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Biblical Anthropology VII

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Question #1:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I have a simple question. Some bible teacher was arguing that Moses body was never recovered so God can certainly make His own exceptions according to His Will, and that he is one of the two witnesses. He also said that it can be even if Moses died, and it is appointed unto man once to die, God can do whatever He wants and make Moses die twice. I don't know what to make of this.

God Bless,

Response #1:

Good to here from you. We do know for certain that the two witnesses of Revelation chapter eleven are resuscitated:

And when they have completed their testimony, the beast who is going to come up out of the Abyss at that time will make war upon them and will defeat them and will kill them. And their bodies will [lie] in the square of the great city which in spiritual terms is called "Sodom" and "Egypt", where our Lord was crucified. And for three and a half days, people from [every] tribe and race and language and nation will gaze upon their bodies, and they will not allow their bodies to be placed in a tomb. And the inhabitants of the earth will rejoice over them and be glad and send gifts to one another, on the [false] grounds that these two prophets had tortured the inhabitants of the earth (i.e., this is how the unbelieving world will see it). And after the three and a half days, a living spirit from God entered into them, and they stood up on their feet. And a great fear fell upon those who were watching them [arise]. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here!" And they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them [do so].
Revelation 11:7-12

This of course is not the only case in the Bible of resuscitation. Elijah was given to mediate the resuscitation of the widow's son and Elishah that of the Shunammite's son. And of course our Lord brought a number of people back to life including notably the girl to whom He says talitha qum!, the widow of Nain's son and Lazarus. After our Lord gave up His spirit, Matthew records that God caused a number of recently departed believers also to come back to life (temporarily: Matt.27:52). And Peter was given to revive Dorcas (Acts 9:40), and Paul the boy who fell out of the window (Acts 20:10).

All of these cases I call "resuscitations" to distinguish them from resurrection. Resurrection is eternal, and involves receiving a completely transformed body which can never die, whereas resuscitation is being restored to life in the same temporary body one had when one died. The former is permanent, the latter temporary. That temporary revival is what we have in the case with the two witnesses in Revelation chapter eleven: the Lord puts their spirits back into their bodies and restores them to life in those original bodies (temporarily).

What is unique about the two witnesses is that 1) Revelation 11:11 is the second resuscitation they experience, the first being the one that brings them back to life during the Tribulation for their ministry in the first place, and 2) the fact that their first resuscitation happens a very long time after their first physical deaths. In all the other resuscitations listed in the previous paragraph, life is restored fairly quickly after death.

Also in regard to the two witnesses, it is very clear that they are notable figures from Israel's past. It is correct that Moses is one of those witnesses – the other is Elijah. And that is why it was necessary for both of them to have unique departures from life the first time they died, namely, so that their physical bodies could be specially preserved by God in order that they might be resuscitated many centuries later to direct the evangelizing ministry to Israel during the Tribulation's first half.

So there is no contradiction here with Hebrews 9:27 and this very infrequent phenomenon of resuscitation – because all physical bodies eventually die once and for all, and because everyone has only one, brief physical life. Resuscitation is mere the recommencement in that first body of that first life which to fulfill the plan of God was temporarily interrupted in a very few cases.

There is more to say about all of this, but I have written it up extensively at the following links (do have a look and feel free to write me back if you have further questions about this):

Biblical Anthropology VI

Moses' 'burial'

The 144,000 and the Two Witnesses of the Tribulation

The Two Witnesses

Moses and Elijah are the Two Witnesses

The Restoration Ministries of Moses and Elijah

Transmutation, Resuscitation, and Resurrection

The Bodies of Moses and Elijah

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hi Bob,

I have a question regarding the fate of the Nephilim, and some other related questions. Jesus said that hell was prepared for the devil and his angels, and this got me thinking. I know that hell is also for unbelievers; but why didn't Jesus say that hell was prepared for Satan, his angels, and unbelievers since God already knew that there will be a lot of unbelievers in hell because they chose the broad path? And I can't seem to find a passage in the bible where it states what will happen to the Nephilim at the end of history and before the eternal state. This got me thinking because they are both the product of angels and humans. Or is this simply explained by reading in the bible that anyone in opposition to God will face His wrath in the lake of fire? John MacArthur said that in Genesis 6, that the fallen angels possessed people to mate with the women on earth. He said that because he believes that angels are pure spirit beings and have no body. This seems to make sense to me, but if this is the case, why were the Roman soldiers at Jesus' tomb afraid when they actually saw the angels? It further states that the appearance of the angels had on shiny white clothing and were intimidating to the soldiers. To me, this doesn't sound like a human being possessed by a spirit of an angel, so I'm trying to reconcile these differences. Can you help me to understand how to reconcile these? Thanks in advance!

God Bless you and your ministry,

Response #2:

Good to hear from you. First, you're probably thinking of this verse:

"Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
Matthew 25:41 KJV

The lake of fire is the eventual last stop for all unbelievers and for all of the fallen angels (see the link).

As to the nephilim, they are offspring of angels and humans – not the offspring of demon-possessed men and non-demon-possessed women. Angels are creatures of light but they can also produce physical effects. After all, in the passage you ask about, they rolled away the stone from the tomb, and of course there are many other things angels, fallen and elect, do in scripture that necessitates them being able to interact with the material world (cf. the fallen angels destroying Job's flocks and family). There is more about all this at the link in BB 2A: Angelology (see also the link: "The Nature of Angels"). Angels are impressive to human beings in their appearance and we find even the apostle John falling down to worship the angel speaking to him in Revelation (Rev.19:10; 22:9), so it is not wonder that the soldiers were terrified by the sight.

As to the fate of the nephilim, just as only God can create angelic spirits, so also only God can create a human spirit and only the human spirit of man is eternal – it will also be "housed" in a body forever (the interim body after death, and the resurrection body in the end). Whether God created human spirits for the nephilim or not is impossible to say for sure. We do know that the beast and the false prophet (who are nephilim; see the link) are thrown into the lake of fire and remain "there" (Rev.20:10), so that would seem to be the answer to your question. I can't think of any biblical rationale to suggest that the other nephilim would have a fate any different from these two arch-nephilim.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hi Bob,

I just wanted to say from the outset, thank you so much for all the questions that have been answered because of you, and thank you for praying for me, my loved ones, and those who are in need of Salvation. I have a question regarding a verse in Revelation 5:13. It states that even creatures "under" the earth praise God and give Him Glory. I can't figure out who the creatures under the earth are. I thought that it may be a reference to hell or the lake of fire, but then I thought to myself. . .why would the condemned praise God? I've heard many interpretations on this verse from bible teachers saying things like, "those under the earth are the lost or evil beings" or "the earth is hollow and that the lost are located there." Even if that were true, then it still doesn't answer why the unrepentant lost would praise God. The verse in question says that "all" creatures praise God. Does the word for "all" in the Greek here refer to all in a literal sense, or "all kinds"? I normally read the KJV, but the ESV reads "every". Can you please explain what is the bible referring to when it speaks of creatures under the earth praising God and giving Him Glory?

God Bless you and your ministry,

Response #3:

You're most welcome, my friend – and thank you for all your kind words!

