Reading through Revelation – Chapter 7:9-17, “a great multitude” and “the great tribulation”


 


 


Thoughts

Greta with specsStarting here and now, my focus in this series will be to present interpretations of Revelation from Church History – a subject I love. Please think of me as your little old librarian lady with specs on and pray I don’t stumble in the stacks. My hope is that you will be edified by something taken down from the shelves.

Presenting interpretations on Revelation is no longer a simple thing for me. I’m a little afraid of rejection for not believing in what many of my brothers and sisters believe in: a seven-year tribulation before, and a literal Millennium after, Jesus’ return. Though I’m willing to discuss whatever you find here, I’m not interested in debate. Also, please know that I don’t want to discourage you about how you’ve come to understand these things after studying long and prayerfully. I’ve learned that genuine Christians can and do hold different views about them, and that this is fine as long as we are not talking about heresy such as Full Preterism.

May the Lord Jesus be glorified in all that each one of us attempts to do for His Name and eternal Kingdom! 


Revelation 7:9-17

NASB
A Multitude from the Tribulation

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;  10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying,

“Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying,

“Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” 14 I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. 16 They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”


Related passages

 John 16:33

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Hebrews  11:35-38

35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36 and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy),  wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.

Revelation 21:1-4

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be  any death; there will no longer be any  mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

Glorious, brethren!


The 17th Century

John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible – Revelation 7

John Gill was “an English Baptist pastor,  biblical scholar, and theologian who held to a firm Calvinistic soteriology. Born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, he attended Kettering Grammar School where he mastered the Latin classics and learned Greek by age 11. He continued self-study in everything from logic to Hebrew, his love for the latter remaining throughout his life.” ~ Wikipedia

Gill was a premillennialist and historicist

Portrait of John Gill by George Vertue 1684Verse 14

and he said to me, these are they which came out of great tribulation: seeing this company designs all the elect of God, that ever were, are, or shall be in the world; ‘the great tribulation’, out of which they came, is not to be restrained to any particular time of trouble, but includes all that has been, is, or shall be; as all the afflictions of the saints under the Old Testament; from righteous Abel to Zechariah; and all the troubles of the people of God in the times of the Maccabees, Hebrews 11:35; all the persecutions of the Christians by the Jews, at the first publication of the Gospel; and the persecutions under the Roman emperors, both Pagan and Arian; and the cruelties and barbarities of the Romish antichrist, during the whole time of the apostasy; and particularly the last struggle of the beast, which will be the hour of temptation, that will come upon all the world; and in general all the afflictions, reproaches, persecutions, and many tribulations of all the saints, and every member of Christ in this world. . .”

The brief article on Pastor Gill at Wikipedia is very interesting!


A 19th Century Explanation of a 2nd and 3rd Century Expositor

Horae Apocalypticae

APPENDIX TO VOL. IV.  PART I. A SKETCH OF THE HISTORY OF APOCALYPTIC INTERPRETATION.

E. B. Elliott – (1793 – 1875)

Edward B. Elliott “wrote here the most exhaustive historicist defense and exposition of the Book of Revelation, building upon all the commentators before him. The last volume includes a critique of all of the other main interpretations of Revelation. He was a historicist premillennial (as was Charles Spurgeon who has commended it). ‘Horae Apocalypticae’ in the title means ‘of the hours of the Apocalypse’.”

Reformed Books Online: The Best, Free, Biblical, Reformed Books and Articles Online

