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Israel, 'Lost Tribes' and the Star of David
 

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Question #1:

In both KJV and NIV I read that a distinction, which I never noticed before, is apparently made between the people and "the Jews." For example:

John 7:13. "Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews."

This seems to indicate the average people were not considered Jews. Did that distinction actually exist? Or is the usage of "Jews" like "man" that can mean a number of things depending on context?

Response #1:

As to John 7:13, we find this same issue throughout John's gospel. He clearly is sometimes not using the word "Jew" to mean what we mean by it today. Sometimes, as here, John uses it to mean "those in Judea who belong to the power structure"; that is, the sort of people in positions of authority you would expect to find if you went to Judea or more particularly to Jerusalem in Jesus' day. In such contexts I feel it would be helpful to translate "[religious] Jews [who do not believe" (Jeremiah's usage at Jer.43:9 is similar); that makes the distinction a bit more clear (and the brackets let the reader know that the word "religious" is an interpretive addition).

Question #2:

Could you please clarify:

Romans 11:13-16: "I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.15 For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches."

Why does Paul use the metaphor of the dough and batch? Does it mean that if Israel is holy, then this will have an effect on sanctification of others?

Response #2:

The point in Romans 11 is that just because by this time the vast majority of those accepting Christ were gentiles, that does not mean that the Jews do not have a preeminent place in the plan of God, both historically and in terms of the prophetic future. That is why Paul goes on in this chapter to make the point that gentiles have actually been grafted into Israel (they are the true foundation) as a wild branch into a carefully cultivated olive tree, and that it is the tree that bears the branch, not the other way around. This is pretty powerful stuff, and it has always surprised me how gentile Christians by and large overlook these important truths and consider Israel as somehow replaced. But the days are coming (beginning the Tribulation and of course even more so during the Millennium), when these trends will be reversed, and Israel will again assume her rightful place of leadership.

Question #3:

Could you please clarify:

Romans 3:9: What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin;

The footnote for this passage says that the beginning of second sentence could be translated both 'are we better' or 'are we worse'. Since these are two different meanings, could you please clarify this passage.

Response #3:

Here is my translation:

What then? Do we [Israelites] have an advantage? Not at all. For we have already brought forth the charge that both Jews and gentiles, all [of us], are under sin's control.
Romans 3:9

The verb in question is the Greek form proexometha (προεχόμεθα), and is not very well attested in the middle voice. The meaning centers around the force of the prefix pro- (which can potentially mean a variety of things). In this context, the verb could potentially mean "are we being previously (pro) held back?"; but it more likely means "are we holding ourselves (i.e., do we find ourselves) in a superior position (pro)?" Most commentaries and versions opt for the latter as do I. Context seems to demand it, and this is more likely meaning for the verb in my sense of the Greek.

Question #4:

In the email response 'Who are the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?' the reader wrote:

a) Question: Dear Bob, Most in the my Church teach 'spiritual Israel' that the Christian replaced the Israelites/Jews.

I think I know what the person meant, but grammatically the sentence doesn't seem quite right?

Response #4:

a) While I sometimes correct readers' grammar et al. when it is oppressively wrong or incomprehensible or embarrassing, I try to leave emails in as much of a natural state as possible (absent as many identifying features as appropriate, that is, so as preserve anonymity).

Question #5:

b) You wrote: The Church was founded by Jews (our Lord is Jewish after all) - all the apostles were Jews, all the writers of the Bible were Jews (including Luke - Col.4:11 should read "who stood up for me [legally] - i.e., the verse does not exclude Luke from being a Jew)

Could you explain your point in the brackets regarding Luke?

Response #5:

b) Paul's vocabulary here, that is, his use of the word paregoria (παρηγορία) is technical. That is how we have to understand what he means in his reference to "those of the circumcision". Luke was Jewish too, but he had no standing in the Roman court (he perhaps was not even a Roman citizen); Paul's point is that very few who were Jewish and able to do so (citizens) came to his legal defense. So the point is that paregoria is not "comfort" of a generic type but specifically being a "character witness", we might say today, in a legal proceeding.

Question #6:

c) You wrote: It is true that it is faith, not race, that counts with God, but even here, Abraham is the exemplar of faith (Rom.4:1-24).

Do you mean here that although faith counts, Abraham - the example of faith given to us in Romans 4:1-24 - is Jewish?

Response #6:

c) Yes, so that even while we agree with those who emphasize faith, the paragons of faith in the Bible are Jewish (so that we should not in so doing in any way diminish the importance of that heritage).

Question #7:

d) You wrote: Biological descent alone means nothing: Esau was also a son of Isaac, and Abraham had many sons (most notable Ishmael), but it is the "seed according to the promise" which counts, a phrase that binds faith and promise together as equally essential (Rom.9:8).

What do you mean by binding the faith and promise together?

Response #7:

d) God promises; we believe. The object of faith and the act of faith are indivisible if faith is genuine. True saving faith cannot be divorced from Him who is the Object of all genuine faith, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Question #8:

e) You wrote: But as much as I would delight in Jewish genes, I would much, much rather be a believing gentile than to have the advantage of being of the seed of Abraham without also possessing the faith of Abraham (cf., Matt.5:30).