As to your question, the simple answer is "it's not in the Bible". This is a case of a textual error in the critical editions of the Greek text being used by most of the standard translations going back to the TR of the KJV. Here is my translation of the passage with its context:

(12) [and they were] saying in a loud voice, “The Lamb who has been slain is worthy to take the power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing (13) and every created thing in heaven and on the earth and in the sea and everything in them.” Then I heard them saying, “To the One who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb [be] the blessing and the honor and the glory and the power for ever and ever!” (14) And the four living creatures were saying, “Amen!”. And the [twenty-four] elders fell [down] and worshiped.
Revelation 5:12-14

As you can see, there is no "under the earth" here because it's not in the original Greek text. That false idea is a later addition and not part of scripture.

The second "issue" is that while in truth all created things are what the Lamb is praised as being worthy take possession of, the jumbled received text makes it sound as if these created things are praising God. While there is precedent for that (e.g., Ps.98:8), the actual text (see ms. Sinaiticus) says as reflected above that it is the angels who are continuing to do the praising here, and in this part of the passage they are affirming our Lord's authority over everything in creation.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi Bob,

I have a follow-up question regarding created beings that are in the sea. Who are these creatures in the sea that are praising and Glorifying God?

God Bless,

Response #4:

To reiterate, the versions have an incorrect translation based on following a faulty manuscript tradition. Angels are actually the ones doing all the praising here, not all created things, and these angels praise the Lamb as follows:

"The Lamb who has been slain is worthy to take the power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing (13) and every created thing in heaven and on the earth and in the sea and everything in them."
Revelation 5:12b-13

So the created things in heaven, on earth and in the sea all belong to the Lamb and will all be under His authority. There is no basis for saying that sea creatures are doing any praising – except in faulty translations of the passage.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

I have a few questions regarding animals. My first question is, do animals have souls like we do? And my other question is will there be animals in the Eternal State or the Heavenly Jerusalem? My opinion is that there will be animals in Heaven because Noah brought animals into the ark. What does the bible say about these questions because I can't seem to find an answer when reading the bible.

God Bless,

Response #5:

I agree with your supposition entirely. Just as God never allows a human spirit to be unclothed or go out of existence, so I deduce must be the case for animals who have spirits just as we do (Eccl3:21), though without free will (so no basis for condemnation).

However, it is a spirit that an animal has which quickens the body just as in the case of human beings. The word "soul" is a most unfortunate one in the way it is employed by most English speakers – as if it meant something like a spirit. In fact, in the Bible, "soul" (a standard translation for Greek psyche and Hebrew nephesh) refers to the person as a whole and often focuses on the entire person inside (so that you can often substitute the word "heart" where you find "soul" in translations of scripture). See the link: "the word 'soul' ".

I fully expect that there will be many wonders such as this in the New Jerusalem and on the new earth and in the new heavens of which we are as yet unaware.

Here are some links:

Animals after death1

Animals after death2

Animals after death3

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hi Sir,

I'm really enjoy studying your teaching and I pray that God will continue to bless you and your ministry. You are indeed helping people like me who is in the ministry.

We had our evangelism last Saturday and it was good, but one of our attendee asked a question concerning the eternal destiny of those babies who died before the age of accountability as well as the mentally retarded/ill . I think I gave them the right answer. But they are asking a particular verse or passage on the Bible concerning this issue and said I will get back to them. Sure I encountered it in your teachings just could not remember which particular subject; maybe you can help me.

Response #6:

Your answer is correct. This life is all about choice, so it is certainly consistent with the justice of a perfect God that someone who cannot make the choice of accepting / rejecting Christ will not be penalized for that inability (seems pretty clear). Here are some links where the issue is discussed and scriptural citations provided:

Infant Salvation

Why Doesn't God Prevent All Children from Dying?

What will our relationship in heaven be with children who died young?

Question #7:

Good morning Bob and family,

A few days ago I googled a question regarding the ‘spirit being imparted at birth’ and at the top of the page it came up as a question in ichthys email postings, which I was glad of because I knew the best answer would come from you. In this posting there was a doctor who, because of his medical background, was having difficulty accepting that the spirit is only imparted at birth, which I can understand is what most people think regardless of whether they have a medical background or just normal, everyday people. (I very much enjoyed and appreciated the candor in both his and your responses to each other – if only the world would too.)

I have been thinking about this for a couple of days and I believe this is where the Spirit has led me and I am wondering if you would agree as well.

As you have said, natural procreation between a man and a woman forms the pattern or the body of the individual, which to my mind is just the mechanics of all the ‘moving parts’ including the heart, but the spirit, which is the life force within us and is imparted by God at birth. You could say we do the physical bit and God does the spiritual bit, and all in the right time. And He does everything in the same manner so as not to create confusion – He first formed Adam from dust, then put the life or spirit within him after – and not the other way round.

So because it is a two-part operation and thinking about it further I began to think about a baby that is stillborn. As God knows absolutely everything – before today, today and tomorrow as well, He knows when and if a child will be stillborn. And that being so, I don’t see a need for God to impart the spirit at conception only to retrieve it at the death of the infant while still within the mother. I can’t think of any other way that would make sense as an example for those who don’t believe it.

Will make this do for now.

As always dear Bob, with brotherly love,

Response #7:

Good to hear from you, my friend!

Thanks so much for this encouraging message too! It's always a pleasure to hear that this ministry has done its part to help "equip the saints".

As to your question/observation, that is a mystery and you have understood all the working parts of it absolutely correctly. On the one hand, the stillborn child may be a person with a spirit which the Lord creates at birth and brings immediately into His presence without it every taking a breath; on the other hand there may be no spirit creation; and it may be "yes" in one case and "no" in the next – it is totally up to Him and we cannot verify things one way or another this side of heaven because 1) the Bible doesn't give us the specifics on this one and 2) since the child was stillborn we have no visible indication of a spirit created (no "breath of life" that we can observe). But nothing is impossible for the Lord and all things were foreknown AND foreordained by Him. So the one thing we can say for absolute certain is that there was never a person who was meant to be who ended up not being because of anything human beings have ever done, not even in the case of the murder of a pregnant woman or the abortion of an unborn child or the heartbreaking birth of a stillborn one (cf. Eccl.6:3-5).

Keeping you and your family in my prayers every day, my friend – and wishing you and yours the merriest of Christmases and a very happy 2018!

Yours in our Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hi Bob,

So happy to tell you I’m still clinging to Jesus no matter what in this present day and my prayers are that He will continue the work He has begun so that I may stand in the days soon to come and I pray that it could be so for others as well. How sad it is in this perishing world that so many – the vast majority, either just don’t want to know what could be, or they are completely ignorant and blindsided, being led further down the path that will eventually lead to their destruction. I find it so hard to comprehend that so few want it now and at the last day it may be too late to have a change of heart. If you and I feel helpless in this, how must His pain be?

Just as it is your desire to help others, and you do that so wonderfully through Ichthys, it is mine as well and I hope in some small way that I too, may be a help unto others. In my limited dealings with people these days, I am still ‘looking for a lost sheep’ and I often wonder if I am looking at one when I meet them.

I sincerely hope that He will preserve you and that ichthys will be allowed free course in this ever darkening world, even during the coming days.

Thank you for responding to my thoughts/question/observation – I never thought about it in that context and I can see that the possibilities that you show could in fact exist. As you say, nothing is impossible for God.

Again and as always dear Bob,

With brotherly love,

Response #8:

I'm very encouraged by your testimony as always, my friend.

Thanks for your help, for your good words, and for your prayers!

