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Eschatology Issues XX

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Question #1:

Bro. Luginbill, thanks for your update on your ministry. I consider you a blessed and invaluable resource in Biblical matters and deeply appreciate your willingness to help and you have helped me a number of times. My question at this time? Does your ministry (or can you recommend one) produce teaching lessons on the end times of Revelation that would be suitable for a quarter of Sunday School lessons? I teach in a men’s class and it occurred to me we have not had a specific study on the end times – and certainly we are seeing the maybe not too soon signs of the beginning of the end times. Surely these events cannot be far off with what we are seeing today.

Thanks for your help,

JESUS IS COMING SOON!!

Response #1:

Thanks so much for your positive email and kind words, my friend (and apologies for the delay – still digging out here somewhat after being out of town and having a number of things to get done in addition).

As to lessons, there is a lot on the site about eschatology. In addition to the Satanic Rebellion series and the Coming Tribulation series, there is also a synopsis (somewhat longish) in Bible Basics: BB 2B: Eschatology (at the link). Also, nearly every end times topic has been covered in the email responses many times from many angles, so I invite your attention to the list of prior postings and also to the subject index to track these things down (at the links). I'd certainly also be happy to hear from you on specific questions.

Best wishes for your noble ministering of the Word of God, my friend!

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Well can I ask what you mean by "millennium?" Is it the time when the devil will be on earth, and after that will be second resurrection? All people who don't arise in first resurrection arise in second. I believe that in the second resurrection unbelievers get to live and have final chance to change their minds. Rev 20:5 is talking about this.

Response #2:

The Millennium is the last of the seven 1,000 year periods of human history. It will be a time of great blessing wherein Christ will rule the world after His return at the 2nd advent (the devil and his minions will not be at liberty during this time but will be incarcerated in the Abyss); all this is laid out in Revelation chapter 20:1ff., and can be found discussed in detail in CT 6 (at the link).

As to the resurrection, the Church (all believers from Adam and Eve until the return of Christ) will rise at His return to earth on the other side of the seven year Tribulation. Those who believe during the Millennium will be resurrected at the end of history – that is the last phase of the resurrection unto life (Christ being first, then the Church, then "the end", as it says in 1Cor.15:23-24). The end of history, following the Gog-Magog rebellion at the end of the Millennium, is also when all unbelievers will be resurrected – to a resurrection of judgment rather than eternal life (this is the "sheep and goats" set of judgments detailed in Matthew 25; see the link: "The Last Judgment").

No one gets a second chance. This life is the only chance anyone gets. It is more than sufficient to demonstrate their true bent of heart and whether or not they desired an eternity with the Lord or were unwilling to sacrifice their free will in subordination to Him (just as the devil has been around for a very long time with great knowledge but no change of heart). This will all be made clear at the last judgment in each and every individual case.

By Revelation 20 it seems from your question that you have been confused (as many have) by the incorrect inclusion at Revelation 20:5b of the non-scriptural words "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished"; that sentence is not a part of the Bible and was erroneously included by some scribe as an explanation (i.e., a "gloss"), but in addition to this not being scripture, even the explanation is incorrect. For the details on this point please see the link: "The interpolation 'But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished'".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #3:

I found this : https://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/1936/08/is-revelation-205-spurious

Response #3:

It's a most obfuscatory article – hard to make heads or tails of. Prescott says the passage is original. He is wrong. His treatment is misleading and wrong in various places. The textual evidence for omission is vastly superior to that for inclusion. Prescott yammers on and on about the Syriac versions which are actually of very little value for establishing the text – a red herring if ever there was one. The point is that the passage only occurs in some later mss. and while there is good reason to understand it as a gloss there is very little argument to be made for why it wasn't included in all of the earlier mss. W.W. Prescott was a Seventh Day Adventist and that organization holds to a number of doctrinally erroneous beliefs. His purpose is to preserve this interpolation because it supports their noxious position on the false doctrine of soul sleep, among other things (see the link).

If you want more details, please see the link I sent you previously.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi so you want to say that Rev.20:5 is something like the long ending in Mark 16?

I don't know about the OT but I found that in NT there are lots of not original verses. So I must delete all these verses from my bible?

Response #4:

There are very few interpolations in the NT, far less than a tenth of one percent of the whole. It's just that those passages which are erroneous also tend to be famous – and that certainly tells you something! Both that the devil has carefully tried to water down the Word in key places with key deceptions, and also that human beings tend to prefer the things which are untrue to the things that are true. Here is a link to where the most famous such passages – an incredibly small percentage of the whole – may be found: "Interpolations".

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:

I don't see that link but Mark 16 and Rev.20:5 are quite important.

I found about 50 verses in NT. I don't know if OT have also some suspicious verses.

Response #5:

Here is the link again:  "Interpolations"

I always like to remind readers that this is a small issue not a large one and that they can be confident that their Bibles are pure. The tap water we drink is not 100% completely pure but it presents no dangers; the text upon which the major English versions of the Bible are based is purer than that. AND, importantly, if a believer is accessing a good Bible teaching ministry, the few problems will be pointed out and that purity will become even purer – as I am attempting to do for you.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Thank you and what about OT? Are there some important suspicious verses?

Response #6:

On the OT, that text was established long before the NT was written, and the Masoretic version of it well-distributed and well-known by that time. That made (makes) it virtually impossible to put in additional verses or chapters as was sometimes done with the NT in the first several hundred years of its existence. The bottom line is that we have the answers on these things, and even most modern English versions will explain in notes that the passage is "not present" in early mss. if such is the case. That doesn't mean that there are NO textual issues (words and phrases) in the OT or the rest of the NT. It does mean that none of these are significant enough to doubt your Bible – especially if you are accessing a good teaching ministry. The nature of the Old Testament also makes this less of a problem, whereas in the concentrated doctrinal teaching of the New Testament a single erroneous word attributed to our Lord or His apostles could be highly misleading.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hi, I found this interesting article about all forgery in scripture. http://www.ccg.org/weblibs/study-papers/p164f.html

It's interesting but I'm little confused. There are lots of points. I want to ask what is original text in Romans 8:1 because it's an important verse.

Response #7:

I cannot recommend this article which is filled with half-truths, confusions of the issue of translation versus textual problems, and which is really only intent on putting forward its own very flawed theology. This is a good example of what I have been telling you for a long time now. If you are looking to confuse yourself and make it difficult to believe anything, then by all means surf the internet and read all manner of silly articles like this. If you are looking to grow spiritually through the truth of the Word of God so as to walk closer to Jesus Christ, then the correct approach is to find a good, solid, orthodox, in-depth teaching ministry, one you have tested, and learn as much as you can from it, remembering that only what is both actually true and then actually believed by you contributes to spiritual growth. It doesn't have to be this ministry, but no one can learn by the eclectic method of picking and choosing. Even believers with the gift of pastor-teacher are not able to do this or to learn directly from scripture before being thoroughly prepared, and that preparation always involves the same spiritual allegiance mainly to one solid ministry so as to grow up to spiritual maturity. That is how I grew. That is how we all grow. No one grows by hopping from one place, one person, one ministry, one internet site to the other. You are absolutely free to do whatever you want. I tell you this out of Christian love and the desire to see you grow up spiritually, progress in you application of truth to your life, and produce a good crop for Jesus Christ to the glory of God.