On Tertullian’s understanding of Revelation, Elliott wrote: “But by far the most interesting to my mind of his passing comments here are those on the 5th Seal’s vision of the souls under the altar, and that of the palm-bearing company, figured before the opening of the seventh Seal.[30] The martyrs of the former vision, he explains as martyrs then in course of being slain under Pagan Rome for the testimony of Christ: thereby distinctly assigning to the then passing æra [era] that particular place in the Apocalyptic prefigurative drama.[31] The palm-bearers of the latter vision, that had to come out of the great tribulation, he identifies as that same second set of martyrs that had been predicted to the souls under the altar; – those that were to make up the martyr-complement by suffering under Antichrist, and so suffering to become triumphant, and attain Paradise. And hence chiefly he formed to himself an Apocalyptic plan, and “ordo temporum” in the prophecy: – how that before the judgment and vindication promised to the souls under the altar, the imperial harlot-city Rome was to be destroyed by the ten kings, (mark, not the ten kings and Antichrist,) after the vial-plagues had first been poured out on its empire: then the Beast Antichrist to rise, make war conjunctively with his False Prophet on the Church, and add an innumerable multitude of sufferers, during the tribulation of his tyranny, to the martyrs previously slain under Pagan Rome, Christ’s two Witnesses, Enoch and Elijah, specially inclusive:[32]. . .”

You can purchase Horae Apocalypticae at Amazon and elsewhere in volumes but it’s expensive. 


A little Greek for some of you from the 19th and 20th Century

Robertson’s Word Pictures

A.T. Robertson

A.T. Robertson from ccel.org

Revelation 7:14

I say (eirhka). Perfect active indicative of eipon, “I have said.” “To the Seer’s mind the whole scene was still fresh and vivid” (Swete) like kekragen in John 1:15 and eilhpen in Revelation 5:7, not the so-called “aoristic perfect” which even Moulton (Prol. p. 145) is disposed to admit. My lord (Kurie mou). “An address of reverence to a heavenly being” (Vincent), not an act of worship on John’s part. Thou knowest (su oida). “At once a confession of ignorance, and an appeal for information” (Swete), not of full confidence like su oida in John 21:15They which come out of the great tribulation (oi ercomenoi ek th qlipsew th megalh). Present middle participle with the idea of continued repetition. “The martyrs are still arriving from the scene of the great tribulation” (Charles). Apparently some great crisis is contemplated ( Matthew 13:19 ; Matthew 24:21 ; Mark 13:10 ), though the whole series may be in mind and so may anticipate final judgment. And they washed (kai eplunan). First aorist active indicative of plunw, old verb, to wash, in N.T. only Luke 5:2Revelation 7:14Revelation 22:14. This change of construction after oi ercomenoi from oi plunhsante to kai eplunan is common in the Apocalypse, one of Charles’s Hebraisms, like kai epoihsen in Revelation 1:6 and kai planai in Revelation 2:20Made them white (eleukanan). First aorist active indicative of leukainw, to whiten, old verb from leuko (verse Revelation 13 ), in N.T. only here and Mark 9:3. “Milligan remarks that robes are the expression of character and compares the word habit used of dress” (Vincent). The language here comes partly from Genesis 49:11 and partly from Exodus 19:10 Exodus 19:14. For the cleansing power of Christ’s blood see als (Romans 3:25Romans 5:9Colossians 1:20Ephesians 1:71 Peter 1:2; Hebrews 9:141 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5Revelation 5:9Revelation 22:14. “The aorists look back to the life on earth when the cleansing was effected” (Swete). See Philippians 2:12 for both divine and human aspects of salvation. In the blood of the Lamb (en twi aimati tou arniou). There is power alone in the blood of Christ to cleanse from sin ( 1 John 1:7 ), not in the blood of the martyrs themselves. The result is “white,” not “red,” as one might imagine.”


The 20th Century

Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965, p. 714

Chapter 7:9-17. The Great Multitude in Heaven

“The ‘144,000,’ of verse 4, and the ‘Great Multitude,’ of verse 9, seem to be two separate groups. One is the Elect of Israel. The other is from All Nations. With one group the scene was on Earth. With the other the scene is in Heaven. One group was sealed against a Coming Tribulation. With the other group, the Tribulation is Past. Yet they may be One and the Same group, under different aspects.

“One relates to the Call, or ‘Sealing’ period, on Earth; the other to the period of Victorious Blessedness in Heaven: the 144,000 of the Elect of Israel, turning out, in full fruition, to be the Great Multitude from Every Nation.

