The Great Tribulation of Rev 7:14

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Re: The Great Tribulation of Rev 7:14

#11 Post by Bobcat » 2 weeks ago

Part 3 is now in place. Starting to work on part 4 now.


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Re: The Great Tribulation of Rev 7:14

#12 Post by Bobcat » 2 weeks ago

"The Sign of the Son of Man in Heaven"


This thread has, as its original aim, to explain in detail the events of "the great tribulation" of Rev 7:14. But in aiming for that, it requires laying a foundation that involves the great tribulation that befell the Jews in the first century. My understanding of the events of the future great tribulation requires seeing the pattern of events in the first century one. The tribulation that befell the Jews in the first century follows a general pattern that is to be repeated in the one to come.

But having said that, there are some things different in the first century tribulation due to it being a localized event, that will not be repeated in the future one. And there are some things in the future one, due to its being a worldwide event, that did not occur in the first century one. When one tries to directly apply the description of the first century event to the one to come, this results in a distorted understanding of what is to come. And we want an understanding that is not distorted.

As I have argued so far in this thread, the events described in Mt 24:4-35, Mr 13:5-31 and Lu 21:8-33 are Jesus' answer to the disciples' question about when the Temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed. (Mt 24:1-3, Mr 13:1-4, Lu 21:5-7) This was discussed in part 1. Common objections to a first century only fulfillment were covered in part 2, as well as a brief discussion of the opening of the Jewish-Roman War that began in 66 CE. Part 3 focused on "the tribulation of those days" and what happened "immediately after." (Mt 24:29, Mr 13:24-25, Lu 21:25-26) Parts 2 and 3 have also pointed out how, in part, Daniel 11:36-12:12 forms the basis of Jesus' description of what was to befall the first century Jewish nation.
This mention of Daniel chapter 12 should not be interpreted to mean that there won't be a further fulfillment of that prophecy after the first century. Jesus hints at a yet further fulfillment when he alludes to Dan 12:3 in Mt 13:43. The context of the parable of the wheat and weeds puts Dan 12:3 after the end of the present age. (Mt 13:40-42) Thus, for example, the passage in Dan 12:2 could have a literal fulfillment during "the last day," as well as a figurative fulfillment in this age where Mt 24:31 is paralleled with Dan 12:2-3, along with Mt 22:8-10 in the parable of the wedding banquet. See also the discussion here, and extending down to post # 9 in that thread. It is in connection with what Jesus said in Jn 5:25 and its relation to Ezek 37:1-28.

In case the reader is new to this thread, the index link at the bottom of this post will allow for rapid movement between the main articles in this thread. With these things in mind, the discussion that follows will focus on Mt 24:30.

The Context of Matthew 24:30

A first step in understanding the fulfillment of Mt 24:30 is seeing the context within which it occurs. Mt 24:1-2 has Jesus stunning statement that the temple built by Herod, which was the center of true worship at the time, that it would be violently flattened (Mr 13:1-2, Lu 21:5-6). Matthew 24:3 (and Mr 13:4 & Lu 21:7) has the disciples asking when will "these things" happen. On the other end of the prophecy that Jesus gives, which includes Mt 24:30, he gives a summary illustration in which he says that "all these things" will take place before "this generation" passes away. (Mt 24:32-35, Mr 13:28-31, Lu 21:29-33) So, the first context markers are these two bookends, if you will, which surround Mt 24:30. (In rhetorical literary style, this is called an inclusio.) They argue that Mt 24:30 was intended to be part of the prophecy about the destruction of the Temple.

Another context indicator is Matthew's (or rather, Jesus') use of temporal markers throughout the prophecy. We have already discussed these in previous parts. Mt 24:14 has the good news being preached, "and then (Gk kai tote) the end will come." A sign to watch for is given in Mt 24:15. "Then" (tote) the disciples are to flee to safety (Mt 24:16-20). "For then" (gar tote) there will be great tribulation (Mt 24:21). "Then" (tote) they were to watch out so as not to be misled into thinking this tribulation involved some sort of secret or hidden parousia (Mt 24:23-25, 26, 27). "Immediately after" in Mt 24:29 served as another temporal marker showing the progression of events. And now, in Mt 24:30 (as well as the parallels in Mr 13:26 & Lu 21:27) Jesus introduces the sign of the Son of Man with, "and then ..." (kai tote). The natural way to understand this is that Mt 24:30 is a follow on event from Mt 24:29. It is part of the sequence of events leading to Jesus' description of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.

The discussion in part 3 of Mt 24:29 (as well as Mr 13:24-25 & Lu 21:25-26), and its fulfillment in the Roman civil war of 68-69 CE also serves as an historical marker. We know from history that the siege of Jerusalem began in February 70 CE and lasted until July. So that, from this historical perspective, the siege of Jerusalem is the next major event to take place in the Jewish-Roman War.

And finally, the language used in Mt 24:30 is climactic in nature. In reading the prophecy, one naturally gets the idea that the climax is being described in Mt 24:30. Granted, it is in highly symbolic or figurative language. But all these other indicators place it in the first century judgment upon the Jews.

The Rendering of Matthew 24:30

An objection that might be raised concerning a first century application of Mt 24:30 is that there is no historical evidence of a "sign of the Son of Man" appearing in heaven over Jerusalem during the Jewish-Roman War. Moreover, there is no evidence that "the tribes of the earth" lamented back then. Nor did anyone see Jesus "coming on the clouds of heaven" back then. So how could it be said that Mt 24:30 was fulfilled back then?

As already pointed out above, all the contextual markers point to such a first century fulfillment. So, how do we solve this problem?

The problem involves centuries of Christian interpretation of this verse. Interpretation that has affected how the verse is typically rendered. Interpretation that believes Mt 24:30 is describing an end of the age event, rather than a first century one. The problem also involves understanding the OT allusions that lie behind the verse. What we will do is to take the verse apart, phrase by phrase.

The Opening Phrase of Matthew 24:30

Here are some typical renderings of Mt 24:30 from several fairly literal translations:
Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man. (ESV)
Then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven. (NWT, NET)
But note what a word-for-word translation of the first phrase of the Greek text of Mt 24:30 looks like:
And then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven. (KIT literal rendering)

Now compare the differences: The ESV has moved "in heaven" from the end of the text to right after the verb "will appear." This has the effect of causing the verse to describe where the sign will appear. It appears "in heaven," that is, in the sky. The NWT and NET do the very same thing, only in a different way. They leave "in heaven" at the end of the verse, but move the verb, "will appear," to right before "in heaven." All three examples, then, cause the verse to describe where the sign will appear. And they do this because this is how they understand the verse to be fulfilled.

But in contrast, look again at the KIT literal rendering. In this instance, the verse is describing a "sign" that "will appear." And the "sign" is something that indicates that "the Son of Man" is "in heaven." When seen this way, the verse isn't describing how or where the "sign" "will appear." It is only saying that it "will appear," and that those who see this "sign" will know that "the Son of Man" is "in heaven." (See also note # 2 below for a survey of the use of "in heaven" in the book of Matthew.)

Thus, a person who argues that there was no sign that appeared in the sky in 70 CE, that person is unwittingly making a circular argument. They think the verse is foretelling a sky-based "sign," when in fact, the translators made the verse say that. And they made it say that because that is how they believe it will be fulfilled.

