The Significance of the Technical Term "Earth Dwellers" to the Formation of a Biblical Eschatological ModelBy Steve Conley
Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,
Years ago, in the course of my eschatological studies, I came across someone, I don't remember whom, that suggested that the "earth dwellers" was a kind of technical term for those who receive the mark of the beast and worship him in the last days. The statement meant little to me at the time, nevertheless it was filed away in my memory for a future day.
Years later that day came. It was at the end of a time in my life, a period of God's correction of my eschatological beliefs. Over the course of many months my fervent pretribulationism was challenged and suffered many devastating blows. These were not the assaults of men, but of the Word of God upon a system of belief that was fashionable within the circles of my fellowship, but entirely without scriptural foundation. However, I was stubborn and not prone to change, so, as long as there was even a single verse I could hold on to that appeared to indicate that the church wouldn't be around for the great tribulation, I remained steadfastly pre-trib in my belief and preaching.
The one verse that I had remaining, out of what had been seemingly a multitude, was Rev 3:10. "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." (Rev 3:10) I thought, surely this verse was clear, the church will be kept from the hour of temptation, we will not go through the great tribulation.
I was very confident in my understanding of "kept ... from" (tēreō ek), I had spent much time studying and considering what that means. I defended the teaching, that the faithful church in Philadelphia would be kept from or out of the hour of temptation and that it wasn't saying that we would be kept through it, as many post-tribbers teach. (It is true that God will keep the 144,000 and the woman of Rev 12 who is hid and fed in the wilderness, both of these he keeps through the period of His wrath, but the church is out of here first.) I still have confidence that "out of" is the right understanding, God will remove His own before His wrath is poured out.
So, I had my one verse for the pre-trib rapture, Rev 3:10. However, I was still unsettled. The problem was that the weight of the rest of the Scriptures contradicted my understanding of this one verse. Then came that day, that's when I remembered that someone had said that "earth dwellers" was a technical term for the Beast worshipers. Rev 3:10 used that term (earth dwellers), "them that dwell upon the earth". So, I began to verify that idea and then apply it to this passage. What I found brought a harmony in my understanding of the eschatological texts.
"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." (Rev 3:10)
When considering Rev 3:10, it is very important to understand the focus of the trial in context. It is that which will allow you to rightly understand what the notable hour of temptation is. In this verse, the focus is said to be upon the earth dwellers, “them that dwell upon the earth.” “The earth dwellers” is a technical term throughout the eschatological portions of the New Testament. The term is the combination of two Greek words (gē and katoikeō or a variation thereof). It always refers to those dwelling on the earth that worship the Beast and receive his mark (even in Rev 12:12). This can be understood to be true by observing this combination of words in the following texts.
Jesus says concerning the Day of the LORD:
Luk 21:35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
Jesus uses this combination of words in an eschatological context. He says that the earth dwellers are going to be surprised by the Lord's coming and His wrath on the day of the Lord. They will be caught suddenly, unawares (Luke 21:34; 1Thes 5:3).
However, Paul clearly teaches that the Day of the LORD will not overtake the watching believer as a thief.
1Th 5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
1Th 5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
So “them that dwell on the face of the whole earth” excludes the watching saints. This term is not all inclusive. It refers only to those who are caught unawares or suddenly by Christ's return. (The very elect will not be surprised, because we expect His coming and He has given us events to watch for which will indicate the season of His return and our gathering together unto Him.)
Next, let's look at what John records concerning the two witnesses:
Rev 11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
Rev 11:10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
Notice here that the earth-dwellers rejoice at the death of God’s two witnesses, which no believer would do. These earth-dwellers are followers of the Beast and False Prophet and they rejoice when God's two witnesses are overcome and killed by the Beast. So, again we see that earth-dwellers excludes the saints.
Let's look at another instance of John's use of this technical term. Here, it is used for those who are deceived by the false prophet:
Rev 13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
Take notice that the earth-dwellers here are deceived by the False Prophet into worshiping the Beast and receiving his mark, but Jesus said that it was not possible for the “very elect” to be deceived (Matt. 24:24).
Eleven verses in the book of Revelation contain this technical term for those who worship the Beast and receive his mark.
Recognizing that the focus of the temptation in Rev 3:10 is upon the earth dwellers, we know that it refers to God's fierce wrath at the beginning of the day of the Lord and not Satan's wrath (Rev 12:12) upon the elect and Israel in the great tribulation. It is God’s tribulation upon the unbelieving, Beast worshipers, who will persecute the church and Israel in the great tribulation, that is referenced in Rev 3:10. The persecuted saints are said to be kept from the hour of temptation, that is, removed from the sphere of God’s, day of the Lord, wrath.