Why do you support your point with Matthew 5:30?

Response #8:

e) My thinking here is that any physical advantage (hand, feet, eyes) is really only a hindrance in fact if it causes a person not to be saved (better to cut it off or pluck it out than to be lost). Of course, we can no more change our ethnicity than we ought to dismember ourselves (which obviously our Lord is not recommending), but it does serve to show what is really important. Until the Tribulation begins and the ministry of the 144,000 commences, "hardness in part" will continue to reign in Israel (Rom.11:25), so that the advantage in principle is in most cases a disadvantage in practice (along the lines of Matthew 5:30).

Question #9:

Numbers 11:26 (NASB): But two men had remained in the camp; the name of one was Eldad and the name of the other Medad. And the Spirit rested upon them (now they were among those who had been registered, but had not gone out to the tent), and they prophesied in the camp.

What is meant by 'those who had been registered'?

Response #9:

We do not know the mechanics but apparently being an elder was an official position and the names of these individuals were "written down" (Heb. kithubiym, כְּתֻבִים) or listed in some official register. This is consistent with the naming of the leaders of the tribes in other official contexts (e.g., Num.7:11ff.).

Question #10:

Would you recommend any resource for tracking the Exodus geographically which explains the ancient names of places and tribes, locating them on a contemporary map? I took a look at a few maps available on the Internet, but noticed significant differences between them.

Response #10:

I don't know of any specific treatment worth recommending. I'm afraid if someone wishes to get into this issue, the best things are 1) a good Old Testament commentary for Exodus and Numbers in particular (Keil and Delitzsch is the best complete set; see the link); and 2) a good multi-volume Bible encyclopedia (I'm relatively happy with my Interpreters Dictionary, but it is somewhat liberal on theological issues; I've heard good things about the International Standard B.E., now available for free online; see the link).

Question #11:

Why does the Bible mention the names of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob together. Also, why is God referred to as their God and is there a reason Joseph is not mentioned in this group?

Response #11:

I think because 1) three examples is standard number to use in such cases, and 2) these three are the foundation of Israel. Jacob is Israel because the twelve tribes come from him. If Joseph, great believer that he was, were to be mentioned in the same breath it would seem to advantage Ephraim and Manasseh over Judah, for example, the tribe of our Lord Jesus.

Question #12:

Could you please clarify Romans 10:18-21:

a) Are the questions in verses 18 and 19 to be understood as ironic?

Response #12:

a) The questions are both meant to be rhetorical as is unmistakable from the answer Paul gives immediately thereafter. This device serves both to bring to the fore the objections of some of his readers or some of his critics who were troubling doctrinally-straight Christians, and then to refute them directly: Israel did hear and Israel did understand – and yet in the main they refused to believe.

Question #13:

b) Why does Paul use the quotation he uses to answer the question from verse 19?

Response #13:

b) This quotation makes the present issue clear: a good deal of the resistance of contemporary Jews (then and now) is generated from the fact that gentiles are believing and are believers – which to a hardened heart seems to diminish their "special status". Consider:

As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath. When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God. On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and talked abusively against what Paul was saying.
Acts 13:42-45

Question #14:

c) What is meant by 'their' in the quotation from verse 18?

Response #14:

c) This refers to the entire creation being a proof of God's divine design, here primarily referring to the celestial bodies, but the same is true of the human body and the micro-universe as well (see the link: "Natural Revelation").

Question #15:

d) This part seems to be about accepting the truth that is available for all who want to receive it and the excuse of not being aware of it is shown as invalid. In light of that, I find it difficult to understand why in the 20th verse the quotation says:

"I WAS FOUND BY THOSE WHO DID NOT SEEK ME, I BECAME MANIFEST TO THOSE WHO DID NOT ASK FOR ME."

It's as if the truth was found by those who did not seek it, a situation seemingly opposite to what could be considered as a norm in spiritual growth.

Response #15:

d) This is meant to show the relative hardness of Israel: relatively speaking, gentiles are so ready to accept the gospel that without any lengthy process they receive it with joy; Israel, on the other hand, for all her seeking and for all her seeming interest in the Lord is actually not interested in accepting the truth (with important exceptions, of course, but Israel is supposed to be God's special people who cleave to Him in toto, not only exceptionally: Ex.19:8).

For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.
Isaiah 58:2 NIV

Question #16:

Could you please clarify:

Ephesians 2:11-12: Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision", which is performed in the flesh by human hands — 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Understanding 'Gentiles in the flesh' is problematic for me - does it mean 'not belonging to God's people due to the sins of their flesh'? But then after salvation the Gentiles are in a sense still Gentiles and not Jews. So is Paul maybe just using this expression to describe Ephesians as they are? Please let me know which interpretation is correct.

Response #16:

I think the contrast Paul is drawing here is between the spiritual and physical state of the Ephesians. From a physical point of view, the Ephesians (most of them) were and always would be "gentiles". Spiritually speaking, however, "gentile" as opposed to "Israel" means not saved versus saved. That is why "not all Israel is [truly] Israel" (Rom.9:6). Ultimately, the entire Church is subsumed into Israel as its final organization (see the link: "Israel the ultimate organization"). By saying "formerly gentiles in the flesh" Paul is referring to the days when the Ephesians were separated from God because of their unbelief.

