A World in Chaos – Should We Be Afraid?

A World in Chaos – Should We Be Afraid?

This was the subject discussed recently on Christian Questions Radio.

Biblical perspective on worldwide problems

Theme Scripture: Luke 21:25

The edition of the program exams current happenings such as the the Ebola virus, the war between the Palestinians and Israel, and Iraq being plundered by ISIS, as well as how Christians in the middle east are being persecuted and killed and worldwide anti-Semitism is on the rise, and much more. It would seem that the chaos and unrest is spreading rapidly, raising the questions:  What should we be doing? Should we be afraid?

CLICK HERE to listen to this broadcast, or download the MP3 of the broadcast.

Scriptures discussed (put your cursor over each scripture to see the scripture from the American Standard Version):

James 5:1-3

{James 5:1} Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming on you.
{James 5:2} Your riches are corrupted and your garments are moth-eaten.
{James 5:3} Your gold and your silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be for a testimony against you, and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up your treasure in the last days.

James 5:7,8
Luke 12:1-3
Isaiah 24:18
Micah 7:8
Matthew 12:33-37
Ecclesiastes 12:13,14
Exodus 20:16
Deuteronomy 25:13-15
Amos 3:1,2
Psalm 83:1-5
Romans 11:25-29
Amos 9:11,14,15
Daniel 12:1
Isaiah 35:3,4
Micah 4:1
Isaiah 34:8
Zechariah 8:21-23
Zechariahs 12:9,10
Luke 21:25
Zechariah 7:8-14
Isaiah 42:1-4
Micah 4:3,4
Luke 21:25,26
Isaiah 35:5-10
Habakkuk 2:1
Daniel 12:1-4
Luke 21:25-29
Matthew 6:25-33
Romans 13:11-14

 

Various Views on Bible Chronology

Views by Bible Students

Views and conclusions presented by the following authors whose works are linked to below are not necessarily our own views.

A Confirmation of the True Bible Chronology – Charles Redeker
A Discussion of two Differing Chronologies – Paul Mezera
A Test of Time – Robert Gray
About Our Chronology and Time Prophecies – Jeff Mezera


Bible Chronology – Charles Taze Russell
Bible Chronology – John and Morton Edgar
Bible Chronology – M.S.Mariadas and Y.R.Dinakaran
Bible Chronology – N. H. Barbour


Calculating Across BC and AD – Steve Palmgren
Chronology Based on Faith – Charles Taze Russell
Chronology Charts
Chronology For Us Common Folk – David Doran
Chronology Proofs – Frank Shallieu
Chronology Study – Morton Edgar
Comparative Chronology Chart (Bowen-Elliott/Clinton Chronologies as well as others)
Date of Nehemiah’s Commission – Ric Cunningham


Earth’s Great Jubilee
Erroneous Chronology and False Conclusions – Charles Taze Russell
Exaustive Research and Examination of Propheticand Historic Testimony Relating to the Divine Times and Seasons — Herald Magazine

Z
Daniel, the Beloved of Jehovah – R. E. Streeter
Dating the Desolation – Jerry Leslie


Histories, Chronologies, Chronologists and Time Prophecies – Mezera
How Old Was Xerxes – Ric Cunningham
How Secular and Bible Chronology Agree – Herald Magazine
Horae Apocalypticae Chronology – E. B. Elliot – First Edition * Second Edition * Third Edition * Fourth Edition * Fifth Edition


Is Our Bible Chronlogy Credible? – Charles Redeker


Marking Time – Jerry Leslie
Mistakes of Ptolemy, the Pagan Historian – Morton Edgar
Mr. Dimbley’s Chronology – Charles Taze Russell


Period of the Desolation – Peter Karavas
Period of the Judges – Peter Karavas


Resolving Chronology of the Second Millennium BC (James Parkinson)


Sabbath Venerable Tradition – Jerry Leslie
Say Ye Not, a Confederacy (Isa. 8:12) – Jerry Leslie


The 450 Year Period of the Judges – Morton Edgar
The Biblical Seventy Years (Redekker)
The Divine Plan and its Chronology (Paul Mezera)
The Biblical Prophetic Year – Charles Redekker
The Biblical 70 Years – Charles Redeker
The Gospel Age – David S. Doran
The Present Age and Times to Come – Hugo Karlén
The Thousand Years and Question of Parallels and Harvests – New Albany Bible Students
The True Bible Chronology – Raju Krishna
The Twentieth Year of Artaxerxes – John and Morton Edgar
Time and Prophecy (David Rice)
Time Features – John Edgar
Timeline of the 7000 Years (Paul Mezera)
Times and Seasons – Charles Taze Russell
True Bible Chronology Stated A.M.


Where Are We – Ken Rawson
Which is the True Chronology? — Julian T. Gray


Zero Year — a “red herring” — Jerry Leslie

IF ANY KNOW OF OTHER LINKS, PLEASE LET US KNOW IN COMMENTS BELOW.

The World Will See Me No More — John 14:19

John 14:19 Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more; but you will see me. Because I live [referring to his resurrection], you will live also [reckonedly regenerated in this age, and actually in the resurrection].

In John 14:19, although Jesus’ words are directly to Philip, Jesus is evidently speaking to his apostles in general, when he said: “you [plural] will behold me.” When Jesus said “you”, the pronoun in the Greek is plural, signifying that he was not simply addressing Philip (John 14:9), but all of the eleven apostles. All of the eleven apostles will be members of the joint-heirs with Christ, receiving spiritual bodies in the resurrection as Jesus now has, and thus will be able to see, or behold, Jesus’ own glorious spiritual body. The world will never have that ability.

Nevertheless,  Jesus made many appearances to his 11 faithful apostles (as well as to other disciples) before his ascension (Acts 1:3; 1 Corinthians 15:4-8), but the world never saw him again after his death and burial, and will never physically see him again.

Additionally, the remaining 11 apostles will live again in the last day (John 6:39,40,44,54), and will further see Jesus then, not as a human being, but in his exalted glory of a heavenly, spirit being, the glory of a celestial (heavenly), spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:40,45), and this is what we believe that Jesus is specifically referencing. The world, being raised to life on the earthly, physical plane, will never ever physically see or behold Jesus’ magnificent glory, although they will see his glory in its kingdom physical manifestations all over the earth.

Also, the believers in this age are allowed to spiritually “see” Jesus with varying degrees of understanding, while the present evil world (Galatians 1:4) cannot appreciably see Jesus at all due to the blinding influence of Satan. (2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9) In the age to come, however, the blinding influence and the covering vail of darkness will have been removed when the mountain of God’s kingdom fills the earth (Isaiah 2:2-4; 25:7; 29:18; Revelation 20:1-3), so that those who in this age do not believe will, in that last day of judgment be able “see” Jesus, not literally, but with the symbolic “eyes” of understanding that will no longer be symbolically blinded. — Isaiah 2:2-4; 26:9; John 12:47,48.

Now, however, neither the world nor the church will ever again see Jesus in the flesh. Why not? Because he sacrificed his flesh once for all time. He never takes it back, nor does he have any reason to take it back. If he should take that flesh back, then the sacrifice would become void, for in order to completely fulfill the condemnation upon Adam, Jesus’ humanity has to be dead forever. The very purpose of Jesus’ becoming flesh was to sacrifice that flesh for the sin of the world. Having presented that flesh, his body, in sacrifice after his ascension, he has no need to ever again become flesh.

The apostle Paul calls attention to the difference between heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, and declares that they have different glories. (1 Corinthians 15:40) He tells us that the first Adam was made a living soul, a human being, but that our redeemer, he who came from heaven, who humbled himself, and took the earthly nature — “for the suffering of death” (Hebrews 2:9) — being foreshadowed by sinless Adam (Romans 5:14), and being crowned with the earthly glory as was sinless Adam (Psalm 8:5; Hebrews 2:9). Jesus’ body of was prepared by his God, without the taint of sin or condemnation in Adam. (Hebrews 10:5) But Jesus did not remain flesh, for he offered his earthly glory, his flesh, his body, in sacrifice for the church and the world. (John 6:51; Hebrews 10:10; 1 John 2:2) What we need to remember is what Jesus sacrificed, what he offered to his God, was human life and all that pertains to it. Jesus did not die for spirit beings; he died for human beings, the “all” that are dying in Adam. — 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Romans 5:12- 19.

John tells us of Jesus that “in him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4) What does this mean, that in Jesus, as a human “was life”? John 9:5 and 2 Timothy 1:10 give us a clue. Since Jesus, unlike Adam, was totally obedient, his sinless human life offered light to the dying race of mankind. Thus Jesus said: “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5, New King James version) The good news is that Jesus came with a sinless human life that he could offer in sacrifice to his God on man’s behalf in order to atone for the sin of the world. Thus Jesus, while a man, possessed life, and by his continued obedience brought life and incorruption to light. (2 Timothy 1:10) Jesus condemned sin in the flesh by showing that a sinless, incorrupt human can obey God’s laws. — Romans 8:3; 2 Timothy 1:10.
==========
See: How God’s Son Condemned Sin the Flesh

Jesus, as a human, as most know the scriptures say, was without sin. (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peterr 2:22-24; 1 John 3:5) Unlike dying mankind, while Jesus was in the days of his flesh (Hebrews 5:7), Jesus had life, thus in him was life! (John 1:4) How thankful we can be that the great Logos, the Word of God, the only direct living creation of God, the one through whom all life was made, when the offer was made, and the “joy set before him,” said to his God, “Lo I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, 0 God.” (John 1:1-3, Diaglott Literal; Hebrews 10:7; 12:2; Revelation 3:14). The life and personality of the Logos was then transferred and he became the babe of Bethlehem. “He was made flesh and being found in fashion [likeness] as a man [sinful flesh –Romans 8:3] he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross [stauros].” – John 1:14; Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 2:14.

