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Eschatology Issues XVII

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Question #1:

Hi Bob,

What does this verse mean?

"When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all."
1st Corinthians 15:28

Sincerely,

Response #1:

1st Corinthians 15:28 looks forward to the eternal future where there will be no more politics or necessity of "ruling with a rod of iron", that is, it looks forward to the end of time, to the new heavens, new earth, and New Jerusalem where the Father and the Son will be the focal point of everything in our eternal habitation. We will be "one" with them and with each other in experiential ways that are not now evident from our positional status of unity. In other words, there will be no more "history" at that point, but instead the absolute fulfillment in every respect of what we pray for every day: "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done".

In anticipation of all those wonders to come!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hi Dr.

I hope all is well with you and your family.

On Psalms 23:4 "the shadow of death", could this also have a double meaning of as it relates to life's trials and tribulations or is this specifically related to physical death? As believers in Christ and hope of eternal life, death should be joyous so I am thinking this could have a double meaning as well.

Like always, than you for your service to Christ elect. In Christ our Lord.

Response #2:

All these things are certainly in play in this passage. We can love the Lord and the prospect of the life to come with Him and still be intent on finishing our course so as to avoid (where possible) threats to our life without fear. The point it seems to me is that we have no fear, even when we are threatened with things that would terrify non-believers – because we are aware of our Lord's presence and trust Him and His plan for us absolutely, no matter what may happen. We are fine with Him taking us home, and if it doesn't seem to be time, we will not be afraid of threats that might do us in if we were not supernaturally protected – which of course we are! And we also know that on the other side our reward is great for trusting in the Lord, first for salvation and then in every aspect of our walk to Zion, growing, progressing and serving Jesus Christ in anticipation of the crowns of righteousness, life and glory, and a blessed inheritance in resurrection in the New Jerusalem with Him and with each other forever.

No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,
And their righteousness is from Me,"
Says the LORD.
Isaiah 54:17 NKJV

In Jesus Christ our Lord who is a shield around us.

Bob L.

Question #3:

Was Jesus Alluding to This Psalm?

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field."
(Matthew 13:44)

"I rejoice in your word / like one who discovers a great treasure."
(Psalm 119:162)

Response #3:

On Psalm 119:162 cf./c. Matthew 13:44, this does seem more like a genuine allusion, though not a quote, of course. In the Hebrew, the noun is shalal, which is generally more like "spoil, booty, pelf, plunder, pillage, refers to the results of a military victory; whereas in Matthew we have a serendipitous find of some long lost trove of treasure. So there are differences, even though the similarity is interesting. One other thing to mention is that the idea in the Psalm is of the believer valuing the Word of God over everything else, whereas in the gospel the idea is of a person (not yet a believer) coming upon salvation and valuing it above all else – the result of which should be the attitude of the believer in the Psalm.

It is certainly true that salvation is the treasure of all treasures, come across through the gospel, the Word of God, and won through faith by God's grace – and as a result of salvation we who are in Christ all share in Christ's victory and therefore in the spoils thereof which will be distributed to us at the judgment seat of Christ according to how well we have fought with Him in this earthly conflict in which we are now engaged. It is well to consider this from time to time – even daily – so as to keep in mind that our true treasures and rewards have nothing to do with the evanescent things of this life which are destined to turn to dust, but with eternal crowns and rewards that come from our Lord for fighting the good fight here and now – rewards that will bless us and please Him forever.

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV

In Jesus Christ who is the Word of Truth incarnate,

Bob L.

Question #4:

"For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day."
(John 6:40)

However, according to premillenniumism, believers are not raised at the last day. They're raised approximately one thousand years before the last day.

Response #4:

This only seems to be a contradiction. The "Day" is more than 24 hours. The "Day" is the entirety of the end times, the Tribulation being the prelude, the second advent being the dawning, and the Millennium being the "Day" itself.

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
2nd Peter 3:8 NKJV

For more, please see the link: "The Day of the Lord".

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Can you explain the concept of the redemption money in Exodus?

Response #5:

As to, Exodus 30:11-16, the money of redemption and the reason no census should be taken except when divinely authorized is because it occasions/represents divine "visitation" or divine "taking account". God's inspection of us is perfect, and no one can stand such scrutiny. Therefore redemption is necessary: someone else has to pay the price so that we are not immediately destroyed because of our lack of complete holiness and perfection – and that someone of course was Jesus Christ. Generally speaking this inspection/visitation only takes place once, namely, in the final judgment of our lives. On that great "day", those who don’t have the coin of redemption, are lost and condemned – they did not accept Christ in this life so as to be able to stand on His work at the cross, preferring instead to stand on their own. For those of us who have fled to the safety of salvation provided by the blood of Christ (see the link), we too will be evaluated but our "visitation" will be one for eternal reward rather than condemnation – although we too will have all the worthless works we have done incinerated:

Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
1st Corinthians 3:12-15

Please see the links: "Eternal Rewards" and "The Last Judgment"

Question #6:

Hi Dr,

I hope all is well. I am reading the section in CT about reward levels for the Church. I have a quick question, can you know for certain where you are in that level? Is it fluid and I know it is possible but if you attain Level 3 for instance, is there any way for you to progress backward and attain Level 1 or 2? Are there any biblical parallels to this query? Would Solomon be an example? I appreciate all you do for the Body of Christ.

