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Eschatology Issues XXV

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Question #1:

Hi Bob,

Could you perhaps verify whether Justinian declared/acknowledged/established the Pope as the head of church and state in 538 A.D.? If so, that would make it remarkable that Napoleon arrested and deposed the pope in 1798, 1260 years later. Adventists link that to the 'mortal wound' that the beast (the papacy) received. Their interpretation of the 1260 days is that it means 1260 years in prophecy.

The claim seems weak because of all the other 3.5 year references become difficult to explain. (woman in the wilderness, etc.). Nevertheless, the 1798 link would remain remarkable. But I suspect the 538 AD date is contrived. Can you perhaps verify this?


Response #1:

Good to hear from you, my friend.

I'm no expert in church history or medieval politics. Justinian temporarily ended the schism between the eastern and western parts of the empire, and this extended to religion as well. He intervened in papal elections (the western or Roman church) from his position of power; most histories will put Vigilius' papacy in 537, not 538.

However, it should be pointed out that this system of dating, i.e., 2018 A.D., has nothing whatsoever to do with the Bible and is actually not much later than the dates discussed above (it was invented by Dionysius Exiguus earlier the same century). Everyone in the early church who cared to worry about dates used the Roman A.U.C. system in the west (i.e., dating everything from the mythical date of the foundation of Rome in what in our system would be 753 B.C.).

So there is nothing magic about 538 A.D. or any other such date. In fact, our Lord was not born in 1 AD (there is no year zero in our calendar: 1 AD follows 1 BC immediately), but was probably born in 2 BC (see the link: "the date of the Birth of Christ"). Assuming significance for BC/AD dates is thus completely anachronistic, especially in terms of the numbers themselves, which are in fact arbitrary. This mistake is along the lines of people who see significance in the repetition of the digit six as in 666 – when in fact of course at the time of the writing of the Bible no such system (which we call "Arabic numerals") yet existed (see the link: "the number of the beast").

The Tribulation has not yet begun, clearly (cf. 2Thes.2:1-12): no rebuilt temple, no revived Roman empire, no great apostasy, no great persecution, no trumpet or bowl judgments, and no antichrist who rules the world; and the Bible leaves no doubt about the fact that we will know when it begins:

(1) And when He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. (2) And I saw the seven angels who stood before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. (3) And another angel with a golden censer came and stood by the altar, and much incense was given to him so that he might offer it for the prayers of the saints on the golden altar in front of the throne. (4) And smoke from the incense went up from the hand of the angel before God for the prayers of the saints. (5) Then the angel took the incense holder and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it to the earth. And there occurred thunderous voices and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
Revelation 8:1-5

Hope this is helpful – please feel free to write me back about any of this.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Say we were doing well, but at the moment of death, we die in a state of emotional doubt. Are we condemned? I mean if a feeling/thought comes over us right at that point.

Response #2:

No. That is a Roman Catholic idea. It's not easy to lose salvation and it doesn't happen because of doubt; it usually happens because of sin or reaction to life's disappointments which then leads to hardening of heart and an eventually loss of faith. It doesn't / can't happen in an instant. But I wouldn't even contemplate taking the mark of the beast for any reason.

Question #3:

If we are being martyred and flinch, or have a look of fear on our face (even if we go through with it), is that dishonoring to God?

Response #3:

I wouldn't worry about it. Worrying about it only leads to worrying about – which leads to a vicious cycle of worry. And the Lord told us not to worry – about anything. The Spirit will give us the words on that day, if such is our lot (Matt.10:20); those who are not capable of bearing up under martyrdom will probably not be put in that position. The rest of us need to have faith that the Lord has all this in hand – just as He has everything in hand – and that He will get us through just as He always gets us through. Nothing is too difficult for the One who created the entire universe in the blink of an eye – and who died for all of our sins.

Question #4:

On the Great Tribulation when the martyrdoms occur- isn't that for 2,300 days (or almost the whole 7 years)? Because it says 'how long will the things in the vision take place', and defines the 'things'' as the end of the daily sacrifice and the trampling underfoot of believers. I must be misunderstanding this part.

Response #4:

For the meaning of the "2,300 mornings and evenings", please see the link: "Heavenly Things". A morning and an evening is one day so it's not seven years, but it is referring to the time period from when the temple is unclean starting with antichrist's session and going forward until it is cleansed after our Lord's return.

Question #5:

Am I correct in understanding that Isaiah 54:1 refers to not only the young women being taken into captivity but the bride of Christ?

“Sing, O barren,
You who have not borne!
Break forth into singing, and cry aloud,
You who have not labored with child!
For more are the children of the desolate
Than the children of the married woman,” says the LORD.
Isaiah 54:1 NKJV

Response #5:

I see Isaiah 54:1ff. as a reference to the situation in the Millennium where the millennial Jerusalem will start out devastated (by the events of the Tribulation) but will be teeming with life very soon after the Messiah's millennial reign begins (cf. Zech.8:4-5).

Question #6:

In the Genesis gap when the earth was without form and void, could not "the waters" be a plasma field? The energy required to blot out the universe was beyond comprehension and the complete destruction to yield "without form and void" doesn't suggest just a simple wiping out of life on earth. Could the "Big Bang" the scientists prate about be this? Would Moses have grasped the concept of plasma? It seems the evils we face today, transgenderism, homosexuality, extreme tattooing, abortion, school shootings, murder, rape and the nexus with psychotropic drugs, etc., be the result of scientism? Scientism seems to be the new religion. I don't see how today's practices differ from the pagan practices described in the prophets and the Pauline epistles which the "scientists" seem to think OK. Scientism seems to be the latest false religion. I'm reading through the prophets now and am amazed at the similarity in behavior then and today. I don't think we're quite as bad as ancient Israel and Judah -- but getting close.

Response #6:

There are no doubt many things we don't know which will only be revealed later.  Physics is always in flux; what is "true" today will be slightly modified –  or maybe severely modified –  tomorrow as more information comes in.  Also, it's not as if science is apolitical; science is VERY political on the academic and particularly the political front.  So we are dealing with an incomplete and non-objective appreciation of reality when we use such lenses of interpretation –  and in this case one which ipso facto denies the possibility of any spiritual dimension such as divine activity.  Water is something we all understand, however, and the Bible calls it water.  It is the case, however, that the tehom, the supernatural "deep" covered everything, and it seems to me from the context that this included the entire universe, not just planet earth.  The events of the first days of re-creation involved separating this "deep" with waters above (now at the boundary between the heavens and the third heaven) and those below.  Yes, that would take a great deal of energy indeed.  But God created the universe in the blink of an eye with no effort whatsoever.  Material things are nothing to God.  What was hard was offering up His only Son and judging Him for the sins of the world, doing that for the least of all sins being greater than all that is or was or will be in a material sense.  And yes, things are bad and getting worse –  for anyone who has the slightest bit of spiritual perception.  No doubt this is all necessary groundwork being laid by the devil for the ascension of his son, the beast, just as soon as the Tribulation commences (not long from now).

Question #7:

Do you think the Lord will punish us in a similar way or wait for the Tribulation? Calls for speculation, I know, but it concerns me.

Response #7:

Believers are not punished during the Tribulation; unbelievers are judged for warning (the trumpets) and then judged for punishment (the bowls) but believers are no part of that.  Will we suffer by virtue of being present?  No doubt.  But just as the exodus generation of Israel –  no great believers they, with the exception of a very few –  was protected from the ten plagues with which the Lord struck the Egyptians, so we may be confident that the Lord will provide us a way through –  unless it is His will for us to glorify Him via martyrdom.  In any case, we are commanded not to worry, and that is always the best policy.  If we look at the teachings of the Tribulation and "get worried", that is a sign that we need to reassess where we are at spiritually.  Have we mentally "given up" everything (Lk.14:33)?  Do we understand that we are only still here in this world after salvation as representatives of Jesus Christ (Jn.17:18)?  That we are here to please our Commanding Officer, not ourselves (2Tim.2:3-4)?  We are on a mission.  If we carry it out well, we will be rewarded with a "well done!" and so much more by our dear Savior on that day of days.  If we instead focus on "living a happy life" and "avoiding trouble and persecution", likely we will fail at both –  especially if the Tribulation catches us unawares.  But for those who are genuinely walking with Christ, working for Christ, marching forward as His victorious soldiers, whatever fate we meet on the battlefield ahead matters not at all, as long as we are following His orders.  Because that way we will be pleasing Him and we will be rewarded greatly for so doing.  We have nothing to fear at all, regardless of what happens, and if we don't quite see that yet, it's high time to improve our spiritual perspective while there is opportunity to do so (1Jn.4:18).

But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.”
Luke 21:9 NKJV

Question #8:

From your response to question #13 in today's email post, I wonder if I'm protected or more is yet to come? I have not suffered any extreme trials. Is it possible that my trials are yet to come? (I know. Calls for speculation, too.) I seem to be confronted with trials every day but none are what I consider serious.

Response #8:

I wouldn't feel guilty about not suffering. The Lord knows what can be born and what cannot. He also calls upon different believers for different things, and different things at different times. As we grow in grace and the knowledge of the truth, as we mature, we will be tested, but not all testing is the same. We are all tested. If it didn't seem severe, then perhaps you just gave a good account of yourself in trusting the Lord as you should have done. If more is to come, there is no need to worry because everything that happens is the will of God (1Thes.5:18). The plan is perfect. Everything that happens, actually happens (not what we "worry about happening") is the actual, perfect plan of God. It has to happen the way it happens and it will happen the way it happens. Our job is to accept it, see it for what it is (God working absolutely everything out for the great good for those who love Him: Rom.8:28), and rejoice that the Lord is in us, with us, protecting us . . . and using us as His instruments in this invisible battle in which we are engaged. He has never let a single believer down a single time. He is absolutely faithful and could not be otherwise. Our job is to internalize these truths more and more day by day to become better soldiers and more useful to our General.