Jesus’ human body was not prepared from sinful human stock, but Jesus says of his God: “But a body did you prepare for me.” (Hebrews 10:5) It is thus this sinless human body, having sinless life, that Jesus willingly offered in sacrifice. (Hebrews 10:10) Yes, in Jesus was life — human life, crowned with the glory of a sinless man, who by remaining obedient to his God (Philippians 2:8) never fell short of the glory of God. — Romans 3:23; Hebrews 2:9.

Thus seen, what did Jesus sacrifice?

He gave his humanity — including his body of flesh — as an offsetting price, which sacrifice he formally presented to his God as priest after his ascension. – – Hebrews 8:4; 9:24-26; 10:10.

1) Jesus gave his blood in sacrifice.

Matthew 26:28 – for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins.

Mark 14:24 – He said to them, “This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many.

Luke 22:20 – He took the cup in like manner after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, that which is poured out for you.

Acts 20:28 – Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son. – Revised Standard Version.

Romans 5:9 – Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we will be saved from God’s wrath through him.

Ephesians 1:7 – in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.

However, what does blood represent? Jesus’ human soul, which he also gave in sacrifice.

Leviticus 17:11 – For the life [Hebrew, nephesh – soul] of the flesh is in the blood.

Deuteronomy 12:23 – The blood is the life [Hebrew, nephesh – soul].

The human soul consists of the body made from the dust of the ground and the neshamah, representing the activation of the body by spirit of life as received from God. — Genesis 2:7.

2) Yes, Jesus did sacrifice his human body: He thus was not raised as a human, but as a spirit being, with a spiritual body.

Hebrews 10:10 by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Hebrews 10:11 Every priest indeed stands day by day ministering and often offering the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins,
Hebrews 10:12 but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
Hebrews 10:13 henceforth expecting until his enemies to be made the footstool of his feet.
Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified.

Luke 22:19 He took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and gave to them, saying, “This is *my body which is given [as an offering in sacrifice to God – Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 9:14] for you*. Do this in memory of me.”

3) Jesus sacrificed his flesh:

John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Yes, the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.

4) Jesus sacrificed his human soul:

Matthew 20:28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life [soul] as a ransom [price to offset] for many.

Isaiah 53:12 He *poured out his soul* to death, and was numbered with the transgressors: yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

He died; he was totally dead, ceased to be sentient, else there has been no ransom. His body was given in sacrifice. (Hebrews 10:10; Luke 22:19) Jesus’ soul — his human sentiency — was given in sacrifice (Ecclesiastes 9:5) and went into sheol, where there is no work, device, knowledge or wisdom, and wherein one cannot give thanks to, or praise to, Yahweh. (Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Psalm 6:5; Isaiah 38:18) Jesus’ human blood — which represents his human soul/being (Leviticus 17:11; Deuteronomy 12:23) — was given in sacrifice. (Mark 14:24; Acts 20:28; Hebrews 9:14) Thus his soul — his being — as raised, made alive, from the oblivious condition of sheol was no longer human, but spirit, with a spiritual, not a physical, body.

Once we realize that the human soul consists of the body of flesh activated by the neshamah, or spirit of life from God (Genesis 2:7), we can see how Jesus gave his entire humanity in sacrifice; he is no longer in the days of his flesh, and the world will never again literally see Jesus, either in the flesh, or in his heavenly glory. — Hebrews 5:7.

What, then, about Revelation 1:7?

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen.

“Every eye shall see him” (Revelation 1:7) is widely accepted as proof that Christ will return visibly. The book of Revelation however, is full of symbology, and we believe that “eye” and “see” here is speaking symbolically. We know Jesus said , “The world seeth me NO MORE” (John 14:19). The Bible does not contradict itself! Any reasoning student of the Bible will admit that the book of Revelation is a book of symbols. It cannot be literally interpreted. Why should a person then insist that this one verse must be?

The “eye” in Revelation 1:7 is symbolical and refers to mental perception or the “eye” of understanding (Job 42:5). At first Christ appears only as clouds of darkness, trouble, suffering, tribulation, as a roaring of the sea. (Isaiah 5:30; Zephaniah 1:15; Luke 21:25) The world symbolically sees the clouds of darkness, but the people in general do not understand the import behind the clouds until the clouds are removed, and God through Christ says, Peace! Be Still! — Psalm 107:29; Mark 4:39.

While it could be the clouds of darkness that produce a mournful feeling in men, many scriptures indicate that when all flesh sees the glory of Yahweh (Isaiah 40:5) as being revealed through Jesus and the saints, the world will be mournful. (Isaiah 35:5-10) The judgments of that day will prove to be more tolerable for some than for others. — Matthew 10:15; 11:22,24; Mark 6:11; Luke 10:12,14.

The verse tells us that those that pierced Jesus will be there, which provides further indication that this has its full fulfillment in the resurrection day, the “last day” when the unbelieving world is to blessed with another day of judgment. — John 12:47,48.

Repentance is also associated with mournfulness (Joel 2:12), so the mournfulness being spoken of in Revelation 1:7 could be regarding repentance upon realization of the truths being revealed at that time. The next age will then be in full operation, the great deceiver abyssed, and mankind will then be enabled to understand. — Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14; Joel 2:2; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Isaiah 25:7; 29:24; Revelation 12:9; 20:1-4.

Related RL Studies

1 Peter 3:18 – Jesus Died a Human Being – Raised a Spirit Being

Romans 8:3 – How God’s Son Condemned Sin in the Flesh

End of the World in 1914?

Light, Darkness and the Logos

Astrape in Luke 17:22; Matthew 24:27

Jesus Has Come in the Flesh

Originally published on September 9, 2009; updated and republished on April 22, 2014.

Revelation 19:1 and the Great Multitude -r

After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God: — Revelation 19:1.

Does this mean that the “great multitude” spoken of in Revelation 19:1 are being pictured in heaven where God’s throne is, and where the angels are always able to “see” the fact of God? (Psalm 11:14; Matthew 18:10) No, for the word “heaven” in the Bible does not always mean such. The context of Revelation 19:1 shows that this “great multitude”, whoever they are, are in this “heaven” when Babylon the Great is destroyed, thus before or at the full end of this age. If “heaven” here refers to the heavens where God’s throne is, then to fit this scenario the great multitude would need to be resurrected to a spirit life sometime before or immediately after the destruction of Babylon the Great, before Satan is abyssed, and also that Babylon the Great would evidently have to be in heaven where God’s throne is before the end of the age, and where the angels see the face of Yahweh. We find no scriptural support for such ideas. Therefore the conclusion is that the words “in heaven” refer to their religious standing in the figurative ecclesiastical heavens, not the heavens where God’s throne is.

The present “heaven” that now is, which relates to the authoritarian religious elements of mankind, however, is to pass away. (Revelation 21:1; 2 Peter 3:7,12) This heaven that is to pass away is not the heaven where God’s throne is, since God’s dwelling place will never pass away; thus the heavens that passes away is evidently the sectarian religious elements amongst mankind here on earth that seek to control mankind with their religious authority. While this great multitude is yet among the sectarianism of Babylon the Great, they have consecrated themselves to God. In this position, many Christians today of many diferent denominations, nations and tribes, are now proclaiming their salvation in Christ, although as yet they are still being hindered by mankind’s sectarian influences. Thus, they are still to a great degree being deceived by the sectarianism that exists all around them (Revelation 13:14); it is only after this sectarianism is destroyed in the great tribulation and Satan is abyssed, that they will be able to see beyond the deceptions of Satan (Revelation 12:9; 13:14), and then the Lamb will lead them to the waters of life, which Isaiah 25 shows will be on the earth, not in heaven where God’s throne is. — Isaiah 25:6-8; Revelation 7:14-17; 20:1-3.

See also:
The Great Multitude

Revelation 7:9-17 – The Great Multitude (r-blogger)

Revelation 7:9-17 – The Great Multitude (r-blogger)

Many Bible Students believe that the “great multitude” will receive spiritual bodies in heaven in the resurrection. We do not agree with them on this, since we believe the scriptural evidence is overwhelming that the great multitude is depicted as being on earth, not in heaven. The symbolic temple (tabernacle, dwelling) of God comes down to earth and dwells with mankind (Revelation 7:15; 21:1-4), thus the “great multitude”, having come out of the great tribulation, are symbolized as serving God in that symbolic temple day and night. The tears are wiped from their eyes, which takes place on the earth, not in heaven. (Revelation 7:17; 21:1-4; Isaiah 25:7,8) Before the throne of God is the earth, God’s footstool. — Isaiah 66:1.

Revelation 19:1

Some point to Revelation 19:1 as proof that the “great multitude” go to heaven. The Bible refers many times to a great multitude, but not every time does it mean the same great multitude mentioned in Revelation 7. However, we have no reason to believe that the great multitude spoken of here does not refer in a general way to the same “great multitude” that eventually comes out of the great tribulation.

Nevertheless, “heaven” itself is most often figurative in the book of Revelation. Bible Students should note that C.T. Russell applied the “great multitude” of Revelation 19:1 as speaking of when Babylon the Great falls, thus he applies the “great multitude” as being on the earth at that time. His words: “We think there is good reason to believe that a considerable number who have made a consecration are still in Babylon. We do not know this, however. We are near to the battle of Armageddon, near the time of the overthrow of Babylon; and we are seeking to give the Message of the truth as wide a circulation as possible, to the intent that this class may hear and come out, even though too late to win the great prize. That they are considerable in number is intimated in the 19th chapter of Revelation, where we are told that when Babylon falls, the number of those released at the time will be a great multitude, that the voices of these will be ‘as the voice of many waters’.” (Reprints 5411:6) We do not necessarily agree with all of his conclusions, as we do not expect the great multitude to be made manifest until after Satan is abyssed, nor before.

