Eschatology and the Old Testament
Question #1: I'm curious about Daniel 11. I looked on your website but couldn't find anything specific about it. Is this a parallel to the antichrist and end times? I'm especially curious about 11.20-21 if it is a parallel. You also have mentioned before that in the end times having a survivalist attitude and heading to the wilderness won't save you, or that it's not necessarily supported by scripture. But where's the balance in believing in God to keep you alive and you doing your part to stay alive? Because I know that we're not supposed to sit on our backsides and believe for God to supply us; we need to be doing something at least for Him to work with (unless I'm wrong). Also, what are the parameters for us in the end times? for example, is it ok to fight back if soldiers or other people are trying to harm us or take us? Or are we supposed to just let them? Oh yeah, and when would be a good guess for when the mark of the beast would be instituted? From what I'm reading from you, it sounds like it'd start sometime after the halfway mark.
As always, I appreciate your time in answering.
Response #1: The Tribulation will be, for true believers, a time like the Exodus, a time like that of Daniel and his friends when carried off to Babylon. It will be a time when the Lord is in control, not us, and when we have to look to Him for our deliverance, not to ourselves. I think in practical terms it will be easy for believers to see what to do, although not necessarily to actually do it. In those dark days, going about our business in a godly, Christian way when all the world is falling in after antichrist will be challenging, but clearly that will be the godly thing to do; continuing to worship and seek God through His truth will be what we should keep our eyes on, not obsessive concerns with politics or economics; and being willing to suffer martyrdom rather than acquiesce in any of the evil around us, taking the mark, etc. I am confident that our God will see to it that we are kept alive as long as He wants us here, and will use our death for His glory, should that be our lot, or bring us safe through the fire to rise while yet alive at His return. Of course we keep working; of course we don't run off to the woods and hide. We stand our ground and show the world the power of our faith. This subject will be given a detailed treatment in the next and final section of Coming Tribulation. In the meantime, here are some links which address the issue:
As to your specific question on the "vile person" of Daniel 11:21ff., yes indeed this is antichrist (as was seen at least as far back as St. Jerome). The passage is covered in detail under "the rise of antichrist" in CT 3B (see the link).
Finally, you are essentially correct about the timing of the mark of the beast coming about the Tribulation's mid-point. That is when antichrist will have come to be in command of the entire world and that is where the discussion of the mark comes in the Book of Revelation. There is much more on that at the following link: in CT 4: "The Mark of the Beast".
Thanks again for your e-mails.
In the Lord our strength,
Hi Dr. Luginbill
I have a fascination with angels. First of all let me thank you for your very prompt reply. I live in Uganda so forgive me if my English is not top notch. Anyway I do understand what you say when you mean we human beings should not go beyond what is written in the bible or be, to quote you 'inordinately fixated' upon these spiritual creatures. Though the Genesis 6 question has always been a real rubik's cube for me.
I have also read the 'Book of Enoch' which has much more in way of detail but I would be quite cautious taking everything it says to heart because I am not certain if indeed it was penned by Enoch himself most history scholars agree that it is not a bonafide canonical text and thus it is not part of the bible proper. Have you ever read this book?
I am a very keen reader of interpretations of biblical narratives and I really like how much effort you put into your research and interpretation. Yes I agree with you simply because we can barely comprehend our own material environment and so cannot fully fathom the power of the spiritual one. It is fully possible that angels could have sired the nephilim and interfered with human affairs much more closely before the flood and so God put a cap on that with extraordinary punishment of abyss incarceration and the biblical flood. I guess he will only allow for this to happen at the close of human history bringing about the rise of the anti-christ.
I have been thinking lately also that Satan most probably appeared to Eve in his angelic form, not necessarily possessing a serpent. I do agree that back then maybe Adam and Eve spoke to animals directly and had pets but it makes me wonder if Eve would simply listen to a creature trying to pique her interest in the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Moreover if it was her pet she would not contemplated how the pet knew more than she did ,unless the creature she spoke to amazed her with some sort of ethereal and 'godlike' appearance and ability .I am more tempted to think that she would be more easily duped if she met Satan in his (even if in his tainted but) 'glorious' form. It makes more sense that the word serpent was ascribed to him to stand as a metaphor for a creature of deception, cunning and fatal venom which is true to his form. I don't know what you think about this. Though even Satan's possession of the serpent does not seem hard to accept.
I have also a very interesting question about Psalm 82 and wonder if you have ever thought about the interpretation I am about to give you.
Psalm 82 says:
"God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. 2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah. 3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. 4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked. 5 They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course. 6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. 7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations."
Apparently according to a Hebrew language scholar called Michael .S Heisser (the guy who I read this interpretation from) Jesus was talking to his disciples the same words he used when he was talking to his angels in heaven at some time before man was created. So that verse speaks for two occasions 1st Jesus talking to his disciples and 2nd Jesus talking to angels before their fall using the same words.
To his disciples he meant human beings are not like God in practice but they are in principle or by design (being in his image) not meant to cease into non existence and especially meant to share in his glory at the resurrection not to mention being current stewards of god's creation with free will.
However the second perspective is intriguing to say the least because I have never looked at this psalm in this way .The scholar said Jesus was telling the angels their future just like he was telling his disciples on the night of his betrayal at the last supper " one of you will betray me and they all said …"surely not I Lord"
So in primeval time probably the time billions of years ago before man was made. Jesus spoke to the angels and told them they are all gods. Not like him in omnipotence (almighty), omnipresence (ever-present) or omniscience (all knowing) but still because they are powerful, immortal and superior to mankind that was yet to be created. He foresaw that they would clamor (the fallen angels at least) to be worshiped as gods.. So Jesus further went on to tell them that some of them would fall and die like a mortal man. He was not meaning that they would die physically coz they cannot, but he was telling them they would fall from grace and 'die' in hellfire apart from God with human souls for all eternity.
What do you think reading Psalm 82 in this new perspective? I mean it shows the Devil to have been warned and not heeding the warning making him fully culpable? I find that intriguing, do you.. if you look at it that second way?
I am very very intrigued by your analysis of the Book of Daniel and it does mirror the events of Revelation. I was curious do you know the televangelist gentleman Perry Stone? Well he believes in a pre tribulation rapture to which I do not agree and I believe you are right about that. I think the pre tribulation rapture doctrine is a gross misrepresentation of the bible teaching and seems very conveniently 'escapist' so i consider it theologically unsound doctrine. However Perry Stone raised a point that I have had some time to think about and it seems plausible. Forgive me if I do not give the exact verses, coz I am not a practicing bible scholar but anyway he says that in all probability...the war of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38 and 39 is not against the antichrist just yet but a precursor to his coming. There could be many proto antichrists that come before but making way for him...which is curiously mentioned in revelations as the heads being kings already fallen and one is and the 7th is yet to come and rule for a short while .In other words indeed Israel will be outnumbered and will face certain doom with enemies bearing down on every side probably due to strong anti-semitic sentiment as we can see today especially from the Arab world but in that hour God will send a celestial judgment against all her foes with plagues and hail of fire and brimstone very reminiscent of the First and second trumpets.