As to Romans 8:1, here is my translation of the verse:

So now, there [awaits] no judgment of condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1

There are no serious textual questions about this verse. The question is how to translate it. This verse can only be fully understood by taking it directly after the prior verses in chapter seven where Paul describes the impossibility of being saved through the Law. He sums up that hopelessness with verse 23:

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?
Romans 7:24 NIV

And then he reassures us by reminding us that Christ has solved the problem of sin and death:

Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
Romans 7:25 NIV

Therefore Romans 8:1 is the beginning of a further explanation of Romans 7:24 (and what preceded) and serves as the jumping off point for Paul to now move the discussion forward to examining the Christian life for us who have the Spirit.

(1) So now, there [awaits] no judgment of condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed you from the Law of sin and death. (3) For what the Law could not accomplish (i.e., solving the sin problem) because it was weak on account of [its dependence on sinful human] flesh, God [did accomplish]: having sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for the purpose of [expiating] sin, [God] rendered summary judgment on [all] sin in [Christ's] flesh, (4) so that the [perfect] righteousness which the Law demands might be fulfilled in us – we who walk not according to the [sinful] flesh, but according to the Spirit (i.e., believers). (5) Those who are oriented to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who are orientated to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (6) For the thought-pattern of the flesh results in death, but the thought-pattern of the Spirit results in life and peace. (7) Now the thought-pattern of the flesh is [one of] enmity towards God, for it does not obey God's law, nor is it [even] able [to do so]. (8) And [so] those who are under the control of the flesh (i.e., unbelievers enslaved to the sin nature) are not able to please God. (9) But you are not under the control of the flesh, but under the control of the Spirit – if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, that person does not belong to Him. (10) And if Christ is in you, although your body is dead because of sin (i.e., because it is still sinful by natural birth), the Spirit is life because of righteousness (i.e., the Holy Spirit is your pledge that you have passed from death to life through the righteousness which comes by faith). (11) And if the Spirit of Him who raised Christ from dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies [at the resurrection] through that [very same] Spirit who dwells in you. (12) So then, brothers, we are under obligation – but not to the flesh to live by its rules. (13) For if you are living by the rules of the flesh, you are destined to die. But if by the Spirit you are putting to death the practices of the body, you will live. (14) For as many as are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the [true] sons of God. (15) For you have not received a spirit of slavery [leading you] back to [a state of] fear [of damnation], but you have the Spirit who has entered you into God's family (lit. "of adoption"; Gk., huiothesia, υἱοθεσία, "placement-as-a-son"), in whom we cry, "Abba! My Father!" (16) For the Spirit Himself testifies to our spirit that we are God's children. (17) And if we are God's children, then we are also His heirs, even fellow heirs of Christ – that is if we have indeed suffered with Him so that we might also be glorified together with Him.
Romans 8:1-17

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Dear Dr. Bob,

How are you, sir? I hope everything is wonderfully blessed with you as you walk with the Lord everyday according to bible principles, encouraged and strengthened by his Word, conscious of the great cloud of witnesses of the assembly of the firstborn cheering believers on and of the angels desiring to understand the plan of God of the ages being fulfilled everyday towards the ultimate consummation. (May the preceding statement [esp. about the cloud of witnesses], which reflects my understanding of some of bible themes, be scriptural) Would like to mention again my great appreciation and thankfulness to you for putting ichthys.com on the web and making your written labor available for free and downloadable for everyone who is interested. Believers who are ignorant of bible languages (and all it implies - not just word meaning but the various literary and language nuances, culturally unique phrasing and expressions, etc.) and who thus are handicapped like me, find what you produced enlightening and relieving of the mind that is burdened by the discovery of being taught false teachings for most of one's life and did no effort to remedy the problem all those time. That this brought new and better appreciation of who our Lord God is and what he did, is doing and going to do is to say the least. Sir, you are a rare gift to the body of Christ. You are helping us in being precise in our understanding of scripture because it is a given that a believer's life is suppose to be a precise kind of life patterned after precise principles found in the scriptures, which God himself would want us to treasure. Godly living is determined by doctrine. Doctrine is determined through teaching Biblical truth. (Conversely, the truth of the principle "as a man thinks in his heart so is he" can be seen in the violence and widespread damage to lives and property done here in Marawi. The religious terrorist fanatics' beliefs made them do what they are doing.) Moreover, how one treats scripture is a reflection of how one treats the immeasurably patient God.

I downloaded the series files and read from adobe/Word/WPS readers and am making progress. (Direct online reading is problematic due to slow internet connection, the slowest in this region of SE Asia. Yes, still single digit mbps) It is easier this way because I can still read without internet.

My family have after-dinner bible study most days of the week. For more than a year we are doing the chronological way (but we can talk about other topics from the bible when needed) and we are now on King Solomon. It is like placing the events in the Bible between eternity past and eternity future. Charts and diagrams greatly help us understand the Bible more, and more importantly, the infinitely gracious and loving God who is rich in mercy and patient with his people's slowness in heart to understand.

May I ask questions about the temples? Is Ezekiel's temple the tribulation temple or the millennial temple? Will there be a temple after the millennium? In the Hebrews it is mentioned that the elements in the tabernacle/temple are copies of what are in heaven. When the kingdom of the Father arrives there is no need of copies of the heavenly things. What is the significance of the Ark of the Covenant? The time of the departure of God's glory from the first temple coincides with the time that the ark was lost.

Please forgive the silliness of the questions. I may have some idea about these but they may also be wrong or lacking. Sorry for bothering you. I know that you are busy at the university with the ichthys studies and e-mail posts.

In Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior,

Response #8:

Good to hear from you, my friend. I have been thinking about you and keeping you in my prayers for your health, safety and spiritual growth. Thanks much for the encouragement of your good words (Ps.115:1). I appreciate the heavenly perspective that you express here – it means that this is pulsing through your heart, and that is a sure sign of spiritual growth and progress.

As to your questions, first, the temple in Ezekiel is the millennial temple – but that does not mean that it does not share affinity with the temple built under the aegis of Moses and Elijah during the Tribulation. The temple proper is no doubt the same building; the elaborate structures surrounding it (walls and steps and porticoes et al.) are probably not going to be built until the Millennium: the Messiah is prophesied to "build up" the temple (Zech.6:12-13 in the Hebrew), and that means not build the essential structure but provide it with the impressive expansions seen in Ezekiel – similar to the expansion of the second temple from its simple beginnings after the return of the exiles to what it was during our Lord's first advent before its later destruction by the Romans.

After the Millennium, in the eternal state in New Jerusalem, John's words indicate very clearly that there will no longer be a temple – no doubt because there will no longer be any need for either a representation of heavenly things or for any separation between the holy and the profane since the latter has been completely removed from the entire world – in the new heavens and new earth, only "righteousness dwells" [there] (2Pet.3:13).

I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
Revelation 21:22 NASB

So while it is very true that the first (and second) temple are "copies" of the heavenly exemplars (Heb.8:5), and that there is a temple in the third heaven today (Rev.11:19; 14:15; 14:17; 15:5; 15:5-8; 16:1; 16:17), there will be no need of one in eternity.

As to the ark, it represents Jesus Christ (see the link).  However, in terms of its physical form, it represents God's "battle chariot".  That is its main representative function (as can be seem most clearly in Ezekiel; please see also "the ark of the covenant"); the two are clearly intimately connected because Jesus Christ, the God-man, is the Person, the "means", by which the Father is resolving/winning the conflict with Satan and his followers.

In terms of the glory departing or the ark being lost, I'm not sure either of those two things can be found in scripture (although much speculation has been put into print on both topics). Clearly, the entire temple was destroyed in 586 B.C. by the Babylonians. Did you have particular verses in mind?