See our study:

The Parousia, the Seventh Trump and the Harvest

The context of Revelation 19:1 shows that this “great multitude”, whoever they are, are in this “heaven” when Babylon the Great is destroyed, thus before or at the full end of this age. If “heaven” here refers to the heavens where God’s throne is, then to fit this scenario the great multitude would need to be resurrected to a spirit life sometime before the destruction of Babylon the Great, before Satan is abyssed, and Babylon the Great would also evidently have to be in heaven where God’s throne is before the end of the age, and where the angels see the face of Yahweh. We find no scriptural support for such ideas. Therefore we conclude that the words “in heaven” refer to their religious standing in the symbolic ecclesiastical heavens, not the heavens where God’s throne is.

We conclude that this “great multitude” is pictured as being in the ecclesiastical heavens attributing salvation to their God. This figurative “heaven” — the religous elements of this world that now is, however, is to pass away. (Revelation 21:1; 2 Peter 3:7,12) Brother Russell also said, referring to the great multitude as the “great company”: “In the 19th of Revelation this company are spoken of as rejoicing in the fall of Babylon and saying, ‘Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him; for the Marriage of the Lamb is come, and His Wife hath made Herself ready.’ (Vs.7.)” (The Watch Tower, January 15, 1914, page 19) Nevertheless, these are not being depicted as being in the heavenly realm where God’s angels always see the face of God; they are depicted as being here on earth.

Brother Russell did, however, believe that the “great multitude”  (the JWs refer to the great multitude as the “great crowd”) would eventually go to heaven, being a “left over” class who did not make it as one of the 144,000. He believed they would be taken to heaven early after or during the great tribulation.

But Brother Russell also believed in a another group that would be consecrating, as he put it, “between the ages”, for whom there would be no hope of being of the 144,000. This group he identified with those spoken of in Psalm 107:23-31. Yet, he also believed that there was a possibility that this group would go to heaven after the 1,000-year reign.

This last elect group, however, we believe, is identified as being the same group as the “great multitude” of Revelation 7.  While we believe it may be that they may go to heaven after the 1,000 years rulership, we don’t see any scripture, however, that gives any real reason to believe this. Brother Russell presented the possibility that the “camp of the saints” spoken of in Revelation 20:9 represents a last group that will go to heaven after the 1,000 years. The idea is that this “camp” means that they do not have permanent residence on earth, so they must be taken to heaven. While we will say this is a possibility, we don’t see enough there to actually say that they will be taken to heaven.

Before the Throne – Revelation 7:9

Some claim that since the “great multitude” are pictured “before the throne”, that this means that they will go to heaven. Their being before the throne of God is the picture of their reward. The throne of God is pictured in heaven (Psalm 11:4; 66:1; 103:19; Matthew 5:34; 23:22; Acts 7:49; Hebrews 8:1), but being before the throne does not necessarily mean that those before the throne are in heaven. In Revelation 20:12, we read of dead, great and small standing before the throne; these dead are on the earth, not in heaven. “Before”, however, often signifies loyal/disloyal service, in harmony/disharmony with, in the sight of the One on the throne, in a place of judgment by the One on the throne, not an actual physical position. — Genesis 6:11; 17:1; Exodus 10:3; 23:17; Joshua 24:1; 1 Kings 8:25; 1 Chronicles 13:8; 16:1; 2 Chronicles 6:16; 1 Samuel 2:30; 2 Chronicles 7:17; Psalm 50:8; 68:3; Isaiah 66:2,23; Luke 1:6,8; 24:19; 8:21; Acts 10:4; Romans 14:22; 1 Corinthians 1:29; 2 Corinthians 10:4; Revelation 8:4; 11:4.

We need to remember that the book of Revelation is given in signs — symbolism. “Heaven” in the book of Revelation is not necessarily speaking of being in the spirit realm, or of having what Paul speaks of as “spiritual bodies”. Thus, the great multitude are in the figurative religious heavens as depicted in the book of Revelation. Being “before the throne” does not mean that they have been raised from death with spiritual bodies as opposed to earthly bodies.We believe that the great multitude are indeed those spoken of in the symbolic heaven in Revelation 19:1,6. This “heaven” has been styled the “ecclesiastical” heavens as present here on earth. Thus, the great multitude, having become justified in the blood of Christ, are heard speaking from this heaven, but they are actually here on earth, in physical, not spiritual, bodies. Likewise, being ‘before the throne’ of God does not signify being with spiritual bodies in the spirit realm or celestial realm. Westcott & Hort’s Interlinear gives the expression of Revelation 7:9 in its word-for-word translation as: “having stood in sight [Strong’s #1799] of the throne and in sight of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:14,15 tells us that the reason they have such a standing before the throne and the Lamb is because they have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb.

One should note how Strong’s #1799 is used throughout the the New Testament.
http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/enopion.html

That “before” or “in the sight of” is depicting a symbolic standing can be seen from Revelation 3:2:

I have found no works of yours perfected before [in the sight of, Strong’s #1799] my God.

Was Jesus saying that those members of the church of Sardis had been rasied from the dead and standing in the presence of God in spirit realm? Absolutely not! Indeed, no one will attain the reward of the spiritual body in whom Jesus has “found no works … perfected.”

Revelation 16:19 –  The great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered in the sight of [Strong’s #1799] God, to give to her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

What can be said about this verse? Is Babylon the Great in heaven in the sight of God; it should be apparent that the usage is not speaking of a physical location.

Further, let us look at Luke 1:6:

They were both righteous before (Strong’s #1799) God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and ordinances of [Yahweh].

Obviously, this is not saying that Zechariah and Elizabeth were in heaven in the sight of God, but that “in the sight of God” — from the perspective of God, who call things that are not as though they were — they were reckoned as “righteous.”

If one is still not satisfied, perhaps a study of the verses all through the New Testament might be beneficial.

The Greek word corresponds with the Hebrew Strong’s #6440, which also see:
http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/hebrew/kjv/paniym.html

In Revelation 20:12, the worldly are spoken of as being “before” God. Most Bible Students will tell you that these ones who stand before [in sight of] God in Revelation 20:12 are actually on earth, not before God in heaven.  Likewise, we believe the same is true of the “great multitude”.

We, therefore, believe the standing of the great multitude before the throne and before the Lamb signifies their standing as having become justified in the blood of the Lamb. (1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; Hebrews 10:22; 1 Peter 1:18,19; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5) Being typified by the mixed multitude that joined with Israel at the last moment, so to speak, the great multitude are depicted as coming out of the great tribulation at the end of this age. Being justified, they are sons of God as was Adam before Adam disobeyed (Luke 3:38), heirs of God (Romans 8:16,17), as Adam was to inherit the dominion given to him, that is, the earth. In Hebrews, we learn that man has not yet obtained this dominion; Paul tells us why in Romans 5:12-19. — Genesis 1:26,28; Psalm 8:4-8; Hebrews 2:6-8.

In the Temple – Revelation 7:15

Nor does their service “in the temple” signify that they are in heaven anymore than Paul’s reference to the church as the “temple of God” (1 Corinthians 3:16,17; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 5:16) signifies that the first century believers were in heaven. (See also 2 Thessalonians 2:4.) Those worshiping in the temple in Revelation 11 are not generally thought to be “in heaven”, nor does the service of the great multitude “in the temple” give any reason to think that the great multitude are in heaven.

He who sits on the throne, Yahweh, dwells amongst them (Greek: skeenwsei ep autous, literally, tent upon them). This is similar to what is said in Revelation 21:1-4, which speaks of God’s dwelling with men on the earth. In Revelation 21:4, however, the Greek phrase is not completely the same as in Revelation 7:15. The phrase in Revelation 21:4, is “skeenwsei met autwn”, literally, he will tent with them. The Greek word “ep”, however, is sometimes used to mean among/with, as “in” or “into”, not upon, and this is probably what is meant in Revelation 7:15. It could be that the phrase in in Revelation 7:15 shows a closer relationship with Yahweh than the world of mankind in general as expressed in Revelation 21:4, and so they are indeed in closer relationship, since the “great multitude”, having been justified and consecrated during the days  the great tribulation, deserve greater recognition than the world of mankind in general.
==========
* See the King James Version at Matthew 13:7; Luke 18:7; Acts 1:21; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; Hebrews 1:8; Revelation 12:7.

Revelation 7:16

They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore. This will be true of all who serve God, whether on earth, or in heaven. However, this is obviously a reference to Isaiah 49:10, which refers to the Millennial kingdom, and of conditions on earth, not in heaven.

Nevertheless, in this life, in this present evil age, it is true that he who fully believes on Jesus will never spiritually hunger or thirst, and yet each one’s hunger and thirst for truth is filled in varying degrees, according as he has grown in faith. — John 6:35.

For the great multitude, however, it implies that before their coming out of the great tribulation, and although they had washed their robes in the Lamb’s blood (Revelation 7:14), they will still have things to learn in the age to come, for they had not yet been fully led by the Lamb to the living waters  (Revelation 7:17) — full knowledge which fully quenches the thirst and hunger for truth. Before Satan’s empire is destroyed, indicates that they were still blinded to a great extent by the “sun” of this world, and the vain pursuits of the world. (Ecclesiastes 1:14; 2:11; 4:7; Romans 8:20; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Timothy 4:10) Such appear to be of the two classes spoken of in Luke 12:47,48.