Question #9:

I have no idea how many sins I commit each day. I follow the Lord's example and simply ask for forgiveness of all my sins. Opinions?

Response #9:

Sounds like a good policy to me. That's what the Lord's prayer does which Jesus Himself commanded us to pray. The Law devotes more sacrifices to sins of ignorance than to any other category, so what you observe just reflects the spiritual reality – and a humble and godly appreciation of what to do about it.

Question #10:

As an observation, if the trends today are an indication of what we'll face in the Tribulation, I am truly horrified. I couldn't have imagined what we have today let alone what is to come, though I can see a foreshadowing. I keep thinking of Lot and hope I have the strength and presence of mind to obey the guidance I'm given like him.

An aside, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, for me, has been quite subtle – consisting mostly of "sit down and shut up," or "go here not there" which for me, has been difficult at times but always correct. It's served me well. It also seems appropriate in the face of the coming Tribulation.

Just thoughts and questions as we head into very difficult times.

Response #10:

Thanks for your observations about the Spirit's guidance. They certainly confirm what I have experienced, observed, read in scripture and written up. Separating this from emotion is where immature believers often have problems.

I'm not sure Lot is the best example. Picking Sodom was a mistake. Moving into town was a mistake. Not responding immediately to the angelic advice was a mistake. Asking for the preservation of Zoar was a mistake. Getting drunk was a mistake. However, it is a good example from this point of view: he was a righteous man and the Lord saved him . . . in spite of all his mistakes and quite against his will. To me that says there is no need to worry at all – and if we are better spiritually prepared than Lot, we will be even better at handling whatever situations we will have to face. The history of the world is a pretty ugly thing – at least it certainly includes many intensely horrible periods. Just think of all the suffering in WWII in bombed out cities, frozen battlefields, jungle hells, Japanese prison camps, German concentration camps, Soviet gulags, death, disease, torture, hunger, destruction. The Tribulation will be worse, worldwide. But the Lord will be a wall of fire around those who are His, with light being given to those who love the light even as the other side is bathed in darkness (Ex.10:23; 14:20). You can trust the Lord. Absolutely.

Question #11:

Dear Bob,

Thanks for your encouragement. Apparently, I wasn't too far off on Isaiah. As far as "without form and void", I've never quite been able to grasp the destruction. I trust that it happened, I just can't comprehend it. Science, in general, strikes me as not only political, but self serving and subject to those with money. I've come to the point where I don't believe in it except in limited areas.

From what I read in the prophets, believers were given an escape. Isaiah even suggests that those who would willingly go into captivity should build homes, plant vineyards and gardens. I understand that as protecting His chosen which I believe He will do during the Tribulation. Hence the question.

Where I fit in to that is an open question. My sins are manifold, so I don't think I'll be at the top of the heap. But I do believe I'll be in the heap. I suspect the day of judgment will be embarrassing.

It's unlikely I'll live long enough to see the Tribulation; if I do, I will have lived longer than all but one of the men in my family, although I suspect my role and ministry, if such is to be, will be related to the Tribulation.

So many questions and so many unknowns. I trust the Lord will work out everything as He has done so far. Thank you for your encouragement and thank you for your weekly email posts. You have answered many of my questions in your responses to others. I truly appreciate that.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #11:

) It's good to be humble, and I appreciate your email. But it's possible to go off the road on that side as well as the "too full of oneself" side. Being as little concerned about ourselves as possible (eschewing dangerous subjectivity) and as focused as possible on the Lord and His objectives for us (godly objectivity) is the true "ticket".

Then Moses said to the Lord, "O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue." So the Lord said to him, "Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? "Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say." But he said, "O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send." So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses
Exodus 4:10-14a NKJV

It doesn't matter what happened yesterday. If you were a spiritual hero, you can't rest on your laurels today. If you messed it up big time, you still have the responsibility of doing what the Lord wants you to do today.

From your emails you seem to me to know and understand and believe WAY more of the truth than 99.9% of so-called Bible-believing evangelicals. Does it seem insufficient for the task ahead? We are never as prepared as we would like to be. But before we beg off and ask the Lord to "send someone else", we need to keep in mind that we have been brought to this time, this day and this hour, and that we have been given this truth, to a degree that most in Laodicea have not yet bothered to accept, for a reason. The plan of God is perfect.
I don't know the details. I wonder too if I'm going to make it to the threshold, age and health-wise. But we have to be ready for it. As I often remark, according to scripture, while one third of the Church will fall away in the Great Apostasy (cf. 2Thes.2:3 with Rev.12:4), that leaves two thirds who give a good account of themselves, half through martyrdom, half through making it all the way through to the second advent – neither of which things is any small accomplishment and both of which things will take some serious spiritual courage which must be based on the truth. Since nearly all of our contemporaries in Laodicea are absolutely unprepared for what is coming, it seems to me that there will be a need for many a spiritual "boot camp" worldwide when our brothers and sisters wake up to the fact that, no, there was no "pre-Trib rapture", and that, yes, they are in the middle of the Tribulation. All boot camps need good drill instructors – the D.I. is in fact the key ingredient in turning a civilian into a Marine; or in the analogy, an unprepared lukewarm believer into a believer with substance in his/her heart, sufficiently deep and detailed truth understood and believed to have what it takes to pass the test of all tests.

So anything we can do between now and them to get ourselves ready is likely also going to be helpful for our brothers and sisters once "the balloon goes up".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Dear Bob,

You're quite right, of course. But I do have to admit to feeling like a troop about to leave basic for deployment. If I'm to be a DI, I trust the Lord will make it possible.

In my musician days, we always wondered about a newbie, "When the lights go on and the curtain goes up, will he stand there and blow jazz?" Many otherwise good musicians failed where lesser talents did remarkably well. I pray that when the lights go on and the curtain goes up on our final tour, I will be able to stand up and blow jazz for the most difficult audience of all. I don't mean that to be facetious, but the principle is the same. Until you walk out on stage in front of people or face combat for the first time, you never really know for sure. Bravado will never be enough to get you through.

If you're correct in your calculations, which makes the most sense to me, I have eight years of basic left to prepare. I have much left yet to learn and I feel like such a rookie. In 2026, I'll be
79 years old. If being a DI then is the role the Lord has for me, he'll make it happen.

Thanks for your support and willingness to field my questions, hangups, misconceptions, paranoias and fears. It means a great deal to me.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #12:

Great comparison. I think this is true in sports too. It's certainly true in combat – or so I've read (never was fired at in my four plus years in uniform . . . although a tank did crush my right ankle to bits): some have courage under fire – or at least enough self control to overcome the fear – while some do not, even if they have a great deal of excellent training under their belt.

Another difference in the D.I. analogy is the tribulational trainers will be doing the training in the landing craft while it's catching shot and shell on its way to the beach – and will share all of the pressures of the spiritual combat right along with those who are being trained.

We do what we can, day by day. Each day, in fact, is a mission for the Lord, our Commanding officer who led by example – the perfect example. Each day we have things to do for Him: prayer, Bible reading, Bible study/class, and walking with Him as we should, applying what we have learned and are learning in faith to whatever flak we have to fly through day by day. And that is one thing that will be true of the Tribulation too. No matter WHAT happens, we don't have to deal with it more than one day at a time, we know that He has "given us our daily bread" already for that day if we wake up and face the mission that day, and we know that we are to finish that mission like there is no tomorrow because there may be no tomorrow – or at least no mission-in-this-world tomorrow; but what is on the other side of our daily fight is so much better we really cannot grasp the outer edges of the glories to come.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hello, Bob,

I'm sorry about your ankle. I can only imagine what that was like. From what I've been told by those who have been under fire, your mind is racing and the world slows down to slow motion. No one mentioned the noise which must have been horrendous. Having known a marine who went ashore on Tarawa and barely survived, your example was poignant.

I pray that I can see it through.

I am trying to accomplish my mission, though your weekly emails are my class and you are my teacher. After trying to find a reasonable church, I finally gave up and have little incentive to start looking again.

Speaking of Bible reading, I do have one other question that I'll send in a separate email.

Thanks for your support.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #13:

It's actually stronger than the other one now (the Army surgeon did an outstanding job), and the least of my mechanical problems with my "undercarriage" – but thanks. And thanks too for your good words and observations, my friend.

Feel free to forward your question(s) any time!

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Dear sir,

After reading the finality with which Hebrews dispenses with the old covenant, I strain to see any purpose of reinstating temple worship and attendant rites and sacrifices which are shadows ,while the reality Christ is already come.

I have read parts of your extensive site, and I wish to ask that you elaborate on the purpose of the rebuilt temple.

Closely related to this is the ark of covenant in heaven. Why is it there, supposing this is a literal ark?

Response #14:

Good to make your acquaintance.

I certainly agree with you in your interpretation of the intent and force of Hebrews. It really does strain credulity to believe that anyone who has honestly considered that book and its content could seriously think that the Law has not been superseded with the coming, resurrection and ascension of Christ. Paul makes this very clear throughout the book – indeed that is a large part of the purpose of the book. However, the same apostle Paul says the following about antichrist's session in the temple:

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
2nd Thessalonians 2:3-4 NKJV

And here is what I find in Zechariah about the Messiah and His kingdom in regard to the temple:

"Tell him this is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build [up] the temple of the LORD. It is he who will build [up] the temple of the LORD, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.’"
Zechariah 6:12-13 NKJV [expanded]

So beyond all argument, the Bible makes it plain that there will be a rebuilt, third temple, present during the Tribulation (cf. Rev.11:1ff.), glorified and adorned by the Lord when He returns during the Millennium. Likewise, there will be sacrifices during the Millennium as part of the rite for this new temple.

