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Question #1:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

First, let me pray that you have a blessed and joyous Christmas celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ our LORD and Savior, even though we celebrate his birth every day of our lives.

May this coming New Year of 2021 be one in which the Grace and Peace of God that surpasses all understanding, keep your heart and mind in Jesus Christ our LORD.

As I noted to you in a previous email, I have this Christian brother, although I sometimes wonder how much he knows about scripture, and at this point I am really concerned about him based on the response I gave him to a subject he was addressing with me. I made the statement that Jesus is the Son of God, and the reply he gave me surprised me. He said that Jesus never ever proclaimed to be the Son of God anywhere in the Bible, and later stated that He never said that in the Gospels. Well, I gave him proof that Jesus did indeed make this statement on several occasions, even within the Gospels themselves, but he disagreed with me.

I was wondering if you could give me a brief statement on his claim, in addition to what I have already quoted to him. I think that he always wants to prove me wrong, because he once stated that I knew more of the Bible than he, but that is beside the point, I just want to set him straight on this, and attempt to teach him something. I don't know where he gets this statement from or how he came about it, for the numerous times we visited him and his wife, I only saw him reading the Bible once; our visits would last for 10 days each time we went. We made at least visits last year. He was the brother who God used to speak to me about salvation. Now he is also the brother who went from Catholic to Lutheran, to Charismatic, to Apostoilc, and back to Lutheran, because he believes that that denomination is closest to be the most scriptural in their beliefs and doctrine. I tried several times to tell him that was not the case about the Lutheran beliefs, because they are Amillennialists and hold quite a bit of Roman Catholic doctrine besides, e.g. Water Baptism of infants, confirmation, etc.

Anyway, just wanted to give a brief background of the person I am dealing with, and any help you may provide on this subject would be certainly as always much appreciated.

God's riches in glory, by Christ Jesus our LORD, be multiplied to you always,

Your friend,
P.S. I always seem to be confronted by these types of individuals for some reason.

Response #1:

Jesus is obviously "the Son of God" (e.g., Heb.1:1-5; and see the link).  In the synoptic gospels, it's not recorded that our Lord said this directly, but there are plenty of passages that make it clear not only that He is/was the Son of the Father, but also that His teaching made this clear (e.g., Matt.4:3; 4:6; 8:29; 14:23; 26:63-64; 27:54). In the gospel of John we find, for example . . .

"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
John 3:18 NKJV

"Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live."
John 5:25 NKJV

"Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?" He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.”
John 9:35-37 NKJV

"Do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,' because I said, ‘I am the Son of God' "?
John 10:36 NKJV

When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it."
John 11:4 NKJV

Wishing you and your family a very merry Christmas, my friend! And a much BETTER 2021!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.
p.s. As to "I always seem to be confronted by these types of individuals for some reason" – the Lord probably sends them to you because you are someone who can actually help them through knowing the truth (not so many options for that these days!).

Question #2:

Hello again Dr. Luginbill,

I thank you for your kind reply and scriptures. I have found this in John 10:34-36

"Jesus answered them, "Has it not been written in your Law, I said you are Gods"?
If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the scripture cannot be broken)
do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, You are blaspheming, 'because I said, "I am the Son of God?.

In verse 36 I find that Jesus did say "I am the Son of God".

He obviously had taught His disciples that He was the Son of God, and also to other people who became His disciples later. Can we also say, that not everything (every word) that Jesus spoke while here on earth, is not recorded in the Gospels? Can we not also say that Jesus in John 9:35-37, that Jesus does not directly say that He is the Son of God, but, He did say to the blind man He had made well, in response to his reply in Verse 36

"He [the blind man] answered, "Who is He Lord, that I may believe in Him?" Verse 37 - "Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you".

So, in my thinking, Jesus did say He was the Son of God, but indirectly. There are other verses similar to this one that I have studied, like Caiaphas in Matthew 26:64, although He used the term "Son of Man". Just trying to convince this brother who always questions my remarks.

God's great grace be with you in the coming year.

Your friend,

Response #2:

Well, "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" is pretty direct since Jesus was talking about Himself (Jn.3:18 NKJV).

Also, as you point out, at John 9:35-37, after He asks the one whose sight He restored, "Do you believe in the Son of God?", He then says “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” Again, pretty direct. Did Jesus ever proclaim, "I am the Son of God"? We know that He said everything "in parables" so that those to whom He came but who were not willing to respond would "hear but not understand" etc. (fulfilling Is.6:9-10). There was also the issue of avoiding direct opposition with the unbelieving "powers that be" until the ministry was finished and the time of the cross arrived. Just as we do not see the glory of God directly – since then we would have no free will option but to accept – so also the truth is made available only for those willing to receive it.

But He kept silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus said, “I AM [= YHVH]. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
Mark 14:61-62 NKJV

As to "Can we also say, that not everything (every word) that Jesus spoke while here on earth, is not recorded in the Gospels?", that is certainly the case; here is what I read in scripture:

And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.
John 21:25 NKJV

Hope you have a nice Christmas!

Happy (we hope!) 2021!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hey Professor,

I have a few different questions for you.

First, in Ephesians, I'm wondering about 1:3,10. What exactly does it mean for us to be blessed "with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ"? And similarly, how do you describe "the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth". There might be one or two more references to the heavens that I'm missing in Ephesians, but what do these heaven references mean exactly?

Also, In Rev. 1:1, does the Father giving Jesus His revelation mean that at one point Jesus did not know it, but that now he does in order to in turn give it to John (and us)? Also, some translations give "what must soon take place" as opposed to "in rapid succession". Could you explain that briefly.

Finally, could you maybe point me to links where you try to refute the argument from imminence to support the pre-trib rapture?

Thanks a lot

In our Lord,

Response #3:

Always good to hear from you, my friend.

