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Things to Come III:

The Wrath of God and the Fate of the Beast's Army et al.

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Question #1:

Dear bob,

In Revelation 6:17 the great day of his wrath is come {erchomai}: is that in the present tense or past tense? I know that pre-tribulationists say the whole of Daniels 70th week is the Lords wrath but it is evidenced by this verse that it does not begin until after the 6th seal and It corresponds with Joel 2 about the sun Going dark and the moon becoming as blood,

Your knowledge of Greek is most welcome to help me understand, I do believe there is a clear demonstrative difference between Satan's wrath and the Lords wrath, I am struggling to see the tribulation as Gods wrath,

Yours sincerely,

Response #1: 

You certainly make a good point that the biblical focus of the "wrath of God" is the second advent and the battle of Armageddon when all of God's enemies will be defeated by our Lord at His return. That is the case in the passage you ask about, Rev. 6:17, where the second advent and the judgments which accompany it are the focus of the phrase "their great wrath has come". The tense is aorist [past], but the Greek idiom is comparable to our use of the perfect in English; translate "has come"; the 'literal' translation "came" would indicate that the wrath was already past which would clearly be misleading as well as incorrect.

It is also certainly true that a great deal of the trouble of the Tribulation will be cause by the devil and his son, antichrist. To a great degree, both the Tribulation and the Millennium which follows prove the point of the resiliency of people's individual character and the genuineness of their free will: in the Tribulation, despite enormous pressure, many Christians will choose to die instead of apostatize, while most of the world will refuse to repent even in the face of the unprecedented divine judgments of that time; during the Millennium, most people will still refuse to be grateful to or to submit to God even under the perfect rule of His Son.

Still, there is no question that scripture does also characterize the Tribulation as uniquely expressive of God's wrath. For example, it is called "the day of vengeance and the year of retribution" in Isaiah 34:5, and elsewhere "the day of wrath (Is.13:13; Ezek.7:19; Zeph.1:18), and "the day of reckoning" (Is.10:3), all in contexts where more than the single day of Christ's return must be in view:

Behold, I am making known to you what will take place during the final period of [God's] indignation (i.e., the Tribulation).
Daniel 8:19a

For [during that period] the king [antichrist] will consult only his own desire, and will exalt and magnify himself above every god, and against the God of gods he will speak astonishing things. He will have success until the [time of] indignation is complete, for [all this] has been firmly decreed to take place.
Daniel 11:36

The word translated "indignation" above is the Hebrew z'aam (זַעַם) which is indeed rendered as "wrath" in most of the versions. Revelation 16:1 identifies the bowl judgments as "the bowls of God's wrath" (Greek thymos: θυμός), which are then poured out on the earth, and these judgments do take place over the last twelve months of the Tribulation's second half (see the link: "The Bowl Judgments").

I think you are certainly correct in resisting seeing the Tribulation as a time of God's wrath in the sense of that being its essential nature or characteristic, and I do think that it is true that to the extent that passages like Daniel 8:19 and 11:36 above do so, they have preeminently in mind the "final reckoning" of that terrible time to come. Moreover, God's wrath is directed towards those who hate Him, not those of us who love Him. The Tribulation will be a time when the devil and his minions, the beast in particular, have more influence upon human events than ever before (the Holy Spirit's restraining ministry being removed precisely to make that possible: 2Thes.2:6-8). Thus the lion's share of horror that time will see will be caused not by God but by the evil one and his false-Christ. The major divine interventions to the contrary will be the trumpet and bowl judgments, with the former having the purpose of warning the world to repent, and only the latter having the express purpose of pouring out God's wrath upon His adversaries for the sake of us His elect who have been so abused during the preceding six years (i.e., the bowl judgments respond to the Great Persecution; see the link). For the respective and opposing trends of those seven years which precede our Lord's return, see the chart at the link:  "Tribulational Trends".

Perhaps the real nub of the problem here is the over-emphasis on this issue in the literature about the Tribulation. It is clear what the wrath of God means in this context: His punishment of His enemies and His deliverance of His elect ones. I for one would not want to invest the phrase "the wrath of God" with any more technical significance than this, for I do not see the scripture doing so. It is an occupational hazard of theology to create categories and then invest the category so created with a depth of meaning and a theological weight not contained in the Bible, and I fear we have a case of that here. After all, the phrase "the wrath of God" has other applications as well which have nothing to do with the Tribulation:

For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, [even] Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
1st Thessalonians 1:9-10 KJV

The wrath here is the lake of fire following the last judgment (as is often the case; cf. Rom.5:9), not the second advent per se.

I hope this is helpful in some way.

