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Gospel Questions X
Glory, John the baptist, the hidden talent, the Kingdom of God

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Question #1:

Regarding John 16:7:

But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
John 16:7 NIV

You wrote that "since the Church Age could not begin until Christ ascended and was glorified, the Spirit could not be given until these events took place" - but why is the Church Age the province of the Spirit in the first place? Could you clarify the point you make about the Jewish Ceremonial Calendar?

Response #1:

The gift of the Spirit has to follow our Lord's resurrection/ascension/session/glorification – in other words just as an official recognition in heaven of His victory at the cross was necessary for His glorification, so also it seems to have been necessary in order for the promised "giving of gifts" from the plunder of victory to commence:

(7) And to each of us this grace has been given according to the measure of the gift of Christ. (8) For it says, "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive (i.e., He brought pre-cross believers to heaven). He gave gifts to men." (9) Now [as to] this [phrase] "He ascended", what can it mean except that He had also [previously] descended into the lower reaches of the earth (i.e., Hades, from whence He brought the pre-cross believers to heaven)? (10) The One who descended is also the One who ascended above all the heavens (i.e., into the third heaven, the place of the Father's residence), in order to fulfill all things (i.e., complete the victory won at the cross; cf. Ps.110:1).
Ephesians 4:7-10

Question #2:

Since "In beginning" from Genesis is followed by "God created the heavens and the earth", it is evident that it refers to the beginning of creation. But I thought that John 1:1 refers to the eternity-past, pre-creation state. So I find it difficult to understand that John makes the same point as Moses here, because Moses seems to be referring to the beginning of creation time, but John seems to be referring to the time before the creation. Please clarify.

Response #2:

That is the point. In [the] beginning / en archei / bereshith both refer to the point of creation – from the standpoint of creation (Genesis), but there is no actual "point" outside of time and space (that is John's perspective). We have a hard time thinking in non-chronological ways. But by using this language the Spirit makes it clear that, unlike creation, God does not have a beginning or an end or even a sequence: He is. Using the definite article in either passage might make it appear that this is God's beginning too – but there is no such thing.

Question #3:

NIV SB note on Pharisees:
On free will and determination, they held to a mediating view that did not allow either human free will or the sovereignty of God to cancel out the other.

Could you clarify this view and explain how can it be derived?

Response #3:

This strikes me as mere speculation not capable of being derived from what the Bible has to say about the Pharisees. Our other sources (primarily Josephus and the Mishnah along with other Jewish writings) may add something, but that couldn't be considered dispositive either – especially as a sort of universal view the way this note puts it. In the absence of some reference (which no doubt does not exist), the note should be ignored. We know that the problem for the Pharisees was that they wanted to be perfect (the ones who were serious about their religion like Paul was, at least), but defined that perfection through a completely warped interpretation of the Law. Under those circumstances, namely, having blocked themselves from the truth through their willful transmogrification of it, the issue of how free will and divine sovereignty interact is pointlessly moot.

Question #4:

You wrote (http://ichthys.com/mail-Absolute-Eternal-Security.htm):

2) Apostasy: The parable of the sower: Matt.13/Mk.4/Lk.8: Without any doubt, the ground or earth in the parable represents the person in question and the seed planted therein represent the Word of God; there are four situations described by our Lord: 1) the seed/Word does not penetrate the heart; 2) the seed/Word does penetrate but dies on account of pressure; 3) the seed/Word does penetrate but is unproductive on account of pressure; 4) the seed/Word does penetrate and is productive. In all four instances, the description of the person is exactly the same in that all four individuals "hear the Word". Thus it is the response of the person concerned alone from which we must exegete the parable. And in cases 2-4, there is penetration of the Word into the heart (=belief of some sort). Case 1 is clearly an unbeliever from start to finish - the Word never effectively penetrates so that faith "sprouts". Cases 3 and 4 are believers and faith does sprout (although #3 gets into heaven ala 1Cor.3:15 "as through fire"); but Case #2 is clearly also someone who did believe at first (for faith did sprout).

This is an interesting point - so far I have thought that only case #4 is saved, but you're saying that case #3 is saved also. So should Matthew 13:7 and 13:22 be understood that the faith, although "unfruitful" is still there? So far my understanding was that since the thorns "choked" the plant, the person is no longer a believer?

Matthew 13:7
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.

And

Matthew 13:22
The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.

Response #4:

It is the case that all believers will have something to show for our life on this earth – that is, all who have survived with their faith intact. In many cases, however, and sadly probably in the vast majority of cases, there will be nothing like "thirty-fold" production. The "weeds" category represents this class of person who believes and holds onto belief but little else. To draw a parallel with another parable these are like the hypothetical case of the person who should have put his talent out "at interest" – full production would not result but at least there would be something to show for a largely passive Christian life. The fact that there is still a plant which has not died – a plant representing faith (which does not sprout in the first group and does die in the second) – and the fact that while weeds are bad and burned good plants are not, suggests to me that these are believers who are not doing the production they should (on account more often than not of failure to grow up spiritually in the first place).

Question #5:

Is it not the case that if the thorns "choked" the plants, then we should understand that the faith is no longer there?

Response #5:

The plant represents faith growing from its seed. Ideally, the plant will produce in the end – that is the ultimate object of our faith and lives here in the world for Christ, lived as He would have us to do so. In the first instance, the plant never sprouts (no faith at all); in the second instance, the seed sprouts into a plant but the plant dies (faith dies); in this third instance, the plant grows up but is choked by weeds so that it does not produce a good crop (faith doesn't die but it is not as productive as it should be to the requisite 30/60/100 fold level necessary to earn crowns of reward). In my estimation of these things, this category is where we will find most believers in the history of the Church ending up – associated with the three gates of the New Jerusalem for those who won no crowns (as opposed to the other three sets of gates represented by the three-fold levels of positive production in growth, progress and service respectively).

Question #6:

One cannot see God's glory and live, and yet our Lord could be seen, despite seeing Him being equal to seeing the Father (John 14:8-9). Could you explain?