In other words Perry Stone thinks that the description of the false prophet calling fire from the sky will be a classic case of the Antichrist and his deputy coming out and claiming God's judgment as their own duly on the heels of the judgment of the trumpets (at least the first 4).Thus everyone will see him as Israel's messiah and many Jews will be ready to accept him as their defender (again he could be the horn that defeats and uproots the 3 horns on Daniel's 4th beast ...what we do not know is if he will do this with a military campaign or if God will do it and then he will try to take the credit and the world will more easily accept him as a 'peace bringer' or even the 'Messiah' returned. I noticed also that this is in full accordance with the flow of the narrative in Revelation. I think your Tribulation series is amazing because it follows all events chronologically chapter by chapter...for example the Trumpet judgments in chapter 7 and 8 precede the rise of the antichrist in chapter 13. So I thought Perry stone had a ring of truth to it. Moreover I don't remember the exact verse coz I saw him say this on television but he says somewhere in Ezekiel that the clean up of the dead will take 7 years after God's judgment and he added that it goes on to say that it says something like 'they will bury their weapons' now he interprets this as an allusion to the 7 year tribulation period when he says there will most likely be no war (if only until Armageddon at the very end). The tribulation period may involve catastrophic cataclysms, persecutions and divine judgments...the last 3 woes and the 7 bowls, but indeed probably there will not be much military campaigning until the very end of the 7 year period.
Anyway what do you think of this interpretation?? I think it is very plausible because a freedom taken is not the same as a freedom surrendered. I see a much more expedient rise to power of the antichrist if indeed his rise follows on the heels of say WW3 or some terrible celestial catastrophe. Of course this is my own personal opinion. I do not see the world giving in that easily to his demands unless humanity has been supernaturally frightened into this course of action...which it will be by God's judgment (one that the antichrist will in part take as a manifestation of his own power) to win people to himself
Anyway as you can see I am very excited that you replied and as a keen prophecy reader I am just curious to get your idea on these things. I am very happy you replied and I think your insight is very very amazing and insightful. I am very keen on reading part 6 of your Tribulation series...is it almost complete?? coz I have downloaded the other installments and read them regularly for some inspiration.
Oh but I am kind of cautious on trying to set an approximate date as to the lord's return c.2033 seems a little bold though most Christians do forget if we are really to count the centuries we may need to start counting from the Lord's death not birth in effect we will not move into the 21st century until 2033..we may well be in the 20th century still. This is supported by countless prophecies that prophecy catastrophes for the 20th century. This makes me wonder if the St. Malachy prophecy is about to be fulfilled of the 'last pope'.
Forgive me but do you read other prophecies as well because I am a keen reader of very many prophecies and I try to triangulate many of them with the bible. Most prophecies do point to catastrophe before or soon after 2000 or even 2012 .As I said I am not sure of setting any dates but I too feel this century is very special in the Christian calendar...it seems almost unanimously and unequivocally confirmed by countless prophets. Though my thoughts are that it is in the middle or latter part of the century that the antichrist will show himself. In my opinion I think he is not yet alive but maybe born soon.
Check these prophecies by Christian mostly Catholic people:
Though the one of Pope John XIII is surely a fake
There are also some very uncanny prophecies from central Europe particularly the Germans Sepp Wuddy, Muelhiasl of Apoig ( some say his other name is Mattias Stormberger) these guys were very very accurate and gave a timetable of approximation on a generational timeframe of the beginning of WW3 (could this be the Gog and Magog campaign of Ezekiel. The locust army of Joel or even Armageddon itself ??.....):
Read this amazing prophet Mitar Tarbich:
and the lesser known Boer prophet Nicklass van Rensburg:
Anyway all I know is from the look of things this century seems a pivotal one and who knows maybe Christ's return is at hand.
Get back to me your avid fan and brother in Christ
Your English is really quite good! It's so good, in fact, that I wouldn't have caught on to the fact that you are not a native speaker (there are usually "tells" which give a person away, even when he/she has a very high level of competency). I will take your questions one at a time. It so happens that most of these issues have been addressed somewhere on the site, so there are many links. Please do feel free to write back in the event that the answers you find there do not exhaust you curiosity.
The Book of Enoch: there is a whole genre of quasi-biblical literature that came into being for a variety of odd reasons. These works are generally termed the Apocrypha and Pseudipigrapha. What they have in common is that they are not divinely inspired, though they usually try to represent themselves as being so. This makes them dangerous – at least to the extent that believers put any stock in them whatsoever. Enoch lived before the flood. Jude does not actually say there was a book of Enoch. Rather he says "Enoch . . . prophesied". I think that Jude received this information through divine inspiration rather than through any written source. So what of the "book of Enoch"? As far as I am aware there is no compelling reason based upon the very late manuscript evidence to date this work anywhere close to the time of Jude. Were I writing a false work of this sort in, say, the second or third century, I would of course include the biblical quotation, for that would be my "proof" that the work I then "found" was the real thing. See the links:
On the serpent, I find it hard to read Genesis chapter three any other way than literally on this point. The fact that God curses the serpent so that it now performs the functions of a literal snake seems to me to be a high hurdle for the metaphorical interpretation. You are not alone in wondering about this however. Sometime back I ran into a fellow who was very determined in his defense. Here is a link to that conversation:
On Psalm 82, while this interpretation is "interesting", to say the least, there are a number of reasons why I would be loath to accept it: 1) the Hebrew verbs are imperfect, indicating in their particular placement here that this is a repeated event and not the description of a long past historical occurrence (one would have expected the perfect if the pre-history interpretation was correct); 2) if this were giving a quote from the time before the Lord's re-creation of the world, it would be unique in scripture; 3) the criticism given here of these "gods" is that they are judging perversely and letting the wicked off scot-free. Now before the devil's rebellion, there were no "wicked" and certainly no crooked judgment, so that thinking of these "gods" as human rulers who exercise authority like God albeit in a crooked way here does seems to make much more sense; 4) that is how our Lord interprets the passage, by applying it to human beings and not to divinity or to angels. Here is what I say about this issue and this passage in Bible Basics 3A, section II.1 "The Image and Likeness of God":
Finally, on the Tribulation, I take Ezekiel 38-39 to be a treatment of the Armageddon campaign (the third major campaign in the Middle-East during the Tribulation). You can find that written up with an exegesis of most of those chapters at the following link: in CT 5: "Gog of Magog".
So while I would agree with some of the observations made about the beast and the false prophet generally, in terms of the specifics I think I will have to stand pat on the fairly precise chronology and description of events I believe scripture teaches, outlined in the CT series. I am more than happy to address specific questions about any of them however, including revisiting any of the above or below you'd like to continue discussing.
In our Lord Jesus,
Thank you for commending my English. Your command of great vocabulary is one of the reasons why I enjoy your very detailed and richly researched work
Anyway I am Ok with the literal interpretation of the Serpent as a material creature possessed by Satan, I guess I just keep an open mind.
As for the Psalm 82...it is still intriguing to look at it both ways. I mean just because God foreknows what will happen does not mean he wills it to. So even if the angels were told their fate by God before the fact it still does not make them any less culpable
Now my biggest interest is actually the last part of my notes...which I did not get a reply to. Well I wonder if you prefer to interpret the book of revelation too literally or chronologically. It does make sense but as you can see it has lots of similar numerical symbols and events. My main issue is about the literal interpretation of some of the trumpets. We may never know for sure and it is best to take them literally but then again there are verses where Jesus says he will come just like Noah's flood when people will be merry ,drinking, giving and being given in marriage. So this makes me believe the discernment of the times while necessary and paramount to all will for the most part go unheeded by believers simply because they will not be too obvious until the very end.