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

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hi Bob,

Deuteronomy 22:8 This verse is an example of how God justly ordains that the government has the right to regulate private property (i.e. the roofs on people's houses) for the sake of the public good (i.e. safety). This is another wondrous example of how the Mosaic law always places general welfare higher than private property rights, pace the extreme libertarianism of Christian Reconstructionists like Rushdoony.

People often focus on the capital punishment sections of the Mosaic law, but honestly, I think that if one looks at the law as a whole one would find that it is extremely just. Also given that one of the church members in the Corinthian church committed a capital crime under the Mosaic law (sleeping with his stepmother) but Paul only wanted him to come to repentance should tell us about the extent of capital punishment now and possibly in the future.

It will be very interesting to see how justice will work in the Millennium. The Mosaic law gives us a hint as to how a truly just system of economic activity would look like.

Response #9:

We will have to wait and see. I would be surprised if the Mosaic Law is the basis for millennial administration since that was a perfect system designed for a community comprised entirely of believers who all followed it in theory – with only rare exceptions committing capital violations and then being immediately executed. That, of course, is why the Law was never kept – not even close to it – by Israel as a nation or by any individual within it. Remember that the true purpose of the Law is to point out to sinful people that they are sinful and in need of grace to be saved. Since there will be no more shadows in the Millennium (there are none now, after all: Heb.10:1, cf. Heb.8:5), and since at that future time " the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Is.11:9 NIV), this purpose will not need to be fulfilled by a system putatively meant to be actually followed. Also, as even your email suggests, people find bits and pieces of the Law that they like (or think they like, assuming they really understand) and consider implementing them – but the Law is an all or nothing thing:

For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
James 2:10 NKJV

For more, see the link: "The Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ" in CT 6.

In Jesus Christ who died to deliver us from the curse of the Law.

Bob L.

Question #10:

"So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty."
(Malachi 3:5)

What does this verse mean?

Response #10:

This is a very clear statement of the no tolerance policy regarding witchcraft, idolatry (the meaning of na'aph here: spiritual rather than marital adultery) and oppression during the Messiah's millennial reign (cf. the context from verse one onward). Anyone who engages in such things will severely and immediately dealt with by the most efficient, fair and effect political administration in history – in which we will both have a part!

For more: "The Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ" in CT 6.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hi Bob and family,

I’ve been enjoying reading your email postings, such good questions there (mainly) and your respectful answers – I like thinking of a soft voice turneth away wrath. I have been thinking of a question now for some time and I don’t seem to be getting an answer yet through prayer so I thought it’s time to run it past you. It concerns Revelation 18: 4.

History tells us that the largest number of Jews in the world live in the US, which makes me wonder, is the call to ‘come out of her my people’ specifically to those Jews living there because of impending destruction to return to Israel, or is it to the gentiles, or is it to both Jews and gentiles?

I understand the need to get out because of what will happen there at that time and I am also wondering if gentile believers in other parts of the world will receive a similar warning at the same time. I can only think that God, through the Spirit will speak to us in a similar fashion at a given time wherever we are. In the past you have given me sound advice in previous emails about whether to flee or remain in place and I cannot help but think that the Spirit will also guide us at the right time.

It is so sad that the world is becoming an awful place – so clear that we are living in the ‘days of Noah’ right now and I shudder to think of further degradation.

Trusting that I’m not inconveniencing you and I thank you again for your past help.

With brotherly love,

Response #11:

Things really are getting more and more unbelievable by the day. For most folks I guess it's a case of the frog not realizing he's in water that's getting ever hotter. But it's not the best analogy because for us there is no place to jump.

As to your question, it's not a question of Jews and gentiles. During the first half of the Tribulation, a goodly number of Jews will respond to the ministry of the 144,000 directed by Moses and Elijah, and will (apparently) emigrate to Israel. These will subsequently flee to the place of safety (outlined in Rev.12:1ff.) just before the mid-point of the seven years and right on the cusp of the Great Tribulation, and there they will stay until the Church is resurrected at Christ's return. In Babylon, although the command to "flee" will be supernaturally given, it is given to "my people" (Rev.18:4), and since probably not all believers will flee as they should, it is a sure bet that unbelievers will not flee, even if they are given to hear/perceive/understand the angel's command as we will. It will seem folly to them even if they do hear and understand.

While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
1st Thessalonians 5:3 NIV

You raise a good point, one I think I have probably addressed somewhere in the past. Babylon will be destroyed, but the fact that there are so many unbelieving Jews in this country – and we have no reason to expect that they will become believers for the most part beyond or out of proportion to the modest percentage of those who will do so outside of this country – coupled with the fact that there are a great many Jews prophesied to return to the land after the second advent, surely means that many will survive the destruction here. There are other things that indicate that while the destruction will be near total and devastating, it will not entail a complete loss of life: think Berlin after the WWII bombing and Soviet rapine and pillage – rather than Hiroshima.

At that time Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, the span of a king's life. But at the end of these seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute: “Take up a harp, walk through the city, you forgotten prostitute; play the harp well, sing many a song, so that you will be remembered.” At the end of seventy years, the Lord will deal with Tyre. She will return to her lucrative prostitution and will ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. Yet her profit and her earnings will be set apart for the Lord; they will not be stored up or hoarded. Her profits will go to those who live before the Lord, for abundant food and fine clothes.
Isaiah 23:15-18 NIV

Thanks for your good words as usual, my friend (Ps.115:1).

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hi Bob and family,

Thank you for your quick response to my question and thank you for explaining it so well as you always do. I never thought of the frog in that analogy but it makes sense.

Sad to see the escalation of the degradation of man increasing to the levels we are currently witnessing particularly knowing the intensity will increase dramatically once the Spirit is taken out of the way. One can now begin to understand what Jesus means in Matthew 24: 21.

And those who hold the false view that Mystery Babylon is Rome will have the full impact of Tribulation at that time in the most shocking of circumstances.

Because I am retired now I spend a lot of my time immersed in ichthys which I enjoy so much and it will forever be, along with my Bible, my church. The only regret I have, (if you can call it a regret) is that not many who I encourage to look at it, do so but I guess that’s Laodicea. Amos 8: 11 – 13 is a perfect example.

Again my thanks for your efforts in creating ichthys.

Will make this do for now and with brotherly love,

Response #12:

You're most welcome as always, and thank you for your insightful comments and good words as well.

It is always with sadness that we see others lacking in response to the truth. Not every ministry is everyone's "cup of tea", of course, so we have to account for that when it comes to Ichthys specifically, but in most instances it's not a case of the person in question choosing "something good B" over "something very good A", but of doing almost nothing at all in terms of spiritual growth and being satisfied to contract it out, so to speak, to some lukewarm church which is only too happen to receive donations.

As you say, there aren't many today who seem to be all that serious about the Word of God and the mission we've been given. Maybe that will change when the trouble starts. During the Tribulation, one third of believers apostatize, true, but one third endure martyrdom and one third make it to the end. Hard to see how those last two things can happen for most Christians today given where they seem to be at, spiritually speaking. So there may be a lot more work for us to do then (as I've probably observed before).

Keeping you and your family in my prayers – and thanks so much for yours as well!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hello Dr. Bob,

Sorry for the delayed response. Some pressing concerns can't be postponed.

I read the vision granted by God to prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 10 before Judah's exile to Babylon to warn His people that He could not be limited to one place and His glory would leave the temple and allow its destruction (proving their statement in Jeremiah 7:4 false) if they would not amend their ways. I take back my question on the what happened to the Ark of the Covenant. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ fulfilled its symbolism on the cross. (Romans 3:24,25)

In our past email conversation I remember you mentioned something about the return of the Jews to Israel in 1948 as not a fulfilled prophecy. May I ask why? And related to it is an article below which I would like you to comment on, if it is fine with you.