As to "why?", the best answer I can give you for that is that these seem to be memorials to Christ's sacrifice, appropriate for the nation Israel which had the tabernacle/temple and the sacrifices for most of her history – memorials (recalling what Christ has done and symbolizing it), not shadows anticipating it (a most critical difference; cf. Heb.6:6; 10:29). And we may expect the meaning to be made very clear in the future (Hab.2:14), as opposed to the mystery that veiled much of the symbolism of the rites under the Law (cf. 1Pet.1:10-11). For more, please see the link: "Millennial Sacrifices".

One other thing to consider in regard to the rebuilding of the temple, I have conjectured that Moses and Elijah, the two witnesses who supervise the evangelizing ministry of the 144,000, are doubtless the ones who see to the rebuilding of the temple and the re-institution of the sacrifices during the Tribulation's first half. This ministry is directed towards the Jewish population of the world, designed in a parallel way to that of John the baptist in order "to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Lk.1:17). Since this is a Jewish ministry to Jews coming from a Jewish cultural perspective, the re-establishment of the temple and its rites are an important part of appealing to these individuals to come back to the Lord – with the fulfillment of all of the promises to Israel, including the repatriation of the entire Jewish population of the world back to Israel beginning immediately after the Messiah's return.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #15:

Thank you sir for your candid explanation.

The idea of memorial sacrifices to Christ is interesting but why would the Prince who would be Christ offer a sin offering for himself?

Ezekiel 45:22 (KJV)
And upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin offering

Besides, Christ has offered bread and wine as memorials to his death.

Response #15:

You're most welcome.

The "prince" will be the functioning human regent who rules in Jerusalem under David – who in turn rules under Christ. So the Lord will rule the world, David will be the ceremonial head of the state, but there will be a non-resurrected head of Israel too, called "the prince" (not the king and not the King of Kings) who governs Israel day by day – he also is said to have "sons" to whom he gives inheritances (Ezek.46:16), so we know that this is a still-in-the-first-body individual.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hi Bob and family,

Looking again at Daniel, so much in it yet for so many it’s still a mystery. So many interpret it in different ways to the point of being so very dangerous.

I use the KJV and in verse 26 of Daniel 9 it says in part – and unto the ‘end of the war’ desolations are determined.

Is the end of the war to mean plural as in future wars on earth, or war in Heaven when Satan is removed at the mid-point of Tribulation?

I understand ‘desolations are determined’ are possibly referring to the image of the beast being erected and I’m wondering if it also has any bearing on which war is being spoken about?

Response #16:

As I often remark, Daniel's Hebrew is some of the most difficult to translate and interpret (reminds me of Aristotle in Greek, leaving much to be filled in).  The KJV / NKJV rendering of the end of Daniel 9:26 is one that neither I nor most more recent versions agree with.  First, "the end of the war" seems impossible in the Hebrew.  The word "end" does not seem to be "in construct" with the word "war", and the word "war" is not definite (no definite article).  So I, along with many others, take the phrase 'ad qetz to be generally temporal (as is most often the case).  Here is my translation of the verse:

And after the sixty two weeks, Messiah will be cut off and have nothing (cf. Is.53:8), and the people of the prince who is coming (i.e., antichrist) will destroy both the city and the holy place.  And his end will come with a flood (i.e., the “flooding away” of his armies at Armageddon), and until that end there will be wars – [appalling] devastation has been decreed.
Daniel 9:26

As you see, I have pluralized "war" to bring out the general nature of the meaning here.  It's a good point that the devastation of the Tribulation generally (the force overall of this verse) is most definitely connected to antichrist and his rule.  The same word/word-root ("devastation") is employed in speaking about the idol the beast will set up.  The "abomination which causes desolation / devastation" (Dan.11:31; 12:11).

Question #17:

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your response to my question – just one query if I may. “and the people of the prince who is coming (i.e., the anti-Christ) will destroy both the city and the holy place.”
I have always thought this prince is General Titus of the Roman army. The reason I thought that is because in verse 25 it says in part, unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks:

And I had perhaps inadvertently taken the wording ‘unto the Messiah the Prince’ to mean the Lord Jesus because of the capital letters. But in verse 26, ‘and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary’ – this prince isn’t fixed with a capital P, only a lower case p and is why I thought it was Titus.

In verse 25 it also says in part, ‘even in troublous times.’ Does the trouble refer to then or Tribulation coming?

I hope not to cause inconvenience to you.

My very best regards Bob,

As an afterthought to my last email, I have always thought the ‘he’ in verse 27 is referring to the anti-Christ, which of course it does but is verse 26 split after ‘sanctuary’ to be part of verse 27?

Hoping you will link this email with my last one.

Response #17:

You're right about everything (if I'm reading you right) except that in the phrase "the people of the prince-who-is-to-come", the people are the Romans of the first century, but the "prince-who-is-to-come" is not the general of that time but the "prince" who will come in the end times, that is, antichrist – and that is why you are correct that he is the "he" of verse twenty-seven. A couple of finer points: verse divisions are "modern" and relatively recent inventions in both testaments (not original to the text); and capitalization (along with most other such textual devices) is likewise not something found in the manuscripts: we include all such things to help readers understand, but they are interpretations. Here is my translation of the passage:

(24) Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to complete the rebellion and consummate sins (i.e., to bring apostasy to the full), to atone for iniquity and bring in everlasting righteousness (i.e., the saving work of Christ), and to seal up vision and prophecy and anoint the holy of holies (i.e., the coming of the Kingdom). (25) So know and understand that from the issuing of a decree to desist [from rebuilding Jerusalem] (in ca. 485 B.C.: Ezra 4:6-23), and for the rebuilding of Jerusalem (forty-two years later in ca. 443 B.C.: cf. Ezra 7:11-28; Neh. chap.1-6) until Messiah the prince there will be seven weeks (i.e., between the decree and the rebuilding) and sixty-two weeks (i.e., between the rebuilding and the birth of Christ in ca. 2 B.C.). [Jerusalem] will be repopulated and rebuilt with streets (i.e., residential reconstruction) and fortifications (i.e., military reconstruction) [and will remain so] even during difficult times (e.g., the occupation of Antiochus Epiphanes). (26) And after the sixty two weeks, Messiah will be cut off and have nothing (cf. Is.53:8), and the people of the prince who is coming (i.e., antichrist) will destroy both the city and the holy place. And his end will come with a flood (i.e., the "flooding away" of his armies at Armageddon; cf. the same Hebrew word, sheteph, שטף, in Dan.11:22; Nah.1:8), and until that end there will be wars – [appalling] devastation has been decreed. (27) Then he (i.e., antichrist) will confirm an agreement (or "covenant"; Hebrew, ברית, beriyth) with the powerful [in Israel] during [that] one [remaining] week (i.e., the 70th week, the Tribulation), but in the middle of the week (i.e., just prior to the Tribulation's mid-point) he will put a halt to sacrifice and offering (i.e., eliminating Moses and Elijah and interrupting the temple rites: Rev.11:1ff.). And on account of the extreme [nature] of [his] abominations, he [will] be causing desolations (i.e., desertion and estrangement from God), even until the end when what has been determined will be poured out upon the one characterized by [this] desolation (i.e., the beast as archetype and cause of the alienation and rebellion from God which he fosters).
Daniel 9:24-27

Apologies in advance if I've missed any of your concerns here – do please feel free to write me back any time, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hi Bob,

Thank you so much for your help in this and past days – I just hope as we go along this journey that the Spirit will open up more in time to all who would allow it.

I love how he comes softly at first, revealing little snippets in quiet times – such a beautiful thing. I don’t know if I’m right in saying this but it just seems in all the turmoil around us that the Spirit is a very tender thing and is easily ‘scared off’ if we don’t allow ourselves to be receptive to him?

How easily scripture is misconstrued by so many and every time you explain it more fully it makes perfect sense – if I can say one thing Bob, you’ve forgotten all I’ll ever know. And that may be a well worn saying but so very true.

It would seem, looking at verse 26 again, there is considerable time after the word himself and perhaps it should read:

26. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:
27. And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured out upon the desolate.

Amazing how you can see things in a ‘different light’ at times.

Again dear Bob, thank you so much for your help and guidance – ichthys is forever my ‘go to place’ for positive instruction.

With brotherly love,

Response #18:

You're most welcome, my friend, of course!

Yes, the Spirit's voice is "still and small" and He does not force us. We have to respond to Him, and getting on that "wavelength" and staying there is in many ways what spiritual maturity is all about.

Thanks as ever for your kind words, my friend.

Keeping you and your family in my prayers daily.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

I have another question. In your study of Eschatology, you claim that Jesus will return in the year 2033 A.D.

"c. Days 5 and 6: the two millennial days of the Church: The Church Age also comprises two millennial days. Working forward two complete thousand year periods from 33 A.D., the year of our Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection, would bring us to the year 2033 A.D. as the date of our Lord’s return and the beginning of His millennial reign."

I thought Jesus himself said that only the father knows the time he will come back. Did he not state this in Matthew 24:36?

Response #19:

Good to hear back from you. 

The first thing I always say about this 2026 interpretation (and it is an interpretation inasmuch as the precise dates are not included in scripture, obviously), is that it is dependent upon certain assumptions –  all of which I personally wholeheartedly believe.  So everyone should read these bullet point assumptions (found in SR 5 under "specific chronology of the seven days") before embracing this date (which I believe to be correct).  Here is another link that highlights them: "2026" – *see Q/A #9.