Dr Luginbill in your appreciation of the Trumpet judgments you take the literal interpretation which as a believing Christian we should for the most part. However I was thinking that since a dragon and beast depiction in Rev 12 and 13 are not literal dragons then maybe the trumpet judgments are not literal locusts or horsemen for trumpets five and six even if I do believe the first 4 trumpets are literal celestially induced divine catastrophes.
Seeing that the 6 seals are already occurring...could it be that the 7 trumpets are different descriptions of one catastrophe namely nuclear war. I mean to an ancient prophet a chariot or horse could be the only way to describe a tank and a missile could be called an arrow or hail...a helicopter gunship looks and sounds like a locust that is depicted in Trumpet number five.
Also even if we assume the first second and even third trumpets are also metaphors you can see it can fill the form of nuclear warfare. The nukes the blood and fire ,the chemical fallout and contamination, plant/marine death.
Also the 4th trumpet speaks of a darkening of the sun and stars it is concomitant with what can happen after a nuclear holocaust. In that event fallout, dust can contribute to the obscuring of the sun. Even the massive thermal heat can have an albedo effect and soon after a rapid cooling of the planet will follow what is called 'nuclear winter'.
Again Trumpet 5 seems to speak of biological warfare ..the seal on the righteous could be some sort of antidote.
Trumpet 6 seems like definite military confrontation again with more human deaths.
Could it be the judgments are not taken for what they really are??
I say this because as I said it seems to me that the battle of Armageddon is more like a final battle of WW3 which probably is more of an intermittent war than a protracted one like World wars 1 and 2.
For example the locusts mentioned in trumpet five are also somehow similar to the locust army of Joel 2:1-11where it is even more vividly described.
Now in revelation 9:1-11:
"1 And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key of the shaft of the bottomless pit; 2 he opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. 3 Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth; 4 they were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green growth or any tree, but only those of mankind who have not the seal of God upon their foreheads; 5 they were allowed to torture them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torture was like the torture of a scorpion, when it stings a man. 6 And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, and death will fly from them. 7 In appearance the locusts were like horses arrayed for battle; on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, 8 their hair like women's hair, and their teeth like lions' teeth; 9 they had scales like iron breastplates, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. 10 They have tails like scorpions, and stings, and their power of hurting men for five months lies in their tails. 11 They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit; his name in Hebrew is Abad'don, and in Greek he is called Apol'lyon."
This makes me believe that the army of trumpet 5 is the same army of trumpet 6. Only that in trumpet 5 its job is making ground in world polarized by those for God and those against him. Notice in verse 4 they were told not to harm those sealed by God. This means that for 5 months it will be consolidating its conquest of the unchristian sphere of the world. It will be oppressive and brutal but will not kill it’s victims (the ideal would be to swell numbers by conscripts moreover it’s real target is resistance to the anti-Christ in any shape or form). Thus those conquered by it will search for death and not find it.
Now from when their swelling of conscripts is complete…. The army starts to attack the rest of the world (believers and unbelievers) killing one third of humanity. I view that the emphasis of trumpet 6 is not on the army (since it has already been described in trumpet 5) but on the weaponry. Besides Chapter 9 verse 10(trumpet 5) is identical to verse 19(trumpet 6)
Anyway it all depends on if you take a strictly literal interpretation. I am ready to take the first 4 trumpet judgments literally and the other 2(the fifth and sixth) metaphorically for modern armies described in a simple language
In fact sometimes I think of the bowl judgments and trumpet judgments as being in many ways the same but only described in terms of scale ...probably trumpets start out affecting a third of the earth and then grow out to affect the entire planet
The Book of Revelation is the hardest book to decipher in the bible and I am not trying to do so but the book has too much detail to give in the prelude to Jesus’ return. In all books Old or New Testament it is simple and quite uniform. The most vivid and incredibly unanimous description of the lord’s coming is the fact that there will be a darkness, moon turning red and the sky rolling up (heavenly signs) as well as descriptions of a fiery judgment Joel 2:30-31,Joel 3:15-16 ,Isaiah 34:4, Rev 6:12-17
Anyway contrasting that with various details in Rev 12, I have come to the conclusion that everything after the dragon’s expulsion and the trumpets and vials are not chronological in order but just details of events occurring simultaneously.
First of all Rev 12 7-17 is a vivid summary of what transpires in the first 3 and a half years of the great tribulation. The Devil cast down makes war on Israel (the woman giving birth to Judaism, Christianity and some could even say Islam since Abraham was the father of all), The devil as throughout history attacks Israel through an earthly king , but not the antichrist (just yet), notice he makes war on the woman, but the earth swallows up the water (his armies that he sends for Israel). He then goes to make war with her descendants (i.e all people who are opposed to his goal at that point) and it is not until he subdues these kingdoms that he can attack Israel proper.
Fast forward to Rev 17:8-13…here we see that at the time of the Devils’ expulsion he finds 6 kings on earth, he conquers 5 and one is left. It could be that this 6th king stands for rebellious Israel or it could be a proto antichrist kind or ruler that makes way for the real antichrist but is not the antichrist himself. Remember it may well be that the antichrist may in fact become the king of Israel (the 7th king) fighting and defeating the 6th king (world conqueror) through as I said the trumpet judgments of God upon Gog and Magog (the 6th ruler or a conglomeration of five rulers all first subdued by this 6th one)…this would explain either the 6th king (head being wounded) or the Israeli king being almost snuffed out but miraculously defeating the 6th king….’who was not and yet is’ It works either way. Now since the 7th king is the new invincible king …all hail him as a peace bringer having defeated the king who was a real terror before that point and all say ‘who can make war against him?’’
This at the point of 3 and a half years of war the Devil. Satan the ‘8th king’ who is one of the 7 or rather one with the 7th possesses the antichrist after he is assassinated and comes back to life fully demonic to begin his reign of terror. Killing the 2 witnesses who prophesied his ascent 3 and a half years before the fact, erecting the abomination of desolation in the temple, making everyone worship him through a de facto pledge of allegiance by the mark of the beast.
His kingdom will be split among 10 cronies who are viceroys all evil and reporting to him at the helm. Babylon seems to be the remaining kingdom of the 6th head world conqueror which is itself full of abominations, running amok with opulence, and wickedness. It is probably a coalition of defeated kingdoms (of the 5 fallen rulers) mentioned in Rev 17:15:
The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
Babylon itself is either judged by God, but more likely it is destroyed in due course by the Antichrist himself seeing as he no longer has need for her
And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. 17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. 18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
In this way obviously the antichrist will be destroying a large part of the earth …which we can immediately link with Rev 12’s war of the dragon also. Going back to the war before the antichrist’s rise .Trumpet 6 and bowl 6 are the same, in one an army of 200 million demonic or human forces is released from the east, just as Bowl 6 lets out 3 demonic frogs to gather kings to battle .Suspiciously I think these are the 3 kings who will coalesce much of the eastern kingdoms against the antichrist and thus are the 3 horns uprooted by him ,making him sole supreme leader. Again notice this clue of the 3rd beast of Daniel having 4 heads and then the next beast is one with 10 horns…seems to me like 3 heads have been done away with. So his first battle is not against Israel but against these kings…. as you said not all kings will surrender their sovereignty willingly if we are to take Babylon as a supernation and not North America exclusively we could assume USA fights on the side of Israel at this point.
Notice that all trumpet judgments are affecting a third of the earth, the vegetation, the waters, the seas and human fatalities. I think this is a veiled allusion to the Devil dragging a third of the stars from heaven. On the one hand it could mean a third of all angels are his demonic hordes(the ones he fell with at the very beginning), but it could also mean he destroys a third of humanity through direct war. Making the alternative of the antichrist as a peace maker shortly after a horrendous war all the more appealing.
