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The 'Rapture' and other Eschatological Issues

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Question #1:

I have a question regarding the Pre-Trib. Rapture. I’ve read one of your articles where you stated you believe in a Pre-Mill rapture. But can you explain to me how the Church is going be protected from the wrath of God on the world during the Tribulation? I think the idea of being raptured is definitely not foreign to scripture, for example Enoch and Elijah being taken up to heaven by the grace of God, not having to die physically. But I’m pretty set on the Pre-Trib. Rapture because God says that we are not under God’s wrath when we are in Christ, and the tribulation is God’s wrath on the world. I understand that the book of Revelations has a certain amount of Believers that are sealed with a mark on their head and are being kept by the Spirit. But it seems to me that these believers are descendants of Israel and not the gentile Church, especially since God is not yet done with the nation of Israel that has rejected His Son, and He still has a promise to fulfill for Israel. (Romans 11) I understand that Believers will go through tribulations where we will be persecuted by the world. But the book of Revelations is about God’s tribulation to the world and not so much the world against the church. The Wrath of God on the world starts as soon as Christ breaks the first seal on the scroll in the book of Revelations, followed by the bowls of wrath as well.

I think you stated that you believe in a Pre-Mill rapture because of the resurrection in the book of Revelations being before the millennium. Which I can understand that but I think that’s the resurrection of the believers of Israel during the time of the Tribulation, those that were killed by the Antichrist. Not so much all the saints from the beginning of time that I think were raptured before the tribulation seen with Jesus in heaven throughout the book of Revelations. And the reason I say this is because throughout the book of Revelations we see the martyrs that were killed by the Antichrist. And these are the ones that are waiting for God’s Judgement on the Antichrist before their resurrection and reign with Christ during the Millennium. They are the ones from Israel who are sealed by the Spirit that I mentioned above.

I hope I’m making sense. Love to hear what you think.

Your Brother in Christ,

Response #1:

Good to make your acquaintance.

To begin, I've written a great deal on this subject (including an entire series on the Tribulation in nine long parts), and will give some of the "rapture" specific links below, so please keep in mind that what I say here is not to be taken as comprehensive.

Second, I believe that the Church – all believers from Adam and Eve until the last saved person at Christ's second advent – is resurrected at Jesus' return because the scripture says that is what happens in no uncertain terms. I came up under a pre-Trib ministry, and it took many years of scripture reading and being confronted over and over again with the truth before I was willing to change. So I do understand your situation. However, while there is not one single passage in scripture that directly teaches any sort of pre-Trib "rapture" (all support people find for this in the Bible is always deductive and interpretive, and inevitably with passages that would never be taken by an objective third party to teach such a thing unless it were a previously strongly held position), there are plenty of verses that make it clear that the Church is resurrected when the Head of the Church returns – which is the second advent. Here is one of the passages which is irrefutable – for all except those who are bound to prefer their interpretation to the very clear meaning of scripture:

(21) "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. (22) And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. (23) Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. (24) For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (25) See, I have told you beforehand. (26) 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. (27) For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (28) For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together. (29) Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (30) Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (31) And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
Matthew 24:21-31 NKJV

Sequence: 21) "great tribulation" (second half of the seven years); 22) final days shortened "for the elect's sake" (the Church militant); 23-26) so don't believe antichrist and his deceptions which are powerful enough, if possible (in individual cases of the Great Apostasy; cf. 2Thes.2:3) to deceive "even the elect" (the Church militant); 27) the second advent will be unmistakable; 28) and at that time believers will flock in resurrection to Christ like eagles to a carcass; 29) as to the details now given in specifics: that last day will be a special day of unique portents (cf. Zech.14:7); 30) but then the cross will appear in the sky and the world will see Christ return; 31) and Christ will have the archangel sound the trumpet of resurrection (cf. 1Thes.4:16), and the Church will rise and be gathered up and set in ranks by the angelic host (to play our role in the battle or Armageddon: observation of our Lord's slaughter of the armies of the beast and etc.).

Please also note how the passage above is in complete harmony with this next supposed "pre-Trib rapture" passage which is universally quoted in support of that false position:

(16) For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. (17) Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
1st Thessalonians 4:16-17 NKJV

As in Matthew 24:21-31, here we also have the Lord's return, we also have the trumpet blast signaling the resurrection Church, and we also have the gathering together of the Church in ranks to meet and follow the Lord.

On the other hand, while the Matthew 24:21-31 passage is undeniably linked to the second advent, there is nothing in the 1st Thessalonians passage (which matches the Matthew passage perfectly) to even suggest that this is not also the second advent. Moreover, I've never had anyone be able to explain to me how the Thessalonians receiving this letter and having also by that time the gospel of Matthew, would even think to split this passage from the other one which it matches so completely. If there really were are a resurrection before the Tribulation, one would think it would be spelled out somewhere; one would think Paul would have said something to the Thessalonians here to mitigate the confusion (if they were talking about different things). But such an explanation is nowhere in the Bible.

What we do have out there evangelicaldom is a veritable cottage industry of very involved arguments using faulty logic to prove that this false position "must be true". It seems to me that before anyone commits to something so important, at least one scripture which clearly links the resurrection to a time before the Tribulation ought to be adduced. Instead, we have all manner of deductive argumentation that always manages to obfuscate and or ignore very clear passages such as the ones given above.

The "wrath" argument is the one now making the rounds. But consider: the Lord hammered Egypt with ten plagues that almost destroyed it as a nation, and then in the sequel absolutely annihilated Pharaoh and his army. Is this not a deliberate and very close parallel to the Tribulation, with many divine plagues "of wrath" and an implacable enemy of the Jews who is only destroyed at the very end along with his entire assembled hoard? Yes indeed. Pharaoh is a deliberate "type" of antichrist, and we can glean from the Spirit's use of this parallel that in spite of terrible wrath from God and opposition from satanic forces, believers will only be touched if that is the will of God. There is no indication from the book of Exodus that the Israelites were harmed in the least by the plagues the Lord sent upon Egypt (and in some instances we are told specifically that they were spared). And in fact, they left Egypt better off than they were, "plundering" the Egyptians who were happy to see them go (Ex.3:22).

Now this is not to say that the Tribulation will not be a very trying experience for believers who are called to go through it. Indeed it will be (it will produce the Great Apostasy and believers who stay faithful will be subjected to the Great Persecution; see the links). But the Exodus parallel gives us the reassurance that all of the wrath imparted by the Lord is meant for our enemies, and not for us. That is a great encouragement, and one we cannot afford to let slip from our hearts. So I am very much exercised by teachers who want to suggest that believers would be subject to God's wrath just because we are "around" when it happens. Isn't the entire message of the Bible tied up with God's blessing of the righteous and punishment of the wicked – and His protection and deliverance of us from them? God is not going to change just because the Tribulation begins.

So "wrath" is not only not in the Bible as a specific passage that links the resurrection to a time before the Tribulation – it is also nonsensical theologically. Besides, we are all sealed by the Holy Spirit, and that is also not going to change just because the Tribulation begins.

If you'd like to find out more about this, here are some links:

Eschatology Issues XXIV: the 'Rapture' et al.

The pre-Trib 'Rapture': so called 'imminence' and other false proofs refuted

Dangers of the Pre-Trib Rapture False Teaching

When is the Rapture?


The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory

No Rapture

Three False Doctrines that Threaten Faith

Misplaced Faith in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture

The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride (in CT 5)

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – for whose return we breathlessly wait.

Bob Luginbill

Question #2:

Thank you so much for your response. I see what you mean based off those scriptures and I agree completely about God protecting His elect from His wrath. I don’t doubt for a second that He can keep them from harm just like He did with His people from His 10 plagues or even from His flood.

But do you have any thoughts about why there’s no mention of the Church in the beginning of the book of Revelation. And why the elect at that time is only the elect from the 12 Tribes of Israel. Any thoughts on the elect present on earth during that time is only those being called and sealed from the 12 Tribes of Israel?

I agree that we’re all sealed by the Spirit. But all those that are sealed by the Spirit in Revelations are those from the 12 Tribes of Israel. And when Jesus is talking to His disciples at the time in that verse from Matthew He is talking specifically only to Jews. He says nothing about the gentiles. Which from my understanding no one even considered the gentiles becoming apart of the Church at that time because it wasn’t revealed until Acts that God meant for them to apart of the Body too.

Thanks again for your quick response. Just wondering what your thoughts are on what God’s plans are for the Jews and Gentiles. Seem like God has something different in store for the Jews which leads to those things mentioned in the book of Revelation.

Your Brother in Christ,

Response #2:

Many wrongly distinguish between Israel and the Church as if we were taking about two completely separate entities. But whenever the resurrection takes place, we know that it will include all the OT believing gentiles before Abraham, all the OT believing Jews of the Bible, and all of us in this two thousand year age, whether Jew or gentile. So splitting the two too radically as many theologies do is a very problematic thing to do:

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
Ephesians 2:19-22 KJV

The book of Revelation has two entire chapters which delineate the Church Age trends, the seven churches of chapters two and three.

Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.
Revelation 12:17 NIV

Believers in Israel (the Woman) are rescued from the Great Persecution by being led into a sanctuary in the desert which antichrist is not allowed to reach. So the Great Persecution falls instead upon the rest of us, that is, gentile believers, members of the Church who are not Jewish by birth.

The reason for the distinction here is the reestablishment of the leadership role of Israel and the coming back to the faith of a goodly number (though by far not the majority) of Jews to God in Christ during the Tribulation's first half. But Israel's return to prominence in the Church does not mean that we gentiles will not still be part of that Church (or that believing Israel is separate from it) The seven years are actually an overlap of the last part of the Church Age and the last seven years of the Jewish Age, so we do see things applying is split way – even though as shown above we are all "the Church".

As mentioned, this is only a very brief treatment. I highly recommend the Coming Tribulation series.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hi Robert,

Yeah I agree that many have divided the Church and Israel wrongly. But rather the “True Israel” or some would say “Spiritual Israel” is in fact the Church. The gentile believers and Jewish believers are part of the same Body, they make up the Church. And the gentile believers are just merely grafted in.

But from my understanding it seems God has a special plan not specifically for True Israel but for the nation Israel, those that are simply descendants of Abraham. (Romans 11:25) That there is in fact a hardening on the Jews concerning Christ and they have rejected Jesus as being the Messiah. And so now we wait for all the Chosen Gentile Believers to come to Christ. So it doesn’t seem like God is done with His promise to the descendants of Abraham. And that’s where the 144,000 come in the book of Revelation. These are the Jews chosen by God during the end times.

And as I read through the book of Revelation I see nothing but God’s focus on them. Anyone outside of them is only referred to as the other nations or even gentiles. Not gentile Believers.