But now, in Christ Jesus, you who were once far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, for He has made both [Jews and gentiles] one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition, that is, the enmity between us, by discharging the Law of the commandments and its requirements in His [own] flesh, so that He might re-create the two into one new Man by making [this] peace, and might reconcile both in one Body to God through His cross, having by means of it abolished the enmity [between God and mankind].
Ephesians 2:13-16

Question #17:

One more question on:

Ephesians 2:11: Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called " Uncircumcision" by the so-called " Circumcision,"

Does Paul say 'Gentiles in the flesh' to say that they are 'Gentiles living according to the flesh (according to the lusts of the flesh'), or does He call them 'Gentiles in the flesh' to simply state that they have not been circumcised (and says so without any negative value attached to the statement)?

Response #17:

In my view, this phraseology is used by Paul to distinguish between "gentile unbelievers" and "gentile Christians". His readers are still "gentiles" in comparison with Jews.

Question #18:

Could you please clarify:

Isaiah 49:4: But I said, "I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all.  Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand, and my reward is with my God."

Does this passage refer prophetically to Jesus' ministry not being received by the majority of the Jews?

Response #18:

Yes, I do believe so; good job!

Question #19:

Dear Bob,

I've been thinking about writing to you about this for a long time. I'm not doubting the Jews are God's chosen people but I've wondered why God selected the Jews (Judah) to be special out of all twelve tribes? Or, are all twelve tribes as special as the Jews?

Blessings,

Response #19:

Good to hear from you again!

The words Jew/Jewish as we use them today in English refer to any or all of the descendants of Israel. The reason for this use of the words Jew/Jewish – which do as you suggest go back to the word Judah – has to do with the fact that the kingdom of Israel split in two after Solomon's death, and the northern portion was destroyed by Assyria ca. 712 B.C., leaving "Judah", the main tribe of the southern kingdom as the only Jewish state. It is true that the southern kingdom was likewise destroyed (by Babylon ca. 586 B.C.), but that kingdom was restored seventy years later, and eventually became a province of the Roman empire as it was in our Lord's day under the name "Judea". Moreover, it is clear from biblical testimony that all of the twelve tribes were represented in this remnant kingdom (see the link: "How many tribes do the Jews represent?"), so our use today of one tribal name to describe the entire nation is a bit accidental. That is certainly not unprecedented of course. We call the Greeks "Greeks" because the Romans named the entire Hellenic nation from their early contact with one small and now forgotten transplanted group in southern Italy (the Graeci). For the very same reason we call the Germans "Germans" (Lat., Germani). Neither the Greeks then or now nor the Germans then or now would has used these names to describe their entire population, but the Romans did and so the names stuck. We have a somewhat similar situation with "Jew/Jewish". Although in this latter case it is true that a) an actual and an important tribe gives the eponymous title to the whole nation; and b) the words do occur in the Greek New Testament (as well as in the book of Esther in the Old), so that in this case we can trace the source of the Roman/Latin usage.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Hi Doc

Do you know these historic people … The Calpurnius Piso Family. I hear/read very disturbing things about them. Can you tell me anything about them if you know them

Thanks

Response #20:

This was a large aristocratic family with a major historical presence throughout the Roman republic and empire. Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography lists 33 known individuals by that name (see the link: Calpurnius Piso). I'm not sure what "disturbing things" you have in mind, but Roman aristocrats during imperial times were not necessarily possessed of great moral virtue, and it would be uncommon in a family of such size and chronological duration for all of them to have been saints. As far as I am aware, they are not mentioned in scripture (there is a Lucius [probably L. Calpurnius Piso] who shows up in the apocrypha in Maccabees [15:16]). There is also an old false teaching about the authorship of the New Testament attributing it in some fashion to Flavius Josephus under a pen name of Arius Calpurnius Piso, but that has to do with British Israelism and is made up out of whole cloth without a shred of truth.

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Hello Bob,

Thank you so much for your explanation. I've been so confused about this for so many years and felt a little embarrassed asking because I'm sure it seemed like a stupid question to you.

My mother (who passed away in 1985) had been a member of the Worldwide Church of God and they taught that each tribe settled a different country in Europe. It's been so long ago and I can't begin to remember what tribe was what country! That's why I've been confused about Judah. Back then I thought that the other tribes in Europe were the "lost tribes". It's really confusing and I'm not sure I'm explaining it to you very well. Are the Africans that claim to be part of Israel descendants of Rachel and Leah's servants that gave birth to Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher?

Thank you for your patience ~ I'm sure these questions are so elementary to you.

Blessings,

Response #21:

No trouble at all. These are important issues. There are a number of groups out there who incorrectly wish (for a variety of reasons) to identify Israel with various European nations. There is not a shred of truth to this, however. Not only is it not biblical but it also is patently incorrect when analyzed from a historical point of view.