The sun shall not strike them, nor any heat. The sun of this world is the vain false hope that the crooked condition of man offers in this present evil age. (Ecclesiastes 1:2,3, 13-17; Galatians 1:4) Satan, of course, seeks to attract the consecrated with the cares of this world, and with the false glory of the world, even as he sought to attract Jesus. (Matthew 4:18; 13:22; Mark 4:19;  Luke 21:34; Colossians 2:8; James 4:4; 2 Peter 2:20) After Satan is abyssed so that he cannot deceive the heathen (Revelation 20:1-3), this symbolic sun of vanity is darkened, and taken away, so that the great multitude (and also the world in general) is no longer struck by its symbolic rays and symbolic heat.

The Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. This is similar to Revelation 21:6, which refers to those on the earth in the Millennial age. The shepherding of this great multitude after the great tribulation indicates that they did not completely come to the full perfection of faith before the end of Satan’s empire was accomplished. (1 Thessalonians 3:10; Hebrews 12:1,2) They will still need to be guided further into truth and perfection.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. This is a reference to Isaiah 25:8: The Lord Yahweh will wipe away tears from off all faces. Isaiah 25:8 is speaking of conditions on earth, not in heaven, for “the reproach of his people will he take away from off all the earth: for Yahweh has spoken it.” Likewise, this expression is also found in Revelation 21:4: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes”, which is also speaking of on the earth, not in heaven.

http://ctr.reslight.net/?p=129

We have been asked the question: “Are you suggesting that the 144,000  are not in heaven as spirit creatures, but on earth?”

If this is meant to ask if we believe that the 144,000 do not receive spiritual bodies in the resurrection, we do indeed believe that they will receive spiritual bodies in the resurrection. If it is meant to ask if we believe that the 144,000 are in heaven when they are sealed out of the twelve tribes, no we do not believe that they are heaven when they are sealed, but rather, that they are still on the earth, and do not receive spiritual bodies until they are raised in the first resurrection.

The question has been asked:

If the great multitude come out of the nations during this present evil age and are an earthly class, in what manner would they be then “called out?” in light of Ephesians 4:4-5?

First, let us note that the scripture does not state that the great multitude are “called out” of the great tribulation. Their calling is the of the same calling as all during the Gospel Age. Those who are called out are called out of, separated from, the world reckonenedly, being justified, and no longer reckoned with the world as “sons of disobedience”, “children of wrath.” (Ephesians 2:2,3) The initial calling out, separation from the world, does not designate the one called out as already having attained the prize of joint-heirship with Jesus. All who are called out of the world are first placed on the level of being earthly, on the same plane of life as Adam had as a son of God before Adam sinned; afterwards, if they attain the mark of the prize of the high calling, then they are reckoned as being joint-heirs with Christ, and to receive a heavenly, spiritual body, in the resurrection.

There is nothing in Ephesians 4:4,5 that says that all who are called out will receive heavenly, spiritual bodies in the resurrection. Of course, all in this age are called in the one hope of the high calling, but not all attain that reward. It should be self-evident that not many of those who are called out will attain the “prize of our high calling,” that is, joint-heirship with Jesus. Paul surely did not intend for this to be read as to meaning that all will have the same reward. Nevertheless, all are being called to reach out for the mark of prize of our high calling, and in this sense one might say that we all have that one hope, regardless of which class they actually end up in. Nor do we mean that all will reach that mark so as to attain that hope; the hope is there, but only a few actually attain the highest reward. Strictly speaking, however, the “one hope of our calling” is in God through Jesus, and Jesus’ return, regardless of reward. — 1 Timothy 1:1; Titus 2:13; 1 Peter 1:3,13.

We have been asked:

Would you be saying that the “church” would then be made up of both “spirit begotten” and also nominal believers?

Our understanding is that no one is of the church class except that they be spirit begotten. Those who are spirit-begotten in general during the centuries of Gospel Age are first made part of the Israel of faith, represented in Revelation 7 as the twelve tribes of Israel. Out of these twelve tribes of the Israel of faith are selected the joint-heirs, represented in Revelation 7 as the 144,000 who stand on the heavenly Zion with the Lamb. (Revelation 14:1) Added to the church toward the end of the age are the great multitude who eventually come out of the great tribulation, and finish their overcoming after the great tribulation. All three classes are the church; all three classes are spirit-begotten.

As far as “nominal” is concerned, it depends on what meaning one gives to the word. If by nominal one means “in name only,” none who are Christians “in name only” are part of the church. Such are tares, weeds, that have been planted amongst the wheat, the true Christians, by Satan. However, if by nominal one means “minimal,” then all the spirit-begotten who fail to attain the prize of the high calling can be called “nominal” Christians in this sense, in that they maintain a minimal acceptance, but do not “overcome” in this age.

How is that they can be spirit-begotten, if they do not receive spiritual bodies in the resurrection? It has been often assumed that spirit-begotten means to be begotten again as a spirit being rather than as a human being. To begotten again, however, signifies that, in this life, a “seed” has been planted by God, as spoken of in 1 Corinthians 15:35-37. God give (assigns) that seed a body according to what is sown, whether it be a celestial, spiritual body, or whether it be a terrestrial, physical body. However, that which is assigned to seed is first earthly, terrestrial, and only if the sowing reaches the point of being proven incorruptible in this age, is it assigned the celestial, or spiritual body. (1 Corinthians 15:45) All must eventually put on incorrution (1 Corinthians 15:53), whether in this age, or in the next age, but only a very few do so in this age. Too many are stuck on the idea that to be spirit-begotten means that one has been begotten to spiritual bodies; the Bible never says this. Indeed, when Jesus was spirit-begotten in the womb of Mary, he was not begotten into a spiritual body, but rather into a physical body. (Matthew 1:20) Jesus, of course, sacrificed his glorious physical body for our sins; he now no longer has a physical body, but is now with a glorious spiritual body.

No one becomes of the church class without being called and begotten of the spirit; such “begettal” does indeed give a new life to a new creation equal to what Adam lost, that is, on the earthly plane. The new creature in this life, however, is not the body that is to be, but rather a bare grain, a seed, that has to die. (1 Corinthians 15:36-38) It will be given a body in the resurrection according to what has been sown. It is up to the new creature then to be cultivated as the grain, so as to attain the prize. One only attains the resurrection of Jesus, attaining the mark, through full sacrifice of what has been initially reckoned, that is, the sinless earthly life, as reckoned through faith in the blood of Jesus. Such demands a full development of perfect love, faith and hope amidst a world of sin. If one does not complete that sacrifice before death, the scriptures seem to indicate that such a new creature simply remains on the earthly plane.

The following studies might be helpful:

With What body Will We Be Raised?

The Manner of the Resurrection

Born of the Spirit

 Jesus Died as Human Being – Raised as a Spirit Being

The 144,000 and the Twelve Tribes

The Parousia, Seventh Trumpet and the Harvest

Our Differences With Russell’s Teachings

Astrape in Luke 17:24; Matthew 24:27 -r

Please note that in this study, the scriptural references to “the Son of Man” should actually read, “Son of the Man.” In Greek, the indefinite “son of man” does not mean the same thing as the definite “Son of the Man”. See our study: “Son of Man and Son of God

While we are not with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, one of the books many cite related to our Biblical studies is Jehovah of the Watchtower“, by Walter Martin and Norman Klann. Our references to this work are to the Ninth Printing, dated 1981 (Copyright 1953, 1974). On page 88 of that book, we read: “In Luke 17:20-21, the Lord reveals the kingdom of heaven as within the believer in one aspect but clearly states that the heavenly aspect will be visible and observable at His return (vv. 23-26).” Actually, we find nothing in Luke 17:20-21 that says that kingdom of heaven is “within the believer”. Jesus was not speaking to believers, but unbelievers, the Pharisees. Was Jesus saying that the kingdom of heaven is “within” the Pharisees? Was Jesus’ illustration as presented in Luke 17:23-26 meant to say that the kingdom “will be visible and observable at His return”?

Before answering those questions, we first want to note what Martin and Klann next stated: “In Matthew 13, the Lord Jesus portrays the kingdom of heaven symbolically in parables, yet it is always pictured as a reality, not invisible phantom government.” We agree that the parables present the kingdom of heaven symbolically, and that it is always pictured as a reality. Martin and Klann seem to be under the false assumption, however, that an invisible presence means that it is not a real presence. This kind of reasoning, if applied to some scriptures, would mean that God is not real, since he is the invisible God. (Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 6:15) God is a reality, however, even though we cannot physically see Him. Likewise, initially, when Jesus returns in his parousia, we believe that his parousia is unnoticed by the world, as we will show from the scriptures.

In the context, Jesus had stated:

Matthew 24:23 Then if any man will tell you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or, ‘There,’ don’t believe it.
Matthew 24:24 For there will arise false Christs, and false prophets, and they will show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
Matthew 24:25 Behold, I have told you beforehand.
Matthew 24:26 If therefore they tell you, ‘Behold, he is in the wilderness!’ don’t go out; ‘Behold, he is in the inner chambers,’ don’t believe it.

Jesus here warns against expecting to see him return in the flesh. As he stated elsewhere, however, “the world will see me no more.” (John 14:19) Jesus knew that the world would not see him when he returned because he knew that he was to sacrifice that flesh for all time. (Luke 22:19; John 6:51; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18; Hebrews 10:10) He knew that he would not return in the flesh, and yet he also knew that many would be claiming that he had returned in the flesh, and, in effect saying, “Here he is,” and “there he is.” And there have been many false prophets claiming such. Additionally, there have been many false prophets claiming that they have the authority of the Kingdom, and thus the sole right to speak for Jesus, such as the claims for the Papacy and that of the leadership of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and many other religious sects and leaderships.

See our related studies:
The World Will See Me Know More
Jesus Died a Human Being – Raised a Spirit Being

Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God doesn’t come with observation.” (Luke 17:20, World English Bible translation) “nor will they say, `Look, here it is!’ or, `There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” And He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. They will say to you, `Look there! Look here!’ Do not go away, and do not run after them.” — Luke 17:21-23 NASB translation.