Yours in whom we are confident of our deliverance from God's wrath through His blood which has cleansed us from all sin, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #2:  


Read your answer concerning Is. 66:24. I just read in a book by Robert Govett that the burning of these carcases will last the entire thousand year kingdom era, as long as the nations go to Jerusalem to worship Christ. What is your take on that view?

Source: Eternal Punishment of the Wicked and Hades, by Robert Govett M.A.


Response #2: 

Good to make your acquaintance. I am not familiar with Mr. Govett's work. However, I would be extremely skeptical of this particular claim. First of all, the Millennium will be a time of untold blessing which exceeds anything the earth has seen since our expulsion from Eden – the continual burning of cadavers on earth – especially so close to Jerusalem, the Messiah's capital – would seem to conflict with the biblical characterization of this penultimate paradise. Moreover, by way of contrast, the lake of fire will be removed from the New Heavens and New Earth and only visible through special effort (for the most recent write-up on this, please see the link, "The Lake of Fire" in part 6 of Coming Tribulation: Last Things). Secondly, in Isaiah 66:24, the worm never dies and the fire is never quenched (cf. Mk.9:48) – and a 1,000 years, though a long time, is far short of "never". Thirdly, we are actually given time frames on all in Ezekiel 39 for the post-Armageddon cleanup. Verse 9 states (NIV): "Then those who live in the towns of Israel will go out and use the weapons for fuel and burn them up—the small and large shields, the bows and arrows, the war clubs and spears. For seven years they will use them for fuel". If the less-corruptible paraphernalia only last seven years, it is hard to see how the corruptible bodies would be around longer than that. In fact, verse 14 states (NIV): "At the end of the seven months they will begin their search [for human bones]". And verse 15 states (NIV): "As they go through the land and one of them sees a human bone, he will set up a marker beside it until the gravediggers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon Gog". This last verse makes it clear that a) only bones will be left after a mere seven months, and b) these will be buried, not burned. This is certainly all consonant with what we find in Revelation chapter 19:17-21, where all the carrion eating birds of the world are called together to feast on the slaughter of Armageddon (i.e., in addition to putrefaction, some of which will be divinely accelerated [cf. Zech.14:12-15], there will not be much left for burning once the birds have had their feast). All of the above evidence points very consistently in the direction of the explanation I have given for Isaiah 66:24. So while I would not wish to dismiss anyone's point of view without a fair hearing, I would, as I say, be predisposed toward skepticism in regard to this claim.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #3:

Hello Bob,

A friend of mine who is professor of Hebrew and Semitic languages, seems to agree with you on the poetic interpretation of Is. 66:24 (I guess that doesn't surprise you ...). He said for example: Genesis 1 is prose; when people say Genesis 1 is poetic and therefore not historic, they are wrong, because prose and poetry are not the same. When the Psalms speak about creation, it often can be read as a metaphor (but not necessarily or always). The Psalms have a different structure. He then went on to say that with prophecy it gets a bit more complicated. Some parts of Isaiah are prose (6, 36-39), but 40 is poetry and sometimes prose. According to him you can take poetry also literal sometimes, but one has to be careful with that. As to Isaiah 66:24, he is of the opinion that the use of the Hebrew verbs is different there. He said that if it is contradictory with passages in prose, he chooses prose. And sometimes it is very difficult to make a choice.

Although I do know that Govett disagreed with Lowth, I still don't know why he (negatively) rejected the poetic explanation, and (positively) defended the literal explanation of Is.66:24. He only states the fact of his disagreement, not the 'why'. Do you have any idea what his reasons might have been? Or the reasons of others of higher learning who also read it literally?

Perhaps I'm getting a bit 'long-winded', but could it be because Govett preferred the Septuagint above the Hebrew in this matter?


Response #3: 

It's true that Isaiah is mostly poetry (all of Psalms is), while Genesis, apart from small parts (e.g., Jacob's blessing of his sons in chap. 49), is prose. There is such a thing as poetic license in all literatures of which I am aware, but in the Bible the metaphorical usages are very easy to see and understand (in my opinion), once one understands the rules. As I say in the posted email response on this passage (see the link: "The Worm in Isaiah 64:24"), the only thing I would call metaphorical and not strictly literal about Isaiah 66:24 is the "worm" reference, and that is easily understandable. After all, dead bodies are thrown in the grave and thereafter eaten by worms, and the grave in turn or Sheol is the generic term (and sometimes metaphor) for death and the after life in the Hebrew Bible. So a conflation between the literal grave and the eternal state of condemnation for those who have not been found worth of the resurrection unto life is entirely understandable, especially in a poetic context. Moreover, conflation of end-times events is also a very common thing in Hebrew scripture (I have written about this at the link: "Hermeneutic Issues" in Coming Tribulation part 1, section IV.1).

