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Question #1:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you so much for your comments, but most of all for your continued prayers. Would you please comment on the following remarks describing the God-Head?

The Trinity is one in essence but three in personality: (1) God the Father (2) God the Son (3) God the Holy Spirit. We understand the personality of God from the Scriptures which reveal the manifestations of His attributes. God: (1) Designs, (2) Executes, (3) Empowers.

These are all activates of His personality:
(1) God the Father designs
(2) God the Son executes.
(3) God the Holy Spirit empowers.

When God speaks of Himself with the first person personal pronoun “I,” He is revealing to us that He is conscious of Himself and eternally Himself. God: (1) Thinks (2) Makes decisions (3) Feels.

God has attributes, but God is a personality. God is not a thing or a force. God knows that He is beyond comparison. He has absolute self-respect. God the Father totally respects and loves God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Christ totally respects and loves God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit totally respects and loves God the Father and God the Son.
Thanks again so much.

With the love of Jesus,

Your friend,

Response #1:

Good to hear from you, my friend.

On this latest, I think the first half is a fairly straightforward and traditional representation of the Trinity (you can find my teaching on this in BB 1).

Starting with "When God speaks of Himself with the first person personal pronoun", however, I would be reluctant to sign off. That is mainly because 1) scripture never puts things in this way directly or indirectly (these are mostly deductions), and 2) because of the nature of the way they are phrased they could lead to misunderstanding in my opinion. For example, if we say God "thinks, makes decisions and feels", that is problematic for a great many reasons. People think and we know what that process involves. But whatever God does, His "thinking" is so far above ours as to not be truly comparable (cf. Is.55:8-9). People make decisions, but God has never made one regarding the world and the entirety of angelic and human history from beginning to end – at least not following the divine decree to initiate and complete creation, a plan so perfect it took every single thing into account. And people have feelings, but God's "feelings" as delineated in scripture are always anthropopathisms (see the link), the ascribing to God of human emotions which He does not in fact have in order to help us to understand His actions.

So I suppose my problem with the second half here is that it humanizes God in order to try and explain Him. While on the one hand we who study and teach scripture should not allow the fact that some things are difficult and somewhat mysterious to dissuade us from teaching what scripture allows us to teach from legitimate inference and scriptures which do support what we teach, on the other hand we should be very careful not to go beyond the bounds of what the Bible actually allows (1Cor.4:6). I guess this is a long way of saying that because God speaks of Himself as "I", I don't think it follows necessarily that He thinks, decides and feels – not at least in the universal way in which these words are understood.

I pray for you ministry every day, my friend!

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hello again Dr. Luginbill,

Thanks so much for your insight and as always your kind reply. I have just begun your study on Pneumatology knowing that your material is excellent, rather looking at someone you don't know as you also pointed out several items I had not thought of. It did catch my eye on the God thinking part.

Thanks for your prayers as always. I am currently teaching your material on the Providence of God. I have already presented the study of Sovereignty of God. I am presenting these studies prior to introducing Romans Chapter 8 on predestination subject. I have learned and am still learning. So much to study, so much to teach. The Bible study class needs some Basic Teaching, like, where the Books are, and the Basic fundamentals. They are very, very interested in the subject matter, and ask many questions. I have a retired MD in Internal Medicine and Hematology. He is an interesting and intelligent person and also asks some really good questions. Most of the attendees don't know much about the basic Bible doctrines and such. They come from the typical Catholic and Protestant background, and tell me that many things I have taught, they never heard of at their own churches. Especially the Catholics.

It is an interesting assignment that God has given me, and I thoroughly enjoy it. Thanks again for keeping this ministry in your prayers on a daily basis. I am a disciple of the One who is soon to come after.

To Him who was, and is and is to come be Glory, Honor, and praise for all that He has done in my life. Blessings to you and may The Master give you joy, peace and Grace.

Your friend,

Response #2:

You're most welcome, my friend. I had a feeling that was the reason you asked me about this quotation.

Interesting comments! Best wishes (and prayers) for your studying and teaching.

Keeping you and your family in my prayers too.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Professor,

One more question. Our friend from Croatia (who I believe got saved just lately) asked me about Luke 14:25-34. When reading through my notes on this verse as I started to prepare a reply, I realised that you explain the part of this parable about the king going to war (verses 31-32) in a way opposite to probably every other commentator I have read.

31 Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.
Luke 14:31-32

Finally, the delegation sent asking peace may perhaps express this other side of the coin. If I am an unbeliever and I realize I have a problem regarding my eternal future, the best thing would be to do something about it before it is too late. Once the other King is present, it will no longer be possible to "reconcile" with him. Therefore everyone ought to reconcile with God through Jesus Christ before He arrives (or their lives end in the natural course of things).

Every commentator seems to take it as expressing the same perspective as the parallel of building a tower - just as building a tower is a difficult undertaking that takes commitment to complete, so is going against a king with an army twice as big as the one we have. They thus take the discipleship as being paralleled to going to war where we are outnumbered, we could say - a war that takes commitment and sacrifice. But you take it in an opposite way. I see both explanations as good here, but it is hard for me to see how our Lord could have both of them in mind when saying this parable, so that made me think.

In our Lord,

Response #3:

To be honest, if you told me that most commentators agreed with me, I'd be worried then. Not that I'm infallible or anything of the sort – it's only that in my experience commentators for all their academic expertise tend to know absolutely nothing of spiritual value, and that leads to misinterpretation of spiritual issues as a matter of course.