Response #6:

This has to do with what the word "glory" means in scripture. It is used in various ways to represent the manifestation of the reality behind whatever has the "glory". That is reason why OT Greek fixed on doxa (in secular Greek meaning "reputation") for Hebrew cabhodh. We are "the glory of God" and woman is "the glory of man", meaning that in both cases when the person in question responds as he/she should, it presents something of the essence of the person being "glorified" or made manifest by the glorifier. The glory Christ manifested during the first advent was clearly not the same visible refulgence He now possesses (which caused John to fall on his face in Revelation chapter one). Nor did He manifest the "unapproachable light" that is part and parcel of the essence of God (1Tim.6:16) – although He certainly possessed that glory in His deity. If we were to see God's "light" without the filter of this body and this world, we would certainly not fail to appreciate His being; we will see Him as He is in resurrection; until that time we see His essence represented by what He does and says. In the person of His Son that glory was manifest as never before or so far since, and will not be again until He returns "in glory".

Question #7:

Hi Bob,

It has been a little while, but I am back! I have a few questions in attempting to define 'the glory' of the Lord God. What IS the glory of God? I understand Proverbs 25:2 Psalm 19:1. I am not sure how to address or present my ignorance concerning this topic, so I will just dive in and hopefully you can 'unwind' my misunderstanding(s)?

Let me start here - Romans 1:23 - "And changed 'the glory' of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man..." I have come to consider that the 'glory' spoken of here IS – God's Holy spirit, power, righteousness, abundance, faith, inheritance – the visible presence of God (in Jesus Christ) and promised in us redeemed. I think 'the glory' is the 'to be' seen manifestation of God, the Father 'to be' seen thru His Word (God is Light for God was in Christ): "the darkness and the light are both alike to thee".

Did the material or substance of 'changed glory' happen in the garden of Eden with Adam & Eve?  (when their eyes were opened and saw they were naked; were ashamed and hid). Is this when spirit became substance? Or did the 'changed glory' appear or happen with Adam & Eve's first born descendants - Cain & Abel? When The Word became flesh, (The Word assumed a human form and became incarnate as the child of Mary) He came in the form of the descendants of Adam but still God. So did Jesus Christ (who is God the Word) shed 'the changed glory' of fallen human flesh on the cross, so God could be seen in His spiritual abundance or 'to be' seen, after the cross in the TRUE glory of God, that man was designed in purpose for? The seed of God cannot sin, lie or die, but in the 'changed glory' of the uncorruptible God, Jesus did die, although he is the Son of God in man. Then he was risen. Was this by his own power or by the call of His Father considering the Word was God and the same was God in the beginning? Jesus said I am the TRUE vine, ye are the branches. Does this beg the question, that there were more vines, in the beginning, when The Word was with God? We read the devil was from the beginning.

My Thoughts - the glory of a lesser god. SIN is the vain imagination of God’s glory, in this age and all ages. The glory of the uncorruptible God was changed by a creature created perfect by measure in the glory of God. It is the original SIN. ‘To Be’ like God, before your time (if ever) according to the purpose of the promises.

Response #7:

When you say "I think 'the glory' is the 'to be' seen manifestation of God", I think you have hit the nail on the head. God is "glorious"; "glory" is the shining forth of this perfect character of His, and our Lord Jesus is the embodiment of that glory.

[Jesus] is the shining forth of [the Father's] glory, the precise image of His essence, the One who sustains the universe by His mighty Word.
Hebrews 1:3a

The Greek word for "glory" is doxa and means "opinion" or "how something seems"; when God reveals Himself, He "seems" glorious (for He is); the Hebrew word is chabodh, and it focuses rather on the weightiness or gravity of God. Together, the two form the perfect bridge for the concept, namely, the true wonder of His essence (chabhodh) made manifest in His creation to His creatures (doxa).

That is an expansion of where you start, and that is where I would stop. Many want to make "glory" into some sort of a magical concept (typical in misguided theology; the same thing happens with the word "grace" all the time), but it is much more simple than all that. Romans 1:23 is talking about the glory of God as He has made His character manifest in His creation through natural revelation; that pure (largely veiled) representation of His goodness (verses 21-22) is corrupted by those who reject Him when they substitute falsehoods (paganism in context but any false system or teaching by application) for the truth we can revel in throughout everything He has made.

The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Psalm 19:1 NKJV

Your can find more at the link:

in BB 1: "Glory"

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Good day Dr. Luginbill.

Hope you and your family are keeping well.

I have another question for you today. On reading your material on your website, I understood that Jesus was glorified when He was seated on the right hand of the Father and was given all authority of heaven and earth but then would you kindly explain to me what the verse below means. Why would Jesus say this verse below and that too just after Judas heads out to betray Jesus.

John 13:31
When he was gone, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

And, if Jesus was actually glorified at this moment, it would change things with regard to receiving the Holy Spirit - John 20:22. Would you call John 20:22 to be symbolic and prophetic in nature and why? In other words, why would one be wrong in saying that John 20:22 was exactly when the apostles received the Holy Spirit. Wouldn’t his resurrection also be counted as glorification?

I hope I have made sense of my questions above. And as always, I truly appreciate your effort and true dedication in the expansion of the Kingdom of God.

Yours in Christ,

Response #8:

Good to hear from you as well. As to your question, I take this as an example of prophetic anticipation. In the plan of God, everything has already been decreed. Therefore, to describe something that is technically still in the future and has not actually taken place from our human point of view as "present" is an emphatic way of accentuating its nearness and its absolute inevitability. So I don't think we are supposed to take from our Lord's words here that He had received full glorification at that moment (at least not of the visible sort that was soon to come on the other side of His resurrection). After all, we are told elsewhere in John that the Spirit was not yet given because our Lord had not yet been "glorified" (Jn.7:39), and we know that this gift did not in fact occur until after the ascension at the first Pentecost of the Church. Even in this context when our Lord says that the "hour has come" for Him "to be glorified" (Jn.12:23), that also certainly indicates that the glorification is future – at least in its full measure. By this full and final "glorification" is usually meant, theologically, the full revelation of the inherent glory of God that belongs to the Son by virtue of His deity (cf. His appearance at Rev.1:12-18, and also His appearance on the mount of transfiguration which anticipates His future appearance at the second advent when "all" shall see His glory). That did not happen here, and indeed in the very next verse our Lord speaks of future glorification: "If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately (i.e., very soon; Jn.13:32 NKJV)".