Of course, it is not impossible that even the "worm" is literal. After all, the eternal hell is a lake of fire and brimstone, and our Lord quotes Isaiah's phrasing at Mark 9:48. Nevertheless, I prefer to see this as a metaphor for the eternal suffering and overall unpleasantness of the lake of fire since the resurrection bodies of the unsaved dead will also be indestructible in order to endure eternal condemnation. By using a very vivid metaphor that brings out very clearly what happens to dead bodies in the grave (i.e., the "worm"), Isaiah makes the contrast between the resurrection of the bodies of the righteous and condemnation of the wicked who are "left in the grave", so to speak, viscerally clear – it's hard not to get the point. I think that is what we are meant to understand about this passage, especially considering everything else scripture has to say about the last judgment et al. (see the link: in CT 6, "The Lake of Fire").

Praise God for our deliverance from this horrible end through the sacrifice of our dear Lord Jesus Christ!

Bob L.

Question #4:  

I’m also interested in your 2026 date. I came up with it by adding 691 + 1335, two key dates.

Also, my Mom told me that early Christians used the fish to determine if a stranger was a believer. The one person would draw or carve in the dirt onecurved stroke of the fish and the other, if they were a Believer, would complete it with drawing the other stroke, making a fish.

Respectfully submitted,

Response #4: 

Dear Friend,

As you no doubt know from reading about this on the site, the 2026 date is one which in essence anyone would come up with by understanding the seven millennial days. The two thousand year mark following the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord will occur sometime early this century. 2026 is arrived at if one takes 33 as the date of the crucifixion and resurrection with 2033 as the date of the second advent, then subtracts seven years to arrive at the date of the Tribulation (see especially the links: "When will the Tribulation Occur?" and "The Tribulational Overlap").

As to the Ichthys sign and its employment by early Christians, I have heard this same story myself many times, but I have never been able to find any ancient citations to verify it. It also seems to me to go against the grain of what we know Christians should be (sharers of their faith and lights to the world), what they will be (martyrs for Jesus in the Tribulation), and what they were (martyrs throughout the early Church).

Thanks much for your emails and for your interest in the Word of God.

Yours in our dear Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #5:

Hi Dr. Luginbill!

I read a few commentaries on the Tribulation and they were saying that the elect Jews are going to hide out at a place called Petra to avoid being killed by the Antichrist. I've seen pictures of the place and it seems like a reasonable place to hide. I was wondering if the bible affirms this place as the actual place where the Jews will hide during the Tribulation. Thanks!

God Bless,

Response #5: 

Always good to hear from you. Because of the particular biblical description, Petra is unlikely (too far south, not far enough east), although it is clear that the believing Jews of the Tribulation do flee to the desert east of Jerusalem. That place will be divinely prepared by God – and divinely protected too, so the actual latitude and longitude may not look like much now and may be accessible now, but during the Tribulation it will be an Edenic oasis and completely untouchable by the beast and his military forces. You can find the details on this and my own thinking from what scripture actually says in Revelation chapter twelve at the following link:

In Coming Tribulation 4: The Dragon's Persecution of Believing Israel

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6:  

Hi Doc!

The apostle Paul stated flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and yet Job said that if worms destroy his body, in his "flesh" he will see God. The risen and glorified Jesus also stated to his disciples that a spirit has not "flesh" and bones. How do you reconcile a resurrected and glorified body that still has flesh with what Paul said about how flesh cannot inherit God's Kingdom? Thanks in advance!

Response #6: 

As the rest of the verse, 1st Corinthians 15:50, makes clear, by "flesh and blood" Paul is speaking of our present, mortal body which is infected with the sin nature: " . . . nor can corruption (i.e., the present flesh) inherit incorruption (i.e., the future body to be)". So there is a difference between "[corrupt] flesh and blood", which is the present body, and the "flesh and bone" of the resurrection body. The new body will apparently not require blood (which now represents physical life: Lev.17:11). You are absolutely correct that the resurrection is a bodily one, and that we will enjoy genuine, tangible, bodily life for all eternity – only without sin and without the limitations of this body in this present world. For more on the resurrection please see the links:

The Resurrection

The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride

In eager anticipation of being clothed with immortality in the presence of Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #7:

So, God will give up his throne and rule from this footstool? Act 17:27 This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? 1 king 8:27"But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! God has never dwelled on his footstool. The glory of God dwelled on the earth. God's spirit dwells among his people. Leviticus 8:12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. The spirit of God dwelled among those Jews. No God himself. Psalms 115:10,The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to man. "He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, */as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne/*." God's throne is in heaven. (Revelation 3:21). "'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet." Christ will rule from God's throne until all enemies destroyed. 1 Corinthians 15:26, The last enemy to be destroyed is death.


Response #7: 

Dear Friend,

God's throne is in heaven at the moment, but it will not always be so:

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Revelation 21:2-3 KJV

And . . .