Again notice that bowls and trumpets complement each other fully for example the fifth trumpet of is affecting only the people who are not sealed by the seal of God. While Bowl 1 in Rev 16: 2 is affecting the followers of the beast.
’And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image’
This means trumpet 5 and Bowl 1 are the same, Trumpet 2 and bowl 2 are equally the same, Trumpet 3 and Bowl 3 are the same, Trumpet 4 and Bowl 4 and 5 speak of the same event…though the scorching sun comes first and then dimmer lights and finally total darkness over the antichrists kingdom. Actually Trumpet 4, Bowl 5 speak for the heavenly signs in seal 6!
The last trumpet and the last vial (bowl 7) are identical. In trumpet 7 there’s a great earth quake (not to be confused with the smaller earthquake 3 and a half years before when the 2 witnesses ascend to heaven).So the earthquake of Trumpet 7 is definitely huge and probably the biggest the world will ever know. It is the same earthquake being spoken of in bowl 7, which is unprecedented and probably heralding the Lords return very vividly foretold in Ezekiel 38:18-20.
Just prior to this the Antichrist will finally being unopposed, force all armies to fight against Israel, which speaks of a great slaughter of people Armageddon. So the actual area of battle may be both the plain of Megiddo or the valley of Jehosephat ( Joel 3:12-16) the area alluded to in the imagery of sickle, grapes and in winepress of God’s wrath. Interestingly Isaiah 63:2-3 speaks of the lord telling all that he will personally come to Israel’s aid to destroy forces of the antichrist spoken of in Rev19:11-21
Off course all this is hypothetical but if one keeps looking at different parts of the jigsaw, it still means one gets a glimpse of the terror of 7 years of tribulation, the latter 42 months or 1260 days. The suddenness of the 2nd advent. To me the 7th trumpet, the 7th bowl all speak of the 2nd Advent of the Lord. Thus the words ‘it is done’ Rev 16:17 and in more detail after trumpet 7 in Rev 11:15-18
‘The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. 16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, 17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. 18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.’
The 7th and final trumpet is actually synonymous with the second Advent because Jesus said so himself in Matthew 24:29-31 and another vivid description of 1st Thessalonians 4:16-18
So the Lord's return at the 7th trumpet is in sync with both OT prophecies, NT prophecies and the book of Revelation itself.
Tell me what you think
Oh and as I asked before how soon do you plan to release the 6th installment of your Coming tribulation series because it is also very important. I do not like how Jehovah's witnesses and 7th day adventist preach annihilationism. I believe in a hell and heaven after death and being obliterated into non existence. Why would Daniel say some will awaken to everlasting glory and others to everlasting condemnation. Why would Jesus talk of the weeping and gnashing of teeth or the worm that does not die as descriptions of the abyss if it were not a real destination for those who rejected him??
To take the last part of your e-mail first, part 6 of CT is some way off. I am presently working on part 4A of Bible Basics: Christology [available now at the link]. It has turned out to be fairly extensive (it'll be over 200 pages single-spaced when completed). I hope to have that done and posted by the end of the spring, then I'll resume work on the CT series. Because of the detailed issues involved in the next part, I would be very surprised if the work proceeds swiftly enough for it to be finished this year – but at least it's coming up next in the queue. As to the issues of heaven and hell, I quite agree: scripture is abundantly clear on these matters. On this topic as with many other matters, there is often information available on the site one place or another, usually somewhere in the e-mail responses. Please see the following links:
As to your interpretation of Revelation, you have certainly given these matters a great deal of thought. What you have included here is essentially an interpretation of the whole book. As you see, it differs from mine in very many respects. Of course, you are certainly allowed to have your interpretation as I am allowed to have mine. My work has led me to the views laid out in the Coming Tribulation series, and it is my hope not only that I have been led to the truth but that these writings may help to lead others there as well. Naturally, no one has a monopoly on truth – we are all instruments of the Spirit (or should be), so I always try to keep an open mind about everything, but at the same time am keen not to reject out of hand what has seemed very clearly to be true based upon exhaustive research and much soul-searching over many years.
It seems best to consider your interpretation more as a whole rather than in pieces (and I would prefer mine to be judged by the same standard: see below). I will say that your view certainly shares many things in common with other main-line views of the sort I was first exposed to many years ago when I first became interested in the Bible. Figuring out what was really going on in Revelation has been a life-long pursuit, and the Coming Tribulation series is the fruit of those efforts. Naturally, I never expected that everyone would agree with me. That is not even the way I try and look at these things. What I want is the truth, and it really doesn't matter to me whether someone else has figured something out first or the Lord leads me to it first as long as I get the right answer. The Bible is truth, and we who are teachers are responsible for ferreting out the whole truth and then teaching it in an understandable way.
To summarize where we differ, there are three major disagreements in principle. First, in my view, the book of Revelation contains far less metaphor, symbolism and allegory than is usually supposed. There are many groups and denominations in fact which go so far as spiritualize it away almost entirely to the point where it has no essential significance. But in fact, John is very good about letting us know on those rare occasions where something is entirely symbolic. The Lamb, the Woman, the Dragon, the Beast, and Pseudo-Lamb very clearly must be taken symbolically; clearly the Lamb is Christ, the Woman is Israel, the Dragon is Satan, the Beast is antichrist, and the Pseudo-Lamb is the false prophet – it takes no great skill in interpretation to figure these out from the way they are presented to John in the text itself, and I know of no serious interpreter who sees them any other way, that is, as symbols. Literal lambs can't do what this Lamb does. For example, the Lamb "was slain", shares the Father's throne, takes the scroll from the Father's hand, is praised repeatedly, is the One coming to wreak God's wrath on earth (Rev.6:16), is the One to whom salvation belongs (Rev.7:10), and the One will guide the saints to the waters of eternal life (Rev.12:11), etc. And of course we already know from the entire rest of the Bible that Jesus is the Lamb of God (cf. Jn.1:29; 1:36). Likewise the Dragon: apart from the fact that there are no real dragons, a literal one could not / would not fight with Michael and his angels (Rev.12:7), summon the Beast (Rev.12:1), summon the armies of the world for Armageddon (Rev.16:13), or be thrown into the Abyss (Rev.20:2). This is Satan; and of course, we know from elsewhere in the Bible that the serpent/dragon is the devil (e.g., Gen.3). Not only that, but John's divinely inspired words often make the point emphatically that we are looking at a "sign or symbol": cf. Rev.12:1 "And a great sign appeared in the sky . . . ". But what of the seals, trumpets, and bowls? What gives us an acceptable rationale to say, for instance, that what the Bible calls an angel is here "not really an angel"? That doesn't happen anywhere else in scripture, and I believe it is a mistake to assume so in Revelation. As I say, you are in good company with this approach, but it is one I long ago eschewed.
