The Star of Bethlehem - The Rest of the Story

 

Questions and Answers 

It is interesting the comments and questions that come up as the content on this website is discussed. Below are some of them that I have received and my associated responses with what I understand so far: 

Question: Any outside opinions on The Star of Bethlehem and Herod's date of death?
Answer: Here's an article by Indiana University: Star of Bethlehem.

Question:
 Doesn't the Bible say that "no one knows the day or the hour" of Jesus second coming?
Answer: See my link: No One Knows

Question: So what do you think is going to happen?
Answer:   I don't have this all figured out, however, my current view and understanding is that:  

At some point, the lawless one will cause the abomination of desolation to occur which will reveal who he really is. The Great Tribulation will begin, Christians will be persecuted and have to make a choice whether they deny Christ so they can buy and sell or to remain faithful and trust in their Messiah. The sun is darkened the moon turns blood red. 12,000 from each tribe of Israel will be sealed , and the rapture of true believers will occur on a Feast of Trumpets. Over the next 10 days of Awe, Israel will recognize and repent their previous unbelief in the Messiah so that on the Day of Atonement when Jesus sets foot on the Mount of Olives, the Jews will be gathered to their Messiah where we find them protected with Christ in Rev. 14. They will enter the millennium with all the unbelievers who survived the wrath of God in the Trumpet and Bowl judgments.  

For more detail see my current view.

Question: Hasn't Matthew 24 either already occured or only relates to the Jews in the future?
Answer: Matthew 24:21-22 says " For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again. 22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened."

I don't believe history records such great distress so it sounds like this is still future to me.

Matt. 24:29-31 "Immediately after the distress of those days " 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' 30 "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other."

This sounds very much like Rev. 6 and 7 to me.

Question: Doesn't the Bible say that Christians will not experience God's wrath so they will not have to go through the tribulation?
Answer: First I think it depends on what you call the tribulation and when you believe God's wrath starts.  I believe that the 7 year period of time mentioned in Daniel 9:24-27 should be called Daniel's 70th week and not the tribulation. As I read the Bible, it sounds like the time of great distress "unequaled from the beginning of the world until now and never to be equaled again" and the time of Great Tribulation are the same, and this time starts relatively shortly before the rapture. God's wrath is announced at the 6th seal in Revelation and begins with the 7th seal and 1st trumpet judgment at the end of the great tribulation.  God's people, the saints, are still present during the great tribulation, but escape through rapture before His wrath

Question: Aren't people saved during the tribulation?
Answer: If you mean the great tribulation as previously defined, I would say yes. However, once the trumpet judgments start, I believe the answer is no.  Matt. 24 says "as it was in the days of Noah".  Once the ark was shut and rain began, no one was saved. Luke 17 says "it was the same in the days of Lot".  Once the judgment started, no one was saved.

Question: Are people saved during the trumpet judgments?
Answer:Rev. 7:9-16 tells about a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language who have come out of the Great Tribulation. I believe these are raptured believers from the time of great distress that was talked about in Matthew 24.

The 7th seal is the very next chapter in
 Rev. 8 where the final seal is opened which begins the 7 trumpet judgments. I believe these begin the Day of the LORD and God's wrath which was recognized in Rev. 6. From here on you never read about people coming to believe in Jesus. In fact, 2 Thes. 2:9-12 says that God sends a powerful delusion so that all will believe the lie. Then in Rev. 9, verse 4 says "only those people who did not have the seal fo God on their foreheads" were to be tortured. This references back to 
Rev. 7:4 where the 144,000 Jews were sealed - which means anyone else besides these Jews were to be tortured. Would God be calling new believers only to have them be tortured at this time with His trumpet judgments?  Also, in Rev. 9, after 5 trumpet judgments of bad stuff it says "the rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent". It doesn't sound like there are any new believers present here.

Question: But what about the 2 evangelizing witnesses in Revelation 11?
Answer: These 2 witnesses sound very much like Moses and Elijah.  They have the power to execute what is happening during the trumpet judgments.  In the fact, Rev. 11:10 says the people killed them because "these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth".  It doesn't sound like they are out "bringing people into the fold". 

Question: Since Israel was disobedient, hasn't the Church replaced Israel in God's eyes?
Answer: People forget that the we Gentiles are grafted into Israel through the "remnant chosen by grace", and not the other way around.  God still has a plan for the nation of Israel and those that He seals in Rev. 7 and Rev. 14

Question: Shouldn't Revelation be read symbolically rather that literally?
Answer: Admittedly, there is much symbolism in Revelation that I do not understand.  That being said though, when I read Mathew 24 and Revelation at the same time, I find them to be relatively chronologically very similar up to the trumpet judgments.  If we read Revelation as all symbolic and swirling then I believe you have to read Matthew 24 somewhat the same way as it talks about the same things happening.  I find that when I fill in the gaps with 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Peter, the other gospels, the old testament prophets like: Daniel, Ezekial, Isaiah, Joel, and stories from Genesis and Exodus that greater clarity comes into focus.

Question: What if you are wrong in what you believe?
Answer: We all have beliefs and we are all mistaken in our beliefs to some degree, because we see through a glass darkly.  We simply are not God.  However, we form our beliefs through our years of maturing and if we are humble, we change them as we have better knowledge and understanding.  I don't know that what I currently believe may happen will happen, but I am watching and willing to change my beliefs as I see something that makes more sense than what I currently believe. 

I feel that God would want me to share what I currently believe if it helps someone else to grow in their faith - even if it grows as they see and discern the error in my belief.  I know that is in part how I have grown - discerning the error in others and searching out answers for myself.

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