“The blood-washed throng, safe at last in the Father’s Home, as against the Day of Wrath on Earth (6:16), is the Answer to the Martyrs’ Cry (6:10). Arrayed in white Robes, Palms in their hands, Songs on their lips. They hunger no more. All tears wiped away. In the Land where Fountains are Forever flowing with Living Waters.”

This makes sense when we realize that “the Israel or God” is made up of believers, both Jews and Gentiles:

Galatians 6:12-16

12 Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

Meme Hendriksen Dutch quoteMore than Conquerors, William Hendriksen, Baker Book House, 1962, pp. 113-114

The explanation given by the elder, in a most sublime and beautiful manner, closes this section, chapters 4-7. Constantly bear in mind that this section has as its theme, the Church in tribulation. We have seen the red horse of slaughter, the black horse of poverty and injustice, the livid horse of Death. We have heard the cries of the souls of those who had been slaughtered for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held. It has become clear that all these trials are controlled by the One who is sitting upon the throne. Now, in addition, it is made clear to us that the Church does not remain in the tribulation. The countless multitude is composed of individuals who come ‘out of’ the great tribulation. We read ‘And he said to me: “These are the ones coming out of the tribulation, the great one, and they have washed their flowing robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and they worship him by day and by night in his sanctuary, and the One sitting on the throne will spread his tabernacle over them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more: neither shall the sun fall upon them nor any heat, for the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne shall be their shepherd and shall lead them to life’s springs of waters and God shall wipe away every tear out of their eyes.”‘

“The elder tells John that these people who are clothed around with the white flowing robes come out of ‘the tribulation, the great one’. This one tribulation is great because it is all-inclusive: all the persecutions and trials of God’s people, symbolized by the seals, are included in it. That gives unity to this entire section, chapters 4-7. The point is that the saints come out of their trials. The Dutch have a term for ‘dying’ which literally means ‘to get over (or beyond) suffering’. It expresses the truth whenever a believer dies.”

Hendriksen is a heart-felt commentator and I’m looking forward to reading more of his book.


 

40 thoughts on “Reading through Revelation – Chapter 7:9-17, “a great multitude” and “the great tribulation”

  1. Well, for what it’s worth, I am absolutely a pret-ribulational rapture, literal millennial reign guy. But, I would never reject a sister over it. We might not like the same church, but that’s okay too.

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  2. Boy, so many views for a blessed people who are being led into all truth by Him who indwells us. To me it is more simple than most make it. If we inherit with Israel the covenants of promise (plural). We become partakers in the Old Testament promises of God to Israel as the one new man. If one studies what is promised to them, we find that one of those is for Messiah to rule through Israel at Jerusalem over the nations. We are part of Israel according to Paul in Ephesians 2.
    This Zechariah passage is one of the promises made between God and Israel.
    In that day there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle. For it will be a unique day which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light. And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter. And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one. All the land will be changed into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site from Benjamin’s Gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses. People will live in it, and there will no longer be a curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security. Now this will be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth. It will come about in that day that a great panic from the Lord will fall on them; and they will seize one another’s hand, and the hand of one will be lifted against the hand of another. Judah also will fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be gathered, gold and silver and garments in great abundance.
    Zechariah 14:6-14 NASB
    The simplest thing for us to do is to believe this, otherwise we must “spiritualized” it and then everyone has their own opinion. Isa 49:14– is also the promise to Zion the Land of Israel which this passage states will not be able to contain all of Israel’s children who were produced while she was barren. We are those children. These passages either need to compliment one another or spiritualized to the point of confusion. Sorry I hope that I’m not arguing.

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    • Jerry, did you notice that two premillennialists are quoted here – Tertullian from very early and John Gill from the 17th century – and Hendriksen, an amillennialist. As I said in the intro I’m focusing on commentaries from Church History. Learning what was taught in the past enriches my reading of God’s Word. From one aspect I see it like this:

      Malachi 3
      The Book of Remembrance
      16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name. 17 “They will be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” 18 So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.