Here's how I translate the Ephesians passages:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing heaven has [to offer].
Ephesians 1:3

. . . for administering this [present] fulfillment of the epochs: namely the incorporation of all things in Christ, things in heaven, and things on earth.
Ephesians 1:10

In the first passage, "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (NKJV) is Paul's way of saying that not all the blessings we have or should expect or should be focusing on are material in the "here and now", and also that the ones which really count "here and now" are spiritual. This is a way also of reminding us that our true status, our true "citizenship" is there not here (e.g., Phil.3:20), and that our efforts should be directed towards our heavenly reward (e.g., Matt.6:21; Lk.12:34) and our focus on "the things above" not the things below (Col.3:1-2). Because whether we are blessed materially down here at the moment or instead suffering pain and deprivation, we are not more blessed "in heaven" because of physical prosperity here and now, nor less blessed "in heaven" because we are suffering at present. If I were to paraphrase further it would be something like, "who has blessed us with salvation in Christ which is better than anything here on earth, so keep your eyes on Him and on eternity".

In the second passage, Paul is emphasizing that in the Church Age, with the victory of the cross now a present reality, the plan of God is moving towards its inexorable conclusion, the next phase of which will be the rule of Jesus Christ on earth when He returns (with all stumbling blocks removed from His kingdom, the devil and his angels included: e.g., Matt.13:41). Before the cross there were shadows; after the cross, with the unveiling of the mystery (in Eph.1:9, the verse which precedes), it has been made clear that Christ is the Rock upon which the entire plan of God has been founded and that all things are being reconciled under the Head of that plan, Jesus Christ (Col.1:20). So this verse is describing our present age as the final summing up of the plan of God necessary as a prerequisite for the Millennial Kingdom. When it is completed during this "fullness of times", then Christ will rule with His Bride, the Church, for a thousand years. The plan is thus summed up, completed, finished – for the most important purposes – once the second advent and our resurrection (and all related judgments) have taken place. The Millennium is both "the icing on the cake" (allowing Christ and His Bride to enjoy in time the fruits of His victory) and also the "proof of the pudding" (when at the end of the Millennium people with their sin natures will revolt even against perfect circumstances).

On "revelation", the word in Greek, apokalypsis, is literally "unveiling", meaning, that the Book of Revelation describes the complete bringing to light of Jesus Christ, His unveiling and revelation to the world. Jesus could never not know anything (and this verse does not suggest that); whenever we do have situations of apparent lack of knowledge, it has to do with Christ's kenosis during the first advent only, His willing limitation of Himself in His humanity so as to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins (which being unnecessarily helped by His deity would have invalidated).

On "imminence", here's the best link I have, although it's elsewhere too; you can do a site search by plugging this into your browser navigation bar:  site:ichthys.com: imminence

Bottom line on the translation: the Greek says "with speed", not "soon". It's not wrong to translate it the other way, but people who want to place any interpretive weight on that need to consider that John wrote this almost 2,000 years ago, so that whatever "soon" meant in that case, it did not mean anything like in a few days, or months, or even years.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:


Okay, so for the first verse, our salvation is the epitome of these "spiritual blessings", and ultimately this grace is sufficient for us (2 Cor.12:9). I get that.

For the second verse, so if we use your translation, are these "things in heaven" just spiritual directives or fulfillments that have manifestations on earth? Just a little confused here.

For Rev 1:1, that makes sense, so I assume passages like Matthew 24:36 would be a part of those where Jesus in His humanity doesn't know? Does this also generally mean that each member of the Godhead is omniscient? Are all members omnipotent and omnipresent as well?

Finally, if we're to roll with "soon", when you say it wasn't soon in the sense of it clearly not being fulfilled in "days, months, or years", it's obvious that John did not know when they'd take place, correct, but now we know it wasn't a matter of mere days, months, or even years?

Also, I just want to take a moment to thank you for all your prayers and intercession on my behalf. I've mentioned some of the personal struggles that I've faced over the past couple of years (especially this past year), but thank you for sticking to the truth and for even staying relatively silent when you've felt necessary. [omitted] I've felt the Spirit convicting me for a little while now that a lot of these problems would eventually dwindle away, and I think I can now confidently say that I'm at the tail-end of dealing with them. It's taken a TON of prayer and resilience, but it's confirmed the truth of His Word again, that He loves us and will never forsake us. Glory be to our Lord.

Thanks a lot

In Him,

Response #4:

On #1, what we have in Jesus Christ as believers is amazing (see the link: "What it means to be saved" in BB 4B), and we should appreciate it to the depth of our being, even if we can't see all these wonderful salvation things physically yet here and now.

On #2, compare the companion passage in Colossians (cited last time):

For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
Colossians 1:19-20 NKJV

"All things" above means everything that can be reconciled, human and angelic, that is, the complete and successful end to the satanic conflict that lies in the background of the entire plan of God, peace, the peace resulting from Christ's victory. Jesus is the Victor who has won the conflict at the cross (e.g., Col.2:15), He is the Logos, the plan of God incarnate. Through the victory, through the cross, the entire family of God is completed, angels (the rebels defeated; the loyal angels confirmed), and mankind (the Church, Christ's Bride, and the Millennial believers, the Friends of the Bride).

Revelation 1:1 is not about knowledge but about divine will and decision. The Revelation of Christ is the capstone of the plan of God, the actual unveiling of the Father's Son as ruler of the world. This is a decision, decree, grant from the Father to the Son and thus to us all. Compare:

The LORD said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion.
Rule in the midst of Your enemies!
Your people shall be volunteers
In the day of Your power;
In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning,
You have the dew of Your youth.
The LORD has sworn
And will not relent,
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”
Psalm 110:1-4 NKJV

Christ's enemies become His "footstool" at the second advent.

In terms of the Trinity, God is one and all members share the same divine essence; they are three distinct persons who are all God (and have all of the attributes of God). The Son became human as well as divine at the virgin birth, and during the first advent of His own will lived a perfect life of limitation like the one we all experience in order to be able to be the perfect sacrifice (cf. Heb.2:14). Only then, during those 33 years, were there things which were hidden from Christ's humanity according to the principle of kenosis (see the link).