I think one of the reasons for this fascination comes from a misreading of the book of Revelation and a desire to "be one of the 144,00". But while the Lord has marvelous ministries waiting for all Christians who are willing to grow up spiritually and carry out everything Jesus wants them to do, the 144,000 will all come from the Jewish people (i.e., actual Israel), representing all of the original tribes except for the tribe of Dan (since antichrist will arise from Dan; see the link: "antichrist's maternal origin").

As to other groups, the seventy nations of Genesis chapter ten have, since the time of the great flood, been so mixed up by the historical process in terms of language, culture, and ethnicity that sorting them out today is something only God would be able to do (most people and peoples represent a mixture of indeterminate proportions). I am aware that elements of the Ethiopian church likewise wish to make this connection, but there is no biblical or historical evidence to support the claim.

Here are some other links which de-bunk the notion of any connection between the so-called "lost tribes" and any other modern nations outside of Israel:

Who is "true Israel"?

Are the Celts the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?

Who are the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?

How Many Tribes do the Jews of Today Represent?

How Many Tribes Do The Jews Represent? II

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Hi Bob,

Please forgive me for taking so long to thank you for your answer to my questions. I do agree that Church of God believed that they were part of the 144,000 and that's why they taught the European countries were different tribes of Israel. It has been so confusing for such a long time and I really appreciate your explanation! Thank you so much.

God Bless you always,

Response #22:

You're most welcome,

Feel free to write any time.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Dear Sir,

In the book of Zechariah 12:7 it tells us that,

The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.

I am coming to you to ask you for your help, in finding those who best represent the tents of Judah. The Jewish people need and want to regather the lost tribes, I can be of great help to them in that endeavor.

Thank you.

Signed,

"the man whose name is The BRANCH"

And to all, God's speed!

Response #23:

Dear Friend,

Jesus is the Branch (see the link) . . . and there are no "lost tribes" (please see the link).

In the One who died for us all, Jesus Christ the Righteous.

Bob Luginbill

Question #24:

Hi, Mr, Luginbill:

Setting aside for the moment, as to just who "The BRANCH" is. Am I to conclude, that this mean you're not going to help find those who "best" represent the tents of Judah?

Thank you.

Signed,

"the man whose name is The BRANCH"

And to all, God's speed!

Response #24:

Dear Friend,

You will find my interpretation of "the tents of Judah" and a translation of this part of Zechariah (including Zech.12:7) at the following link:

Israel fights antichrist at the second advent

In a nutshell, the "priority of Judah" mentioned in the passage about which you ask refers not to any particular tribe in terms of specific individuals, but to the geographic progression of our Lord's prosecution of the battle of Armageddon which starts at the Mt. of Olives but ends at Jerusalem proper (see the link for a chart which reflects the scriptural evidence: "The Winepress of Armageddon"). It is only in this geographic sense that "the tents of Judah" are delivered before Jerusalem proper.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

I have found the answer to my question to you about the sticks-Beauty and Band:

Ezekiel 37:16: Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and for all the house of Israel his companions:

From Ellis Skolfield - "All agree that the above is an end-time vision. Simply stated, Ephraim and the ten northern tribes are one stick, while Judah (the Jews) is the other. As we look about us now, something wonderful is happening to both the Jews and the ten lost tribes, something we have been waiting to see for 2700 years:

Isaiah 11:13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.

Before the end, the Lord will take the stick of Ephraim, now in the true Church, and unite it with the stick of Judah, and we will be one stick in God's hand.

Ezekiel 37:19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.

It appears that God plans to make one stick (one people) of Israel and Judah again. He is going to heal the division between them and draw them together. Within this generation, the

Christians will be united with the Jewish people, and we will be one people again. The Israel of God. Are we up to the task ahead? Of course not, but now that our hearts can be opened to who Ephraim and Judah are, we can just begin to see what our end-time roles will be:

Zechariah 9:13 When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man.

Judah, now back in the Holy Land, will have only one true ally: Ephraim and the Gentile church. We are the only candidate left in the world for the title of 'the stick of Joseph'. The days when the United States was a trustworthy ally to Israel are swiftly passing, as our governmental leaders bend to the wishes of the Palestinian Moslems and dip Old Glory into the inescapable tar-pit of Islamic oil."

You have taught me to study diligently and I thank you for this.

A Believer in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Son of God,

Response #25:

Thanks much for your good words, but I do have to say that this site/author you found is wrong about this interpretation. If it were just a matter of seeing a parallel in Ezekiel, perhaps I wouldn't even mention it. However, the conclusion/thrust of this interpretation is dangerously out of line. There are no "lost tribes".

All Israel was listed in the genealogies recorded in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. They were taken captive to Babylon because of their unfaithfulness. Now the first to resettle on their own property in their own towns were some Israelites, priests, Levites and temple servants. Those from Judah, from Benjamin, and from Ephraim and Manasseh who lived in Jerusalem were . . .
1st Chronicles 9:1-3 NIV

This is just one of a number of scriptural proofs which demonstrate that the "ten tribes" were never "lost". Starting with this biblical proof that all the tribes are represented among those who understand and represent themselves today as being Jewish, we can also add that the notion that any gentile group might represent one or a number of the so-called lost tribes will not pass the most basic historical "sniff test". The Germans-Scandinavians and Celts (of which two races generically defined the British peoples are derived) speak Indo-European tongues which are in no way comparable to Hebrew. There is also no way a small, urbanized group of Jewish exiles in Persia could be transformed into a large group of wandering nomads in the Ukraine in a few centuries (and not a scintilla of evidence to even suggest that something like that might have happened).