"THE LAW OF RETURN":
“When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors. The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.”
(Deuteronomy 31:1-5)
On May 14, 2018, Israel will celebrate an exciting 70th anniversary. In 1948, after 2,000 years of wandering, and many more under the rule of other nations, the Jews were back in their biblical homeland as the independent state of Israel. This was a major turning point in history that cannot be underestimated, and was seemingly prophetic (Jeremiah 16:14-15). Despite this statehood miracle, there were less than 725,000 Jews in Israel in 1948. Today, however, there are over 8 million Jews in Israel, and that number is thought to double by 2059. In 2014, another landmark occurred; the number of Jews in Israel passed the number of Jews living in the rest of the world. That milestone grew larger in 2015, with roughly 30,000 Jews who made aliyah (immigration to Israel under the Law of Return). So, what is the Law of Return? What fostered this dramatic population explosion that the Old Testament predicted so long ago (Isaiah 11:10-11)? On July 5, 1950, the governing body of Israel, the Knesset, passed the Law of Return, which began with the remarkable words that would define the country’s core value: “Every Jew has the right to immigrate to this country...” This law not only populated Israel, but it provided a safe haven from the anti-Semitism that peaked in Hitler’s Europe. Despite overt opposition and wars, it’s been a remarkable catalyst to grow Israel and make her desert bloom around thriving, modern cities. Can the Law of Return be solely responsible for this miracle? To be sure, some of it is the practical encouragement from the Israeli government that fosters population growth, with free schooling for children, child allowances, and funding for in vitro fertility treatments (Jewish families average over 3 children per family). There are also incentives for immigration, which contributed to over 1 million Russian Jews immigrating to Israel. Despite these obvious stimuli, from a biblical point of view, one has to look at the Old Testament for spiritual answers (Micah 2:12). Some think watching these immigrants arrive at Ben Gurion Airport is like watching a biblical prophecy unfold before their very eyes! Why is that? Looking at the prophecies of Jeremiah (23:3,7-8, 30:10, 31:9, 33:7), Isaiah (49:8-22, 43:5-6, 54:7), and Ezekiel (11:17, 20:34, 28:25, 34:13, 37:21) help us understand that this is from God. To be specific, let’s examine Ezekiel 37. Ezekiel had a vision in chapter 37 where he saw a valley filled with the dry bones of thousands of skeletons in open graves. These bones came together, grew flesh, and came to life. God revealed that the dry bones symbolized Israel and her agonies of dispersion for rejecting Him (Deuteronomy 28:15-68, 29:21-22). The graves were gentile nations where they were banished, but they were temporary, open graves. The coming together of the resurrected bones is the prophetic restoration of the dispersed nation to its biblical homeland. Is this too far-fetched? What would Ezekiel think if he read the Declaration of the State of Israel that says, “THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles…?” Or if he heard Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech at the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in Poland, where he closed with Ezekiel's vision and quoted chapter 37:11-13 as fulfilled,
“Then He said to me, 'Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, 'Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!' Therefore prophesy and say to them, thus says the Lord God, 'Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.”
It’s clear that the physical restoration of Israel is taking place today with the Law of Return, but Ezekiel’s next verse promises a spiritual restoration too.
“I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.”
The Law of Return is part of a major turning point in history, but verse 14 will be the consummation of it (Ezekiel 36:26-28)."

This sounds plausible but I would like to read what you have to say why this isn't.

In Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior,

Response #13:

Always good to hear from you, my friend.

On the return, I've addressed this on the site before (see for example the links "Israel and Antichrist in Eschatology" and "Eschatology Issues"; the main treatment is in CT 6 at the link), but I'll try to give you the gist here. 

First of all, in your quotation entitled "The Law of Return" I read this condition without which there can be no godly physical return: "when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today".

That has CERTAINLY not happened. Indeed, in Israel today you would be hard pressed to find a single Jewish believer in Jesus Christ. There are Jews who believe in Christ, but not in Israel (that I've ever seen or heard of). The return was man-made and man motivated, but everywhere the return and regathering is discussed in scripture it is the Lord who accomplishes it, as in your quotation: "the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back". God did not gather these people up. They gathered themselves completely apart from a God they reject – because they reject His Son.

Finally on this point, when God does it, it will be total – not a Jew will be left behind, as more than implied in your quote: "Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens" (cf. Ezek.39:28; Micah 2:12-13). But today far more Jews live in, e.g., the USA than live in Israel. Not even close to a total return. I'm not saying that events have not and are not and will not transpire which will help to set the stage for the what will occur during and after the Tribulation, but the secular state of Israel today has nothing whatsoever to do with the Israel that the Messiah will rule during the Millennium when all the seed of Abraham will return and receive their inheritance in the land – all, that is, who are finally willing to worship and acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #14:

One question, Professor. Before starting another book I decided to finish Eschatology, which I have been reading with some breaks and I don't like that - it should be finished. There you wrote about the baptism of fire - I have assumed, perhaps wrongly, that it referred to the destruction of the works of Christians not done in the Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:10-15), but you described it as the fire upon Magog and the Coastlands. I assume that perhaps with such a difference of meaning there is no double application of meaning here?

Response #14:

On the baptism of fire, that is terminology I inherited but it is well-grounded:

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Matthew 3:11-12 NKJV

The context here is clearly eschatological and the events described could have a double application, but to the 2nd Advent and/or the end of history after the Gog-Magog rebellion. In both cases we have the Lord Himself gathering the believers (in resurrection) while sending a fiery judgment upon unbelievers in order to "cleanse the threshing floor" (the incipient millennial kingdom and the eternal state respectively). Since the 2nd Advent judgment is the next in the sequence, I have reserved the phrase "baptism of fire" for that event (see the link). It is also true that when we stand before Christ's judgment seat, our wood, hay and stubble – things we've done not in the Spirit – will be burned before us, but we ourselves will escape "yet as through fire"; in the passage above believers are baptized with the Spirit; unbelievers with fire. So while there is a common element of fire doing the purging, in the passage above it is the unbelievers themselves who are purged while in 1st Corinthians 3:12-15 it is the believer's worthless works which are purged.

Question #15:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I have been studying Part 5 of your Tribulation series and have the following observation and question:

Here is the text from your study:

"So the change of heart that brings a flood of Jews to faith in Christ (comparable to the flood of gentiles that characterizes the Church age) will be the Messiah's actual return. When they look upon "Him they have pierced" (Zech.12:10-14; Rev.1:7; cf. Joel 2:30-32; Matt.24:30), Israel will turn to Him in numbers that will proportionally outstrip the greatest gains of the Church age, as God purges and restores His chosen people, fulfilling all the promises He has made (Is.65:8-10; Jer.31:31-34; Ezek.20:33-38; 37:11-14; Hos.1:10-11; Mal.4:5-6; Matt.23:39; Rom.11:26). The fact that this much anticipated spiritual (and geographical) restoration of Israel would not take place immediately after the Messiah's (first) appearance, but would wait upon the completion of His Church through the calling out of innumerable gentiles is the "mystery" we have been experiencing since His triumph on the cross (and as a direct result of that victory: cf. Lk.2:32; 10:17-20):

How do you reconcile this statement with the following verses in Romans chapter 9?

"26and, “In the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ ” 27Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. 28For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.”