I appreciate you in the Lord, my friend.

Wishing you and your family a merry Christmas in our dear Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I have made a copy, shown below of some comments from an article I read and was wondering if you could comment on them?

Personhood in the Bible: A number of ancient societies opposed abortion,[ii] but the ancient Hebrew society had the clearest reasons for doing so because of its foundations in the Scriptures. The Bible teaches that men and women are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Mankind was the climax of God’s creation, with an intrinsic worth far greater than that of the animal kingdom placed under his care. Throughout the Scriptures, personhood is never measured by age, stage of development, or mental, physical, or social skills. Personhood is endowed by God at the moment of creation, when there was not a human being before but there is one now. That moment of creation can be nothing other than the moment of conception (see Arguments 1 through 8). The Hebrew word used in the Old Testament to refer to the unborn (Exodus 21:22-25) is yeled, a word that “generally indicates young children, but may refer to teens or even young adults.”[iii] The Hebrews did not have or need a separate word for unborn children. They were just like any other children, only younger. In the Bible there are references to born children and unborn children, but there is no such thing as a potential, incipient, or “almost” child. Job graphically described the way God created him before he was born (Job 10:8-12). The person in the womb was not something that might become Job, but someone who was Job, just a younger version of the same man. To Isaiah God says, “This is what the Lord says—he who made you, who formed you in the womb” (Isaiah 44:2). What each person is, not merely what he might become, was present in his mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13-16 paints a graphic picture of the intimate involvement of God with a preborn person. God created David’s “inmost being,” not at birth but before birth. David says to his Creator, “You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Each person, regardless of his parentage or handicap, has not been manufactured on a cosmic assembly line, but has been personally knitted together by God in the womb. All the days of his life have been planned out by God before any have come to be (Psalm 139:16). As a member of the human race that has rejected God, each person sinned “in Adam,” and is therefore a sinner from his very beginning (Romans 5:12-19). David says, “Surely I was sinful at birth.” Then he goes back even further, back before birth to the actual beginning of his life, saying he was “sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). Each person has a sinful nature from the point of conception. Who but an actual person can have a sinful nature? Rocks and trees and animals and human organs do not have moral natures, good or bad. Morality can be ascribed only to a person. That there is a sin nature at the point of conception demonstrates there is a person present who is capable of having such a nature. Jacob was given prominence over his twin Esau “though not yet born” (Romans 9:11). When Rebekah was pregnant with Jacob and Esau, Scripture says, “The babies jostled each other within her” (Genesis 25:22). The unborn are regarded as “babies” in the full sense of the term. God tells Jeremiah, “I knew you in the womb” (Jeremiah 1:5). He could not know Jeremiah in his mother’s womb unless Jeremiah, the person, was present in his mother’s womb. The Creator is involved in an intimate knowing relationship not only with born people but with unborn people. In Luke 1:41,44 there are references to the unborn John the Baptist, who was at the end of his second trimester in the womb. The word translated “baby” in these verses is the Greek word brephos. It is the same word used for the already-born baby Jesus (Luke 2:12,16) and for the babies brought to Jesus to receive his blessing (Luke 18:15-17). It is also the same word used in Acts 7:19 for the newborn babies killed by Pharaoh. To the writers of the New Testament, like the Old, whether born or unborn a baby is simply a baby. It appears the preborn John the Baptist responded to the presence of the preborn Jesus in his mother Mary, when Jesus was probably no more than ten days beyond his conception (Luke 1:41).

I am wrestling with this subject in my mind, trying to understand. ugh.

Thanks so much,

Bountiful blessings to you always,

Your friend,

Response #9:

Good to hear from you, my friend.

The anti-abortion crusade folks are very vehement in their defense of this issue and, as this article proves, have few scruples when it comes to manipulating scripture to display their case in the best light. That is "spin". But "spin" is a political thing, not a spiritual thing. Christians who are interested in the truth sincerely seek it from the Bible, listening and discussing the truth with others who love the truth, considering everything the Bible has to say. The political approach takes a few passages which seem from one point of view to support a position and presents them in a rhetorical way with no concern for the fact that important passages which oppose their position are left out. There is a difference between studying the Bible as you are doing and using the Bible to support a cause as this article is doing. All Christians who are trying to grow (as opposed to win a political debate) would do well to keep this important distinction firmly in mind.

As to the substance:

1) To reiterate, there is a tremendous amount of positive information in scripture which makes birth the point where a person becomes a person. That is when God creates the human spirit. That is the event that is celebrated. No one is a person with the image of God until such image, inherent in the spirit, the real "us", is place into the body at birth. That was the case with Adam. That was the case with Christ. That is the case with all who were ever born into this world. You have been reading all about this and studying it and teaching it, and we have been discussing fine points related to this subject for the last few weeks and months, so I don't think I need to go over these things again in detail here or give you links to studies of which you are already well aware (see the link: "The Dichotomy of Man").

The point is, we KNOW from scripture that life begins at birth; that is what the Bible teaches. So if these passages and the arguments adduced based on them teach something different, then scripture is in conflict with itself. Since that is NEVER the case, we can conclude that there is an alternative explanation for each point advanced here – and that these passages have merely been cobbled together to support a political purpose, i.e., "spin".

2) One argument with which this article is replete is the vocabulary argument. The argument goes, "because words for the unborn are the same as the words used for the born, the unborn are persons". This is an emotional argument only, and one in which logic, I hope it is easy to see, is entirely absent. Sailors call ships "she"; that doesn't make them alive. We speak of and to our cats and dogs as if they were people; that doesn't make them people. In fact, as far as I know, all cultures can use the same words for the unborn as for the newly born. That is simply how things are done. The word "fetus" which sounds clinical in English is a Latin word meaning "newborn". To expect ancient cultures to have developed some technical term to refer to the unborn is silly. To draw logical conclusions from the fact that they don't is beyond absurd. There is no other word for the unborn than "child" or "baby" or what have you, except in an anachronistic way of importing our present faulty understanding of English vocabulary backwards two or three thousand years and expecting that method to be valid. In other words, calling the unborn "a baby" or "a child" in the Bible does not make the unborn a living person with a human spirit. Newlyweds who want a family talk about the "children" they expect to have and about "making babies" even before conception – clearly we can't hypothesize a spirit baby in heaven awaiting this event. And it is notable that when scripture does NOT use the word "child" or "baby" to refer to the unborn, in relative clauses, for example, it uses the neuter gender and NOT the masculine or feminine which would be appropriate if the fetus were a person. This as you know from the studies at Ichthys is the case even for our Lord's unborn body: at Luke 1:35 it is referred to as "that which (neuter) is conceived".

2) This anachronistic vocabulary argument is pushed further by saying that because people in the Bible such as Job and David refer to their fetuses as belonging to themselves that this can be taken to mean that therefore they were themselves as full persons before they were born. This is a variation of #1. What else are we to call our unformed body but OUR unformed body? It was ours even before we came to be, after all. The point at issue is "when did we come to be us in terms of being alive with a human spirit with the free will image of God"? Neither David nor Job nor anyone else relates any instance of making free will decisions in the womb. If that seems a ridiculous thing to say, it is ridiculous to have to say it. We are given the image of God in the spirit created within us at birth. That is when we become us and so that is the proper question: when is the human spirit given/created? Scripture is very clear about that. Job's description in Job chapter 10 and David's description in Psalm 139 present the process of the physical development of the body to show God's superintendence of that process. No one is denying that! No one is saying that we are not "fearfully and wonderfully made"! No one is saying that the process of conception and of the body's growth in the womb resulting in birth is not a miracle – or that abortion is not a horrendous evil. The question is only whether human beings give human life and produce the image of God physically, or whether it is God who gives that life and that image in creating the human spirit within us. It is He who does so, of course, and He does so at birth – which is why the day of birth is the day of celebration and the day of scriptural focus.