In Christ our Lord

Response #6:

It's always good to hear from you, my friend. As to your question, it's impossible for us here on earth to know heavenly things with specificity especially when it comes to individual cases. I can certainly state with confidence that Paul, for example, has won the highest rewards, even though that is not specifically stated so in scripture; but that is because we have the biblical record, written by the Spirit, so as to know for certain all the wonderful things he did for the Lord and the great ministry he accomplished. When it comes to other people, well, we are not even absolutely certain about ourselves, and that is actually a proper, humble frame of mind, precisely for the reason you ask about, namely, that of being wary of sliding backward:

(24) Don't you know that all the runners in the stadium run the race, but that only one receives the prize? Run in such a way so as to achieve what you are after. (25) And again, everyone involved in competition exercises self-control in all respects. Those athletes go through such things so that they may receive a perishable crown of victory, but we do it to receive an imperishable one. (26) So as I run this race of ours, I'm heading straight for the finish line; and as I box this bout of ours, I'm making every punch count. (27) I'm "pummeling my body", one might say, bringing myself under strict control so that, after having preached [the gospel] to others, I might not myself be disqualified [from receiving the prize we all seek].
1st Corinthians 9:25-27

(12) [It is] not that I have already gotten [what I am striving for], nor that I have already completed [my course]. Rather, I am continuing to pursue [the prize] in hopes of fully acquiring it – [this prize for whose acquisition] I was myself acquired by Christ Jesus. (13) Brethren, I do not consider that I have already acquired it. This one thing only [do I keep in mind]. Forgetting what lies behind me [on the course] and straining towards the [course] ahead, (14) I continue to drive straight for the tape, towards the prize to which God has called us from the beginning [of our race] in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12-14

If Paul in his own opinion while still serving "hadn't [yet] achieved" and if he was anxious to keep pressing forward, that tells me all I need to know (cf. Phil.3:10-11). So while I may not be able to give you a definitive answer theologically speaking, in practical terms we know that we are rewarded for forward progress and that if we are wise and really want to please the Lord we will keep this up day in and day out come what may.

One other thing to say about this is that God knows all things. He is certainly perfectly aware of where we are, what our progress "rates" at any given moment, but also and even more importantly how it is actually all going to turn out. And He has made perfect provision for us to exploit the grace we have been given in Jesus Christ to maximum level we are willing to do so.

"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward."
Matthew 10:42 NIV (cf. Mk.9:41)

Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.
2nd John 1:8 NIV

(35) So do not throw away this conviction of yours – it leads to a great reward. (36) You need to keep persevering so that you may carry off in victory what has been promised – after you have accomplished God's will.
Hebrews 10:35-36

I am coming quickly. Hold on to what you have so that no one takes your crown [away].
Revelation 3:11

Write me any time, my friend!

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hello Dr. Luginbill:

Good to hear from you! We so appreciate your prayers - and we have felt them. We, too, pray for you knowing the importance of your ministry and how the evil one hopes to derail. We will have none of that!

As to your announcement of the new eschatology posting, I think I beat you to the punch. I spent this morning in the early hours exploring the study. I was so excited to see that you had posted it. Thank you so much for informing me as well. I really appreciate.

I have to say, I so feel such an urgency in knowing where we stand presently - fast advancing toward the end. I think the new study format is good (as you say) for review - but it also draws in others whom have yet to spend time in SR and CT series (though they should - and this is my hope and prayer).

It is disheartening to see so many whom have wasted time not knowing the depths they can and should plumb in the knowledge of God's Word (as well as the application) - versus the sugar-coated lollipops handed out in churches today that provide no sustenance or value at all - and most often simply false doctrine. Grieves me greatly.

Thank you again for your faithfulness in exercising your spiritual gift of teaching that helps so many others - including myself.

Blessings in Him,

Response #7:

Thanks much for the encouraging email, and also for your prayers – I feel them too!

I appreciate you in the Lord.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Dear Bob,

Thank you for this information. I was actually led to study 2b this last week. A great encouragement to me at this time when some unfortunate changes are taking place in my life.

I do believe that understanding the time we live in, according to the bible, gives us stability somehow. It does also cause separation among Christians. I have been ostracized and set apart because of the stand I have taken concerning when Christ is coming. The believers I worship with are like-minded (all fundamental things you have taught) as we are however from those that have opposed me they consider the group cultish . It just makes me wonder how real believers will be perceived in the near future.

In the name of Jesus, may God bless you,

Response #8:

Thanks for this. It really is quite odd that so many believers are so vehemently opposed to learning anything substantive on this topic of the end times – anything correct, that is. For it seems also as if there is plenty of time and tolerance for all manner of weird and extra-biblical speculation on eschatology. Well, we do live in Laodicea, after all. But keep fighting the good fight, my friend. Once the balloon goes up, I'm sure that there will be a great need for those like yourself who have prepared spiritually in an effective way: there are many out there who'll need a crash course in the truth once their comfortable assumptions have been exploded.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Dear Bob,

Thank you for your confirmation. One other question, and I may be jumping ahead, but my understanding is also that through the millennium, one of the major occupations of the survivors will be the clean up of the destruction and believers today will be administrators in the new earth. The Bible doesn't state that explicitly, but is that a reasonable assumption?