For comparison, Rev 12:1 IS describing a heaven or sky-based sign. A word for word rendering of the text says, "And sign great was seen in the heaven, woman ..." (KIT literal rendering of Rev 12:1). In this instance, "in the heaven" occurs right after the verb "was seen," so as to give the location of the sign. But Mt 24:30 has "will appear" and "in heaven" at opposite ends of the phrase. In Mt 24:30, "in heaven" is not describing where the sign "will appear." Rather, it is describing where "the Son of Man" is.

Understanding Mt 24:30 in this literal way makes all the more sense when you recall what Jesus told the Sanhedrin during his trial:
"From now on you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Mt 26:64 NWT, see also Mr 14:62, Lu 22:69)
In the years following Jesus' death, his persecutors continued on in their apostate ways. Jesus' followers continued reminding the populace that judgment was coming upon the city and Temple. But as far as the Jewish religious leaders and citizens were concerned, Jesus was long dead. And when they chased Cestius Gallus away in 66 CE, they were probably inclined to think that God would never let Jerusalem and its Temple suffer like it did in the days of Babylon. So when General Titus and his forces returned in February 70 CE, they served as a "sign" that Jesus was in a position of great power, fully able to see to it that his predictions about the Temple would come true.

"All the Tribes ... Will Beat Themselves in Grief"

A second argument that one might raise in an effort to say that Mt 24:30 is a yet future event is:
There is no historical evidence that "all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation" in 70 CE.

The problem with this argument is the same as the problem with the first argument. The word "earth" is chosen by translators because they believe that Matthew 24:30 is a future event.

The Greek word rendered "earth" is gēs. (See here.) According to the definition of the word at BibleHub the word can mean, "the earth, soil, land, region, country, inhabitants of a region." Thayer's Lexicon lists, as one of its meanings, "5. a country, land enclosed within fixed boundaries, a tract of land, territory, region; simply, when it is plain from the context what land is meant, as that of the Jews." And Thayer gives Luke 21:23 as an example where the context requires that the word take on the meaning of "land."

Thus, according to how one understands the context of Mt 24:30, it could just as well read, "and then all the tribes of the land (meaning, the territory of the Jews) will beat themselves in lamentation." This way of translating gēs in Mt 24:30 would agree with all the other indications, that is, the temporal connectives, the historical timeline, and the summary illustration of Mt 24:32-35 which describes "all these things" as happening to "this generation." It would also agree well with Luke 21:23 where he has Jesus saying that, "there will be great distress upon the earth (or "land"; Greek gēs) and wrath against this people." The fact that "earth" or "land" is paired with "this people" (i.e. the Jews) makes it clear that the "earth" or "land" being referred to is the country of the Jews. (Compare also Lu 21:20)

Understanding gēs as meaning the 'land of the Jews,' and understanding Mt 24:30 as having taken place in 70 CE would mean that that part of Mt 24:30 could be historically established since all the tribes of the Jews in the Jewish homeland did 'lament' over the catastrophe that befell them when Titus besieged Jerusalem.

As described on this link (par. 13 specifically), many Jews who survived Vespasian's campaign in Galilee (from 67-68 CE) fled to what they perceived to be the only safe haven, Jerusalem. And thus, Jews from all of their "tribes" were on hand when Titus began his siege of the city in February 70 CE. (For further discussion of this middle phrase of Mt 24:30, see this post.)

"Coming on the Clouds of Heaven"

For the sake of shortening this post, see this post, with included links, discussing the final phrase of Mt 24:30 and its fulfillment in the first century.

Regarding Matthew 24:31

I've already briefly touched on Mt 24:31 above and in the sub-title, The Counter-Arguments, in part 2 of this thread. When Mt 24:4-31 is seen as being fulfilled in the first century, Mt 24:31 then follows the pattern of events described in the parable of the wedding banquet in Mt 22:1-14. Specifically, the parable describes the early invited guests rejecting their invitation to the wedding (Mt 22:3, 5, 6). In anger, the king kills them and sets their city on fire. (Mt 22:7) Then the king sends out his slaves on an extended search for more wedding guests. (Mt 22:8-10) So that, if Mt 24:30 fits the description of Mt 22:7, then, Mt 24:31 would fit the description of Mt 22:8-10.

I intend to make a separate post with some reference material on Mt 24:31 which I will try to link to here when I do so. (For which, see part # 5 in this thread.)


With this background and discussion of the first century "great tribulation, I think I am ready to move on to the coming "great tribulation," and make effective us of the pattern that was set.


Thread Index

1. "This generation" in Mt 24:34 (and Mr 13:30 & Lu 21:32) has been the subject of various interpretations over the years. Probably the main reason it has had such a variety of interpretations is due to trying to interpret the prophecy beyond its first century context. When the prophecy is understood as being fulfilled in the first century, then, "this generation" takes on its natural meaning, that of Jesus' contemporaries. So that the reader can see for him/her self how the Greek word genea (often rendered "generation") is used in the NT, and especially in the gospel accounts, what follows is a listing of every occurrence of genea (Strong's # 1074) in the NT. Just hover over each verse to see what the verse actually says:
Mt 1:17; 11:16; 12:39, 41, 42, 45; 16:4; 17:17; 23:36; 24:34 (13x); Mr 8:12, 38; 9:19; 13:30 (5x); Lu 1:48, 50; 7:31; 9:41; 11:29, 30, 31, 32, 50, 51; 16:8; 17:25; 21:32 (15x); Ac 2:40; 8:33; 13:36; 14:16; 15:21 (5x); Eph 3:5, 21 (2x); Php 2:15; Col 1:26; Heb 3:10. (43x)

See the links in this post for discussions of various aspects of the parable of the fig tree.
2. All the verses in Matthew where "in heaven" or "in the heavens" occur:
Mt 5:12, 16, 45; 6:1, 9, 10, 20; 7:11, 21; 10:32, 33; 12:50; 16:17, 19; 18:10, 14, 18, 19; 19:21; 22:30; 24:30; 28:18.
I'll develop this part later. But its purpose is to show further evidence that the placement of "in heaven" at the end of the first phrase of Mt 24:30 favors its application to "the Son of Man," as opposed to the verb "will appear."

From what I have been seeing so far consulting the interlinear rendering of these verses is that, without exception, the phrase "in (the) heaven(s)" is always located close to whatever is being described as being there. The result of this analysis is that, in Mt 24:30, "in heaven" would naturally be understood as referring to "the Son of Man," not he verb "will appear." The reason for placing it with "will appear" has everything to do with how the translator is interpreting the verse.

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Re: The Great Tribulation of Rev 7:14

#13 Post by Bobcat » 1 week ago

5. Additional Reference Regarding Matthew 24:31

Comparing the Parallel Verses

For comparison, below are how the three parallel verses read:
And he will send out his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity. (Mt 24:31 NWT)

And then he will send out the angels and will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from earth’s extremity to heaven’s extremity. (Mr 13:27 NWT)

But as these things start to occur, stand up straight and lift up your heads, because your deliverance is getting near.” (Lu 21:28 NWT)
A detailed comparison results in:
• Luke omits this "gathering" detail altogether and replaces it with encouragement.

• Matthew starts with, "And ..." (καὶ); Mark with "And then ..." (καὶ τότε)

• Matthew says, "he will send out his angels"; Mark says, "he will send out the angels"

• Matthew adds, "with a great trumpet sound"; Mark omits this.

• Matthew: "and they will gather" (ἐπισυνάξουσιν); Mark: "and will gather" (ἐπισυνάξει)

• Matthew: "from one extremity of the heavens"; Mark: "from earth's extremity"

• Matthew: "to their other extremity"; Mark: "to heaven's extremity"
(Just as a side note, it appears to me that Matthew has borrowed from Mark and made slight adjustments, and not the other way around. This would be a possible indication that Mark's account came before Matthew's.)