British Israelism (and related false doctrines) are dangerous for a large number of reasons, not least of which is the anti-Semitism these ideas inevitably engender among some of their adherents (even if to the contrary many like yourself have demonstrably good hearts).

Here are some links where these matters are discussed in more detail:

Israelology, Anti-Semitism, the Remnant, Gentiles, Lost Tribes, and Jewish Myths

Who is "true Israel"?

Are the Celts the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?

Who are the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?

How Many Tribes do the Jews of Today Represent?

How Many Tribes Do The Jews Represent? II

Zionism

Satan's Attack on the Line of Messiah

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Dr. Luginbill,

I just want to thank you for your expounding on the false teachings of any lost tribes and those 2 bands that I had asked about. I am one of those silly people who thought because my grandmother was a Gad that I was from that special tribe that protected David. As much as I love the Jewish people and Israel I would not give up the privilege of being a saved gentile for anyone or anything. Praise God for grafting us in. He is the vine and we are the branches without Him we can do nothing.

I would like to add that your response to the one who has come to Christ under such difficulties with drugs and alcohol was such a blessing. It touched me to tears; I pray for him now as I pray for my own family member who is in prison for leading that same lifestyle.

In Christ our Saviour,

Response #26:

You are certainly welcome. And I do very much appreciate your "teachable" attitude. We all get incorrect ideas and we are all straightened out by scripture, myself included (needless to say, I hope). Indeed, if we would walk ever more closely to Christ that will require the sanding off of many such "rough edges". Those who humbly submit to the process grow; those who refuse for whatever reason do not.

I am keeping your family member in prayer. Sometimes tragedy and disaster are merely God knowing what it takes to turn people around. That was certainly true in my case as well.

In hopes of hearing tidings of victory from you soon.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Thank you, Dr. Luginbill. Praise God! Learning from someone who knows Hebrew really makes the words come alive.

I also want to thank you for including my family member on your prayer list. We never give up hope; we truly believe that one day there will be a great witness for our Lord and Saviour.

Yours in Christ,

Response #27:

You are welcome,

I will continue to keep your family in prayer (just added a special prayer request on the site). Determination and faithfulness in trusting the Lord are what spiritual maturity and spiritual victory are all about.

And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
Daniel 6:23b NIV

Yours in Jesus in whom we trust absolutely,

Bob L.

Question #28:

Good morning brother Bob,

Who can understand the mind of God?

Above all things, I believe God to be "Just"! If that were not true he could not offer perfect Love. With that, his sovereign ways can not be in question. His choosing to remove the wicked evolution of mankind except for Noah's family was "Just". Choosing the people of Israel to become a nation known as God's chosen, and an example to other nations, of His provision and protection and power, was to allow them to see the benefits of living under God's direction. Like us, Israel would pick and choose when it was convenient to be faithful, and He allowed all nations to see how he would deal with his own chosen, for rebellion.

When the time was right, God sent his son Jesus into our dark and weary world. He came in truth and brought 'Grace". He brought light to the dark wicked corners of mankind, revealing what we have become. And then the unthinkable, Jesus laid down his life to demonstrate how much we are loved, and now, not only the chosen people of Israel can be restored as God's accepted, but all mankind.

I am trying to grasp the difference in the brutality of the years when God was dealing with the nations, prior to the cross of Jesus, and now our time of grace. Is it that the history shows how terrible God's wrath can and will be, and now he waits for each of us to "make our choice"? If I have to rationalize God, I know I am in trouble. It is no longer faith! Come let us reason together-

God's Blessings on your day

Response #28:

The great flood was a unique situation inasmuch as the entire world had corrupted its ways, and not just from a moral point of view. The entire world of that time had become corrupt in a physical sense through co-habitation with fallen angels (except for Noah who was "perfect in his generations" along with his family). Had not the great flood removed this curse of the nephilim, within a few years true humanity would have ceased to exist – making impossible not only our own existence but also and more importantly the coming of the Messiah as a true human being (with the result that all of the earlier believers would have been lost).

God has always operated on a grace basis toward the human race. The choice of Israel as a special people and the giving of the Law later under Moses taught and continues to teach us important lessons, but every human being has always had to make his/her own decisions about the choice for which we are here: to accept God's gracious gift of salvation . . . or not. God's wrath is indeed "terrible" (in the etymological sense of "something to be feared"), and praise God for that. All believers who have ever made any spiritual progress whatsoever have been "God-fearing", that is, have operated with the understanding of the awe and reverence that the One who made and controls all things rightly deserves. Without understanding His pristine justice, moreover, we cannot really understand the depth of His ineffable love – to allow mercy to flow to His children the Father had to condemn His own dear Son and judge the sins of the world in Him on the cross.