And there have been many, from the first century to this very day, who have proclaimed this or that outward organization to be God’s Kingdom on earth; likewise, there have been many who have claimed to be Jesus, or in some way to exclusively represent Jesus. Nevertheless, because Jesus has sacrificed his flesh for sin (Luke 22:19; John 6:51; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18; Hebrews 10:10), one cannot point to any human being and claim that this or that human being is Jesus, as many have done are are still doing; when Jesus comes in his kingdom, one will not “see” Jesus’ body of flesh, since Jesus is no longer flesh, and since there is to be no more sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 10:26), he has no reason to come back in a body of flesh.
See our study: “Jesus Died a Human Being – Raised a Spirit Being

Then Jesus states, as rendered by the New American Standard version of the Bible in Matthew 24:27:

“For just as the lightning (Greek, astrape: light, bright shining) comes from the east and flashes [Greek, phaino: shines] even to the west, so will the coming [Greek, Parousia: presence] of the Son of Man be. (NAS)

Westcott & Hort Interlinear
hwsper gar hee astrapee exerchetai apo
AS EVEN FOR THE LIGHTNING IS COMING OUT FROM
5618 1063 3588 0796 1831 0575
anatolwn kai phainetai hews dusmwn houtws
EASTERN [PARTS] AND IS SHINING UNTIL WESTERN [PARTS], THUS
0395 2532 5316 2193_5 1424 3779
estai hee parousia tou huiou tou anthrwpou
WILL BE THE PRESENCE OF THE SON OF THE MAN;
1511_4 3588 3952 3588 5207 3588 0444

Astrape means:

lightning; light, ray of light

http://biblestudydata.com/moodle/mod/data/view.php?d=2&rid=845

The old English word “lightning” is a variant of “lightening”:
lightning. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lightning.

This word does not necessarily mean lightning in the sky as is often associated with thunderstorms.

Jesus’ words in Luke 17:24 read as:

“For just like the lightning, when it flashes [shines] out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day.”

Jesus, in answering the Pharisees, first lets them know that when the kingdom comes it will not be with observation, something that will be observed as such. No one will be able to legitimately say that the kingdom is ruling here, or it is ruling there, as though it will be actually seen, but that it is to be in their midst. He then explains to his disciples — not the Pharisees — that there will be those however, that will claim that God’s kingdom is ruling and can be seen, and warns not to follow these. Such claims have been made by Rome and many other church-state systems, including, I believe, the JW leadership. These proclamations of God’s kingdom, being seen amongst men, Jesus said, are not the real kingdom, and he tells his followers not to recognize them as such.

Then Jesus tells how God’s kingdom will come upon the world, by describing the light, that progresses from east to west in the sky. Many translations present this light as lightning and use the word “flash” rather than simply shines, but we believe that this leaves one with the wrong idea, as we will present below.

Electrical lightning associated with thunderstorms does not generally come from the east and shine even to the west, but the sun does. The word “lightning”, in the context given, is a poor choice to represent the Greek word “astrape,” which signifies “bright shining” (as given in Luke 11:36 in the KJV), or simply “the light”. The bright “light” actually being described here and applied figuratively to the parousia of the son of the man, as the context indicates, to the sunlight which shines always from the east even to the west, while on the other hand, lightning flashes in a variety of directions, wherever the electrical forces producing it may be discharged. A flash of lightning would only luminate the sky for a split second, which also is not a good illustration of Jesus’ return. When the the Greek word often transliterated as “parousia” is understood and “presence” rather simply as “coming” (in a split second?), the statement is seen to declare that the presence of Christ will be like the sunlight, gradually illuminating the world. It is not a split second of time, in which all the world sees and recognizes Jesus in the instant that he returns, as some have assumed.

Those who are awake and watching, the children of the light, are the first to discern and rejoice in His presence. The children of the night and of the darkness will awake when the Sun of Righteousness will arise in His full glory, and all the sin-sick will rejoice in the healing to be gained through the influence of His rays. Therefore, Jesus uses here the illustration of how the sun brings light as it comes up the east and goes to the west. This well depicts the sun of righteousness who arises with healing in his wings. (Malachi 4:2) The shining is not confined to any one place, but its effect is different in different places. The bright shining (verse 27) means truths and knowledge greatly increases, especially during the time that Christ is returns and is present. That this shining is visible from the east to the west, refers to the fact that our Lord’s presence reveals truth that not only is seen now, but even unto the west, the end of the Millennium, even as the sun gradually moves across the sky from east to west. (Revelation 21:23-24). When the sun first rises in the east, it is not especially bright, but the rays of light can be seen gleaming through the sky. As it continues its journey, the shining gets brighter and brighter.

The sun shine of this new day, however, is different from a normal day, for the prophecy says that the bright shining is darkened by the clouds. (Isaiah 5:30; Joel 2:2; Zephaniah 1:15) The clouds, in this instance, we understand to mean obscurity — darkness and trouble on earth. (Isaiah 8:22) It is a unique day, different from what we have known before, for we are told that at evening time, rather than darkness coming, there will be light. (Zechariah 14:7) Thus seen, we can see that this day endures on into the millennial rule, when the world will be instructed in the ways of Yahweh, and the knowledge of Yahweh will fill the earth. — Isaiah 2:2-4; 6:11.

At first, only those who are spiritually awake recognize this presence, (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6) but after Satan is abyssed, all men will become aware of his presence, including those who pierced (who have to first be raised from the dead) him. (Revelation 20:3; Isaiah 25:7; Revelation 1:7) To many of the watchers who compare spiritual revealing with spiritual revealing in order to “see” spiritually, this light is now seen in the fulfillment of Biblical prophecies, as well as a flood of knowledge that causes understanding of many spiritual truths that were hidden in the darkness of the wilderness for over a thousand years. Thus to them it has a special meaning. But to the world the light first brings a time of trouble, as never seen before in history, for poor humanity, still being out of harmony with God and truth, cannot properly control the increase of knowledge that has so gradually filled the world since 1799. (Daniel 12:1,4) Yet they are still ever learning, but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:7) God’s kingdom is in their midst, but they do not recognize it. — Luke 17:21

Thus seen, in agreement with other scriptures, Christ’s parousia, covers a period of time, in which many things occur. Yes, Jesus does arrive at the beginning of his parousia, his presence as King, and thus remains present. His presence is not just a split second event. The Greek word parousia means more than just his arrival, but it also includes the many events prophesied concerning his coming.

W. E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words: Parousia, literally, a presence, para, with, and ousia, being: denotes both an arrival and a consequent presence with. Robert Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible: Parousia, a being alongside, presence.

Moulton and Milligan’s Vocabulary of the Greek Testament Foreword: “Parousia, as applied to the return of the Lord, is simply the anglicizing of the Greek word which literally means ‘presence.’

One way of showing that the parousia is a period of time can be seen by comparing two scritpures:

Matthew 24:37-39 – As the days of Noah, so will be the coming [parousia — kingly presence] of the Son of Man. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they didn’t know until the flood came, and took them all away, so will be the coming [parousia – Kingly presence] of the Son of Man

Luke 17:26 – As it happened in the days of Noah, even so will it be also in the days [parallels with “parousia” of Matthew 24:37] of the Son of Man.

Thus the world in general is carrying on these affairs in the days of Jesus’ parousia, that is, his parousia is not known to them, as testified by the fact that they don’t know, or understand. When this present evil world is destroyed, then the sunlight of the kingdom and the righteous will be revealed — the revealing of the saints. Then will follow the resurrection of the world. It is not until after the world’s resurrection, that even those who pierced him will be brought back to life so that they may “see” him, and thus “They also who err in spirit shall come to understanding, and those who murmur shall receive instruction.” — Revelation 1:7; Isaiah 29:24.

Someone has objected that lightning does go from east to west. This may be true in some cases, but such lightning is between clouds and still only lasts for a split second. Cloud-to-cloud lightning is said to occur more often than cloud to ground strikes, but such cloud-to-cloud lightning may or may not be seen from the ground, and is more often seen as light behind the shadows of the clouds. While it is very doubtful that this is what Jesus had in mind when he spoke his words, nevertheless, this could describe the conditions set forth in Isaiah 5:30; Joel 2:2; Zephaniah 1:15.

The National Lightning Saftey Institute states: “Lightning’s behavior is random and unpredictable.”
http://www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_pls/lsvl_plans.html

Lightning, as seen from earth in the sky in Israel, usually is seen as going downward, not from east to west. This is in agreement with Luke 10:18, in which Jesus may have used astrape to describe lightning as falling from the sky in the land of Israel, although more than likely Jesus was referring to Satan figuratively as what we often call a “falling star” which falls from the sky.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/top-25-photos-year-gallery-1.1229140?pmSlide=17

http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/Pszb-cX0I6q/Lightning+Storm+Brings+Much+Needed+Rain+Holy

http://www.flickr.com/photos/45712602@N07/8125253395/

He said to them, “I saw Satan having fallen like lightning [astrape] from heaven.”

True, Jesus is speaking figuratively, but, as it reads in most translations, the figure be using natural lightning to depict what happened when Satan disobeyed and fell out harmony with God.

However, as stated before, we tend to believe that astrape in Luke 10:18 refers to a falling star, not lightning, which would tend to support the idea that Matthew 24:27 refers, not to lightning, but to the sun traveling from east to west. This view is supported by the fact that astrape is derived from the Greek word *aster* which does mean “star.” Nevertheless, we should not expect that the Bible would use the words for “star” with the same classifications that modern scientists have developed.