Secondly, as to the general outline, one of the mistakes people often make, even scholars who should know better, is failing to see what the seals are – seals. That is to say, they are not actions which occur within the book but are instead physical devices which seal the book of the end. The last seal when opened, opens the book and the Tribulation begins. The sixth seal very clearly represents Armageddon, and that event does not occur until the end of the Tribulation. Yet it is last among the "operative" seals, and that surely is sufficient indication that the seals are chronological in order. Thus the seals represent trends/major events in the Tribulation not yet begun – and not even portrayed to John as begun until the book is opened. So much is this true that John "cried much" when no one was found worthy to open the book – because without opening the book there will be no Tribulation and thus not Second Advent, the event we all pine for, the return of the King our Lord Jesus. The seals depict what will happen when the book is opened. This is why when they are breached by the Lamb, these events are shown to John in a very short, synoptic way. The versions, by the way, universally mistranslate what the four living creatures say to John: in the original Greek, they all say to John "Come and see!"; i.e., they do not address the four horsemen and tell them to "come forth". Thus the seals preview the whole, but they are not themselves "events", merely representatives of events. The trumpets and bowls are different; they are actual events which take place during the Tribulation (the Tribulation does not begin until the book is opened; the trumpets and bowls occur after it is opened). One very critical thing to note and remember is that the actions described in all of these fourteen judgments are ordered by God and carried out by His holy angels. So we should be very careful about taking an event that the Bible says is initiated in heaven by God Himself and put into action by His servants and seeing it instead as a metaphor for action on earth taken and directed by human beings. God does work through people, but He also works directly and through His angels. Both the trumpets and the bowls purport to be the latter rather than the former. By what canon of hermeneutics can we ignore this? Is there precedent for doing so elsewhere in scripture?
The Tribulation will have two phases, the second of which is the Great Tribulation. Since trumpets are warnings, there is a prima facie case to be made for these occurring in the first half (and much more evidence for this as well; see the links below); whereas the bowls are described as containing the "wrath of God" (Rev.15:7). Thus, they are punitive rather than monitory, so that it makes sense for them to be part and parcel of the series of judgments connected directly to the Day of the Lord, to Armageddon and the Lord's judgments that accompany and precede His return. This is also the most natural way to take them when reading the book since they occur just prior to and as part of its conclusion. They are also described sequentially, and I see nothing wrong with taking them as such. If someone wants to see these things as simultaneous, there are good many problems with that view. For example, in the case of the sixth bowl, one cannot conceive of the armies of the world assembling in Israel for Armageddon in only a few days. Some considerable amount of time must be involved. The scorpion-link stings of the fifth bowl continue "for five months". And fairly read, all of these judgments, warning or punishing, would seem to have to occupy some time. If they all happened at once, it would seem that much of the message they are meant to impart would be necessarily lost.
Lastly, concerning the "history" of the Tribulation, it is very true that the book assumes that the person reading or at least the teacher teaching is well versed in all the prior prophecy of the Bible. In fact, scripture does have much to say outside of Revelation both about antichrist and his kingdom and about the campaigns that constitute the military history of the Tribulation. The book of Daniel constitutes the largest such concentration of material but it is everywhere. The most time consuming part of writing Coming Tribulation involved ferreting out all of the different prophetic information and integrating it properly into a unified whole. As it turns out, scripture teaches very clearly two campaigns which take place in the Tribulation's first half focused on Israel – with antichrist playing the role of Messiah (as you correctly discerned in your prior e-mail). The second half of the Tribulation is taken up with the persecution of the Church, as antichrist will by then be ruling in Jerusalem, having taken his seat in the temple "as if he were God" (2Thes.2:4). The final campaign is Armageddon wherein the beast musters the armed forces of the entire world to do battle with Jesus Christ. The proof of the pudding of the correct view of all these things is that they fit perfectly into the book of Revelation as naturally read (the first four seals = the trends of the first half of the Tribulation; seals five and six = the two major events of the second, namely, the Great Persecution and the Battle of Armageddon).
On balance, my approach in this interpretation was rather more deductive than inductive. That is to say, I tried to make a point of allowing the scriptures to direct my investigation, rather than filling in areas of ignorance with speculation. That is not to say that I think that is what you or other commentators are doing, only that I am happy with my method, and happy with the results. Whenever I hear alternatives suggested, it is usually quite easy to see where they fall short, whereas the interpretation of Coming Tribulation has so far stood the test of time and much probing, some of it quite hostile. Of course convincing other people is not the same thing as figuring out the truth. I have never been much on apologetics. The main thing I would say about all this is that the approach of taking things in Revelation as being chronological in their order – except when there are definite signals that they are out of order or constitute a digression – and taking things in the book as literal – except when they are meant to be symbolic and metaphorical and there are clear indications in the text of scripture that this is so – and taking things there as they are given rather than injecting them with speculation regarding modern phenomena, has been an approach which has paid great dividends. We can argue all the fine points, and this I am happy to do. However I would suggest that the best argument that Coming Tribulation has going for it as an overall accurate interpretation of the Book of Revelation and the events of the end as the Bible actually teaches them is the integrity of its whole. That is to say, the interpretation as a whole works in all of its particulars, and that is a very good argument for accepting the particulars along with the whole.
Aside from where all these things come up in the series itself, here are a few other links you may find helpful:
Thanks again for your e-mail. As I say, I rejoice that you are able to benefit from these materials even you don't find them completely convincing.
May the Lord lead us all into all of His truth.
Hi Dr. Luginbill,
First of all thank you for giving me the heads up. Actually I too very much wanted to read the Christology part of bible basics because Christ is what glues the entire bible together and I want to know as much of your interpretation of him as possible. I must confess I never thought until I read your notes that Christ regularly appeared in he pre-incarnate form as the 'Angel of the lord' Wow over 200 pages goodness you are the most thorough bible scholar i have ever known. To think that you put so much time and effort and heart into your research and writing and do it all for free is simply amazing. When I first read your work i was really impressed and though to myself ' Wow this is a guy who knows what he is talking about'. I even saw a comment by someone on a forum saying he would wish you and some other young earth enthusiast had a debate. I actually like the whole scientific young earth vs old earth.. or 'old earth but young humanity creation...Gap theory' debate.
Sadly not too many people heed your amazing insight. I once sent a shortened copy of the first part of your Satanic rebellion excerpts to my penpal friend from Canada she is strongly anti religious and I was trying to tell her the devil does exist and I tried to use your well thought out explanation as to his fall and machinations .She received the verbatim albeit shortened piece of your work but I doubt she even read it. I do feel in Africa there is much more fervor and belief in Christianity and God than it is in America and Canada (Though I must admit there is also lots of belief in the powers of darkness so far as to go to ritual killings and witchcraft) anyway but it is sad to see how people ignore some facts
Anyway so you say your CT part 6 will not be complete before the year is out?? Wow I though it would be the shortest part since you have only two chapters in it and basically interpreted the hardest and biggest part of the whole book. Though yes I am very very keen on seeing how you interpret all the judgments coz I do not beleive in annihilationism at all. Seems a very convenient doctrine by the JW's, 7th day adventists and there's even this bizzare sect called Christadelphians or something these guys claim there is no devil evil has no entity but is simply something that comes from and condemns human beings. Weird ha??
Anyway as to what you were saying, well first of all I want you to know we basically agree on everything .I am not saying i know more than you do certainly i wouldn't dare to say so as you know the bible cover to cover and I do not hehe. I know the lamb is Jesus, the dragon is Satan,the beast is the Antichrist ...my main issue is simply with the trumpets five and six. You said trumpet are literal locusts and trumpet six a literal horse mounting demons. I simply think trumpet five is an army depicted in Joel 2 and probably helicopters while that same army is also depicted in trumpet 6 maybe in tanks or having armour personnel carriers because you follow the same view somewhat at some point in your description of Ezekiel 38 and 39 and the whole battle movements in Daniel you accept the use of modern military hardware and not spears or shields and arrows which are in this case used metaphorically.