      The Lord has a book of remembrance in which is written those who fear the Lord and speak together. Aren’t the teachers of past ages – the great cloud of witnesses – fearing the Lord and speaking together when they teach and discuss? If we have to wait till Christians get everything right, the book will be empty.

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    • Sometimes Christians who believe in a literal Millennium disparage ammillenialists for “spiritualizing” God’s Word and call this allegorizing. The Word has been allegorized but not be ammillennialists but by those who use an allegorical principle of interpretation. Spiritualizing or rather seeing the Scriptures with spiritual eyes is what we must do. Aren’t we to be spiritually minded? Didn’t Jesus explain the Old Testament as about Him, not national Israel?

      1 Corinthians 2

      6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; 7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; 9 but just as it is written,

      “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
      And which have not entered the heart of man,
      All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

      10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

      14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.

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      • Amen Sister, some things are to be (must be) understood that way. The question for me at least at this point in my thinking is — does what the passage states require me to spiritualize, or do I understand its content literally? For example: Jesus died. Some spiritualize that.
        From Scripture we know that 1000 years in our history is as a day in God’s recognition of time. So we read about the day of the Lord, and then we read of man’s reign with Him for 1000 years when He returns, we read that Paul sees that day to follow the coming of the son of destruction:
        Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?
        2 Thessalonians 2:3-5 NASB
        Some see this as having been fulfilled in early history, some spiritualize the temple in this verse. Yet there is a set time spoken of here, and I know that you know this, but some who are reading may not.
        Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;
        2 Thessalonians 2:8 NASB
        Remember Peter says that some of these things that Paul teaches are heard to understand, but I don’t think that it is because they don’t have a literal meaning, but rather they must be studied as a whole in order to have understanding. These verses tell us that Apostasy in the end is coming, that a Hitleresk type will lead the sheep of the world. That God will give them over to a reprobate mind. That this one will defile the “Temple”? And all this before the Day of the Lord. Discussion is definitely needed concerning the temple. Spiritually we are called the Temple. Israel is preparing today to build a future earthly Temple, so discussion will be good.

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        • Jerry, just a couple of thoughts. You wrote, “From Scripture we know that 1000 years in our history is as a day in God’s recognition of time.” Is that to be taken as an equation of time: 1000 = 1 (and also 1 = 1000)? To me this is an idiom that expresses the truth that time is absolutely different for the Lord compared to how it is for us. I believe it can’t be an equation because there are two equations Peter speaks of that contradict eachother 1 = 1000 and 1000 = 1. It is much better understood as an idiom, especially since it is a simile that employs the “this is like that” construction:

          2 Peter 3:8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.

          If Peter had said “one day is a thousand years, and a thousand years is one day” then it would be an indicative not a simile. This is that rather than this is like that.

          Also, the fact that the Temple Institute is laboring diligently to build another Jewish Temple in which sacrifice will be enacted does not mean that this is God’s desire for them. The Jewish people are building this Temple in rebellion against the Lord who made sacrifice and offering to cease through His once for all sacrifice of Himself. Also, the “temple” of which Paul is speaking in 2 Thessalonians 2 is not a physical temple but a spiritual temple – this is spiritualizing, you say? Then Paul is spiritualizing.

          Ephesians 2
          19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

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          • I see your points, but there is more to the thousand year theory than what is expressed here. Both the early book of Barnabas and Irenaus in his writings used the one day as a thousand years for their prediction of a Coming 1000 year millennium. I’m not saying that they were writing scripture, but it is a historic fact of early church belief concerning the millennium. Also there is a statement made by Jesus that is puzzling. And He said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I [g]reach My goal.’
            Luke 13:32 NASB
            This statement seems to make no sense due to its placement in the timing of His ministry unless it refers to what Peter states as being possibly literal, especially if we in fact may be living in end of time for man’s rule, and are nearing Christ’s rule now in terms of time?
            Also spiritualizing the temple to be the church In 2 Thessalonians would imply that Satan can inhabit the believer would it not?