Secondly, the question you ask is one I often receive (so I will give you some links below).  To begin, the passage you ask about, Matthew 24:36, doesn't say that no one knows "the time"; what is says is that no one knows "of that day and hour".  Sometimes when the Bible says "hour" it means time generally –  but sometimes it means "hour" specifically; and sometimes when the Bible says "day" it means time generally –  but sometimes it means "day" specifically.  But I know of no place in scripture where both words are used where we have a general rather than a very specific reference to time (cf. Rev.9:15 where it is precisely specific).  So by the canons of hermeneutics this should mean "of the specific day and the specific hour".  After all, we can be sure that there is a detailed count of days.  Why?  Because our Lord had just said so in this very chapter: 

"And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened."
Matthew 24:22 NKJV

So there is an exact count of days; there has to be for it to be shortened.  The Bible contains a tremendous amount of information about eschatology.  The seven millennial days, for example, invite us to add two thousand years to the date of our Lord's ascension to heaven so as to determine the date of His return.  Everything I know about scripture tells me that while we are not to go beyond what is written we most definitely are supposed to make use of everything we have been given, and Matthew 24:36 does not tell us to ignore these matters.  Indeed, this entire discourse is about eschatology, given to us directly by our Lord for the express purpose that we may indeed know things we are going to need to know when the Tribulation begins. 

Finally (in this "nutshell" treatment –  please do read the links for the details), the "day and the hour" beyond all argument are talking about the second advent.  How could anyone who has read the Bible suggest that once the Tribulation begins we will have no clear idea of how long it will be until the second advent?  We may not be able to say with dogmatism when the Tribulation will begin (although I am convinced of the interpretation taught at this ministry), but without doubt the second advent occurs seven years after the Tribulation begins.  The Tribulation is Daniel's seventieth week –  a week of years, seven years – and the Great Tribulation, it's second half, is "a time, times and half a time", meaning three and a half years (which, doubled, equals seven years; cf. Dan.7:25; 12:7; Rev.11:2; 12:6; 12:14; 13:5).  Furthermore, the Tribulation has a very specific chronology, given in part by our Lord in this discourse and fleshed out in even more detail in the book of Revelation, His Revelation.  Believers who accept what scripture has to say have a very specific "road map" as to what will happen and when once the Tribulation starts.  And that is why our Lord, in the very same chapter we have been discussing, says the following: 

"Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!"
Matthew 24:32-33 NKJV

 According to Christ, we are to watch for these signs –  not stick our heads in the sand and pretend we don't know what the Bible has to say about all this. 

Here are those other links:

Jesus knows

No one knows?

Not for us to know?

 Please do feel free to write back about any of this, my friend. 

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Savior for whose return we breathlessly wait – Marana Tha!

 Bob L.

Question #20:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

I apologize for the delay in response. I have had a hectic schedule. I seem to be in a state of confusion. In one instance, we believe in the several millennial days in Genesis. Then we come to use these millennial days for the church (2). However, we go back to literal day and hour when it comes to Jesus coming back. I always took Matthew 24:36 to mean that any day (like tomorrow for instance) could be the day and time. This is what puts us on alert. This is what keeps us from slacking off in our quest for knowledge, understanding, and action of God's word.

Second, your math starts is counting for the 2nd coming of Jesus. I have always had a problem with counting this future advent as the 2nd. Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. This is his first coming. I believed that he died and was resurrected. This should be the 2nd coming of Jesus. He is given new life in the flesh again. Scripture about Baptism states that we become new beings when we give our lives to God and are baptized. So should the "2nd Advent" be actually the 3rd advent?

Lastly, in the Bible, I think we are taking too literally "Like a thousand years". Clearly this is a metaphor. See this from your study.

The great Day of the Lord is near, very near and coming quickly. The sound of the Day of the Lord will be one of warriors roaring bitterly. That day will be a day of blackness, a day of constraint and pressure, a day of devastation and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and deep gloom, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the high corner-towers. For I shall bring distress upon mankind, and they will walk about like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord. And their blood will be poured out like dust, and their innards like excrement. Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the anger of the Lord. And all the earth will be devoured by the fire of His jealousy. For He will bring all the inhabitants of the earth to a complete, yes, a terrifying end.
Zephaniah 1:14-18

Should we believe it will take the Lord an entire millennia (Zephaniah 1:14-18) or even year to devour the earth by the fire of his jealousy when it took Him just 40 days and 40 nights (Genesis 7:12)? I guess I am saying I am still confused as to how we should use the Day of the Lord? I apologize. This is a lot of information to sift through.

Response #20:

1) The seven days in Genesis are literal, twenty-four hour days.  But they are symbolic of the seven millennial days.  Daniel, for example, uses days to represent years in chapter nine.  And "the Day of the Lord" is much longer than a day, prefaced by the Tribulation and beginning at the second advent but being fulfilled in the Millennium (i.e., a "millennial day").  Both Moses and Peter affirm the equivalence of a day and a thousand years in the Lord's view (Ps.90:4; 2Pet.3:8). 

2) The chronology the Bible gives us of human history has four thousand years from the fall to the birth of Christ (minus the seven years of the Tribulation); the Millennium is a thousand years.  That is five thousand years.  The Church Age has gone on now for almost two thousand years –  so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to do the math here.  This distribution of time is also confirmed in the Jewish ceremonial calendar (see the link). 

3) We are not "going back and forth".  Every passage means something particular.  Figuring out what that may be is the job of any good Bible teacher.  I always put forth the reasons why I teach what I teach.  Feel free to disagree and give specific objections.  But without argument sometimes words are used metaphorically in scripture.  Daniels "weeks" are composed of years; "the Day of the Lord" is more than one day.  This is not "going back and forth"; this is (easily) making sense of what scripture means.  Declaring Daniel's weeks as literal weeks would be wrong.  Declaring the Day of the Lord as one twenty-four hour day only would be wrong.  Likewise, declaring the seven Genesis days as more than twenty-four hour days would be wrong.  It "is what it is" and our job is to figure out just "what" it is. 

4) You are not wrong about alertness.  If I do not know the day or the hour, I am alert.  If I am told that a thief will break into my house sometime next month, or sometime next week, or even sometime in the near future, I cannot relax for that period of time, not until the event takes place.  Similarly, during the Tribulation pressures will mount up from beginning to end.  The rise of antichrist, followed by the trumpet judgments of warning and the Great Apostasy, followed by the Great Tribulation, the Great Persecution and the bowl judgments will render many presently lukewarm Christians vulnerable to the deceptions of antichrist and his false prophet: 

"And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be."
Matthew 24:22-26 NKJV

We need to be alert and hold on until the end –  no one during that time will know the exact day or hour but we are given the clear assurance by our Lord here that there will be a shortening and there will be no doubt about His actual return.  So we will have a very good idea that it is close when it is close – keep your eye on the fig tree.  

5) The passage, Matthew 24:36, can only refer to general alertness –  as for us today –  because it is clearly given as a warning to those within the Tribulation, and there is no doubt that we are not yet in the Tribulation.  So it can't literally refer to "tomorrow".  There are plenty of passages which counsel alertness generally (see the link), but this one can only be used for that by way of application: it's interpretation has to do with events of the Tribulation. 

6) On counting advents, this is an interpretive fallacy.  The Bible is what counts when it comes to "counts".  The Greek word parousia, meaning "presence" or "being present after arriving", is what the New Testament uses to refer to Christ's return after the Tribulation.  Advent comes from the Latin Vulgate.  I use "first and second advent" because everyone (almost) means the same thing by these terms.  I suppose I could say parousia, but then almost no one would understand what I was talking about without a lot of unnecessary explanation.  You are free to use whatever terminology you wish in your teaching, but if you start saying "third advent", a) it will confuse everyone, b) it will not have the benefit of actual scriptural support since the time after Christ's resurrection is never called a separate parousia in the Bible.  That is because it is the only remaining parousia, the one we are all looking forward to. 

7) On the length of the Day of the Lord, your citation focuses on the beginning of the Day –  which is a unique day but still one day – and that is why it is called the Day of the Lord not the Millennium of the Lord.  But note that this passage, Zephaniah 1:14-18, also includes the preface to the day, the Tribulation (e.g., "I shall bring distress upon mankind" happens before the momentary second advent).  For a complete consideration of this term and all of its implications please see the link in CT 1: "The Day of the Lord Paradigm".  As to being too literal, the verses say what they say; our job is to figure out what they mean.  How else would you wish to understand that for the Lord "a (single) day" is like "a thousand years" and, very importantly, vice versa.  The one is like the other and the other is like the one.  Therefore they are equivalent in His sight.  If this is metaphorical, the metaphor means that the Lord regards a literal 1,000 years as nothing more than a day –  something that makes sense since He is above time.  But that also means that the idea of a millennial day, while it may seem mind-boggling to us, is exactly how He is seeing things.  Q.E.D. 

8) The main part of the Day of the Lord which lasts a millennium is the Millennium.  Judgment begins before the second advent, reaches its apex at the second advent, and will continue for a time after the second advent (see the link: "The Second Advent Judgments"). But the blessed conclusion of that Day is the reign of the Son of God – which lasts throughout the Day in its fullness, the millennial day, aka the Millennium.

The best place to read about all this is the entire Coming Tribulation series to which the Satanic Rebellion series is an important prologue.  I do have a shorter version in BB 2B eschatology, but if you are wishing to get into all of the detail, I would move on to the more detailed treatment of these two other series.

In our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Thanks. I will read the rest of the studies. I don't believe that all of the days of the creation was literal. The First 3 days of creation the sun and the moon was not created. With our concept of time being governed by the sun and the moon, how can we for certain know that the days are literally?

Response #21:

Here is what I read in Genesis:

God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” There was an evening, and there was a morning: one day.

"One day" is correct; "the first day" is actually not what the Hebrew says (though it later does say "second day", "third day", etc.). So the Bible calls the first day "one day" and delineates it by saying there was an evening part and a morning part, the two parts of any literal twenty-four hour day (hard to see how an era would have an evening and a morning part). I don't know of any possible way that the Bible could be more clear that this is literal and not to be taken metaphorically (without footnotes, that is). And care needs to be taken not to fall into the trap of "this seems to me to be scientifically impossible so we must understand it somehow else". After all, Paul tells us in Hebrews . . .