Again I have no problem with your interpretation I keep an open mind. As for seals being the devices to open the entire book I almost agree but in a slightly different approach. My view is that the seals are what God had as a prelude in fact blue print before the Tribulation. In my mind the seals of revelation as speculative as it may seem are no different than the trials of mankind in all forms since the expulsion of Adam from the garden let me show you how
1 Seal 1 is Satan’s spiritual conquest of man.. This has gone on since the fall as we are vulnerable to his wiles and power. To various degrees covertly and overtly. The fact that he is a white rider is true to his form that belies his intent.
2. Seal 2 Civil discord and war have all been characteristic of humanity, precipitated by racial prejudice, sectarianism, civil unrest, revolution leading to conflict and war in general. This has gone on throughout human history
3 Seal 3 economic hardship, this is obvious because there is famine, there are food and basic necessity shortages. There have been since time immemorial. What’s most interesting is that man never gets his work’s worth or fair share "a quart of wheat for a days wages" kind of sums it up. Besides the reference to not touching the oil and the wine does seem to suggest that while most will suffer economic hardship a few groups or enclaves of people have unimaginable wealth and wellbeing
4 Seal 4 Death, this is also evident because it is the ultimate finality of physical existence, for all men after the fall are destined to die. The colour of the horse pale suggests mortality through disease and frailty of our physical body. What is very interesting is that Hades following close behind the fourth rider death. This is God telling people that after death there is an afterlife. Many people take Hades to mean hell or some malign metaphor .However it is simply a reference to an afterlife or nether realm for souls. This interim condition be it Abrahams bosom, Sheol for souls before Christ's resurrection or some sort of abyss for the sinful after his resurrection. In Christianity Hades is not hell proper, in Christianity hell is the ‘lake of fire’
5. Seal 5 The persecution of God believers, this is also true. Throughout history from Abel to Noah to Joseph to Christ , all people for God were persecuted in one way or another. It could take forms of ante-deluvian struggle to remain monotheistic. Later this manifested in anti Semitism and still later persecution of all Christians .This seal speaks most about the persecution of the church since Christ’s crucifixion and also attests to the existence of some heavenly reward despite earthly hardship
6 Seal 6.I take this to mean the calamities the earth would go through as a whole. It is full of metaphors. The stars falling like figs could mean real cosmic events but could also mean spiritual fall of many people, the fall of the angels. The dark sky could be spiritual darkness. The earthquakes mountains moving from their places could be volcanic eruptions, floods, hurricanes any natural disaster you can think of.
Seal 7 Most likely with the silence means the real start of the tribulation.
So I agree the Tribulation starts with the trumpets and Satan's expulsion from heaven though I would not hesitate to assume his expulsion in Chapter 12 precedes the trumpets even though they occur in Chapters 8 and 9.Simply because still think those trumpet judgments may constitute the punishments on Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38 and 39 and then the 7 months of clearing the weapons and 7 years of burying the dead could mean the 7 year tribulation commences meaning there is not much war at least for the first 3 and a half years yet there is a lot of death still so much so that there will be constant burial of people through the 7 years not only in the Middle east but the world over. The perplexing and yet key text could be somewhere in the book of Zachariah where God says he will allow two thirds to perish and purify the third. I have a feeling this is talking of the time of 'Jacob's trouble' in detail .Notice trumpet 6 destroys a third of the earth by war....if we are to assume this is the Gog Magog inferno...Then if immediately follows on 7 years of the tribulation, I conclude from the two thirds remaining after this war one more third will die by persecution, or God's bowl judgments and Armageddon and only a third of humanity may live to see the second coming. This still makes sense
Anyway as always I do not disagree with you, for all I know your interpretation may be right but as a human I still think something supernatural needs to happen to expedite the antichrist's rise to power. He cannot just do so that easily. My wonder is whether this world at its current level is ready for a one world leader it might seem to be so but I treat the idea or view that the antichrist is alive and ready to step in with caution. This actually this brings me to my other important question....For the antichrist to step in the 3rd temple must be erected for him to defile it but it is not yet existent .As of now that seems impossible before a universal war simply because it stands (or at least historians believe it should stand) where the Dome of the Rock mosque stands .Should Israel claim that land for construction by conquest that would set the Middle east aflame and this time the fire would consume the world in some global inter religious conflagration maybe even holocaust. The idea of the 3rd temple as a lynchpin of the Lord's return is immense and yet it is not yet there so how do you reconcile this with your 2026 to 2033 timetable? Do you see the temple being erected say in the next 10 years?
I know it will be built certainly ,but when?? I for one think at the present state of events I do not see it being built until 2033.Well maybe because again no one knows God's plan but if we are at the door then a full scale Arab/Israeli war out of all proportions must start in the next 10 years or so.
What is your view ...you do not say much about the 3rd temple in your work anyway ,well at least not your musings as to who will build it or when
Some bible scholars claim that it will be built by the antichrist himself but I disagree that would be sacrilege and a defiling of God's house maybe it will be built by faithful jews immediately after a miraculous rescue from the war of Ezekiel 38 and 39...but the antichrist will step in from there..
Anyway thanks for your reply, I will check the links you gave me about heaven and hell for sure.
Oh and just out of curiosity how did you start your ministry do you attend bible lectures? Do you have brochures or pamphlets ?? I have a feeling you do everything by yourself online and just give people to read your work is that a correct assumption? Well whichever small effort you put in is OK you surely are winning souls for Christ though I must confess I have severe difficulty with believing God is entirely benevolent see I was born with CP and my whole life have struggled with why God allows disabled children to be born and it's hard with verses like 2nd Kings 22:19 to 22. Makes belief in God a real struggle so I am not talking as some devout zealot, I actually am teetering on the brink of apostasy and real loss of faith but hey somehow events happening in the world do seem to show a master plan so I keep reading hoping to figure out where we are all headed.
Thanks for your support Bob
Take care till next time
Good to hear from you. Thank you so much for all your good words and for sharing this ministry with others! I greatly appreciate it all.
I am very sorry to hear to you have had such troubles in your life. Every heart knows its own suffering. I do want to encourage you to stand firm in your faith. That is what this life is all about. There are plenty of people in the world who are rich or at least well-off, physically strong and very "happy" with what they have and are doing in life – and who are going to hell because they do not have faith in Jesus Christ. God will answer all our questions in eternity, but there are some things we can see pretty clearly even now. For example, if I had a choice before my birth to be filthy rich in this life, knowing I would never be prompted to come to Christ, or desperately poor, knowing that my lowly circumstances would cause me to seek Him, I certainly know which choice I would make. As believers, we have riches beyond the ken of this world, and a spiritual health that is bubbling up unto eternal life – something not to be compared to any present physical state, no matter how good or ill. This life is short, and even if a person could come to possess the entire planet and all it contains, what good would that be if he lost eternal life in the bargain? I would rather be Lazarus than the rich man. Don't get me wrong. I would rather be the rich man and yet believe in Jesus! Of course, that is usually not the way that the Lord works things out. There are "not many rich, not many mighty, not many wise" according to the flesh who choose to follow Jesus. I know that your burden is heavy, but whatever we run into in this life, we have to learn to trust God first and foremost. Even if we can't see it – and especially when we can't see it, we need to remember that He loves us and has a very definite plan and purpose for us wherein He is working absolutely everything out for our good. Now I can barely interpret the ups and downs in my own life before the fact; sometimes after the fact I do see how heartaches and disasters have turned out for good in the end; on some things I'm going to have to wait longer, maybe until eternity; but I hope I have been able to learn to trust Him no matter what.