Reference Comments

From the NICNT-Matthew commentary on Mt 24:31 (Richard France, pp. 927-28):
The sequel to the enthronement of the Son of Man as king [Mt 24:30] is the gathering together of the subjects of his kingdom, his "chosen people" (see on Mt 22:14 and cf. Mt 24:22, 24). [Mt 24:31] They will come not only from Judea but from all over the world. As in Mt 24:29-30, the language continues to be drawn from OT prophecy. The gathering of God's people from the ends of the earth is a recurrent OT theme (see on Mt 8:11-12), but the passages most closely echoed here are Deut 30:4, which speaks of God "gathering" his people who were scattered "from the end of heaven to the end of heaven," and LXX Zech 2:10, where God says to his scattered people, "I will gather you from the four winds of heaven." The "great trumpet blast" echoes another such regather prophecy in Isa 27:13. These were, of course, in their original context, prophecies of the regathering of scattered Israel, but again Jesus' discourse takes passages about the OT people of God and applies them to the "chosen people" of the Son of Man. We saw the same pattern in the OT allusions in Mt 8:11-12, where those who would come "from east and west" would no longer be the scattered tribes of Israel but those whose faith in Jesus enabled them, like the Gentile centurion, to become members of God's international kingdom.

The agents of this gathering will be "his angels"; see on Mt 13:41 and Mt 16:27 for the idea that God's angels also serve the Son of Man in his heavenly glory (and cf. Mt 26:53). In human terms the ingathering of the chosen people may be expected to be through the work of human "messengers," and it would be possible to take angeloi here in that sense, which it carries in Mt 11:10. But in all other uses in Matthew (including Mt 16:28, which is also based on the vision of Dan 7) it denotes heavenly beings, and in this context of the heavenly authority of the Son of Man it probably refers to the spiritual power underlying human evangelization. The "great trumpet blast" which Matthew alone includes at this point suits a more supernatural dimension to this ingathering.

Personal Analysis

If the "desolating abomination" of Mt 24:15 is drawn from Dan 12:11, and the tribulation of Mt 24:21 is drawn from Dan 12:1, then, Mt 24:31 would have its roots in Dan 12:2, 3. Not the wording itself, but in the sequence of the action. The awakening would be along the lines of Jn 5:25 and Ezek 37:1-14. The fact that some in Dan 12:2 would 'awake to life' and 'some to shame,' this would also correspond to the wheat and weeds of Mt 13:24-30, 36-43. It would also correspond with the parable of the dragnet scooping up fish of all kinds, some suitable, and some not so suitable. (Mt 13:47)

And yet, Jesus' allusion to Dan 12:3 in a post end of the age context (Mt 13:41-42, 43) would seem to imply another fulfillment of Dan 12:3 during the Millennium. In which case, Dan 12:2 would take on literal meaning. It might also imply that Dan 12:1 will be fulfilled again in the coming "great tribulation. And this also has me wondering about the time periods in Dan 12:7, 11-12. (Compare also this thread.) (Interestingly, Dan 12:2 LXX is borrowed again in Revelation 20:9. See this post for discussion of that.)

As an interesting aside, see this post (and included links) regarding Dan 12:4 and its possible relationship with Mt 24:14 and 24:31. Understanding Mt 24:31 as described above results in Mt 24:14 & 24:31 being complimentary of each other. At the time the Olivet Discourse was given, the disciples were had been instructed to preach only within Israel. (Mt 10:5-7) Mt 24:14 predicts that the gospel would have reached the extent of the Roman Empire by the time of the Jewish-Roman War. Mt 24:31 then predicts its extension throughout the entire planet.


Thread Index

1. Commenting on the background of Jn 5:29, the Commentary on the NT Use of the OT (G K Beale & D A Carson, p. 442) says:
Jesus' reference to the resurrection in Jn 5:29 ("those who have done what is good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment") may hark back to Dan 12:2 ("some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt")
Jesus made another astonishing statement just before his statement about those in the memorial tombs in Jn 5:28-29. In Jn 5:25 he said, "Truly, truly I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live." The same reference as above says:
Jesus' words at Jn 5:25, "The dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who have heard it will live," are reminiscent of Ezekiel's vision of the valley of dry bones (Ezek 37; cf. Rom 4:17; Eph 2:1-5). This is one of several instances in this Gospel [i.e. John] where the book of Ezekiel looms in the background (cf. Jn chap. 10, esp. Jn 10:16). (p. 442)
John 5:25 would relate more closely with Ezek 37:1-14. And Jn 10:16 would hint at Ezek 37:15-28.

Thus, Jn 5:25, as well as Rom 4:17 & Eph 2:1-5, would form the basis for understanding Dan 12:2 in a Christian era setting. Jesus alludes to Dan 12:3 in a eschatological setting. In doing so, it would imply that Dan 11-36-12:12 would have some sort of end of the age fulfillment, along with a fulfillment tied to the Jewish-Roman War. Dan 12:2 in the post age setting would describe a literal resurrection. But during the Christian era fulfillment it would be along the lines of Jn 5:25, Rom 4:17 & Eph 2:1-5.

The phrase, "some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt" would be understood as a purpose clause. They don't immediately receive 'everlasting life' or 'everlasting contempt.' Rather, their waking up leads to those two eventual outcomes. (Compare also Jn 5:24.)

For additional discussion and links regarding the 4th gospel's use of Ezekiel, see this post (and on down to post # 9).

For some additional discussion and links regarding Jn 5:29 and Dan 12:2, see this post.

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Re: The Great Tribulation of Rev 7:14

#14 Post by AmosAU » 1 week ago

Hi Bobcat,

Excellent research.

I've just started to read the article and have saved it in a document so I can read it offline.

With all else on my plate, it could take a couple more days to finish it.

Thanks for your efforts.

Regards, Amos.

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Re: The Great Tribulation of Rev 7:14

#15 Post by Bobcat » 1 week ago

Thanks for the encouragement Amos.

You might want to re-copy the material in a couple of days. I have edited some spelling and added to the material a little bit. For example, under the sub-title, In Matthew 24 & Mark 13, I added some material about Luke 21:20-24 (here).


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Re: The Great Tribulation of Rev 7:14

#16 Post by Bobcat » 1 week ago

The "Appointed Times of the Nations" of Luke 21:24


The "appointed times of the nations" or "Gentile Times" mentioned in Luke 21:24 was briefly touched on in part # 1 in this thread, see under the sub-title, In Matthew 24 & Mark 13 along with Note # 1 at the bottom of that post). The reader may be familiar with various interpretations that have been assigned to this phrase. Sometimes these interpretations offer clever, albeit complicated, calculations that involve the length of a "time" (such as at Rev 12:6, 14), multiplied by seven because of the "seven times" referred to in Dan 4:16 & 23. With the result then converted to years due to the "day for a year" idea presented in Num 14:34 & Ezek 4:6. Further complicating all these calculations is how Jerusalem's being "trampled upon" is understood, as well as what is meant by "Jerusalem."

Sometimes these calculations also refer to controversial starting dates, such as WT's 607 BCE dating for the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians. (All non-WT historians hold to 587 or 586 BCE for this event.) And it is not just the WT that has attempted to calculate the length and width of the "Gentile Times." In modern times the idea goes at least as far back as John Aquila Brown's Even-Tide (for which, see the link to it in PDF format here. A time calculation involving the "seven times" of Lev 25:23-34 was a part of the prophetic calculations that resulted in the Great Disappointment of 1843/44.)