As I often say, from the believer-perspective the main difference after as opposed to before the cross, the focal point of history, is that then they looked forward to the cross through shadows, but now we have the accomplished reality of Christ's great victory on Calvary (and the gift of the Spirit as a result). Instead of the regulations of the Law to teach us, we have the entire canon of scripture, the ministry of the Spirit, and the time, opportunity and freedom to drink deeply from the unveiled truth of the Word – would that we all did so more than we do and lingered over that truth to a greater degree. In terms of how God is dealing with the rest of the world, the Spirit continues to restrain the evil one and his activities and will do so until the Tribulation begins. If there is no such overt active involvement as we find in the Old Testament in God's dealing with the enemies of Israel, it is because the family of God, the Church, is now dispersed through many nation states around the globe, and there is at present no divinely constituted nation of Israel – there is and has always been a remnant of believers who are Jewish, but they like all the rest of the Church are to be found in every corner of the world. But things now proceed on an individual basis rather than a national one – just as they now proceed on the basis of spiritual reality as opposed to physical rituals and shadows before the cross (or should; the church-visible is very much confused and compromised on this point).

Things will change dramatically once the Tribulation begins in fairly short order. With the removal of the Holy Spirit's restraining ministry and with the reconstitution of the leadership of the Church in Jewish hands and focused in the geographical territory of Israel, obvious divine involvement in the historical process will recommence, and on a very significant scale (as anyone who has read the book of Revelation knows full well).

In truth, of course, all things have always been entirely in our Lord's hands, and everything that has ever happened could only happen because God decreed it. Nothing ever happens by accident, large or small, and our God has always had His hand extended in grace to everyone willing to receive that grace. If there are noticeable differences in the way nations, groups and individuals seem to be "treated", it is inevitably because of their choices to accept or reject the truth of God and the mercy of God.

Hope this is helpful.

Please do feel free to write me back about any of the above.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #29:

Two things. I consider your understanding of the history of the Star of David because there is evidence, especially in Eastern Christianity, that Churches were decorated from as early on as the 3rd century AD. Also, how do you explain the Messianic Seal of Jerusalem (Menorah, Star of David, Christian Fish)? If it truly authentic that it PROVES Jews were identifying the Hexagram as the Star of David at least 2,000 years ago. Why not three thousand years ago? That would hit the age of King David as well. Anyway, the second thing I was planning to do was to formerly invite you to become an Adminstrator or just member if you like, of my Facebook Group called the "Star of David'. I would truly be honored by your participation. Please let me know or if you can recommend other Gentile Christians with similar common sense, non-hateful views of the Magen David. I am a pure-bred Ukrainian Catholic Gentile by the way.

God bless and Shalom.

Response #29:

Good to make your acquaintance. As to your first question, I have written a number of things on this issue, mostly with a view toward disabusing people of the false notion that "the star of Rephan" in Amos 5:26 can have anything to do with the Star of David. Here is a paragraph of a previously posted email response that sums up my position on these matters (quoted here in case this is not the file you are referring to):

For one thing, the star of David as a Jewish national symbol is a fairly recent invention (not much older than the USA), and there is, as far as I know, nothing in the archaeological artifacts or texts from the days of ancient Israel to suggest that the six-pointed star symbol was even in existence prior to the modern era (let alone being an important ancient symbol).

There are multiple issues here, and they tend to become intertwined and confused. My main interest is in the interpretation of scripture, and my main point on this whole topic is that the Star of David does not occur in scripture. Secondarily, I know of no evidence to suggest that symbol was even in use during biblical times (even as late as the time of the New Testament). It may have been. I know of know of no compelling evidence for that, but even if so, then what we would have is the development of its use as a Jewish nationalistic symbol during the renaissance of nationalism (some would argue genesis) in the west in the 18th century; it would be a case then of an old nationalistic symbol being rediscovered and pressed into service in the same cause several millennia later. That is also not impossible, and perhaps not unprecedented, but it does make the scenario of the star being significant in biblical times even less probable, and more importantly leads into the third consideration: even if the symbol did exist in the days of king David, and even if it did have something to do with something akin to nationalism, the odds of it meaning to people then what it means to people now are very remote. To take one invidious historical comparison, the Indo-European symbol of the swastika is found on Greek protogeometric pottery et al., but certainly didn't mean then what the Nazis used it to mean later. Indeed, in that case there was almost no overlap of meaning. Since we are talking about a symbol, what the symbol means to those who use it and to those who react to it is the point of critical importance. To go back to where I began, there are those who wish to connect up the star with paganism. Whatever their motivations in wishing to do so, since the star today is a Jewish nationalistic symbol, the potential for an anti-Semitic application in doing so is dangerously clear.