Thank you for your ministry and your willingness to answer (sometimes ignorant) questions like this. It's truly appreciated.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #9:

You're most welcome.

The passage you're probably thinking of is Ezekiel 39:9-16.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Dear Bob,

That was it. A nasty job for those that pull the detail but it will have to be done. I remember Vietnam. What I'm seeing today suggests there will be far more to clean up than bodies.

I believe the scripture you pointed out refers to the remains of Armageddon but I suspect there will be a similar if not greater carnage after the second advent.

The battle of Armageddon is likely to be a rather primitive battle by today's standards since I see nothing in scripture suggesting either a manufacturing capability or a place to do it after the millennium unless the short time Satan is loosed is longer that we think. I don't think there will be anything more than rudimentary trades like blacksmithing (to beat the swords into plowshares,) pottery, weaving and the like. Why would we need more?

All idle speculation. If I'm deemed worthy, I'll see it. Otherwise, it's moot.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #10:

Armageddon is the battle which takes place at the second advent so as to often be described as part and parcel of our Lord's return (see the link: Where is Armageddon?), so the Ezekiel passage does refer to this time, that is, to the immediate aftermath.

As to technology, I suppose it's possible that between now and the very near occurrence of these events we could see a complete technological reversion, but I really don't think that's the most likely scenario. Neither Ezekiel nor any of the other writers who touch on this battle knew anything about the technology we possess today and it wouldn't have been at all helpful for the Spirit to have allowed them to describe things as they presently are – so of course they put things in terms of what was used in their time (and had been since the beginning). It doesn't violate the limits of what is hermeneutically possible for a "horseman" to be a mechanized soldier, e.g.

Unless the Lord decides otherwise for us individually, we are indeed going to find out in due time.

Yours in our dear Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Dear Robert,

How does one expose Scripture on the basis of Scripture? As an example: How to relate a historic event to a yet future event. "But as the days of No-e were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Matthew 24:37 KJV.

a) They entered the Ark - 'raptured' in the sense of save-keeping.

b) Only 8 souls saved - few souls out of a possible 3 million plus worldwide population. Proportionate number for today would be a very small number (18 000 plus)!!

c) The coming of the Son will be a post 7 day rain period (tribulation).

d) "... eating and drinking..." being oblivious about the eminent danger.(v38)

e) "... took them all away;..." condemnation. v39

Or should the focus be on the Son's coming only?

Grace be with you,

Response #11:

Good to hear from you, my friend.

I think these are mostly good points of application (I would quibble with the specificity of the numbers in point 'b'). And indeed, there are many points of comparison, most of them made one place or another in scripture either directly or indirectly, which compare the Tribulation to the Great Flood (I write about this at the link: "Paradigms of the Tribulation").

In terms of this specific passage, our Lord is clearly speaking about the second advent, comparing the unexpected deluge which fell upon the ungodly to the seven post tribulational judgments (see the link) wherein the righteous are removed (resurrection at our Lord's return) and the wicked are "left behind" (and variously dealt with):

(6) . . . since indeed it is just for God to repay with tribulation those who are subjecting you to tribulation, (7) and to give you who are being distressed relief along with us at the revelation of our Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels, (8) wreaking vengeance in a flame of fire upon those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (9) These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power.
2nd Thessalonians 1:6-9

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hello Bob,

Good to have a teacher and your encouraging style. I read some of the information from your links. Good information and definitely provides insights into more difficult interpretations around the Word. My eye caught the section about 'The Regathering and Purging of Israel'. At this stage I tend to agree, because Scriptures says so!

Currently, Me and my wife are volunteering with Bridges for Peace in Israel and we are stationed in Karmiel near the Kinneret. Just to say that I do not believe to be rooted in Israel; I see believers to be grafted into the faith-tree which was exhibited by Abraham, Isaac & Jacob for who Christ our Messiah is! But I need more guidance regarding the 'Regathering' as you stated it to be the right exposition. What then is the current 'regathering' since 1948 of Israel; a human effort?

May your blessing and covering be because of the putting on the Lord Jesus Christ,

Response #12:

Good to hear from you my friend.

I think your conclusion is correct. Zionism is a political movement, and a very secular one at that. And as I am sure you understand from being in Israel yourself, apart from the very conservative religious minority (who do wield a lot of political power it is true), there has seldom been a more secular state. Clearly, nothing happens in history without God's allowing it to happen, but that does not make Him responsible for things people do of their own free will. Clearly also, the return of a small percentage of the worldwide Jewish population to part of the land is no doubt a necessary and significant development in setting the table for all of the soon to occur tribulational events – but that does not mean it is the same thing as the divine regathering which is ubiquitously described in scripture. The true regathering is accomplished by the Messiah after His return, and it is total: no Jews will be left behind and all will enter the land (except for those who refuse to accept Him; see the link).

Finally on this point, in my reading of scripture there are no particularly prophesied events which take place during the age of the Church; this was the "mystery age" which was only revealed to the apostles after our Lord's resurrection and ascension – so it was not present, except obliquely (e.g., in the Jewish calendar), in the Old Testament prophecies. All of those prophecies which were yet to be fulfilled after the cross are still "yet to be fulfilled". Once the Tribulation begins, however, all of the things prophesied about it in the Old and New Testaments will occur just as predicted. This is a long way of saying that no date or event which precedes the Tribulation can be a prophetic fulfillment – even if it is clearly important to or even ominous of things we know will happen in short order.