The passage Paul is quoting is from the Book of Hosea. At what point in history does Hosea reference? I know from the text that Paul is crying out to God for his countrymen, but why does he use this text from Hosea and Isaiah? How then can we say that there will be more Jews saved then the number of Gentiles? At the Messiah's return, seems to me that very few Jews will still be alive at that time, having gone through the Tribulation. If indeed Hosea is referring to this event, seems to me that very few will be saved.

Your thoughts and corrections and insight would be much appreciated. Thanks always for your help and knowledge.

To the Soon Coming King, be Honor, Praise Glory, etc

Response #15:

Always good to hear from you, my friend.

The quote is from Isaiah 10:21-22 and has as its immediate reference the impending Assyrian invasion, during which the northern kingdom was destroyed and its survivors deported, never to be heard from again, with Judah devastated on the brink of a similar destruction – until the Lord personally destroyed the Assyrian army. Even so, the casualties for all of Israel, north and south together, were enormous. It's fair to say that the survivors could rightly be called a "remnant". Old Testament prophecy frequently has dual application, with the day of the Lord being the future event to which the prophet compares contemporary events (I call it "the Day of the Lord Paradigm"; see the link). 

A similar situation will obtain during the Tribulation. The Jews who follow Moses and Elijah and the 144,000 will be safely ensconced in their desert refuge until the Tribulation's end (Rev.12:1ff.), then resurrected with all other remaining believers at the second advent. The unbelieving Jewish population in Israel will be worn down considerably by antichrist's final invasion of the land, the Armageddon campaign. And of course their numbers, along with those of the Jewish population around the world (along with all human populations) will be drastically reduced by the events of the Tribulation:

I will make people more rare than fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir.
Isaiah 13:12 ESV

In terms of re-population, the Millennium will see conditions of blessing which exceed those of the garden of Eden. Consider that mankind grew from two individuals to millions upon millions in the years before the flood, and rebounded quickly in terms of numbers starting from only eight thereafter. The Millennium will see better conditions, lifespans exceeding those of pre-flood days, and a much larger stock to begin with than two or eight. That will be true of Jews as well as gentiles. So these approximations have to be seen in relative terms. 100 million people is a huge number, but small, I suppose compared to six or seven billion. Mao may have been responsible for the death of 100 million people, but there were still around 500 million Chinese alive when he was through. 500 million seems far too large to consider a remnant, though even the death of 100 million is staggering (a small loss and a small percentage in tribulational terms). So it all depends on one's point of view. And if we reverse the numbers, if 100 million had survived and 500 million died, 100 million might still seem too large to call a "remnant", but considering the loss and the percentage it would be an accurate representation.

From the descriptions in the Bible of Jews being regathered from around the world (see the link), I am confident that there will more than a sufficient number to accomplish what has been prophesied.

Feel free to write me any time, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words."
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)

"Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness, not light."
(Amos 5:18)

How do explain the difference between these passages?

Response #16:

It's the difference between believers who will rise when Christ returns and thus look forward to that "day" as our blessed hope, and unbelievers (who will be terrified by it since they will be destroyed). In other words, it is THE difference in this world, the one that makes ALL the difference in the next one.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Dear Dr. Bob,

Always grateful for you and ichthys in the internet, offering spiritual food for free to believers. Thank you so much for joyfully persevering in this ministry that you received from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I also thank the Lord for a pastor/teacher like you, if you allow me to call you that, I mean it as my appreciation, and pray to Him that He would always keep you healthy. Having a day job and laboring in your ministry in the personal manner that you work, surely demands a lot on your time, health and mind. On my part, I can say that countless times I was - and still is - strengthened, comforted, encouraged, enlightened, affirmed (to mention a few blessings received) to where I am presently in my faith by the Biblical principles I read from the different articles in ichthys.com. I am sure many countless other believers have experienced the same, if not more. I notice and experience that the more spiritual food a believer feeds on the greater is his/her appreciation of his/her Savior Jesus Christ, the more joyful and content in whatever state one is, the more eager to persevere in one's faith in the Lord, and understands why you write the word "ineffable" when you refer to the inexpressibly wondrous Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His attributes and doings.

One can be thankful for having difficulties because those are the times that we are reminded of our inadequacies, helplessness, and self-centeredness (revealed by the fact that one complains of the "momentary light afflictions"), and the moments when our God of all comfort can show Himself faithful, near and personal, and how dependent we are to him.

Conversely, I am also thinking about how much better it is to leave this physical body at present (if God allows) than face the greatest difficulties during the Great Tribulation. I fear apostatising when that time comes. I am afraid I can't endure afflictions, torture, torment (think of being "sawn asunder"). I might lose faith and deny my dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who faced and defeated the greatest difficulty of all just to redeem undeserving sinners like me. I am thinking about an apostle denying his Lord when Jesus is just close by. I am not better than an apostle. I am just a sinner saved by the grace of God. One cannot be sure he can hold up against the excruciating pain of torture and death in maintaining one's faith death is preferable than enduring torture). Some believers in our neighbor province here in Mindanao are going through this type of difficulty from religious terrorists. The faithful in Hebrews 11:36,37, the martyrs of the dark ages, and the persecuted believers up to the present are way up in level in their faith. Believers like me living in places where there is freedom to practice one's religion can only afford to "talk' about this matter and may not experience in their lifetime what they "discussed". But it would be difficult for them when they will be living during the Great Tribulation. Humans can be cruel and horrible, to say the least. It is easy to be horrified just reading the stories from "Foxe's Book of Martyrs" and from the "Voice of Martyrs", to name a few sources of stories about the persecuted church.

English is not my mother tongue and my vocabulary is very limited. I did not mean to minimize the spiritual blessings I freely receive from your selfless ministry to the body of Christ. I only mean I can only afford to articulate some of the countless benefits I receive from you because I am at a loss for words.

Though "the joy of the Lord is my strength" there are times that I feel alone moving forward living for my Lord Savior and God Jesus Christ. Being an outcast for standing for Biblical principles that are different from what is commonly, traditionally, and strongly held denominational beliefs takes its toll on my physical appearance, which is usually referred to as my karma by the detractors. I would rather believe what the Bible says that although our outward man is perishing yet the inward man is renewed daily. There are just down days, I think. And the spiritual enemies and our own selfish sinful nature would seem stronger. I remember reading something from Isaiah before about doing something for other people when one is in difficulties instead of swelling in one's own small, temporary/fleeting afflictions, which bears a greater weight in glory. Forgive the rambling.

Sir, enjoy your much need and deserved vacation. You are a blessing to us!

In our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Response #17:

Good to hear from you again, my friend! I trust you are doing well, even as it is very clear from this letter that you are in very good shape spiritually and continuing to grow – that is just what we are supposed to do! Thanks also for your many good and encouraging words – and also very much for you prayers. They are all greatly appreciated, my friend. As to your question:

Fear of the Tribulation:  As things grow closer, I have been receiving more and more emails on this subject.  Let me say at the outset that all the wonderful information we have in scripture about the Tribulation is not there for the purpose of terrifying us but for the purpose of helping us to prepare. 

First, seeing the whole seven years from start to finish we know that it ends in glory, that all believers who live through it are resurrected without ever experiencing physical death, and that those who do not and are martyred are a glory to Christ and receive a martyr's reward. 

