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December 3, 2000

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Q/A Topics:
Tribulation vs Wrath... or 70th Week?

QUESTION:
I guess I am confused.. I don't see the tribulation as being the same as Gods Wrath.. they are talked about as two different occurrences in the Bible.. and if we as Christians are not going to suffer any of the tribulation, why is it discussed in the Bible , telling us about suffering tribulation.. and what do you say to those Christians who are and have suffered tribulation and are dying for Christ all over the world ? ..and Christ tell us what to look for and it is Tribulation he is telling us of... When it comes to the point of God's Wrath.. I agree that the Church is not mentioned again.. except for the 144,000 Jews... So I do believe we are gone by this point.. But Christ tells us that we will, as followers of Him, suffer Tribulation.. He even tell how some of us will die Loosing our heads)...

ANSWER:
The term "tribulation" is misleading. 'Everybody' uses it, so sometimes I do, too. But it is because of this that I often speak, instead, of the "70th week". Messiah was "cut off" after 69 weeks. (Dan9:26) And there is yet a "one week" where they will "confirm a covenant" (vs27)

"Tribulation" represents "affliction, trouble, anguish, persecution, oppression, distress, straits" When Jesus promised that "in the world you shall have tribulation" (Jn16:33) He was following up the nature of the walk with Christ, that the Godly life is at odds with the world, and brings a "sword" into relationships, rather than "peace". (Mt10:32-38) In more repressive regimes, Believers are carted away and locked up in prison and/or tortured. Muslim countries are most gruesome in their persecution of Christians. In "free" societies, the persecution takes more the nature of words and politics. Jesus didn't necessarily raise one form of distress over another, "Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall SAY all kinds of evil against you falesly for My sake.." (Mt5:11)

However, by definition, "tribulation" can also refer to the end results of God's wrath, as well. By the time God is finished with the world, they will have been through "distress, anguish, trouble, straits, etc" Thus, "tribulation" goes both directions: that which the world foists upon Believers, and also that which God pours upon the unregenerate.

For being one of the primary books on this time period, Daniel does not contain the word "tribulation". Once past the "Church chapters" of Revelation 2-3, the word only appears once, in connection with Believers.(7:14) Otherwise, the word doesn't appear in that book, either. Thus, perhaps Christians have been in error to label the 70th week as "the tribulation"? Jesus speaks of the characteristics of the end of that time period as the "tribulation of those days". (Mt24:29) He speaks as though there will have been events prior to "tribulation" as He says, "for THEN shall be tribulation" (vs21)

The 70th week will begin with some sort of "covenant with many". (Dan9:27) A peace treaty which leaves Israel feeling rather secure; feeling "at ease, who dwell securely.." (Eze38:11) The "wonders in the heavens" don't happen until "afterward". (Joel2:28,31-32) Or, at the end of that time. Furthermore, we are not told whether the beast's "mark" will be given right at the beginning of that seven-year period, or at some point 'into' that time. We are not told if it is seven-years 'full' of beheadings for refusal to worship the beast's image, or some limited time within that period. However, we know that the covenant will be broken in the middle of the time, as Israel will also flee into exile for 3½ years. (Rev12:14) We know that the gentiles will overrun Jerusalem for 3½ years. (Rev11:2) The two "witnesses" will be proclaiming for 3½ years. (Rev11:3) It would seem that the seven-year period will begin with a false peace (Jer6:14, 1Th5:3). But in the middle of that time, there will be a drastic change in events. And it will then end with the astrological upheavals.

In these days in which we live, 3½ years is not long to set up global events from one phase to the next. By re-election time (1996), how many people remembered that Bill Clinton's -VERY-FIRST- piece of legislation enacted when he took office (1993), to set the 'tone' of his administration, was the matter regarding "gays in the military"? How long did it take Egypt to change from being a treaty-signed ally of Israel, to withdrawing their ambassador from Tel Aviv? How long did it take Russia from being a "neutral" nation, to becoming an active player, even putting its "arm around" China to draw China ("kings of the east" -Rev16:12) into the current middle-east "peace" process?

The reason why "tribulation" is a wrong label for the 70th week is in understanding what the 70th week is. For better understanding I am sending a 'rerun' along with this Q/A from the study series, "Covenants and Dispensations..." which we did a couple years ago. For the best understanding (for newer subscribers), it would be recommended to go read the entire series (in the Library). What comes before in the series establishes the background for proper understanding of this section called "wrath":

Daniel sums it up: "Seventy weeks are decreed as to your people [Israel] and as to your holy city [Jerusalem], to finish the transgression and to make an end of sins, and to make atonement for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy." (Dan9:24)

These seventy weeks, first of all, are -about- "Israel", and Jerusalem. As we are in these end times, that's why the world's attention is focused on Israel and Jerusalem.