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
Hebrews 11:3 NKJV

The universe is created in verse one. Verse two describes the situation after the judgment upon the world following Satan's revolt – notice that the earth is already there in verse two. In between there is a gap (see the link) when that event, the rebellion, takes place. What follows in Genesis 1:3ff. is the account of the re-construction of the world to make it habitable for mankind, we who as believers saved by grace and the cross are God's refutation of the devil's lies. God could have reconstructed things in an instant – the same way He created them in verse one. But He took seven literal days to do so for important symbolic reasons. These seven days represent the entire plan of God for human history, with the day of rest, day seven, corresponding to the millennial day of rest, the Millennium.

Do have a look at the links provided (happy to point you in the direction of anything else you would like to ask about as well).

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #22:

With all due respect, I think that your point of view may be off on the necessity for the days of creation to be 24 Hrs.

God's measure of time is different from ours. The sun wasn't created until day four. What was the light? What was the dark? You say that you can't see an era in morning, but we just talked about the Day of the Lord. There is no darkness in God. There is only light.
We know the Lord's day isn't always 24 hrs. You say it is millennial. You also, just said that "it's hard to see how an era can have an evening and a morning." Wouldn't this be a contradiction to your theory on the millennial days?

Here is a link to a site that I have found helpful in how to decipher the days off creation in Genesis chapter 1. Please take a look when you have time.


Response #22:


Question #23:

Dr. Luginbill,

I apologise for my line of emails and responses. I have been difficult and confusing. I will try to be more clear and respectful. Thank you for all of your hard work in your interpretations.

Response #23:

No worries, my friend.  I appreciate the email. 

You certainly have a right to ask questions.  I would strenuously advise all Christians to do their homework before giving their attention to any ministry.

 One thing I will say, though, is that the Church of Jesus Christ –  the true Church as opposed to some denomination –  is not meant to be a Smorgasbord.  That is to say, no believer ever got anywhere in spiritual growth by listening to multiple ministries which teach different things.  Why not?  Because only what is both true AND believed can be used by the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit converts truth in the believer's heart to epignosis only when the believer hears, understands and accepts the truth of that truth through faith (see the links:  "Faith Epistemology" and "Epignosis").

Even a person with the gift of pastor-teacher and even if said person has a good number of essential tools already in his possession (a deep knowledge of the original languages, the Bible itself, theology, church history, etc.), even then until he is ready to begin feeding others –  and himself too thereby –  he is dependent on someone else' ministry to grow.  

If it were the case that there were very many ministries out there which actually teach the truth in depth and detail covering the entire realm of the doctrines of the Bible, being correct in most of what they said, then perhaps browsing and grazing one to another might not be disastrous.  As it is, however, most of the trees out there produce rotten fruit.  Moreover –  and this is the critical point –  believers are given the ability to discern if a tree is good or not, but not whether every individual piece of fruit is good or not.  What does that mean?  It means that a believer who picks up a piece of fruit here and another one there is either going to eat them all (and get much more of what is rotten than good to his/her spiritual detriment), or not eat any of it, only collect it (in which case the good will do him/her no good either).  Only what you believe will help you –  and only if it is true. 

So I encourage you to find the right ministry for you.  Some place where the vast bulk of what is taught is true and accurate and done in depth covering all aspects of doctrine (there aren't many such –  I also recommend pastor-teacher Curtis Omo's Bible Academy at the link).  So if you find one, a truly good one, one that also speaks to you personally (we are all different and not every teacher/ministry can be every believer's "cup of tea"), then I would counsel you to treasure it and put aside the small areas where you have trouble believing what it taught.  That way, you will get fed and you will be able to grow –  and in the end all of your questions will be answered. 

Yours in the Great Shepherd of the Sheep, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, 

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hi Bob,

Can someone know what the mark of the beast represents? There are so many interpretations on the web. Something came into my mind a couple of weeks ago, and it was about the mark of the beast. I also heard of people getting possessed by demons, and scratch marks appear on their body. It looks like only 3 claws. I was wondering if the mark of the beast is those 3 claw marks? I also notice that in some way, 666 actually resembles the 3 claw marks. The top of the 6's looks like scratch marks or nails used to scratch, and the bottom of the 6's look like part of a hand.

There is also an energy drink called "monster" which shows 3 claw marks on the can, the monster energy drink has the word "beast", like "unleash the beast". Am I crazy or could this actually be the mark of the beast, or similar to it?

God Bless!,

Response #24:

There are many erroneous theories about the mark, and I've written a great deal about this (links below).

Put your mind at ease: 1) the mark will be VERY obvious; 2) NO ONE will be forced to take it; 3) NO ONE will take it by mistake; 4) it won't even be available for the taking until the middle of the Tribulation – and the Tribulation has not yet begun; 5) NONE of the things out there today are "the mark".

Here are those links which provide details for the above:

Is the mark a tattoo?

The mark of the beast and "biometry"

Speculations about the number of the beast

Do not take the mark of the beast (in CT 7)

The Mark of the Beast (in CT 4)

The Number of the Beast (in CT 4)

Eschatology Issues XIII

"Numbers, Letters, and the Mark of the Beast"

The mark of the beast

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

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

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

The idea of the mark

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Dear Teacher

You said,

north: the three eldest sons of Leah, Reuben, Judah and Levi.

in The New Jerusalem. Why is Simeon not named there? He was Leah's second son according to Genesis 29:33. Shouldn't the gates in the North have been Reuben, Simeon and Judah if it was following birth order?

Yours in our precious Lord Jesus Christ

Response #25:

The gates of New Jerusalem (not millennial Jerusalem, for which see Ezek: 48:31-34) follow the encampment and marching order of the tribes as delineated at Numbers 2:1-31 and 10:11-33 (New Jerusalem being our ultimate encampment).

For the reason for the specific way in which John describes them see in context the link "The Gemstone Foundations and Gates" in CT 6. Finally, there is a ms. problem here. Footnote #69:

This is the order actually described in the Greek text. Many versions incorrectly reverse south and west in verse 13. The tradition reflected in Alexandrinus (codex A) is in fact the one followed by the queen of biblical manuscripts, Sinaiticus (codex א), despite what one may gather from various textual apparatuses. There was a scribal error in א (accidentally writing “north” twice), but the correction to “south / west” instead of “west / south” is late and incorrect. After writing north a second time, the scribe next wrote “south” and there ended the series (proving that “south” is the final set of gates).

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Dear Teacher

I meant the article - The New Jerusalem - the excerpt from CT 6, not the place itself. I was quoting what you wrote about Millennial Jerusalem. I am puzzled about why Simeon was left out although he was older than Judah and should have been ahead of him in the gates since he was older from the same mother, Leah.

Thank you, sir. I saw those emails. I found them very useful to read again. I was rejoicing about how far the Lord has graciously brought me. Those days were some of the darkest in my life. I am thankful, very thankful that I was enabled to stick it out to come into this place where the Lord has graciously brought me.

Yours in our priceless Lord Jesus Christ

Response #26:

I'm very happy to learn that you are finding a good balance in your new situation. Major changes as in the ones you have undergone always disrupt thing. How would they not? It takes spiritual maturity to engage with the new problems and find a way forward. This you have done, and I'm very pleased to hear it.

On the gates of New Jerusalem, not millennial Jerusalem: As mentioned, these reflect the marching and encamping order of the tribes. So the "why is Simeon where he/they is/are?" question predates New Jerusalem. Reuben lost his first place rights due to the incident described in Genesis 35:22 (cf. Gen.49:3-4). Simeon and Levi lost their positions on account of the incident described in Genesis (cf. Gen.49:5-7), and as a result are "scattered within Israel" (Gen.49:7). Simeon's inheritance in the land was not geographically contiguous and that tribe is subordinate to Reuben in the division assigned to the south. Levi, on account of the incident described at Exodus 35:25-29 (cf. Deut.33:9), became dedicated to the Lord's service (so do not have a gate or a single place in the marching order) and in terms of inheritance were indeed "scattered" because the Levite cities were dispersed throughout the entire land.

You have indeed come a long way in a short time, my friend!

But with respect to the progress you have made, keep on advancing in the same way!
Philippians 3:16

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Dear Teacher

Thank you for your very kind words. I am much encouraged from reading them.

Sir, I'm sorry that I have not been clear with my question here. I understand the arrangement of the gates in New Jerusalem. It was one of the most intriguing parts of the CT series. What was confusing me was the arrangement of the gates in Millennial Jerusalem. I think I have some understanding of that from what you wrote here but I could still use some clarification:

Simeon does have a gate in Millennial Jerusalem but not where one would expect for his place in order of birth and maternity. He is the second son from Leah but Judah and Levi precede him and Reuben retains his place as firstborn. That is what I don't understand. I assume that Levi's actions at Sinai may have been the reason that he is sort of restored and given his otherwise rightful place in the gates after Judah. But why does Reuben retain his place as firstborn while Simeon loses his? How did Reuben get "restored"? Joseph got the double portion that was due to him and Judah got the kingship. But in the gates, he still gets first place, Joseph gets one gate rather than two and Judah is the second gate on the North after Reuben. But Simeon who is second born of Leah does not even get on the North side at all. Why is that?

Thank you very much, Sir. By our Lord's very sufficient grace, I will keep striving.

Yours in our priceless Lord Jesus Christ

Response #27:

I will keep praying for you, my friend.  You are right: nothing is impossible for the Lord.  He clearly has a plan for you that includes a substantive ministry to the Body of Christ, and everything He has done, is doing, and will do for you is directed towards that end, no doubt.  So there is no need to worry about it; rather, all you need to do is to keep doing what you know He wants you to do and let Him work out the details (easier said than done sometimes when things are concerning us, even for the greatest of believers; e.g.: Gen.17:17-18). 

