may not ever be given a detailed and specific road map forward (that would take away much of the need for faith!), but if we give our will over to God in faith, His Spirit will lead us straight ahead (Ps.143:10; Is.63:10-14; Rom.8:4; Gal.5:16; 5:25), even when we ourselves can't seem to divine the path.
Please also see these links:
Faith: What is it?
Free-Will Faith in the Plan of God
Blessing, Cursing and Prayer
In Him who gave us His good Spirit that we might follow in His
footsteps, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.