At this point, our Lord had fulfilled His earthly ministry of showing us the way and teaching us the truth, and had done so perfectly; and in doing so, He had certainly glorified the Father – and had also been glorified in the sense of showing the world His perfect person through His perfect life and ministry:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14 NKJV

This may not be the glory of visible light and imposing presence of our Lord's deity that was veiled during the first advent in order to make the issue of faith clear and in order to make the sacrifice of the cross absolutely pure (see the link: The Doctrine of Kenosis), but it was certainly "glorious" in every way, and, when our Lord said these words, His life's walk "full of grace and truth" had then been completed.

Happy the day soon to come when we see His glory face to face.

In Jesus our glorious Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Robert,

Good morning. I pray everything is going well with you and your family. As always you are in my prayers. I have a question about John the Baptist ministry. When John identified Jesus at Jesus baptism as the one he was preparing the way for, why did John not immediately join Jesus at that time or Jesus invite him to come? Was John still unsure about Jesus being the Messiah. I know there was some hesitancy because his faith faltered a bit when he was imprisoned by Herod and Jesus reassured him. Matthew 11:3. I will probably have to to put that on my list to study out John the Baptist ministry.

Like always In Christ

Response #9:

John's ministry had a number of special purposes. The first and foremost was his heralding of the coming of the Messiah. This he did until he was imprisoned by Herod. What many people do not realize, although it is easy enough to work out from scripture, is that the part of John's ministry wherein he was baptizing in the Jordan only lasted about eighteen months (from fall 28 A.D. until spring 30 A.D.). Our Lord's water-baptism took place about a year into John's baptizing (fall 29 A.D.), and John was imprisoned about six months later. So there was not a long period of overlap (the six months includes the temptation in the desert and the period of the calling out of the twelve). John's other main ministry was providing a measure of protection for our Lord's ministry: as long as John was alive, he was the "lightning rod", so to speak, for the opposition of the Pharisees and Sadducees to the idea of a Messiah soon to come. That is to say, just by being alive, John remained a focal point and thus provided a certain amount of "cover" for our Lord's ministry. This can be seen clearly enough in the intensification of opposition to our Lord by the "powers that be" during the final year of His ministry (often called by scholars, "the year of opposition"), culminating in His crucifixion (and resurrection): John was executed one year before the cross. So on the one hand there was not really a significant period for such a collaboration, and on the other hand this was not the best way for John to fulfill his purpose – God worked it all out for the absolute good (as is always the case).

Here are some links which may be helpful:

A comparative chart of the ministries of John and our Lord Jesus

How did John the baptist come to doubt Jesus?

Least in the Kingdom

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Bob,

I would like to bring your attention to the coming of Christ, to the political arena, to the start of his ministry. For I find there is something curiously odd, about the scene unfolding before the mind’s eye when we read the gospel account of the baptism of Christ. It seems that for some time now John the Baptiser has been whipping up the excitement of the people to fever pitch with the news that a Messiah-a new King of the Jews was on his way. And when Jesus did in fact appear John loudly and publicly proclaimed that Jesus was indeed that Messiah. The next day people were much excitedly saying among themselves that Jesus was indeed the long-awaited Messiah. Among those who rushed to see Jesus was one called Nathaniel: who cried out ‘Rabbi, you are the son of God, you are the King of Israel.’ Naturally news of the long-awaited Jewish Messiah-news of Jesus would have reached into the palace of Pontius Pilate and indeed into the palace of Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great. And what would have been the immediate reaction of both Pilate and Herod. Alarm I suggest. For here, as a grown man, was a very real threat to the throne of established order. Here was Jesus in the flesh, the very Jesus who was proclaimed King of the Jews at his birth. Here then was the pretender to the throne of Herod, the very same Jesus Herod the Great had tried to murder as a child. In political terms thirty years is a short space of time. Thirty years ago the ’Massacre of the Innocents’ had taken place ago. Many infant children had died by the swords of Herod’s henchmen but Jesus had escaped by flight into Egypt. But now he was back, as a grown man, and yet curiously he was not immediately arrested? Why not? Thirty years ago Jesus had been front page news. Now he was back again, front pages news once more. Jesus had been a wanted fugitive for thirty years. But this time he was not hiding. He was back and there for the taking. Yet he was not taken, only John the Baptiser was taken-for criticising Herod. However, Jesus, the more dangerous man, who threatened the positions both of Pilate and Herod-who threatened their very thrones, was not taken? Why not? Thoughts please

Response #10:

In fact, as you read what the gospel of John says carefully, John the baptist only made this proclamation to a small group of disciples; there is no record of him directly and publicly making it his business to identify his cousin, Jesus of Nazareth, as the Messiah – although He is, and although John knew this perfectly well (Jn.1:33). What is little appreciated by most is that a large part of John's ministry was to take the limelight and hold it so that Jesus could conduct His three and a half year ministry without being subject to the sort of opposition whose relative absence you are noting here. John was arrested very shortly after Jesus' baptism and the commencement of His public ministry. The effect of this was to keep the focus upon John to a large degree in order for our Lord to be able to have the freedom of movement necessary to do the work He was called to do before going to the cross. John remained in prison for several years and was executed about a year before the cross (see the link for a chart: "The comparative ministries of John and Jesus Christ"); once John was removed from the scene, all eyes did turn toward our Lord and the opposition to Him then steadily increased (with numerous attempts to kill Him), culminating in the crucifixion (scholars often call this last year of ministry "the year of opposition" as a result).