One important application, since we have been discussing the end times, is the fact that learning to "walk by faith not by sight" while of critical importance at all times will be even more so during the Tribulation. It may well be that the troubles believers are going through now and until the beginning of "the end" will intensify if for no other reason than as "advanced and basic training" to prepare for the horrors of those final seven years. Nobody likes and nobody would choose if they had the choice suffering, trouble, disease, poverty, emotional pain, etc. – but we have to keep trusting God that everything He is doing in our lives is for a good purpose. We know by faith that if we persevere in whatever He gives us, not only is our salvation secure, but a rich reward awaits us in eternity. And, after all, the smallest, tiniest reward given to the least rewarded believer in the resurrection will exceed by orders of magnitude the possession here and now of this entire material world for hundreds of thousands of years. This is a hard perspective to develop, and a harder one to maintain, especially under pressure in times of trouble. But it is true. And it is important to keep in mind.
As to your question about the third temple, it will most likely not be constructed until the Tribulation begins (and will go up very quickly). Most likely its reconstruction will be part of Moses and Elijah's ministry of revival. You can find more about that at the following links:
Keep the faith my friend – it's all we've got but its worth more than the whole world!
In Jesus our Faithful Savior,
My friend and i were talking about the rapture. he's a pre-trib and i'm post-trib. he says that the scripture doesn't totally spell out exactly where the rapture takes place (just his opinion obviously, as well as the fact that he's too lazy to work some serious reading time into his schedule), so his main argument is to look at the character of God. all throughout history, he says, God has removed a remnant of believers from facing god's wrath. why wouldn't he do the same here? i don't know if there's a question i can present him or what, if you had any ideas? and it'd take too long to go through the scriptures, which is obviously the best option, so i can't really go that route.
Also, were you able to look into the 120 years given to Noah equaled jubilee years? just curious, and thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. i really appreciate it. and i just remembered one more thing. it's not really a big thing, but he also questions the post trib rapture. he wonders if the rapture is at the end, then what does that mean. we're going to be snatched up into the air to meet with Jesus and then head right back down to earth? don't know if you got anything for that or if it's on your website. thanks.
I did look into the 120 year thing; my problem with that is that the jubilee is part of the Law. It is true that there are many principles in the Law that are applicable elsewhere, but, generally speaking, they are spelled out in some way that brings us to see them as having application beyond the Law (as, for example, in the case of the seven days of re-creation in Genesis). So in the absence of a definite statement from scripture that would allow me to connect the dots, as it were, I remain skeptical. I have run into variants of this interpretation before. Please see the following link:
As to the rapture or resurrection (the biblical term), there are some instances of believers being completely delivered from trouble before even setting eyes on it, I suppose (though I'm scratching my head as I write this), but as I scan through the scriptures the example of the Exodus seems more to be the pattern, namely, being delivered through tribulation rather than entirely from it. David, Daniel and friends, Peter and Paul, the Israelites over and over again, you name it, they all seem to have had their share of serious troubles and threats but God brought them through "with upraised hand".
Seems to me that is exactly what the biblical anticipation of the resurrection is: an anticipation of deliverance; and for it to be deliverance, there has to something visible to be delivered from (as in Pharaoh's army bearing down before the sea parts. Whereas in pre-trib there is no indication that there's anything even wrong and then, ZAP!, it's over . . . but somehow the Lord who has come back doesn't come all the way back. I would answer your second e-mail by balancing it with this last observation, for it has to happen one way or the other. Either we make a round trip which is short in time and distance, or the Lord makes a round trip which is long on time and distance. Seems to me that His dignity of divinity and the victory He has won at the cross reinforce what scripture tells us on this one: there is only one return (parousia) of the Lord, and that is at the second advent. Please see the link:
Looking forward to that great day!
Greetings in the name of our Christ and hope.
There is an increasing number of church founders who claim to be the promised Elijah of the scriptures. All along I thought Elijah was already come from evidence of Matthew 11 Vs 14 and other gospels which quote Christ as saying John the baptist was the promised Elijah.
Now most of these argue that John did not fit the bill or rather didn't have all the qualities of the promised Elijah. They quote John 1 Vs 21 and say John himself said he was not the one. A good example they say, is the Elijah promised by Malachi, who would restore the heart of the fathers to the sons and the sons to the fathers, they argue that John's mission was nothing like that.
In your view is Elijah already come or should we wait for another? As a man given to exegesis of the scriptures I am confident you can shed some light.
Good to hear from you. This is a preeminent eschatological issue, but thankfully one for which the scriptures give very clear guidance. I have written this up in fairly exhaustive detail before, but am happy to give you a short synopsis here as well. Scripture, for a variety of reasons, makes frequent use of double fulfillment of prophecies, a phenomenon whose "flip-side" is prophetic foreshortening (for these issues please see the link part 1 of Coming Tribulation: section IV.1, "Hermeneutic Issues"). The most outstanding case of this, and indeed most likely a large part of the underlying reason for this phenomenon, is that of the two comings of the Messiah which can be seen as either foreshortening when viewed from the Old Testament prophecies (that is to say, the two advents are not easily distinguishable when viewed from the Old Testament perspective) and/or double fulfillment: i.e., there are in fact two advents and parts of the prophecies concerned are equally applicable to both. The two advents are not identical, of course, but there are many similarities between them (albeit many significant differences as well).
One of the similarities is the heralding of the Messiah, the question you ask about here. In terms of typology, John "was" Elijah (that is to say, he played the parallel role to the first advent that Elijah will play to the second). In terms of the second fulfillment, Elijah himself does return. Moses is the other of the "two witnesses" who herald the coming King; his counterpart during the first advent is Christ Himself in His role as the One who offers the Kingdom, but Moses will be on the scene himself with Elijah as a herald of and preparer for the second coming and the Millennial Kingdom (please see the link in part 3A of Coming Tribulation, section V, "The Two Witnesses"). This last link contains much by way of explanation about how all this "works". Apropos of your question, Moses and Elijah both left this life in exceptional ways. Both have "unfinished business", and their physical bodies were preserved precisely in order that they might be resuscitated to direct the evangelistic mission of the 144,000 during the Tribulation's first half. Scripture is silent on the issue of exactly when or how or where these two witnesses will be brought back to life, but it seems unlikely that this will occur much before the Tribulation begins (and I would suppose in actuality not until it has indeed begun). From the fact that their ministry will be centered around the reestablishment of the temple and its rites in Jerusalem, I think it unlikely that they will appear anywhere else. And from the description given of their ministries in Revelation chapter 11, I also am very sure that it will be easy to see who the legitimate "two witnesses" actually are. Just as in the case of there being many counterfeit "anti-Christs", so I suppose we will have our share of counterfeit Moses' and Elijah's before the great day of our Lord's coming. Suffice it to say however that those you reference here are easily proved to be charlatans. For unless the person in question 1) has no clear and obvious recent prior history in this world; 2) is only seen with Moses; 3) is Jewish; 4) is located in Israel; 5) and is involved in reestablishing the temple and its rites, then said person can be immediately disqualified as "Elijah". Anyone dealing predominately with gentile Christians will also not fit the bill, since it is the job of the two witnesses to direct the 144,000 in the great evangelism of Israel which precedes our Lord's return – the gentile world has by now had some two millennia of focus and attention, and the time of the "hardness in part" of Israel is on the cusp of coming to an end.
