Friday, February 25, 2022

"His Judgment" in Revelation 14:7

It has become popular to think of the judgment as a judgment of Godone in which God is on trial. That view has often been read into the expression "his judgment" in Revelation 14:7.

The Greek word used for “judgment” in Revelation 14:7 is krĂ­sis, the primary definition of which is:

1. judging, judgmenta. of the activity of God or the Messiah as judge, esp. on the Last Day” (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament by Arndt and Gingrich, p. 453).

The SDA Bible Commentary on Revelation 14:7 has this to say about the word “judgment” as used in that verse: “Gr. krisis, 'the act of judging,’ contrasted with  krima, ‘the sentence of judgment’.”

We find the same word in John 5:27 where Jesus claims "authority to execute judgment.” It means to “act as judge” (Arndt and Gingrich, p. 453).

The lexicon actually cites Revelation 14:7 as a typical example of this word, and translates the phrase in question as: “the hour when he is to judge Rv 14:7” (Ibid.).

So it is clear that God is the one doing the judging in this verse.

Krisis may indicate either the act of investigating a case or the act of carrying out the sentence” (SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 849).

Revelation 14:7 is clearly talking about the investigative judgment (as opposed to the later judgment of the wicked) because it says that it “is come” (present tense in the context of the proclamation of the first angel’s message).

To find out what the investigative judgment is all about, we can read the chapter “Facing Life’s Record” in The Great Controversy. The whole chapter describes this judgment. It can be summarized  in the second paragraph of the chapter:

"Thus was presented to the prophet's vision the great and solemn day when the characters and the lives of men should pass in review before the Judge of all the earth, and to every man should be rendered 'according to his works.' The Ancient of Days is God the Father. Says the psalmist: 'Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.' Psalm 90:2. It is He, the source of all being, and the fountain of all law, that is to preside in the judgment. And holy angels as ministers and witnesses, in number 'ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,' attend this great tribunal” (GC 479).

It is very clear—from the language used in the text, and also from The Great Controversythat Revelation 14:7 is not about God being judged, but rather that mankind is being judged by God.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Answering Objections to the Literal View of Daniel 11:40-45

When I first read Uriah Smith's explanation of the last part of Daniel 11, I thought it was weird. Why would the Bible be talking about Turkey? I liked Smith's comments about most of Daniel and Revelation. But here, I felt, he got off on the wrong track somewhere. I just couldn't see what Turkey had to do with anything.

And that is how most people I've talked with see it as well.

Since then I have been able to study the subject thoroughly from all sides. And guess what? After carefully evaluating each of the other major approaches to Daniel 11, the view that makes the most sense to me now is Uriah Smith's explanation.

I think most people are like I was. The main reason they discount the pioneer view is because they haven't openly and objectively considered all the evidence.

In previous posts I have shared a lot about Daniel 11 and explained how the literal view of the chapter fits the historical record perfectly. In this post I am directing you to the paper I have prepared for this year's Daniel 11 conference in Berrien Springs, Michigan. In it I answer seven common objections to the pioneer view. You'll find the paper posted at under the 2021 Conference Papers.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Who Was Zerubbabel's Grandfather?

 “And again the word of the Lord came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying, Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the Lord, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the Lord of hosts.” Haggai 2:20-23.

Zerubbabel and his father Shealtiel (Salathiel) are the only two individuals found in both Matthew's and Luke's genealogy of Jesus between David and Joseph the husband of Mary. Apart from those two, every other name listed within that span is different in the two gospel accounts. See Human Ancestry of Jesus for more on that.

Zerubbabel is an important character. He was the governor of Judah for over twenty years, supervising the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. The prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah were given to encourage him and Joshua the high priest in that important work. Haggai's messages to him personally have Messianic overtones, for their ultimate fulfillment would be realized in Zerubbabel's descendant, Jesus.

The question we are addressing here has to do with the differences in the biblical accounts of Zerubbabel's ancestry. 1 Chronicles 3:17-19; Matthew 1:12; and Luke 3:27 each give a different story.

The identity of Zerubbabel's father seems to clear. Ezra, Haggai, Matthew, and Luke all agree that Shealtiel (Salathiel) was Zerubbabel's father. Only the Hebrew text of 1 Chronicles lists Pedaiah as his father. The Greek Septuagint of 1 Chronicles lists Shealtiel as his father.

Jehoiachin (Jeconiah), who reigned as king in Judah for only three months and ten days, was taken to Babylon in 597 BC with the prophet Ezekiel and 10,000 other captives. He had a number of children, but none of them would ever reign as king (Jeremiah 22:30).