So in this as in all things, the Father had everything perfectly planned out, and our Lord, as in all things, carried out the plan of plans perfectly – otherwise there would have been no propitiation of our sins and no possibility for salvation. As it is, we need only put our faith in Jesus Christ to be saved; that is the only Way:

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
John 14:6 NKJV

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
John 3:16-18 NKJV

You might find these links helpful:

The course of our Lord Jesus Christ's ministry (in BB 4A)

The year of opposition and the last Passover (in BB 4A)

In Jesus Christ who was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hello Bob,

Thank you for your reply and input. In my previous email I made mention of John the Baptist of whipping up the crowds to excitement pitch but if John was not announcing the arrival of a Messiah then just who or what was he announcing? John must have been making quite a commotion because the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to converse with him. They said to him "Who art thou? and John replied "I am not the Christ" Christ as we know equals Messiah. John therefore must have at some time made a public announcement in respect of a coming Christ or Messiah. John then said to the priests from Jerusalem "He it is (the promised one) who coming after me is preferred before me...whose shoes I am not worthy to untie" The next day John seeing Jesus said "Behold the Lamb of God. This is he of whom I spoke." Here we find John identifying Jesus to the same priests he had spoken to the previous day. John also said that Jesus should be made manifest to Israel. While John certainly made Jesus known to some of his own disciples the following day he clearly made Jesus manifest to the Pharisees.

Regards

Response #11:

There is a difference between heralding the Messiah and telling every crowd assembled "Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah". This John never did. Jesus only came to John on that one occasion, to be baptized, and John only announced that Jesus was the Lamb of God on that one occasion when Jesus walked up to him; and apparently this was not heard by many, because later that day when he said it again to "two of his disciples who were standing with him", they seem to be receiving this information for the first time. Since the identification even to the disciples was a one time, very focused event, we may be sure that there was not a general announcement to the religious community at large. Had there been, we may also be sure that the opposition to our Lord would have been even greater than recorded, right from the start . . . so this is the answer to your question.

John's ministry was meant to be and continued to be an announcement of the Messiah without at the same time identifying Jesus Christ as the Messiah far and wide . . . to the point where our Lord would have been unable to minister for the opposition He was receiving. As to "whipping up the crowds", rather John was "beating them up" with a very stern message of the need for repentance and the need for doing deeds consistent with repentance. There was no political element present.

Again, the previously provided links will be helpful if you want to know more about all this.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through whom alone we have life eternal.

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hey Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you for your response. I know this is a bit late. Thank you for your prayers though. I've also been praying for your ministry. I wanted to ask you a question though. There's a story in the Bible where a Canaanite woman comes to Jesus asking for help. At first he refused her. That passage has never sat well with me. I was thinking of a way to put it, but I saw someone else had the same idea. When I googled the story of the woman on the first page of results someone asked why was Jesus so "mean and insulting" to the woman. I kind of felt the same way. They just worded it a lot stronger than I would. So, why is that? Can you explain the situation? Am I missing something?

Thanks,

Response #12:

You are most welcome. I hope things work out both for you and your family.

Our Lord was sent to "the lost sheep of Israel", so that ministering to the gentiles was not part of His mandate in the ministry that preceded the cross – because the Messiah was sent first to Israel. Jesus' words to the Syro-Phoenician woman are designed to make that clear for our benefit. But they also gave an opportunity to demonstrate the mercy, goodness and faithfulness of God, and the power of faith for all who push past seeming obstacles through faith in confidence that He will deliver. After all, the Lord did grant her petition:

Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Matthew 15:28 NKJV

Thank you so much for your prayers!

Yours in the One who is our entire heart, the Lord of Lords, our Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #13:

Thanks Bob,

I'm going through your writings. What do you say about verses like Matt.25:30 where Jesus shows that the lazy, fearful Servant, (not those who stopped believing in Him, but thought he was harsh, and was therefore unproductive ) - was cast out with the wicked?

Response #13:

You're very welcome.

On Matthew 25:30, every actual believer will have something to put before the Lord on that great day of days, no matter how insignificant (a single prayer prayed, for example, or a cup of cold water offered). But the "talent" in this parable represents our free will; those who use it to believe in Christ and respond to Him (as all should) produce a good crop; those who don't use the free will they have been given as those created in the image and likeness of God to respond to Christ but "hide away" their free will, being unwilling to offer it up to the Lord so as to be saved, are lost. The Lord envisions only two general categories in this parable, the saved who respond and are productive (as we all should be) and the lost who are not even willing to believe in the first place – after all, that was by far the biggest category among those to whom He ministered. It is true that there have always been many who allow the world to choke their productivity – but that is not how it should be. I have treated this passage at the link: "The Judgment and Reward of the Church".

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hi, and thanks Robert,

Re: Matt.25:30 - if talents were "free will", and buried talents are those that have not become Christians - why in Jesus' parable would He have those servants who buried their talents refer to him as Master? I mean we get born again by acknowledging that Jesus is Master/Lord - clearly this servant knew and acknowledged him as his master, even as a harsh one. This doesn't seem to match the mind set of an unbeliever, who has no fear of "the Master", and does not acknowledge Him as Lord/Master?

Response #14:

As to your question, at the judgment, all will acknowledge Him as Master (i.e., kyrios also translated as "Lord"):

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (kyrios), to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9-11 NKJV

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Thanks Bob,

But this servant acknowledges Him As Master before the judgement - in fact He's already acknowledged as the servants master when He leaves.

Response #15:

This is a parable so that it must be interpreted in order to determine what the points of comparison mean. We have not, for example, received a literal 60+ lbs. of gold from our Lord (that is what a "talent" is here in the Greek), but all human beings have received free will in the image of God and the opportunity to use it in faith to respond to Him.

Secondly, the non-responsive servant does not, in fact, address the Lord until the final judgment – and at the Last Judgment, "every knee shall bow" and all will acknowledge Him as Lord, even unbelievers.