All praise, honour, and glory be unto the Lamb
Isa 2:19-21, Isa 13:6-11, Joel 2:31, Luke 21:25-26, and Rev 6:12-17 are all of these refering to the same event?By Steve Conley
Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,
Can someone please help me? Can you tell me if all these verses refer to the same event?
Isa 2:12 For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:
Isa 2:13 And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan,
Isa 2:14 And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up,
Isa 2:15 And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall,
Isa 2:16 And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.
Isa 2:17 And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.
Isa 2:18 And the idols he shall utterly abolish.
Isa 2:19 And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
Isa 2:20 In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats;
Isa 2:21 To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
Isa 13:6 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.
Isa 13:7 Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt:
Isa 13:8 And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.
Isa 13:9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
Isa 13:10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
Isa 13:11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
Joe 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
Rev 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
Rev 6:13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
Rev 6:14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
Rev 6:15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
Rev 6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
Rev 6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
Luk 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
Luk 21:26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
Are each of these passages speaking of the same event? It appears that they are. Please provide proof if they are not all referring to the same event.
Matthew 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. What did Jesus mean? First, what are "those days?" 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
Many people imagine that Jesus put a TITLE on the last half of the week, titling it "The Great Tribulation." No, there is no such title for the last half of the week. In Jesus' own words, there will be "those days" of "great tribulation."
What will cause "those days" of GT?
John tells us: there will be an image erected, as Nebuchadnezzar did, and the Beast will force all to worship this image or be put to death.
Next, there will be a mark established, and all must receive this mark, or be put to death. All will know, (whether they believe it or not) that to take the mark will doom them to the lake of fire. NO ONE will be able to buy or sell without the mark. Drinkable or safe water will become very hard to find. The only safe water will be in stores. But without the mark, no safe water to drink. Therefore, hunger and thirst will become intolerable and people may take the mark just to get a drink of water.
In other words, GREAT PRESSURE will be put on people to take this mark.
How long will "those days" of GT last?
First, when will "those days" begin? If we follow along with John's narrative in Revelation, we see the warning not to take the mark is in Rev. 14. And in chapter 15, we see the beheaded people begin to show up in heaven. Therefore the days of great tribulation will begin sometime between chapters 14 and 15. However, this is not to say hard times won't come before. The Beast will begin his attack on believers shortly after the midpoint. As John shows us, the False Prophet or second beast does not show up at the midpoint, but some unknown time later. It is the False prophet that convinces the people to erect this image to the Beast. So the image itself will come some unknown time after the midpoint of the week. It is also this False Prophet that creates this mark without which no one can buy or sell.
How long into the second half of the week will the image and mark be created? No one knows. John did not tell us.
HOW will God "shorten" "those days" of "great tribulation?" When the murdering of the saints gets to a peak, God will begin pouring out the vials of His wrath, which will "shorten" those days of GT. In other words, after a few of these vials, there will be no one in the Beast's armies hunting down believers or beheading them. These vials of wrath will bring the Beast's operations to a HALT. Thus, the days of GT that could be, will not be. The beast will still have his 42 months of authority, but will be rendered helpless by the vials of wrath and associated plagues.
Therefore, no one really knows how many days will be included in "those days." It is an unknown. All we can know is, the Beast, the False Prophet, and their armies will be rendered almost helpless as it relates to hunting down believers and beheading them.
It will be the number of days that gets shortened. The 70th week will not be shortened, or will the Beast's 42 months get shortened.
You will often see a reference to a 70th week at the end of time "inserted" into Revelation, or Matt 24, or 1Thess 4.
None of those chapters mention a "70th week" or the "midst of the week" or any such thing.
In the bible we have these 3 rules
1. All bible timelines are unbroken and contiguous without exception. .Daniel 9:1-7 is a good example withe Jeremiah's 70 years.
2. All Apocalyptic timeline use day-for-year symbolism. Each day is one solar year.
3. Bible authors build on the previous prophetic statements of scripture.
There may not be another verse in the bible with so much controversy as Daniel 9:27. I challenge the readers to read this verse in these different translations to give the full meaning presented by Daniel. I highlighted parts that seem different than KJV.
J.P. Green's Literal: 27 And he shall confirm a covenant with the many for one week. And in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease. And on a corner of the altar will be abominations that desolate, even until the end. And that which was decreed shall pour out on the desolator.
Douay-Rheims Bible: 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many, in one week: and in the half of the week the victim and the sacrifice shall fail: and there shall be in the temple the abomination of desolation: and the desolation shall continue even to the consummation, and to the end.