On "swiftly", this refers to the manner of events taking place, not the relative nearness. So this passage does not actually say that the Tribulation was "near" (similarly Rev.22:6). However, it is phrased the way it is phrased because we are to live our lives as if the Lord might return at any time (cf. Matt.24:43). That is salutary, even though we "know" a few things about the time-line . . . because no one knows the "day or the hour" of their own return to the Lord (cf. Lk.12:20). Here's something from CT 7:

The importance of spiritual alertness in anticipation of the coming Tribulation and our Lord's return is clearly the theme which runs throughout these final verses of the book of Revelation. These things are prophesied to be about to "happen quickly" (v.6), and Jesus is "coming quickly" (v.7a). Therefore making a special effort to be alert and "guard the words of the prophecy of this book" is essential for every believer (v.7b): the book of Revelation is essential reading so that believers may remain alert and become properly prepared for all that is soon to come, and for that reason it must not be "sealed up" (v.10a), because "the time is near" (v.10b)

I am very happy to hear that you have made such wonderful progress, my friend! I have been praying for you daily.

As to "silence", if you ever don't hear back from me after writing me an email, it'll be the case that somehow I didn't receive it for some reason. In which case, do try again.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5:


Okay, I basically understand #1 and #2.

I'm still a little confused with the imminence of the Lord's return, however. It's obvious that Jesus taught to stay alert and ready for the Son of Man to return, at an hour we won't expect. But aren't we still to know that there are 7 millennial days and that the Lord's return with its concomitant events (the tribulation) isn't imminent? This also raises the question as to why God would start the tribulation at any point when the scripture cannot be broken...I'm not sure I've ever understood the idea that God could start the tribulation at any point. Especially considering God has never really "changed his mind" or anything since history has been decreed from eternity past...please explain it to me. You might point me again to that imminence pre-trib rapture link again, which I admit I have not dived into yet but which I intend to.

Thank you

Response #5:

Let's start with what I think was your initial concern, namely, refutation of pre-Tribbers' idea that "things which must shortly come to pass" (Rev.1:1 KJV) supports a pre-Tribulation "rapture".

Pre-Tribber: "The Bible says that the Tribulation will happen "shortly / soon", so it is impossible for the post-Trib position to be right since seven years is not shortly".

Bible reader: "John wrote this almost two thousand years ago. So beyond all argument it turns out that whatever he meant by "things which must shortly come to pass", he certainly did not mean "in less than seven years" since it's been a great deal more than that already. And if that verse and others like it were consistent with an indeterminate future time THEN, well surely its consistent with an indeterminate future time NOW – especially since we are surely much closer to the Lord's return NOW than we were THEN."

That would be my starting point. All the biblical comments about "shortly / soon" in regard to the Lord's return are ancient, so whatever they mean, they CANNOT be taken to mean that a return after the Tribulation is inconsistent with scripture.

I have explained this issue in two ways. First, the phrase in Revelation 1:1, en tachei means "quickly" (cf. "tachometer" which essentially measures the speed of the engine or "tachycardia" where the heart is going too fast). Things will happen "fast" . . . once the Tribulation begins.

Second, it is also true that we are told to be alert for good reason. We never know exactly how God is going to work things out, either in terms of the big picture or in terms of our small little individual lives. We are often taken by surprise – at least I am. So it behooves us not to become too secure in our application:

"But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."
Matthew 24:43-44 NKJV

Makes sense. "Be alert!" That is always good spiritual advice. And consider that none of us knows when our last day will be, so that for us individually, this "day and hour" is personal as well as eschatological. What difference does it make if things end for us at the second advent or if the Lord takes us home before that? In terms of our requisite alertness, it makes no difference. We want to be found doing what the Lord wants us to be doing regardless of when and how the end comes.

"Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Matthew 24:45-51 NKJV

And consider: which position, post- or pre-, is more conducive to doing the Master's will as in the passage above? Pre-Tribbers feel they have nothing to worry about, no Tribulation to be concerned about, because the "rapture" will rescue them before anything bad begins to happen. So haven't they taken these "soon / swiftly" passages and turned them on their heads? Isn't the point to teach believers to get serious and be alert because they "do not know the day or the hour", but haven't these people who believe this false doctrine been led to feel just the opposite? "Nothing to worry about there, folks! " Since this false doctrine reverses the obvious thrust and purpose of these passages – inducing the "My master is staying away a long time" attitude instead of the alertness counseled everywhere in scripture and especially in Revelation (see the link) – how is that not proof positive in and of itself that the doctrine is false?

Does the fact that we know that the Tribulation will last seven years undermine any of the above? Not in my view. Being prepared for the Tribulation is fundamental to carrying out the mandates connected with the passage above regarding being faithful as we remain alert for our Master's return. In biblical terms, the Tribulation is merely "a day", the "Day of Jacob's trouble" (Jer.30:7), that dark day which precedes "the Day of the Lord" with which is it often associated. The latter is "the day" we look forward to, the thousand year day of Christ's millennial rule, and since the first advent these events have ever been "imminent" in the sense of being "the next thing" on the eschatological clock. Further, no believer who enters the Tribulation can ignore the possibility of being called upon to be martyred at any moment – for him or her, that will be "the day" they meet with the Lord. You cannot get much more "imminent" than that.

If you are concerned that someone in, say, the first century could have objected that there was no way they had to worry about the Tribulation since it had to be a long way off from that point on, I would respond that, just as I have always said, the seven millennial days is an interpretation which can be derived from scripture but which is not stated explicitly in scripture – no doubt for just this reason. I do believe it to be true – absolutely – and we are on the cusp of seeing it fulfilled, but, again, it's not "there" per se in any given verse (not that there's not lots of evidence; see the link).

There is a difference between a direct teaching and an interpretation based on direct teachings as I have always maintained (see the link).. I believe the interpretation is correct, but I would never counsel any Christian to ignore the direct teachings of scripture for the sake of an interpretation should they ever be felt to collide. I do not feel they do in this case. Were I alive in and conducting this ministry five hundred years ago, I would NOT tell folks "don't worry about it because the Tribulation is a long way off". No. I would teach the interpretation but also teach alertness, and I would consider the end "imminent" because 1) it is for us individually as far as we may know; 2) it is always possible for God to do whatever He wants – and especially considering the scriptures which stress the imminence/shortness/quickness of the end; and 3) those scriptures are to be considered first before any interpretation, no matter how sure we may be of them.