Given that background, the reader may find the explanation given in this post refreshingly simple.

The Meaning of Ethnos in Luke 21:24

In Luke 21:24 the phrase "appointed times of the nations" or "Gentile Times" is two words in the original Greek: καιροὶ ἐθνῶν (kairoi ethnon); where kairoi is the plural of kairos ("appointed time"), and ethnon is the genitive plural of ethnos ("nation"). (Ethne, which is the first occurrence of "nations" in Lu 21:24, is the accusative plural).

In note # 1 at the bottom of this post is the extensive definition of ethnos from Thayer's Greek Lexicon. It was copied from the BibleHub website. The advantage of having it copied to here is that the forum software allows hovering your mouse over the Bible citations to see what the verse says. Note # 3 has a list of every verse in the NT where ethnos, in its various inflections, occurs.

As can be seen in the Thayer's definitions in note # 1 below, the word ethnos does not have just one definition. Rather, it takes on several meanings and nuances depending on the context within which it is found. So, to simply say that the word means only 'this' or 'that' would not be accurate. Like many other words, ethnos has a number of different meanings depending on how it is used, and the context in which it is found. The AMG definition (also given in note # 1) confirms that ethnos has a number of different meanings, and, in any particular instance, the meaning has to be discerned from the context within which it is found.

So having said that, we can say that, generally speaking, ethnos usually refers to non-Jews, either individually or as a group. It should also be noted that, when speaking of the "nation" a Jew belongs to (that is, Israel), "nation" is always singular. A Jew might speak of his own "nation," but he would have no reason to speak of his own "nations" (plural). To a Jew, "the nations" (plural) would only mean non-Jewish nations. And to a first century Jew, all "the nations" would generally be seen as being apart from, or in opposition to, God and His rulership. Whereas, a first century Jew would think of his own nation (Israel) as the only nation that was under God's rulership. (Compare De 4:8; 1Ch 17:21; Ps 147:19, 20) To a Jew, "the nations" were all under the influence of the demons (1Co 10:20; Ps 106:35-37), whose ruler was Satan (Mt 12:24-26).

In Luke 21:24 the setting is of "Jerusalem" being "surrounded by armies" (Lu 21:20), with instructions for "those who are in Judea" to "flee to the mountains," and "those who are inside the city" to "depart" (Lu 21:21), "because" those would be days of "wrath on this people" (Lu 21:22-23). "They" (the ones who did not flee) would fall by the sword and be led captive into "all the nations (ethne)" (Lu 21:24a). Thus, the context, up to this point, indicates that "nations" (plural) is clearly referring to non-Jewish nations. Lu 21:24b (NWT) continues: "And Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations (plural; ethnon) until the appointed times of the nations (plural; ethnon) are fulfilled."

Luke 21:24 uses ethne/ethnon (the plural of ethnos) three times. And the context is clearly pointing to the meaning of non-Jewish nations. There is nothing in the verse, or the context, that would indicate anything other than the normal non-Jewish meaning for ethne/ethnon.

The Meaning of Kairos in Luke 21:24

The extensive definition of kairos/kairoi ("appointed time[s]" or "time[s]") is also given below in note # 2. And every occurrence of it in the NT can be seen in note # 4. In examining the definition below it can be seen that the word has the general meaning of, what we might call, 'timely time.' A tree, for example, gives its fruit in "its season." The "faithful slave" gives food at "the proper time." (Mt 24:45) And thus, this 'timely time' use is reflected in the way various translations render the last phrase of Lu 21:24:
NWT="until the appointed times ... are fulfilled"; Byington="until the times ... have run their full course"; NLT=until the period of the Gentiles comes to an end"; Amplified Bible="until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (completed)"; CEV="until their time comes to an end"; GNT="until their time is up"; GWT="until the times allowed for the nations [to do this] are over"; ISV="until the times of the unbelievers are fulfilled"; Weymouth="till the appointed times of the Gentiles have expired"; Aramaic Bible in Plain English="until the time of the Gentiles will be finished"; Jewish New Testament="until the age of the Goyim has run its course"; Knox ="until the time granted to the Gentile nations has run out"; Barclay="until the time allotted to the Gentiles has run its course" (Note how some translations see "times" collectively and render with the singular "time" or "period.")
As these various renderings show, kairoi ("appointed times" [plural]) is understood to refer to a time period that is, in some way, attached to "the nations." And that time period eventually runs out. This would also suggest that the "appointed times" that have been assigned to "the nations" had some starting point.

Where They Occur Together in the NT

The reason the lists of occurrences in notes 3 & 4 are included below (and separated from their definitions) is so that the reader can see them together on the screen and compare where the words ethnos and kairos occur together in the same verse.

As it turns out, these two words only occur together in the same verse in three locations in the NT. We've already looked at the first instance in Luke 21:24 above. And, we have been able to derive some information regarding the "appointed times of the nations." But we are still left with some unanswered questions. Like, When did the "appointed times of the nations" begin? Why would a fixed time period be assigned to "the nations"? And, When are they "fulfilled" ("expired"; "finished"; "over")? And finally, What happens when they are finished?

(Just as an aside, there are a handful of 'close calls,' so-to-speak, where ethnos and kairos occur within a few verses of each other. So far, I haven't seen any example that can be related to the topic of this post.)

The Second Occurrence: Acts 17:26

The second occurrence of these two words is in Acts 17:26. And right off the bat this becomes interesting because there is a certain amount of mystery behind Luke 21:24. In Luke 21:24 we have some reason to wonder what Luke (or rather, Jesus) meant by the phrase "appointed times of the nations." But in that verse Luke doesn't elaborate, except to say that they eventually get "fulfilled." So here, in Acts 17:26, we have both words used together again, and by the same writer as in Luke (although, this time quoting Paul). So we are somewhat in suspense to see what this verse might add to our understanding. Acts 17:26 says:
And [God] made out of one man every nation of men to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he decreed the appointed times ("allotted periods"=ESV; "set times"=NET) and the set limits of where men would dwell (NWT)

Interestingly, Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT specifically associates this verse with Luke 21:24 saying:
Appointed seasons (prostetagmenous kairous). Not the weather as in Acts 14:17, but "the times of the Gentiles" (kairoi ethnon) of which Jesus spoke (Luke 21:24).

The Expositor's Greek Testament expresses a similar idea regarding Ac 17:26, saying:
"It is natural to think of the expression of our Lord Himself, Luke xxi. 24, kairoi ethnon, words which may well have suggested to St. Paul his arguments in Rom. ix.-xi., but the thought [in Ac 17:26 to the Athenians] is a more general one."

There are several things that this verse can add to our understanding of the "appointed times of the nations." First, that the "appointed times" for the nations was something determined and set by God. Second, Paul (as quoted by Luke), associates these "appointed times" with when God "made out of one man every nation of men," and caused them to "dwell on the entire surface of the earth."

In the context of Acts 17:26, Paul is trying to reason with proud Athenians that all humans are related, even though they are of different nations. So Paul isn't trying to teach them about what Luke 21:24 means, or any other Bible detail for that matter. But since this is a rare occasion where ethnos and kairos intersect, we, as Bible students, might ask, when did God "make every nation of men"? And when did He cause them to "dwell on the entire surface of the earth"? And was there a reason for God to set an "appointed time" in connection with that?