So if what we have is a case of a geometric pattern (of unknown antiquity) later used as a Messianic symbol (after the establishment of denominational Christianity), later used as a Jewish nationalistic symbol (from the 18th c. onward), and now the emblem of the state of Israel (since 1948), are we really even talking about the same things? Only symbols which come from God have true, intrinsic meaning that does not change. Symbols invented by human beings only mean what we take them to mean at the time, and that meaning is always evolving. As a Bible teacher, this doesn't concern me much, except when people, well-meaning or otherwise, try to make some false application to scripture or lead other Christians astray into some false or dangerous activity using this or any other means. It happens more often than you might imagine. Theosophy and pseudo-Christianity are rife with such things, and Christians who are heavily into conspiracy theories or extra-biblical prophecy – but not well-versed in the truth of scripture – are very vulnerable to wolves who use these and all other sorts of similar means to seduce them (i.e., a person gets interested in pyramids, and the next thing you know he/she has "drunk the Kool Aid" and bought into some phony guru's cult). My job is not to set the whole historical record straight about every little thing (as if that were possible), but to make it clear what has to do with the Bible and what does not in all such instances – for the sake of the spiritual health of all those who access this ministry.

As to your request, I regret that for a variety of reasons, time and circumstances, I am unable to comply. It's probably a good thing for you too, since my FaceBook skills are pathetically rudimentary at best.

Here are some additional links which may prove helpful:

Is the star of Acts 7:43 the star of David?

More on the star of Rephan

The City of David, the Star of David

Best wishes in all your work for our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Bob Luginbill

Question #30:

That is quite alright that you cannot join my Facebook Group, but I urge you still to take a look at the members which include mostly Jews who are mostly religious, many of them from Israel and several of them are ordained Rabbis. Perhaps you might change your mind if you take a minute to sniff around the Group on your own accord. Both myself, a Ukrainian Catholic from the wilds of Washington State who made life-long friends with many Jews at University, and my Group members have nothing to hide except that which God has commanded to keep covered anyway. :)

Can we at least continue to have a conversation on this Gmail thread at your leisure? I would appreciate it. Two questions:

1) What do you think about the Messianic Seal of Jerusalem, which would potentially prove that the Star of David was indeed a Jewish symbol in the days of Christ as well as afterwards?

2) Are you familiar with the Sephir Yetzirah, the Book of Formation in English, which has some of the most blatant references to the Star of David I have ever read?

By the way, it is very gratifying to find a Protestant Christian who is so well aware of history and religion to smell a wolf whenever another 'Christian' kook starts spouting nonsense about the Magen David- a family symbol of Jesus Christ Himself. You might not know this but the Catholic Church calls the symbol the Star of Creation (or Creator's Star) and the Star of Mary is also nearly always six-pointed, but styled a bit differently from the Magen David. So please answer my two questions above and it is just fine if you wait until after the holidays to respond.

God bless and Shalom, my Christian brother.

Response #30:

Hello again, friend,

Thanks for your understanding on this matter. I'm happy to address your two questions, but more than that is outside my area of interest which is purely scriptural (and as I say, the star does not appear in the Bible).

1) As to the seal, in my understanding there is no solid proof of its antiquity (and strong skepticism surrounds it). Just from the standpoint of my own "feel" on this sort of thing, it would surprise me if it were genuine. Ancient symbols tend to be far more economical. Also, the ichthys symbol is not otherwise known before the 3rd or 4th century. Although it might have a slightly earlier origin, for it show up even earlier in this odd composite strains credibility. That is especially the case when one considers that this sort of material has borne the brunt of many forgeries over the years (for profit and other sorts of advantages).

2) As to the Sefer Yetzirah, as far as I am aware, scholarly opinion is divided on its dating. As with most literature of the inter-testamental to early Christian periods, it is often difficult to pin these things down. As a date of as late as the 3rd or 4th century A.D., well after the close of the canon of scripture, is certainly not out of the question, whatever claims it may contain will not affect the previous discussion in terms of what the star may have meant to earlier generations or when it may have first appeared.

In short, I am happy to have people take an interest in such things, but would stress that 1) this really doesn't have anything much to do with the Bible or biblical interpretation, let alone with personal spiritual growth; 2) historical/archaeological constructs of this sort are a) always difficult to prove; b) hardly ever advance to the point of being indisputable; 3) one always has to be alert for latent and deliberately camouflaged antisemitic messages in this sort of material or at least in its employment.

In our dear Lord Jesus who died that we might live forever with Him,

Bob L.

Question #31:

So, why was the Star of Molech (much older than the Star of David) adopted as the Star of David several thousand years after David died, and at least a thousand years after Christ's sacrifice for our sins? And, why does David have a graven image that he did not have in his day? Was this an Ashkenazi/Zionist conversion?

Response #31:

Good to make your acquaintance. To answer your questions, I'm afraid I'll need more information:

1) What did the star of Molech look like? What are the references for that? What basis do we have for identifying it with the star of David at all (since scripture nowhere does)?

2) As to the "adoption of the star of David", it's certainly not a biblical symbol or even a historical one. I would not presume to opine as to the reasons why those who use it use it (since I personally do not use it). I have answered questions posed by some who wish to see the star of David as being present in the Bible (and have demonstrated that it is not). What is your specific objection to what I have written about that at Ichthys? It would be very helpful if you would share with me the precise posting you are referring to as this matter has come up a number of times.

3) As to graven images, David never used this star and David is in heaven today. I am sure that he would disavow any association with it, were we to be able to ask him. So what do you mean by a "Ashkenazi/Zionist conversion"?