There are two forms of "wrath" that will exist during this time: 1) satan's wrath as he is cast to the earth and knows he has a "short time" left (Rev12:12), so he goes about to persecute Israel (the "woman"-vs13), and 2) God's wrath against "ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.." (Rom1:18, Rev6:17) and Israel's enemies.

Thus, the 70th week has several key features:

  1. Time of wrath... satan's and God's
  2. Setting up of Christ's kingdom (Dan9:24b, Rev11:15)
  3. Restoring of Israel (Mal3:3, Mt24:31, Jer31:31-34, etc)
It contains many things: deception and intrigue, world religion with antichrist, world economy, killing of converts, increasing distress and plagues, battle of Armageddon (Joel3, Rev16:16), culminating in the final geological/astrological upheavals which makes the earth "move out of its place" (Is13:13) It will begin with and contain elements of "peace". But it will also -contain- elements of "tribulation". But its essence is not "tribulation"; it only 'contains' it. That is really an erroneous label. It is likely more appropriate to call it the "70th week". Or, "Christ's revealing and Israel's restoration"..?

The time period is NOT -about- the Church. It is about Israel. Since the focus is "Israel", it is not really 'appropriate' for the Church to still be here. Just as there was a time of transition between when Messiah was "cut off" (Dan9:26) and the "disciples were first called Christians in Antioch" (Acts11:26), it seems that we are presently in a time period where the "church" (as an organized entity) is "falling away" (2Th2:3) and becoming what Israel was before the Church came into being. There are still those scattered individuals who are "Israel of Israel" (Christian christians) (Rom9:6b), but the overall entity is about to be "vomited" out of Christ's "mouth". (Rev3:16)

Thus, while we speak in terms of the Church-Church not being here for "God's wrath" (1Th5:9, Lk21:36), it would perhaps actually be more contextually correct to proclaim that we will not be here during the "70th week"... including everything the 70th week represents... its peace, its war, its period of prosperity, its plagues, its wrath, etc.

We are the "Church", not Israel. The 70th week "finishes up" Israel's -decreed- "seventy weeks". (Dan9:24)

And never forget, there -will- be converts during the 70th week. Of -that- time it says, "..whoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be saved.." (Joel2:32) What will they be called? "Christians"? It doesn't say. But it says the focus will be that "salvation shall be in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem..." Perhaps Converts will be persecuted and martyred and derisively labeled "JEW"? That which is of the heart, "..he is a Jew who is one inwardly...of the heart" (Rom2:29)

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Revelation of ???

QUESTION:
How did you come upon the idea that Revelation is the Revelation of Jesus Christ? My bible calls it The Revelation of Saint John the Divine. After all, he wrote it. I thought it was always called the Revelation of St John. It was revealed to him.

Are you talking about the first sentence in the chapter? I just wanted you to clarify that. Thanks.

ANSWER:
Oh yes, "St. John the Divine"... what a 'catholic' expression!

I had forgotten that the KJV labels it that way! A little reminder of the KJ -version's- "Roman" heritage! Out of curiosity I looked, and the NASB, which I used for about 20 years, has it "The Revelation of John/The Revelation of Jesus Christ". But the NKJV has, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ"

Indeed, the Text, itself, tells us what it is. "A Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him..." (Rev1:1) It doesn't say it is a "Revelation of John". It is Jesus' Revelation, which -happened- to be shown to John through His angel. Christ is "revealed" to all of creation. John (the baptist) "revealed" Jesus to Israel. (Jn1:31) Jesus revealed Himself to the disciples after His resurrection. (Jn21:1,14) And there is coming a further future revelation. (Lk17:30, 1Jn3:2) And this is something the Father is GIVING -to- Him, as He invites Him, "Sit at My right hand until I place Your enemies as Your footstool." (Ps110:1)

Yes, the RCC raises Peter (their "first pope") to status above Jesus Christ. They couldn't change the text without being academically inaccurate to the manuscripts, but they could change the title of the book, and rob Christ of His full place, to whatever degree such a thing does so, and thus, elevate another one of their "saints" in this way.

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Christian or Jew?

QUESTION:
I do not know anything about Jews. I worship the God who with His own Blood purchased His Church. Acts 20:28 I understand that by definition Jews and Christians do not worship the same God. I do not gete the point.

ANSWER:
I'm not sure I understand the question... if it -is- a question..?

However, what the Jews worship today is not the Jehovah God, the "I AM" (Ex3:14) of the O.T. Even in Jesus' day they did not. As Jesus is proclaiming His deity throughout the Gospel of John, the Jews finally retort, "..we have one father, even God." (Jn8:41) and Jesus proceeds to label them as unbelievers, "If God were your father, you would love Me, for I went forth and came from God; for I did not come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not know My speech? Because you cannot hear My Word." (vs42-43) And He continues on, labelling them as being of satan.