The "one man" would logically refer to Adam (although, technically, one could say that Noah later became this one man). One might say that God gave Adam the ability to reproduce and the commission to "fill the earth." (Gen 1:28) But on the other hand, God's original purpose never included humans being divided up into various competing national and language groups. (Gen 1:26) Nor did Adam originally have an "appointed time" established for his existence. (Gen 2:16, 17; 3:22)

So, when, Scriptually speaking, did God "make every nation of men"? And is there a point in time when He caused them to "dwell on the entire surface of the earth"? And if we located this point in time, would we have reason to think that God would attach an "appointed time" to it, as if to say, that this was only a temporary situation?

The answer to those questions can be found in Genesis chapters 10 & 11. In Genesis chapter 10 we find what has been called "the table of nations." It is a genealogical listing of how all the various national groups came into existence. And Genesis 11:1-9 describes how God "made" this happen. (Compare De 32:8) The event in Gen 11:1-9 also gets to the root of why and how "the nations" came to be viewed as opposed to God. (Gen 11:4, 8) And from this, it would be logical to expect that God would only allow this situation to exist for an "appointed time(s)."

And thus, Acts 17:26 gives the astute Bible student a reasonable starting point for the "appointed times of the nations." (See the chronological chart in this post which has a Biblical timeline that has been corrected with dating from the LXX & SP. The incident at Babel happened somewhere near the time of Peleg, and about 400 years or so after the flood. — Gen 10:25)

The Third Occurrence: Revelation 11:18

The third and last verse where both ethnos and kairos occur is Revelation 11:18. This verse says:
But the nations became wrathful, and your own wrath came, and the appointed time came for the dead to be judged and to reward your slaves the prophets and the holy ones and those fearing your name, the small and the great, and to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (NWT)

At first glance, one will notice that the "appointed time" mentioned in this verse does not directly involve "the nations." Rather, the "appointed time" that begins ("came") involves judging the dead, rewarding all God's servants (which would also include resurrecting the ones who were dead), and 'bringing to ruin those ruining the earth.' One might notice that all these things associated with the "appointed time" that "came" are all the things associated with Christ's parousia (for which, see this post). The 'judging of the dead' and the resurrecting of God's servants so as to "reward" them would also mean that this is the beginning of "the last day" (Jn 6:39, 40, 44, 54; 7:37; 11:24; 12:48; and for which, see towards the bottom of this post).

But would this new "appointed time" tell us anything about the "appointed times of the nations"? The answer is, Yes! The "appointed time" that begins with the blowing of the seventh trumpet also means the end of the "appointed times of the nations." In Rev 11:15 when the seventh trumpet is sounded, the announcement is made:
"The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will rule as king forever and ever.” (NWT)

Thus, the blowing of the seventh trumpet that signals the start of the "appointed time" in Rev 11:18 would also signal the end of the "appointed times of the nations." But we can derive even more from this. The fact that "the kingdom of the world" changes ownership at this point in time gives us additional insight into just what is involved with the "appointed times of the nations." You might remember that Satan told Jesus, when showing him "all the kingdoms of the inhabited earth" (Lu 4:5), that the devil made the statement that authority over these kingdoms had been "handed over" to him. (Lu 4:6; Discussion of Satan's involvement in the "Gentile Times" goes somewhat beyond the scope of this thread. For additional on that topic, the reader is invited to examine the main articles in this post.)

Several comparisons will show that this conclusion about the end of the "Gentile Times" is correct. First, here in the blowing of the seventh trumpet we have ownership of "the kingdom of the world" changing hands, reverting back to God and Christ. When the seventh bowl is poured out (Rev 16:17) it is poured out onto "the air." As discussed in this post, the "air" represents the domain of Satan and his demons. And thus, the seventh trumpet marks the time when what was "delivered" to Satan (Lu 4:5-6) is finally taken back. The purpose in God's 'delivering' authority over "the kingdom of the world" having by that time been fulfilled.

That the seventh trumpet and the seventh bowl refer to the same point in history can be seen in that the seventh trumpet includes 'bringing to ruin those ruining the earth.' The pouring out of the seventh bowl results in an unprecedented "earthquake" (Rev 16:18) that results in the destruction of all parts of this world. (Rev 16:19-21)

And as a final point of comparison, the seventh trumpet has "the nations" expressing their "wrath." The pouring of the seventh bowl happens during a time when "the kings of the earth and their armies" have gathered themselves to the place called "Armageddon" (Rev 16:16), in preparation for "the war of the great day of God the Almighty" (Rev 16:14). (For a discussion of the origin of the term "Armageddon," see this thread.)

All these points of comparison help us to place the end or fulfillment of the "appointed times of the nation" at the time of the blowing of the seventh trumpet, as God and Christ are about to bring this age (or "system of things") to its end. (See the link above regarding "the last day" for a discussion of the phrase, "conclusion of the system of things.")

What Does This Mean For Jerusalem?

Jesus said that "Jerusalem" would be trampled upon by the nations "until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled." What did he mean for Jerusalem?

As we mentioned at the outset, there are a number of interpretations assigned to "Jerusalem" in order to arrive at a larger interpretation of what is meant by the "Gentile Times." For example, the WT says that "Jerusalem" represented the seat of God's Kingdom. And from there they describe a period of seven times starting from the Babylonian sacking of Jerusalem some six centuries before the Olivet Discourse. And with some clever math they arrive at 1914 CE as the end of the "Gentile Times." Of course, there is nothing in the Olivet Discourse referring to the Babylonians. Nor was Jerusalem the seat of God's Kingdom when the Romans destroyed the city in 70 CE. (Mt 21:43) So that this interpretation is a mostly fanciful exercise of the imagination.
(Note that in the above explanation of the "appointed times of the nations," when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians is irrelevant. It has no bearing on the start or the end of those "times." The explanation provided here gives the WT an opportunity to divest itself of a long held falsehood regarding the dating of Jerusalem's destruction by the Babylonians. — Rev 21:8)

But if we stick with the context of Luke 21:24, a much better understanding of what "Jerusalem" means becomes clear.

In the context, "Jerusalem" means ... Jerusalem, the city that would be eventually "surrounded by armies" and leveled. (Lu 21:20; 19:41-44) It was the disciples concern for this city and its Temple that caused them to ask Jesus about it. (Lu 21:5-7; Mt 23:36-38; 24:1-3; Mr 13:1-4) For the disciples in 33 CE, the city and Temple were the seat of God's rule and the center of the only God authorized worship in the earth. So they rightly wondered when Jesus spoke of the destruction of the city and Temple.

If we take Jesus' words about Jerusalem at face value, it would mean that the city of Jerusalem would never again be the center of God's rule and worship "until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled." And as discussed above, that would take us to the end of this age or "system of things." (See also main article # 1, under the sub-title, In Matthew 24 & Mark 13, where a comparison of Luke 21:20-24 with Mt 24:15-21 is made. In that comparison, "nor will ever occur again" in Mt 24:21 can be equated with Luke 21:24, "until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.")

Since Jesus said "until," does that mean things would change afterwards? It depends on what Jesus had in mind by "until." The word "until" (ἄχρι, achri) in the vast majority of its occurrences in the NT appears to imply a change of some sort after the "until" is reached. (See note # 5 below for every occurrence of achri in the NT.