3) Being sinful from conception might be an argument that would need to be considered, however, “sinful from the time my mother conceived me” is a mis-translation of Psalm 51:5. The Hebrew text actually says "my mother conceived me in sin". For obvious reasons, translators have generally shied away from being overly literal here – since it might seem to make David accuse his mother of adultery. But we know that he was the legitimate "son of Jesse". This means that he acknowledges not only his own sinfulness as one born physically but also the inherent sinfulness of his parents in terms of having sin natures (as we all do).

4) Romans 9:11: God knows what people are going to do even before they are conceived as well; that doesn't make them persons once conceived.

5) Genesis 25:22: "The babies" – because there is no other word (see #1); the use of the word doesn't make them persons yet. This is seeing events from our perspective anticipating the "persons to be".

*6) Jeremiah 1:5: The person making this argument is not listening to the text he/she is quoting. The Lord says, "BEFORE I formed you in the womb, I knew you". Q.E.D. God knows us before conception, after conception, and after birth . . . and also after death. God knows us because He knows everything and because we are all in His plan. The sequence of events does not constrain His knowledge – and therefore cannot be used as an argument for suggesting "personhood" in the womb.

7) On Luke chapter one, I have written a great deal about this passage in places other than BB 3A and will give you the links. The "baby" argument has been treated sufficiently already. When correspondent says "It appears the preborn John the Baptist responded to the presence of the preborn Jesus in his mother Mary, when Jesus was probably no more than ten days beyond his conception (Luke 1:41)", we now have the argument reduced to absurdity for us without any further effort on our part. Can a fetus hear what is going on outside of the womb in such detail and then respond by recognizing someone else, someone else who is also a fetus in another womb? That is insanely absurd. Now it may be remarked, "this was a spiritual occurrence", but we cannot allow that objection since these people are arguing for physical life and rejecting the spiritual dimension, taking that act of creation out of God's hands. Of course what happened was a miracle, but it is also a misunderstood one; if the Greek is read correctly, we see that Elisabeth attributes this reaction to her own emotion, not to some impossible reaction of her unborn son (son, but not yet possessed of a human spirit), reacting to the fetus of our unborn Lord.

I hate abortion as much as the next person. But I hate materialism even more. And I especially hate it when as in this movement it is leading Christians to believe dangerous lies (because once materialism is their god, their spiritual decline is inevitable) and to become involved in political crusades which have the capacity to sink anyone's spirituality and even cause their faith to founder. All of this is an attempt to take things out of God's hands from start (in proclaiming the image of God at conception) to finish (in attempting to fix the devil's world as a result). But of course no one can take anything from Him. All people who buy into these falsehoods end up doing is taking themselves out of His hands, and there is nothing more frightening than that.

See the links:

John Leapt? III

John Leapt? II

John Leapt? I

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior.

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Yes indeed, I did do a study that you wrote on "The Human Spirit" and "The dichotomy of Man". I had forgotten about these which fully explain when life begins. So many things to remember from your exhaustive studies, hard to remember sometimes. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I agree with your analysis which is according to The Word of God and am happy that I reviewed these two studies again. I totally agree, that at birth God breathes into man and woman a spirit, and that is when life begins.

Thanks my friend for jogging my memory.

Your friend still studying every day, to share with others and give God the glory.

People often remark in the Bible Study that they have never heard about the things which I present. They do receive it though. They keep coming back and one the Catholics can't wait until the next week. She also comes to the Sunday morning chapel service. God is working, and I praise Him for His goodness, kindness, mercy and grace.

I am overjoyed to share with them what I have learned from your excellent material which by the way is totally Bible based, not an opinion.

May our Lord and Savior continue to give you good health and a sharp mind to continue His work until He comes.

Your friend,

Response #10:

Thank YOU!

Your continuing growth and production are a great encouragement to me.

Hope your teaching went well today.

Sorry for the delay – a bit under water at the moment.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Greetings Dr Bob,

I have greatly enjoyed reading the Peter Series and rereading the essential doctrine Bible basics and am hungry for more especially the unfinished Bibliology. As to the weekly e-mails I spend hours going through the emails and links provided there in and your work and ministry is so extensive such that I have failed to finish up reading or even browsing through the responses. I wonder if we had millions more like you in schools, hospitals, banks, Radio and television shows, the impact could be greater. Am wondering if one day I woke up and wrote an email and sadly not to receive any response on a pressing issue I can't imagine how devastating that will be to me. Are there any successors or fellows whom you've groomed to do this in your absence or retirement? Is the ichthys ministry all about Dr Bob or are there any more people involved in this great ministry? May the Lord Jesus Christ richly bless you with many days and years on earth till you see his return.

Question: If God quickens his spirit "pneuma" into the human body with his essence and life giving breath, how is it that we're born spiritually dead? In what technical sense is the quickening of God essence into a human body automatically becomes spiritually dead by design human beings will not exist without the human Spirit of which in truth is the spirit of God himself.
I believe everything written by you on this issue; could there be another term apart from spiritually being dead? Since all this language is earthly, what has God has to say about our state in this world concerning sin?

I thank the Lord Jesus Christ for your success now and future and your health/wellness/wellbeing.


Response #11:

Thanks so much for all your good and positive words. On your question, there is an emergency "succession plan" so to speak, whereby I am confident that Ichthys will "stay on the air" even if I get run over by a bus. The important thing is that God has a succession plan, whereby no believer will ever be deprived of the truth he/she really wants to be taught (even if that means a little effort and a little waiting to find it).

As to life at birth, and the term "spiritually dead", this is terminology I inherited and is perhaps NOT the best phrase to use to describe the state of human beings at birth, being physically alive but not saved. It is problematic because we do have a spirit – otherwise we would not even be physically alive (the body is quickened as the spirit enters; the body dies as the spirit leaves). And we do have a sin nature too – which is the problem because it means we do not have a saved relationship with the Lord at birth, that we are going to sin, and that we are going to die physically as a result of our imperfection (as all can see) – and that will mean the second death / damnation – absent God's merciful intervention and our appropriation of the Gift of life by grace through faith.

The problems are clear, even if the phrase, "spiritually dead", is not the best way to describe them. It's not a terrible phrase in that it is thus a parallel to the physical death that results from it, but to the extent that anyone wants to connect this phrase to the human spirit, to that extent they are not understanding the teaching of this ministry and have been mislead by the terminology. If I had not, as I say, inherited this phrase (most of the Christian world uses it), I would probably make do with something like "dead to God" or "born to sin thus destined to die". I think you probably get the idea. One thing that is not legitimate to do is to take a non-biblical technical phrase developed to describe and delineate biblical teaching, then use that phrase as a piece of evidence from which to deduce further biblical principles. That is exactly backwards of the way the search for truth in scripture should go. But that is also, sadly, what much of erroneous theology often comes down to (reminds me of Augustine).

As I say, I think this gets to the nub of the whole conundrum, but do feel free to write me back about any of the above.