Second, we see that God is superintending things perfectly as always even in the midst of the Tribulation, with believers receiving special protection against the plagues sent by Him to warn and then to punish the unbelieving world.  So even though things will be difficult, they will not be impossible, and enduring such trouble can be a great blessing, as you so eloquently put it: "One can be thankful for having difficulties because those are the times that we are reminded of our inadequacies, helplessness, and self-centeredness (revealed by the fact that one complains of the "momentary light afflictions"), and the moments when our God of all comfort can show Himself faithful, near and personal, and how dependent we are to him".  The Tribulation, while it will be the time of greatest distress, will also be the time of the greatest demonstration of God's faithfulness to those who love Him. 

Third, we have to remember at all times, especially in hard times, that the Lord never allows us to be tested beyond what we are able to bear up under (1Cor.10:13).  Therefore if it is true that any one of us really can't "take" whatever it is we might fear, then we will not be subjected to that particular pressure; and conversely if we are subjected to some terrible pressure that we fear we cannot take, then we are wrong and we need to trust the Lord more completely, because He wouldn't let it happen if we truly did not have the ability with His help to get through it.  No doubt this is one of the reasons why these things are being placed upon your heart now and that of others too, namely, to help us to get to the proper place of complete trust and of resting in faith in the Lord so as to be able to endure whatever He calls upon us to endure then.

Fourth, we have to remember that if we do find ourselves in the Tribulation and in distress, it is not at all as if the Lord did not anticipate it and not at all as if there is not a good reason for it.  It may well be that our reward is meant to be quite substantial but that it can't come about without such exceptional testing.  And it's no good to say, "thanks but no thanks" to the Lord!  Our eternal rewards glorify Him, and certainly we want that.  Only a spirit of cowardly and arrogant selfishness would seek to avoid trouble when the plan of God is for Christ to be gloried by our endurance of some test, even the Tribulation.  Granted, that is not the perspective of the immature and it does take significant spiritual growth to hold onto that thought when the pressure is on.  All the more reason to note these kinks in our hearts – and we all have kinks – and do our best to get them straightened out before the fact.  We need to learn to relax in Him and trust in Him absolutely, regardless of what we see or hear – or what our emotions fear.  He is absolutely faithful and has never been otherwise to us, nor could He be, perfect that He is.  The Lord is thus worthy of our absolute trust in return.

Fifthly, God has a very specific purpose for us all.  For those like yourself who know enough about the truth and who are spiritually mature enough to consider these matters seriously now before the fact as you are doing, the acceleration of growth and increased depth of faith that such impetus is likely to provide will put you in a position then to be of greater service to the Lord based upon what you are doing now Laodicea is the lukewarm era of the Church as we know quite well and observe on every hand.  However, while one third of the believers we know will fall away, two thirds will not, half of whom will have the spiritual strength to endure martyrdom and the other half of whom will have the spiritual strength to make it all the way through the entire Tribulation!  Now where will that spiritual strength come from, seeing as how these brothers and sisters are mostly nowhere in spiritual terms at the present moment?  Answer: from people like yourself who will be pressed into service by the Lord to help all such with crash courses of Bible truth once the Tribulation melts away the lukewarm attitude that now obtains.  I would rather be in heaven too.  I would rather avoid it all too.  But it would be beyond selfish to ask the Lord for that, understanding the great need for the truth we shall see once it all begins.

(33) And those among the people who have insight will teach the people who will be persecuted by sword (i.e., martyrdom), and flame (i.e., torture leading to martyrdom), and captivity (i.e., imprisonment), and plundering (i.e., confiscation of property), for some time. (34) And when they are persecuted, they will receive a little help . . .
Daniel 11:33-34a

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hello Dr. Bob,

The authorities here have been doing their own scheduled cellular tower signal jamming activities that hampers internet connection. (These activities increased in frequency after the incident following the massive evacuation from Marawi - the police were alerted by a store report about a volume purchase of cheap brand cellphones from a big department store. These electronic devices were known to be used in detonating IED's.) Maybe that affected the timing of the sending and receiving of our messages.

I alternate reading from any of the series to the weekly emails. I read something from there about the righteous life of Jesus is what secured salvation (not from your response, of course). Then I remember viewing an evangelism youtube video message titled "Unpopular". In that video there are three known persons alternately giving short messages pertaining to the Gospel - one is evangelical (maybe neither calvinist nor arminian), the other one new Calvinist, the third one Arminian. I attached a 7-second clip of the video in this email, which is related to my question.

I strongly believe that faith in the death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins is what saves. ([God] made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him - 2 Corinthians 5:21; And while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 1 Peter 2:23-24; Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5.1 Cor. 15:1-4 is gospel, Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,)

People living prior to that event believed that as pictured by the animal sacrifices ritual. What is this "we are saved by his birth, by his perfect life, and yes, his death, if we could see Jesus' death on the cross as connected to his life" teaching? Is faith in His substitutionary death not enough? Not that we disregard that Jesus lived a perfect life.

In Jesus Christ the lamb of God who took away the sin of the world,

Response #18:

I was not able to play this file type on my computer, but I think that the sacrifice of our Lord is indeed a critical part of the gospel (Rom.3:25) – as is a recognition of who He is, God and man in one Person forever since the incarnation. However, when it comes to being saved, the Spirit is the Evangelist in Chief, and He makes the essential truth real to the heart of the person receiving the good news. Many people, therefore, are no doubt saved without understanding even all of the basics. They trust in Jesus Christ, even if they understand very little about who He is and what He has done at the time. Mind you, without growth after salvation, that "very little" can be a huge detriment. We all need ever more truth to build faith and spiritual armor against the attacks of the evil one and the world.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend! Please continue to grow and fight the good fight for Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior. Therein lies great eternal reward.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hi Bob,

http://www.christianpost.com/news/the-solar-eclipse-a-sign-of-judgment-for-america-195437/

Consider this: this is the only solar eclipse in history that will be exclusively within the borders of the United States of America. God sometimes likes to use celestial phenomena as warning signs of impending judgment.

Response #19:

If that were the case, I would expect it to cross through California and New York rather than just west of Louisville.

Question #20:

Dear Bob,

A question you're probably fielding frequently today is, do you see any Biblical significance to the fact that we have a total eclipse over the US and a new moon on the same day? When the Lord made the lights, part of their purpose was to be signs. (Genesis 1:14. Again in Luke 21:25. So their purpose has functioned throughout history.)

I don't believe it signals the end but it does seem like a divine slap in the face of the US and a wake-up call. Or, maybe, I'm letting my own opinion of the state of the nation color the question.

Thanks.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #20:

As to the eclipse, I think you have it right. On the one hand, there is no specific prophecy which has anything to do with this event (there is no specific prophecy that takes place in the Church Age period); on the other hand, God is certainly not unaware of this event. To me, it highlights our weakness and insignificance even in respect to the physical world – how much more so in regard to the majesty of the Lord who made all these things! So I find it interesting that so many people seem to be enthused about this phenomenon from the standpoint of "science" – which assumes we can not only understand but somehow control things which are far beyond our power and ken. That gap, between godly humility and self-willed arrogance, seems to be the hallmark of our present time, and certainly is a "sign of the times" in which we live. Failure by most to take advantage of this event in a godly way – to realize how small we are and how much we need the Lord and so to wake up spiritually – is just another signpost of the coming end of the age.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Thanks, Bob,

I can safely say that the eclipse appears to have brought a multitude of crazies out of the wood work. The religion (or cult) of scientism seems stronger than any others of which I'm aware. The "lifetime" event passed here without incidence and was barely noticeable.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #21:

Any time!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Hi Dr,

I have reread and reread your piece about the Gaps in the Jewish calender as part of God's timetable for human history. I am confused about one section. Take for instance the Gap #3, the Church age where you calculate it to be 14 days plus 108 days (12 *9). On pg 62, you state to take the 14 day period and subtract it from the # of days and you are left with a varying degree of 12 day complements. When i did the math it is not adding up and i need your help to see what i am missing.