We are to carry our cross if we want to follow the Lord, that is, accept whatever sacrifice we have to in order to make the journey in His footsteps, even if it means going to our deaths in a manner similar to His physical death. We are to count the cost ahead of time, to see before we make the commitment what it might mean, not to dissuade us, but rather to steel us to whatever may come so that we don't dry up in our faith like the seed planted on the rock. We have to let the truth all of the way in to our hearts.

So we don't want to be like the man we started a tower and couldn't finish. That would be like undertaking a life of faith but abandoning it later. Pretty clear.

The second example used by our Lord is very much different, however. Here, instead of the analogy of someone starting something optional and not finishing (we are not forced to follow Christ, but if we do, we want to follow all the way to the end, otherwise there is no profit in it from the start), we have the example of someone who is under pressure and has to decide whether or not it is possible and desirable for him to resist the pressure coming against him. This presents the other side of life's coin. The pressure is the inevitability of death and judgment. While we are in this life, we have a chance to "make peace" with the King who is coming, and it would behoove us to do so while there is still time. We are all "kings" of our own free will, and most of the human race (and a goodly number of the angelic race) would rather oppose the King than yield to Him. But if there is any chance that we really don't want to suffer the consequences of being defeated by someone more powerful, the time to recognize that is before it's too late to do so. Just so we are told by the Lord to "make peace" with our adversary while still on the road and not wait until we get to the court of judgment (Matt.5:25-26; Lk.12:58-59). Both examples express the truth that we only have this life to be reconciled to God. He has done everything for us to be at peace with Him through Jesus Christ, but we can only make that decision to grab hold of the opportunity while this life endures.

Why does our Lord put it here in the context of the cost of discipleship? Because it lets all who are reading this / hearing this know that while the cost of discipleship may seem high (prohibitively high to some), the alternative is not even something that can be rationally considered. Only a fool of a king would enter into a contest that cannot be won; only a person who values his/her will so much that he/she is willing to harden the heart to the point of overlooking the obvious destiny of the lake of fire would take on this battle. Does "two to one odds" really express the impossibility inherent in the analogy? Of course not (and some have won with such odds), but our Lord wanted to leave the matter in such a way that free will is not removed from the equation. Just as a foolish king might imagine he could win with such a disadvantage (and in human terms might win), so unbelievers imagine, for all manner of foolhardy reasons, that they will somehow escape judgment. Without hardening their hearts in this way, they would be unlikely to be able to live life the way they wish. Believers who have fled to Christ did so precisely because of not being willing to blot out the reality of death and judgment.

And by the way, "one against two" is precisely the odds which faced the devil and his angels: one third against two thirds – odds that looked possible when stoked by arrogance in hardening hearts. But Satan and his followers took no heed to who the opposing King was.

"I am not angry. If only there were briers and thorns confronting me! I would march against them in battle; I would set them all on fire. Or else let them come to me for refuge; let them make peace with me, yes, let them make peace with me."
Isaiah 27:4-5 NIV

So I stand by the interpretation.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hello Professor,

It is a valid point about the commentators.

Thank you for the detailed explanation. This interpretation is clear to me, but I wanted to ask one more question about the alternative that has come to my mind - whether the king coming with twenty thousand could be taken to mean Satan. If we decide to come to Christ and follow Him, the devil will oppose us and do so vehemently - with a force far greater than what we possess - except that God does help us and makes victory possible. Anticipation of standing for the truth in the world that wants nothing to do with it causes many take the compromise - and accept the "truce" with the evil one. There are those who may have seen enough light to know that it is indeed true, but who don't follow it knowing that conflicts and battle is in store.

In the grace of our Lord,

Response #4:

On the Luke passage, I like your comment as an application – something a pastor could point out to the congregation as a valid observation about spiritual warfare – but not as an interpretation as I think that the point here is the necessity of making peace with God (reconciliation; see the link) while there is still time. That is the other side of the coin to the example of building the tower. On the one hand, we don't want to start something we're not willing to finish; on the other hand, there are good and pressing reasons we should start and finish: our inability to oppose the Lord and the reality of life spiritually speaking.

Question #5:

"He even deposed his grandmother Maakah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah. Asa cut it down and burned it in the Kidron Valley."
(1 Kings 15:13)

What exactly is a "queen mother"... or whatever the original Hebrew word is? Is it a position in the government, of the family, or both?

Response #5:

The word is gibhiyrah and has the sense of "[exalted] lady" or "queen" (such as at 1Ki.10:19; cf. 2Ki.10:13; Jer.13:18; 29:2); this would be the only passage to suggest a "queen mother" in the British sense, but that is probably a bad way to think of it. It seems to mean "highest ranking woman in the kingdom", so it seems that Maacah had retained the position (possibly uniquely so), and was not replaced by Asa's mother or wife – until this event.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Dear Teacher

I'd been meaning to share a thought about Paul's apostleship with you. This last email posting is an excellent excuse to do so. As I have thought about it, it seems to me remarkable that it is the Lord Jesus Who apportions to each one a ministry and gives each gift to the Church so that it is He Who through the Spirit decides who is what in the Church. Nobody has ever been voted to be a pastor-teacher in the Church, or a prophet, or a miracle-worker. So why should we suppose that anyone can be voted to be an apostle? Clearly, it is the Lord (from 1 Corinthians 12) Who gives gifts and ministries.

Therefore, Matthias never became an apostle just because Peter and the others voted him one.