Hope you are doing well!

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hope you are doing well! It has been some time since my last question. I always look forward to the wisdom God gives you concerning these subject. Have you any information on the what happens at death for the Christian? Heb. 9:23-28 says we must die once. What happens immediately after that. What kind of body do we have? Will it change to a resurrected body as did Christ’s, or will it be a spiritual body? Do we immediately go to the place Jesus has prepared for us? Will we be in the presence of Jesus at the right hand of the Father-

Blessings from our family to yours in the wonderful name of Jesus, our all in all

Response #12:

Great to hear from you, my friend.

I've written a lot about this subject, so I will give you the gist and then direct you to links for the details and citations. In a nutshell, believers who died before the ascension of Christ to the third heaven went to paradise below the earth (aka "Abraham's bosom" of Lk.16:19ff.; cf. Lk.23:43). Since that time, all who die in the Lord are taken to the third heaven to await the resurrection. In all cases (even unbelievers who die), an interim body is provided so that we may be "clothed" and not "unclothed" – "we" being our spirit which was never meant to be "bodiless" (2Cor.5:1-10). Departed believers today in the third heaven are among those who will "rise first" when Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation, then "we who remain" will be resurrected bodily without knowing physical death (all believers, that is, who are still physically alive at the second advent; 1Thes.4:13-18). That is the resurrection of the Church; the believers of the Millennium will be resurrected at the end of history – as will all unbelievers, but in the case of the latter, this is a resurrection "unto judgment" where they will not be evaluated for reward (as believers will be) but to demonstrate their status as bereft of any redemption. Unbelievers are then cast into the lake of fire, but all believers will live forever with the Lord, the Church being blessed to live eternally in His presence in the New Jerusalem. The resurrection body itself will be wonderful with none of the present negatives of this temporary body and with many advantages the likes of which in most cases we can only speculate about at present. Here are some links which address the several questions you posed:

The Timing of the Resurrection

Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State

The Resurrection Body

The nature of the Resurrection

Our eternal state

The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride

The Judgment and Reward of the Church

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #13:

My humble apology Bob, for calling you Bill.

I mentioned in my question how your answers have blessed me, and am grateful for your prompt replies. I will be sharing your reply with a men's group. I pray that you know how we appreciate your spiritual wisdom. Thank you for caring so much about those who come to you for help

Your friend in Christ

Response #13:

No worries, my friend – I've been called a lot worse!

And by the way, my favorite seminary professor, a man I had probably a dozen classes with, called me "Bill" the entire time. It's a natural mistake for someone whose first name starts with "B" and whose last name ends with "-bill".

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Good morning Brother Bob-

Guess what, I have no question today! Just wanted you to know that your name came up at the Throne of Grace this morning. I was thanking God for the way your ministry has helped people like me. His blessings are new each day, and many times they come through others who help us-

Blessings on your day

Response #14:


Prayers are ALWAYS greatly appreciated.

Your friend in Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hello again Dr. Luginbill,

Here is another statement you make in the study of The creation of Adam.

"And do not fear those who can kill your body, but are not able to kill your self (psyche). But fear rather the One who is able to destroy both your self (psyche) and your body in hell."
Matthew 10:28

This word "destroy" in my understanding is: to cause to cease to exist.

But I don't believe that this is the correct definition of this word, otherwise would not those who in hell also "cease to exist"?

Hope you can clarify for me.

Thanks again.

Your friend,

Response #15:

This is another frequently asked question – but often not really a question when it comes from "annihilationists". You are of course absolutely correct that the second death does not mean a termination of existence; rather it means an existence so horrible that it can only be described as a death. There is nothing but darkness and pain in the lake of fire. Because blessing all flows from God and God is what unbelievers and fallen angels wanted no part of. So in eternity they get their wish – just that they had hoped to have blessing without God. That was the devil's desire and his plan and program – but it was and is impossible, thank God!

The verse you quote means that "life" in the good sense in this life is destroyed and the unbeliever is cast into hell as a result: where we can't even call the body a resurrection body (though it is resurrected for want of a better word), and where we can't even call life life but the second death; but that does not mean "no existence". Here is a link to where the details are discussed: "Destroy body and soul in Gehenna".

When God creates a spirit, it never goes out of existence, but those who reject Him are forevermore separated from Him, from blessing, from all that makes "life" worth living. Death is separation, and separation from God is the worst type of separation. So death is an apt description of the eternal state of all who wanted nothing to do with Him.

Hope your teaching went well today!

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Next time if I have more than one question, I'll put them all in one email. I wanted to know some things about the Great White Throne judgment in Revelation 20. I actually heard a bible teacher that said that the lost will be judged by their "works", and I agree with that. And we both believe that all their works show that they are unworthy and they all end up in the Lake of fire because their works cannot save them as you mentioned in a previous email. This bible teacher said that human beings are capable of doing good works on their own, even the unsaved. He gave examples of unbelievers donating blood or kidneys out of love for others who are in need, but there were more examples. His point was basically was that humans can do "good" works innately without God, and that those who are judged according to their works can actually be saved if their intentions were done out of love for others. Now I've never heard of that before and completely disagree. If that's the case, then why did Jesus die on the Cross for us if we can somehow get saved by doing "good works"?

Revelation also speaks about different books (plural) that are opened during the Great White Throne judgment (Rev. 20:12). What are the books? I know that there is the Lamb's Book of Life, but I don't know what the other book is about. Can you please explain what the other book is about?

God Bless you and your ministry,

Response #16:

You are correct. This is an evil "interpretation" and you have correctly ferreted out why: if works saved, then Jesus died for nothing; but works do not save, and no good work could ever wipe out any sin; so without the cross, no one can be saved, no matter how good WE think their works are. God is the One who will decide whether or not anything anyone has done is truly "good", and anything not done in the power of the Holy Spirit cannot be divinely good by definition. Since unbelievers do not have the Holy Spirit, all of their "good works" are detestable to God. Responding to God and doing things His way is what constitutes true "good works", namely, believing in Christ, growing and progressing spiritually, and helping others do likewise:

Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
John 6:29 NKJV

The books by which unbelievers are judged at the last judgment contain all of their "deeds" (erga), that is, everything they have thought, said and done in this life; through these it will be demonstrated that they never had any intention of responding to God and His truth through humbling themselves by believing in Christ, and as a result He is absolutely just in everything He has done – so that they have no excuse and no defense for their condemnation. I have written about this passage extensively at the link: "The Great White Throne Judgment".

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

In "Eschatology Issues XIX" you said in Response #1, "...full reward through diligent spiritual growth, progress and production in the service of Jesus Christ." I'm not sure how to interpret "production." Every attempt I've made to share the gospel has ended in what appears to be failure. I still try to share, but per your suggestion, more by asking questions than preaching. I don't know enough to teach. So far, except for my daughter, I've produced little to nothing for the Lord. That is becoming a growing concern. What do you mean by production?

On another front, I'm still scanning news for anything of relevance, but I'm seeing a vulgarity I've never seen before, violent sickness like I've not seen before and political rhetoric that's sick and
disgusting. I have to remember that there's still divine restraint so this is all coming from our own willingness to do evil. That must be a major part of what leads up to the Tribulation. This is really the first time I've begun to comprehend the horrors coming. It looks to me like one of the greatest risks to Christians and a possible source of apostasy will be hatred.