Also, The woman you stated in your last response which is talked about in chapter 12 of Revelation, I personally believe she represents Israel, her child being Christ, and her offspring being all the other Jewish descendants. And Satan makes war with them and seeks to destroy them.

I guess the only other question I have is what are your thoughts on this verse in Revelation 3:10? Where it says that God will keep the Church from the hour of trial that is about to come on the world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Can this not be some hint that God will take the Church from the world so He can bring His time of testing on the world? Now I don’t doubt He can protect us if we do end up staying during the Tribulation but it’s hard for me to see us staying when it’s only the 144,000 mentioned as being present and under God’s care during that time. There really is no mention of the gentile believers besides the first couple of chapters that talk about Christ’s messages to the 7 Churches.

Your Brother in Christ,

Response #3:

It's certainly true that Israel takes center stage during the Tribulation. Those seven years are Daniel's final week, that is, the time of revival directed by the two witnesses and the 144K, and Israel (though unbelievers only will be left in the land at that point) is the target of the beast's Armageddon campaign. But none of that can even be an argument for no other believers among the gentiles to be present on earth (we see for example in Revelation 12:17 that the gentile believers are plentiful), nor can it be an argument for some prior resurrection of the Church not elsewhere mentioned in scripture (or really anywhere).

The Coming Tribulation series is a case of "the whole being greater than the sum of the parts".  I think that if you were to invest the time, you would likely conclude that the parts all fit (see the link; there is also a shorter treatment in BB 2B "Eschatology").

The Woman in chapter 12 is Israel and she has a crown of twelve stars, one for each tribe; so she represents all of true Israel. The "rest of her seed" cannot be unbelieving Jews because the verse identifies them as "those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus" (Rev.12:17 NIV). Also, this all takes place at the midpoint of the Tribulation: the Great Persecution which follows during the Tribulation's second half (it is, after all, this persecution which makes the Great Tribulation "great") is said to produce a vast assembly of martyrs who come "from every nation, tribe, people and language" (Rev.7:9-17), a description which makes it absolutely clear that these are not merely believing Jews but gentile believers in the main. If the Church were to be raptured, where does this "great multitude that no one could count" (Rev.7:9) come from?

As to Revelation 3:10, here is a snippet from a prior posting on this frequently asked question:

Rev.3:10: Much ink has been spilled debating whether the Greek word ek here means "out of the midst of" or "out before contact with". The word is not inherently so specific (any more than our English word "from" is) and it really doesn't matter much in any case. Christ is telling the Philadelphians that they will not experience the tribulation. We are not the Philadelphians; they passed on to be with the Lord hundreds of years ago and so these words have been fulfilled in their immediate, literal sense (please see the link in Coming Tribulation part 2A:  "Philadelphia: the Era of Revival").). It is true that scripture, especially prophecy, often also has a future or more general interpretation. In the case of the seven churches, the broader interpretation is that of the seven ages of the church. Philadelphia is the penultimate generation of the Church; that is, the one before the last one. The era of reformation and reform (terminating, I believe, in the late 19th century) was indeed a great epoch in the history of the Church of Christ, and it can be rightly said of these great believers that they "kept My command to endure patiently" NIV. Like the historical Philadelphians, these "Philadelphia-era" believers have been spared the trauma of the tribulation. Not so the lukewarm Laodiceans, whose pattern our current generation is following (see the link:  "Laodicea: the Era of Degeneration").

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi Bob,

I see what your saying. But it almost seems like these 144,000 from Israel are God’s first converts during the Tribulation. Which some people believe off of verse 14:4 of Revelation because it says they are the first fruits to God and the Lamb. And the great multitude in Revelations 7:9 are those that were evangelized by the 144,000 since it mentions them before they mention the great multitude of all nations and tongues in the following verses. These are the ones martyred by the Antichrist since he will make war with the saints and overcome them. (Revelations 13:7)

But unless maybe there’s another meaning to the 144,000 being called the first fruits to God and the Lamb?

Your Brother in Christ,

Response #4:

The 144,000 are Jewish evangelists whose mission is to bring Israel back to the Lord. They are directed by Moses and Elijah who have a parallel mission to that of John the baptist and our Lord Jesus Christ of whom they are types.

"He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
Luke 1:17 NKJV

Just as the twelve who in their ministry likewise foreshadow the 144K were told not to go into the way of the gentiles (Matt.10:5), so also the 144K will minister to Israel, not to the gentiles.

The meaning of "first fruits" in Revelation 14:4 the context of Revelation chapter fourteen following chapter thirteen has to do with the martyrdom of the 144K. The murder of Moses and Elijah is described in chapter eleven, the flight of Israel to the desert in chapter twelve, and the beast and false prophet's persecution is described in chapter thirteen. Chapter fourteen now describes the events of the second half of the seven years, 1) commencing with the death of the 144K who are seen in victory with the Lamb in heaven – they are the first fruits of the persecution "redeemed" from the earth (they are the first targets after Moses and Elijah because of their prominence and because of their unwillingness to flee with the rest of Israel, winning with their deaths a delay for the other); 2) the proclamation of the gospel worldwide (Rev.14:6-7); 3) the proclamation of the coming destruction of mystery Babylon (which has empowered the beast and the persecution); 4) the warning against the mark (Rev.14:9ff.); 5) the prophecy of the Great Persecution falling on the Church (Rev.14:12-17), and finally 5) the prophecy of Armageddon where all the enemies of the Lord will be destroyed.

So attempts to explain away indications of the Church Age believers still present in Revelation are completely unconvincing, in my view. And it should be considered also that we are given a GREAT DEAL of information about those further events, and that this would seem to be a strange thing for the Bible to do if we stand no chance whatsoever to have to use that information in the future.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hi Bob,

Yeah I can definitely agree that the mission of the 144,000 was to bring Israel back to the Lord. Even the great multitude could be the Jews that were evangelized by them. Since the Jews have been talked about like this before in (Acts 2:5-12). That they came from every nation and speaking many tongues. Since they were scattered all over the world. (Zechariah 13:7-9) And even Jeremiah speaks of this restoration of Israel. (Jeremiah 30:1-11)

But what do you make of Luke 17:22-37 where Jesus compares the end days to the days of Noah and Lot? Where during the days of Noah some will be preserved through God’s wrath, and like the days of Lot, some will be taken away from where God’s wrath will be poured.

And maybe a few more scriptures to point out and compare to one another is Isaiah 26:19-21, John 14:2-3, and 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10. Where they say there will be a time when God’s people will be in hiding after Jesus comes to get them, specifically in the Father’s house, where Jesus has prepared a place for them, during the time when God’s wrath has passed by to punish the people of the earth for their sins. And the most intriguing part is the resurrection of the dead in the verses of Isaiah mentioned above. Which mentions this resurrection happening before the hiding of God’s people and the coming wrath to the people of the earth.

Your Brother in Christ,

Response #5:

On Luke 17:22-37, our Lord tells us He is speaking about the coming of the kingdom (v.21) and the coming of the Son of Man (the second advent, when He brings in the kingdom). So believers being rescued from the judgment of Armageddon (and all of the other second advent judgments such as the "baptism of fire"; see the link), meshes perfectly with what we have been saying. Those believers who make it through will be resurrected, a deliverance even more welcome and dramatic than that of Noah and Lot. In both those parallels, moreover, the deliverance is immediate and so is the destruction – i.e., there is no seven year gap (or any gap) between the believers being made safe and the wicked being destroyed.

1) Isaiah 26:19-21: Hebrew prophecy and poetry is not necessarily chronological unless it says so. Even prose can be this way. We have to know the background. So, for example, reading Genesis chapter two we might get the impression that Adam was created some time later than the seven days after perhaps a serious amount of time had elapsed. But looking back at Genesis 1:26-31 we realize that chapter two is now giving us a more detailed look at that creation which took place on the sixth day of re-creation. In Isaiah chapter 26, verse 19 is encouragement for those who are going to have to experience verses 20-21.

2) John 14:2-3: We do have a place in heaven – if it be the Lord's will to take us there before He returns.

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;
Philippians 1:21-23 NIV

He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.
1st Thessalonians 5:10 NIV

3) 1st Thessalonians 1:9-10: The "wrath" is the divine judgment on all unbelievers who will be cast into the lake of fire. Merely being physically destroyed (as will happen to antichrist's armies at Armageddon) is nothing compared to that.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hi Bob,

I agree there is no hint of there being a gap between the believers being made safe and the wicked being destroyed. I’m just pointing out that Jesus mentions that some believers will be preserved through the wrath of God that’s poured on the wicked and some will be taken away from it. Why He mentions it will be like the days of Noah and the days of Lot.

I understand what you mean by the verses I’ve mentioned in Isaiah but I don’t see that. The text clearly flows from one verse to the next within the chapter. Not like your example of Genesis where your comparing two different chapters.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is that God seems to have a plan for the gentiles and a different plan for the nation Israel. Which is why Paul states that Israel will not come to belief until all the gentiles that were destined to believe is complete. (Romans 11:25) The verse clearly states that this blindness that God has placed over Israel will not be undone until the fullness of the gentiles has come in.

Your Brother in Christ,

Response #6:

All of the passages in the synoptic apocalypse (the Olivet discourse) have the believers being removed at that time, after the Tribulation has run its course and just as Christ returns:

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
Matthew 24:29-31 NKJV

On Isaiah 26:19-21, there is no chance that these passages are talking to different people in different circumstances so as to be able to be split up and used willy-nilly. Verse 19 is encouragement to those about to face this trouble; verse 20 is talking to the same people and telling them what to do in the meantime during the trouble. The addressees are all "My people" and the encouragement and advice is of a piece.

Gentiles and Jews are one in the Body of Christ. Splitting them up to too great a degree is the basis of all manner of heresies and misapplications of the truth. The passage on hardness/blindness you cite is referring to unbelievers (Rom.11:25), but there has always been and will always be a remnant of believing Jews who are our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Church (Rom.11:5). Yes, there is a difference, especially during the Tribulation, but we are all one in Him and will all be resurrected at the same time:

But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.
1st Corinthians 15:23-24 NASB

This passage clearly teaches that there are only three phases of the resurrection: Christ is first and the millennial believers are last; in between is the Church. So there is only one resurrection of the Church, one time when Christ sends forth His angels to gather us up, Jew and gentile alike, departed and still alive alike. Matthew 24:29-31 clearly teaches that this happens at His second advent return after the Tribulation. For these other faulty theories to work, there would have to be a gentile resurrection before His coming and a Jewish one at His coming. But such a thing cannot be found in the Bible. In the Bible, we are all one Church and will all be resurrected together . . . when our Lord returns.

I don't know if you've yet read the links I gave you, but I recommend them. Let me reiterate that while there are plenty of very clear passages which demonstrate that Christ's return is the point we are anticipate and that this is when our resurrection takes place, there is not a single, solitary passage in the Bible that directly and definitively teaches any pre-Trib rapture. All one finds in its defense are deductive extrapolations from passages where it is not directly and definitively taught. And the logic in each case is faulty.