Some people may have had (in that hypothetical) a problem with that – just as some may have today – but I do not. The supposed potential contradictions have to do with the sovereignty of God on the one hand and His mercy and longsuffering on the other. And I believe that we are also very close to finding out that there was no contradiction or inconsistency after all. That is often the way God works things out. Job and also his friends wrestled mightily with what they felt were inconsistencies – but they didn't have all the facts . . . just as God Himself made clear to them at the end of Job. Likewise, we have what we have in terms of biblical knowledge, but we don't know everything. But God knows everything. On some things, the ultimate answer is that we just have to trust Him and believe everything He tells us / gives us, even if AT THE MOMENT we don't yet see how it all fits.

But what this issue however one wants to characterize it does NOT do is to give even a sliver of support to the pre-Trib rapture – which its adherents would easily see if they just considered the false logic of their position.

I hope this is helpful. Here's the link you asked for: "The Imminence Question".

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Okay, so let me just lay out everything.

Pre-Tribber: "The Bible says that the Tribulation will happen "shortly / soon", so it is impossible for the post-Trib position to be right since seven years is not shortly".

Bible reader: "John wrote this almost two thousand years ago. So beyond all argument it turns out that whatever he meant by "things which must shortly come to pass", he certainly did not mean "in less than seven years" since it's been a great deal more than that already. And if that verse and others like it were consistent with an indeterminate future time THEN, well surely its consistent with an indeterminate future time NOW -- especially since we are surely much closer to the Lord's return NOW than we were THEN."

I get this.

Also, so "what must soon take place" in Rev. 1:1 refers to the abruptness/rapid succession of the end times events, not the nearness or immediacy. My understanding is that v.3 concerns the imminence or nearness of these events ("for the time is near"). I get this. But if we use that KJV translation then I understand your points, as I just said. This is kind of a side point.

With regard to your long paragraph, I respect that you've been consistent with this. I'm just wrestling with whether or not I view your interpretation to be in conflict with these passages of imminence/alertness. To be honest, I think we might disagree. If your interpretation is correct, it seems that it'd contradict the general notion that God would/could alter His plans and start the tribulation at a different time he sought fit.

In Jesus,

Response #6:

On Revelation 1:3, "for the time is near" (NKJV), first, it is near for us all, as far as we know. Paul says virtually the same thing:

But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away.
1st Corinthians 7:29-31 NKJV

The time is near, the time is short, things must take place quickly – these phrases do all speak of imminence, and yet it is very clear that this didn't mean that the Lord would return within a few days or month or years . . . or even centuries . . . of the time when these things were written. But it did mean that believers then as now were well-advised to adopt that mindset of alertness, expecting our Master to return "any minute"; since the opposite attitude has the potential for disaster (Matt.24:50-51).

Second, the Church Age is the interpolated Mystery Age, inserted between Christ's two advents.  No one expected this separation at the time of our Lord's first advent, and indeed few understood the need for His suffering during His first coming (in spite of passages such as Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53; see the link). Even the disciples didn't understand that Christ would depart to return "a second time" (Heb.9:28); theoretically they could have understood this from the prophets and from the Jewish calendar – but no one did at the time, even though it is all in the scriptures (similar situation to the millennial days). Since there is no unfulfilled prophecy before His return, other than that associated with the Tribulation, and since therefore we are technically standing on the cusp of the end times (and have been since the day of Pentecost), it is neither wrong nor inconsistent for scripture to describe the Tribulation and the concomitant return of our Lord as "imminent". Compare:

Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
1st Corinthians 10:11 NKJV

And let us give careful attention to one another['s ministries] as motivation for [our own] love and good works, not abandoning your mutual assembling (as some have made it their practice to do [and which makes this impossible]), but rather encouraging each other [to persevere in this work of the Lord], and doing so to an ever greater degree to the extent that you see the day [of the Lord] drawing [ever] closer.
Hebrews 10:24-25

So then you too exercise patience [like the farmer of v.7], [and] steady your hearts, because the return of the Lord has drawn near.
James 5:8

The end of all things has drawn near. Therefore exercise discretion and sober self-control for [the benefit of your] prayers.
1st Peter 4:7

Children, it is the last hour, and just as you have heard that antichrist is coming, even now many "antichrists" have arisen, whence we know that it is in fact the last hour.
1st John 2:18

Is it possible that Peter and Paul and John and James thought that the Lord would be returning soon, not many centuries later? It certainly is possible. But what they wrote was inspired by the Spirit, so it is the truth, it is scripture, whether or not they personally at the time understood the full implications of what they were writing. And on the other hand, the Spirit let them write things just this way – which means unequivocally that all these "imminence" passages cannot mean that somehow "God changed His mind". The plan of God has been set in stone since before the creation of the universe in the first place; that includes even the tiniest of events – how much more so the Bible.

The "imminence" passages, I think we have agreed, offer no support for a pre-Tribulation rapture for the reason that they express "imminence" in the first century A.D. even though none of the end times events have happened until yet.

As to your last paragraph, specifically, "I'm just wrestling with whether or not I view your interpretation to be in conflict with these passages of imminence/alertness. To be honest, I think we might disagree. If your interpretation is correct, it seems that it'd contradict the general notion that God would/could alter His plans and start the tribulation at a different time he sought fit", let me be clear: 1) scripture is true; it can be misinterpreted, but it is never wrong; 2) God never "changes His mind"; scripture may sometimes express things in that way for our benefit (i.e., "anthropathism"; cf. Gen.6:6, e.g.); 3) the Plan of God anticipated everything perfectly, and everything is being carried out perfectly within it; 4) so if there are things in the Bible we don't understand, that is our issue to work on.

On that note, remember how our Lord conducted His own teaching ministry:

And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. “For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.”
Matthew 13:10-13 NKJV

In other words, the truth of scripture can be misunderstood, misconstrued, misinterpreted . . . and rather than seeking to avoid that, there are good reasons why that ignorance of certain points is allowed. After all, without the ability to harden one's heart, this life, the great test for all who have ever drawn breath designed to determine our eternal futures, would not even be possible (see the link). People have to be free to disbelieve, and part of that is the freedom to willfully misunderstand.