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
Revelation 22:1 KJV

Thus God's dwelling in heaven today is a temporary thing; the final state which will go on for all eternity will find Him and His throne here on earth in the New Jerusalem. This was the state of affairs before Satan's fall as well (as indicated by Ezek.28:13; see also Is.14:13; cf. Ezek.28:14 & 16; Ps.48:2). The devil's corruption of himself and those who followed him also corrupted the universe and required that God in His holiness remove the manifestation of His presence to the third heaven (technically not a part of "this creation"; cf. Heb.9:11). Corrupt mankind cannot look upon God and live; but after the resurrection in the new heavens on the new earth this will no longer be a problem.

There is much more about all this at the following links:

The New Jerusalem

The Seven Edens

Feel free to write me back about any of this.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob Luginbill

Question #8:  

Hi Robert,

Why I believe as I do is based on others scriptures in the bible not just that scripture in the book of Revelation. When I read the book of Revelation which is a book fill with signs and symbols. I look to others scriptures in the bible to give me a better understand of what something pictures in the book of Revelation. I do not believe anyone total understand the book of Revelation and what everything picture in that book. I believe most that read that book do know Christ will conquer all of his enemies and those that obey will gain life. I personally believe the Christians during John's day had a better understanding of that book than Christians today.

Leviticus 26:12: ‘I will walk among you and be your God and you will be my People’

"…make a sanctuary for me, and I will /dwell/ among them." (Exodus 25:8)

"Then I will /dwell/ among the Israelites and be their God. They will know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might /dwell/ among them." (Exodus 29:45-46)

"You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things".

Gods dwelling place is called the heavenly Jerusalem. The heaven that God dwell in will never be destroyed. The physical heavens and earth that is spoken of in Genesis is the one what will be changed not God's spiritual heaven were he has dwelled with his angels and other spiritual creatures before the creation of the heavens and earth in the book of Genesis.

2Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.

The New Jerusalem comes down from God out of heaven. The New Jerusalem is pictured as the bride of Christ. The Jerusalem above is the Mother of all believers.

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God /is /with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them /and be /their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."

* God dwelled among the Jews in spirit in the old Jerusalem. Yet, he was in heaven. If the heavens can not contain God how can that city pictured in the book of Revelation that can be measured contain the almighty God, his angels and all his spiritual creatures. His son entered one of those tabernacles when he was on this earth. I believe the way he dwelled among the Jews is the same way he dwells and will dwell among all that obey him.

And let them make me a sanctuary [Hebrew, /miqdosh, /sanctuary, i.e., a holy place], that I may dwell in their midst. According to all that I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle [mishkan, dwelling-place. This word gives rise to the Hebrew Shekinah which denotes the personal presence of the Divine God], and of all its furniture, so you shall make it...And see that you make them after the pattern for them, which is being shown you on the mountain. (Exodus 25:8,9; 40)

**And I will make my abode among you, and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you shall be my people. I am the LORD your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves; and I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect. (Leviticus 26:11-13)*

Living water has been flowing from the throne of God the entire gospel age. What do you believe living water is according to the word of God? Revelation is a book full of signs and symbols. I do not sure what each symbol picture but I do know the nations are healed and gain life because of God's Son.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Thanks for expressing your thoughts. I know we see things different.

Response #8: 

Dear Friend,

It is certainly permissible for fellow believers to disagree about such things. The passages from Revelation shared with you in the last email are decisive evidence for me: your passages suggest a logical argument when things are interpreted in a particular way and (non-necessary) conclusions drawn, but the passages in Revelation actually place the Father and the Son and their throne here on earth in the eternal future. Logical arguments may or may not be true in a theological context; direct statements in the Bible can only be explained away in unique circumstances. The position that "the Book of Revelation is just an allegory" is certainly one that is commonly taken in traditional, old-line Protestant denominations. However, 1) the Reformers had little time for eschatology and that is the main reason for this view, not any principled stand; 2) if wrong, the failure to accept the truth of the Book of Revelation at this time in particular, on the doorstep of the Tribulation, is going to prove fatal to the faith of many. The Great Apostasy will claim the salvation of a third of the world's lukewarm believers (see the link). Without question, many of those who fall away will do so because, in their spiritual apathy or misguided appreciation of these thing, they will find themselves unprepared for and surprised by tribulational events. Rather than ignoring the vast amount of biblical information about the end times, dismissing it as allegory, it behooves all believers in Jesus to learn all that the Bible has to say – and the information about what is soon to transpire is particularly critical because of the timing and the situation of pressure and persecution soon to unfold.