Sorry for my lack of understanding on your question.  Here is what I have written about this issue (it's in the CT 6 at the prior link) –  have a look and do feel free to get back to me if you have further questions:

 The Twelve Gates: As in the case of the millennial Jerusalem described in Ezekiel 48:30-34, the New Jerusalem will also have twelve gates bearing the names of the tribes of Israel. There are differences between the two, however, and those differences are profound: 

1) The naming of the gates of millennial Jerusalem proceeds in a clockwise fashion (i.e., north to south to east to west), whereas the New Jerusalem's gates are enumerated counterclockwise (east to north to west to south).69

 2) Millennial Jerusalem has a gate for Levi and combines Ephraim and Manasseh into one tribe, Joseph, whereas the New Jerusalem has no gate for Levi and separate gates for Ephraim and Manasseh.

 3) While in the New Jerusalem the order of the gates and tribes associated with them has everything to do with rank (see section VII.7 below, "The Foundations and Gates of the Wall", for the identification of the gemstones with their particular tribes and the significance of their ordering), the gates of millennial Jerusalem are ordered according to birth by means of a formula which takes into consideration both age and motherhood:

north: the three eldest sons of Leah, Reuben, Judah and Levi.

east: the sons of Rachel, Joseph and Benjamin, along with Dan, the first son of her maid, Bilhah.

south: Leah's three other sons, Simeon, Issachar and Zebulun.

west: Gad, Asher, the two sons of Leah's maid (Zilpah); and Naphtali, Bilhah's second son.

As will be seen below, by comparing the arrangement of the jewels of the high priest's ephod with the gemstones which serve as foundations for the wall (along with the gates with which they are thereby necessarily associated), it is possible to determine the specific tribes associated with each gate (and the probable significance of the linkage). This will be covered below in our treatment of Revelation 21:15-21 where these foundations are actually described and ranked. For the moment, it is important to point out that each gate represents a division of the Church, and it is for this reason that each gate has one of the twelve apostles and an angel associated with it. The angels are positioned "at the gates", while the apostles names are inscribed on their respective foundation stones. In terms of the apostles, they would seem to be in charge (or at least to be the titular heads) of the twelve divisions of the Bride of Christ; in terms of the angels, they would seem to be the liaisons to and/or comparable heads of the angelic divisions which correspond to and are eternally associated with the divisions of the Church (and we will suggest the particular identification and assignments of each college of twelve below). As we shall see, this magnificent vision given to John to see in all its glory is not only one of breath-taking beauty, but it also will give us a key to the possibilities of our eternal status, depending upon "what was accomplished through this body, whether it be good or worthless" (2Cor.5:10). 

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #28:

Dear Teacher

Thank you for continuing to pray for me. That is always a huge help and an encouragement to me.

Yes, Sir, this is the excerpt I read and was puzzled by. I noticed that Reuben and Judah preceded Simeon and Levi and that confused me since the arrangement here is by maternity and birth order. Simeon is the second son and Levi the third. Reuben, like them, lost his place at first because of his affair with his stepmother Bilhah. But here he is restored while Simeon is not. Levi is knocked back one place so that he is behind Judah, his immediate younger brother, rather than ahead of him. But Levi is ahead of Simeon his immediate older brother who with him was punished for what they did at Shechem. Understandably, Levi regained some place because of his zeal for God at Sinai but he is still behind Judah while Reuben is ahead of Judah although we know of nothing he or his descendants did to regain his place.

So, why is Simeon so far back while Reuben is restored and Levi is...sort of...as well? That is my question.

Yours in our priceless Lord Jesus Christ

Response #28:

On Simeon, as I say in the section in question, "While in the New Jerusalem the order of the gates and tribes associated with them has everything to do with rank . . . the gates of millennial Jerusalem are ordered according to birth by means of a formula which takes into consideration both age and motherhood". The essence of what this means is that the position does not have any meaningful significance. The eastern side should be the place of greatest honor, but in millennial Jerusalem (not New Jerusalem) honor seems to have nothing to do with it. That is understandable in that there is no reward associated with the positioning. We see that too, by the way, in the millennial distribution of the land of Israel wherein Judah will be north of Jerusalem (a move from before) and Benjamin south (staying roughly in place) with some of the tribes in similar positions and some moved dramatically. But in the Millennium, all have an equal share. The distribution is not a matter of merit, and neither is the arrangement of the gates. You are certainly correct that using the method of merit to discern the distribution in terms of tribal names doesn't work for the most part (but there is most definitely a rank component for believer rewards associated with the different gates; see the link). There is one "merit" issue, however, if one wants to put it that way. It was inappropriate for Judah to be absent from the major grouping of Leah's sons. So Judah replaces Simeon in the birth order – not Levi because of Levi's decision to stand with the Lord on that fateful day and smite his own brothers. That is the best I can do with this one. As I say, there is no merit to be derived from the placement of gates or the allotment of land during the Millennium, so I'm content with what I have been able to find out.

Question #29:

On the coming Tribulation, it says the love of many will grow cold. Is that a sin that we need to work to avoid, or is it just describing? What I mean is that in day to day life, as you have said to me and others on the website, we avoid people (don't make friends or continue friendship) who act a certain way. When that increases during the Tribulation, and if we followed that pattern we might be doing that with a lot of people (our love growing cold?). Will it be a particular time period to go out of our way (when we normally wouldn't such as now) to open ourselves up and try to show love? (Hope this makes sense).

Unless maybe if we pray for them out of love, that will help keep our hearts from cooling? That is the other way I have thought of it.

Thank you for the encouragement, sir! If I go down for wrong-think, let it be for faith in the Lord and not something spiritually useless. No-one could ever take the Lord's place, or be a good as Him. Thanks for the encouragement!

Response #29:

Of course believers should be ever evaluating their spiritual status. Staying "red hot" for the Lord in the midst of lukewarm Laodicea is no easy matter and really does require daily Bible study to achieve.

But as to the verse you quote, this is referring to the danger of succumbing to apostasy during the Tribulation wherein one third of actual believers will do so:

(10) And at that time many will fall away (i.e., will apostatize) and will betray each other and will hate each other, (11) and many false prophets will arise and will deceive many. (12) Now because of the increase of lawlessness [at that time], the love of the many will cool. (13) But he who endures until the end, this [is the one who] will be saved."
Matthew 24:3-13

Notice that in verse ten apostasy and betrayal is in view and in verse thirteen the alternative of enduring so as to be saved is in view. In between we have our Lord's prophecy of "love cooling off". So while there is no doubt a process involved here, the context indicates that the danger is one of apostasy – that is what happens when we stop loving Jesus Christ first and foremost. And, of course, if we stop loving Him, we will stop loving our brothers and sisters in Him – since we will not longer be of Him. The process works from the other side as well: if we start losing all love and respect for other believers and begin to abuse, exploit and betray them, there is no doubt that our love for the Lord has certainly cooled down as well . . . and is on the point of being extinguished along with our faith. That is apostasy.

See the link: "The Great Apostasy"

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #30:

Hi, I have been reading about and pondering the reinstituted offerings in Ezekiel 40-46 and am finding it hard to accept that they will be merely a memorial of what Christ has done, especially since the sacrifices that point directly to Christ's substitutionary sacrifice for man will not be observed. I am more inclined to believe the offerings will again, as the scriptures teach, be a "schoolmaster to lead people to Christ."

If we think about the Jewish people at the time of Christ, their Messianic expectations were a big cause of them not accepting Christ. They were expecting a conquering King not a suffering Savior. When Christ returns, the unregenerate Jews will see Jesus coming as the conquering King they have always expected. Now with their Messiah seat on His throne before them, it will perhaps be even more difficult to see Him and accept Him as the Savior for their sins which they will still need to do.

When I read about the O.T. sacrifices it seems as though there are those sacrifices the people were to bring (sin, guilt, burnt offerings) and those that God provided for the people through the priest: the 24/7 perpetual offering and the Day of Atonement sacrifice. I believe the latter two point to Christ because God provided them for the people. But the sacrifices offered by the people were intended to put a finger on their heart issues and the constant sin that results.

In the millennium the 24/7 perpetual sacrifice and the day of Atonement sacrifice are absent. This leaves the sacrifices the people were obligated to bring. They brought them in acknowledgement (confession) of their guilt/sin. It was a humbling process because others saw and knew the person had sinned in some way. It taught the people that sin is costly and blood must be shed before forgiveness can be granted. For N.T. believers we still must humble ourselves and confess our sins. We are commanded to confess our sins to one another, but we are to offer up spiritual sacrifices.

I believe that God will use the reinstituted sacrifices in the Millennium to bring the unregenerate to a knowledge and acceptance of Christ as Savior.

Response #30:

The way I see it, there are two key points here:

1) What do the millennial sacrifices mean?

And . . .

2) What is their purpose?

The two questions are in fact inter-related. The first thing to say is that they obviously do not look forward to the death of the Messiah for the sins of the world because that has already happened. That is why the regime of sacrifices under the Law was discontinued – and why Paul called the fact of some Jewish believers continuing to offer them anyway "crucifying the Son of God afresh" (Heb.6:6). Since they can't be looking forward, then they must be looking backward. That is why I have called them "memorials" as commemorating our Lord's work on the cross.

I think you are correct that these sacrifices will be used – as the ones under the Law were meant to be used – to teach the truth about Christ's spiritual death in the darkness for the sins of the world (link). That is not contradictory to the idea of a memorial. After all, here is what our Lord says about communion which is mean to teach and symbolize the same thing:

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
1st Corinthians 11:23-25 NKJV

We remember Jesus' work in dying for our sins when we take communion (or certainly should). Analogously, these millennial sacrifices will likewise produce "remembrance" – and teaching about what it is we need to remember is an essential part of the process. That is good for the edification of believers as well as a means of leading to salvation among those who do not as yet believe.