Please stay safe over there, my friend!

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Dear Robert,

Your response is solid and good. I enjoy the statement you made "a necessary and significant development in setting the table" regarding the current Israel scenario. To claim prophetic fulfillment now will be a wrong.

Something different that I want to address and be candid but gracious! I put this to you with absolute respect and in someway with trembling because of the fear of the Lord. How would you interpret the following: The highest form of worship is to appropriate and embrace that which Father has given us in Christ to walk in, in His victory; our reasonable service (Rom. 12:1).

Secondly, is there an overlap of time (7 year tribulation period specifically) for the Church / body of Christ and Israel? In light of the notion that the Lord works with each group (Gentiles, Israel and the body of Christ) separately.

May the Lord envelope you with His grace,

Response #13:

You're most welcome, my friend. As to your latest questions, there is indeed an overlap between Israel and the Church ages, namely, the seven years of the Tribulation. That is a joint era which is both the last seven years of Israel (Daniel's seventieth week) and also the final years of this age. During the Tribulation, Israel will again assume leadership of the Church (see the link: "The Tribulational Overlap"), but we who believe will not be "raptured" out of this world – the resurrection occurs at Christ's return.

As to Romans 12:1, I'm a little unclear as to the precise question you are asking, but let me give you my translation of that verse as a starting point:

(1) Therefore I entreat you by God's mercy, brothers, to dedicate your bodies as a living sacrifice, well-pleasing to God – [this is] your "priestly-service" spiritually performed. (2) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by this renewal of your thinking, so that you may discern what God's will for you is, namely what it is good, well-pleasing, and correct [for you to do].
Romans 12:1-2 (cf. Rom.2:17-18)

As the next verse makes clear, Paul is moving on from his discussion of Israel in the previous three chapters and drawing an analogy for believers (Jewish and gentile alike). The shadows have been fulfilled so that our sacrifice now entails personal sanctification (Rom.12:1) and spiritual growth (Rom.12:2a) to the end of a walk with our Lord (and production from our gifts) which is well-pleasing to Him (Rom.12:2b), for which we will receive an eternal reward (see the link). Paul then devotes the most of the remainder of the epistle to specific examples and instructions regarding how to carry out this mandate for the Christian life.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Dear Robert,

What would be the major 'happenings' during the time-span from 1290 days to 1335 days mentioned in Daniel 12:11-12? Where does Armageddon fit in against the regathering of Israel? Before the purging of Israel and when will they flee to the 'desert of the nations'?

I have read many different commentaries and visualizes things better. Is it possible to have something available on a linear diagram?

May the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls continue to embrace you with His grace,

Response #14:

Israel, that is, Jewish believers who have responded to the ministry of Moses and Elijah and the 144,000, does flee into the desert to the place God prepares for her (Rev.12:6-16), but not into "the desert of the nations" (Ezek.20:35); that latter place (Sinai) is where, after being regathered to the threshold of the land of Israel (Ezek.20:34), she will be judged before entering the land (that is, all Jewish people alive at the second advent) to ensure that only believers enter the millennial land of Israel.

As to the sequence of the last events before, during and after the second advent, these are the "seven thunder judgments" and occur in this order (as spelled out in CT 6):

1. Babylon

2. The Armies of Armageddon

3. The Beast and the False Prophet

4. The Incarceration of Satan and his Demons

5. Fire upon Magog and the Coastlands (aka the "Baptism of Fire")

6. The Regathering and Purging of Israel

7. The Judgment and Reward of the Church

Judgment #1 occurs just before the second advent; #2 is coterminous with it (Armageddon); as are #3 and #4; judgment #5 occurs immediately after the battle of Armageddon (no time is delineated in scripture but it is the very next event following our Lord's return and the dispatch of the beast and his armies and the devil and his legions); #6 occurs during a period of 75 days immediately thereafter. The 1,290 days to 1,335 days in Daniel chapter equal the Great Tribulation's 1,260 days (Dan.7:25; 9:27; 12:7; Rev.11:2; 12:6; 12:14; 13:5), plus 30 days for regathering all of Israel to the threshold of the land (the "desert of the nations"), and 45 days for the carrying out of that judgment.

Judgment #7 will take place at the very start of our Lord's millennial reign following the entrance of surviving, believing Jews into the land (n.b., these will have been in most cases unbelievers before seeing Him return in glory). The length of that judgment is also not specified in scripture, but as I posit at the link, "the judgment of the Church", it would seem, given the likely very large number of believers from Adam and Eve to the second advent, and given the necessity for an extensive personal of us all by Jesus Christ Himself, that this judgment will be supernaturally compressed (otherwise it would take well more than a thousand years to complete, and we are promised to share His rule during His 1,000 year reign).

Hope this is useful to you.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hello Robert,

Know that you are always in my prayers. Psalms 15:1 ask the questions who may abide in your tabernacle? Who may dwell in your holy hill? Verses:2-5 gives the answer, I take the answer to be literal. Now to the question, does Psalm 68: Verses15-16, without the words in italics name the holy hill or with the italics is just a reference to the likeness of the Holy Hill that God will dwell in?