Is Paul an apostle? I think that it only follows that just as we know without a doubt that Jesus called the first set of twelve because we are told that He did, we should also be told who replaced Judas and there is little reason for Paul's dramatic conversion story in Acts if it wasn't to tell us that the Lord Himself undertook - as God always does - to replace that which was lost. In addition to this, there is also the fact that whatever the Lord does to fix what was broken, He does it to be better than the old thing. Paul was obviously the most remarkable apostle. In every instance, he far outshone all that Judas may have ever appeared to be. He was in effect a double portion. Not only did he more than effectively replace a hypocrite, he went one better and became a true spearhead for the Church. Granted that we don't have the writings of every apostle nor do we have the stories of every single one after our Lord's Ascension, it is significant that Paul takes up so much space in the New Testament. Why else would he be so important?

I wondered about this other group of apostles beside the twelve. But I think that they are just like the 72 and the 144 000. They are special emissaries. But the twelve are unique in the Church. I think that just like David had The Three and The Thirty, we have The Twelve and The Other Apostles.

What do you think of this angle, sir?

Yours in our priceless Lord Jesus Christ

Response #6:

Good to hear from you, my friend. Thanks for this! I think you are spot on in your analysis here. This is not the first time I have noticed that you have a unique ability to process the truth, understand it and express it in a way which is your own through the Spirit. I have no doubt that you will have a great deal to offer your own listeners/congregation when the time comes.  Compare:

Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve.
Luke 22:3 NKJV

The above is very careful language on Luke's part who could have used the more typical verbiage, "was one of the twelve"; but this distinguishes him as "not really" an apostle. In the same way, Matthias is "numbered" (but actually even worse, "DOWN numbered" which can also mean "condemned"). We see this also at Acts 1:26 where he says "numbered with the eleven" rather than "one of the twelve" – Luke thus goes out of his way NOT to call Matthias one of the twelve also.

We can also add Matthew 19:28 and Luke 22:30 to the discussion: there will be twelve apostles judging the twelve tribes during the regathering and ruling over them during the Millennium. Judas isn't one of them (obviously). Who do Matthias advocates think is number 12? Matthias . . . or Paul?

For more on "apostles" with a small "a", see the link.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

"Your enemies will cringe before you."
Psalm 66:3 NLT

Cringe is a very specific social emotion originating from awkwardness due to misbehavior. Is this what the Psalmist had in mind? I've experienced cringe a few times in my life. It's unpleasant but not the worst I've ever felt.

Response #7:

"Cringe" is not a great translation for chachash in Psalm 66:3. It really has to do with lying, deception, feigned behavior. The idea is to provide obeisance out of fear without necessarily really being motivated to do so otherwise.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Also Professor, I was meant to forward you the note I took on Psalm 109 today, as I again gave thought to the so called "imprecations".

Psalm 109:9-15 (NASB)
9 Let his children be fatherless
And his wife a widow.
10 Let his children wander about and beg;
And let them seek sustenance far from their ruined homes.
11 Let the creditor seize all that he has,
And let strangers plunder the product of his labor.
12 Let there be none to extend lovingkindness to him,
Nor any to be gracious to his fatherless children.
13 Let his posterity be cut off;
In a following generation let their name be blotted out.
14 Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord,
And do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out.
15 Let them be before the Lord continually,
That He may cut off their memory from the earth;

Admittedly, these words are hard to explain away – both the punishment on the children and the remembrance of the parents’ sin – and they have again caused me to reflect. Unlike it is usually the case, it seems that this time the reflection has not been completely fruitless.

We have discussed this issue in the context of Jeremiah 31:29 and Exodus 20:5 and I disagree with many commentators who apply the principle of Exodus 20:5 while at the same time casting doubt on His righteousness, or attributing these teachings to the “primitive and revengeful spirit of the Old Testament”. I believe that two principles explain this teaching of the Old Testament.

Firstly, we know that God is perfectly just and no one is unrighteously punished for the sins their parent (Deuteronomy 24:16; Ezekiel 18:20). So while I don’t exclude an element of suffering that God may choose to inflict on some, which may not originate in their transgression, the simple explanation of verses such as Exodus 20:5 or what we read in Psalm 109 is that the children represent the same character as their fathers. And this is plainly evident in the Exodus generation and the generations which followed it. So an extension of a punishment and curse beyond a certain generation – when the sin and transgression extend themselves also beyond that generation – is perfectly just. We have in fact numerous examples of this principle in the scripture, particularly in the case of unbelieving Israel and our Lord refers to this in His teaching also (Matthew 23:29-33). It is in fact the lack of understanding of this principle which caused Israelites to quote proverbs such as “The parents eat sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge” (Ezekiel 18:2; Jeremiah 31:29). This is not directly implied in God's words in Exodus 20:5, but at the moment I believe that when we take into account everything else we know of God, this seems a valid explanation.

Secondly, I believe another reason why God does things the way He does is to educate us. If a sinner deserving condemnation was to be swept aside in an instant and cease to exist together with his iniquity, this would not constitute a warning to everyone else – but it should. So to observe the damage that sin does – which in any case is still a mere foreshadowing of what awaits those who reject Christ – is in fact what God does want us to experience. So whether the iniquity of the father wreaks havoc in the life of children – who either follow his father’s footsteps or whom God in His plan predestined for this fate for a reason He knows – this should make all who observe it think ten times before they choose sin over faithfulness. So some of the rather horrible consequences of sin listed in Psalms and elsewhere have their educational and warning purpose and I don’t see this purpose mentioned in the commentaries.

Response #8:

Good points!