For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,
As the waters cover the sea.
Habakkuk 2:14 NKJV

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #31:

Hey Bob,

Had a question on the 666 mark. It's my understanding the mark is instituted around the halfway point in the trib. At this point, a whole lot of crap has happened to humanity and many prophecies have or are being actively fulfilled. There's a world leader who has conquered large portions of the world, he's even performing miracles (or maybe that's his main henchman, can't remember). The world leader has created and subsequently broken a covenant with Israel and he's installed himself as god in the jewish temple, demanding to be worshiped. There's also been two dudes in Israel the last few years who have helped rebuild the jewish temple and also done their own miracles, even calling fire down to destroy people and created a drought several years long. By the time the mark is instituted, the two witnesses might've already been killed and resurrected flying away in the clouds. Humanity has died by the billions with the craziest disasters only dreamed up in hollywood movies. We're now dealing with the world leader telling us everyone will have a mark or they don't buy/sell goods.

All this has happened and the bible then tells us that it requires wisdom to suss out the meaning of the 666 mark. Why do we need wisdom or even care about the 666 meaning at this point? What is the point of telling us about the 666 calculation? Do we really need more signs of confirmation at this point? Are things going to be not as obvious as we think they are? Is this just another point of evidence for the christian to try and convince non-believers? Is there still confusion at this point that we're not in the end times? I'm just confused/curious why the bible calls attention to the 666 when there's so many other things already concretely confirming scripture.

I appreciate your hard work and diligence in studying/writing your site. Hope your summer is going well and enjoying whatever break it is professors at colleges get.


Response #31:

Good to hear from you, my friend.

It's a very interesting question. As you suggest, the Bible makes a point of it being important – so it's important. As to the "why", that is the realm of interpretation. A couple of quick thoughts:

It seems to me that the fact of our eventual death, for example, is a pretty violent attention-getter, and really ought to motivate people to "do something about it" – and the only thing that can be done about it is to seek God (and then believe in Christ). For mortal human beings, is anything more important? And yet, the vast majority of the human race from the beginning to the end has hardened their hearts against what theologian Tillich called "the ultimate concern". So the scripture's repeated calling of attention to the need for salvation is not only important but necessary – and even so many don't respond.

In a similar way and in fact in a directly related way, taking the mark will entail vigorously and terminally rejecting Jesus Christ and accepting antichrist in His stead. That is something that God clearly wants to make sure does not happen through any sort of accident or lack of information, and this command and this means of determining the beast is a sort of insurance policy along those lines. Just as the Book of Life is an insurance policy against the condemnation of anyone who might be a believer, so this means of discovering the beast – whose identity has to have been obvious to any believer who was halfway paying attention up to this point – acts to take away the last excuse of any and all who follow the beast.

After all, this is the age of Laodicea. What is obvious to you and me is not at all obvious – and is in many cases completely unknown – to most of our brothers and sisters in this lukewarm era. And I'm referring to a whole raft of doctrinal truths. These types are going to enter into the Tribulation without any serious preparation, and the pressures of it will test their weak faith to the limit. Without this litmus test, it is not inconceivable to me that in spite of all of the things the Bible says about these matters they may still be deceived. This test takes away that potential for deception – to anyone looking to the scriptures for guidance in any measure. No believer will worship the beast without recognizing that they are denying Christ if they do so. And it may be that the number of Christians who are protected by this litmus test will be infinitesimally small. But if even only ONE believer was kept from damnation by this injunction and means of discovering the beast contained in Revelation, then we see the magnitude of God's inimitable grace in rescuing the one sheep where the ninety-nine don't need it.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #32:

Dr. Luginbill:

I agree with your code of conduct that it would be wrong for a Christian to attempt to use weapons of man to participate in an area which is divinely planned and the exclusive jurisdiction of God, i.e. dealing with the Anti-Christ and his forces.

In fact, we have the example of Peter in Gethsemane when they came to take Jesus where Peter attempted to use a sword to intervene in a divinely ordained event that was central to God's plan to redeem humanity. That was clearly wrong and foolish.

Similarly, using weapons to try to "fight" the forces of the Anti-Christ would be the same thing Peter attempted at Gethsemane and not only would it be futile, God himself may see that it is not effective. We would be trying to get involved in something that must be left to God and the Bible is clear.....that is not a good idea, we would be on the wrong side of God, not a place I want to be.

So, if I am alive at such a time and the official forces of the Anti-Christ come to take me away, I am resigned to that and hope that God would glorify himself through my behavior in such a situation.

However, let's say - as you suggest, we "take shelter" during this time. I would imagine in addition to the "official" forces of the Anti-Christ both ordinary crime and hate crime targeted at Christians would be substantially higher during this period.

So, let's say some group of non-official evil people come along who simply want to harm me or my family or other's I am in proximity to at the time. Now, I live in Texas, love shooting, am an enthusiastic hunter and thus possess a number (a lot) of firearms. My view is that Christians would have the right to self defense during the tribulation from actions taken by other, ordinary non-state or non-Anti-Christ sponsored groups just as we do now.

What is your view of self-defense by Christians during the Tribulation as it relates to the code of conduct.

For instance, if someone were to attempt a home invasion of my home right now, I would shoot them. Then I would call 911 and then if I did not think they were going to make it, I would offer to pray with them and tell them that it is not too late to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, I forgive them and He will as well. While I am sure I would pray over the event after the fact, I am very comfortable I would not be sinning by taking that life. As evidence I note, that the only killing for which King David had sinned and God punished him for was that of Uriah, despite all the killings in warfare he surely committed. It wasn't the killing, it was that the killing was murder. It was the intent in the heart, not the action itself.

Should my conduct and standards for use of force to defend oneself be any different just because we are in the Tribulation?

[As an aside I do not believe the Lord has a problem with Christians either possessing the means of self defense or using lethal force in such a situation......for that belief I sight the facts that (a) while the Lord did not approve of the way Peter used his weapon at Gethsemane to try to intervene in a divinely planned event, the fact that at the point Peter had been a disciple of Jesus for approximately three years and he HAD a sword at all suggests to me that Jesus did not have a problem with the disciples having instruments of self defense, otherwise Peter presumably would not have had one three years into his discipleship. Further (b) while the disciples misunderstood Jesus when he told them that if they did not possess a sword to buy one - because they thought he wanted them to violently install him as King - again his words did not indicate he had any problem with a disciple possessing a sword.]

While certainly if the Lord called me to any kind of public ministry, I do not think it would be appropriate of a man of God called by the Lord to ministry to possess weapons. I would gladly accept persecution from the Anti-Christ and simply pray that the Lord would give me strength to glorify Him come what may. A person that is on the "front line" should be totally dependent on the Lord. But, let's say I am just an ordinary guy trying to get through the tribulation. Does that change things? Or, should I sell all my guns once the Tribulation starts?

Believe it or not this issue has been greatly on my mind for the last few months. I am not a passive guy and I have often wished I could find a way to arm Christians in Sudan or Syria. I do not think there would be anything wrong at this time with Christians in Sudan organizing a militia to defend themselves from murderous Muslim jihadists that slaughter them. Of course we are not yet in the Great Tribulation. I know the Bible speaks of the Lord's people as being like Sheep.....so perhaps we should go passively (in a physical sense) while being totally dependent on God in a spiritual and physical sense during that time. Plus of course getting rid of one's guns would eliminate the temptation to resist the official forces of the Anti-Christ, which if you had the means (as Peter did at Gethsemane) it would be excruciatingly hard not to go for it (which would of course be wrong) in the "heat" of the moment. It probably would be a great temptation to me.

I know a lot of Christians may not believe in guns, but down here in Texas there are a lot of us that do.

So I am seriously seeking your wisdom on this matter.


Response #32:

Good to hear back from you.

As a new 2nd Lieutenant, I used my first paycheck to buy a Gold Cup Colt .45 pistol, and for most of my short career in the corps, I used it to qualify. It was stolen in a break in about fifteen years back, so I am without any workable firearms at present (to be honest, the only time I ever used it after getting out of the USMC was one time when I took my brother and some of his friends to a range to try it out). I might still have a few of my dad's war souvenirs in the attic – but ammo for WWII Japanese weapons is probably hard to come by if you don't load your own. Be that as it may, I don't see any problem with owning fire arms, not even for a pastor or teacher. I rely on the Lord for everything – but He provides the means. Recently, I had a tooth go bad and it abscessed. I relied on Him to solve the problem – but that doesn't mean I didn't go to a dental surgeon as the means (I sure did).

I use the passage you cite, Luke 22:35-36, all the time to support the validity of self-defense (I will give you some links on that principle below). But after commending "weapon ownership", our Lord rebuked Peter when he used a sword to try and defend Him:

"Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword."
Matthew 26:52 NIV

Why? Because even though they were SO in the wrong, the forces coming to arrest our Lord were governmental. The commending of carrying a sword earlier has to do with self-defense – against lawless forces. The apostles would face all sorts of dangers in their travels (e.g., 2Cor.11:26), and self-defense would occasionally be necessary – as it is for us all from time to time. But we can't claim "self-defense" if we are pulled over for speeding, e.g. The government "carries a sword" not for nothing but to put down law-breaking (Rom.13:4). When we defend ourselves, as in your example, we are standing in for the government until duly constituted authority can come to our aid. The nub of the issue is, "what happens when duly constituted authority IS the problem?"

In my reading of scripture, rebellion against duly constituted authority is often condemned but never ordained. Even in the book of Esther where that authority was being parceled out to private citizens for the extermination of the people of God, there is no hint that without the government's say so any resistance might even be offered – and be godly.