Your sister in Christ Jesus

Response #15:

Thank you for your prayers, my friend – you are in mine day by day as well (along with your family).

As to your question, here is what I have for the KJV version of these verses – which is the one I assume you are referring to:

(15) The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan; an high hill as the hill of Bashan. (16) Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell in it for ever.
Psalm 68:15-56 KJV

Mount Zion is clearly the "hill of God" in v.15, as well as "the hill [which] God desireth to dwell in" and in which "the LORD will dwell . . . for ever". Comparing Mt. Zion to the mountains of the north in present day Lebanon (Hermon) serves to demonstrate the superiority of Mt. Zion which will quite literally be raised up during the Millennium to surpass all others in height:

(2) At the end of days, the mountain of the temple of the Lord will be established as the chief of all mountains, and it will be raised higher than all [other] hills, and all the nations will flow to it. (3) And many peoples will come and they will say, "Come let us go to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us of His ways, and that we may walk in His paths."
Isaiah 2:2-3 (cf. Mic.4:1-2)

Hope this answers your question. Do feel free to write back.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hi Bob,

Most students of eschatology do not believe in a nuclear war because they know that a true nuclear war would mean quite possibly the extinction of the human race, which would make any talk of prophetic fulfillment nonsensical.

However, I must ask: to what extent is "the sea" turned to blood? If we're talking about every cubic meter of the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic oceans, then that would mean the end of all life on Earth. Animals need the oxygen provided by the algae in the ocean (in fact, terrestrial plants produce more CO2 than oxygen!) and a complete extermination of all life would make a future millennium basically impossible.

Sincerely,

Response #16:

First of all, nothing is impossible for God. Of course, we don't know all the details, certainly. But the Bible says "blood" – just like it does in Exodus when the Nile was turned to blood. So Revelation ought to be taken on its face. When you ask, "to what extent", that is certainly a valid query. I have made the point many times that in the ancient Israelite civilization (whose diction and appreciation of things continues into the New Testament), things described as absolute totalities are really often significant majorities. We may complain about this, about the "inconsistency" or "inaccuracy", but we are no better. When we say of a glass of liquid, "I drank it all" that is never literally true. If we were to break the glass and lick the shards all afternoon, there would still be molecular traces remaining – at least. And we have no problem with people saying this even if there are visible droplets remaining on the sides and bottom of the glass. That's "more than close enough" for our "all"; the Hebrew worldview which is not so quantification-crazy as we are just has a different way of expressing things. So no, I don't think that Revelation means "down to the depths of the deepest abysmal and to the last molecule"; nor does the language require that the "blood" be anything more than liquid which is to the observer "just like blood". It is blood, but, obviously, there are as many different types of blood as there are species which have blood, so we become overly pedantic about this at risk of misinterpretation. What I find interesting is the very common reaction to the effect that "this can't mean X the way I define X, so it must mean Y, even though it doesn't say Y and even though there is no biblical reason or reference to assume it's Y". I think a better approach is to say, "well, if it's not X the way we normally define it, it's not unreasonable to suppose that it is X the way the Bible and the people who wrote it in the Spirit define it".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hello Professor, I have a quick question. The Tribulation/Great Tribulation Proper isn't going to start until the end of the church age right which is 2033 A.D.?

Response #17:

The Lord returns at the end of the Tribulation, and if we posit that the Church Age is 2,000 years, then 2033 ought to be the date of His return. So we would have to "back up" seven years to get the Tribulation's beginning. It is possible to argue that the seven years being Daniel's 70th week are added on after this point (i.e., starting in 2033), but I see the Tribulation as a common era shared by the Church and Jewish ages (the last seven years of both). For one thing, since Jewish leadership is restored during this time, the shared period makes sense from that point of view. For another, there is no biblical indication that the Church is removed before the Tribulation (aka, the false doctrine of the pre-Trib rapture), whereas all indications are that believers alive at the time it starts will indeed find ourselves in the midst of it, so how is that time not part of the Church Age too? The particulars are written up at the link: "The Specific Chronology of the Seven Days" in SR 5 (see in particular the bullet points).

Happy to speak with about this further.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hi Bob,

If we understand proximity to God as being related to one's degree of reward in eternity, then it follows that those of us residing in the New Jerusalem (i.e., the Church) will have a "better" reward than those living outside of the New Jerusalem (i.e., Millennial believers).

My understanding of eternal rewards has thus far been based on the idea that free will is the determiner: nobody gets any more or less than they deserve according to the sum of the decisions they made with their free will on earth. God's rewards are not zero sum, so our future depends entirely on the choices we ourselves make, rather than on the choices others make.

I'm trying to wrap my head around what will change after our Lord's return that leads to the cessation of "higher rewards" (=living in the New Jerusalem). If we continue to view rewards during the Millennium as strictly a function of free will, then that would seem to imply that every Millennial believer will exercise their free will to an extent less than the most weed-choked, lukewarm believer of Laodicea who just happened to live during the time before Christ's second return.