It might also be argued that "to the third and fourth generation" is a measure of God's grace: rather than eliminating such types immediately and thus blotting out their line of inheritance, they have to prove over multiple generations that they have no use for Him before He does so.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #9:

This is a great point, Professor. It can be perhaps taken as a temporal extension of God's mercy towards unbelievers who are not swept away and taken from this world as soon as they are able to make the choice against Christ and make this choice - God is patient and the fact that He displays such patience only shows more clearly that judgment is in fact completely justified. The same here - God allows the generations to continue.

And perhaps another point here is that almost the entire humanity has chosen against God - so in theory, all the generations of unbelievers constitute almost continuous lines in all cases, from which only very few have chosen to be snatched away. This means that a judgment exercises over 2, 3, 4 or 100 generations still remains justified.

Response #9:

Good observations, my friend.

Question #10:

Psalm 110:1 (NASB)
A Psalm of David.
1 The Lord says to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”

NIV SB: It may be, however, that David composed the psalm for the coronation of his son Solomon, that he called him "my lord" (v. 1; but see NIV text note) in view of his new status, which placed him above the aged David, and that in so doing he spoke a word that had far larger meaning than he knew at the time. This would seem to be more in accord with what we know of David from Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. For this psalm's setting in the Psalter, see introduction to Ps 101–110.

What is your view on this note? David didn’t know our Lord as we know Him, but to say that the psalm was composed for Solomon’s coronation – which is an interpretation held by many – doesn’t seem right. Many commentators, and I can see our friend takes this interpretation also, take the second “Lord” as referring to king’s son. This is based on taking Psalm 110:1 as a passage which confirms that the ultimate King of Israel had to be David’s son. I’m not sure about this view. I don’t know if it is correct for us to see the immediate application of David’s words in his son Solomon, but at the moment it seems somewhat hard for me to accept.

Response #10:

As our Lord makes clear when confuting the Pharisees, "my Lord" in "the Lord said to My Lord" is Jesus Himself, the coming Messiah, David's greater Son. Solomon was great, but not nearly as great as David and NEVER David's "Lord".

Question #11:

Psalm 110:2 (NASB)
2 The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”

Is the scepter being stretched out from Zion a reference to the Armageddon battle when our Lord will conquer the world (this is also what Unger teaches), or rather to the post-Armageddon Jerusalem being the centre of His Kingdom?

Response #11:

The command is given when the Son arises and returns to "rule". So the intended result is millennial but the taking up of the rule starts at the second advent.

Question #12:

Psalm 110:2 - do you think either meaning is more prevalent than the other here? This is because on the one hand רדה does mean "to rule", but one of its meanings is also "to chastise" (overall, from BDB and HALOT, it seems to have quite a broad semantic range), which would make Armageddon the primary application. The same problem applies to מַ ֶה which can be taken as a staff or scepter, but also a rod, which has a battle connotation. Another argument for the Armageddon interpretation is that our Lord is to rule "in the midst of his enemies" - and we know that these will be largely dealt with at Armageddon, at least until the Gog-Magog rebellion. It's hard for me to see at the moment which application is the primary one.

Response #12:

I would say that they are necessarily blended, the victory leading to the establishment of the kingdom.

Question #13:

Psalm 110:3 (NASB)
3 Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power;
In holy array, from the womb of the dawn,
Your youth are to You as the dew.

NIV SB: 110:3 willing. Lit. “freewill offerings,” i.e., they will offer themselves as dedicated warriors to support you on the battlefield (see Jdg 5:2)—as the Israelites offered their treasures for the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness (see Ex 35:29; 36:3; see also Ezr 1:4; 2:68). Accordingly, Paul speaks of Christ’s followers offering their bodies “as a living sacrifice” (Ro 12:1) and of himself as a “drink offering” (Php 2:17); see also 2Co 8:5. Arrayed in holy splendor. If the phrase is descriptive of the Lord’s anointed, it depicts him as clothed in royal majesty and glory. If it speaks of the young warriors who flock to him, it apparently describes them as dressed in priestly garb, ready for participation in a holy war (see 1Sa 21:4–5; 25:28; 2Ch 13:8, 12; 20:15, 21; Isa 13:3–4; Jer 6:4; 51:27) and pouring into his camp morning by morning as copious as the dew (see 2Sa 17:11–12). holy splendor.

From what I understand, our Lord will come down and defeat the Antichrist and His forces without the “dedicated warriors” to support Him – except the angels (Revelation 19:14). But if that’s the case, then shouldn’t we take these words as referring to the Millennial Kingdom and the נְדָבֹת as not referring to support on the battlefield? According to Unger this is a reference to the believing remnant of Israel who will welcome the Messiah.

Response #13:

The second half of the verse is a reference to the resurrection of the Church and their filling out of battle line of the Lord of Hosts, "the eagles gathering" (and cf. Rev.19:14). The first half of the verse is referring to the fight put up by the people of Judah and Jerusalem at this point on that "unique day" (Zech.14:6-7). See the link: "Israel Fights".

And Judah also will fight in Jerusalem.
Zechariah 14:14

Question #14:

Psalm 110:3 - understood and I'm not surprised I haven't seen this interpretation in the commentaries I browsed. One question on this is how we are able to make the distinction between these two groups?