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            • Jerry, I’m convinced that the verse in Luke 13 contains yet another idiomatic expression or colloquialism: “today and tomorrow, and the third day.” Brother, it’s a problem and really impossible to always be completely literal. As to the verse in 2 Thessalonians, no, the implication would not be and cannot be that the Adversary could inhabit a believer.

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              • Maria, I want to add one other thought to the discussion on a day as 1000 years. First here is what Gil states concerning Hosea which is another interesting verse similar to the one the Lord stated concerning three days.
                From: Gills Exposition of the Entire Bible.
                After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up,…. The Jews, in their present state, are as dead men, both in a civil and spiritual sense, and their conversion and restoration will be as life from the dead; they are like persons buried, and, when they are restored, they will be raised out of their graves, both of sin and misery; see Romans 11:15; the time of which is here fixed, after two days, and on the third; which Jarchi interprets of the two temples that have been destroyed, and of the third temple to be built, which the Jews expect, but in vain, and when they hope for good times: Kimchi explains it of their three captivities, in Egypt, Babylon, and the present one, and so Ben Melech, from which they hope to be raised, and live comfortably; which sense is much better than the former: and with it may be compared Vitringa’s (s) notion of the text, that the first day was between Israel’s coming out of Egypt and the Babylonish captivity; the second day between that and the times of Antiochus, which was the third night; then the third day followed, which is the times of the Messiah: but the Targum comes nearer the truth, which paraphrases the words thus,
                “he will quicken us in the days of consolation which are to come, and in the day of the resurrection of the dead he will raise us up;”
                So Maria, I haven’t found the commentary, but I have in the past studied the 1000 year as a day question. Because in Barnabas the days are linked to 1000 years and Barnabas relates the 7 th day to the Sabbath when God rested. There are those who state that we are nearing the next sabbath rest since the creation. For there have been approximately 2000 years from the time of Christ’s death, and it is thought that the millennium could be the next 1000 years. Considering that as background. Hosea states:
                “He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, That we may live before Him.
                Hosea 6:2 NASB
                Prior to this in Hosea 5:15 is stated: I will go away and return to My place Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.
                Hosea 5:15
                Now if this is Jesus stating this which some scholars think to be the case, then the 2 days in 6:2 could reference Israel’s being brought back to acceptance of Messiah over the last 2000 years since His coming, and their resurrection as the Nation Of Promises Of which we according to Ephesians 2 will be partakers with them I believe during the millennium.
                None of us know for sure if this is the proper understanding, but it is certainly worth our consideration.

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              • Brother Jerry, thank you for all your comments. I will plan to read Hosea 5 and 6 soon. I hope my replies haven’t been snippy! But I must make another one. Yes, the salvation of the Jews will be life from the dead. This will happen at the Second Coming and the Resurrection when death is destroyed, the last enemy. So if death is destroyed at the resurrection of believers, as 1 Corinthians 15 states, then how can people live and die in a Millennium? It doesn’t make sense.

                Here’s something, not sure what it means exactly, but the Lord Jesus Christ was raised on the eighth day of the week. Doesn’t this have something to do with the big picture?

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              • Can’t easily answer that Maria, any more than I can answer how we can already be dead in Christ yet we must still die. But if Jesus comes to trample the wine press after our resurrection that means that there is still death not of His people but death none the less after the resurrection. You once told me He is sovereign, so I will answer in the same way. And I don’t think that you are snippy, and I hope that you don’t think that I am. We love both you and Tom in Christ, send him our best.

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              • Maria here is the verse that I would ask you to ponder on this question: Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
                Revelation 20:6 NASB
                The second death will come after the first resurrection. Death therefore will be defeated during a reign following His coming to resurrect us. He I believe will put all things under His feet during this reign including death. In Matthew 25 after His return He destroys the goats on His left. That equals death after our resurrection.

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              • Brother, I believe that the Lord Jesus taught us how to understand the first resurrection spoken of in Revelation 20:6. The first resurrection is the new birth. Here is what He said in John 5:

                24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

                Two Resurrections
                25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.”