I do understand the reason for this. None of us is particularly eager to endure the Tribulation. But there is a very good chance that many if not most of us are going to have to do so soon enough. Failing to make adequate spiritual preparations before the fact will be fatal to the faith of a great many believers. Trusting in a false doctrine which is nowhere taught in scripture as an inducement not to prepare is a poor bargain indeed.

In the love of Jesus Christ before whom we shall all soon stand.

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hi Bob,

Yeah I definitely agree that the gentile and Jew believers are all one body. They are apart of the kingdom of God like anyone saved by His Grace. But I definitely see prophecies in the OT that strictly concern the nation Israel and not the gentiles.

Like for instance Jeremiah 30, it is a future prophecy of the restoration of Israel which is not clearly done yet. And it won’t come about until like Paul said in Romans 11 when the fullness of the gentile believers have come in. The blindness over Israel will not cease until this fullness of the gentiles that Paul has mentioned is fulfilled. I understand that Paul is talking about unbelievers but he’s talking about a specific group of people that he calls his “brethren”. He’s talking about his fellow Jews, who are rejecting the gospel of Christ, and I don’t think that can be denied.

And so when I read Jeremiah 30:7, I see that there is a time called “Jacob’s trouble.” And this is referring to Israel. This trouble in the future pertains to the nation of Israel only, and God is going to save them out of it. The context of this passage pertains only to Israel hence at the beginning of Jeremiah 30 it says “My people Israel and Judah.”

I get what your saying by 1 Corinthians 15:23-24. But Paul is only specifically talking about the resurrection of the dead. Giving hope to his fellow believers that we are all destined to overcome the grave like Christ has, Him being the first fruits. It doesn’t go into detail of exactly what’s going to happen in the future. There is clearly more than one resurrection in the future. And the first one talked about in the book of Revelations is the resurrection of those martyred in Christ. Not all those that believed.

Also, I think the idea of one great resurrection before Jesus’s millennial reign and using the scriptures of 1 Corinthians 15: 42-58 can lead people into confusion when reading the later passages of Revelation after the millennial reign. Because 1 Corinthians 15: 42-58 clearly states that those who have died and those that are alive at the last trumpet sound are going to receive new glorified bodies. Meaning that all of those who are alive and dead in Christ are going to be made perfect in the image of God. And so it wouldn’t make sense that Satan could deceive people once he is released after the millennial reign and cause them to go against Christ if they are all made perfect and have spiritual bodies. (Revelation 20: 7-10) All of the non-believers and followers of Satan were destroyed when Jesus returned, so who are these people who were deceived after the millennial reign? I think I have an idea to the answer below.

What the book of Revelation tells me is that not all the people who are in Christ’s millennial reign all have glorified bodies. Since it seems like the believers who were saved from God’s wrath, in that they were sealed by the Holy Spirit, later on produce offspring during the millennial reign who don’t all become born of God. Some of their offspring is saved by God’s Grace and some aren’t. Hence Satan deceives the ones that aren’t when he is released after the reign and causes them to turn on Christ.

And what I gather from scripture, concerning these new spiritual bodies that we are suppose to receive when glorified, is that they have no capability of reproducing. Since reproduction is no longer needed when all of The Elect is saved.

Your Brother in Christ,

Response #7:

As said, there are differences; but the prophecies for Israel all are fulfilled during the Millennium after the Church has been resurrected.

Yes, Paul is talking about Jews in Romans chapter eleven when he speaks of blindness/hardness, but in the same chapter, as quoted, he also affirms that there will always be a remnant of believing Jews – part of the Church.

One cannot conclude that because in one place the "trouble" of the Tribulation is said to be "Jacob's" that for that reason it cannot involve gentile believers and Jewish believers too. "Jacob" who is troubled will be disproportionately unbelieving Jews who do not respond to the great evangelism of their people in the Tribulation's first half, but beyond all argument "trouble" will afflict the entire world, and that certainly includes gentile believers as well:

And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 12:17 NKJV

The beast's attempt to have everyone take the mark will be a worldwide effort not limited to Israel by any means.

1st Corinthians 15:23-24 is very clear, even if it is convenient to dismiss. There is only one resurrection of the Church, and either it occurs before or after the Tribulation: and in fact it occurs after.

Revelation 20:5 is mistranslated in most versions in that they wrongly include the gloss – which is not part of the Bible – "the rest of the dead . . ." (see the link). This non-biblical insertion would be a problem for any godly interpretation of the resurrection however constructed.

I don't understand your next paragraph. All believers alive at Christ's return are resurrected. All who believe thereafter, the Millennial echelon, are not resurrected until the end of the Millennium. Just as today, the vast majority of those born during the Millennium will not receive Christ, even though He is ruling in Jerusalem. So I don't see the problem you are advancing here.

Let me point out also that all of these objections are based on interpretations of passages that want to some to suggest problems with what other passages of scripture clearly teach. That is a last ditch defense in supporting a "doctrine" that has no scriptural support whatsoever.

A better policy: believe what the Bible actually says, especially when it is so clear, and investigate the supposed "problems" with what it teaches in a "Bible first" spirit. In my experience, the truth always comes out if that approach is followed.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hi Bob,

I agree with you that there will be prophecies being fulfilled during the Millennium, but there will also be prophecies being fulfilled throughout the Tribulation period as well.

I also agree that there are Jewish believers today, but I’m not seeing anywhere near the amount mentioned during the Tribulation period in Revelations, hence why Paul calls it a “partial hardening” in Romans 11. And this hardening will not go away until all the elect gentile believers come to Christ. (Romans 11:25)

I definitely agree that this time of “Trouble” mention in Jeremiah 30 is not only to the Jewish believers but also to the non-Jewish believers. I don’t have any argument against that. But to so say that this time of “Trouble” is also for the Gentile believers. Well the text doesn’t mention that at all. This text strictly says this time of trouble is for the nation Israel, the believing and non-believing Jews. Even Daniel 9:24 states that this time is for the people of Israel and their holy city. Nothing is mentioned of there being any Gentile believers. This “Trouble” is strictly for the Jews because of their past disobedience in the Old Testament. The past disobedience towards God from the ancestor’s of the Jews had nothing to do with the Gentiles.

I’m not sure if that verse you stated where the woman flees the dragon is a valid text to show that there will be gentile believers during the Tribulation also. The woman stated in the text is clearly the nation Israel and while I agree that her offspring are believers, but they can only be Jewish believers because when it comes to the nation Israel, the gentiles do not derive from the nation Israel, only the Jews do. The gentiles come from other nations and are grafted into the Kingdom by Christ through the Spirit. So I don’t think that text holds any weight concerning the gentile believers during the Tribulation. Unless one is forcing that thought into the text. Gentile believers are not mentioned in there.

Finally, yeah I can see how the last part of my email was confusing. I was trying to break it down as simple as I could. I was basically saying that using 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 to support the view of the rapture being after the Tribulation can be confusing. Especially because these verses state that the dead and living will be given glorified bodies at the last trumpet. And so how can there be any new offspring throughout the millennial reign? Since Satan clearly deceives a new group of people who weren’t there before and clearly aren’t in Christ. All those who didn’t believe and followed the Antichrist were already destroyed by Jesus at His Second Coming.

Hope that makes sense. I’m just saying that this thought leaves no room for the Kingdom to grow since all those in Christ will be given glorified bodies, the dead and living at the last trumpet. (1 corinthians 15:50-58) And these verses are used to support the one and only rapture and resurrection at Christ’s Second Coming.

Your Brother in Christ,

Response #8:

1) Of course. The Tribulation has an entire book describing it (and plenty of other chapters and passages of scripture elsewhere in the Bible as well; please see the link: in CT 1: Biblical Sources for the End Times). But we were discussing prophecies which "strictly concern the nation Israel and not the gentiles"; these would be mainly the promises to reconstitute the nation and have the Messiah rule over it – those are the prophecies that are for "Israel only". When it comes to chronology as in Daniel's weeks, yes, the last week has to do with Israel, but surely we are not thinking that there will be no gentiles around during the Tribulation? The question is about believers. And it is good to keep in mind that during the Tribulation, even after the revival, the vast majority of Jews will still not be believers. Since the ones who are believers are removed to the desert sanctuary at the midpoint and just before the Great Persecution, there will need to be a very large witness of believing gentiles for passages such as Revelation 7:9-17 to make sense. Could these all have believed AND come to spiritual maturity during the Tribulation? Theoretically. But there is no scripture which suggests any such thing, and growing to maturity even now is not so easy or quick; how much more difficult it will be when during the Tribulation? Here we have the problem with the "rapture" theory in a nutshell. If we posit enough theories we may find some places where it seems not impossible – but it's never actually taught by the Bible. And if we posit enough theories, we may forget (or cause others to forget) that there are plenty of places where the opposite is taught definitively (e.g., Matt.24:21-31 already discussed at length). Here is another:

Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 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 2:1-4 NKJV

Pretty clear. The resurrection will not occur until after these events of the Tribulation (the Great Apostasy and the coming of antichrist).

2) Of course. But the fact of a remnant is the key issue, not the percentages, since you had stated, "Which is why Paul states that Israel will not come to belief until all the gentiles that were destined to believe is complete." But the fact of a remnant shows that this is not correct and that Romans 11:25 isn't a valid objection to a post-Trib resurrection (nor an argument for a pre-Trib "rapture").

3) The Tribulation affects the entire world. The Jewish people will suffer in particular because antichrist will set out to destroy his erstwhile ally Israel at the end. But to conclude that because this verse talks about "the time of Jacob's trouble" and that because that is a focus on Israel, that therefore the Church will be resurrected before the Tribulation (which clearly concerns gentiles and wherein there are clearly gentile believers) is completely unwarranted. Also, I've never heard this bit about "This “Trouble” is strictly for the Jews because of their past disobedience in the Old Testament." Scriptural support?

4) That must be because you didn't read the verse. If the Woman is the entirety of believing Israel, as we agree, and if all the believers therein flee, as we agree, then who can "the rest of her offspring" be, meaning believers as offspring and so connected to her somehow yet not Jews, but gentiles who as part of the Church of Jesus Christ, are "built on the foundation of the [Jewish] apostles and [Jewish] prophets" (Eph.2:20).