Yours in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world,

Bob Luginbill

Question #32: 

Mr Luginbill,

Your web page opened before me at an "opportune time." I am not at odds with you, I somehow thought what I saw there offered an opportunity for some answers. I don't even know how I got there, and have not been able to retrace my steps. But, somehow you stimulated some questions.

I have learned that Molech also known as Moloch the calf headed god did not die with the Golden Calf Idol in the desert. I have seen several depictions of it. I am attaching one. You can see the star on the Idol's chest. It consists of 6 lines or sides, 6 points and 6 intersections. I am told the three 6's are there for the Biblical reason. This is the star on the Israeli Flag. Yes, I know Israeli may not be the same as Israelite. And, I have not seen anywhere in scripture any mention of David having a star.

As for the Ashkenazi thing; Ashkenaz son of Gomer, son of Japheth, son of Noah is reputed to have fathered a country between the Black and Caspian Seas that stood in the path of a major trade route. They were supposedly repeatedly being beaten up by Christian and Muslim caravans but the Jewish caravans did not bother them. The Jews seemed to get along with both the Christians and the Muslims. The King of the Ashkenazi decided to convert his entire nation to Judaism so they could survive and also profit from the other 2 forces. These same Ashkenazi are supposedly the source of the Zionist funders of Hitler's rise to power and the family of Mayer Amschel Bauer who changed his name to Rothschild. And, Hitler was supposedly the bastard son of one of Mayer Amschel Rothschild's sons.

It seems the major portion of Israeli's are Ashkenazi Jews.

One tie seems to be Ashkenaz Father Gomer was also the father of Gomerland, north of Ashkenaz, which later became Prussia then Germany.

I usually do not get answers to questions I do not ask.

Response #32:

I certainly do not mean to offend by giving unsolicited answers. I'm merely trying to understand precisely what you are asking.

In this email, for example, I don't see any questions, so I am still at a loss as to how to answer you.

Since you have volunteered some information, let me ask you an additional question about one item and provide some perspective about part of your narrative.

The question has to do with the image you include here which I assume is supposed to "prove" that the star of Molech and the star of David are one and the same? However, this is clearly not an actual picture of an archeological relic (there are none and no verbal descriptions either as far as I am aware). Rather, what you have included is some artist's idea of what in his/her mind this object might have looked like. In my view it is not helpful for people to make up illustrations out of thin air and call that evidence. As far as I know, there is no historical or archeological basis for drawing such a picture.

My observation has to do with the narrative you include about the historical composition of part of the Jewish race. You use the word "supposedly" several times, and I think that this is wise. The fact is, it would be rash to suggest that much of anything related here is historically accurate, and, even it were partially so, there is no basis at all for assuming that "most Jews" go back to this event (even if it occurred in anything like the way it is often related). As an ancient historian by profession, I am always leery about accepting convenient narratives without specific evidence or proof. That is because it is usually true in the cases of ancient reports there may be only one good source and that source may be open to interpretation. For example, when you say "Gomerland, north of Ashkenaz, which later became Prussia then Germany", as far as I know there is no historical record that even makes such a claim. These sorts of theories, while perhaps seeming at first to be innocuous, often contain the seeds of antisemitism.

I am happy to be educated on either point (please do provide complete references to primary and secondary sources).

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #33:

I have not meant to offend. I am often told I am good at presenting both the opening and closing statements while forgetting the middle.

For the location of the countries, Gomer and Ashkenaz, I have only the maps in the back of the KJV Bible my Mother gave me on Nov. 12, 1959, and the New American Standard and NIV translations I picked up over the years.

Most of these occurrences would have to have happened in the last 1400 years as Islam was invented about 630 AD, so they would not be all that ancient.

Response #33:

It's no problem.

As to the maps in your Bible, these were drawn by (probably) unknown 20th century artists whose information came from their or some other modern person's "guestimates" based only on their personal interpretations of what Genesis 10 says. That is to say, they have no particular authority and no evidence at all.

As to the occurrences, first, anything before 1400 would be before printing and therefore likely to go back to some manuscript of some historian. We would have to know who and what the references were before giving any credence to such tales.

No offense taken – do feel free to write back.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #34:

G'Day Brother

Hope your keeping well.

In Mark 9:19; Jesus answers him "O faithless generation", who was he referring to?

Mark 9:18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. 19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.

Also, can an unsaved cast out demons?

God Bless

Response #34:

The "generation" is the generation of unbelieving Jews to whom our Lord came; they were "His own", but they "did not receive Him" (Jn.1:11); sadly, "this generation" abides even now, and will continue to do so until they "look upon Him whom they have pierced" at our Lord's second advent return (see the link: "the hardness of Israel" in SR 5). Here are some links on that:

"This generation" (Q#1)

"This generation" (Q#7)

Which generation is "this generation"?

The generation of hardness

As to your other question, exorcism is a rare gift. Apart from our Lord, the Bible only relates those directly commissioned by Him personally (including the eleven plus Paul) as being able to perform it. So, no, unbelievers cannot actually cast out demons, though they may certainly make of a show of pretending to do so – as indeed, sadly, all too many believers are doing nowadays as well (falsely so). See the link: Exorcism

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

 

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