When add 14+108 =122 days for the Church age but you state it is 108 days from the end of Weeks to beginning of booths? Can you clarify? I know 108/12 = 9, but where do the 14 days play into it in the Church age? I understand the jewish age you need it to get to 50 days but the church age is confusing.

Thank you for your help.

In Christ Jesus our Lord

Response #22:

I think you are talking about this section in SR 5:

Subtracting these fourteen day periods from the number of days in each of their three respective gaps, we are left with a varying number of twelve day complements: 12 x 3 for the Jewish Age, 12 x 9 for the Church Age, and 12 x 12 for the Millennium (see the discussion above and the chart at the beginning of this section).

By this I mean that without adding the 14 days which stand for the gap in the case of all four ages, the extra days of the three ages which have them are a multiple of the number twelve (which, theologically, stands for completeness): 12 x 3 for the Jewish Age, 12 x 9 for the Church Age, and 12 x 12 for the Millennium. In terms of the math, here is what I have (see the chart for the details):

14 - Gentile Age gap
7 - unleavened bread
14 - Jewish Age gap
36 - Jewish Age extras
7 - feast of weeks
14 - Church Age gap
108 - Church Age extras
7 - feast of tabernacles
14 - Millennium gap
144 - Millennium extras
365

The way I interpret the extra days in each of the gaps is as a representation of the number of believers in each, with the Gentile Age having not even enough to rate a single "twelve", with the Church Age have approximately three times as many believers as the Jewish Age in the same amount of calendar time, and with the Millennium equaling all preceding ages in number of believers in spite of being one sixth the time of the others combined.

When I state "The 108 days from the end of the feast of Weeks until the commencement of the feast of Booths (or Tabernacles) represents the Age of the Church . . .", I am stressing the number unique to the Church Age (108) which does have an additional 14 days as all the ages do; just prior to this statement I have: " Gap #3: The Church Age: 14 days plus 108 days".

But I can see how this might easily be misinterpreted. I have now changed the above from "The 108 days from the end of the feast of Weeks . . . " to "This period from the end of the feast of Weeks . . . ".

So thank you for your sharp eye, my friend! Do let me know if this doesn't clear things up for you.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hello again Dr. Luginbill,

I have another question regarding the subject scripture verse.

"1“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book."

Questions:

1. Is this verse referring to the Tribulation or?
2. It says: "at that time [the time of trouble], "your people" will be delivered". Are these people being referenced here only the Jews, or they all Christians? since it says "everyone whose name shall be found written in the book".
3. What time is being referenced by "at that time"?
4. I am assuming Daniel is addressing the "Tribulation" here in this verse, but time is he referring to when he says "at that time", and what does "shall be delivered" mean? Is Daniel referring to after the tribulation is over, or at the close of this trouble, or at the beginning of this period?

I am asking these question in light of your teachings on the Tribulation, and how they relate to one another.

Thanks again Dr. for your kindness and gentleness for treating me with understanding (always), as I am asking these somewhat trivial questions.

Wish that I knew Hebrew on a lot of these questions.

Be being blessed by our Lord and Savior,

Your friend,

Response #23:

Good to hear from you. Here is how I translate the verse and also what I say about it in CT 4:

At that time, Michael the great prince (i.e., archangel) will take his stand [in your defense], [even] he who stands [in defense] over the sons of your people. For [that time] (i.e., the Great Tribulation) shall be a time of distress such as has never occurred since people first existed [on the earth] until that time. But during that time your people will escape, [that is,] everyone who[se name] is found written in the book [of life] (i.e., present and future believers).
Daniel 12:1

Since the context here is the commencement of the Great Tribulation, we can see from the correlation of these events that Michael's ejection of Satan from heaven is followed up by his immediate protection of Israel (something that is thus clearly taking place behind the scenes in Revelation 12:13ff.). Following the defeat of the devil's army, Michael and his forces are thus instrumental in preventing Satan from effectively spilling out his wrath upon these Jewish believers as they make their way into the desert and safety.

So to answer your questions:

1) Yes, the time of unprecedented great distress is the Tribulation, and specifically the start of its second more intense half, aka "the Great Tribulation".

2) The specific meaning here is the special protection bestowed upon believing Jews at this time (i.e., those who have responded to the ministry of Moses and Elijah and the 144,000); these are specially delivered to the place of refuge in the desert where they will wait out the rest of the Tribulation in safety (described in Revelation chapter 12:1ff.).

3) So "that time" is the critical point where antichrist is revealed and takes his seat in the temple at Jerusalem, beginning the Great Persecution. "During" rather than "at" is slightly preferable and refers to the sequence of events wherein the flight to the desert and the defeat of antichrist's pursuit takes place.

4) The deliverance is the physical deliverance of the believing remnant of the Jewish people and their safe-keeping for the duration of the Tribulation.

Thanks for your good words – keeping you and your family in my prayers, my friend.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hello,

I hope all is well! I have a couple Bible study process questions. First, I was wondering how we distinguish between eschatological prophecy and near-future prophecy. Daniel 11 offers a lot of opportunities to explore this, for instance, there is a large amount of support for the idea that Daniel 11:21 begins to speak of Antiochus, and also of the antichrist, but how is it that we determine this? What clues us in on this? Similarly, do we expect the man in Daniel 11:20 to be leading future Babylon before the antichrist rises to power, or was this ONLY applicable to the near-future events of Antiochus? How would we determine this either way?

My second question is about Biblical truths and promises. I would like to know how we determine a promise given by God to a specific group or a specific person is also applicable to us today.

For instance, the famous passage of God knowing the plans He has for Jeremiah in Jeremiah 29. Can we legitimately proclaim this is applicable to each of us? Similarly, in Psalm 23 David famously writes about God as his shepherd, but what is it that tells us we can also look at God in this manner and that it was not a unique situation between David and the Lord?

I appreciate any time you can put into answering these questions. My second question came to me when encountering some fellow believers who asserted some claims using old testament scriptures, and I began to consider how we distinguish between passages applicable to all people and passages applicable to only the person or persons (or nations) addressed in that passage. Once again, thank you for your time and insight!

Response #24:

Good to hear from you, my friend. As to your questions:

1) There is no question that from Daniel 11:21 onward we have to do primarily with antichrist even though the prophecy also relates to Antiochus. This is a matter of what is called "typology" (see the link), a much used device in the Bible wherein one person (or thing) stands for or represents or illuminates certain aspects of another usually more important person (or thing). The most common "typing" has to do with Christ – the most important Person in history (since all history depends on Him as does of course the salvation of all believers). So to some degree Moses and David are "types" of Christ, not in all they do but in many aspects of their lives and experiences. Antiochus is a "type" of antichrist (see the link), which is to say that his life and career parallel that of the beast in eerily similar ways.

Figuring out specifically who may be a "type" of whom and to what degree is the stuff of biblical interpretation, and there has been much woolly-headed thinking on that score throughout the Church Age (of which, unfortunately, a great deal has made its way into print). Proper interpretation requires a) the gift of teaching, b) laborious academic preparation, c) a solid grounding in the truths of scripture (because every truth much be built on other truths), and d) a great deal of time-consuming hard work. In other words, it is not a mechanical process which a robot could do given the right data – nor can the average believer hope to sort all these issues out entirely on their own.