The complete Jewish Bible: 27 He will make a strong covenant with leaders for one week [of years]. For half of the week he will put a stop to the sacrifice and the grain offering. On the wing of detestable things the desolator will come and continue until the already decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator."
Peshitta - Lamsa Translation: 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for seven weeks and half of seven weeks, then he shall cause the sacrifice and gift offerings to cease, and upon the horns of the altar the abomination of desolation; and the desolation shall continue until the end of the appointed time; the city shall remain desolate.
Wycliff Bible: 27 Forsothe (Indeed) o wouk `of yeeris (a week of years) schal conferme the couenaunt (shall confirm the covenant) to many men, and the offryng and sacrifice schal faile ( offering and sacrifice shall fail) in the myddis of the wouke of yeeris (in the middle of he week of years) ; and abhomynacioun of desolacioun (an abomination of desolation) schal be in the temple, (shall be in the temple) and the desolacioun schal contynue (the desolation shall continue) til to the parformyng and ende. (till the performing and end.)
Miles Coverdale Bible: He shall make a stronge bonde with many, for the space of a weke: and when the weke is half gone, he shal put downe the slayne and meatoffringe. And in the temple there shalbe an abhominable desolacio, till it haue destroyed all. And it is concluded, yt this waistinge shal continue vnto the ende.
Some have said that Daniel 9:27 is not talking about the "abomination of desolation" that Jesus spoke of. Yet when we see other translations, we see that Jesus was probably quoting from this verse in Daniel. In other words, Daniel 9 certain covers this abomination of desolation. However, Daniel also wrote of it in chapter 12:
Daniel 12:11 (Peshitta - Lamsa) And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be abolished, and the abomination is given to destruction, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.
Young's literal: and from the time of the turning aside of the perpetual [sacrifice], and to the giving out of the desolating abomination, [are] days a thousand, two hundred, and ninety.
Then Daniel told us of the abomination done by Antiochus Epiphanes: This is a TYPE of what the Beast of Rev. 13 will do in our future.
Douay-Rheims Bible: Daniel 11:31: And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall defile the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the continual sacrifice: and they shall place there the abomination unto desolation.
King James: And armes shal stand on his part, and they shall pollute the Sanctuarie of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shal place the abomination that maketh desolate.
In every one of these verses, the daily sacrifice is stopped. That means, ceased: the next day there will NOT BE a sacrifice. The Complete Jewish Bible probably says it best: "put a stop to the sacrifice and the grain offering." How can anyone misread "put a stop to?"
Question: the theory that Jesus' death, burial and resurrection is what stopped the daily sacrifices has been proposed on this forum. When we understand that the daily sacrifices DID NOT STOP when Jesus died, and did not stop when he rose from the dead, but continued on for many years, how can it be possible that anyone can still hold to that theory? The truth is, Jesus did NOT stop the daily sacrifices: these verses tell us it is the placing of an abomination in the temple that stops the sacrifices. All Jesus did was stop the NEED for these sacrifices.
Comparing all these translations, and these verses: it is clear, there is an abomination that will cause the daily sacrifices to cease at the midpoint (halfway point) of the week. That abomination will be placed (or will walk) into the Holy of Holies, and then from that time, desolations will continue to the end.
Question: since the stopping of the daily sacrifices and the presence of the abomination of desolation are found right next to each other in one sentence, can we establish a cause and effect relationship? i think we can. The Old Testament tells us if the temple is desecrated, it must be cleansed before Sacrifices can continue again.
Now, what can we find in the New Testament that will confirm this?
Matthew 24: 15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
How can anyone with common sense deny that this is speaking of the same thing we found in Daniel? Jesus is quoting Daniel! And Jesus is answering a question about the end of the age. This end of the age is still ahead of us today. Now let's examine this event: the conclusion from all the scriptures in Daniel is that an EVENT: the placing of an abomination in the temple, will cause the daily sacrifices to stop. And this event will be what divides the week.
Question: how in the world can an event in our future divide a week, if we don't have an entire week to divide? It would be impossible. There MUST BE an entire week in our future that can be divided into two equal halves. The scriptures prove it is an abomination that will divided the week and stop the daily sacrifices. Jesus Himself put this abomination into our future (the end of the age). Therefore, if it is the abomination that divided the week, THERE MUST BE A WEEK TO DIVIDE at the same time.
Then there is another point: the HE that confirms a covenant is the same HE that will break this covenant.
Question: can anyone imagine that Jesus Christ would break a covenant after 3 1/2 years? Does GOD break covenants?
It seems the scriptural evidence is overwhelming that sometime in our future, someone will enter the temple or place in the temple an abomination, and this will stop the sacrifices and will divide the week. Paul tells us that the man of sin will accomplish this.