Thirdly, even unbelievers know here and now that the Lord is their Master. It's just that unbelievers choose not to acknowledge Him before they are forced to do so (when summoned into His presence on the Last Day); they would rather go their own way in this life, "burying their talent" and doing what they please instead of what the Lord wills. That is the difference between them and us:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Romans 1:18-21 NKJV

Yours in the Name of the Master, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hi Bob,

Yes it's a parable, so the meaning of the talents is open to debate, but if we look at the other parables that surround this one, as well as this one - we see they have to do with obedience to the Lord from His servants - not a matter of choosing Him from those who not yet His servants.

The "master" who went on the journey, addressed His servants, of which the unresponsive servant was one. ie. the man was his servant, and thus the master WAS his master - Jesus makes this clear.

This man does not behave like an unbeliever who refuses to acknowledge the Lord - he DID in fact acknowledge the Master as being his Master, even to the extent that he was afraid of his master's actions.

Response #16:

You are certainly free to believe anything you choose.

If the talents are not our choice, they would have to be something else – and they are the key point in this parable. Also, the content of other parables in the vicinity is not a persuasive argument for anything, one way or another – every parable has its own particular meaning which cannot be imported into another one. Also, the Lord made everyone; He is everyone's Master; everyone will acknowledge Him as Master . . . at the judgment (which is the only place where this servant speaks). Also, if you read the link on natural revelation previously provided, you will see (as the quote from Romans 1 also previously provided shows), that even unbelievers understand that there is a God to whom they owe obedience; they are merely unwilling to give that obedience – just as this individual who buried his talent was not willing to obey what he knew to be right. Finally, if this person were a believer, then the only conclusion I can see which is to be drawn from the parable is that failure to "do a good job" for Christ in this life results in damnation; in other words, we would have salvation by works – which scripture elsewhere very clearly rejects:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Bob, this is not about what I want to believe, but if what how I'm interpreting the parable is wrong, please show me where.

You keep saying all WILL acknowledge Him as master - but again, this servant already did.. see verse 24,25, where he says " I knew that you were a hard man…" . Bob, you cannot deny that these are clearly the words of someone who KNOWS he is in the service of someone else.

You interpretation, does not hold water - because it has to mean that this servant didn't use his free will to choose The Master as his master, but clearly we see he already had done so, and was in His service.

This case is way different to the "Romans 1 scenario". This is a man who WANTS to serve and please his Master, so much so that his desire to please, leads him to fear of failure...

Lastly - no, a more accurate interpretation of this parable would not mean works salvation. Salvation as you know has 3 tenses in scripture. Past, present and future. So yes saved, ie. born again, translated into kingdom of God is by faith and repentance Eph.2:8 (past tense), but then we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling Phil.2:13, and pursue holiness (present tense), or we will not see the Lord Heb12:14 (future tense).

Bob please don't get offended or take it personal, just admit that what I'm saying does make sense - and that you COULD be wrong here.

Response #17:

It's a question of what the Bible actually says. As I say, you are free to believe whatever you want; my job is to teach what I believe from careful study in the Spirit scripture is actually saying (like it or not).

"For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them."
Matthew 25:14 NASB

NASB is correct here. The word usually translated "servant" is actually the Greek doulos, "slave". That does make a difference, since slaves only have freedom within the area given them by their masters: they do not chose their masters. So it is with human beings. God made everyone, so everyone belongs to Him; He is everyone's Master, regardless of personal profession, and all humanity is thus in the position of slave (i.e., subordinated at birth not by choice). Some of us embrace this mastery, accepting the grace offered in Jesus Christ; most prefer to ignore it as long as possible, that is, as long as this life lasts. For believers, the judgment is one of determining rewards (as with the first two slaves); for unbelievers, the judgment is one of demonstrating how the person in question is worthy of damnation, no matter how good a set of excuses he/she may think he/she has (as with the third slave). There is nothing in this parable to suggest that Jesus' Lordship was accepted voluntarily by the third slave. The third slave has knowledge of the Master's characteristics, just as all human beings have knowledge of God, "His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse," (Rom.1:20 NKJV; once again, please see the link: Natural Revelation). True acknowledgment in faith would have come in the using of the talent instead of burying it. Every believer will have something to put before the Lord on that great day; there is no such thing as genuine faith which is completely absent all results (Jas.2:17). Unbelievers and believers both have the same Master, just as in this parable; we choose to embrace and serve Him while they disown Him by their actions (lack of response) and are thus condemned. God is the God of all because He made all. No one has the image of God apart from Him. How we use the image (the talent) is what determines our eternal future.

Also, I really have a problem with seeing this slave, being clearly an unbeliever in my view, as someone who "WANTS to serve and please his Master, so much so that his desire to please, leads him to fear of failure". I have never heard that before from anyone, and not surprisingly so. Consider that if that were true, we would have a person who desires to please Jesus being condemned for a true and legitimate desire because he made a technical mistake or omission. That is the exact opposite of grace and mercy, and demonstrates, I think quite clearly, the problems with the alternative interpretation you are advancing here. For in that view we would have here a person who was doing just what you suggest should be done, namely, trying to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" . . . and being condemned for it.

However, we know that ONLY unbelievers are condemned – not believers.

"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
John 3:18-19 NKJV

This slave loved darkness and blames the Master for his own decision to throw away his opportunity to be saved. And what is that opportunity represented by the talent? It is to put one's faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, and follow the Master in this life, doing His will. That is the road to the eternal reward that complements eternal life; failing to do so is what results in condemnation.

No doubt part of the issue here is that our Lord is addressing the Jewish nation first and foremost, a community which was supposed to be composed of nothing but believers, and this is what many assumed, that is, that just because they were Jewish they were saved. So a parable such as this which represents all as slaves of the same Master but some saved and rewarded while others are condemned is just the thing to cause those who are relying on their flesh instead of their spirit to reevaluate: you have to believe; you have to use your talent to respond to the Master who is Master of all, Jesus Christ the Messiah, our Lord and Savior.