This would seem to indicate that we could expect a change when the "appointed times of the nations are fulfilled." And Revelation 21:1-2 provides a prophetic answer in line with that expectation. With the removal of the "former heaven and former earth," as well as 'the sea," the "New Jerusalem" is seen coming down and God begins to tabernacle with mankind (Rev 21:3; where the "tent" or "tabernacle" is an allusion to when God ruled the Israelites and was worshiped in the wilderness via the tent of meeting). The extensive description of the New Jerusalem in Rev 21:9-22:5 shows that it indeed becomes the center of God's rule and worship for all the earth.


With just these three verses (Lu 21:24; Ac 17:26; Rev 11:18), a great deal of understanding can be derived about the phrase, "appointed times of the nations." We can discern both the start and the end of those "times." We can also see that the end of these "Gentile Times" will certainly mean "great tribulation" for the 'wrathful nations' and anyone 'ruining the earth.' And thus, this post about the "appointed times of the nations" has its rightful place in a thread about "great tribulation."

The next main article in this thread will address the topic of Revelation 7:14 and what kind of "great tribulation" it is speaking about.


Thread Index

1. On the meaning of ethnos:
Thayer's Greek Lexicon (Strong's # 1484; via BibleHub) defines it like this:

ἔθνος, ἔθνους, τό:

1. a multitude (whether of men or of beasts) associated or living together; a company, troop, swarm: ἔθνος ἑταίρων, ἔθνος Ἀχαιων, ἔθνος λαῶν, Homer, Iliad; ἔθνος μελισσαων, 2, 87; μυιαων ἐθνεα, ibid. 469.

2. "a multitude of individuals of the same nature or genus (τό ἔθνος τό θῆλυ ἤ ἀρρεν, Xenophon, oec. 7, 26): πᾶν ἔθνος ἀνθρώπων, the human race, Acts 17:26 (but this seems to belong under the next entry).

3. race, nation: Matthew 21:43; Acts 10:35, etc.; ἔθνος ἐπί ἔθνος, Matthew 24:7; Mark 13:8: οἱ ἄρχοντες, οἱ βασιλεῖς τῶν ἐθνῶν, Matthew 20:25; Luke 22:25; used (in the singular) of the Jewish people, Luke 7:5; Luke 23:2; John 11:48, 50-53; John 18:35; Acts 10:22; Acts 24:2 (), ; .

4. (τά ἔθνη, like הַגויִם in the O. T., foreign nations not worshiping the true God, pagans, Gentiles, (cf. Trench, § xcviii.): Matthew 4:15 (Γαλιλαία τῶν ἐθνῶν), ; (3 John 1:7 R G; cf. Revelation 15:3 G L T Tr WH marginal reading after John 10:7), and very often; in plain contradistinction to the Jews: Romans 3:29; Romans 9:24; (1 Corinthians 1:23 G L T Tr WH): Galatians 2:8, etc.; ὁ λαός (τοῦ Θεοῦ, Jews) καί τά ἔθνη, Luke 2:32; Acts 26:17, 23; Romans 15:10.

5. Paul uses τά ἔθνη even of Gentile Christians: Romans 11:13; Romans 15:27; Romans 16:4; Galatians 2:12 (opposite Galatians 2:13 to οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι, i. e. Jewish Christians), Galatians 2:14; Ephesians 3:1, cf. Ephesians 4:17 (Winers Grammar, § 59, 4 a.; Buttmann, 130 (114)). [Formatting & comments are exactly as is - Bobcat]
AMG's Word-Study Dictionary defines the word like this:

In the NT, ethnos generally designates a non-Jewish nation, but it is also used of the Jewish nation when referred to officially (Luke 7:5; 23:2; John 11:48ff; 18:35; Acts 10:22; 24:2, 10, 17; 26:4; 28:19). Also used of the Christian society (Mt 21:43; Rom 10:19). In 1Pe 2:9, Christians are called both an elect geno (# 1085), race, offspring, and a holy ethnos.
This page, at Bible Study Tools states that there are 163 occurrences of the word in the NT, distributed among 151 different verses (evidently multiple times in several verses), and among 16 different books of the NT. The NAS translation renders ethnos as: Gentiles (93x), nation (30x), nations (37x), pagans (1x), people (2x).
2. On the meaning of kairos:
Thayer's Greek Lexicon (Strong's # 2540; via BibleHub) defines it like this:

καιρός, καιροῦ, ὁ (derived by some from κάρα or κάρη, τό, the head, summit (others besides; cf. Vanicek, p. 118)); the Sept. for עֵת and מועֵד; in Greek writings (from Hesiod down):

1. due measure; nowhere so in the Biblical writings.

2. a measure of time; a larger or smaller portion of time; hence,

a. universally, a fixed and definite time: Romans 13:11; 2 Corinthians 6:2; ὕστεροι καιροί, 1 Timothy 4:1; ἄχρι καιροῦ, up to a certain time, for a season, Luke 4:13 (but in ἄχρι, 1 b. referred apparently to b. below; cf. Fritzsche, Romans, i., p. 309f); Acts 13:11; πρός καιρόν, for a certain time only, for a season, Luke 8:13; 1 Corinthians 7:5; πρός καιρόν ὥρας, for the season of an hour, i. e. for a short season, 1 Thessalonians 2:17; κατά καιρόν, at certain seasons (from time to time), John 5:4 (R G L); at the (divinely) appointed time, Romans 5:6 (others bring this under b.); before the time appointed, Matthew 8:29; 1 Corinthians 4:5; ἔσται καιρός, ὅτε etc. 2 Timothy 4:3; ὀλίγον καιρόν ἔχει, a short time (in which to exercise his power) has been granted him, Revelation 12:12; ἐν ἐκείνῳ τῷ καιρῷ, Matthew 11:25; Matthew 12:1; Matthew 14:1; Ephesians 2:12; κατ' ἐκεῖνον τῷ καιρῷ, Acts 12:1; Acts 19:23; κατά τῷ καιρῷ τοῦτον, Romans 9:9; ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ Luke 13:1; ἐν ᾧ καιρῷ, Acts 7:20; ἐν τῷ νῦν καιρῷ, Romans 3:26; Romans 11:5; 2 Corinthians 8:14 (13); ἐν παντί καιρῷ always, at every season (Aristotle, top. 3, 2, 4, p. 117{a}, 35), Luke 21:36; Ephesians 6:18; εἰς τινα καιρόν, 1 Peter 1:11. with the genitive of a thing, the time of etc. i. e. at which it will occur: τῆς ἐμῆς ἀναλύσεώς, 2 Timothy 4:6; τῆς ἐπισκοπῆς, 1 Peter 5:6 Lachmann; Luke 19:44; περιασμου, Luke 8:13; τοῦ ἄρξασθαι τό κρίμα, for judgment to begin, 1 Peter 4:17; καιροί τῶν λόγων, of the time when they shall be proved by the event, Luke 1:20; — or when a thing usually comes to pass: τοῦ θερισμοῦ, Matthew 13:30; τῶν καρπῶν, when the fruits ripen, Matthew 21:34, 41; σύκων, Mark 11:13. with the genitive of a person: καιποι ἐθνῶν, the time granted to the Gentiles, until God shall take vengeance on them, Luke 21:24; ὁ ἑαυτοῦ (T Tr WH αὐτοῦ) καιρῷ, the time when antichrist shall show himself openly, 2 Thessalonians 2:6; ὁ καιρός μου, the time appointed for my death, Matthew 26:18; τῶν νεκρῶν κριθῆναι, the time appointed for the dead to be recalled to life and judged, Revelation 11:18 (Buttmann, 260 (224)); ὁ ἐμός, ὁ ὑμέτερος, the time for appearing in public, appointed (by God) for me, for you, John 7:6, 8; καιρῷ ἰδίῳ, the time suited to the thing under consideration, at its proper time, Galatians 6:9; plural, 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 Timothy 6:15; Titus 1:3. ὁ καιρός alone, the time when things are brought to a crisis, the decisive epoch waited for: so of the time when the Messiah will visibly return from heaven, Mark 13:33; ὁ καιρός ἤγγικεν, Luke 21:8; ἐγγύς ἐστιν, Revelation 1:3; Revelation 22:10.