And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 12:17 NKJV

Once again, we have a case of "Israel vs. the Church" thinking, whereas in fact the truth is the Israel is part of the Church, the very foundation of it and the ultimate organization of it. Or perhaps because all of the gates of New Jerusalem are named for Jewish tribes means that we gentiles will not be living there? The prophecies about the Millennium in the Old Testament all concern Israel. Perhaps we gentiles will not even be resurrected yet? This sort of hyper-dispensationalism has done the Church a great deal of damage historically. There are differences, yes, but here is what I read from the chief Jewish apostle:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:28 NKJV

. . . [the Church] where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
Colossians 3:11

Are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob along with all the other great Jewish believers of the Old Testament going to be separated from us gentile believers in the resurrection? No? But if they are "raptured" before the Tribulation, how then is that seven years more Jewish than gentile? What I mean is, all who are alive and believers during the seven years in that case will be entering the Millennium in physical bodies – unless some are resurrected at the end too (but now we are back to four phases of the resurrection which scripture not only does not support but teaches the opposite). But if we the Church, comprised of all who have believed from Adam and Eve to the Tribulation's end, Jews and gentiles both, are resurrected as the Bible teaches when Christ returns, then the Church rises complete with "neither Greek nor Jew" but a unified Bride of Christ which meets Him at His return.

And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”
Revelation 19:6-9 NKJV

5) On 1st Corinthians 15:50-58, only believers are resurrected, but there will be many believers in the Millennium, people born in the normal way. Most of the surviving Jews who see the Lord return (but were not resurrected because they had not yet believed) are prophesied to turn to Him when they see Him return in glory. With Christ ruling and with us sharing His reign, " the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (Hab.2:14 NKJV). So many will be saved during those thousand years. In fact, the number will be precisely the same as the Church (and together the Church and the friends of the Bride, millennial believers, will equal the number of elect angels and double the number of fallen angels, replacing the devil and his followers one for one in the Church and adding Christ's double portion in the friends – but that is all in the five part Satanic Rebellion series; see the link).

So there are many wonderful things to learn, my friend – and important things too. But a person has to be teachable to do so.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hi Bob,

I’m not too sure what you mean by spiritual maturity. If someone has faith He’s already seen as righteous and saved in God’s eyes under His Grace. We’re not saved off of maturity, but faith.

As for the verses you provided in 2 Thessalonians, I think this link sums up perfectly what is happening to the Thessalonians during that time and the confusion that came about that caused Paul to write the second letter that he did to them.

And concerning Jacobs Trouble. Yes I think this period particularly pertains only to the Jews since the whole context of Jeremiah 30 and Daniel 9 pertains to the Jews, Israel. The chapters talk heavily of the Ancestors past sins against God. I’m not sure if I confused you when I wrote about it but this link explains it well. I know you mentioned other verses that stated that there’s no Jew or gentile in the Body of Christ. I agree that there’s no discrimination of people when it comes to God and that He doesn’t have favorites. But there are distinctions amongst all people and creation. He’s just stating that we are all one in unity in Christ. But these verses don’t take away from the fact that God is not yet finished with Israel and that He has prophecies to fulfill regarding them. And that includes Jacobs Trouble.


Also, I’m not sure if I’m getting my point across concerning the idea of a resurrection and rapture of all believers after the Tribulation can cause problems for the prophesies that state there will be future offspring in the millennium, and for some of that offspring to rebel after. But these links explain it very well. And It’s a point I have yet to hear a solid answer for in defense of a PostTribulation Rapture.



Hope you take the time to read the links I’ve provided, and also tell me what you think of them.

Your Brother in Christ,

Response #9:

Apologies, but I don't generally read links when provided in lieu of arguments. This is a Bible study ministry and one of its purposes is to answer questions for believers who have them. We've been corresponding for a while now, and it seems to me that it is becoming obvious that you have "answers", not questions. That's fine, but I can assure that you are wasting your time if you think you're going to convert me back to the false doctrine of the pre-Trib rapture. That canard has done a lot of damage to the Church, but nothing like what it will do once the Tribulation starts in a few short years. I've done my best to bear with you here, but if the clear examples given (with many more in the links I gave you – which I hope you will read) don't cause you concern, that means that – for the moment at least – you are content with your position. I should point out in parting, however, that the objections here have in common that they are far removed from the main point, viz., that the resurrection occurs at Christ's return as anyone reading the Bible without the preconception of a pre-Trib rapture would certainly assume. These objections (asked and answered several times now, links or no links) are merely psychological defenses to give a person reasons why they don't have to worry about things in scripture they would be inclined to mull over if they were genuinely looking for the truth as opposed to defending a tradition.

No, spiritual maturity is not necessary for salvation. But it is a mandate from the Lord and really the only status that provides some measure of resiliency when things get tough. During the Tribulation, when all believers, including those who bought into the false doctrine that told them they wouldn't have to bother with it, find themselves under the most intense pressure in world history, a third will fall away. I can assure you that these will be much more likely to be immature believers rather than mature believers – and also much more likely to be those who had blinded themselves to the dangers with the soothing falsehood that it would never happen to them.

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus Christ whose return we breathlessly await.

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Bob,

Oh I didn’t know that you don’t read links. I thought maybe I could send you links since you provided me with links.

I’m open minded to either view to be honest. I grew up with neither view being forced on me so I guess you can say I became saved before really knowing any of the views. And it just intrigued me to look at them. I’ve learned good points from both sides. And I’ve leaned toward the PreTrib side to be honest. I was wondering if you could change my mind otherwise. But you haven’t really answered my questions regarding why there will be offspring during the Millennium and the possibility of offspring rebelling against Christ if you say all are raptured and resurrected at the Second Coming. With that view everyone will be glorified then and won’t be capable of producing offspring or rebellion against God.

But that’s not even the main question. There’s the distinction between Israel and those who are in Christ during the New Covenant. The nation Israel has a history of rebellion towards its God, and so I see that God is going to allow great persecution from what I see in Jeremiah 30 and Daniel 9. There tends to be a Judgement throughout the Bible of God allowing His people to be conquered when His people rebel against Him and so I definitely see that kind of Judgement again towards Israel in the end times. Its definitely going to be a time of trouble for that nation. And I don’t see that being destined for the Believers in Christ today because they are under Grace, and are not apart of the nation Israel.

I know a lot of people think that those who believe in PreTrib do so because they won’t have to worry about the end times or the Antichrist and so on. But it’s not even that. It’s because there’s a clear distinction between Israel and those that are in Christ now under His Grace in Scripture. And if God decides to rapture people up from His Time of Wrath on the unbelieving world, then I don’t understand how that’s a bad view if He likes showering His people with His Grace. It only Glorifies Him anyways. It’s not because I’m looking for some easy way out. I think that’s a bad thought to have towards those who have faith and love in Christ as their Savior. That no matter what happens we trust that He is Sovereign and He’s in control regardless.

I believe in the end it’s God’s faith that’s going to persevere in my heart. Not even my faith, but the faith that comes from Him. Maturity mainly prevents you from being deceived. I understand that you’ll be easy prey to Satan if your not mature in your faith. And that the more mature you are, the less likely you’ll fall. But it’s true faith that’s going to keep you going. If you don’t have that, regardless if it’s the size of a mustard seed, your lost.

Sorry if this conversation has dragged on too long. I really like talking about these highly debated topics in Scripture.

Your Brother in Christ,

Response #10:

1) On links, when I provide them, I generally do so for reference for those with whom I am corresponding so that they can find the place where the subject is treated in greater detail. It's not that I NEVER read links. But when I am in a disagreement with someone, I don't find "read the link" to be much of an argument, especially if the content has not been written by the person I'm corresponding with (the links I provide amplify what's said with material written by myself).

Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 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 2:1-4 NKJV

This was the first passage in regard to which you referenced a link. I did have a look, and I think the piece there does perfectly describe . . . everything that is wrong with rapture apologists. This piece is typical. It sounds reasonable and rational but the parts don't fit and don't address the key point here obvious to anyone who is not reading the passage above without a preconceived "answer": the "coming" parousia, second advent of our Lord AND our gathering together to Him IS "that day", the "day of Christ", and "that Day" WILL NOT COME before the related tribulational events take place. It is a common rhetorical device to obfuscate when the facts are against you. But that is ill-becoming of any group which is trying to find the truth (or says it is).

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
Matthew 24:29-31 NKJV

Another very clear passage that really cannot be taken any other way than that the resurrection occurs after the Tribulation, links or no links.

2) You perplex me with this "millennial offspring" thing, honestly. Here is what happens: At the second advent, believers are resurrected (dead and alive). Then the Millennium begins. It begins with a greatly reduced population for planet earth, and all who took the mark of the beast are removed (the "baptism of fire"), while all Jews are repatriated to the land of Israel. Those who repented and believed at seeing Christ return, enter the land; those who do not are similarly dispatched. So we are left with a world now under the direct rule of Christ with a smaller population (1% of what went before?) . . . but everyone still alive will be a human being exactly as before. If you have a sibling, and the two of you live through the Tribulation, but your sibling is not saved, then while you are resurrected, your sibling will not be (not being saved). As long as your sibling didn't take the mark, he/she will be part of the "seed corn" to repopulate the earth following the Tribulation. That will be done in the natural way, just as human kind expanded greatly after being expelled from Eden, and just as it recovered rapidly after the great flood (and from just eight individuals). By the end of the Millennium, the population will be massively large, probably much larger than today, because there will be no shortages or difficulties on account due to the perfect rule world of Christ and the removal of the curse on the ground.

However – and this is an important caveat – the vast majority of the population will NOT become believers. Even though they have a perfect environment under a perfect Ruler, they will still be only too happy to be rid of Christ's rulership once the devil is released to give them an alternative. This is the Gog-Magog rebellion (Rev.20:7-10), carried on with satanic leadership but the "army" will consist of human beings just like you and I – except that they will not be saved. And your hypothetical sibling, who may still be alive under the perfect millennial conditions, may very well join them (if not saved in the intervening thousand years – as most will not be). This rebellion thus disproves another major satanic lie, namely, that environment is responsible for evil behavior. It is not. People are. Now, after this rebellion is crushed, the end comes and there is a resurrection of all the millennial believers, the last echelon of the three (Christ being first and the Church second) according to 1st Corinthians 15:24-25. These are the sheep of Matthew chapter twenty-five. Following their judgment for evaluation of reward, the last judgment of unbelievers from all of history takes place (these are the goats). Apologies for the brevity above; you will find all the details in parts 5 and part 6 of Coming Tribulation (at the links).

3) Israel vs. the Church: First of all, let me point out that this distinction exists in rapture-theology but not in the Bible (verse please?). Second, as pointed out, the Church Age lasts two thousand years and at the end of it the Lord returns; the seven year Tribulation is a common period between the two where we do see Israel's role in leadership being reasserted, and that does account for the focus on Israel in end times prophecy, but it is also true that gentile believers are never said to be absent and in some places (previously discussed) clearly present in great numbers. Third, it is a BIG mistake to see the Tribulation as "judgment on Israel". None of the fourteen judgments are launched at Israel; they are directed towards the unbelieving world. Also, in Revelation, different from the Old Testament, the distinction between the believers in Israel and the unbelievers is made very clear. In the OT, Israel is supposed to be composed of believers entirely with unbelievers executed. That never happened, of course, but Israel was always dealt with by the Lord as a collective in OT times; not so in Revelation where the Woman is believing Israel who is removed from danger before the Great Tribulation occurs. It is always dangerous to posit a difference between Israel and the Church because Israel is the Church and the Church is Israel; how God relates to gentiles and Jews, even though we are "one" in Christ, is different to some degree during the Tribulation, but it is an ocean spanning leap of false logic to posit a pre-trib rapture of the "Church" because of that – even rapture proponents don't claim that Jews will not be raptured, e.g.