Finally, because no indication can be found that this slave did or said anything to indicate that his status as a slave was voluntary, and because nothing in his conduct before the Master's return indicated responsiveness (in fact it shows the complete opposite), I am inclined to stick with the interpretation previously given: as pointed out before several times, merely calling Him "Master" after the fact (once already summoned to judgment when it is too late to do anything about it) is not sufficient ("to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance"), nor is his fear (even the demons know they have a Master and fear Him; Jas.2:19).

Yours in our dear Master who bought us all with His blood, our dear Savior Jesus Christ the Lord.

Bob L.

Question #18:

On Matthew 19:8-9 (NIV1984),

8 Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."

Is your point made at the link (Matthew Questions #96) that at least some of ordinances, like the one on divorce, were given in acceptance of our weakness - so that ideally there should be no divorce at all, but since God knew there would be marital problems, He decreed how such issues were to be dealt with? So taken together, could we say that the Law exposes the imperfection of humanity in two ways - firstly, by showing our inability to fulfil at least some parts of it (that has been my understanding so far), and secondly, by helping us understand that at least some ordinances which we are able to fulfil, we are able to fulfil only because in the first place they accommodate for our sinful nature and inability to live a perfect life (in this case, resulting in no instance of a divorce)? Wouldn't this mean that the Law is both a perfect standard which is unattainable and a realistic behavioural instruction for Israel?

Also How do we distinguish between the spiritual and the legal code? Isn't your point about the legal code similar to what I wrote about ordinances which were given in accommodation for our weaknesses?

Response #18:

I agree completely with the first part; the second thing the Law does is give the solution by foreshadowing the death of Christ for our sins. The part of the Law we are talking about here is the legal code (as opposed to the spiritual code) which was necessary for Israel as a nation "in the world", and in that part of the code there most certainly were accommodations, regulating slavery, for example (which no one would consider a "good" institution), and the taking of interest (even though in a world of perfect believers "there need be no poor people among you"; Deut 15:4); marriage falls into this same category: realistically (and we are talking now about the "real world" nation of Israel being regulated) there would be imperfect marriages and there would be divorces. As is the case with all such regulation, the purpose is to prevent abuse (the woman has a documented legal status in such cases and was thus free to remarry without being subject to prosecution for adultery).

As to your last paragraph, yes, I would say so. Whether purely religious strictures or purely functional societal rules or a combination thereof, it would be hard for anyone to point to any aspect of the Law which ever came close to being consistently followed in Israel, even in general terms – let alone being obeyed perfectly.

Question #19:

Matthew 12:17-21 (NASB):
17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:
18 "Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen;
My Beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased;
I will put My Spirit upon Him,
And He shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19 "He will not quarrel, nor cry out;
Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
20 "A battered reed He will not break off,
And a smoldering wick He will not put out,
Until He leads justice to victory.
21 "And in His name the Gentiles will hope."

In regard to your response at Matthew Questions #58b (at the link), could "not quarreling" nor "crying out" be matched with the fact that our Lord withdraws (verse 15) and the battered reed to be the man whom our Lord healed (verses 10-13)?

Response #19:

I wouldn't reject that as an application. For me, verse nineteen speaks of the cross; verse twenty of His policy of mercy as a result; verse twenty-one of the results of the expansion of the gospel. So Matthew is "looking ahead" at this point and foreshadowing all that is to come at this appropriate "take off" point.

Question #20:

Philippians 2:5-7 (NASB):
5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

On kenosis in Philippians 2:5-7, so to say that He didn't consider it something He had to "grasp for" places a different emphasis. If the verse is translated that He didn't consider equality with God "something stolen", the point is that our Lord existed as God and His earthly ministry didn't deprive Him of His divine status, because He has given up full access to His divinity for the duration of His earthly ministry completely voluntarily. So the divinity wasn't stolen - it was given up (temporarily). If, on the other hand, we translate "something He thought He had to grasp for", the point then becomes that our Lord didn't have to with the divinity or earn it during His earthly ministry. Hopefully I made my point clear here, let me know your thoughts. I suppose these two renderings make two different points, but are complementary rather than mutually exclusive.

Response #20:

I like what you say apart from the language "giving up" His divinity. Christ is God and could never give up His deity, even temporarily. What He did, in His humanity, was to refrain from benefitting that humanity with His deity so as to live life as we all must do before our own glorification. This was necessary for Him to qualified to bear our sins; it also was a huge weight. Not only did Jesus have to refrain from sin but He also had to refrain from accessing the powers of His deity – every moment of His first advent.

Question #21:

When you wrote, "I don't remember taking this verse as "Jesus/John"; I do recall explaining the next verse as John's separation vs. Jesus' engagement. I don't think it's necessary to match these up with weddings/funerals one way or the other. The point is that "this generation" is just looking for an excuse to reject the teaching of the truth, in a very childish way."

I thought you did make the match here - flute was played to John who didn't dance, and dirge to our Lord who didn't weep:

On Luke 7:31-35, most exegetes take both of these examples as describing children at play. They mimic adult behaviors as is common in all culture. In this example, they are described as playing at a (wedding?) celebration and inviting onlookers to "have a good time" (dance), and later as playing at a funeral and inviting onlookers to "mourn". They castigate those who do not do so. This Jesus uses as an analogy against those who were "not pleased" with John (they didn't like the fact that he didn't "dance" and used his asceticism as a reason to devalue what he was saying) and yet were still "not pleased" with Jesus (they didn't like the fact that he didn't "mourn" and used his lack of similar asceticism as a reason to devalue what He was saying). Jesus makes it crystal clear with this analogy that the people who find fault with Him or John on either basis are really only "playing games" and are not serious about the message but only interested in discovering a way to find fault with the messenger.

Response #21:

My "issue" is with the wording "symbolized the ministry"; what was at issue in fact was only the outward behavior of John vs. that of Jesus - a very small detail in two ministries which were complementary in every way. It is true that John called to repentance - but so did our Lord. It is true that our Lord promised the Kingdom - but John proclaimed the coming King. I would be hesitant in the extreme to back-characterize anything important from the facts that John lived ascetically as an example while Jesus met with people where they were (and certainly not in any sort of profligate way).