I'm guessing some of this is tied up in environment and circumstances: since Millennial believers will have access to the perfect rule of Jesus himself, the bar is set significantly higher. That is, we cannot compare free will decisions on a one-to-one basis because the contexts are so radically different, and much more would be expected of them. Even with this in mind though, the idea that there will not be any "high-achieving" believers after our Lord's return still seems off to me – that somehow all Millennial believers will achieve less, on balance, than those of us in the present day.

Have you written anything about this before?

Yours in Christ,

Response #18:

I wouldn't worry about it overly, my friend. God has many ways of rewarding us – many more than we know of (1Cor.2:9). Yes, there is a difference between "the Bride" and "the friends of the Bride", and certainly, as you note, a difference between doing our time here on earth in the Tribulation versus the Millennium. That said, those "outside" will be coming "inside" all the time; while I have no doubt that those "inside" will also venture "outside" all the time. Will the quality of eternal life be so much better for the last on the list inside (of the Church) and the first on the list outside (of the friends)? I doubt it. In terms of privileges, I am certain that there will be plenty for the highly achieving "friends". We don't have the details, but I assure you that we can trust the Lord that this will all be fair . . . and wonderful. And there is this passage too:

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.
Revelation 21:23-26 NIV

There will be "kings" among the friends (with the privilege of making presentations before the Father and the Son), so we may imagine that there will be a complete hierarchy outside as well as inside – why wouldn't there be? So in terms of prestige, authority, lands, other benefits and privileges of which we know nothing at present, God is well-able to provide a reward structure which differentiates between the individual achievements of the friends as well as of the Church. There are advantages and disadvantages I suppose to being born during any of the eras and dispensations of human history. God has put us all into just the right time, both for maximizing our reward and also for meshing us into the perfect place for us. One could posit that a "friend" might not have even been saved in our day and age whereas he/she achieved a good reward in the Millennium; likewise one could posit that a member of the Bride might have been insufficiently challenged in the Millennium and as a result would have wasted his/her time – whereas he/she was motivated to "fight the fight" in our day and age. We are, in the Plan of God, who we really wanted to be in our heart of hearts, and God made us so. Our part is to make the most of the opportunities we have been given to do our best for the Lord with our eternal rewards in view. I am willing to bet that when we get all the details – and we certainly shall – we will see that far from being disadvantaged God's placement of us maximized our service, and that we would have done not nearly as well if placed anywhere else. I don't know the details yet, but I know the character of our God, and I certainly trust Him in this, for myself and everyone else.

In our faithful Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hi Bob,

It seems to me that what you're saying is that God's rewards are not all concentrated on proximity to Him – that's just part of the puzzle.

Will the quality of eternal life be so much better for the last on the list inside (of the Church) and the first on the list outside (of the friends)? I doubt it.

If we posit that there are other possible avenues of reward for the "friends" that we are at present ignorant of, do you still think that their rewards (or "quality of eternal life") will be lesser than every Church age believer inside the New Jerusalem itself? How do we know that some of the the latter won't eclipse some of the former in "net reward", with their rewards just being of a different character?

In Him,

Response #19:

Being close to the Lord is a blessing and a privilege. Sitting at His right and left hand, for example, seems to be the highest honor. The cherubs and elders, clearly angelic persons of high rank, are close to the throne. And we can certainly draw a parallel from human royalty and high office where those closest to the seat of power are the highest ranking individuals. So there is a definite connection. However, there is very much we do not know yet about eternity. It may very well be that those just mentioned are not always in attendance but only at certain times. It may be that all of us get to be close to Him, but at different times and for different lengths of time. And this may include also the friends of the Bride. That is my guess but I can't be dogmatic about it. There are so many potential variables even within what we do know that adding the factor that we only know a very little makes this "problem" difficult to solve in a dogmatic way. What we can say is that there do seem to be some good indications that being close to the Lord, spending time directly with Him, is one of if not the most esteemed privilege, and it certainly makes sense to suppose that more of this goes to the more highly rewarded. The fact that the lowest ranking member of the Church will have his/her permanent habitation in New Jerusalem does not necessarily mean that he/she will be spending more time with the Lord than all of the friends. New Jerusalem is at least half the size of the present continental United States, so that being in a mansion "on the wall" would mean not being able to even see the Lord (except from a great distance) unless called into His presence.

I am very confident that we shall all be rewarded as we deserve to be and in just the right way. We know little about the texture of these rewards; we do know some of their names (the three crowns of righteousness, life and glory, see the link), and we also know enough to be highly motivated to earn them as best we can. Those who do will not be the least regretful of any time and effort given to the Lord to do so. So I certainly agree with your concluding paragraph. It may well be that many of the friends will eclipse in the level and nature of their rewards many in the Church. All the more reason to run the best race we can to the glory of our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Dear Professor,

Thanks so much for taking the time to patiently address my questions. I went through them this morning and shall go through them again before I decide whether I have any more questions to follow-up. I also read the part you linked in the Coming Tribulation Series which helped clarify the confusion I had with regards to the gem stones and the twelve tribes. I noticed several inconsistencies across the different English translations of Exodus 28:17-21 and the gates of Revelation 21:19-21. Thanks for your valuable input which helped my understanding of this (though still somewhat imperfect!).

As I was reading the link, I came across Revelation 7:5-8:

5 From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben 12,000, from the tribe of Gad 12,000, 6 from the tribe of Asher 12,000, from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000, from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000, 7 from the tribe of Simeon 12,000, from the tribe of Levi 12,000, from the tribe of Issachar 12,000, 8 from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000, from the tribe of Joseph 12,000, from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.