And with many such parables He spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it. But without a parable He did not speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.
Mark 4:33-34 NKJV

As this passage above makes clear, it is also the case that even those who are positive to the Word are not necessarily "able to receive" everything immediately. That was certainly true of the disciples too as we hear on many occasions (e.g., Matt.6:52; Lk.9:45). But for those who persevere in the truth, all things are eventually revealed.

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children."
Matthew 11:25 NKJV

"Little children" – as in having the humility to receive and accept the truth without any skepticism or need for proof or worries about contradictions and the like.

So it is certainly possible that 1) the Millennial Day theory is correct, being a valid interpretation of the information in scripture, while 2) at the same time the writers of scripture were allowed to express things the way they did even so (in a way which may be [wrongly] taken to contradict that truth). In my interpretation and reading of the Bible, I personally see no contradiction in this. And I can see good reason for God allowing things to have been written (and later taken) the way they were written and have been taken: had this all been understood and explained correctly in the first century, it might have gone a long way towards reducing the alertness scripture calls for – which is absolutely necessary for all believers at all times living in the devil's world as we do.

We can certainly see that today, because even though most Christians have some awareness that the end is coming near, nevertheless, the idea that they will not have to face the Tribulation (because of a false belief in a pre-Trib resurrection) has contributed mightily to the lackadaisical, Laodicean attitude towards the truth we see manifest throughout the world at present. Knowledge is wonderful, but if it is not coupled with wisdom and humility, it can ruin certain people. Our Lord's teaching in parables those not yet ready for the truth of His deity was prudent, godly – and part of the plan of God. Likewise, I suspect, God's allowance of some of these truths about the end times to be obscured for so long, for the benefit of believers, not for their harm.

I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.
1st Corinthians 3:2 NIV

The fact that God has the right and the ability to change whatever He wants whenever He wants does not conflict with the fact that the actual plan will turn out to have been perfect and consistent and unchangeable from the beginning. All of the putative variables will be seen to have had to do with our perception of things – all on our end, not His . . . and all such mis-perceptions or incomplete perceptions having been allowed for our benefit.

(11) We have much to say about this [subject], but it is difficult to communicate [such advanced things to you] because your ears have become lazy. (12) And although by this time you ought to be [capable of] teaching [such things], you need someone to teach you what the basic principles of God's truth are again! You have turned [back] into [spiritual infants] who need milk and [can] not [yet tolerate] solid food! (13) For everyone who partakes of [such] milk is ignorant of the teaching of righteousness (i.e., how to live righteously), because he is a [spiritual] infant. (14) Solid [spiritual] food is for the [spiritually] mature, those who by [diligent] practice have trained their [moral] perceptive faculties to [properly] distinguish between good and evil.
Hebrews 5:11-14

I, for one, am deeply grateful to the Lord for all the wonderful things revealed in His Word, and it is the earnest desire of my heart to learn them and share them, regardless of their reception. Because "the time is near". If we are not to know and understand these blessed things now, then when? There aren't many in Laodicea who are interested in the truth, not REALLY interested. Most Laodicean Christians prefer circuses or ceremonies, and even most so-called Christian "scholars" have doubled down on dead theological traditions or outright heretical systems. Even from among those who used to be overjoyed to have found this ministry, a goodly number have turned aside, going back to inferior spiritual fare, "returning to their own vomit", as scripture puts it (Prov.26:11; 2Pet.2:22). That makes me sad. But it's not going to stop me from digging as deep into the truth as I can get before the Lord calls me home – and sharing what I find with the few sheep who are interested in being fed.

The Word of God is neither a mathematical text with problems to be solved mechanically bereft of the application of power in the Spirit, nor is it an emotional Rorschach test into which feeling can be injected willy-nilly without diligent preparation in scholarship and hard work in exegesis.  Neither the out-of-control charismatic nor the ice-cold purely scholastic approach is correct, therefore.  A good teacher of the Word is ever attentive to the guidance of the Spirit but never neglects careful treatment of the scriptures.  It is the combination of humility in the face of the awesome power and wisdom of God beyond our understanding and the meticulous application of study based upon careful prior preparation which yields the best godly results in following where the Spirit leads.

I appreciate YOUR interest and faithfulness, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hi Bob,

I know this is going into Saturday. These are not critical questions.

Do we know or think we know. the location of Uz? The book of Job quotes Job as saying "heavy as the sands of the sea." That suggests a western location. But, if Solomon wrote the book of Job, I would assume Solomon was familiar with the sea and that would suggest the book of Job was poetic. What should I understand from this?

Also, recorded casualty counts from the Israelite's combat adventures were horrific. In one case, I remember reading 185,000 of the enemy dead. (Can't remember where, now.) The North's rampage through the South or Stalin's rampage through Russia may be equivalent, but do you know of any battle in modern warfare that's equivalent? Or, is the tally of casualties, a count of the dead from a campaigns? Even the casualty count of the Vietnam adventure doesn't rise to that level.

As a side note, I'm seeing the relevance of the book of Ester. While God may not have been mentioned directly, the workings of God are truly apparent. In the current milieu, I think it's all relevant to what we face today.

I hope all is well up there on the Ohio. (I sure hope it smells better than it did when I was there:). I pray your classes are going well and you're pleased with your students. (And administrators.)

In Jesus,

Response #7:

As to Uz, it's actually pronounced Utz in Hebrew and seems to come from the root 'etz which means tree. It was apparently a region to the east of Israel. Jeremiah 25:20 says that Edom was in that area (the mountains of that area were once heavily forested), and in Job chapter one we find that great believer's oxen stolen by Chaldeans (located in the area of Iraq) and his camels by Sabaeans (located in the area of Yemen). This puts Uz most likely somewhere in the triangle between Jordan, Iraq and southwestern Saudi Arabia. Today, that is all desert, but things have changed a great deal in that area in the last 3,000 years in terms of climate and vegetation.

The book of Job is poetic in places (so is, e.g., Psalms). But that does not mean it is not inspired and meant to be taken literally where facts are stated as fact.