As to the allegory argument, it is one I roundly reject. Revelation, like all other scripture, is very careful to distinguish between what is an allegory and what is reality. For example, when John is given to see the woman and the dragon in chapter 12, 1) the content is very clearly not literal to such an obvious degree that no one would confuse it for literal, and 2) even so John makes it unmistakably clear that it is symbolic when he says "a great sign appeared in heaven" (Rev.12:1). By contrast, in chapter 21-22 the language is descriptive of an actual city and there is no "cue" in the language that what we are viewing a symbol. If we were to consider these chapters "merely symbolic" because of their miraculous content, by the same canon we would have to consider all of the descriptions of Jesus' miracles as likewise not literal.

As to the passages you cite, please note that, apart from your commentary and personal interpretation (to which, of course, you have a perfect right), there is nothing in them that makes God's presence on earth in the future impossible, and nothing to suggest it will not in fact happen. These verses simply are not inconsistent with the literal interpretation of Revelation 21-22.

I see the water in Revelation 21-22 as literal water, just as it will be in the millennial temple as described in Ezekiel 47 and Zechariah 14 (in fact, those passages are clearly related to Rev.21-22 since the millennial state of affairs foreshadows what will be in the eternal state). I know of no passage in scripture which actually makes the analogy of "living water flowing from the throne" in a symbolic sense. Truth is often symbolized by water in scripture, but often the water which it symbolizes it is literal water. No doubt the water from the throne in the New Jerusalem will have all sorts of life-giving effects (as the water from the millennial temple will), but it is still more than a mere symbol.

Thanks again for your email,

In the search for all the truth of scripture through our Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hi Robert,

I do not believe the book of Revelation is an allegory. I believe all scriptures are inspired by God as the word of God teaches. I also know there are no contradictions in the scriptures. I also know there are signs and symbols in the book of Revelation. Example Revelation 9:17 ^7 The appearance of the locusts was like horses equipped for battle. On their heads were something like gold crowns; their faces were like men's faces; ^8 they had hair like women's hair; their teeth were like lions' teeth;....

I know John's is not describing literal Locust. I also know whatever those locust picture they are caring out the will of God. Proverbs 30:27 locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks. Revelation 9:17 The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury. I also know whatever those troops and horses picture they are carrying out will of God like those, pictured as locust. Because it is God's plagues mankind is suffering. Revelation 9:20. And the rest of mankind, who were not killed with these plagues, repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and the idols of gold, and of silver, and of brass, and of stone, and of wood; which can neither see, nor hear, nor walk:.....

I know Christ said, if possible the very elect would be deceived. I know Christ will return at the end of this age with his angels to delivery his body and punish those that are persecuting them. Therefore, I am not looking for some false Christ. John said, in his days there were many antichrist. "This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world." I believe John was speaking of those that bought false doctrine into the churches. The apostle Paul called them wolves. Early Christians did not only suffer at the hands of Roman a beast according to the book of Daniel. They also suffered much persecution at the hands of those that professed to be Christians. The killing of saints and others by the so called Holy Roman empire, head of which were popes was great apostasy. I believe a church that collect body parts even today and its members bow down to statues and images which the word of God condemns is a great apostasy. No matter what happen before the end of the age those that have their names written in the book of life will worship only God.

2 Thessalonians 1:6-8 (King James Version) ^6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; ^7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, ^8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

This is my last email. Thanks for your concern about me not being deceived. I received the information below from someone I know. The comment made below is not mine, but I agree with it. Because not one scripture in the bible support that type of behavior. If you can not go right to the site by clicking the link, copy and paste it.

The following you tube videos show how evil spirits are invading many charismatic churches:

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/user/JohnTheBaptistTV

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/user/JohnTheBaptistTV

Part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWeUNoR30_0

Thanks again,

Response #9: 

Hello again,

You're very welcome, and thank you for the links.

The locusts which constitute the first "woe" in Revelation 9:1-12 are demon possessed – but scripture calls them locusts and they are actually locusts. Demons can possess an entire herd of pigs; they can possess an entire swarm of locusts. They are indeed carrying out the overarching Will of God, but that is true of everything everyone has ever done. It is far from unprecedented for God to make use of evil spirits for His own purposes (it doesn't mean they are doing so out of love or obedience for Him; please see the link: "God's employment of evil spirits"). Please note: The text does not say these creatures were "like locusts"; it says "locusts came out of the smoke [and descended] onto the earth" (Rev.9:3); not "something like locusts" or "a sign", but "locusts". The description of the locusts does use comparative phrasing; they "look like (a), (b), (c). But that does not mean and cannot legitimately be taken to mean that are not what scripture calls them. If a man is "brave as a lion" it does not mean he is not a man; if a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, it doesn't make him a priest. This is just a way to describe what the locust looked "like"; it doesn't remove them from the category to which scripture has just assigned them: "The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle" – but they were locusts, not horses (or anything else, including a mere symbol; Rev.9:17). For more on this, see the link: "The First Woe".