Finally, one of the verses that has had a profound effect on me is Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God." The more I can do that, the more fruit it bears. How else would someone hear the
gentle guidance of the Holy Spirit, if not still? I assume that I'll be guided when the time is right and whatever my skill may be, I'll know then. This has been my approach to this point. Should
I change?


Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #17:

Good to hear from you my friend.

Production is everything we do in the Spirit that is truly for the Church of Jesus Christ. Therefore true spiritual production is often quite different from what many assume. Someone who goes to church (for the wrong reasons = any reason which is not focused on spiritual growth and mutual encouragement in Christ), who gives a lot of money (for the wrong reasons, e.g., to be well thought of at church), who witnesses aggressively (for the wrong reasons, e.g., to "count coup" over those they have "saved") is not producing anything at all. However, a person who seeks the truth from a Bible teaching ministry, who learns from it and believes what he/she is taught, and who applies that truth to his/her life IS producing: spiritual growth is production. A person who prays for others in the Spirit, who contributes what he/she has to ministries that truly help others (a small amount of money, a prayer, a word of encouragement, a recommendation to others) IS producing. And passing the tests of that God gives us is production of the next level, much more fully rewarded than basic spiritual growth (the crown of life in addition to the crown of righteousness). Coming into ministry, the right one which the Lord has for you, and carrying it out diligently and effectively is what brings the ultimate reward, the crown of glory. But please understand: it is what YOU choose and do that counts when our Lord evaluates us, not the response of others in this world. We are given a field to tend. If we are given an extremely fruitful field and it yields a good crop without much effort on our part, we will be rewarded according to the effort that we put in, not the bounty of the field which belongs to God:

I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
1st Corinthians 3:6-8 KJV

After all, very few believed John the baptist – and we may be assured that his reward is great. Also, how many believed our Lord? Didn't most of His contemporaries reject Him and His message . . . and then called for His crucifixion? But He did His job perfectly, and has received the Church and the Name which above every Name from the Father, not because of the responsiveness of the Jewish people of His day but because of His perfect and faithful fulfillment of the plan of God for us in every way. He is our role model (1Pet.2:21). You are laboring – in spiritual growth, progress and production. Be pleased to keep it up and to keep fighting this good fight! There is great reward for persevering as you are doing, my friend. For much more on all of this please see the link: "The Judgment and Reward of the Church".

On your other question, I think that any Bible reading Christian looking at today's world must come to the conclusion that things cannot go on like this much longer. I am sure that you are correct that emotions run amok will greatly contribute to the scenario that brings the beast to the fore. Once the restraint of the Holy Spirit is removed at the Tribulation's inception and the Lord unleashes the "empowerment of error" (2Thes.2:9-12; and see the link), things will begin to get even worse than we can presently imagine and with a rapidity no one will foresee.

Jesus left us His peace (Jn.14:27) with the intent that we might live tranquil lives – at least in our hearts – in spite of the turmoil of this world which has nothing ultimately to do with us, for we are not "of it" (Jn.17:16); and yes, it is the Spirit and His still, small voice that speaks to us in encouragement and guidance to maintain that peace. You are doing exactly the right thing in turning away from anything and everything that upsets your peace. We are only here in this world for a very little while, and we are only here after salvation to grow, progress and serve the Church of Jesus Christ – exactly the things you are endeavoring to do.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Thanks, Bob, so much. That was the encouragement I needed. I hate to admit that I needed it, but I did.

You have no idea how much your weekly email postings have helped me. I sometimes get annoyed with your correspondents who insist on belaboring their pet point, but the way you've dealt with them, your patience and your final refusal to be baited has been an inspiration and guidance. (My mouth is my worst enemy.) You have answered so many of my questions through your responses to others. I truly appreciate your weekly email postings as I'm sure are others and your willingness to answer poorly framed and sometimes ill thought-through questions like mine.

Thank you. May the Lord bless your ministry.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #18:

You're so very welcome!

I surely appreciate your encouraging words here. Motivation to "keep it up".

No need at all to apologize, and do feel free to write me back any time. That is what the Body of Christ is for: mutual support, encouragement and edification.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Shalom Dr. Robert,

Hope ALL is WELL with you and yours!

At your convenience and leisure could you please kindly explain Dan. 12:1-2 and Dan. 12:6-7 in respect to the chronological timing of their actual fulfillment as they relate to the two distinct resurrection events of the Just (Righteous) vs. the Unjust (Unrighteous).

Daniel 12:1-2 (KJV)
1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Daniel 12:6-7 (KJV)
6 And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? 7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.


Response #19:

Thanks much for your good wishes.

As to your questions:

1) "at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book": This is a reference to the end of the Tribulation when the resurrection (the next phase of it) will take place.

2) "some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt": This conflates the next phase of the resurrection (of all who have believed up until our Lord's return) with the last phase (at the end of the Millennium) and the last judgment at the end of history. This conflating of end times events – seeing the whole rather than the parts – is a common occurrence in the Prophets (see the link: "prophetic foreshortening").

3) "How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?" and 4) "it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.": This refers to the end of the Great Tribulation (three and a half years) at the second advent. So all of these refer to the same time. The only complication being that many don't factor in that in the Old Testament the Church Age was a mystery age and that as a result all future end times events were seen as a whole whereas in fact there is a chronology of individual parts (see prior link). As I often say, they were given to see the mountain range of future events from a distance whence it appeared as one solid mass; we are blessed to see it close up and from a side-perspective whence we are able to differentiate the individual peaks and valleys.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Hi Bob,

In one of my posts (post 2.3) I speculate that when we meet Christ in the air (1 Thess 4) and are changed (1 Cor 15:52), that those alive at the 2nd advent might be changed differently.

This is based on the following:

1) Those saints who've been resurrected receive their resurrection bodies at that moment, at the 2nd advent. Jesus mentions in the gospels that there is no post-resurrection marriage. It seems thus unlikely that there will marriage of resurrected saints in the millennium either. Hence no childbearing too.

2) The prophesies re the millennium mention children in Israel during the millennium. You mention Edenic conditions in Israel. Scriptures seem to point to God's people living with Him during the millennium working and bearing children. It seems unlikely to me that these families in Israel at that time will only consist converted offspring of ungodly tribulation survivors, i.e. converts after the 2nd advent.

The remaining option is that the 'woman', the saints in the wilderness, enter the millennium in different bodies, capable of childbearing.

Is it perhaps possible that those saints in the wilderness will be changed differently at the second advent, i.e. receiving restored edenic bodies, such that childbearing is possible in the millennium? By extension will perhaps all 'saints still alive' be changed differently to those who are resurrected from the dead? I was thinking of removing the above speculation from this post because it is not sufficiently motivated. However, I'd would be interested to hear your thoughts on it before I do so.


Response #20:

Good to hear from you as always.

According to 1st Corinthians 15:23-24, there are only three echelons of the resurrection: 1) Christ (complete); 2) the Church at the second advent (not so far away now); the "end", which is the end of history at the end of the Millennium, the participants in that third and final phase being the friends of the Bride or millennial believers.