Apologies if you had addressed this earlier in the CT series - my question is why have Ephraim and Dan been omitted from these verses? Why has the tribe of Levi been included? As I have read, the tribe of Levi will be one of unique privileges in the New Jerusalem, even greater than the tribe of Judah, and so was not included in the twelve gates of the New Jerusalem. I am also of the understanding that the antichrist will be a descendant of the tribe of Dan and that these are the 144,000 Jewish believers (friends of the bride).

I hope that all is well with you - I am keeping you and your ministry in my prayers every day.

I eagerly await that great Day when we shall see our Lord and each other in our newly resurrected state.

Response #20:

You're most welcome!

On this passage, you will find the details at the link: "The sealing of the 144K" (in CT 2B). In a nutshell, Dan is omitted . . . from the 144,000 only who minister during the Tribulation . . . as being the tribe from which antichrist arises, the one who is the bane of the Tribulation (cf. Gen.49:16-18; Deut.33:22 – although most versions are way off on translating both passages; better to see the Ichthys versions). Joseph, who is the father of both Manasseh and Ephraim, stands for Ephraim in this passage. Cf. fn. #80 from the link:

80. Ephraim is the younger yet "greater" son, and is therefore identified here by his father's name (cf. Gen.48:19; Num.13:11 has "tribe of Joseph" explained by "tribe of Manasseh").

Levi is properly included here (as opposed to the gates of New Jerusalem) since we are not talking about a distinction between secular and priestly functions. A number of important "mighty men" and warriors came from the ranks of Levi during David's reign, e.g. Since there is no Levitical priesthood in the prior sense at this time, it is right that Levi not be excluded from the major spiritual event of the Tribulation's first half, the evangelizing of Jewish people worldwide by the 144,000.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Hi Dr Luginbill,

I trust this brief note finds you well, in all ways, in Him!

Do you have, in the site's archives, or somewhere a visual timeline of the Tribulation that entails the Seals, Trumpets, etc.? I would find it helpful in my studies. Any reference you might give me for this would be greatly appreciated.

Hope fellowship more soon!

Warmly,

Response #21:

Good to hear from you.

Chart for the trumpets in context:

http://ichthys.com/Tribulation-Part3A.htm#The Seven Trumpet Judgments of Warning

Chart for the trumpet judgment in context of Trib events:

http://ichthys.com/Tribulation-Part3B.htm#The Trumpet Judgments and the Two Campaigns against the South

The seven seals (with synopsis listing):

http://ichthys.com/Tribulation-Part2B.htm#IV. The Seven Seals: Revelation 6:1-17

See also Charts and Illustrations for a grouping of all such charts available at Ichthys (in each case, click the chart/illustration to be taken to where it occurs in context).

Hope this helps!

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Thank you Dr Luginbill!

One quick follow up question. And I'm probably just missing it for the trees: I see the 6 seals and their corresponding time frames adding up to 21 months, and then the diagrams have the 42 months of the great tribulation. Where is the remaining 21 months?

In Him,

Response #22:

I'm not sure I understand your question (21 months?). On the charts page you will also find a graph of the entire Tribulation (from the perspective of the bowls but also giving the timing of the trumpets overall: http://ichthys.com/Tribulation-Part5.htm#Bowl Judgments chart

The seals (at prior link) are the six trends of the Tribulation; they do occur in chronological order in the sense that the first four are trends which begin during the first half while seals five and six represent the two major trends of the Great Tribulation, namely, the Great Persecution and the Armageddon campaign respectively. These seals hold the book closed, so that the events of the Tribulation cannot begin until it is opened. They serve as "cover illustrations" to use a modern analogy, giving the reader an idea of what is in the book before it is unsealed and unrolled. When the seventh seal is broken, the book is opened and Tribulation begins. So the seals are not separate events or a chronology independent of the other things in Revelation; rather, they give us an idea of the texture of life at that time and of the main series of events to occur therein.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Thank you kindly! The chart does make clearer sense now. Your exposition of the seals is a bit different than I've studied hitherto; having said that I think there is some great significance as well as freedom in thinking brought on by your "keying" them this way. Thus the diagrams make better contextual "sense". I look forward to moving forward with them.

Also, yesterday was the first time I'd clicked into the prayer request section of your site. I'll be going through it more carefully soon, but wanted to let you know that now that it has been brought to my attention I'll be interceding for you and yours. If there's anything you'd like me to pray more specifically for, please don't hesitate to write.

Your brother in Christ,

Response #23:

You're very welcome – and thanks so much for your prayers! They are greatly appreciated.

In our dear Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #24:

This is interesting link comparing the seven bowl judgments to the seven planets.

Response #24:

I don't, to be honest, see the connection. For one thing, people in the ancient world – most notable John who wrote Revelation, didn't even know that there was a Uranus or a Neptune. Also, it would complicate things for this theory if Pluto were still a "planet" – and it wasn't removed from being one through any biblical consideration. There are seven planets on this illustration, but there are plenty of things which occur in sevens – the seven dwarfs, for example – and this is no recommendation for making any association between them and the bowl judgments. Reading the appropriate sections in Revelation 16 gives me no idea that planets are involved. Instead angels are given literal bowls, small enough for them to take with their hands, which are to be poured out on the earth. Also, I took the liberty of looking up the person who signed the illustration and found out that he claims to be Christ!!!