The horsemen of the second woe (Rev.9:13-19) are demons. They are invisible to human beings as is usually the case; the fact that they kill by supernatural means is no more unlikely than the fire that fell from the evil angels who destroyed Job's family or the fire that the false prophet will call down to amaze the unbelieving world during these times. The fact of the demons being mounted on horses is also not out of the realm of biblical possibility. Indeed, we believers will be mounted on horses when we return with Christ in resurrection (Rev.19:14), and the angelic armies are elsewhere described in similar fashion (2nd Kings 6:18; cf. Is.66:15). John is very specific about their number: "The number of the mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand. I heard their number" (Rev.9:16); that is hardly necessary for and not consistent with a mere symbol. In every description, what they are, (demon) riders on (supernatural) horses, is put as a matter of fact. For more on this, see the link: "The Second Woe".

No doubt these things seem incredible to most people. For most of the world, perhaps that is understandable, but those who are trying to grow in grace through the knowledge of the truth need to accept what the Bible actually says (once, that is, it has been fully established what the Bible actually is saying and actually means in any given passage). After all, where do we draw the line? Did God actually part the Red Sea? Many skeptics don't believe it. Did the sun actually stand still at the battle of Gibeon? Many skeptics don't believe it. Did a large fish actually swallow Jonah? Many skeptics don't believe it. One could go on and on. It seems that almost every Christian has at least some problems with some miraculous events described in scripture; but our doubts do not produce growth. In order for biblical knowledge to be useful for us, not only does it have to be true but it also has to be believed.

As to antichrist and the events of the soon-to-come Tribulation, regardless of what you may hypothesize, antichrist will be a real person. Since you quote from 2nd Thessalonians, can we discount what Paul says in a very straight-forward way in the very next chapter?

3Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 5Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 7For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
2nd Thessalonians 2:3-10 NASB

I see no way to "explain away" the literal coming of a person who will actually "take his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God" without suggesting that Paul "got it wrong". There is no way to make this an analogy or an allegory or a metaphor (and this is just one passage).

Every human being's name is originally written in the Book of Life – because Christ died for all so that all might have life. The name is only blotted out by active or passive choice (i.e., by rejecting Christ overtly in this life, or failing to become a believer during the time allotted for life). Please see the links:

"The Book of Life"

"I will not erase your name"

"The Book of Life at the Last Judgment"

"Tithing and the Book of Life"

"More on the Book of Life"

I do understand that you have thought long and hard about many of these issues. So have I. So have many people. The point is that every Christian needs to keep an open mind about his/her "constructs" and be willing to change whenever it becomes clear that there is a better answer, whether the point of doctrine is large or small. That is one reason why I make it my practice to engage on all points of truth when questioned by readers like yourself. I want every Christian to have as full and deep and complete and correct an understanding of the Word of God as possible . . . including myself.

As I mentioned in one of my previous responses, these matters of teachings about the end times are very important because of their proximate fulfillment. Feel free to write me back about any of this.

In the love and truth of Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:  

Dear Brother Bob,

It is a blessing to email you again, I have been reading your take on the 24 elders being Angels but my question is in Revelation 5:9 it says they sung a new song saying thou art worthy to take the book and open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by the blood out every kindred and tongue and people and nation.

If they were Angels why would they need redeeming by the blood?

I know that many proponents of the pre tribulation rapture say that they represent the church but I do not agree with that idea.

Also the Greek for crowns in that scripture is stephanos they are given to the overcomer,

How can we know for sure that they are Angels?

Any further commentary is most welcome,

Bless you my dear brother,

Response #10:

Good to hear from you. Taking your second observation first, stephanos (στέφανος) is the athletic crown (given for achievement); diadema (διάδημα) is the kingly crown, worn only by our Lord. On the main point, long story short, the "us" in the KJV is not part of the original Greek text. Here is how I translate Revelation 5:9-10:

And they sang a new song, saying, "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain and have purchased with your blood for our God [men] from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made them into a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will rule upon the earth!"

The direct object supplied in brackets above ("men") is also not there, but the ellipsis of the direct object is very common in Greek (though uncommon in English). This is the origin of attempts to fill something in (and the wrongful addition of the "us" is the result of those misguided attempts). As I have written this up before in some detail, please see the link where this is explained: "The Greek Text of the New Testament and some Issues of Textual Criticism".

So if the verse is correctly translated, it becomes very clear that the 24 elders are indeed angels, not human beings (after all, the resurrection hasn't even taken place at this point).

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Dear Bob,

Thank you for your prompt response to my email, I brought up the blue letter bible online and cross checked other bible versions after checking that verse in about 7 or 8 different bibles I found it in 2 so it does pay to check many other translations,

I know the word Autos is in John 17:15 yet not there in revelation 3:10 when the word there is Se I may be speaking wrongly and I apologize if that is the case but it looks like Autos is speaking of them and the word Se is speaking of thee when I checked this word in other places it looks like it means a singular person.