So John has indeed come and has fulfilled his role as the herald of the Messiah in His first advent and as the Messiah's co-herald of the kingdom; but Moses and Elijah must also return prior to the second advent to herald that event and restore a portion of Israel to greet Jesus when He returns. These are preeminent positions in the Church and the plan of God – falsely claiming them or arrogating them to oneself is an act of utter temerity.
Please feel free to write me back about any of this, and please do consult the links given as the above is a very brief overview of some fairly intricate exegesis.
In our Lord whose return we eagerly await, our Savior Jesus Christ.
Dear Dr. Luginbill,
I hope the recent storm that hit your area was not too hard on you. Also a belated Happy New Year!!! Would you answer a question re: Matthew 24:20, Jesus says, "But pray that your flight be not in winter, neither on the Sabbath day". My SDA friends say this proves that end-time Christians whom Jesus is warning will be keeping the Sabbath. Is this how the scripture should be interpreted? They keep beating me over the head with Sabbath keeping and that Michael is Jesus. Whew!!!! They really are very dear Christians but on their SDA views can be very challenging.
In His name blessing and peace,
Happy new year to you and yours too! On this issue, the passage in question is widely misunderstood. But, really, it is hard to see even with conventional understanding how this should cause much trouble since the Lord is clearly addressing the eschatological situation in Israel/Jerusalem, and not speaking to future Church practice.
During that future day, we may expect that the majority Jews in Israel will be keeping the Sabbath to some degree even if those few who are genuine believers in Jesus Christ are not accustomed to do so (having been freed from the yoke of the Law). Notice that there is nothing in the passage that suggests the Sabbath needs to be kept by believers – in fact, the Sabbath is mentioned here as an impediment in the context, and we are to pray that it be avoided.
This passage is speaking about the flight of those Jews who do believe under the tribulational ministry of Moses and Elijah; they are to flee just as the "abomination which causes [spiritual] desolation" is erected by antichrist in front of the temple. This action will require an immediate flight to safety, so swift, in fact, that there is not even time to go back into the house for necessary items. Jesus tells all who are likely to be involved to pray for this moment 1) not to be on a Sabbath, and 2) not to be in a time of inclement weather (not "winter" as it is often wrongly translated). The reason for wanting to avoid bad weather is obvious: the storm would make the rapid flight eastward out of central Israel more difficult and distressing. The reason for wanting to avoid the Sabbath a bit more subtle: on the Sabbath there is much less traffic for obvious reasons and certain activities are restricted or deliberately slowed down even today in Israel for the benefit of the religious portion of the population (elevators stop at every floor automatically to avoid having to "work" by pushing a button, e.g.). Were this flight to occur on a Sabbath, then the departure of these future Jewish believers would be all the more obvious and they would thus run the risk of being detained by the forces of the beast. This passage and the situation it describes is explained in detail in part 4 of Coming Tribulation at the link: "The Dragon's Persecution of Believing Israel".
On Michael, please see the links:
May the Lord continue to strengthen you and give you a spirit of truth that cannot be refuted in your efforts on His behalf.
Could you tell me what Isaiah 13:3 is talking about?
Good to hear from you. This verse, Isaiah 13:3, is part of the introduction to the "burden of Babylon", two chapters (Is.13-14) which lay out the case against Babylon and describe the impending divine punishment that will be leveled upon her from the Lord. The way it is translated in most versions is a bit confusing. It is clear from the overall contemporary context of the first part of chapter 13 that the subject is the Lord's mustering of a vast foreign army to destroy Babylon. Historically, this refers to the Medes who overran that country in the sixth century B.C. Eschatologically, it refers to the Babylon of Revelation which will be destroyed in an equally devastating fashion – actually even more so, since following her looting by foreign troops she will be destroyed by fire. In both instances, past and future, the judgment comes directly from the Lord even though it is carried out by secular forces.
Just as "God put it into" the hearts of antichrist and his sub-kings to destroy future Babylon, so in Isaiah 13:3 we see the Lord bringing about this contemporary destruction:
It is common enough in scripture for God to make use for His own purposes of those who despise Him (see the link: in BB 2A: "God's use of evil spirits"). Thus during the Tribulation the "warriors" who "exult" are antichrist's forces, used by the Lord for His own purposes just as in Revelation 17:17 where He "put it into their hearts to carry out His purpose". In most of the versions it is made to seem by the way they render Isaiah 13:3 that the "holy ones" are part of this group which is carrying out God's judgment. They are not; rather, they are the ones on behalf of whom the judgment is being carried out. Thus in terms of its future application, the reference is to the Lord's intervention to save His "holy ones" or believers who have been martyred and abused in Babylon during the Great Persecution of the Tribulation's second half (see the link: in CT 5: "Heavenly Rejoicing over Babylon"). For more on the destruction of Babylon, please see the link: in CT 5: "Babylon Destroyed".
Hope this helps!
In Jesus, the Lord of our deliverance.
Hello! My grandson had a question I could not answer. Ages in the Bible , like if someone is 170 years old, is that like if we would be 170 yrs. old today?
If one tracks the examples of extreme biblical ages from the Old Testament it is certainly possible to see that, before the flood, life-spans of over 700 years were the rule (i.e., about 10X what we find today). There are reasons for this. At the time of the flood, the Lord changed a number of things about the way the world "works", including, it is very likely, tilting the earth on its axis for the first time (to bring about the seasons), and allowing a number of other changes which taken together have gradually reduced human life spans (see the links: "The origin of the four seasons" and "The problem of science and the Bible"). Thus most of the exceptionally long lived people in scripture are to be found in the generations prior to and then immediately following the flood. By the time of the patriarchs, certain individuals were still living quite a long time by our standards, but the trend still shows a decrease, especially as an average. Abraham lived to be 175 and his son Isaac 180 (though his son by Hagar lived "only" to 137). But Jacob lived "only" to 147 and his son Joseph to 110. In fact, Jacob tells Pharaoh when asked about his age "[the years of my pilgrimage] do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers" (Gen.47:9). By Moses' time, 70 was the norm for a "full life" with 80 being "exceptional" (as he tells us in Psalm 90:10). There were exceptions: Moses himself lived to be 140, while Caleb, along with Joshua, outlived the entire original Exodus generation and, apropos of your question, could say upon entering the land at 85 "I'm just as strong today as the day Moses sent me out [at age 45]; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then" (Josh.14:11). But clearly these three men (and Aaron too) were exceptions who were given extended life-spans and the vigor to function at full capacity in order to carry out the exceptional work the Lord had for them under the exceptional circumstances of an additional 40 years of desert wandering brought about by the faithlessness of the people generally.
All this is to say that anyone in scripture described as living to be older than anything possible in our experience would undoubtedly be very different in their health, vigor, and appearance than the oldest of the old today. Abraham fathered many children well into his 100's and so did Job (who lived in the days following the flood). So we should not think of these people as tired, worn out, and incapacitated by age. Most (if not all) of those mentioned in scripture as having attained exceptional age were godly people and blessed of the Lord, so that we should see the extreme longevity of individuals in the Bible as a blessing (especially in the case of all those so mentioned after the flood). When God gives a blessing, He also gives the means and capacity to enjoy it. This last principle certainly shows the folly of unbelievers craving exceptionally long lives in our day and age. For without Jesus Christ all they can hope for is an ever decreasing quality of life without avoiding the inevitable judgment to come no matter how long they may live.
In our Lord Jesus with whom we shall live forever and ever in perfect happiness.