I would delete this info, my friend.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hi Bob,

The Day of the Lord has caused much confusion among Christians, because the Book of Acts calls Pentecost the "Day of the Lord" and yet much of scripture refers to the advent of Christ as the "Day of the Lord". However, the phrase "Day of the Lord" is not at all ambiguous. In fact, the phrase has a very simple, clear meaning. The Day of the Lord is simply the day when God comes to live on Earth. But God is triune. So Pentecost was the "Day of the Lord" because God the Holy Spirit came and dwells on Earth. The Advent of Christ will be the "Day of the Lord" because God the Son will come and dwell on the Earth. The creation of the New Heavens and the New Earth will be the "Day of the Lord" because lastly God the Father will come and dwell on Earth with humanity.

Sincerely,

Response #25:

Acts doesn't actually call Pentecost "the Day of the Lord". When he says "this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel", Peter means that "this" quote he then delivered (not the "this" thing you are witnessing; that would most likely have been tauta not touto given standard Greek usage). Obviously, the sun was not at the time turned dark nor the moon turned blood red. Peter is making use of the very common Old Testament device to draw an analogy, namely, "the Day of the Lord paradigm" (see the link). The "Day" itself is the second advent (when the sun is darkened and the moon turned blood red), but by expansion includes the millennial "Day" after, and of course is often described in conjunction with the events that herald and precede the "Day", namely, the Tribulation. Pentecost signaled that we were on the threshold of the "Day" – although it would be 2,000 years hence. So this confusion is just one of many made by many when it comes to Peter's speech in Acts chapter two (an incorrectly assumed need for water-baptism being the other major one).

In our dear Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #26:

That's a shame, because I thought I had something really going here. Pentecost, the Second Advent, and the New Heavens and New Earth correspond to each person of the Trinity.

Response #26:

That's a wonderful application of scripture, but the Day of the Lord is what it is.

Question #27:

Hi Bob,

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus
Acts 3:19-20

Is God waiting for the Jews to repent before the second advent can happen? Peter seems to be saying, "Look, the quicker you get on with repentance the quicker Christ can come back."

Sincerely,

Response #27:

It's not really "cause and effect", which may be why Peter says hopos an in Greek instead of using the usual NT purpose clause introduction hina. Peter was aware of the renewal of heart prophesied to take place before the second advent. If all (or most) of our Lord's contemporaries had accepted Him, perhaps then the kingdom would have come immediately, but they rejected Him; if all (or most) of the Jews in Palestine at the time had responded to the apostolic miracles and had accepted Christ, perhaps then the kingdom would have come then, but they did not. God, of course, is working everything out according to a perfect plan wherein everything is happening at just the right time down to the last infinitesimal thing, but from Peter's point of view mass repentance and our Lord's return went hand in hand:

Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.
Hosea 3:5

This hasn't happened even yet, and our Lord's prophecy of "this generation (of hardness)" enduring until His return is holding up so far and will of course hold up until His appearance in glory (cf. Rom.11:25); see the link.

There has always been, since the first advent, this tension between imminent return and prior fulfillment of prophecy necessary before the return of our Lord. Both things are true, and it is a mistake to rely so completely on prophecy that one misses out the importance of being ever vigilant, because God does have the sovereign authority to change any prophetic scheme if circumstances should warrant (e.g., Jer.18:7-8). However, relying so completely on imminency that one feels justified in jiggering scriptures to the degree that prophecy is essentially ignored is equally dangerous (this is one of the main fallacies inherent in the pre-Trib "rapture" teaching).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L. 

Question #28:

You wrote: There has always been, since the first advent, this tension between imminent return and prior fulfillment of prophecy necessary before the return of our Lord.

Do you have trouble believing both at once? Because I personally do.

Response #28:

I think learning to accept biblical truths which to human logic seem contradictory is one of the main stumbling blocks naturally intelligent people have when it comes to getting into depth with the Bible. For example, the (only apparent to mortals) contradiction between free will and the predetermined plan of God has been the source of one of the major schisms in the church-visible – and choosing either side exclusively is wrong.

It takes a certain amount of humility to accept the fact that there are some things which we have to accept as true just because scripture says they are true even when we can't seem to figure them out entirely, and even though we may be very clever. After all, every time things go "wrong" in our lives – especially when and if they go horribly wrong – it is oh so tempting to blame God or cry "why me?" or wonder if God really is in total control or if there really is a plan and if He really is working everything out for good . . . but of course He most definitely is: we have to learn to trust Him no matter how we are feeling or what we are experiencing, seeing or hearing. That is what true faith and true spiritual growth is all about. And the same exact thing applies to the Bible. So suspending judgment on "difficult matters" such as this while we "chew on it" is the proper first step default for a godly Christian who is having such "trouble". Choosing a side and fighting it out (mustering all the rhetorical and logical force at one's disposal to do so) is the beginning of the end, spiritually speaking.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our Lord for whose return we breathlessly wait – even if it turns out that we will have to wait some years more than we anticipate.

Bob L.

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