b. opportune or seasonable time: with verbs suggestive of the idea of advantage, καιρόν μεταλαμβάνειν, Acts 24:25; ἔχειν, Galatians 6:10 (Plutarch, Luc. 16); ἐξαγοράζεσθαι, Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5, see ἐξαγοράζω, 2; followed by an infinitive, opportunity to do something, Hebrews 11:15; παρά καιρόν ἡλικίας, past the opportunity of life (A. V. past age), Hebrews 11:11 (simply παρά καιρόν, Pindar Ol. 8, 32; several times in Plato, cf. Ast, Platonic Lexicon, ii., p. 126).

c. the right time: ἐν καιρῷ (often in classical Greek), in due season, Matthew 24:45; Luke 12:42; Luke 20:10 R G L ((stereotype edition only)); 1 Peter 5:6; also καιρῷ, Luke 20:10 L T Tr WH; τό καιρῷ, Mark 12:2.

d. a (limited) period of time: (1 Corinthians 7:29); plural the periods prescribed by God to the nations, and bounded by their rise and fall, Acts 17:26; καιροί καρποφοροι, the seasons of the year in which the fruits grow and ripen, Acts 14:17 (cf. Genesis 1:14, the Sept.); καιρόν καί καιρούς καί ἥμισυ καιροῦ, a year and two years and six months (A. V. a time, and times, and half a time; cf. Winer's Grammar, § 27, 4), Revelation 12:14 (cf. 6; from Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7); stated seasons of the year solemnly kept by the Jews, and comprising several days, as the passover, pentecost, feast of tabernacles, Galatians 4:10 (2 Chronicles 8:13; cf. Baruch 1:14). in the divine arrangement of time adjusted to the economy of salvation: καιρός (πεπλήρωται), the preappointed period which according to the purpose of God must elapse before the divine kingdom could be founded by Christ, Mark 1:15; plural, the several parts of this period, Ephesians 1:10; ὁ καιρός ὁ ἐνεστως, the present period, equivalent to ὁ αἰών οὗτος (see αἰών, 3), Hebrews 9:9, opposed to καιρός διορθώσεως, the time when the whole order of things will be reformed (equivalent to αἰών μέλλων), Hebrews 9:10; ὁ καιρός οὗτος, equivalent to ὁ αἰών οὗτος (see αἰών, 3), Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; ὁ νῦν καιρός, Romans 8:18; ἐν καιρῷ ἐσχάτῳ, the last period of the present age, the time just before the return of Christ from heaven (see ἔσχατος, 1 under the end, etc.), 1 Peter 1:5; καιροί ἀναψύξεως ἀπό προσώπου τοῦ κυρίου, denotes the time from the return of Christ on, the times of the consummated divine kingdom, Acts 3:20 (19).

e. as often in Greek writings, and like the Latintempus, καιρός; is equivalent to what time brings, the state of the times, the things and events of time: Luke 12:56; δουλεύειν τῷ καιρῷ, Latintempori servire (see δουλεύω, 2 a.), Romans 12:11; τά σημεῖα τῶν καιρῶν, equivalent to ἅ οἱ καιροί σημαινουσι, Matthew 16:3 (here T brackets WH reject the passage); καιροί χαλεποί, 2 Timothy 3:1; χρονοι ἤ καιροί (times or seasons, German Zeitumstände), Acts 1:7; οἱ χρονοι καί οἱ καιροί 1 Thessalonians 5:1; and in the opposite order, Daniel 2:21 the Sept.; Wis. 8:8. [SYNONYMS: καιρός, χρόνος: χρόνος time, in general; καιρός a definitely limited portion of time, with the added notion of suitableness. Yet while, on the one hand, its meaning may be so sharply marked as to permit such a combination as χρόνου καιρός 'the nick of time,' on the other, its distinctive sense may so far recede as to allow it to be used as nearly equivalent to χρόνος; cf. Thomas Magister, Ritschl edition, p. 206, 15ff (after Ammonius under the word); p. 215, 10ff καιρός οὐ μόνον ἐπί χρόνου ἁπλῶς τίθεται, ἀλλά καί ἐπί τοῦ ἁρμοδιου καί πρεποντος, κτλ.; Schmidt, chapter 44; Trench, § lvii.; Tittmann i. 41ff; Cope on Aristotle, rhet. l, 7, 32. "In modern Greek καιρός means weather, χρόνος year. In both words the kernel of meaning has remained unaltered; this in the case of καιρός is changeableness, of χρόνος duration." Curtius, Etym., p. 110f] [Formatting & comments are exactly as is - Bobcat]
3. Regarding the Greek word ἔθνος (ethnos; "nations" or "Gentiles"; Strong's # 1484), in the NT it occurs (163x) at:
Mt 4:15; 6:32; 10:5, 18; 12:18, 21; 20:19, 25; 21:43; 24:7, 9, 14; 25:32; 28:19 (15x) Mr 10:33, 42; 11:17; 13:8, 10 (6x) Lu 2:32; 7:5; 12:30; 18:32; 21:10, 24, 25; 22:25; 23:2; 24:47 (13x) Jn 11:48, 50, 51, 52; 18:35 (5x) Ac 2:5; 4:25, 27; 7:7, 45; 8:9; 9:15; 10:22, 35, 45; 11:1, 18; 13: 19, 46, 47, 48; 14:2, 5, 16, 27; 15:3, 7, 12, 14, 17, 19, 23; 17:26; 18:6; 21:11, 19, 21, 25; 22:21; 24:2, 10, 17; 26:4, 17, 20, 23; 28:19, 28 (43x) Rom 1:5, 13; 2:14, 24; 3:29; 4:17, 18; 9:24, 30; 10:19; 11:11, 12, 13, 25; 15:9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 18, 27; 16:4, 26 (29x) 1Co 1:23; 5:1; 10:20; 12:2 (4x) 2Co 11:26 (1x) Gal 1:16; 2:2, 8, 9, 12, 14, 15; 3:8, 14 (10x) Eph 2:11; 3:1, 6, 8; 4:17 (5x) Col 1:27 (1x); 1Th 2:16; 4:5 (2x) 1Ti 2:7; 3:16 (2x) 2Ti 4:17 (1x) 1Pe 2:9, 12; 4:3; (3x) Rev 2:26; 5:9; 7:9; 10:11; 11:2, 9, 18; 12:5; 13:7; 14:6, 8; 15:3, 4; 16:19; 17:15; 18:3, 23; 19:15; 20:3, 8; 21:24, 26; 22:2 (23x)
4. Regarding the Greek word καιρός (kairos; "appointed times"; Strong's # 2540), in the NT it occurs (86x) at:
Mt 8:29; 11:25; 12:1; 13:30; 14:1; 16:3; 21:34, 41; 24:45; 26:18 (10x) Mr 1:15; 10:30; 11:13; 12:2; 13:33 (5x) Lu 1:20; 4:13; 8:13; 12:42, 56; 13:1; 18:30; 19:44; 20:10; 21:8, 24, 36 (13x) Jn 5:4; 7:6, 8 (4x) Ac 1:7; 3:20; 7:20; 12:1; 13:11; 14:17; 17:26; 19:23; 24:25 (9x) Rom 3:26; 5:6; 8:18; 9:9; 11:5; 13:11 (6x) 1Co 4:5; 7:5, 29 (3x) 2Co 6:2; 8:14 (3x) Gal 4:10; 6:9, 10 (3x) Eph 1:10; 2:12; 5:16; 6:18 (4x) Col 4:5 (1x) 1Th 2:17; 5:1 (2x) 2Th 2:6 (1x) 1Ti 2:6; 4:1; 6:15 (3x) 2Ti 3:1; 4:3, 6 (3x) Tit 1:3 (1x) Heb 9:9, 10; 11:11, 15 (4x) 1Pe 1:5, 11; 4:17; 5:6 (4x) Rev 1:3; 11:18; 12:12, 14; 22:10 (7x)
5. Regarding the Greek word ἄχρι (achri; "until"; Strong's # 891), in the NT it occurs (49x) at:
Mt 24:38; Mr 16:20; Lu 1:20; 4:13; 17:27; 21:24 (4x); Ac 1:2; 2:29; 3:21; 7:18; 11:5; 13:6,11; 20:6, 11; 22:4, 22; 23:1; 26:22; 27:33; 28:15 (15x); Rom 1:13; 5:13; 8:22; 11:25 (4x); 1Co 4:11; 11:26; 15:25 (3x); 2Co 3:14; 10:13, 14 (3x); Gal 3:19; 4:2 (2x); Php 1:5, 6 (2x); Heb 3:13; 4:12; 6:11 (3x); Rev 2:10, 25, 26; 7:3; 12:11; 14:20; 15:8; 17:17; 18:5; 20:3, 5 (11x).