Our question is, was Shealtiel the son of Jehoiachin or the son of Neri? A number of possible explanations have been proposed. Shealtiel might have been the actual son of Neri (Luke 3:27), but the son of Jehoiachin (Matthew 1:12) by adoption. Or, if Jehoiachin's natural sons had all died, Jehoiachin might have chosen Shealtiel, the son of Neri, as his legal heir and successor. One other possibility is that Shealtiel was Jehoiachin's grandson--that Jehoiachin's daughter married Neri, and that Shealtiel was their son. With any one of these explanations, both Matthew's and Luke's accounts would be correct according to Jewish custom. Matthew, showing Jesus as a legal heir to Judah's throne, and Luke, possibly showing Jesus' actual blood line, are both correct.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Human Ancestry of Jesus

The Bible uses two different approaches to the family line of Jesus. The list given in Matthew Chapter 1 is almost entirely different from the list in Luke Chapter 3. Here is a suggested explanation for that difference:

Matthew's list is obviously incomplete. For example, Matthew 1:11 says, "Josias (Josiah) begat Jechonias (Jehoiachin)." In reality Jehoiachin was Josiah's grandson. Matthew's purpose was not to list every single link in the genealogy, but rather simply to present enough of the line to demonstrate that Jesus was in fact descended from David and from Abraham (verse 1). In Matthew 1:17 he says, "So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations." This doesn't have to mean that that is all the generations that there were, but simply that that is all the generations he was listing to establish Christ's legitimacy as King of Israel.

Whereas Matthew shows Jesus to have descended through the line of Judah's kings via Solomon, Luke's list presents Jesus as having descended through Nathan, another son of David and Bathsheba. I favor the explanation that suggests Luke is presenting the literal blood line of Jesus through Mary, and that Matthew is showing Jesus' legally recognized patriarchal line through Joseph. Both lines go through David. It appears that Mary's husband Joseph was the son of Jacob (Matthew 1:16), and that Heli (Luke 3:23) could have been Mary's father. If Mary was Heli's only child, Joseph would have become Heli's legal heir by marrying her. According to this explanation, Luke's account shows how Jesus was an actual blood descendant of David through Mary, and Matthew's account shows that Jesus was the legal heir of Judah's royal line though his adoption by Joseph.

Luke 3:23 in the Greek doesn't actually say that Joseph was the son of Heli. The words "the son" in the KJV are italicized, indicating they were supplied by the translators. The Greek literally says, "And Jesus Himself was beginning to be about thirty years old, being, as was supposed, son of Joseph, of Heli." It was supposed that Jesus was the son of Joseph, but really he was "of Heli."

This is consistent with the fact that Matthew tells the story of Jesus' birth from Joseph's perspective, while Luke tells Mary's story. And in Matthew's account, when the angel appears to Joseph in a dream he addresses him as "Joseph, thou son of David" (Matthew 1:20). The genealogy in the first seventeen verses was given to show how that is so.

Luke tells us that Mary was a relative of Elizabeth (Luke 1:36) who was descended from Aaron (verse 5). It is possible that Mary's father was of the tribe of Judah and that her mother was of the tribe of Levi. In that way, Jesus could be the blood descendant of David through His maternal grandfather, and Mary could still be related to Elisabeth on her mother's side.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

God's Covenant With Israel

In Jeremiah 31, God makes promises to Israel in unconditional language. This is the new covenant passage that is quoted twice in the book of Hebrews. This covenant is made "with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah." Jeremiah 31:31.

God's unconditional commitment to Israel is brought out in verses 35-37. Speaking of the sun, the moon, and the stars, God says, "If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever." Then He says, "If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord."

Some of God's promises to Israel were conditional upon their response to Him. But this passage makes it clear that His selection of them as His people is permanent, in spite of "all that they have done." Their behavior cannot change His choice of them as His covenant people.

Popular "replacement theology" teaches that the Christian church replaces the Jewish nation as God's covenant people. But the Bible does not teach that. The Bible makes it clear that in order for Gentiles to experience the blessings of the new covenant they must be grafted into Israel. Not the modern nation of Israel, but the kingdom of David, for Jesus will sit on David's throne.

For a more complete study of this subject see "'Thy People' and the Remnant of Israel" posted on May 21, 2019.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Nations Are Angry

Bible prophecy foretold conflicts among the nations leading up to the second coming of Christ. Here is a chart placing some of those conflicts in relation to other prophetic events in Daniel and Revelation.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

"Thy People" and the Remnant of Israel

Gabriel’s reference to “thy people” throughout the book of Daniel consistently applies to the posterity of Jacob. The expression in Daniel 12:1 does not refer to some other group. Christianity does not replace Israel in God’s plan; it renews and strengthens it.

To understand this better, read the article, "The Restoration of Israel".