I would love to learn the Greek a bit better can you suggest a good translation or Greek concordance,

You are a blessing and an encouragement to me my dear Brother,


Response #11: 

You are very welcome. The Blue Letter is right about John 17:15 (αὐτοὺς / autous = them) and Revelation 3:10 (σε / se = you [singular]). I'm not sure what that has to do with Revelation 5:9 unless the point is that often the Greek does have the direct object expressly present; the point is that there are numerous occasions where it does not (when what should be the direct object is taken to be obvious). By "numerous" I mean perhaps less than 10% of the time, but often enough that it makes a difference (and infrequently enough that English speakers have a difficult time with the idea when it does pop up, as my Greek students can attest). Case in point is 1st John 2:27 where I would translate "You have no need for anyone to teach you [these things]" (see the link: 1Jn.2:27 "these things"), for, clearly, John, who is writing a long letter of instruction is certainly not saying that all teaching is unnecessary. Another example is found in Heb.11:19 where the "him" referring to Isaac is only present once; cf. KJV: "Accounting that God was able to raise [him] up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure" where KJV correctly supplies for us the bold, bracketed "him" which is not present in the Greek but left out since it is easily understood from context – to a Greek reader.

Clearly, by the time of the 3rd-4th centuries when these manuscripts were being copied, this tendency was becoming less and less prominent (it is more so in Classical Greek, less so in New Testament era Greek, and almost gone by Late Greek). That is the source of the increasing desire on the part of copyists not only to recognize the correct direct object that is meant to be understood, but to actually insert into the text; perhaps a less terrible thing if the person is correct. Here, however, the tradition of "us" is obviously wrong and has led to confusion about the identity of these angelic elders.

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12:  

Hi Bob,

I have a question regarding the Holy Spirit. When we are born again the Holy Spirit indwells our spirit. Here's the question, does the Holy Spirit indwell our spirit in heaven? Thanks in advance

Response #12: 

Good to hear for you. I am praying for you that things go well under the circumstances.

On your question, here is what I find in 1st Corinthians 6:19 (NIV):

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

Thus the Holy Spirit indwells our physical body (not our human spirit). This explains in Galatians 5:17 the Spirit is opposed to the sin nature in the body (NIV):

For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.

You may be thinking of Romans 8:10, but a better translation (than the NIV, for example) would render it as follows:

And if Christ is in you, although your body is dead because of sin (i.e., because it is still sinful by natural birth), the Spirit is life because of righteousness (i.e., the indwelling Holy Spirit is your pledge that you have passed from death to life through the righteousness which come by faith).
Romans 8:10

What the precise economy of things will be in eternity (the third heaven at present but earth from the point of the second advent forward and into the eternal state) is not precisely spelled out in scripture. However, as the indwelling of the Spirit is a sign of the kingdom (Jn.7:39; cf. Acts 2:17-18) and also prophesied for the millennial kingdom (Is.44:3; Joel 2:2-29), it would certainly be understandable if, as we dwell in the presence of the Father and the Son, we continued to be indwelt by the Spirit. We are also now indwelt by Christ, of course (Jn.14:20; Rom.8:10; 2Cor.13:5; Eph.3:17; Col.1:27). Both indwellings are "felt but not seen" blessings. We will see Jesus face to face in resurrection, and the Father too (Rev.21-22; and cf. Jn.14:23 on the Father too "making His abode" with us along with the Son even now). So if indwelling continues, I would suppose we would not only know much more about it, but also experience it more vividly and tangibly as well. On the other side of the coin, the indwelling of Christ is for fellowship and encouragement (Eph.3:17; Col.1:27) and the indwelling of the Spirit is for empowerment against the flesh and for the work of the kingdom. Since we will have perfect fellowship with the Trinity in eternity and will no longer have a sinful body (nor any opportunity or need for works), any eternal indwelling will be for pure fellowship – for we will be one with God forevermore:

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
John 17:22-23 NIV

[It is] through these [divine blessings] that the great and honorable promises have been granted to us, so that through them we might become partakers of the divine nature (i.e., in contrast with our earthly sinful nature), having [through salvation] escaped earthly corruption and its lust.
2nd Peter 1:4

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hi Doc!

The Holy Spirit always seem sort of mysterious to me and I've always wondered what His ministry will be in Heaven. The bible says that God and the Lamb will dwell there (Rev. 22:3) but mentions nothing of the Holy Spirit. I was just curious why the mention of the Holy Spirit is not found anywhere in Revelation (correct me if I'm wrong) when He is the 3rd member of the Trinity, and our desire is to have fellowship (intimate) with God which should include each distinct person. Revelation even says that we will see God's face but nothing of the Holy Spirit.