It is very common for evangelicals today (among others) to draw sharp distinctions between Israel and the Church, but that is not biblical. All of the believing gentiles before Abraham, all of the believing Jews from Abraham to the beginning of the Church Age – but also all of the believing Jews during the Church Age and all of the gentiles who believed in the Jewish Age are all also part of Christ's Church. The Jews of Revelation chapter 12 who are taken to the special refuge during the Tribulation are believers, those who have responded to the tribulational ministry of Moses and Elijah and the 144,000. It is a unique situation to be sure, but it seems completely incongruous if these believers in Christ would be made to wait an additional thousand years for their resurrection; or to put it another way, since that would be contrary to what we know of the resurrection and also to what we know about the truth of Israel and the gentiles being one in Christ in the Church, it would seem that there would need to be some statement in scripture to support such a theory before we advanced it. I know of no such scripture.

I also don't know of any verse that would suggest that there is any possibility of someone having a different body here on earth this side of the resurrection. In all of the cases of believers being brought back to life in scripture, the impression we are given is that even here they are the same as they were before dying and then being miraculously revived to life. If that is true of those who died and came back, how much more in the case of those who never did so.

The fact that Israel of the Millennium begins with those who were previously unbelievers does not strike me as significant. We all began as unbelievers. All of the disciples/apostles were at one time unbelievers – and Paul, the greatest of the twelve, notoriously so. Also of course, not all of those who see the Lord return will convert. That is why there is an initial regathering of Israel in the desert of Sinai before any are allowed to reenter the land – so that all will be regathered, but only believers will enter the land (see the link: "The regathering and purging of Israel").

I do absolutely agree with you on the point that after the resurrection there is no "marrying or giving in marriage" (Matt.22:30; Mk.12:25); our Lord was quite clear about that.

Thanks again for everything you do, my friend!

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I'm trying to understand if the Bema seat of Christ where He judges believers and rewards them, or not, takes place in Heaven. What does Bema mean, and since it mentions "seat", does this imply that seat and throne are the same thing?

God Bless,

Response #21:

The word means "speaker's place" and in usage it means the place of adjudication as in this passage where Paul is haled in front of the Roman governor at Corinth:

When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat (bema), saying, “This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.” And when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or wicked crimes, O Jews, there would be reason why I should bear with you. “But if it is a question of words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; for I do not want to be a judge of such matters.” And he drove them from the judgment seat (bema).
Acts 18:12-16 NKJV

Our judgment takes place after the resurrection, and since that happens at the second advent, this judgment must take place on earth, in Jerusalem, where Christ is reigning for a thousand years. For the logistics of it and other issues connected with this judgment where believers are evaluated for our life's work for Jesus Christ, see the link: "Time and place of the judgment" (in CT 6); for the judgment itself, please see in CT 6 "The Judgment and Reward of the Church".

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I've been studying the resurrections and the judgements laid out in scripture and have trouble reconciling some. I've heard the terms "General Resurrection" and "General Judgement". I came up with four different types of judgements. The first one is the judgment for believers. The second is the judgement seat of Christ. The third one is the judgement for the Jews in the Great Tribulation, and the final being the judgement of the nations. Is this correct? By this I am thinking that the General Judgment and Resurrection refers to just ONE judgment for everyone, and ONE judgement for everyone too. Is this correction on what it means by "General".? The only denominations that I know that believes in a general resurrection and judgement are the RCC, Judaism, the presbyterians, the Protestant reformed church, and some preterists. When Jesus was speaking to the religious leaders, He mentioned a resurrection of the just, and the resurrection of the damned. So this sort of confuses me because it seems like just one judgement and resurrection for all at the same time, but other passages in the bible teach otherwise. The guy who heads a bible study we have on occasion said that there is a threefold judgement for the believer. The judgement as a sinner(was judged on the Cross when Jesus paid for our sins - Isaiah 53:5,6). The judgement as a "son" (1st John 2:1; and 1:9; Hebrews 12:5-11 asnd 1 Corinthians 11:31,32), and the judgement as a servant. What is the true biblical view on these judgments? From what I gleaned from bible studies, this is what I got from it. I am very cautious when it comes to bible teachers, and this is what I was told during our last one, and I am not going to just take the bible teacher's word on everything he says, so I wanted to ask if what I got from the bible study are correct regarding Judgements and Resurrections.

God Bless,

Response #22:

Believers of the Church (everyone from Adam and Eve to the last person saved during the Tribulation) will be judged following resurrection at the judgment seat of Christ; that is where we will get our rewards (or not; see the link).

Unbelievers will receive a last judgment at the end of time to demonstrate their true nature and illuminate their decision to reject God; that results in being cast into the lake of fire in every case (see the link).

The only other judgment following a resurrection involves the case of the millennial believers, the friends of the Bride, who are not resurrected at the second advent as we are (most of them will not have been born at that point) but at the end of history; they are the sheep in the sheep and goats judgment (see the link).

I'm happy to answer any other questions on this you may have, but in terms of post resurrection judgments, this is it. Please see the links:

The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride (in CT 5)

The Last Judgment (in CT 6)

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hello Bob,

In Revelation 20, it states that there were souls that were before God who are martyred for their testimony and they were beheaded. I notice that this is the most common way for Christian martyrs to die. Is there a reason for this? Muslims behead Christians, and the followers of Christ in the bible are mostly beheaded. King David beheaded Goliath, but for a good reason. Does the head of the body signify something? I once heard that the head is the seat of the soul, but don't know if that's true. Is there a reason why most martyrs are beheaded, or is is just a choice? Jesus died on the Cross instead of a different type of physical punishment, was there a reason for that instead of Him dying for our sins another way? Thanks in advance!

God Bless,

Response #23:

On Revelation 20:4, while the verb does mean, etymologically, "to axe", we should not take this to mean that all of the tribulational martyrs will die in this fashion. Beheading was a Roman death penalty for citizens – quick and easy; non-citizens and those who committed especially foul crimes were dispatched in different, more painful ways, crucifixion, for example. Church tradition has the apostle Paul beheaded, but the Bible is silent on this score. John the baptist was beheaded by Herod Antipas, but other than that I can't think of another case of this particular means of execution in scripture. I am quite sure that martyrdom in the Tribulation will take on many forms – probably some very horrible ones (cf. Heb.11:36-38 for a parallel – including other means of martyrdom historically). But we can have faith that the Lord will give those of us destined to face martyrdom for His Name the wherewithal to suffer through to the glory of the One who suffered far more for us.

As to that very important point, it must be remembered that our Lord did not die of crucifixion; rather, He exhaled His spirit . . . but ONLY after He had suffered spiritual death for the sins of the world (2Cor.5:21; 1Pet.2:24). As terrible as physical crucifixion is, all that our Lord went through in getting to and being nailed to the cross is meant to give us a small sliver of an idea of what it would take to die for a single sin – and He died for them all. All of the suffering of all humanity from the beginning to the end of human history rolled into one bitter pill would not come close to equaling what our Lord did in dying for the least sin of the least person – and He died for every sin of every one of us. The cross is "bigger" than anything that can be imagined in an eternity of imagining. Nothing is more precious than the blood of Christ, that is, His spiritual death for us all as He rose in the flames without being consumed in the darkness on Calvary's cross (see the link: "The Spiritual Death of Christ").

In Jesus Christ who did everything for us, far more than we know.