Additionally, the Hebrew word often transliterated as ‘owr (Strong’s Hebrew #216) is used similarly, sometimes meaning lightning, sometimes meaning sunlight, light of a lamp, etc.
http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/Hebrew/heb.cgi?number=0216

Lightning travels in both directions, upward and downward, but that which is usually seen from the earth is the shining which extends downward, not east to west.

http://thunder.msfc.nasa.gov/primer/primer2.html

Someone argues: “The point of Matthew 24:27 is to try to convey a understanding that when Jesus returns ‘every eye shall see him,’ just as every eye (person) sees the sun as it appears to go from east to west.” Yes, “every eye” will see Jesus, but Revelation 1:7 refers to a later stage of his return, not to the first appearance as likened to the sun. Those who pierced Jesus hve to be raised from the dead before they “see” Jesus in glory coming in the coulds. Thus, it is one of the events to take place sometime after the initial return of Jesus. After the sun has arisen, and Satan has been abyssed, all will be enabled to “see” the sun; this will be the time when he comes with all his saints to judge the world, that the world may be delivered (saved) from the bondage of corruption when the saints are revealed. (1 Thessalonians 3:13; Isaiah 2:2-4; Romans 8:19-21) However, Jesus first comes as a thief to harvest the earth, in which the tares are bound in bundles and symbolically cast into the symbolic furnace of fire, after which the sons of God are manifested; when the sons of God are finally made manifest Jesus comes with all his saints, and every eye shall see him, after the harvest is ended, and after Satan has been abyssed.

See the study:
The Parousia, Seventh Trumpet, and the Harvest

But what did Jesus mean when he said, “the kingdom is your midst”? (Luke 17:21) In the King James, and many other translations, this reads: “the kingdom is within you.” This leads to the false reasoning that the kingdom is within a person. Directly, however, Jesus was speaking to the unbelieving Jews; was he saying to those unbelieving Jews that the kingdom was within them? In the first century, the kingdom was in their midst in that the king of the kingdom was standing their in their midst, but they did not recognize him; they could “see” his body of flesh, but did not “see” him for who he was. (Matthew 13:13-17; John 1:10) Although more than likely Jesus was speaking prophetically of the future time when he would return in his kingdom, the circumstances of his first appearance in the first century do provide an illustration of this second appearance. At his second appearance, however, he does not come in the flesh, for he does not come again to sacrifice his flesh, since that flesh was sacrificed at his first appearing, and offered to God after Jesus ascended into heaven. — Hebrews 9:28; 10:10; 26; 1 Peter 3:18.

Addendum One:

Quote from Adam Rutherford:

The translation of the Greek word astrape by “lightning” in Matthew 24:27, Luke 17:24 in our English Bibles is misleading and is partly responsible for wrong conclusions regarding the manner of the Second Advent. It is true that astrape means “lightning” but it also has a wider meaning. Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon gives the meaning of astrape in New Testament Greek as “any bright light”. Jesus Himself, as recorded in Luke 11:36 speaks of “the bright shining (astrape) of a lamp”. The same Greek word is used again in Our Lord’s Great Prophecy of Matthew 24, where in verse 27 He speaks of a bright light “coming forth from the east and shining even unto the west”. There is only one bright light that does this, namely the sun (moonlight is faint and the starlight is small). So the correct translation of Matthew 24:27 is “For as the sunlight (astrape) cometh forth from the east and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the presence (parousia) of the Son of man be.” Only those who are awake and watching see the first gleams of light and watch the increasing light and dawn, whilst later when the sun rises in the sky and moves over to the west, it is observed by all. So likewise, only those awake to the signs of the times and watching discern the Lord’s presence in the early days of the Second Advent, whilst later, when He manifests Himself, “every eye shall see Him”, for His parousia, i.e. His presence continues throughout the Millennium. (Pyramidology, Book IV, 1972, page 1487)

Related Pages Online
We do not necessarily agree with all statements made.

Signs of Christ’s Presence: Bright Shining Sun
http://www.biblestudents.org/presence/signs_sun.htm

As The Lightning Cometh
http://www.heraldmag.org/archives/1956_12.htm#_Toc36375045
Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, December 1956.

The Appearing and Revealment of Jesus Christ
http://www.dawnbible.com/2006/0605cl-1.htm

The Promise of His Presence
http://www.heraldmag.org/bookstore/booklet_promise.htm
Herald of Christ’s Presence (booklet)

Messiah’s Kingdom To Be Invisible
http://www.agsconsulting.com/htdbv5/r5455.htm
Zion’s Watch Tower, Reprints 5455.

Sign’s of Christ’s Presence
http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTFEB92.PDF
Beauties of the Truth, February 1992

Parousia (Discourse by Home Montague, Agawam Convention, 2009 – MP3)

Christ’s Second Coming – Its Manner and Purpose
http://www.dawnbible.com/2013/1302-hl.htm
The Manner of His Presence
http://www.dawnbible.com/1963/6302-hl.htm

Revelation 1:1 – Revelation of Jesus Christ

Revelation 1:1
apokalupsis ieesou christou heen edwken autw ho
REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST, WHICH GAVE TO HIM THE
0602 2424 5547 3739 1325 0846_5 3588
theos deixai tois doulois autou ha dei
GOD TO SHOW TO THE SLAVES OF HIM, WHICH (THINGS) IT IS BINDING
2316 1166 3588 1401 0846_3 3739 1163
genesthai en tachei kai eseemanen
TO OCCUR IN QUICKNESS, AND HE SHOWED BY SIGNS
1096 1722 5034 2532 4591
aposteilas dia tou aggelou autou tw doulw
HAVING SENT OFF THROUGH THE ANGEL OF HIM TO THE SLAVE
0649 1223 3588 0032 0846_3 3588 1401
autou iwanei
OF HIM TO JOHN,
0846_3 2491_2
Westcott & Hort Interlinear

Revelation 1:1 This is the Revelation of Jesus Christ

This is not to be understood that this revelation was concerning a revealing of Jesus again, for he had already been revealed to his servants. In stating that this was a Revelation of Jesus Christ, John is stating this is a revelation that he received from Jesus Christ. What this revelation is about is revealed in the words that follow, for it is concerning “the things must happen soon.”

Revelation 1:1 which God gave him to show to his servants

This shows that the originator of this revelation is the God and Father of Jesus. As usual, Jesus is the instrument by which God gave this revelation to show to the servants of God and of Jesus.

It is possible that John actually used a form of the holy name here, which was later changed to Theos (God).

Revelation 1:1 the things which must happen soon

This tells us what the Revelation is about; it is about things that must happen soon.

Some have claimed that since the word “soon” is used, that the entire revelation must have happened within a few months or years after it was written during the first century. This is often referred to as the “Preterist” view. However, the facts actually show that we certainly have not yet seen the time when death, sorrow and crying is no more (Revelation 21:1-5), as well as many other things spoken of in the book of Revelation. Additionally, in study of this revelation of things to happen, it should become obvious that the intention is to give a foretold history leading up to, and even after, the return of Christ. Nevertheless, many preterists believe Christ returned in the first century, and often distort much of the New Testament to support that view.

However, “must happen soon,” does not mean that the things foretold have to happen in a few years, or a few months, etc. This imposes our own short-time life perception of ‘soon’ upon God’s prophetic word.

The word “Revelation” means “Revealing, uncovering or disclosure”. The phrase “to show” means “to present to view” and as we will see, it was going to be about events that were shortly going to “begin” to take place, and that these events, would describe the entire gospel age, not just a few years, at the beginning or the end. — South Wisconsin Bible Students Notes, page 11

Revelation 1:1 – which he sent and made known [signified, Diaglott] by his angel to his servant, John,

The Greek word rendered as “make known” by the World English Bible translation means more correctly to signify, give by means of signs.

1. to give a sign, to signify, indicate
2. to make known

Thayer and Smith. “Greek Lexicon entry for Semaino”. “The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon“.
http://www.biblestudytools.net/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=4591&version=kjv.

semaino “to give a sign, indicate” (sema, “a sign:” cp. semeion_under_SIGN), “to signify,” is so translated in John_12:33; John_18:32; John_21:19; Acts_11:28; Acts_25:27; Rev_1:1, where perhaps the suggestion is that of expressing by signs. — Vine’s Dictionary

http://www.antioch.com.sg/cgi-bin/bible/vines/get_defn.pl?num=2626#1

It seems that it is mostly regarding Revelation 1:1 that some translators would give like to give the word “semaino” the meaning of “to make known.” An argument for this rendering would be that it would correspond with the meaning of revelation. However, the word is not used in parallel to “revelation”, but in regards as to how the revelation was given. In view of the fact that this word is added to — and not in parallel with — the revealing that is being spoken of, and in view of the fact that the book of revelation is indeed filled with symbology — “signs” — we believe that the word does, indeed, mean that the Revelation (the revealing) was given by means of symbolic signs. Some even go so far as to claim that there is nothing symbolic about Revelation (although in reality even they end up treating the terminology as symbolic, although at the same time they claim they are not).

It is not clear as to whether John meant to say that it was Yahweh who sent the angel, or whether it was Jesus who sent the angel. Revelation 22:16 speaks of Yahweh as sending his angel, but Revelation 22:16 speaks of Jesus as sending his angel. It really does not matter, since, the angel, even though sent by Jesus, is still sent by Yahweh whom Jesus represents. The angels, being made in subjection to Jesus (Daniel 7:27; Ephesians 1:10,21,22; 1 Corinthians 15:27; Hebrews 1:4,6), can be spoken of as Jesus’ angels, and at the same time be spoken of as Yahweh’s angels. And Jesus acts on behalf of Yahweh, his God and Father. A parallel to this can be found in Yahweh’s sheep. They are Yahweh’s sheep (Ezekiel 34:17-22; John 10:29), but they are also Jesus’ sheep (Ezekiel 34:23,24; John 10:27; 17:6), since Jesus has been put in charge to those sheep.