I am not saying that there are absolutely no instances where it might not be righteous and right to fight for one authority against another (e.g., the state of Virginia instead of the British crown). But we are talking here about the Tribulation, and it is very clear that there will be no such alternative government authority at that time which might have a claim on being "duly constituted". The whole world is going to be under antichrist's control during the Great Tribulation, the time when the Great Persecution will occur. Under such circumstances, violent resistance will be resistance against the duly constituted authority – even if it is vile in every way. Indeed, to the extent that power comes from the consent of the governed (in many theories of such things), the vast majority of the world will applauding the beast (and his persecution of us as well):

People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?”
Revelation 13:4 NIV

All this places believers who are contemplating resisting their being arrested and martyred in a pretty difficult ethical position. On the one hand, we are not cowards and we have been within our rights to resist wanton evil in the past when government was unable to come to our aid. But not if the government itself worldwide is wanton evil to its core.

The apostles did not resist the Roman government. In fact, both Peter and Paul tell us in no uncertain terms that we are to obey the government (Rom.13:1-6; 1Pet.2:13-17; see Q/A #5 at the link), even though both were abused by it mightily and, if tradition is correct, both martyred by it as well (see the link: the deaths of the apostles).

Martyrdom – which means "giving a [good] witness" is an important part of the Lord's plan for the Tribulation. It lets the world know, men and angels both, that for the sake of Jesus Christ, we would gladly give up everything, if that be His will.

And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
Revelation 12:11 RSV

This all being the case, fighting against the forces of antichrist does not seem to me to be a legitimate form of self-defense. We know how this all goes. We know how this all ends. Fighting against antichrist will not prevent the Great Persecution, and the Great Persecution will not obliterate all believers from the earth – since a great many will be resurrected without death at the Lord's return (1Thes.4:16-18).

For these reasons, I am inclined to recommend the following verse which comes in the context of the events we are contemplating:

“If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.” This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.
Revelation 13:10 NIV

Here are those links:

Validity of self-defense

Turn the other cheek

The biblical view of self-defense

Preemptive war?

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #33:

People talk about God's providence and how he organizes things in our lives for our benefit.

Well, before anybody knew of global warming, he put a big map of Greenland right in the middle of each and every map in every schoolkid's classroom and made it fourteen times the size of Africa.

How do we know that this isn't God's providence too?

Response #33:

If you're worried about "climate change", I'm pretty sure that the darkness of the fourth trumpet judgment (Rev.8:12) and the fifth bowl judgment will cool things off quite a bit.

I'm in my seventh decade and I haven't noticed any substantial differences in environment since I was a tot, so I'm personally not too concerned that polar bears are going to become extinct in the next 15 years (which is all we have left until the Lord fixes everything on the other side of the Tribulation).

The only major difference I've noted in this regard since my youth is that all those school kids who are so concerned about the environment think nothing of strewing litter hither, thither and yon (in my day we picked it up, even if it wasn't ours).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #34:

Thank for considering my question Dr. Luginbill. I am a big fan of your work. I have become fascinated with your 6 thousand millennial days of human history thesis but recently it was brought to my attention that their could be a major problem with your analysis because of the difference of the Greek Septuagint's numbering of years of the descendants of Noah compared to all the modern Bible's account of those years which is a difference of 100 years per individual in Genesis 11. If the GS is correct then approximately 600 years needs to be added on to the time in which you project Christ will return in 2033.

If I am missing something here please forgive me but I am very concerned about this apparent discrepancy.

Sincerely and respectively,

Response #34:

Very good to make your acquaintance – and thanks so much for your kind words!

I can't claim ultimate credit for the teaching.  For one thing, it goes back at least as far as Irenaeus (at the link under "evidence for the seven days").  Much more importantly, I firmly believe that this is what the Bible teaches (main link: "Evidence for the Seven Days" in SR 5), so I'm only doing my job in exegeting what's there.

On the Septuagint, this of course is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. It was made sometime around the 3rd century B.C., a couple of centuries after the close of the OT canon, and well over a millennium after the writing of the Pentateuch. The quality of the LXX in all of its various manifestations (there are other Greek versions which are usually lumped together with it which now only exist in fragmentary form) is generally dismal. I find it of almost no value whatsoever in textual criticism of the Hebrew OT. The best one can say for it is that it is sometimes of some small help in shining light on Greek vocabulary as used in the New Testament. It is very clear, for anyone who has spent time with this work (and I spent far more time than it was worth in seminary) that the translators' grasp of Hebrew ranged from questionable to somewhat adequate. The long and the short of it is that, based on my experience with that work, I would almost never be inclined to follow the LXX when it is in opposition to the Masoretic Text. That is doubly true when it comes to numbers, and here we have to fault not only the slackness of the LXX translators but also the Greek numbering system. Greek numbers are a nightmare, even in the case of the unified system that began to prevail around the time of the LXX's creation. Simply put, there are more textual variations and errors when it comes to numbers in Greek mss. than anything else. That is because they used an alphabetic system which was not decimal in nature. So while alpha = "1", omega = "800". Add to this the fact that in the mss. of that day, many letters were very similar in their appearance (e.g., the letters of the Greek word ethos, epsilon, theta, omicron and sigma, are all easily mistaken if smudged or damaged). That is no problem in a recent, clearly written text, but very problematic in older, disintegrating mss. and papyrus, the sort of materials that end up contributing to the problems of transcription.

In terms of the interpretation and projecting the second advent, while we may have questions about the genealogy and year counts prior to the birth of Christ, modern chronology is another story. Any way a person wants to figure it, the birth of Christ is over two thousand years in the past, and the resurrection anniversary is thus not far off at present. There are your two millennial days for the Church Age, the LXX numbers notwithstanding.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #35:

Subject: Israel's Seven-year Covenant with the Many

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I hope that this email finds you well, sir. According to Isaiah 28:14, Israel unwittingly enters into a covenant of death, which, Daniel 9:27 tells will last for seven years. I've often wondered why the agreement will be for seven years. Is it set up for this allotted time from the word "go," only to be broken at its midpoint because the nations (in modern parlance, the European Union), having been soundly defeated by Israel, are seeking peace and protection from her? Psalm 83 informs us of a war between Israel and her enemies. Incidentally, some of the nations mentioned in this Psalm are Islamic, but none are Arabic. Does the war of Psalm 83 come before the one spoken of in Ezekiel 38? Sorry, to type and run. I wish I had more time to delve into it. Unfortunately, I'm late for a meeting. Please share your thoughts.

Whoops, my bad: I meant to point out that Israel’s adversaries mentioned in Ezekiel 38, not Psalm 83, are partially comprised of Moslem states, but none are Arab countries. The Talmud and the Mideast calls Gomer Germania, which is Germany, so the nations mentioned in Ezekiel are Russia, Somalia (Put), Germany, Armenia (Torgamah), Iran, and Ethiopia (Cush).


Response #35:

Good to hear from you. The treaty antichrist makes with Israel is indeed broken "in the middle of the week" (Dan.9:27), meaning the Tribulation's mid-point. This is all covered in part 3B of Coming Tribulation beginning at the link: "Antichrist's Alliance with Israel", and moving through the rest of the CT 3B in order. We're never told why the treaty is of seven years' length, but in human history it is not unusual for treaties to have expiration dates like this, especially in the ancient world.

The treaty in Isaiah 28 is figurative in the main, with the basic application being to contemporary events. However, as with much of Isaiah, there is also an eschatological application. This is yet another example of the "Day of the Lord paradigm" (link) where a prophet is given to compare near-term events to end time events, both to impress the seriousness of the present on his listeners but also to give us some insight into things to come. Just as Isaiah's contemporaries felt safe (especially in the north) because of humanly concocted alliances – but were in fact about to be destroyed by Assyria even so (and the southern kingdom likewise did not escape scot-free) – so also in the Tribulation the alliance Israel makes with antichrist may seem to her to provide security, but after the beast defeats the southern alliance of Muslim states he will turn on her with a vengeance.

Psalm 83 is similar with a near and far term meaning: the nations mentioned are contemporary; they merely represent the constellations of nations which will coalesce against Israel during the Tribulation. And while there will be two campaigns against her in the first half, this Psalm – along with Ezekiel 38-39 is chiefly referring to the battle of Armageddon.

As to the identification of these nations, there is much popular myth about that which is wildly incorrect (if it's in the Talmud, it would only be correct by sheerest accident). The gist is that these catalogs are meant to represent a worldwide assault (represented by the widest possible geographic range in contemporary terms). For the specifics of the identifications in Ezekiel, please see the link in CT 5: "Gog and Magog".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #36:

Good evening, Dr. Bob,

Am past halfway through BB 2B and I am wondering what the resurrected church is doing while the Lord Jesus is judging/purging the regathered Israel before allowing them to resettle in the land of promise? I understand that, based on the Lord's parable in the gospels, His servants are to invite the children of the kingdom to His marriage supper and that would mean that they will also assist in the return of the surviving Israel. When the last one is conveyed through, what would the church be doing?

Thanks for being there always to help.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Response #36:

Hope you are doing well, my friend. I'm keeping you and your situation in my prayers daily.

The Church will assist the Messiah in every aspect of the millennial administration (see the link: "the spoils principle"), so, depending on our rank and rewards assigned at the judgment, I expect that we will be doing everything from ruling countries / territories on the high end to essential, lower-level clerical work on the low end. We shall have to wait to see the details, but as the Bride of Christ, we will always be with Him and will always share in all that our Lord has and does.

(26) And to the one who wins the victory and gives heed to My works until the end, I will give to him authority over the nations. (27) And he will shepherd them with an iron rod and crush them like vessels of clay, just as I have received [the authority] from My Father.
Revelation 2:26-27

Looking forward to that glorious day!

In Jesus,

Bob L.


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