4) Unbelieving Jews are NOT Israel: believing Jews are Israel:

Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
Romans 9:6-7 KJV

And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
Galatians 6:16 KJV

5) It's "bad" because it's dead wrong. And any time a lie is believed and embraced, it worms its way into the whole fabric of truth in a person's heart and weakens it. That is especially true of this particularly dangerous and insidious lie. If one person fails to prepare spiritually and is thus lost to apostasy in the Great Apostasy as a result of it, it is a horrible thing. But a third of the Church is prophesied to fall away, and you can bet that this false rapture doctrine will be disproportionately responsible.

6) Spiritual growth brings a person closer to the Lord and results in great spiritual safety. However, spiritual growth is based upon learning AND believing the truth. Believing lies will not help; rather it hurts.

My concern is not for intellectual enjoyment but for your spiritual growth and safety, my friend. I do understand the draw of tradition, and I also understand the ostracism that results in standing with the truth when all others seem to be embracing the lie. It's hard to go outside the gate and be labeled a pariah – but that is what our Lord did for us, after all.

Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.
Hebrews 13:12-13 NKJV

I'm praying for you.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hi Bob,

I think Romans 11:25 shows the clear distinction between The Church (True Israel) vs Israel (the Nation). I’m not pointing out what Dispensationalist teach, but what Paul teaches. I’m not talking about a distinction between the believers of Israel and the Church, which is a mixture of Jew and Gentile believers. That distinction doesn’t exist in Scripture, Paul even said so himself that the gentile believers are grafted into the same vine (Christ), so their obviously apart of the same Body. What I’m talking about is the nation Israel as a whole that Paul points out, and that the grace of God has fallen on the gentiles mainly until all the elect of the gentiles is complete and then He’ll focus back onto the nation He has created from Abraham, Israel. Paul is talking about ethnic Israel in this passage not believing Israel. Their fall has lead to the salvation of the Gentiles. And it was a mystery not talked about in the Old Testament until revealed to Paul, who became an Apostle to the Gentiles. (Romans 11:13) So there’s clearly a distinction in Scripture when looking at it from the right context.

Yeah when I learned about the offspring of the Millennium it definitely made me think of why a rapture before the Tribulation makes more sense, especially in regard to the rest of scripture after the millennial reign in Revelations. Because having a rapture after the Tribulation would only make everyone going into the millennium perfect. I definitely don’t see anything in Scripture of God only rapturing up some of the Believers. Or only giving some of them glorified bodies. So it would make sense that those who came to believe and are still alive after Tribulation stay in their natural bodies, and the ones that were raptured and received glorified bodies were the ones taken before the start of the Tribulation.

God Bless,

Response #11:

As to your first paragraph, I certainly agree. I would add a couple of important things however: 1) in this dichotomy the nation is composed of unbelievers (the believers are the cultivated olive tree into which the gentiles are grafted); 2) the refocus on the nation during the Tribulation splits the believes and the unbelievers noticeably, with the (unbelieving) nation receiving more of the prophecy inasmuch as the individuals who compose it will still be in situ as a target for the beast and the Armageddon campaign, while the believing of Israel will be safe and sound in their desert sanctuary).

I appreciate your second paragraph too. The biblical descriptions of the Millennium make clear that the time will be one of extreme blessing in the removal of the curse and the personal reign of our Lord, but everything scripture has to say about it presents a picture otherwise very similar to "the way things are and have been" previously, that is, with people still being people, engaged in natural procreation along with everything else that goes with being human and in "the first body" – including hardness of heart (exemplified by the Gog-Magog rebellion, the last historical event before the last judgment and the eternal state).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
Luke 21:36

Can you please provide me with a good understanding of the "escape" in the above verse. Looks like the pre-tribbers would use this to validate their doctrine?


As always, may you be greatly blessed for what God has given you.

Your friend,

Response #12:

Always good to hear from you, my friend.

As to your question, this verse you ask about, Luke 21:36, comes at the end of a very long context, the Olivet discourse as it is usually called, wherein in all three synoptic gospels our Lord outlines the coming Tribulation. In Matthew, He makes it very clear that the resurrection occurs after the Tribulation, and not before (cf. esp. Matt.24:21-31).

Speaking of context, here are some earlier verses from the context in Luke:

Then He said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake."
Luke 21:10-12 NKJV

Indisputably, the "you" in the passage above is the same "you" we find in your verse, "that you may be able to escape". So the prior context makes clear that going through the Tribulation is something inevitable (for those who live long enough to see it), and that therefore the "escape" means "come safely through" and NOT "never have to go through in the first place". That would have been clear to anyone hearing this whole discourse in the original Greek. The verb ekphygo means precisely that: to come through a difficult trial safely. In fact, it's used as the standard Greek verb for a defendant being acquitted at the end of a prosecution. Finally on this, we are going to "stand before the Son of Man" when He returns, after all. That is the time of resurrection and clearly also the time of judgment, when He returns to the earth to put all enemies under His feet.

This is an excellent passage to demonstrate the pro-rapture methodology. In a word, it is always a case of "wishful thinking". Defenders always pick passages out of context which, twisted a certain way and willfully ignoring important details, may be made to seem to the uninitiated to not conflict with their false theory and therefore to present some equivocal "proof". Put against this the likes of Matthew 24:21-31 and it leaves me speechless that seemingly serious people can stand up for such a bad cause in such a dubious fashion.

Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 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 2:1-4 NKJV

Set against such questionable methods and non-proof proofs we have the likes of the above. Pretty clear. Tribulational events (the Great Apostasy, antichrist, his installment in the temple of Jerusalem) must precede "the coming" of Christ, the "day of Christ", "that Day" when we will be resurrected and "gathered together to Him". There are shameless defenses for all these passages, but they don't even pass the smell test – for any ten year old who can read the English Bible for him/herself.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hi Bob,

I normally don't study Eschatology too much, but I took an interest in it recently since I believe that we are living near the time of Christ's Second Advent. I have studied both the Pre-Trib and Post-Trib view and wanted to get your feedback on what I came up with while doing some research on my own. I wanted to know if what I understood from reading Scripture was correct. I did this online in a debate with some guy who is teaching that the Pre-Trib view is accurate. I barely know any NT Greek, and I am not good when it comes to rightly interpreting the context of certain bible passages; but I do my best with what knowledge I have accumulated from Scripture and those who have taught me (e.g., you). At the same time I ALWAYS check with scholarly men such as yourself to see where I may have gone wrong with regards to doctrine or other bible teachings which are popular in today's "Christianity". Here is my rebuttal to a Christian brother who used popluar bible passages that most Pre-Tribbers use. I have concluded (for now) that the Post-Tribulation view seems to be the accurate view based upon scripture interpreting scripture. Here is what I wrote in my rebuttal:

"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming (Grk. "parousia" ) of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:14-17)"

Meet the Lord (Grk. "apantesis"). We find the very SAME words in Greek Literature to describe the people of a city going out of the city to "greet" an incoming dignitary (i.e., "a returning conqueror") to welcome Him back into the city. The elect of God will be gathered in the air to greet and welcome Him as He visibly returns to Earth; and NOT an "invisible" return. We can see a parallel in Mark 13:27

"And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall GATHER TOGETHER HIS ELECT from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
(Mark 13:26-27)"

This is the "gathering" of the elect to greet Christ as He returns and comes visibly to the Earth. Nothing in this passage indicates an "invisible" return of Christ or snatching the elect out of the World before the Tribulation. Verse 14 of Thessalonians 4 is clearly referring to the resurrection of the dead in Christ; and this is the event which occurs at the end of History.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
(John 5:25-29)"

"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
1 Corinthians 15:51-55)"

The Return of Christ is inextricably linked to the resurrection of the dead. And also death being done away with.

"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming (Grk. "parousia") of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
(2 Thessalonians 2:1-8)"

This is the SAME event which is spoken of in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17. The same Greek word used for "the coming" (Grk. "parousia") of the Lord is also used in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15. Now if we were to go back to Mark 13:13-14 regarding the Olivet Discourse, we read:

"And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:
(Mark 13:13-14)"

2 Thessalonians 2:4 is parallel to Mark 13:14 regarding the "abomination of desolation". So this is NOT an event which takes place prior to the Second Coming of Christ and the Tribulation. This is an event which follows the rebellion or apostasy and the Abomination of Desolation. Also consider the "gathering" of the elect mentioned in Mark 13:27. This is speaking of the Second Coming of Christ. Compare that with 2 Thessalonians 2:1 which speaks of the "assembling or gathering" to meet Christ. The Greek word used here is "episynagoge"; and this is the SAME event which Jesus spoke of in the Olivet Discourse. So where did Paul get his information regarding the Second Coming of Christ? He got it from Jesus Himself!

The marriage supper of the Lamb will take place at the Father's House (i.e., "heaven") in the time between the rapture and the Second coming of Christ; and this occurs during the Tribulation. Most Pre-Tribbers use the argument that the church is not found anywhere during the Tribulation period; but the bible clearly states that there are "saints" (Grk. "hagiazo") during the Tribulation Period.

"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came OUT OF great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
(Revelation 7:9,14)"

From what I interpret from the above passage is that the "saints" are not kept OUT of the Great Tribulation, but rather they are kept FROM the Wrath of God which is poured out during the Great Tribulation (cf. Rev. 7:1-8; 9:4). Those with the "seal of God in their foreheads" will be protected during the Tribulation "from" the judgments which are poured out upon the unbelieving world. The words "keep from" (tereo ek) in the Greek mentioned in Revelation 3:10 implies protection "from" and not "out of" -- and this is used elsewhere in Scripture to prove this point.

I think that most Pre-Tribber's shouldn't be so concerned about this so much as that they should just live a life worthy unto the Lord. To be faithful to stay on the straight and narrow, and to not deviate to the right or to the left. In doing so . . . they will not be caught "off-guard" regardless of when the precise timing of the Rapture will occur (cf. Matt. 24:42-44; 1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 16:15; 22:12).