The Parousia, the Seventh Trumpet and the Harvest

[Bibles, Bible-Related Books and Other Items]
[The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew-Greek-English]
[Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary]


Some have confused the matter concerning the parousia, and have evidently misread the arguments of many of the Bible Students so as to conclude that the word “Parousia” is being interpreted as having the definition of “invisible presence.” In other words, some have made the claim that Bible Students who believe that Christ’s parousia is invisible are presenting the word “parousia” itself as carrying the meaning “invisible.” Without judging the motives of those who would present this kind of argument, in reality the argument diverts attention from the invisible aspect of Christ’s return to the word “parousia” itself, and ends up being a strawman argument.

Some have cited some works of the Greeks and Romans concerning this, as alleged proof that the the word “parousia” does not mean “invisible.” Of course, the Romans and Greeks of the first century, not knowing or understanding spiritual matters, would not think of the word Parousia as expressing a spiritual presence that could not be seen. — 2 Corinthians 4:18; 5:7.

Nevertheless, the word parousia, of itself, does not prove either a visible or invisible presence, and we don’t believe most, if any, Bible Students have intended to leave that impression.

Jesus, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, and having once for all time offered up his flesh, will never be seen in that flesh again. (Hebrews 7:27; 9:28; 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18) However, this does not rule out the possibility that Jesus may manifest himself as did the angels of Yahweh in the Bible, who appeared as “men,” ate as men, and looked like men, manifesting themselves with a body of flesh. — Genesis 18:2,8,22; 19:1,5; Judges 13:2,6,8,9; Luke 24:4.
See the study:
Jesus Died a Human Being – Raised a Spirit Being
http://atonement.reslight.net/archives/1.html

However, Jesus does indeed return bodily, with a body, that is, with the spiritual, celestial body, and with its glory. He no longer has the body of a man, a glory a little lower than the angels. (Hebrews 2:9) Having offered (to his God in heaven) his terrestrial, earthly, fleshly body for sin, once for all time (John 6:51; Hebrews 7:27; 9:11,12,24;10:10), he will never again be seen with that body. (1 Corinthians 15:40,44) Now being a life-giving spirit, he comes again from heaven (1 Corinthians 15:40,45-48), during the blowing of the last trumpet, the seventh trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 8:2,6), with a celestial, spiritual body, resulting in (not necessarily in the order given):

(1) The end of the age, during which a harvest of the people of God begins. This harvest begins while the nations are still blinded by Satan, but it ends after Satan is abyssed, when the saints, the sons of God of this age, will be manifested and “will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father.” (Matthew 13:3-43; Romans 8:19} Unlike many Bible Students, however, we do not believe that this harvest reveals who is of what class by any visible manifestation, except until after Satan is abyssed. Jesus said that the tares, not the wheat, are first gathered and bundled. (Matthew 13:39,40) Although the human servants of God labor in the harvest work, the harvest work itself is not entrusted to men, who would surely misjudge and treat much of wheat as tares, but it is entrusted to angels.

(2) The nations become angry, resulting in a great “time of trouble”, during which time the people in general do not take notice of the parousia. — Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-30; Revelation 11:15,18; Daniel 12:1,2.

(3) God’s wrath upon the children of wrath of this age comes to its conclusion — Ephesians 2:2,3; 5:6; Revelation 8:1.

(4) The dead are raised and the unjustified in this age are judged individually during the “last day” — Isaiah 2:2-4; Daniel 7:9,10; Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:28,29; 6:39,40,44,54; 12:47,48; Romans 2:16; 3:6; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 6:2; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Revelation 11:18; 20:11-15.

(5) God’s servants, prophets, saints are rewarded in the first resurrection. — Isaiah 40:10; Daniel 7:9,10; 12:1,2; Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 3:8,14; Colossians 3:24; 2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 15:18; 20:4; 22:12.

(6) Those who would destroy the earth are themselves destroyed after the judgment day. — Psalm 37:10; Revelation 15:18; 20:8,12; 21:8.

Thus, the seventh trumpet begins to sound while the nations are still ignorant and are angry, and continues to sound until after the millennial age, up to the age of the ages, the eternal age.

Of Moses, it is said that, “he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:27) In context, “him” could be referring to the prehuman Jesus, who, before coming the earth, had the glory of the invisible, the celestial — the glory that he did not have while on earth. (John 17:5; 1 Corinthians 15:40) Or, more than likely, “him” probably refers to the God and Father of Jesus, who is the “invisible God.” (Colossians 1:15) Either way, Moses saw him who is invisible by the eye of faith, not by literal sight, for he did not see that which is invisible by means of the physical eye. The point is that “seeing” does not necessarily mean seeing with the physical eye.
On the other hand, the Jews in general saw Jesus at his first appearing in the flesh, but did not see who he was — the Messiah — which could only have been seen with the eye of faith. They did not recognize him. (John 1:10) Nor could they “see” the God and Father in Jesus. (John 14:9) Having seen Jesus in the flesh, however, Jesus said of the world that had seen him in the flesh, that they would see him no more. (John 14:19) Since they had only seen him in the flesh, and had not seen him with the eye of faith as the Messiah, the son of God, then this can only mean that they will never see him in the flesh again. They will see the Son of Man coming [Erchomai] on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen. — Revelation 1:7.

The word “coming” in Revelation 1:7 is not “parousia,” but a form of the verb “Erchomai,” — to come. However, we have no doubt that it is reference to “coming” in the days of the son of man, the parousia. (Matthew 24:37; Luke 17:26) The statement here is not that he comes on a cloud, a singular cloud, but rather “clouds.”

Another scripture describes this event in the Old Testament:

I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. — Daniel 7:13.

Again, the reference is to clouds, plural, not a cloud, singular. Prophetically, the plural can used to represent two, as “times,” representing two times. (Daniel 7:25; 12:7; Revelation 12:14) Regardless, there is the possibility of at least two clouds being spoken of, indicating the possibility of two symbolic meanings. A cloud or clouds can represent: glory (Exodus 16:10; Ezekiel 1:28); guidance (Exodus 13:12); covering of sin (Isaiah 44:24); darkness (2 Samuel 22:12; Job 38:9; Psalm 18:11; Isaiah 5:30; Joel 2:2; Zephaniah 1:15); a covenant, a promise of God (Genesis 9:13,16); God’s anger (Lamentations 2:1); alienation from God (Lamentations 3:44); storms (Ezekiel 1:4; 38:9; Luke 12:54; Jeremiah 4:13; Nahum 1:4); a hiding of the sun (Ezekiel 32:7); majesty (Isaiah 14:14); a communication from God (Exodus 24:16; Psalm 99:7; Matthew 17:5; Luke 9:35); trouble, distress (Ezekiel 30:3; Zephaniah 1:15).

In Daniel 7, the one like a son of man, in coming with the clouds, comes before the Ancient of Days, that is, Yahweh, and is presented to him. As a result, there was given to him an everlasting dominion, and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. (Daniel 7:14) This brings us into the age of the ages, the everlasting age after the millennial age, the age that will never end.

In Revelation 10:1, we find a reference to an angel coming in a cloud (singular).

Revelation 10:1 I saw another mighty angel coming down out of the sky [heaven], clothed with a cloud. A rainbow was on his head. His face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire.

Here is depicted an angel clothed as with a cloud. Of course, the language is symbolic. The “angel” is either Jesus or a messenger (angel) representing Jesus. Jesus, of course, will come as the “sun of righteousness.” — Malachi 4:2.

The “rainbow” probably represents the new covenant, which will be the means by which the seed of Abraham will bring blessings to all the families of the earth.
This angel is clothed with a cloud, a symbol of majesty, and yet we believe that it is also includes a symbolism of mystique, as a cloud hiding the sun, producing darkness. The angel has a face like the sun of righteousness, as a great ruler, but he also has feet like pillars of fire, representing a distressful situation and/or destruction. “Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them in the day of Yahweh’s wrath, but the whole land will be devoured by the fire of his jealousy.” (Zephaniah 1:18) “My determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour on them my indignation, even all my fierce anger, for all the earth will be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.” (Zephaniah 3:8) In this is pictured the wrath of Yahweh (Revelation 11:18), which wrath is brought to a finish during the blowing of the seventh trumpet, by means of seven symbolic bowls that are poured out. — Revelation 11:15,18; 15:1,7.

Revelation 10:2 He had in his hand a little book open. He set his right foot on the sea, and his left on the land.
Revelation 10:3 He cried with a loud voice, as a lion roars. When he cried, the seven thunders uttered their voices.
Revelation 10:4 When the seven thunders sounded, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from the sky saying, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders said, and don’t write them.”
Revelation 10:5 The angel who I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to the sky,
Revelation 10:6 and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there will no longer be delay,
Revelation 10:7 but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as he declared to his servants, the prophets.

Thus, we believe this cloud appears either shortly before or at the beginning of the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the last trumpet. The prophetical statement is that when the angel is about to sound his trumpet, the last trumpet, then the mystery of God is finished. The Greek word rendered “about” — transliterated as “Mello,” does not necessarily mean “about,” as though it was something yet to happen. We believe that it can also refer to the actual “being about” of something, that is, the actual doing of what is being spoken of, and we believe, in accordance with the context, “in days of the voice of the seventh angel,” that this is meaning of Mello in Revelation 10:7. When the seventh angel, having the seventh trumpet, is about the business of blowing his trumpet, then the mystery of God is finished. Many believe that this mystery refers to completing the mystery members of the bride of Christ, but we believe it refers to the completing of the mystery pertaining to the ages; in other words, it pertains to bringing to completion God’s purpose of the ages (Ephesians 3:9,11,Young’s Literal), which would bring us to up to the foretold “world without end,” or the age of the ages, the final age that never ends. — Isaiah 45:17; Ephesians 3:21, See Young’s Literal for Ephesians 3:21.