The Church is a Body composed of many parts, and each part has a proper role to play. If a foot tries to be an ear, the hearing will suffer; if an ear tries to be a foot, the walking will suffer. But while most believers have neither the gift nor the preparation to even attempt to figure these things out on their own, we all have been given the spiritual discernment (some even more than others through special gifting) to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff, the good fruit tree from the bad one, the teacher who knows what he's talking about from the one who does not.

So what is a believer to do? For maximum spiritual growth and advance, everyone should find the best possible teaching ministry they are able to accept. That is to say, unless a person believes what is taught, what it "learned" is only knowledge (gnosis), not full knowledge (epignosis), and only the latter is usable by the Spirit to guide us forward in our Christian walk. So we all need to find a place where a) we can grow, and b) we are willing to grow.

All that said, as early as Jerome, readers of scripture were recognizing that the parallelism between Antiochus and the beast began very clearly at Daniel 11:21. So while I may not be able to give you a complete checklist of "how" I came to know that this is the case, I can tell you that it definitely is the case, and that anyone who is truly prepared to teach the Word of God will come to the same conclusion by studying these verses (especially if principles of biblical typology and other hermeneutic issues are understood; see the link). One thing that should give anyone with a reverence for the Bible pause about seeing this passage as only relating to Antiochus is verse thirty five which is still speaking of the same person:

And even from among [the ranks of] those who have insight, some will be persecuted, in order to refine, purify, and cleanse them until the final end. For [it is] yet to come at its appointed time.
Daniel 11:35

The "final end" would be the end of the age which will come at "the time appointed", and this it seems must be the second advent and the return of Christ which brings "to an end" the depredations previously described.

2) This would depend upon when the person "arises" in verse twenty-one. In terms of Antiochus, the date can be historically determined (175 B.C.); not so in the case of the beast (since we don't know when he will gain control of Babylon). But that previous "person" in Daniel 11:20 is not a type of anyone else, so we can't use that information to determine the time of the beast's first appearing. I have speculated before that it does seem reasonable to suppose that antichrist might be in some position of authority before the Tribulation begins, but have also pointed out that this is not necessarily so. With the removal of Holy Spirit restraint, the pace of political change during the Tribulation will be unprecedented in the history of the world (see the link).

3) On Jeremiah 29:11, we do know that God has a plan and an eternal destiny for each and every one of us (e.g., Rev.21:27), and that in fact He is working absolutely everything out for the good . . . for those who love Him (Rom.8:28). All that has / is / will happen has been decreed in God's plan, with ample grace already provided for all of us who belong to Him. So yes indeed it is legitimate to apply this verse to all believers. Jeremiah had the benefit – no doubt a great encouragement – of having this reassurance given to Him directly from the Lord and specifically for him. So we might think that he has the advantage on us in this regard. But remember what Peter says about the preview of the second advent he was given to see with his own eyes and hear about with his own ears on the mount of transfiguration: "Yet I consider the prophetically inspired Word (i.e. the Bible) even more reliable (i.e., than what I saw with my own eyes)" (2Pet.1:19).

4) Christ is the Chief Shepherd and we are His sheep (Jn.10:1ff.), so yes indeed, Psalm 23 applies to us all, directly to us. No believer is more advantaged than any other believer, even if we have or don't have advantages of one sort or another. That is because whatever we lack God can and will provide if we are really willing to follow Him more closely – and whatever advantages we do have will not provide that closer walk absent dedication on our part. David had the Spirit because He was desirous of following the Lord – but it wasn't a permanent gift if he proved unfaithful. We believers in the Church Age have the Spirit indwelling us and sealing us permanently until death – and yet how many believers today are following Christ as carefully and as closely and as joyously as David did? Very few if any at all. God will take us as far as we are willing to go in drawing close to Him and His Son and in honoring Him and His Son and in winning the rewards that come to those who do so. God never limits us. We only limit ourselves out of our own free will.

In terms of HOW we apply scriptures such as the ones you ask about, I do understand that there is much misapplication abounding in our day. It's not so much the "if they apply" but the "how they apply" in many cases. I hope this is a good start to answering your questions. Do feel free to write me back about any of the above.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Thank you,

The concept of the type is an amazing idea because it highlights God's mastery over time and events, it really is such a beautiful thing. I think when you wrote about the idea that there is no mechanical/robotic process that would determine these types of correlations, it really hit home for me, so I appreciate that analogy. As an engineer/budding web developer/programmer I often spend my time in a world where everything needs to have reasoned logic, but it is important for to me remember not all things will be discerned this way. And yet on the other hand we are not to throw reason out the window. As you also mentioned, much of this comes from diligently working at it for quite some time. I appreciate the insight on this. It is also fascinating for me to consider the difference between knowledge and full knowledge. It is quintessentially the bridge between the head and the heart (to borrow a phrase from Ravi Zacharias).

For my second set of questions, it was upon reading your comment on the idea that the question is not "if" but "how" the Word applies that I remembered Paul's statement about all scripture being useful in 2 Timothy. I was recently speaking with my wife about the will of God for us and she had asked if I thought God had a specific will tailored for each person. I read a book back in 2012ish called Decision Making God's Way, and I am always grateful for it because it helped clarify something so simple: that God's will has been revealed to us in His word, and if we want to discern it we must read it. It seems such a basic principle but it is sometimes lost on so many, in my mind. How many Christians wander as though they are lost unless they receive a miraculous vision from God? The miracle is before us in His Word and its application. How I live, what I choose to do, it should all be molded and informed through the lens of scripture. That book really put the responsibility on us to know the Word. Somehow this has been drowned out as a foundation principle of the Christian walk.

All that said, I do fully accept that God could very well have a specific plan but I see the situation less as a road map to be used now and more as a history to be reflected on looking back from eternity. When I think of the time to come and how I have been blessed with the resources on your site, or how I have been blessed with an ability to teach and lead, or my thirst for knowledge and my passion for sound reason paired with sound belief, I feel as though God must be preparing me for something in that time. I will only be middle aged when it begins, that seems like a good age, haha. Perhaps I may become a source of information and guidance for Christians who have not had this preparation. And that encourages me to continue preparing and studying, so I appreciate all your resources and may God use us to do His great work. It would be the greatest of honors to serve the Lord by helping the brothers and sisters in that hour. God bless!

Response #25:

Excellent and insightful comments, my friend! I appreciate them very much along with all your good words.

Yes, it is sad to see how something so basic as "you need to learn what the Bible says and also what it means to follow Christ" is an alien concept to most Christians today – at least in actual practice if not in theory. But this is lukewarm Laodicea, after all. That is why I rejoice in rare Christians like yourself who along with Mary have "chosen the better part" (Lk.10:42).

I also completely agree with you on the plan of God; what you say is dead on correct and an important rider in explaining this principle. Clearly, God does not have in His Word specific information about whom we should marry or whether we should marry, about where we should go to school or whether we should join the military or how we should dress or, or, or. Scripture has general principles about the way Christians should arrange their priorities and apply the truth to their Christian walk. The next installment of the Basics series, "Peripateology", will have a lot about all this.

And it's an excellent point about miracles and visions too. Many people assume that if they had an epiphany everything would change. Maybe. It worked that way for Paul – but he was exceptional. The entire exodus generation saw miracle after miracle and marvel after marvel, but they never learned a thing. That is why Peter's comment quoted last time is to me so profound: "the prophetic Word more sure" is better than anything we might see or hear or be given to feel – because while the former may fade, we always have the Word with us, and when believed and energized by the Spirit, it is so much more powerful than any mere experience could ever be.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

 

 

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