That was my rebuttal to this brother in Christ's faulty view on the Rapture. How did I do? I hope that I didn't embarrass myself in light of your understanding of the Rapture as a workman who ought to be ashamed because of my misinterpretation of the Rapture. I know that I am most likely incorrect somewhere according to your scholarly view of Scripture. As I responded to this Pre-Tribber, he replied with:

Pre-Tribber responded with:

"Yes there will be saints during the tribulation period because multitudes come to Christ as Saviour during that time. That however does not refute that the Church (Bride) will be removed before God's divine judgment comes upon a rebellious and rejecting world. Those that are sealed that you speak of are the 144,000 sons of Israel. 12,000 from each 12 tribes. They will be divinely sealed and protected by God. They will evangelize during the tribulation. One cannot state that God keeps all the tribulation saints safe during that time time because many will be beheaded for their testimony and refusal to worship the Anti-Christ .  And regardless of what any believer view(s) are regarding the end times prophecy , they/we should always live a life accepting unto the Lord. I have said this countless times and will continue to do so and that is most people have a misunderstanding about the resurrection for the just. The resurrection for the just happens only one time for the just , but in stages. Unlike the resurrection for the unjust also only one time , but not in stages. If one cannot grasp this truth then they will be misguided regarding the truths and order of events during the end of times. It is one if not the biggest stumbling block for many who study this topic. The other would be that people don't realize that the removal of the Church before the 7 year tribulation and The Second Coming of Christ are two DISTINCT and SEPARATE events. The Second Coming of Christ, He literally sets foot upon the Mount of Olives. The removal of the Church , believers meet the Lord in the clouds/air. Two separate and distinct events."

I cannot find a single place in the bible where the "Second Coming of Christ" and the "Removal of the Church" are two separate events. Do you agree with any of what he wrote above?

God Bless!

Response #13:

You made many excellent points, my friend. This fellow did not attempt to refute a single one of your points. His comments may seem to him to be refutations but they don't apply to any of your arguments nor do they explain how any of your very clear scriptures do not mean precisely what they say. All he was able to do was to assert without proof of any sort that the myth-rapture and the 2nd Advent are two distinct events. But they happen at the same time – which is the important thing.

Nice job!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hello Bob,

"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
(2 Thessalonians 2:3-8)"

I am trying to understand if the Holy Spirit is the "Restrainer", then wouldn't that mean that the Church would be removed from the Tribulation because the Antichrist appears on the scene AFTER the Restrainer is removed? I am still holding to the Post-Trib view; but I am trying to reconcile the Church entering the Tribulation and the Restrainer being taken out of the way BEFORE the man of lawlessness appears. If the Holy Spirit is removed, then it would seem that the Church would also be removed because the Holy Spirit indwells all true believers. How do I reconcile this?

God Bless,

Response #14:

This is a somewhat involved teaching, so while I'll give you the gist here, I really would suggest that you read the links below.

The Holy Spirit is the Restrainer. The Spirit is God and is therefore omnipresent. He is never "removed" from the world as that would be impossible for God. At the moment, He is restraining the revelation of antichrist; but when the Tribulation begins, He will no longer be doing so. He will also allow much to happen that in the past was restrained by Him. The Bible calls this "the empowerment of error" (see the link), and this will have a great hand in accelerating all of the Tribulation's negative trends. There is no scripture which even hints at believers losing the Spirit (we never will). The fact that the 144K Jewish evangelists – who are most likely not even believers today – will be sealed at the outset of the Tribulation (to protect them until they believe and while they conduct their ministry) certainly cannot be taken to mean that we who are presently believers will have to be "unsealed" as a consequence (2Cor.1:21-22; 5:5; Eph.1:13-14; 1Jn.2:20); such a thing is not mentioned in scripture nor even theoretically possible . . . and it is certainly NO sort of evidence for a myth-rapture.

Here are those links:

The Restrainer is scriptural

The special restraining ministry of the Spirit

More on Holy Spirit restraint

The Restraining Ministry of the Holy Spirit (in SR #2)

The Restraining Ministry of the Holy Spirit (in Coming Tribulation 2B)

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hi Bob,

Look at the bolded part.

"But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come."
(John 16:13)


Response #15:

This is addressed to some (e.g., Peter and John and Matthew) who will be writing inspired texts in the Spirit which will describe the details of the end times. This also applies to us in the Spirit's illumination for us of all those biblical texts which speak about what is yet to come.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

This is a very recent exchange I had with a local senior pastor of one of the most significant churches in the area:

I've hesitated for a couple weeks now to express this to you, but after much consideration I believe it's my responsibility to share this brief comment with you.

Re: Life Development Institute: Daniel In view of the imminent return of Christ : Join us for the study of the book of Daniel, in view of the Lord’s imminent return. What Revelation is to the New Testament, Daniel is to the old.

My question is: "How do you teach and correlate the Book of Daniel with Book of Revelation, which is the correct approach, but within the context of an IMMINENT return of Christ?" My follow up question is: "If you are going to present it within that context, why bother?"

In my view, you've just defeated the primary purpose and critical importance of studying these significant eschatological chunks of Scripture in the first place. In other words, you've pretty much destroyed their relevance and disarmed the Church.

I think rather than me trying to speak for our Bro you might want to talk to him personally so he can explain what he means by the concepts and Scriptures he is using. He is almost 90 years old and has a small class of maybe 6 or 7 folks. He is a retired missionary. He is a little hard of hearing but I’m sure he would speak with you. Blessings!

Appreciate your reply. Regardless of my views and concerns, a man nearly 90 years old doesn't need such discussions from me. It would be very presumptuous on my part to think I could influence the mind of a man that age, who has quite possibly been a "dyed in the wool" Southern Baptist for so long. In fact, I'm glad that he is still being used in the church. That's how it should be.

But, I was more interested in your response as pastor since you are ultimately responsible for what is being taught under your oversight, whether it be a member or a guest speaker. Whether it's 6 or 7 or 60 or 70, for whatever it may be worth from me, I don't think that matters. "It only takes a spark to get the fire going" and it only takes "a little leaven to leaven the whole lump."

Well, I don't want to "preach to the choir" or the pastor who has the responsibility that I don't have. It took a lot of guts and integrity for you to take the stand you did with respect to the SBC and the mosque fiasco. You had me speak to that group on that Wednesday, which has already been a couple of years ago. If I can believe what I was told beyond you and many other folks simply being courteous, it was received very well, and I made it a point to "pull a lot punches."

Even you said that I was able to express in 45 minutes what you've being trying to get across to the folks for 5 years. Many of the people said they wanted me back, even on a Sunday night. Look! I realize that it's not their decision, but after nearly 3 years, something isn't right. I could speculate, but I'd rather not do that. Of course, it's not my place to invite or sell myself, which I find quite distasteful, where it comes across as being self-serving. Many pastors, who for all intents and purposes are "gatekeepers," will let "Trojan Horses" in through their gates and keep out the "Watchmen"-----genuine Watchmen.

Not to think of myself anymore than I ought, but I am something of a conscience and most leaders prefer to tune me out or turn me out, and a Jew, no less, in your own "Jerusalem." After 5 years I'm still waiting for someone, anyone, to show me my error from Scripture---seminarian graduates, men who have been pastors for decades, not even discussing these things with me in private. But, this isn't really about me, nor should it be. This is about the welfare of the Church, which directly impacts the welfare of Israel.

And, contrary to typical SBC and American doctrine, "Jacob's Trouble" is not just going to be "Jacob's Problem." This is a recipe for shipwreck! Paul referred to it as the "Great Falling Away." Here's what's going to significantly contribute to that: When Israel is defeated and exiled, when the popular doctrine is that THIS is the prophetic Final Return, along with a greater universal Holocaust, and when it becomes crystal clear that the church hasn't been raptured as was expected, here will be the double-whammy. "Gee! If we were wrong about the Final Return and we were wrong about the Final Return, what else were we wrong about?"

"Fear of the Gentiles" is just as bad as "Fear of the Gentiles." And, who will be answerable for this shipwreck? I think that's a rhetorical statement.

OK! Enough. You get my drift.......

Response #16:


Good job, my friend!

In my experience, these folks are impervious to the truth on this particular issue with a dogmatism so bereft of reasonableness it's absolutely clear that they are fighting for the wrong cause (if they had a smidgen of truth, they wouldn't have to be so nasty about their false position – it's a general principle)

I had to chuckle in amazement at the line "you've pretty much destroyed their relevance (of these passages) and disarmed the Church"! After all, being unprepared for the Tribulation because of a naive belief in a false doctrine of a pre-Trib "rapture" is the very definition of being "disarmed".

You stood up for a good cause and did so very well.

In Jesus,

Question #17:

Hi again, Bob!

I'm not entirely sure as to how people come up with the 1,000 reign of Christ on Earth as not literal. The arguments for such are that 1,000 years in symbolic for the time of Christ's exaltation to directly before His second coming. They also say that Satan being bound is also symbolic is simply a "vision" and therefore not historical. They would also argue that they do believe in a millennial reign, just symbolic. And that it cannot be literal because animal sacrifices are offered during that period. Another argument is that Jesus does indeed rule, but in the hearts of believers as they symbolize its meaning. They says that the church age represents the millennium. How do we determine if that passage (1,000 year reign) is literal or symbolic? I looked up the Greek word for millennium (chilioi) and it simply means 1,000. At the same time numbers (especially in Revelation) can be symbolic. How can we absolutely determine that the 1,000 year reign of Christ is literal and not symbolic?

God Bless,

Response #17:

I share your exasperation.

(1) And I saw another angel coming down from heaven with the key to the Abyss and with a great chain in his hand. (2) And he took hold of the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the Slanderer (diabolos, i.e., "devil"), even Satan. And he bound him for a thousand years (3) and he cast him into the Abyss, locked it, and set a seal upon it, so that he might not [be able] to deceive the nations [any longer] – until the thousand years (i.e., the Millennium) were completed. After that, he must be released for a short time. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them (i.e., they sat in judgment), namely the persons who had been executed (lit., "beheaded with an ax") because of their witness for Jesus and because of the Word of God, [that is] whoever did not worship the beast or his image and did not take the mark on their forehead and on their hand. For they came to life and began to rule with Christ for a thousand years. (5) This is the first resurrection (i.e., that of all believers). 31 (6) Blessed and holy is the one who has a share in this first resurrection! Over these the second death (i.e., condemnation on unbelievers) has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him for the thousand years.
Revelation 20:1-6

The Bible only has to say something once for it to be true. This passage alone says it four times! I don't find the word "vision" here. I don't see anything that says "this is only an allegory so pay no attention to it". This is not symbolic. When the Bible uses symbolism, it makes that very clear (see the link). There are no such indications here. There are no allegories here. Nothing represents Satan, e.g.; Satan is Satan. Nothing represents Christ here. Christ is Christ. The passage says what it means, means what it means, and is very clear about what it means.

Your report only reinforces what we already know. Namely, that lukewarm believers in Laodicea who have no real interest in knowing God's truth and what He wants us to know and to do abound.