Question #22:

When you say, my "issue" is with the wording "symbolized the ministry", I suppose we can still say that our Lord's response to the comparison the Pharisees made (not dancing to the flute or weeping with mourning: Matt.11:17), does hold with respect to how John and Jesus lived their lives? These, again, were very similar, but our Lord's words from Matt.11:17 seem to point that whatever the way of life of the one ministering the truth, those not interested in the truth will find an excuse.

Response #22:

I would say perhaps rather "the way that others say them (looking at them with eyes of flesh) was different".

Question #23:

Hello Bob,

Hope this finds you well and still able and willing to answer questions from ignorami such as myself. (I know this is formed from a Latin verb rather than a noun and may be an incorrect plural of ignoramus!). I am really battling with the comparison between the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God. Chafer, amongst others says:

"The Kingdom of God is only entered into by the new birth, is universal, including all moral intelligence willingly subject to the will of God while the Kingdom of Heaven is Messianic, mediatorial, Davidic and has for it's object, the establishment of the Kingdom of God in the earth"

. . . and he quotes Matt.3:2 and 1Cor.15:24-25. He then goes on to say that "the Kingdom of God is only entered by the new birth" but later says that the parables of the wheat and tares and the net are not mentioned in relation to the Kingdom of God but the parable of the leaven (Matt.13:33) IS, indicating that "even the true doctrines of the Kingdom are leavened with the errors of which the Pharisees, Sadducees and Herodians were representative of. So how then can those aforementioned people be in the Kingdom of God if entrance is only available to those who are born again? I confess I am terribly confused and I can't find anything on your site that adequately answers my question. Please help with a sane, reasonable understandable reply!

Thanks again,

Response #23:

Good to hear from you! I'm keeping you in my prayers.

As to your question, the short answer is that the two terms are synonyms. Only Matthew uses the term "kingdom of heaven", and we can say for certain that the distinction is not as earthshaking as Chafer and others have assumed if only for the reason that parallel passages in the other gospels use "kingdom of God" in parallel to Matthew's "kingdom of heaven":

"Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 18:3 NASB

"Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all."
Mark
10:15 NASB

"Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all."
Luke
18:17 NASB

God is Sovereign in the universe and He is King over all as its Creator (e.g., Dan.7:9-14). At present, there is a rebellion underway, and mankind finds itself in the middle of the battlefield. Earth is "contested territory", so to speak, so that while it belongs to God (and so is part of the Kingdom as everything in the universe is by definition), it is functionally under some degree of control by insurgent "the ruler of this world" (Jn.12:31; 14:30; 16:11). We human beings are caught in the middle; or, better put, we have been placed into the middle as the means by which God is resolving this conflict – by means, that is, of our choice for or against His Regent who came into this world to save us and thereby defeat the evil one.

So from the human perspective, we do not yet see "the Kingdom" come on this earth (as in the Messiah's kingdom prophesied and anticipated throughout the Old Testament and yearned for by our Lord's contemporaries with no thought to the price that first had to be paid by Him; Is.52-53). So while God does rule all and control all, the satanic rebellion is still underway and we are still combatants in this conflict, choosing for or against the One who is coming to establish the Kingdom in its full, temporal authority (with the degree to which we who do choose to serve Him constituting the basis for our eternal rewards). We believers are "sons of the kingdom" (Matt.13:38), soldiers of the Messiah King who are opposed by His enemy until such time as the Father will "make Your enemies Your footstool" (Ps.110:1). At that time, the second advent, the Kingdom which is represented by those who have been elected into it will be established visibly and tangibly (i.e., the Millennial Kingdom). That is what we pray for every day, "thy Kingdom come!"

The Lord does make one distinction in this terminology, but it is with the term "the Kingdom of the Father" (which occurs in Matthew 13:43 in the parable of the wheat and the tares), and that is to distinguish between the temporal and eternal phases of the Kingdom, that is, between the second advent of Christ which occurs in time (the Millennium) and the advent of the Father which occurs at the conclusion of time when New Jerusalem descends from heaven through the New Heavens and onto the New Earth, "when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power" (1Cor.15:24 NASB). Then the King and His Son will rule eternally from that point forward and forever, and there will be no further distinctions of the sort discussed above.

"So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near."
Luke 21:31 NKJV

Here are some links where these things are discussed further:

The Kingdom of God (in CT 7)

The Gospel and the Kingdom of God

Meaning of the Kingdom (#6 AND #7)

The Kingdom of God versus the kingdom of Satan

Seek first the Kingdom

Sons of the Kingdom

"Yours is the Kingdom"

The Rule of Christ and the Kingdom of God (in SR 5)

Finally, Matthew does use the standard phrase "Kingdom of God"; so why does Matthew also use "Kingdom of Heaven"? In my view, Matthew was writing to a predominately Jewish audience so that on occasion he used the periphrasis "heaven" instead of "God" so as be less jarring to Jewish ears than a steady diet of the alternative would have been. This may also reflect our Lord's usage; we may be sure that He said these things often and in many places and in many ways with variations for many godly reasons. As John says, "there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written" (Jn.21:25 NASB).

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

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hello Bob,

I am studying the Olivet discourse and have a question. Is it possible that Luke's version of events describe Jerusalem in 70 AD and Matthew's gospel relates to the future second advent and millennial reign of Christ? In other words, is there a "double" reference or meaning here? I cannot make up my mind. Can you help?

Kind regards,

Response #24:

Good to hear from you as always. Since Luke is certainly relating the same discourse, I think it is clear that the main application of these things is eschatological (that is how I take them and how I have taught them). That doesn't mean that there aren't things in this discourse, especially in Luke's version, which are not also applicable to what happened to Jerusalem in the next generation; however, the main application is to the Tribulation. Scripture means what it means and is applicable to what it is applicable; there are many times when there is more than one correct application of the Word to historical events, and deliberately so. Indeed, that is the general pattern of Hebrew prophecy according to the "Day of the Lord" paradigm (please see the link). Most of the details of the specific application of some of the more problematic sections of this portion of scripture are covered at this link: "The Wings of the Eagle" (in CT 4).