As to casualties in warfare, "body counts" were always notoriously high in the ancient world – for the losers. Where great numbers of men were gathered together and jam-packed into mass formations, killing a great number of them was the rule rather than the exception . . . once one side's line gave way. The Romans killed hundreds of thousands of Gauls and Germans in numerous encounters over the years, for example. So there is no need to doubt the figures on that basis. We have much more powerful weapons today, but, for example, Marines on Guadalcanal survived nightly blasting by Japanese battleships with 14" guns and larger – but in a hole with palm trunks overhead, where only a direct hit was likely to kill. Dirt and wood turn out to be excellent protection – even though when viewing a bombardment from afar it was and remains not uncommon to assume that "nothing could survive THAT".

Esther does indeed demonstrate God's protection of His people – even when they are not proving themselves particularly worthy of that protection. That is heartening for us today, I suppose. The real danger during the Tribulation will not be of any lapse in divine support (heaven forbid!), but that believers will foolishly be convinced by antichrist on account of the false signs and astounding successes scripture tells us are coming.

Doing well enough here! Hope it's the same out on the prairie.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hi Bob,

Thanks for the explanation. That triangle covers a large area. I've long since given up questioning the Bible. The more I read, the more amazed I get. "Heavy as the sands of the sea" I understood as a figure of speech. An apt one, too.

Is utz pronounced with a long U or short?

Speaking of poetic, is there any valid justification for some English translations breaking up the poetry into lines and stanzas? I wouldn't think Hebrew would scan anything like English.

I suppose close-quarter combat in ancient times was bloodier than what we've experienced in modern times. I have read that Alexander scattered yarrow all over the known world to treat his troops. Do you know if that's true? I use yarrow today to do just that and it will close up a wound in just minutes. It's antiseptic, too.

I could very easily fall in love with Ester. Sharp as a tack and smooth as silk. She would scare me if she weren't on my side.

I think I may be safe for the Tribulation except for expected martyrdom. I have come to the point where I believe absolutely nothing I hear or read from government -- which seems to have gone to the dark side. Considering what people today are willing to believe, I suspect the boatman on the River Styx will be overworked.

All is reasonably well here. Sorry for the Saturday reply. Respond only if and when you have time.

In our Lord,

Response #8:

My pleasure.

Yes, it is a large area. Where exactly Job lived therein is uncertain as no town or city is mentioned (and even if it were, the actual locations of most biblical sites is unknown, even though many have been "identified", often wrongly). In regard to his three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, Teman is the Hebrew for "Yemen", but that area was a region in antiquity probably not limited to the nation state's area today; "Shuhite" is a patronymic indicating that this is a descendant of one of Abraham's sons by Keturah, so we might suppose an Arabian locale given that many of her other sons have names indicative of that region (Gen.25:1-4), and that Abraham sent them all off "to the east" (Gen.25:6); nothing is known of Naama, the putative town/region of Job's third friend (it means something like "Pleasant-ville").

The "u" is long in Hebrew, not "uTZ" but "OOOtz".

Hebrew poetry does not "work" like western poetry. In Greek and also in Latin (after the Romans adopted Greek versification), there are "rules" and a definite order to the verses (even if, as in choral poetry, these can be difficult sometimes to figure out; other poetry, like all epic poetry, has a very easy system which is not difficult to learn . . . except for my students – probably has to do with the teacher). But Hebrew poetry, while usually recognizable as poetry, does not conform to the same sort of predictable pattern. A fair number of scholars in the 19th century attempted to discover some such system therein, but to no avail. So, in short, there are "verses", but they can be of varying length. It's more like A-B, A-B or A-B B-A in some cases, where A is answered by B. Sometimes even this can be difficult to sort out. In my experience, it's best just to realize that you are reading poetry as opposed to prose and be ready to assess the text as poetry (meaning, e.g., different vocabulary and diction, figures of speech and poetic modes of expression and the like).

On "I think I may be safe for the Tribulation except for expected martyrdom" – for those of us who are determined NOT to worship the beast, those are the two alternatives . . . so we really don't need to worry about it.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Thank you Bob,

You have greatly broadened my understanding of Job and other Biblical books. You are a natural born teacher. Don't be too harsh with your students. As someone once heavily involved in music and poetry (back in the dark ages) the rules of English verse and musical forms are not at all intuitive. Much of it must be memorized. I assume older forms must be as well. Medieval music, e.g., bears little relationship with modern music in either form or notation. It also relied heavily on the acoustics of the cathedral which is not mentioned at all the texts. I also assume your students are 20 something and that age group considers rap and hip-hop music. (Aboriginal grunting to me.) I would have difficulty teaching the form and structure of rap, if there is such a thing.

Your genealogy also lends credence to the Arab claim of descent from Ishmael which I always took with a grain of salt.

Job must have been as famous as Solomon to have friends come from that distance. The conversation, though. seems to indicate close familiarity. While the Bible doesn't say. I always assumed they were close by.

Thanks again.

In our Lord,

Response #9:

I'm probably far too easy on my students (but that's another story).

It's impossible to figure out from geography and genealogies the composition of any people or group or nation today with any specificity. There's been a lot of "history", a lot of replacement, displacement and intermingling. So anyone can claim just about anything, but we don't have to put any stock in such claims. And it really doesn't matter. The only distinction that matters to God is Jews vs. gentiles – and even there we believers are all one in the Church of Christ.

As to Job, keep in mind that these people lived a great deal longer than we do and that it was not uncommon partially because of their longevity to go on long journeys that lasted years and thus to see friends and family only occasionally (cf. the relations between Abraham and his family with their relatives in Haran). I suspect that these men all came from great distances and that it took a long time, maybe years, to set this trip up. So Job probably suffered for a very long time before relief. That is the opposite of the impression we may get just reading through the book. Nothing is harder than a hard test which lasts a very long time.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Bob,

From my experience, "college boys," as we referred to them in the Air Force, were not highly respected. Don't be easy on your students. There's a real world out there and they'll soon have to wake up and smell the coffee. (That applies to us, too!)

From what you tell me, I must simply accept what's revealed. Which fits with all I've learned so far. Hebrews 11:1? I've learned that much of Biblical understanding relies on faith.

Thanks for clarification. (It's hard to imagine a journey of years.) My hard test has lasted only a few years. That's enough.

In our Lord,

Response #10:

I have more women than men in my classes. That's a national trend too, guys preferring manual labor and the ladies headed for academia.