As Jesus observed, and labelled them "by their fruits" (Mt7:20), we do the same today. Most of that which calls itself the "church", is not. They do not worship the Most High, but rather satan, with their spirit-fillings and other such things. They have not come to God in repentance, and received God's salvation through Jesus Christ.

Thus, today, both the Jews and the "church" worship the same god, satan.

On the other hand, the true Jew "of the heart" (Rom2:29), and the Believer who has "received Him" (Jn1:12) are of the same God Most High. The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses, is the same God of Jesus Christ. The Most High labelled Jesus "My beloved Son in Whom I am well-pleased" (Ps2:7, Mt3:17) and it is through the name of Jesus of Nazareth by Whom salvation comes. (Acts4:12,10) And it is for both Jew and Gentile, having been united as one before God. (Eph2:11-22)

Amen.

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False Wailing Wall

EDITOR:
A subscriber recently sent me a dissertation by an Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D. from July, 2000. He opens with, "There is absolute proof that the present site of the Jewish "Wailing Wall" in Jerusalem is NOT any part of the Temple that existed in the time of Herod and Jesus. In fact, that particular location that the Jewish authorities have accepted represents the Western Wall of an early Roman fortress (finally built and enlarged by Herod the Great). King Herod called it Fort Antonia, after the famous Mark Anthony who lived at the end of the first century before Christ. It was formerly called the Baris in the proceeding hundred years and it finally became known as the Praetorium in the New Testament period (the central military edifice in Jerusalem where the commanding general of a Legion of troops had his headquarters)."

You can read the entire treatise at: http://www.askelm.com/p2k0701.htm

The term "praetorium" is found in Mt27:27, Mk15:16, Jn18:28,33, etc. where Jesus was taken and mocked by the Roman soldiers, and interrogated by Pilate.

The dissertation goes on to suggest, based on various traditions and documented eye-witness accounts over the centuries, that the Jews viewing what is presently labeled as the "wailing wall" was so-indicated because of tradition where "christians" of the Roman "church" would carry their garbage, sometimes making long treks in order to do so, to the location and dumping it there; as an act of a meritorious deed against the Jews. I suppose, since the Jews were called "Christ killers", this kind of act would make their former worship location viewed as a "dung heap"..? Doing this would earn "merits" for common folk, like going on the Crusades would for the young soldiers..?? But that nobody down through the centuries knew FOR SURE 'where' the ancient temples had been. And even now, there is no DEFINITIVE proof of an exact location.

I don't know to verify these thoughts one way or the other. But if any of you hear of this, and read more on it, I think we need to consider this as a potentially valid argument. While I am not a scholar in these things, I do know God's Word fairly well. And I must say, as I read & skimmed through this writing, a Scripture came quite forcefully to my mind/heart, about which I had never before even made the association. People have called the Western Wailing Wall part of the ancient temple of Herod, and I have blindly accepted it, because 'everybody' says so.

But...

Remember that when the disciples are boasting of the grandeur of the temple, Jesus makes the statement, "..There shall not at all be left here one stone on another that shall not be thrown down." (Mt24:2)

It is pretty obvious to even the casual observer that what is now called the "Wailing Wall" is quite a huge structure, with stones on top of each other, forming a solid structure. The Wailing Wall does NOT "fit" with Jesus' words. Thus, if we believe the Scriptures to be accurate and true in all things, we -MUST- accept this observation that the Wailing Wall is -NOT- from the temple during Jesus' days.

So... "where" was the temple? Perhaps nobody knows? And it doesn't matter, because -man- will not be building the next temple. "Behold the Man whose name is THE BRANCH! And He shall spring up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of Jehovah". (Zech6:12) Remember, we have observed not long ago that a 'temple' -building- is not necessary for the prophesied sacrifices to resume. All they need for the morning and evening sacrifices (Dan9:27, Ex29:38-42) is an altar made of "uncut stones". (Deut27:6)

Another interesting thought... if this is true... an irony of sorts. As I've been contemplating this, my head is reeling a bit at the observation of God's sovereignty in even the little details! The Jews today are bobbing their heads at the possible location where Jesus was condemned by Pilate, and abused by his and/or Herod's soldiers. Their unsaved, unrepentant hearts still paying lip-service at the same place they last addressed the matter of Jesus, "Let Him be crucified!! Let His blood be on us and on our children!" This all somehow seems rather symbolic of their up-coming "mourning" when they see Him "whom they have pierced". (Zech12:10) As their hearts are infused by God, they will -SEE- that, as they rejected Him 2000 years ago, their hearts have -still- been in the -same- unbelief. Thinking they are worshiping God, as they did then; but rejecting His Son, their Messiah, -where- they did, as they did then. Somehow symbolic of Daniel's 69th week 'flowing' into the 70th. The Jews were at -that- spot when "Messiah was cut off" (Dan9:26), and they are at-that-SAME-spot as the 70th week resumes the "seventy weeks" which were "decreed". (Dan9:24)

Taking up 'where' they left off...!

Amen!

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