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              • In vs 24 there is the new birth, in vs 25 He talks about the resurrection of the dead. Two different things. The dead who heard at the hour that “now is”, I believe are those in paradise where Jesus and the thief on the cross went when they died. Jesus led these believers in Abraham’s bosom into heaven with Him. Paradise is now with Him. When we die we no longer go to the belly of the earth but to paradise with Him in heaven. The resurrection is still future. It occurs when He returns, which is what Rev. 19&20 are speaking of. I’m not saying I’m right, but it seems to fit what is happening in Revelation when He returns. Those who do not have new birth will not see that resurrection.

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              • Jerry, I believe that the present tense in conjunction with the past in John 5:24,25 is the key to understanding the first resurrection:

                24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

                25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

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              • Jerry, what I mean – and I am repeating myself I think – is that the new birth is the first resurrection – it is spiritual, we are raised to newness of life. After this when the Lord returns, we will either 1) be raised from the dead – our new body and reborn spirit united – or 2) we will be changed in a twinkling so that we will have a new resurrection body instantly, instantly united to our previously reborn spirits.

                Because of the new birth, the first resurrection, we are now reigning with Christ where we are seated with Him in heavenly places. Those who have been born again but who have physically die also reign with Him of course.

                I may be wrong but this is how I see God’s Word because I believe the tenses in John 5 show this plainly.

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              • Jerry, what I mean – and I am repeating myself I think – is that the new birth is the first resurrection – it is spiritual, we are raised to newness of life. After this when the Lord returns, we will either 1) be raised from the dead – our new body and reborn spirit united – or 2) we will be changed in a twinkling so that we will have a new resurrection body instantly, instantly united to our previously reborn spirits.

                Because of the new birth, the first resurrection, we are now reigning with Christ where we are seated with Him in heavenly places. Those who have been born again and who have physically died also reign with Him of course.

                I may be wrong but this is how I see God’s Word because I believe the tenses in John 5 show this plainly.

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              • Ok, I think I understand. This was the debate I believe of early church fathers, so apparently we are in good company. It was then a widely early opinion of teachers, such as Barnabas, Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Methodius, and Lactantius; while Caius, Origen, Dionysius the Great, Eusebius (as afterwards Jerome and Augustine) opposed it. So we may not be able to resolve this until the Lord comes. But I still appreciate you and respect your right to that view. I just believe that a future millennium fits into scripture and Christ’s rule with better ease.

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              • Jerry, here is an amillennial view of the first resurrection:

                https://wordwatchman.wordpress.com/amillennialism/

                Revelation 20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
                Satan Bound
                20 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain [a]in his hand. 2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.

                4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of [b]their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

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              • Maria, I have read this and agree with much of what is stated in the 8 points. I have given my Scriptural reasons on the points of disagreement.
                Agree 1. The world is not improving, or subject to Christian influence, wickedness is on the increase, and wars abound (Matt. 24:6,7).
                Agree 2. The majority of mankind is not saved, and the true Church of Christ (in any era) is small and despised (Luke 12:32 and Matt, 22:14).
                Agree 3. “There is only one true church. (Disagree) and a single covenant,
                (Agree) which is comprised of the spiritual seed of Abraham; including both Jew and Gentile believers (Gal. 3).”
                This leaves out the covenants of Ephesians 2, of which we are a part. We inherit more than the one covenant: remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the (covenants) of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
                Ephesians 2:12 NASB
                Agree 4. The Church is not spirited away from the earth prior to the great tribulation, but on the earth to endure tribulation (Matt. 24:22).
                Agree 6. “Believers are to expect the apostasy and a great falling away from the faith in the ‘last days’ (Matt. 24:10-12 / Tim. 4:1).”
                I am surprised however, Maria, that you agree with this, because with it free will defies predestination as Reformed Theology understands and believes it.
                7. Disagree this would nullify the inheritance in the covenants (plural). 7. There will be a single resurrection of all the dead upon  Christ’s return in judgment (John 5:28-29).
                If there is but a single resurrection there is no inherited covenant with Israel’s saints in the promised land of Zion. Read chapter 49 of Isaiah. We are told here that Zion’s boulders will be to small because of our inclusion.
                8. Agree, but obviously it must follow Tribulation, so it is near but not yet imminent. 8. This return of Christ is near, and no man knows the day or the hour (1 Peter 4:7 / 1 John 2:18).