Note how Mark 16:20 appears to be an exception to the usual meaning of achri. Most consider the verse to be part of a spurious addition to Mark.

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Re: The Great Tribulation of Rev 7:14

#17 Post by Bobcat » 1 day ago

What Kind of Tribulation Does Revelation 7:14 Refer To?

Note to the reader: This article was formerly main article number 6. It has been moved to main article number 7. The index below will take the reader to its replacement for main article number 6.

This article is still being prepared.


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1. One of the curious things I found while researching for this thread is related to Rev 3:10 and "the hour of test." A number of references connect the phrase with Dan 12:1 & 10. For example:
That John has in mind a spiritual protection of Christians as they go through tribulation is evident from noticing that Rev 3:10 may well be alluding to Dan 12:1, 10 LXX, where "that hour" is immediately described as "that day of tribulation" (cf. Rev 7:14) when "many are tested and sanctified and sinners sin." This suggests that the "testing" here in Rev 3:10 has the double effect of purifying and strengthening believers while being at the same time a divine punishment on unbelievers (likewise Alford 1866:586) (Commentary on the NT Use of the OT; G K Beale & D A Carson, p. 1097)
Regarding Rev 3:10, the BECNT-Revelation commentary (Grant R Osborne, p.193) has this to say:
A decision on the meaning of τῆς ὥρας τοῦ πειρασμοῦ (tes horas tou peirasmou, the hour of trial) is essential to the meaning. 20 The consensus view is that it refers to the final end time trials that precede the eschaton. This is differentiated by the local "ten-day tribulation" of Smyrna (Rev 2:10) by its involvement of "the whole world" (τῆς οἰκουμένης ὅλης, tes oikoumenes holes) and so connotes a worldwide conflagration, the messianic judgments of the rest of the book (cf. Dan 12:1-2; Mt 24:21-22; 2Th 2:1-12). ... the verse itself makes this a trial related to "the whole world" and uses the same μελλούσης (mellouses, about to) that in eschatological contexts elsewhere (Rev 1:19; 8:13; 10:7; 12:5; 17:8) refers to the final events preceding the parousia. ... Here the universality of the event makes an apocalyptic thrust probable. Also, the purpose is πειράσαι τοὺς κατοικοῦντας ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς (peirasai tous katoikountas epi tes ges, to try those who dwell on the earth). The term "earth-dwellers" (cf. Rev 6:10; 8:13; 11:10; 12:12; 13:8, 12, 14; 17:2, 8) is important in the book and always refers to the unbelievers. They are the same group referred to by "the whole world" above. Finally, in Rev 3:11 there is a connection with the second "coming" of Christ.
Footnote # 20 says (in part):
ὥρας (hour) does not refer to a period of time but to an event [the article before "hour" is what causes this meaning - Bobcat]. It is "the time when God will try" the earth.

See the links in point # 1 in this post for a discussion relating "the hour of test" to the parable of the sheep and goats, and to the survivors referred to at Zech 14:16.

As an interesting aside, the 1984 NWT had Mt 24:21 (which itself is drawn from Dan 12:1) in the reference column for Rev 3:10 and "the hour of test." But the 2013 revision has that reference removed.

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Re: The Great Tribulation of Rev 7:14

#18 Post by Stranger » 1 day ago

Bobcat wrote:
1 day ago
As an interesting aside, the 1984 NWT had Mt 24:21 (which itself is drawn from Dan 12:1) in the reference column for Rev 3:10 and "the hour of test." But the 2013 revision has that reference removed.

Hi Bobcat,

Why do you think "they" removed it? Did it become non applicable all of a sudden?

Also if you'll notice in the NWT (1984) in chapter 3 of Rev. in versus 8,9 and 12 the WT has added lines in them, I didn't look through every scripture in Rev but I did look at a bunch of them and I didn't notice the lines in any of them except these. What is the purpose of these lines?


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Re: The Great Tribulation of Rev 7:14

#19 Post by Bobcat » 1 day ago

Hi Stranger,

As far as Mt 24:21 and why it was removed from the reference column in the NWT: I think the answer lies in the fact that the reference column scriptures in the original NWT was purchased. So that it contained references that weren't always in line with WT doctrine. The 2013 revised NWT reference column has been 'scrubbed' somewhat.

WT teaching says that the "hour of test" is in the time period since 1914. What WT calls "the last days." But contrast this post which uses the NT to identify "the last days" with the time period starting with Jesus' first advent (c. 29-33 CE).

Regarding the dashes in Rev 3:8, 9 & 12. As far as I can tell, they are simply literary devices in Rev 3:8 & 9. In each case the dash comes before "Look!" I'm guessing that the translators did this for effect.

Interestingly, in Rev 3:8 NET the phrase that follows the dash in the NWT is taken as a parenthetical phrase. In Rev 3:9 NET, the NET uses a dash in the same place as the NWT. Rev 3:9 ESV does also. So it appears to me that it is just being used as a literary device, much like an exclamation point might be used. Only, in this case, the dash gives a suddenness to the "Look" that follows.

In Rev 3:12 the literal phrasing would become somewhat redundant and a bit abrupt in English if rendered literally ("The one conquering I will make him ..."). My guess is that the NWT uses the dash to bring out the sudden change from "The one conquering" to "I will make him ..." The NET (Rev 3:12 NET) simply leaves "him" untranslated.

I reckon it is all part of the difficulty that goes with translating.


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Re: The Great Tribulation of Rev 7:14

#20 Post by Bobcat » 16 hours ago

I added a sub-title to main article # 6, What Did This Mean For Jerusalem. I had forgot to include it when I made the post. It is towards the bottom of the post, just before the conclusion.


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