Response #14:

"Your people" and "volunteering" are terrestrial in nature, but everything following is not: a) הַדְרֵי־קֹדֶש ("the beauties of holiness" KJV): This is celestial in nature – it bespeaks heaven; b) מִשְחָר מֵרֶחֶם ("womb of the morning" KJV): This would be the east but the heavenly origin of the east where the sunrise comes from and whence the Messiah appears; c) יַלְדֻתֶֽיךָ טַל ("the dew of thy youth" KJV): This is what comes from that heavenly origin, "dew" defined by "youth" – a very evocative poetic description of the resurrection forming above the earth and falling on it "like dew" and characterized by the renewed youth we all will experience in that resurrection; cf. Is.26:19).

Question #15:

Psalm 110:4-5 (NASB)
4 The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind,
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”
5 The Lord is at Your right hand;
He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.

I) Who is “the Lord” at the beginning of verse 5 referring to? It would seem natural in the context to take it as being spoken to our Lord, Jesus Christ - “the Lord – God the Father – is at your (Christ’s) right hand”, since in the second part of verse 4 it is our Lord who is addressed. On the other hand, it was Christ who is at the right hand of the Father.

II) If we take “the Lord” as referring to God the Father, then it will also mean that we will have to take מָחַץ as God shattering Kings rather than our Lord and I’m not sure if this is correct. Admittedly, both the Son and the Father work in unity, but it is the Son who will perform this task hands-on.

Response #15:

Such a shift of pronouns is not uncommon in Hebrew poetry. "You" in vv.4-5 is the Lord Jesus Christ – who then becomes "He" as the psalmist now describes what is going to happen as opposed to continuing to address the Lord.

Question #16:

Psalm 110:4-5 - understood. So it means that God the Father is the one who will "shatter kings in the day of His wrath"?

Response #16:

What I mean (by "Such a shift of pronouns is not uncommon in Hebrew poetry. "You" in vv.4-5 is the Lord Jesus Christ – who then becomes "He" as the psalmist not describes what is going to happen as opposed to continuing to address the Lord."), is that the "He" is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and He is the "He" from hereon in – a shift of pronouns from "You" to "He" as the Psalmist switches from a direct address to a description of events.

Question #17:

Psalm 110:7 (NASB)
7 He will drink from the brook by the wayside;
Therefore He will lift up His head.

I) The "therefore" at the beginning of the second clause seems to suggest that the Lord will "lift up His head" because "He will drink from the brook by the wayside" – could you explain how are the two linked?

II) Instead of seeing a parallel in our Lord lifting His head during His triumph at the second advent and His lifting of the head at the cross, Unger sees a contrast, taking our Lord as having “bowed” His head at the cross:

. . . shall he lift up the (His) head, that is, in glorious triumph and sweeping victory (Psalm 27:6), in dramatic contrast to His previous humiliation (109:22-25), when on the cross Jesus “bowed his head, and gave up the spirit” (John 19:30).

Response #17:

This key verse ties the two advents together. It is reminiscent (deliberately) of Samson almost expiring at the culmination of a great victory over the Philistines but being revived; so also our Lord was granted a sop of vinegar and revived after the greatest victory of all time. He LIFTED up His head and breathed His last – in victory; and that victory is the basis for the one wherein He will take up His rightful place as King over all.

FN #84 from BB 4A: The Greek participial form klinas is universally mistranslated in this context, and remarkably so, for, clearly, no one would "bow their head" (i.e., "forward") preparatory to "shouting with a loud voice" (Matt.27:46; Mk.15:37), but would instead of course throw their head back or "lift it up" in order to open up the vocal passages. The verb form admits of both possibilities, but the context of shouting, not to mention the fulfillment of Psalm 110:7, demands the latter meaning.

Question #18:

Psalm 110:7 - clear regarding our Lord lifting His head. How do you think the "therefore" should be explained?

Response #18:

Refreshment in victory leads to the encouraged posture (as with Samson's experience which lays the predicate).

Question #19:

While reading the "Israel fights" section at the hyperlink you sent, I noticed that you apply the beginning of verse 7 to the troops rather than to Christ.

Response #19:

Yes, it can be taken both ways. Here is what I write about that in BB 4A after quoting the NIV's rendering which applies the verse to the Messiah personally as in this correspondence:

Jesus' drinking of the wine-vinegar is also a fulfillment of prophecy which likewise signals the accomplishment of the Messiah's mission:

For they mixed gall with what they gave Me to eat, and for My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink.
Psalm 69:21 (Matt.27:34; 27:48; Mk.15:23; 15:36; Lk.23:36; Jn.19:29)

He will drink from a brook beside the way; therefore he will lift up his head.
Psalm 110:7 NIV

The first quotation, covered above, relates two events; one at the beginning of the ordeal when Jesus refused the gall, and the other at its successful completion where our Lord's request for and acceptance of the wine-vinegar bespeaks victory, a short refreshment after the accomplishment of the salvation of the world.

The second passage likewise comes from a very well-known Messianic Psalm, one which (as is often the case in Old Testament prophecy as we have seen many times in the past) conflates the two advents. Psalm 110 is primarily a victory Psalm, celebrating the Messiah's accomplishment of salvation in His first advent and anticipating His return as Ruler of the world in the second. *This final verse can be read to refer to the refreshment of Messiah's troops after the battle of Armageddon, but in our present context applies to Jesus Himself at the completion of His own mission during the first advent. (83)

83. That is to say, the verbs yishtheh and yarum may equally mean here "He will drink and lift up" or, understanding the third singular forms as impersonals, may be read "one [= people generally, and here the Messiah's troops] will drink and lift up", with the first reading corresponding to the first advent and the second to the second.