That is right. We accept the truth, once we've confirmed that it is the truth we are listening to, and everything positive follows from that. We find out that God has it all covered in ways it's difficult for us to comprehend. But then we stop worrying about it (whatever "it" is), and take it all one day at a time – looking very much forward to that great day when we see the Lord at last face to face.

In terms of testing, life is a test, all of it. Sometimes it's hard, and that is an obvious bit of testing; sometimes it's easy, and lack of pressure plus prosperity is a test in and of itself as well – one which many more believers seem to fail than the obvious, tough ones. When things are hard, we often tend to buckle down, make the best of it, and grit through – trusting the Lord. When things are peaceful and there is plenty, it's way too easy to relax and let down one's guard, to soften up and lose discipline. Job was remarkable also for the fact that he walked in great integrity even though things couldn't have been better. Everything that happens down here is a test of one sort or another.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hi Bob,

It's interesting more women than men are enrolled. From what I remember, women were more adept than men in intellectual pursuits. Isaiah 3:12? I've always maintained that men were only useful for procreation and guarding hearth and home.

It amazes me that the agnostics and atheists don't believe in God. If they're right and I'm wrong, I've lost nothing. If we're right and they're wrong, they've lost everything. What risk is there in believing?

Well, you've explained it! Life is a test. And, Bob, I'm getting rather tiered of it.

Stay well and safe.

In Jesus,

Response #11:

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. The great thing about the Church of Jesus Christ is that, regardless of any and all physical differences and advantages or disadvantages pertaining thereto, we all have the Holy Spirit and we have all been gifted for service to that Body. And we all have been given the opportunity to grow spiritually, to advance with the Lord, learning to pass the tests that come our way, and to produce for Him a good crop, one that will be rewarded when we stand before Him. That is what we all want – or at least what we all should want.

"But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded."
2nd Chronicles 15:7 NIV

"Do not store up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and corrosion eat them away and where thieves dig through and steal them. But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor corrosion eat them away and where thieves neither dig through nor steal them. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew 6:19-21

"He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."
Matthew 10:40-42 NIV (cf. Mk.9:41)

For we must all stand before Christ's tribunal, so that each of us may receive recompense for what he has accomplished through this body, whether it be good or worthless. Since then we understand what it means to fear the Lord (i.e., in anticipation of this judgment), we are [trying to] persuade everyone (i.e., to run a good race). Our motives in this are clear to God, and I hope that they are also clear in your hearts (lit., "consciences") as well.
2nd Corinthians 5:10-11

(5) You who are slaves, obey your masters according to the flesh with fear and trembling with simplicity of heart just as you [should obey] the Lord, (6) not doing so with "eye-service" (i.e., only when they are watching you) as those who seek to please men, but as servants of Christ, accomplishing God's will from your heart, (7) serving with good will as if to the Lord and not to men, (8) for you know that whatever good thing each one of you accomplishes, he will receive [a reward] for this from the Lord, whether he is slave or free.
Ephesians 6:5-8

(24) By faith, Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, (25) and chose instead to suffer maltreatment with the people of God rather than to enjoy the transitory pleasures of sin, because he considered the reproach [suffered on behalf] of Christ greater riches than the treasure vaults of Egypt. (26) For he was looking to his reward.
Hebrews 11:24-26

As to agnostics and atheists, it's not a risk, it's a choice. Every human being who is not severely mentally impaired at some point in life, usually very early on, comes to the realization of the existence of God through perception of His creation, and along with that knowledge, a concomitant basic understanding of His goodness and perfection (Rom.1:18-32; cf. Ps.19:1-6). But human beings who wish to have nothing to do with the perfect God who, obviously, created and controls everything, are allowed to harden their hearts to the truth (i.e., to "suppress the truth in unrighteousness": Rom.1:18 NKJV; see the link in BB 4B, "Natural Revelation and Accountability"). There are many ways of "suppressing the truth" in Satan's system, ignoring it (agnostics), denying it entirely (atheists), redefining it to a "truth" you prefer (religions of all manner of stripes and varieties). But what all these methods of denying the actual truth have in common is that 1) they cannot save a person from the judgment that is coming, and 2) they are adopted by the person in question because he/she has chosen to reject having any relationship with God through the actual truth of the gospel . . . because this infringes on his/her "free will". In other words, it's a choice (and, somewhat ironically, a choice to believe and follow Satan instead of Jesus Christ).

As to "I'm getting rather tiered of it." Just wait until we get to the NEXT "tier". Seriously though, getting fatigued is a very common "occupational hazard" for genuinely positive believers. And we have to take pains to avoid getting too spiritually tired. This is part of testing too. Job got tired of it . . . and it showed when that proverbial "last straw" hit him. Moses got tired of it . . . and he blew his lid at the wrong time. Elijah got tired of it . . . and took an unauthorized "vacation". But in all three of these cases – and probably examples we can think of in our own lives – if they had just held on a wee bit longer, they would have passed that most difficult fatigue-test with flying colors. God never tests us beyond what we can actually bear (1Cor.10:13), it's just that when we have "had enough", and then something else hits, it's very tempting to forget that God is with us and loves us and is concerned for us, notwithstanding the new load we just cannot bear in addition to everything else. It's very tempting to get our eyes on ourselves and take them off of the Lord and off of the objective – as the failures mentioned above on the part of these three great men of faith show clearly. But if we just would commit to "pushing through", we might well find that God has not forgotten us after all, that Jesus Christ is right there on the other side of this test waiting for us to pass it, and that whatever refreshment and extra help and support and power we need to get through will in fact be provided . . . if we just continue to trust Him and wait on Him.

He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:29-31 NKJV

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2nd Corinthians 12:9-10 NKJV

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hi Bob.

I'm duly chastened. Thank you. Just because I'm tired of the tests, doesn't mean I've lost faith. I just simply wish them to stop. Looking ahead, though, I suspect it's only beginning. I trust the Lord knows best. So far, I've suffered no more than annoyance. I'm thankful for that.

If Moses and Elijah got tired of it, I guess I'm not in bad company. I don't plan to take a vacation, though.

I thank the Lord daily for all my blessings. I also pray all is well with you and yours.