The fact that others want to ignore the very plain truth of the Bible is no reason for us to despair, however. We know very well that we will be rewarded for our own works, that is, everything we have thought, said and done. And the more we have thought, said and done for Jesus Christ in response to the truth of His Word, the greater that reward will be.

In Jesus who is our true portion in this world and in the next.

Bob L.

Question #18:

I have been talking with a friend who is also another born again believer. He says he imagined in his head that he was bowing down to and worshiping antichrist. Wasn't thinking about it before, just randomly popped in his head. The thought only lasted for a few seconds. He said he was not sure if he meant it or not, although right or not long after he confessed it he said that he would never do that. I tried to tell him that as long as he was a believer he was saved, but he is still terrified. He is not sure if he will be forgiven or not.

Is it possible for God to forgive a believer who worshiped antichrist in his head and meant it? Like, can he be forgiven if he realizes the error of his thoughts and confesses his sin? Or is the fact that he confessed his sin and said that he would never do that and indicator that he never really did mean it? I guess that is what he is asking me in a nutshell. I know the answer, but perhaps you could deliver it better than me.

I only ask because I couldn't seem to comfort him, so I figured maybe your answer would help and I could communicate it to him. He is really trying to live a sanctified life, but this just totally through him off.

In Christ

Response #18:

I receive, as you may know from reading the site, many concerns from many believers about "unwelcome thoughts". Gaining firm control over what we think at all times is, as I have had occasion to say often, in many respects the "high ground" of the Christian walk. It is not easy to achieve – especially for some (we are all different) – and once achieved not that easy to maintain. But spiritual growth does yield progress here as in all things. Here are a few links on this:

BB 6A: Peripateology: The Christian Walk

Who Controls our thoughts and emotions?

The Battlefield within I

The Battlefield within II

As to the mark, scripture is quite clear that it is the person who actually goes through with accepting the mark (which from my study of scripture seems to be received in a ceremony wherein one pledges fealty to the beast and worships him, bowing down to his image) – not those who think they will do it or say they will do it but those who actually do take it (see the links: "The mark of the beast" and "Don't take the mark").

Clearly, we all need work on policing our thoughts on many fronts. Whenever we sin in what we think, whatever the sin, the method of recovery is the same as with all other sin: repent and confess. Once we do that, we are forgiven and restored to fellowship. We can see from the example of your friend why it is that the devil loves to attack on this front, namely, because people can be made to feel incredibly guilty about the thoughts they allowed themselves to entertain, even if they would never actually "do it" (whatever "it" is) in a million years. The Spirit prods our conscience toward repentance and confession whenever we are out of line, but emotional guilt that paralyzes us is not from Him. That in and of itself is a very dangerous emotion to entertain. We have to learn to walk based upon our knowledge of what we know and have believed – in true responsiveness to the actual Holy Spirit – not what our worst fears are wrongly telling us is true out of sin-nature generated out-of-control guilt feelings. See links above.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

What is the difference between "the scroll" in Revelation Chapter 5 and the "little scroll" described in Revelation Chapter 9? Also what is the significance of "sweet as honey in the mouth," but "bitter in the stomach?"

Thanks so much for your help.

Response #19:

Good to make your acquaintance.

The two scrolls are one and the same: the Book of Revelation. It is opened in chapter five; in chapter nine it is the basis (the preview) of the second advent (the angel represents Christ and His victory); the Book of Revelation is the unveiling of Christ and His return, after all. The Tribulation and all of the wonderful events that follow are enjoyable to read about ("sweet in the mouth") but will be unpleasant to experience personally ("bitter in the stomach").

There is much more about all this and of course everything about the Book of Revelation in the series posted at Ichthys, "Coming Tribulation" (which includes a complete exegesis of the entire book; see the link).

Do feel free to write me back about any of the above.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Thank you for taking your time to answer my question. If I could ask you one more related question - I thought the scroll was the title deed to the earth. What are your thoughts about this?

Thank you again so much for your help.

Response #20:

In a way, I suppose that is true – as an application, not an interpretation (i.e., there is nothing here in the text or in prophecy to suggest that the Lord needs a deed). The strong angel is a type of Christ and the vision is a preview of the second advent.  The seven thunders speak the seven judgments that bring the devil's reign to a close (not to be mentioned here because this a preview meant to encourage us before the Great Tribulation begins, and the time of those judgments comes at its end; see the link). The scroll in chapters four and five is the Book of Revelation, and that book is the "revealing of Jesus Christ" to the world when He appears at the second advent. So this preview of the strong angel shows our Lord (someone who represents Him) with that prophecy of all the things that precede His coming victory and the victory itself along with what follows held in His hand.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Wow! Thank you for the thorough answer. I hate to ask you a question because I know you are very busy and yet you put so much into your replies to emails to so many.

That said, one minor question. One of the reasons I study your website almost nightly is because it gives structure to the views I have had for years.

Now, I have held a pre-wrath or post-trib view of the rapture for years, but I have never found a satisfactory answer for why believing gentiles would be subject to the Tribulation. It does seem to me that that period is mainly to wrap up some unfinished, ancient business with God's people, Israel and thus I do wonder what purpose it serves for all gentiles to be here during that period.

Of course no answer is necessary. If it is part of God's plan, it is part of God's plan. But as you note in some of your links, the paragon's of the faith are all Jews; the 144,000 are all Jews, etc etc The tribulation then seems to be about the Jews, the focus is on Jews and not really about gentiles, except those who are destined for wrath as the persecutors of Israel (i.e. being used as tools by Anti-Christ).

It seems we are almost just kind of observers to all of these events and thus our presence on earth does not seem to really accomplish anything.

Response #21:

You're most welcome.

As to God's purpose in allowing believers, gentiles and Jews, to enter the Tribulation, the first thing we can say is that all believers, Jews and gentiles, are part of the Church, the Body of Christ, wherein "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female" (Gal.3:28 NKJV); so it is very clear that if gentiles were to be "raptured" before the Tribulation, believing Jews would have to be as well. God is not going to split up the Church: there is only one resurrection of the Church whenever that happens (and it happens at the second advent).

The other thing we can say for certain is that, even if we do not understand His reasoning (there is much we will have to wait for the other side to have explained, after all), it is very clear that there will be many gentile believers alive during the Tribulation – a very difficult thing to explain if all believers have been "raptured" before it commences, because while there is a massive effort to evangelize Israel during the first half of those seven years (the two witnesses and the 144,000), the same is not true for the gentiles.

But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 12:16-17 NKJV

The woman here is Israel, the believing Jews (those who responded to the ministry of Moses and Elijah and the evangelizing of the 144,000); believing Jews are granted a special escape to a place of refuge in the wilderness; but believing gentiles, "the rest of her offspring", become the target for the devil's "Great Persecution" (see the link). So while in past history, Jews were often the object of intense persecution, in the second half of the Tribulation, gentile believers will bear the brunt of the devil's attentions. And half of those still faithful (one third has by this time already fallen away or soon will in the Great Apostasy), are destined to be martyred.

Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death."
Revelation 12:10-11 NKJV

Why are we going to be left here? First, to demonstrate that we are going to stay faithful even under such intense pressure (while one third of the Church falls away); second, to refute all of the devil's lies (in a similar way that Job did) by demonstrating our faithfulness even unto the point of death – martyrdom. This is a great responsibility and also a great privilege . . . even though of course it is not something any of us would choose if we "had our druthers". We don't get to pick our battlefield. Our Lord Jesus Christ does that for us. Our job is to fight in such a way so as to honor Him. And for those who do, there are great eternal rewards to be won by staying strong and courageous in the faith that is in Him. I'm sure Job, and Abraham, and Daniel, etc., wouldn't have chosen to be tested as they were tested. But they passed those difficult tests and the glory they have won for the Lord thereby is eternal. We may well have the same opportunity, even if many will see it as anything but. So it would behoove every Christian who contemplates these truths to keep preparing diligently with whatever time is left so as to be able to stand in the gap as our Lord would have us to do.

"Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death."
Revelation 2:10-11 NKJV

God's purpose – of refuting the devil at every point – will be accomplished in part by the faithfulness of those who keep the faith even in the most intense time of pressure for believers the world has yet seen.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Dear Bob,

Still wrestling with Revelation. Can you please just give me a short sentence on why its important to understand Revelation I can tell others


Response #22:

The title of the book means "the revealing . . . of Jesus Christ . . . to the world", so that this is the book given to us to tell us how He is going to return to us, along with all the critical information every Christian needs to know so as to remain faithful to the end and not be swept up in the deception of the beast (the Great Apostasy; link).

"Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?"
Luke 18:8b NKJV

Since there is nothing more important than glorifying Christ (which during the Tribulation may entail martyrdom and it will be difficult for the totally unprepared to bear up under that test), and since nothing is more terrifying than the prospect of falling away (which will happen during the Tribulation during the Great Apostasy to one third of the Church), understanding the book of Revelation – and all the Bible says about the soon to commence end times – is absolutely critical and essential.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior whom we breathlessly await.

Bob L.

Question #23:

Dear sir,

I'm a middle-aged Nigerian who has wasted most of his life, before trying to settle down with the Lord with tons of baggage. I have been trying to write a book on the Book of Revelation based on what I perceived the Lord telling me and the particular interest I had always had for the end times. I had actually finished it but was trying to wrap it up. I planned to spend some money getting copies and distributing without cost. I have been a believer in post tribulation rapture for about years now, after believing in pretrib and even teaching it! I can tell you that with the exception of one person far away here there is no one I can interact with in agreement. Everybody (including my pastor who I love and he loves me but thinks I am in serious error) is pretrib. I am already scared of what will happen to these people when they find themselves in the last seven years (if they are not totally deceived)! I found some websites that have been helpful, but in the last two weeks I came across your website and I knew that this is the mother lode!
I have practically downloaded all your stuff (with some difficulty- some of the PDFs don't work except one by one downloading). I have rushed through Satanic Rebellion and Coming Tribulation and a lot of Q&As! Many, many scriptures now make sense to me. (Its like my education just started!). I plan to settle down to real study with scriptures. I almost can't believe the vast amount of content . Thank you sir for being such a useful tool in the hands of the Lord. Even if I don't have contact with you (I hope that won't happen!) I am already a beneficiary. Only someone who stayed in the secret place of the most high could have gotten all this insight into the word of God. I noticed your enthusiasm for answering questions in detail despite what I am sure is your busy schedule and I'm encouraged to write you. If you don't mind I will ply you with questions repeatedly. I MUST PLEASE THIS GOD THAT SAVED ME!