Question #20:

Why is that, since the verb is in third singular and it seems that Christ is the subject of all the verbs in verses 6 and 7? I know that third singular forms can be used impersonally, or as an equivalent or "they" and I have come across this in my Old Testament reading. But, at least at the moment, it is hard for me to apply such an interpretation to Psalm 110:7, particularly given the context and the need to introduce a new subject. But I suppose a literal interpretation can still be seen as correct here, also in relation to the Second Advent, with our Lord refreshing Himself after the battle having been won?

Response #20:

On Psalm 110:7, as stated in BB 4A, "The second passage likewise comes from a very well-known Messianic Psalm, one which (as is often the case in Old Testament prophecy as we have seen many times in the past) conflates the two advents". This seems clear to me. The problem is one for a translator. What to do with a verse which when rendered one way has one meaning, but when rendered another seems to mean something completely different. The best solution is to take a KJV approach – creative ambiguity which allows the reader to see either or both, because it's the same Hebrew either way. There are two advents, after all, and the verse has a part of both of them. We see the clear distinction now, but in the time of the Psalms this distinction – between the suffering Messiah and the victorious King, between the cross and the crown, was a mystery. For the interpreter, these issues have to be made clear. Christ won the victory of the cross completely alone; that is essentially true of the second advent as well in the destruction of the forces of antichrist (cf. Is.63:5 in the context of that whole chapter), but in some regards He shares His second advent victory with us (we are responsible for capturing the forces of the devil; see the link) and, to a small degree (see the passages quoted) with the Jewish forces counterattacking from Jerusalem. So in respect to the first advent, the One refreshed after victory is the Messiah; with respect to the second, it is the Jewish army which is refreshed. Conflating the two advents is a common thing in the OT as noticed, and this verse can mean either thing, depending upon how it is read (either as "he/he" or "they/their"; see the footnote #83 quoted above) – deliberately so. The Spirit provided the witness about Christ in every way in the OT as well as He does in the New – for those willing to search out the truth.

Question #21:

Your wrote:  "The divine name "Lord", explained in these verses as based on "I am/shall be", can potentially be derived from either the Hebrew verb "to be" or the verb "to become" (the two verbs being very close in the Hebrew)."

I thought that it is one verb which has two meanings - is that what you mean here?

Response #21:

That depends on the lexicographer (since there is often a difference of opinion on matters of BH roots).  But in BDB, for example, the two are listed as separate verbs rather than different forms of the same verb, and may be found on pages 217 and 224 respectively.

Question #22:

You wrote: "Infinity: God is infinite in His nature, unlimited and unbounded in every positive way:

Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.
Deuteronomy 6:4

I had asked why you decided to support this point with this particular passage and you responded: "God's oneness, rightly perceived (to the extent it can be perceived) is only really explainable by the fact that He is "the only One", the Only, One -- without Him there is nothing to a degree we cannot really comprehend."

Through your answer I can hopefully see your point with more clarity. The way I understand your reasoning now is that since God is One, all comes from Him and through Him and without Him there isn't anything, then this oneness implies infinity - since it is the One who is the all encompassing God. Hopefully I'm explaining this clearly and I'm not sure this is what you meant. The reason I'm giving this thought is that I would like to be able to establish a direct link between infinity and Deuteronomy 6:4 and I'm still not sure I'm able to do that.

At the moment I understand this link as potentially present in the implication I presented to you above, which is the best I could come up with. I'm just wondering how the readers will take it and how this link could be made clear.

Response #22:

I think your expansion of my answer is very good. Oneness is at once all comprehending and yet incomprehensible. Everything else can be counted, but God is "one". Also, the word "one" in Hebrew, no doubt for that very reason, often needs to be translated "unique" (e.g., Gen.1:5 where the Hebrew actually says "day one", meaning "a unique day, a pattern not repeated in the other six days where ordinal numbers are used).  Uniqueness applied to God must mean that there is no comparison to Him in the finite world He has created.

Question #23:

You wrote:  "God is Holy (Ex.3:5; Lev.11:44-45; 21:8; Ps.22:3; 30:4; 99:9; Is.6:3; 43:15; 55:5b-9; 57:15; Acts 3:14; Rev.4:8)."

This is only a reflection and something that came through my mind as I was reading the text - whether in your BB 1: Theology the discussion of God's goodness should precede His holiness (as it does in your text), or whether the order could be reversed.

Response #23:

There is an argument to made for that, I suppose. I'm reluctant to do it for a number of reasons. Since His perfection is a unified whole, the order doesn't ascribe more importance to one characteristic as opposed to another. Goodness seems a good place to start.

Question #24:

"If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy."
(Psalm 137:6)

Is this a Psalm of Jeremiah?

Response #24:

I doubt this was written by Jeremiah. The person in question was part of the Babylonian captivity, but Jeremiah was allowed to stay in the land – then dragged off to Egypt.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #25:

"It is written: 'I believed; therefore I have spoken.' Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak,"
(2 Corinthians 4:13)

What is the meaning of the quoted verse in the psalms?

Response #25:

(9) I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.
(10a) I believed, therefore have I spoken:

(10b) [When] I was greatly afflicted:
(11) I said in my haste, All men are liars.
Psalm 116:9-11 KJV

As my representation above makes clear, Psalm 116:10 should thus really be two verses. The part Paul quotes in 2nd Corinthians 4:13 goes with what comes before, namely, the Psalmist' praise of the Lord for deliverance from death. Also, the second half of the verse (which goes with what follows) is incorrectly translated due to incorrect vowel pointing. Taken together with verse eleven it means, "[When] I was greatly afflicted, I spoke in my haste, 'All men are liars' ". So the meaning in the psalm is the same as the meaning in the NT: an affirmation of belief in the truth of the words the speaker is speaking / has spoken according to the Word of God in whom and in whose words we trust.