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              • Hi, Jerry! Thanks for your analysis showing how much of the article you agree with or disagree with. I see that we still have the same differences.

                Jerry, you wrote this, “Agree 6. ‘Believers are to expect the apostasy and a great falling away from the faith in the ‘last days’ (Matt. 24:10-12 / Tim. 4:1).’ I am surprised however, Maria, that you agree with this, because with it free will defies predestination as Reformed Theology understands and believes it.”

                Here is the passage about the falling away:

                2 Thessalonians 2

                1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?

                Jerry, Reformed Christians believe this Scripture. There is no necessity to open a discussion on free will in reference to the apostasy. You believe there is a necessity. Balderdash. 🙂

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              • Maria, I’m truly glad that you believe the 2 Thessalonians 2 scripture. It coincides with the falling away that Paul taught in 1Tim 4:1, and Jesus own teaching in Matt 24, as you know. What you did not object to was my disagreement on the one Covenant vs. the Ephesians passage. Did you agree with me on that? I didn’t want to assume that. There is one other question that I have for you, being inquisitive as you are, and I am. Why, do you think that the Catholics have rejected the truth concerning salvation by Grace, and yet they have retained an amil position on eschatology, and the millennium?
                You once told me that you are not interested in what Jewish scholars think or teach because they do not possess the Holy Spirits Truth.
                Please understand I’m not saying that you are not entitled to hold that view just because the Catholics hold to it. I am just interested in why you think that they might be holding to it, when they are obviously in error in so many other of their positions.
                By the way to me free will and apostasy go hand in hand. God gave Adam instruction concerning what he and Eve could and could not do, and they disobeyed. They did not keep the faith. — did they? I certainly believe that God because of His sovereignty knew what they would do, but I do not think He caused it, He allowed it. Sorry, I will not be offended if you decide to delete this reply.

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              • Hi, Jerry! You wrote:

                “What you did not object to was my disagreement on the one Covenant vs. the Ephesians passage. Did you agree with me on that? I didn’t want to assume that.”

                I believe the New Covenant in Jesus’ blood fulfills and thus takes the place of the old covenant or covenants.

                You asked this question: “There is one other question that I have for you, being inquisitive as you are, and I am. Why, do you think that the Catholics have rejected the truth concerning salvation by Grace, and yet they have retained an amil position on eschatology, and the millennium? You once told me that you are not interested in what Jewish scholars think or teach because they do not possess the Holy Spirits Truth. Please understand I’m not saying that you are not entitled to hold that view just because the Catholics hold to it. I am just interested in why you think that they might be holding to it, when they are obviously in error in so many other of their positions.”

                Jerry, first genuine Christians have things in common with Catholics, such as, very importantly the Trinity, so we shouldn’t reject what they believe because they believe it, until we understand that it’s unbiblical. I’m not sure that the Catholic view is amillennialism as we know it; I haven’t studied their Amillennialism, before or after being saved.

                Also, I credit Jewish scholars when they speak about history until proved wrong but cannot with eschatology because “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

                You finished with these words, “By the way to me free will and apostasy go hand in hand. God gave Adam instruction concerning what he and Eve could and could not do, and they disobeyed. They did not keep the faith. — did they?”

                They walked with God, brother, with the Lord in the garden in the cool of the evening. They did not walk by faith, unless it was by faith that His commandment was right.

                You wrote, “I certainly believe that God because of His sovereignty knew what they would do, but I do not think He caused it, He allowed it.”

                I’m not grounded enough in Bible doctrine to respond to this. All I know is FROM ADAM AND EVE’S POINT OF VIEW: that Adam and Eve were free to sin and also free not to sin. Their will was not corrupted by sin and so free to choose and act accordingly. Now, we say with Paul, as he cried out in Romans 7:24, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?”

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