Though cumulatively over years I've gone through the whole bible its like I have not and I'm encouraged to dive in afresh by your site. Sir how old are you? Your story will be an inspiration to me. I need to have your level of discipline and personal devotion! I'm not flattering you sir when I say you are a gift to the body of Christ. Nowhere to get information in a bundle about you. I've tried. I gleaned some from your writings, especially Q&A. I know you are a preachers kid (is that what p.k means?)

Did you just put your writings on the internet because I'm seeing this November 2018 date on them? Hope to get response from you soonest.

From my heart, may God keep you, guide you, guard you and bless you abundantly. May you finish strong in the Lord in the unfailing name of Jesus. Amen.

Thank you. Love sir. In Christ

Response #23:

Good to make your acquaintance, my friend, and thanks so much for all of your encouraging words. To answer some of the questions you've asked, this ministry has been on the internet since 1997 (here's a link to the history of it), and you can find my C.V. online too (I'm a "bit" older than you are). And, yes, "p.k." means "preacher's kid".

I'm particularly encouraged by 1) your willingness to "rethink" once bumping into something you've been able to test and find beneficial (speaks to your humility), and 2) your desire to put things out there at no cost (speaks to your true servant's heart).

Believe it or not, I've had some contact over the years with a number of positive believers from your country. One young man, a prospective pastor, is really zealous for the Lord and, even more importantly, dedicated to the truth and most able to teach it. This is something rare anywhere in the world.

I'm a little concerned about your report regarding the PDF files. If you would let me know which ones won't download, I'd be grateful. I'll see if I can duplicate the problem here; if so, it's on my end not yours.

Thanks again for your kind and enthusiastic words – do feel free to send me questions. I do sometimes get swamped, but I try to get to them all sooner or later (thanks in advance for patience!).

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hello my very good friend Bob,

As you know the original languages used in scripture, can I ask you a very quick question please?

Kjv reads "And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads" and NIV reads "It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads"

Causeth and forced can be interpreted differently. Forced implies a weight behind it such as legality which would be hard if not impossible to refute, causeth implies an influence and creating the conditions to make this favourable. What is the original word used here? And how would you interpret it? As memory serves, you have stated that it will be a choice and not forced.

Many thanks again Bob for your friendship, support, prayers and ministry.

God bless,

Response #24:

Always good to hear from you, my friend.

It's an excellent question. The Greek verb here is poieo (from which "poet", i.e., "maker"), one of the most common verbs in Greek. Generally speaking, "make" is a fine translation. But in Revelation 13:16 it can be misleading because in English "make" can mean "force" and that's not the case in Greek. In Greek, poieo can mean to "bring it about that", and this is clearly the sense here. In other words, the beast does not tattoo people against their will; he does exert extraordinary pressure to gain their acquiescence. That is obvious from the context where the pressure of not being able to buy or sell is used to coerce those without the mark to take it (if it were forced on people, no need for that sort of pressure to get them to comply). We also see from the previous verse that many will forfeit their lives for refusing to worship him (i.e., if we were to be held down and tattooed against our will, there would be no opportunity for such resistance). So the Great Apostasy has a very strong "push-pull" that many (largely immature and spiritually unprepared) Christians will not in the end resist. But for those of us who love Jesus Christ much more than anything in this otherwise meaningless life, such threats will be of little effect. If have to die for the Lord, so be it; if we have to suffer and struggle through to the end according to His will, so be it.

If anyone [is marked] for captivity, he is going into captivity. If anyone [is marked] for death by the sword, by the sword [he must] be killed. Therefore endurance and faith [on the part] of [my] sanctified ones is [called for].
Revelation 13:10

The key point is that no person will be involuntarily marked. The pressure may be very great, even a matter of life and death. But no one who says "no!" will be marked.

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hello Dr. Luginbill, I pray all is well with you of late.

With the rapid social changes in our society of late, I was wondering if there is a return, so to speak, of Sodom and Gomorrah before the end times?

Socially we seem to be declining rapidly morally and economically especially in the past decade or so. Call me crazy, already seems like the beginning of the end.

Was the original Sodom and Gomorrah one of Satan's ploys to fight the coming of Christ and will this be the case once again before our Lords return?

Hello Friend,

Response #25:

Good to hear from you.

I don't know that Sodom was "a ploy"; the sinful, evil approach they adopted was certainly of the devil, but he has been selling that to everyone since the beginning.

Unquestionably, Sodom represents "the world". Instead of his sojourning life, Lot chose Sodom and the enjoyment of this world. He was conflicted about it (cf. 2Pet.2:7), but the rest of his family weren't. The world is really careening towards ever darker and more satanic trends, and even things that aren't necessarily inherently so but which can facilitate such trends (as in technology) also lead me to believe that things can't go on like this much longer; so that I think most of us who love the Lord and spend time in His Word would be inclined to believe that the Tribulation is close – even if we didn't know that were true from what the Bible has to say about the timeline.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday time together.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Dr. Luginbill,

Do you still think things are lining up for a fall 2026 Tribulation start date? I first read part 5 of the Satanic Rebellion series in mid 2015 and have quite enjoyed waiting to see if it comes true. I’m fully aware though that nothing is guaranteed. Also, I was curious how you got the date of 4065 B.C. for the fall of Adam and Eve.


Response #26:

Good to hear from you.

If anything, the trends toward evil and spiritual degeneration, towards institutions and technologies inimical to faith and freedom, would seem to me to make even a believer who doesn't know about the time-line assume that things can't go on like this much longer.

As to 4065, here is something recently written:

This is all explained in SR 5 also, later on in that extensive study. The operative part, found just after the diagram "The Seven Days of Human History" (link) is as follows:

- The Age of the Gentiles (4065 - 2065 B.C.) -

6. to 2164 B.C. (Abraham's birth): retrogressing 99 years from 2065 to the birth of Abraham based upon Genesis 17:24.

7. to 2456 B.C. (the flood): retrogressing 292 years from 2164 to the great flood by adding the intervals between generations from Abraham to Shem, based upon Genesis 11:10-26.

8. to 3056 B.C. (Noah's birth): retrogressing 600 years to the birth of Noah by adding the intervals between generations from Shem to Noah, based upon Genesis 7:6 and 7:11 - 8:14.(80)

9. to 4112 B.C. (Adam's creation): retrogressing 1056 years to the creation of Adam by adding the intervals between generations from Noah to Adam, based upon Genesis 5:3-29. Allowing exactly 2,000 years for Age of the Gentiles from 2065 to 4065 and subtracting the latter figure from 4112, we posit that Adam sinned and was expelled from the garden at the chronological age of 47 (i.e., he was already mature when created, then fell 47 years after his mature creation: 4112 - 4065 = 47).

All of the above is based upon the genealogical and other info in the OT. To read the entire argument from front to back, start with "9. The Specific Chronology of the Seven Days" (at the link).

Wishing you a wonderful 2019, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Dear Professor

There is nothing like the truth of the Word to give meaning and power to our true lives in Christ Jesus. This is where your ministry has enlightened me so much. Your teachings of the Coming Tribulation are so relevant and important for Christians to understand. I will persevere even with those who, at the present, still delight in the pre-trib rapture delusion - as long they allow me to.
With every contact and card I hope and pray they at least give your teachings a fair hearing. ( I haven’t seen the Baptist pastor since I gave him your card).

From my casual listening to the radio, in respect to technology, it appears that reality and falsehood will be impossible to detect. There are sophisticated systems of deception, that now, only experts can detect; the prediction is that in the very near future, that even experts will not be able to tell the fake from the real. It seems that people who know about these things are extremely concerned of the negative consequences of not knowing what is real. They say we will not be able to believe what we see or hear-this will erode the already shaky trust we have in our democratic institutions (is it an unfortunate coincidence this word is so similar to demon-cratic?)

Another friend thinks that even “the rapture” will be faked by holographic deception - and an alternative salvation plan offered to those who missed out - just sign on the dotted line and follow the miracle maker.

Thank you for your latest link on interpolations. I will put it onto my reference sheet for easy finding, as when I find myself in a similar situation again.

I am so pleased that I can be a very small part of your ministry. A wonderful blessing to be where the Truth is taught from the scriptures.

Thank you for your prayers and dedicated service to our Lord.

Hoping and praying 2019 is a good year for you and your family.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Your student and friend

Response #27:

I'm glad you are getting benefit out of Bartek's series – I certainly have as well (even though never personally involved with the RC church).

Long ago I realized that most of what comes over the radio or the boob-tube or in the print media is somewhat or even mostly wrong. There's enough information out there for us to have a general idea of what is going on, and that is really more than enough. I've spent a lot of time and effort studying the Tribulation, but I've often remarked that many of the specifics and the details cannot be known to us until we see them with our own eyes. That certainly makes sense since John, e.g., was given to write a book which would be comprehensible to Christians of every generation of the Church, even those who lived long before some of the new technological trends were even dreamt of.

Thanks again for the good words and prayers, my friend. Keeping you and your family in mine as well.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #28:

Dear Professor

Thank you for your reply, and particularly for your prayers, and your ministry.

I have noted in your writings that you have remarked about us not knowing the specifics and details of some Tribulational events. I only remarked that even some non believers understand that reality and fakery are hardly discernible now, and will become impossible in the near future. (Even with our own eyes and ears). This may be particularly so with the media. Virtual reality will become more sophisticated. While some believers see possible ways one could be deceived in the near future, it is not to say that this will be the specific method. Just a healthy scepticism of all things, especially that which does not accord with the Bible.

I am thankful for your thorough study and knowledge of the Bible, so I have readjusted many of my preconceptions I previously held, to now a considered agreement with your teachings.

The lessons from our friend have been enlightening for us and are looking forward to later today having my RC refugee friend join in with us. I don’t recall whether I gave your card to the other family so will have one ready tonight.

There seems to be general agreement as to the nearness of the Tribulation within the small group. I have looked up some of the “prophets” or “preachers” they have mentioned, that they watch on You Tube, and they all lack, or say something not quite in accord with your teachings. I am now reminded to follow these things up with them.

One I recall considered the KJV totally correct and berated those who studied Hebrew/Greek texts, because God has made KJV without any error. Another was just repeating stuff in the news and saying what could happen (just as anyone might speculate). The third struck out for something I have since forgotten about. (Must invest in another exercise book to record these).

So treading a careful path trying not to offend anyone, while keeping the baby only. Your ministry is my standard that I measure other ministries by.

As always my gratitude for your devotion to the Lord’s work.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Your student

Response #28:

I've come across such things myself over the years. It does seem that the "looney-tunes" are multiplying as time grows near. They are also permeating the ether with "chaff" and making it harder to come across what's really worthwhile and true – but the Lord is well-able to direct anyone who really is interested in the truth to the truth.

It's all bound to get much worse:

"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."
Matthew 24:23-24 NKJV

Thanks as ever for your good words and prayers, my friend.

Wishing you a pleasant summer 'down under' with more moderate temps (it's a balmy January here – that can't last).

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.


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