In Jesus who is the truth,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Hello Professor,

I have been praying and will continue to pray about your professional situation. This is often what makes these tests difficult - waiting in uncertainty, without knowing how things will work out. But you are of course right, that however they work out God is the only source of security in any case. I have also been praying that you can keep the Greek. Not preparing before the time definitely seems the right course of action, even if another aspect of everything being up in the air. I said this to you before, but for me the fact that someone of your value in the academic field needs to face a situation like this is not only another symptom of us being in cosmos diabolicus, but also a sign of the time. There are no money shortages in many other fields which are at best useless, but often counterproductive - intellectually, spiritually, etc.

I will continue to pray daily.

Professor, I thought I have noted this question and I probably did, but I may have deleted it by mistake. It's about Psalm 23:4.

Psalm 23:4 (NASB)
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

I have been familiar with the "shadow of death translation" from the NASB, which you also use. In his exegesis of this Psalm, however, our friend translated "the valley of deep darkness":

23:4 Even if I must go in the valley of deep darkness,
I fear no evil, for You are with me.
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

I have since done some study on this issue and putting LXX aside, one argument that is quite strong to me in favour of צַלְמוּת etymology instead of צַלְמָוֶת is the usage of this word in other portions of the Old Testament (from BDB: Amos 5:8; Job 3:5, 12:22, 24:17, 28:3, 34:22; Jeremiah 13:16; Psalm 107:10, 107:14; Is 9:1; Jeremiah 2:6, Psalm 23:4, 44:20; Job 10:21). In some of these verses the rendering "shadow of death" would be difficult in the context (probably Amos 5:8, Job 12:22, 28:3). What is your take on the alternative translation and interpretation of etymology?

In the grace of our Lord,

Response #26:

Thanks for your good words and prayers, my friend. It will work out – which is to say that God will work it out . . . for the good. The Latin enrollments are coming along, so that is some encouraging news in any case [update: things DID work out last year – prayers for the upcoming year are greatly appreciated!]

As to the question on Psalm 23:4, those who want to reject the traditional vocalization all do so on tenuous grounds. The word צֶלֶם means "image". It doesn't mean anything to do with darkness, deep or otherwise. Also, the posited denominative noun formation ending in וּת- is not only a rarity in the OT, but these nouns are otherwise abstracts (see Gesen. para 86 k.). Darkness, especially in this context, seems meant to be very real. So it is an interesting theory, but since 1) there is no evidence for the root meaning anything like this; 2) the assumed suffix would be unusual; and 3) the traditional vocalization is one we would most naturally supply if we were reading an unvocalized text, I don't find any reason to change my view merely because a handful of avant-garde lexicographers desire to do so. I don't have / haven't used Kohlenberger (but he has not been around very long and am not sure why he should be accepted as an authority), and my problems with KB / HALOT you already know. As to the latter, as already mentioned, I don't have the newest edition (you can check for us), but the one very small advantage of that lexicon is that they have compiled Semitic parallels which have come to light since BDB was produced (Phoenician inscriptions, e.g.). I see that in my 1958 edition they posit a "צֶלֶם II" – which theoretically would have something to do with darkness, but they provide not a scrap of evidence from any other Semitic language to suggest that such an alternative root ever existed anywhere. Even if they did, of course, the context in the OT is superior evidence. So we are back to meaning in context.

By "shadow of death" I understand, "shade/darkness of the most invidious kind", and would not find "deep darkness" to be a horrible translation for this word (although like KD I would prefer a translation that gets the idea of death in if possible). Death is the place of darkness and darkness leads to death; darkness and fear and death are all closely related in the human psyche and in biblical expression, so the formation and traditional derivation makes perfect sense to me. As far as Amos 5:8 is concerned, the victory of life over death and the victory of light over darkness are parallel; we look forward to the resurrection as sons of light and the glorious day where darkness yields to light for us (e.g., Zech.14:7). So in that passage, rather than helping the meaning, "deep darkness" tends to obscure the eschatological reference which is intended (along with the pun). Job 12:22 may be read along similar lines. Job 28:3 actually is much better in the reading understood the traditional way: Sheol, death and the grave lie below, and the miner being described is seen lighting a path all the way to the underworld, even to the place of the death shadow. So in short, I see no need to change from the traditional rendering, e.g., KJV "the valley of the shadow of death", as it "works" as far as I am concerned wherever it appears. I also see no evidence that the alternative suggested is even possible.

Keeping you in my prayers as well, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Can you explain this verse?

"The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken."
Ps.82:5

Response #27:

The "gods" here, Hebrew "mighty ones", are human rulers being compared to angels; although they have such power, without the truth they are walking in darkness and will die like every other human being without God – without hope.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #28:

Hi Dr,

I pray all is well with you and your family. I was reading Leviticus 10:16-19 and was wondering why was Moses upset and can you explain what Aaron said to pacify him?

Also in Romans 5:13. Prior to the given of the Law men was men condemned because of conscious?

I appreciate it sir.