I looked, and behold, a white cloud; and on the cloud one sitting like a son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. — Revelation 14:14
Another angel came out from the temple, crying with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Send forth your sickle, and reap; for the hour to reap has come; for the harvest of the earth is ripe!” — Revelation 14:15
He who sat on the cloud thrust his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. — Revelation 14:16.

Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First, gather up the darnel, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.” — Matthew 13:30.

The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. — Matthew 13:39.

The “age” being referred to this present evil age, the age in which Satan is god. — Galatians 1:4; 2 Corinthians 4:4.

By saying that the “harvest time” is the end of this age, and then describing events that take place during that “end,” Jesus shows that the “end” is not something that happens suddenly, but that the “end” itself — being “the time of the harvest” — is a period of “time.”

Revelation 14:14 depicts one like a son of man coming on a white cloud, a cloud of glory, and he has a sharp sickle in his hand.Revelation 14:16-20 shows that the sickle is used to harvest the earth.

When Jesus comes, one of the things he accomplishes is the harvest of the earth by means of his angels. This takes place during the “end” of the present evil age, while Satan is still the “god of this age.” As long as Satan is still blinding the minds of people, we know that this “harvest” has not ended. Nevertheless, the harvest does take place as a result of Jesus’ coming on the clouds.

Thus we conclude that the harvest has been going on, especially since about 1874, with an influx of worldly knowledge that is separating the tares from the true wheat. Jesus said that the tares were to be first separated from the wheat (Matthew 13:30), again indicating a time involved; the tares are thrown into the fiery furnace (symbolic of the the severe part of the time of trouble), and the wheat is gathered into the barn (representing a condition of spiritual safety; the spiritual ark, true faith in Jesus’ sacrificed body with its blood by which we are sanctified, set apart — Hebrews 9:12,14; 10:10,29). Then, after this, the wheat — the righteous — will shine forth as the sun, depicting the age to come, when Satan is abyssed so that he cannot deceive the heathen. — Daniel 12:3; Matthew 13:43; Revelation 20:3.

Jesus indicated that the foretold time of trouble is pictured by what happened in Noah’s day, thus, it is possible that the last part of the foretold time of trouble is depicted by the 40 days’ flood of Noah’s day. (Genesis 7:4; Matthew 24:37,38) We are now certainly experiencing a flood of knowledge now available through the internet and other means of fast communication. More and more professed Christians are falling into infidelity as a result of this influx of knowledge, thus proving themselves to be tares, rather than wheat. This increase of knowledge, however, brings discontent among the masses, and greed, and thus is also a source of trouble, and ends up being like a fiery furnace, as “fiery feet” stomping upon the people, with the trouble becoming so bad, that unless the days should be cut short, no flesh will be saved. — Matthew 24:21,22.

Addendum:

One asks if we believe that Jesus returned in 1874 and “inspected the temple”.

While we probably not put it that way, we do believe that Jesus began the harvest work related to the separating of the tares from the wheat; this is indeed an inspection of all who profess to be Christian, and since those who are being called to follow Jesus are spoken of as the temple of God,  one could say that this is a inspection of the temple. Many claim that the harvest is carried out along physical lines, but we believe the harvest is along spiritual lines, and that is carried out, not by the servants of Jesus in the flesh, but by the angels.

The questioner further asks:  “Did jesus make a decision during that time period and make a chosing of a particular group?”

The questioner is evidently asking if we have a belief similar the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who claim that Jesus, in 1918, inspected the temple, and approved of Rutherford’s religion, to which our answer is no. We need to remember that that the choosing of the faith seed of Abraham has been going on ever since the first century. In 1874, we believe that a special period began which is called the “harvest”. However, we also believe that the choosing of the wheat class at the end of the age is done by means of the angels, and therefore, we conclude that the wheat class cannot be represented by any physical group, such as the Bible Students. The revealing of the wheat, however, cannot be until after Satan is abyssed.

The questioner further asks: “Did jesus really return and examine babylon the great, and then appoint a certain group? Was that the great tribulation? “

By “group”, I assume this refers to physical outward group, such the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or the Bible Students movement. We have no reason to believe that Jesus has appointed a certain sectarian group, nor a certain individual, etc., to be “the true religion”, or “the true church.” Babylon the Great represents sectarianism, denominationalism, organizations (and associated false doctrines created by humans) that separate the sheep. To come out of Babylon the Great would signify rejection of denominational sectarianism and, and to the extent possible, the doctrines of men associated with such demoninationalism. The destruction of Babylon the Great signifies the destruction of all kinds of sectarianism and denominationalism. God is not going to allow such sectarian divisions to continue in His kingdom.

On the other hand, the tares are now being revealed as false Christians, often denying the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, accepting the idea that man got here by evolution, etc. Many of these tares openly deny Christ, and openly declare themselves as deists, agnostics, atheists, etc., while others retain the name of Christ, but in some way deny the power of blood of Jesus. Indeed, one can often hear of some claiming to be a Christian atheist, Christian agnostic, Christian deist, Christian Wiccan, Christian Buddhist, Christian Spiritualist, etc. We do believe, however, most of the Christians who profess Christ today will be found to be of the tare class. Nor does joining in association with the Bible Students movement make one of the wheat class. This does not mean that those who are found to be tares will be eternally destroyed, as the JWs teach; it simply means that their outward standing as a servant of Christ will eventually be burned up in the furnace of the time of trouble. No one amongst mankind, however, has been given any authority to point to this or that professed Christian and say “You are a tare,” although many are claiming they have authority to do so. Likewise, we have no authority to claim that one is of the wheat class because they belong to the Bible Students movement. Nor can we believe we have any authority to designate who among the “wheat” class will be found to arrived at the goal, the mark, of the prize of our high calling, so we should say to this person: “You are one of 144,000”, and to another, “You are not one of the 144,000.” We believe that all three major classes of Revelation 7 will be revealed after Satan is abyssed.

Thus, we do not believe that Jesus came in 1874 to inspect and approve any outward “group” as being approved as the JWs teach in doctrine concerning 1918. The inspection is of individuals, not of an outward “group.” Nor do we teach, as to the JWs, that one has belong to and/or recognize the Bible Students, Charles Taze Russell, or any other outward group, etc., in order to be saved, as as to live into the new age.

As Charles Taze Russell pointed out many times, the true church is not about an outward organization, but it pertains to individuals.

See also:

The Great Multitude
The 144,000 and the Twelve Tribes

Charles Taze Russell and sectarianism

The questioner asks if we “are saying that jesus inspected the temple in 1874, and found that the sect called ‘russelites’, or ‘bible students’ were thus in an approved condition?”

We do not know of any place that Russell taught expressly that Jesus “inspected the temple” in 1874, but Russell’s view of the temple had nothing to do with any external sect, group, denomination, etc. His view of the temple was that the temple is the church that belongs to Christ. Russell was non-sectarian.

Russell stated:“the Lord in Heaven records as members of His true Church all the saintly — whether Roman Catholics, Anglican Catholics, Greek Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc.— and none others…. Do we not see that a part of our mistake was in calling the outward organization the Church of Christ, instead of remembering that the Lord alone writes the names of the Church, that He alone reads the hearts, that He alone is the Judge, and that He alone has the right to blot out the names of those who become reprobates?… We must see that the Church is a comparatively small company of saintly footstep followers of Jesus, irrespective of sectarian lines.”

And Russell stated: “all who are worshiping any church organization should be warned. See thou do it not.’ These are thy fellow servants.‘Worship God.’`Rev. 22:9`.”

He further stated:“so far as the true Church is concerned, the only authority in it is the Lord, the Head of the Church, and his Word, and the words of those whom he specially chose to be his mouth-pieces, the apostles.”

And,“we believe that in every nation and denomination there are some true saints of God, members therefore of the true Church of God.”
http://ctr.reslight.net/?p=505

Thus, Russell viewed the temple of God to be any true Christian, regardless of what external group or denomination he might be associated with. His view of the temple of God was not restricted to a “group”, such as the Bible Students, nor a denomination, nor a religious organization, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Indeed, Russell preached against the kind of authoritarianism and sectarianism that is found in the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ organization.

See: Charles Taze Russell and the one true church

Related

Russell’s Disappointment Over 1878
The 144,000 and the Twelve Tribes – Revelation 7
Astrape in Luke 17:22; Matthew 24:27
Bible Chronology and Bible Time Prophecy

Online Commentaries of the Book of Revelation

Southern Wisconsin Ecclesia Revelation Notes — We could not find a PDF of this online, so we uploaded the PDF version from the Bible Students Library DVD. If the authors object to this, please let us know and we will remove it. However, although we do not agree with all that is in it, this commentary does come to closest we have found to our own conclusions, so we wanted to make sure that it is included in this list.

Notes on The Revelation of Jesus Christ – Anton Frey

Short Exposition on Revelation, A — T.E. Patmos

Hollister, William J. — Notes on the Book of Revelation

Loomis, Ludlow — Revelation Notes

New Albany — Notebook and Study Records in Revelation

Streeter, R.E. – The Revelation of Jesus Christ

Some Other Studies Online:

How To Study Revelation and Have it Make Sense

Revelation for the End of the Gospel Age

Seven Churches of Revelation – Charles Redekker

The Beast: Commentary on Revelation 13 & 17

Some Thoughts on Revelation

Books

The keys of Revelation: Jesus testimony — (By Frank Shallieu) We do not necessarily agree with all of the author’s conclusions, but we have found this work to be helpful in our studies of the book of Revelation.