Revelation 21:23 - And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

Again, there is no mention of the dwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. I would think that the Holy Spirit is just as important as the other members of the Triune God. For me, I would love to have close communion with the Holy Spirit in Heaven as I would with the Father and the Son, so the lack of Him being mentioned has always been on my mind. I also wondered why the Father is rarely mentioned in local churches. When hymns are sung and praises and worship services are held, it is only to the Son. I'm not saying that the Son is not important because I love Him dearly, but there is no mention of the Father or worship and praises directed towards Him.

The other question I have is what happens to someone if they come to a point in their life where they are physically and mentally unable to accept Christ as their Savior? An example would be someone who is an adult that gets into a horrible accident and their brain no longer functions at a level to where they are able to accept Christ as their Savior, and they haven't done so in the past? Would that mean that it is too late for them since they had the chance in the past? Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and I truly appreciate it. I have gleaned a lot from your responses and have grown a lot too.

Response #13: 

Hope you are doing well. Thanks for your kind words.

It is true that there is no special mention of the Spirit in regard to New Jerusalem, but we do find the Spirit later in chapter 22 in the invitation to salvation (Rev.22:17). It is certainly in keeping with the role of the Spirit generally in scripture for Him to be "felt but not seen"; that is why His name (Hebrew ruach: רוּח; Greek pneuma: πνευμα) means "wind" in both Hebrew and Greek respectively (see the link: "The Spirit" in BB 1). We hear His "still small voice" (1Ki.19:12), but even today while we are indwelt by Him the fellowship is not a visible one and, generally speaking, not a word-for-word verbal one. We feel His presence, and especially as He speaks to our consciences (which are attuned to Him and His voice as we grow spiritually; see the link: "The Leadership of the Holy Spirit").

The Spirit is present in Revelation elsewhere as well, namely, as the "Seven Spirits" which appear several times in the opening chapters (Rev.1:4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6). I fully expect, since scripture does not say that it is not so, that the Spirit will be with us to no less degree in eternity than is presently the case – in fact I suspect that He will be so to an infinitely greater degree. As I have often pointed out, the Bible tells us far less than we should wish to know about eternity, for on the one hand there is an infinite amount to know (and no book could contain the vast treasure of knowledge about it), and on the other hand this is probably a case of too much knowledge causing us to think of little else. I rather suspect that if we knew just how wonderful eternity will be for the last person on the list of rewards, it might have a tendency to hamper the rest of us from "running for the tape" as we ought to be doing.

As to situations where a person did reach "accountability", that is, did come to the point of knowing that there is a God, that life is limited in time, and that we are unable to stand before Him on our own works, well, it is certainly true that many human beings choose to "run out the clock". That is to say, there are two ways to be condemned: 1) active and willful rejection of Jesus Christ; 2) continuing to refuse to come to Christ until life is over. In certain cases, I believe that your surmise is correct, namely, that such individuals will have effectively run out of time, even though their bodies may linger in a vegetative state. Lest we feel too concerned for them, it is good to remember that 1) no one goes to hell except by their own choice (i.e., even if these people had it to do over again a trillion times they would always do the same thing because they are unwilling to submit their will to God given a genuine free choice not to do so; please see the link: "The Problem of Unbelievers"), and 2) in some rare case where this hypothetical situation you ask about does indeed or would indeed cause the person in question to truly "change their mind" about their decision to resist the truth, well, God is certainly able to restore anyone, even in cases where medical science pronounces a person's condition irreversible. It all comes down to what a person really wants inside. That is why we are here, and God has constructed everything about this life with that true dynamic in mind – so that what seems to be important in what is going on in the world is really of secondary importance at best to the real inner-workings of history, namely, the individual choices about eternity that each human being will make.

Hope this is close to an answer – as always, please feel free to write me back.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #14:  

Dr. Luginbill,

While working my way through your wonderful site, I came across the exposition of the 3 great lies of Satan. Needing to review it again, I can't seem to find its location? Could you point me to the right area. Thanks so very much,

Response #14:

Good to make your acquaintance. This principle is summarized in part 3B of Basics, Hamartiology at the link: "The Distinction between Sin and Evil" and taught in detail in part 4 of the Satanic Rebellion at the link: "Satan's Tactical Doctrine". There is also a synopsis in chart form available (courtesy of Dr. Chas. Johnson): "Satan's World System: Satanic Lies".

Thanks for your good words. With the deception of the evil one so rampant in our day and age – and with all that is shortly to come – it is good to have these principles in mind. As all students of military history would say, "know your enemy".

In Jesus our Lord, who will soon crush Satan under His feet,

Bob Luginbill


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