In Christ Jesus our Lord

Response #28:

Aaron had just that day lost two of his four sons. Grief is not an optional emotion and a certain amount of grieving cannot safely be withheld, especially for losses so close as this. Even our Lord wept for Lazarus and the pain of his family – even though He certainly knew that He was just about to raise him back from the dead. Aaron was forbidden from engaging in normal grieving practices, but eating – an act of celebration – was something that would have been offensive because it couldn't have been done in the correct spirit (akin to taking communion if we are not right with the Lord, but in this case through no fault of Aaron's own).

"I have not eaten any of it when in mourning, nor have I removed any of it for an unclean use, nor given any of it for the dead. I have obeyed the voice of the LORD my God, and have done according to all that You have commanded me."
Deuteronomy 26:14 NKJV

On Romans 5:13, what this means is that the Law only makes certain sins obvious; but there is much sin that is not obvious; and in any case, people sin without the Law as well as with it; before the Law was given, however, people didn't always "realize" (that's what the verb means here) that what they were doing was sinful in the same way and to the same degree that they did after the giving of the Law: the purpose of the Law in regard to sin is to make it clear that all are sinful and that there is no hope of dealing with sin apart from God providing a Sacrifice. Here is my translation of the verse:

For [even] before the Law [was handed down], there was [indeed] sin in the world, but, when there was no Law, sin was not being taken into account [by us as it was after the Law].
Romans 5:13

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #29:

What is the meaning of this verse?

"Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple."
(Psalm 65:4)

Response #29:

This speaks generally of the blessing it is to be near to the Lord in the company of His people for fellowship with Him through His truth – literally for the Levites, the people of Israel who assembled before Him, and all foreigners who attached themselves to Israel in the past, but even much more so for us all who have this to anticipate in the New Jerusalem then and to appreciate ahead of time through the truth of His holy Word now. What a glorious day it will be when we who have believed in Jesus Christ stand before Him and the Father in resurrection in the New Jerusalem, singing His praises in unison and delight forevermore!  In the meantime, the "good things" are the truth of the Word of God we are blessed to learn as we wait for the return of our King to bring in the kingdom.

Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old."
Matthew 13:52 NKJV

In Jesus our dear Savior and coming King,

Bob L.

Question #30:

Hi Bob,

In regard to "The Midianite Woman Incident", could you explain the severity of what he did?

"And behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting."
(Numbers 25:6)

Response #30:

Since Phineas gets great kudos from the Lord for pinning them both to the ground with a spear, we can be sure that this was an outrageous thing to do. Why? First, because it was out and out consorting with the enemy: there was a war going on for the soul of Israel and the enemy was using sexual temptation to draw the Israelite men into paganism (on the advice of Balaam: Num.31:16); second, because it was done "right in your face" with the leadership and the congregation watching it happen, an act of the most high-handed arrogance. The incestuous believer in 1st Corinthians 5:1ff. is handed over to Satan because the matter became know – because he didn't try to hide it.

This is a principle in leadership situations generally. If a private curses a captain behind his back, even if he finds out about it, the captain will probably let it go and probably should. But if the private curses the captain to his face in the presence of the whole company, there will be a firestorm. And there should be. Because otherwise the captain's authority is out the window.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #31:

Hello Robert,

I am doing good and please know that you are kept in my prayers. Thank you for the update about BB 6A. I can’t wait to delve into the new teaching. I have so many questions, like why does God call where our Savior was crucified spiritually Sodom and Egypt in Revelation? I’ve been listening to the studies, but I need to put pen to paper and really study. I would like to say more but I am typing this from my iPhone. Please teach an online class.

Your sister, in Christ our dear Lord and SAVIOR

Response #31:

I'm happy to hear it, my friend, and I will definitely keep you on my list.

As to your question, I read this in scripture:

Deu 32:32
Their vine [Israel in context] comes from the vine of Sodom and from the fields of Gomorrah. Their grapes are filled with poison, and their clusters with bitterness.

So we see these two cities being used symbolically for evil in the Old Testament as well. Here is what I write about this in CT 3A (in loc.):

The naming of Jerusalem (without question the city in which our Lord was crucified) as "Sodom" and "Egypt" denotes the sad spiritual state of the majority of the population of Israel at the time of antichrist's warring against Moses and Elijah. As the city notorious for placing earthly sensuality above all spiritual priorities, Sodom signifies the unwillingness of the greater part of the people to respond to God's unprecedented ministry of grace in the persons of the two witnesses and the 144,000 (cf. Is.1:9-10; 3:9; Jer.23:14; 2Pet.2:6-8; Jude 1:7). While Sodom represents a disinterest in divine solutions, the mention of Egypt is a commentary on the people's willingness to choose human solutions instead. Israel had been called out of Egypt (Hos.11:1), but it had been a tendency throughout antiquity for both the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel to rely upon Egypt for help and support when they were threatened by attack from the north, rather than to rely upon God (Is.30:1-7; 31:1; Ezek.29:6-7). As the two witnesses depart to the apparent satisfaction of the majority of their fellow countrymen, this doubly damning pair of appellations lets us know that even though many responded to the call to return to God through Jesus Christ, most in Israel will remain hard in spite of witnessing this series of unprecedented and miraculous events (including the double resuscitation of Moses and Elijah).

And [Abraham] said to them, "If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets (e.g., like Elijah), they will not be convinced if someone rises from the dead".
Luke 16:31

As to your request, I'm afraid I'm already so busy that finishing old projects is going to be taking up all my "extra" time for years to come. However, if you haven't already done so, please have a look at the audio/visual Bible studies at Bible Academy produced by my old seminary pal, Pastor/Teacher Curtis Omo (at the link and highly recommended).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

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