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

A muslim co-worker was discussing muslims killing in the name of Allah and tried to justify it. I quoted the bible verse about those who think they kill others are thinking that they are doing God's service, which was what Jesus said. My co-worker said that if Christians killed in the name of God, they would be hated more than muslims. I thought to myself...why? Jesus Himself never killed anyone and at His first coming He healed people and showed the Love of God towards others, and preached the Gospel to the lost, and they killed HIM without a cause. It seems as if Christians are the ones that are being killed for doing nothing wrong but trying to bring the lost to Christ. There are no killings involved. Why are the Christians being killed for being harmless most of the time? Why so much hatred for Christians?

God Bless,

Response #24:

Whatever is happening today is nothing compared to the Tribulation. Christians, ACTUAL Christians, will be the only ones being persecuted in the Great Persecution (link) because biblical Christianity, being spiritually reborn from above through faith in Christ, is the only true faith; all the others will cooperate with antichrist.

Whether people around the world being targeted today are actually believers no one can say because we don't know them personally and only God knows the heart. But it is a good idea to keep in mind that 1) many groups which are called Christian are in fact composed of mostly or even exclusively unbelievers, and 2) God is in complete control: so if any Christian is killed for his/her faith, it is all in the plan of God and said person honors the Lord by staying faithful unto death, thus earning a good reward. That is something else for us all to keep in mind with the Tribulation so close.

In the meantime, we certainly can and certainly should pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are being intimidated, persecuted, imprisoned and threatened with death for their faith.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

I apologize for not putting all my questions to you in one email regarding Crowns. Bible verses pop up in my head all day and I ask myself, why didn't I ask that before. In Revelation, there are 24 elders who cast their crowns before the feet of God. Who are these elders? I've heard differing opinions on this. Some say that's symbolic of all the redeemed (both Gentiles and Jews), and then there are some who say that they are patriarchs. Do they cast their crowns because those crowns are given by God freely because God works in them to do His will? and that none of us really deserve any rewards because we are saved by Grace through Faith?

God Bless,

Response #25:

It's no problem, my friend. I'll take them one at a time in this one email, if you don't mind.

1) Elders of Revelation: these are angels, no doubt about it. The Church has not even been resurrected (and so has not been rewarded) when the scenes in heaven take place where they are described. Casting the crowns is a form of worship wherein they acknowledge the grace of God just as you have surmised (good job!). Much about this on the site. Here are some links:

Angelic Elders (in SR 4)

The Twenty Four Elders and their Worship

The Elders in Revelation

2) On martyrs crowns, dying for the Name of Christ is actually an accomplishment (true martyrdom from the Lord that is), and it is associated with the crown of life (link). There are three crowns of Christian reward, righteousness (for gaining spiritual maturity), life (for passing extreme testing – such as martyrdom), and glory (for successful completion of ministry). There is much to say about this so I will give you the main link:  "The Judgment and Reward of the Church".

Feel free to write me back about any of this, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

In Revelation 22, it states that the Tree of life brings forth fruit every month. Is this a literal month as in 4 weeks, or does it stand for something else? I notice that there is beauty in God's creation, and even in different seasons. I find rain, snow, sun, falling leaves, etc of the seasons. Will seasons exist in the Eternal State? And will there be snow, wind, etc.?

God Bless,

Response #26:

There were no seasons on earth before the great flood (see the link). And there is no indication of any seasons in the New Jerusalem – there will no longer even be any night (Rev.21:25; 22:5), nor any sun or moon to mark the seasons and years (Rev.21:23). The question of the fruit of the tree of life is a bit involved and somewhat different than the impression given by cursorily reading about it from an English version: the crops are actually simultaneously produced, for one thing. Here is what I have written on that in CT 6:

The Tree of Life: There are several important things to note about the tree of life which may not be immediately obvious from an English version. First, the word "tree" is used here in a collective sense. What we have to do with here is a veritable forest of trees. Second, this forest lines both sides of the river of living water along all twelve channels, over 20,000 miles of network, and on both sides of the river channels at that. We can also only guess at the width of the river or of breadth of the wooded area occupied on each side, but the proportions of the city and the likely extensive span of each of the twelve avenues argue for a not inconsiderable distance. Simply put, the tree of life will cover a good deal of territory in New Jerusalem. Third, the twelve crops are not produced sequentially, but simultaneously, regardless of the time of the year (that is the meaning of "every month, month by month"). Rather than being temporally separated, the fruit is geographically separated: the trees along each of the twelve branches of the river bring forth a different type of produce, one for each tribe (in a manner analogous to the twelve loaves of the bread of presence set out in the tabernacle to represent the twelve tribes of Israel: Lev.24:5-9). This diversity of location will encourage the visitation of residents of every tribe to all other areas of the city, in order the better to enjoy and appreciate the whole of New Jerusalem.

(12) Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, (13) consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. (14) For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.
Psalm 48:12-14 NIV

When the people of the land come before the Lord at the appointed feasts, whoever enters by the north gate to worship is to go out the south gate; and whoever enters by the south gate is to go out the north gate. No one is to return through the gate by which he entered, but each is to go out the opposite gate.
Ezekiel 46:9 NIV

There are three important aspects to the tree of life and its fruit, all of which are symbolized by the furniture in the tabernacle-temple; and all of these symbols are inextricably bound to the Person of the One who is the revealed member of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, the true tree of life (Jn.15:1-8; Rom.11:17-24). The golden lampstand symbolizes the appearance of the tree of life (Ex.25:33-34)82; the bread of the presence on the golden table symbolizes its fruit (Lev.24:5-9); and the incense from the golden altar recalls its fragrance (cf. 2Cor.2:15). For Jesus is the light of the world (Jn.8:12), the bread of life (Jn.6:35), and the sweet savor of salvation which expiates our sins (Eph.5:2; cf. Heb.7:27; 9:14). The tree of life will thus be the source of palpable joy in its appearance, fragrance, and taste (cf. Gen.2:9; Ezek.47:12). And in this last blessing in particular, the feature emphasized in our context with the reference to the twelve crops, the benefits and delights of partaking of the various fruits will be enormous, eternal manna from God, everlasting communion in the participation of the Body of Christ, a pleasurable experience that will surpass to infinity anything offered by this present, visible world.

We are also told that the foliage of the trees will likewise produce great benefits, though here again the English versions can be misleading. The Greek word therapeia (θεραπεία), the source of our "therapy", may indeed have a medicinal meaning, but not necessarily so. Its primary application has to do with care and oversight, a function which does not require some prior problem as in the case of illness (cf. Lk.12:42). Therefore "positive use" or "enjoyment" is a far preferable translation in this context where all tears have now been wiped away forever. This benefit of the tree of life will then be some sort of pleasurable activity apart from eating, and one of its prime applications will be the production of unity among all believers. For the occurrence of the word "curse" found in most of the versions in verse three of chapter twenty-two is based upon a misreading of the text (as we have seen, the “curse” of Genesis chapter three had already been removed at Christ's return: Rom.8:21; cf. Zech.14:11 NASB only). As Sinaiticus makes clear, the correct Greek text reads katagma (κατάγμα) "division", not katathema (κατάθεμα) "curse". In New Jerusalem there will be no further divisiveness between the tribes, now composed of Jews and gentiles both, nor between the Bride and the Friends of the Bride. The therapeutic foliage of the tree of life will provide a pleasurable means of fellowship and harmony between all believers forevermore (Ps.47:9; Zech.2:11; Jn.10:16; 11:52).

Happy are those who wash their robes so that they may have the right to [access] the tree of life, and [the right to pass through] the gates so that they may enter the city.
Revelation 22:14

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.


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