Please feel free to write me back about this.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hey Bob,

One thing I've been curious about since I've started my reading was the passage in Matthew 27: 52-54, where it describes many tombs of the saints being opened up and them being resurrected after Jesus was crucified, and when the veil was torn in two, at least if I recall correctly. I was wondering if I should be taking this part literally, is it not to be taken literally, or is it one of those few passages that was 'added in' at the end? I don't wish to say it's 'hard to believe', but I would like to understand it more and learn more of it.

Response #25:

Good to hear from you, my friend.

The dead who rose following the cross were resuscitated in the manner of Lazarus, not resurrected in the sense of being given an eternal body as our Lord now has. That resurrection – of the entire Church – will only take place at the second advent for us all. Those in Matthew 27 who were brought back in their first, physical, earthly bodies were a sign of the life-giving power of Jesus' sacrifice on Calvary, but they have since passed on (again) and await the resurrection in heaven as all departed believers do (and as Lazarus does, also the widow of Nun's son, etc.). Here is a link to where this incident is discussed at Ichthys:

The resuscitation of the dead in Matthew 27

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Oh ok. I suppose the wording in the NASB "resurrection" is what threw me off, but then I should have come to that conclusion already. I wasn't thinking about how Jesus himself brought back the dead, such as Lazarus of whom you speak, I suppose because my mind didn't make that connection "He doesn't have to physically touch them to bring them back from death", like the daughter of the soldier whom came to him and showed him great faith. Thank you for your reply.

Response #26:

You're very welcome.

That is a mistake in the NASB translation. We use the word "resurrection" in a technical theological sense in English to describe the putting on of an eternal body (at least when we are using it correctly). Interestingly, the word used for THE resurrection in the New Testament is anastasis (cf. the name "Anastasia"), whereas what we have in Matthew 27:52 is egeiro, meaning to "wake up" or "be awakened"; meaning that this was the (temporary) "awakening" of their first physical bodies, not a permanent resurrection into the eternal body (for which they are still waiting).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Thanks once again. How are we to differentiate between Matt. 5:14-16 versus 6:1-4? In Chapter 5 we are told to let our deeds be shown, but in chapter 6 we are told to not do our alms before men.

Response #27:

You're most welcome,

As to "let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works" and what our Lord says about trumpeting supposed works in the next chapter, in the first instance the believer is doing his/her job without fanfare; in the second instance the unbeliever (or carnal believer) is actively seeking glory from men as the only reason to even give the appearance of doing "good works". Good works, biblically speaking, are anything we do that is definitely in the will of God for the sake of His Church. That is to say, it comprises so much more than what the world thinks of as "charity". But even where the latter is concerned, if a believer is doing the right thing, those who are benefitted will see it. So there's no contradiction here at all. Matthew 5:14-16 is encouraging believers not to sit on their faith but to grow, progress and produce for the Lord – in the right way; Matthew 6:1-4 is entirely consistent with this good approach since it recommends genuine acts of righteousness rather those which are only done for secular advantage and recognition. If we are growing, if we are really walking with Jesus, if we are really helping our brothers and sisters in Christ in all the multifarious aspects of ministry that define the Church, that is "letting our light shine" – but Pharisaical "hoopla" over things which really aren't in the will of God anyway sums up, in my estimation, about 99% of what passes for charity, good works, ministry and witnessing in our lackadaisical Laodicean era. This will all be revealed "in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel." (Rom.2:25 NKJV).

Yours in the dear Lord who bought us, Jesus Christ our Savior,

Bob L.

Question #28:

Good Morning Bob.

First, you have been faithful with the 'talent' that has been left with you till the King returns. This Deposit, His Deposit, has been invested through you in this, His Kingdom, and is bringing a return. You are not going to give back, in His time, only the Deposit, the 'talent', which was made to you.

I am s l o w l y grasping to the depth of His investment in me, realizing it is not for me to have power, any more than the match to think it is in control of the flame. It is the Flames purpose to consume it.

Jesus speaks of 'greater works than these' which the disciples will be capable of. I pray this is as He demonstrated, in His ability to forgive sins, with the lesser work being 'pick up your mat' or the physical manifestations we associate to readily as the greater power of G-D.

Forgiveness of sin...the greater work. I am incapable of grasping the meaning. The enormity of such a statement. The elusiveness of understanding. Only thru the Spirit , to light such a fire in those that would receive it.

As we go Bob, I just wanted once again to say thanks.

His Peace upon you as we continue to invest the 'talent' He left us to invest, till His return.

Response #28:

And thank you, friend!

I always appreciate your good words, and I am confident that your encouragement of others and your other ministrations for the kingdom of God will not go unrewarded on that great day of days.

In our Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #29:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you very much for your excellent commentary on difficult Bible topics. I enjoy reading them and am very much blessed by your Website.

Recently I read a commentary that indicated the wise men who visited baby Jesus after his birth were from a group of Jewish philosophers or astronomers that descended from the time and possibly offspring of Daniel who was a counselor to the king of Babylon.

Do you give any credence to this theory?

Yours in Christ,

Response #29:

Good to hear from you, my friend.

As to your question, this sounds somewhat similar to what I have written about the subject also – although to my mind these wise men were most likely believers (who may not have been Jewish), men who not only knew the scriptures but believed them and followed through on them (a journey of this sort that they undertook being no mean or easy feat). What I have written will be found at the link:

BB 4A: Christology: "The star and the Magi (Matt.2:1-18)"

Thanks for all your good words about this ministry!

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #30:

Merry Christmas, but I don't really celebrate holidays, even putatively "Christian" ones.

"One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind." (Romans 14:5)

"God again set a certain day, calling it "Today." This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God." (Hebrews 4:8-10)

Response #30:

Can't argue with that! Hope you had a nice day anyway.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

 

 

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