In our Lord,

Response #12:

You've had a lot on your plate lately, my friend – and to my mind you are handling it very well. But you gave me an opportunity to preach to the choir.

Yes, it doesn't get any better than the two witnesses! We may be able to ask them some things personally very soon (or at least one of their 144,000 missionaries).

We'll all get a good rest . . . after the Lord comes back.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hi Bob,

I don't know how well I'm handling things but thank you for the compliment. I'm very much looking forward to that day, regardless of how I get there.

In our Lord,

Response #13:

Amen, my friend!

Whether we last until the Lord's return, or are martyred, or the Lord takes us home before either of those two tribulational eventualities, His timing is perfect and it's all the same to us – or should be.

Everything to come is wonderful beyond imagination.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hi Bob,

Today was the Queen's funeral and a national day off for a 'day of mourning'.

I didn't really watch the day long televised funeral but caught a glimpse of it here and there but found it all very discombobulating. I am very aware of how the whole world will be loved up over the Antichrist and so I have been far more circumspect over rushing towards joining in with any nationwide activity. Maybe it is harmless but I have been wary of it in case it is a snare. What has disturbed me about it is the overlap with some of the things I have seen televised with the reading and studying I have been doing about how cults work. I know this will hardly shock you but the media around the Queen and the Royals is exactly the same types of manipulations that cults and abusive people use.

Some things that I have noticed that I wanted to share with you that have troubled me. My mum queued up to sign a book and put her personal comments about the Queen in it. As every borough in the country will do the same it suddenly occurred to me...who will read all these comments? Then I realised, no one will read them. My heart sank when I realised the impossibility of the King sitting down to read my mum's comment after reading a million other ones. It made me sad as I realised that it is deceiving people, as if people knew that no one would ever read it, why bother to write it?

It reminded me of the stark comparison with our Lord in the book of Numbers. Every single contribution and offering was noted in very fine detail. This is the wonderful God that we serve who knows everything we do and knows how many hairs there are on our head. It makes me very uncomfortable to feel that the Royals are aiming for deification but I now see this is what is happening. Only God could possibly see and read every comment in a book after all. He hears all our prayers doesn't He.

The comparisons continue. I saw a programme on TV of old footage of the Queen leaving a town and she claimed that this place had a special place in her heart and that she would want to live there if she wasn't Queen. It occured to me. Do you think she has said that before in another town? I don't want to sound cynical but it is possible. With God though He makes it clear that Israel is the apple of His eye and will make it His permanent abode shortly.

I have noticed during the funeral that the media said that although it had pomp and ceremony, that only the small and personal really matters to the Royals. How can both be true to them? They are only mere mortals so how could they see a small child in crowds of over a million and her own small contribution? The answer again is of course they cannot see this at all. God would notice of course but they wouldn't and can't because they are not God. What is amazing about God is even during large occasions, rituals and celebrations, God saw and still sees every single human being. He sees them and sees their hearts. Isn't that wonderful!

I am bit disturbed by the realisation that the Queen was a 'blank canvas' that anything could be projected onto to reflect our own fleshly wishes and desires. My mum chose to believe that she was a great Christian but I am doubtful that she was a mature Christian, how could she possibly be? Others may have commended her in her tolerance of any and all faiths also. How can a person be both then? How can we be great Christians and a supporter of all faiths? God tells us that we cannot love the world and Him at the same time.

This 'all things to everyone' is the most disturbing to me as I suspect that this will be a very accurate description of the Antichrist. I know that Paul said that he became 'all things to all people' but he did so for people to be saved. If a person is 'all things to everyone' and are not preaching the Gospel then what exactly do they have in mind?

On my study of cults and abusive relationships, mirroring during the lovebombing stage is very important. This is the 'all things to everyone' stage. This is when a group or individual becomes exactly that, a blank canvas for you to project all the things you want onto. That person/ group claims to be your 'soul mate' or 'double' in that they match everything you like and care about just to seduce you.

When the Moonies tried to get people to their infamous 'secondary location', they would tell you absolutely anything to get you there and for you to believe in them. If you liked farming, they have a farm. If you like journalism then they are just about to set up their own newspaper. You like to ski, they're taking their first skiing trip this very week. See how it works? It's like Santa Claus. A dream factory.

I see this happening now. A great mythos is being pushed about the Royals that seems deeply disturbing to me. It may not mean anything more than the usual prideful boast of life and just your common garden variety of humanistic hubris.

I think it worth commenting on though. If people are tempted to join in with the crowds now, how will they stand up against the multitudes who will embrace the Antichrist?

We are so very close to the end now. Shouldn't we be more and more cautious about what the world seeks after and what they get swept up into?

In Jesus,

Response #14:

Excellent points. Celebrity is a real temptation for many people, achieving it themselves or (since that is unlikely) being attracted to the celebrity of others like moths to a flame. Clearly, if you "get to sign the book" you have in some ways gotten a piece of the pie (in your deluded heart); but as you point out, it's less than meaningless. Even if "the king" read your comment out of millions – so what? He's not going to make you "keeper of the royal bed pan" and give you a fancy uniform, after all. They've already got all that and don't need you.

Antichrist will indeed be the ultimate human celebrity who operates under the devil's rules of same. Clearly, Jesus Christ is THE important person of all time – He is the Logos, the plan and the Creator and Savior in One. But in His humanity during the first advent He eschewed celebrity – because it interfered with His mission (link). His glorious celebrity will come at the second advent when He rules the world as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (and we will share His rule!). Antichrist, by way of starkest contrast, will be, as you say, all things to all people as much as possible in the early going, and very effectively so, so that the whole world (with notable exceptions) will run after him. Later, he will use and abuse those who have given him everything. Hitler is a good model there.

So thank you for paying some attention to all this. To be honest, I didn't see even one minute of it (flipped the channel when having dinner after work). Getting too involved in following the goings on of this world is bad for one's blood pressure, but having one's finger on the pulse is not at all a bad thing, so thanks for filling me in on this one.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #15:

My pleasure Bob!

I thought of it to be worthy of comment as many unsuspecting people (who are not usually Royalists) have been swept up into the hysteria.

My sister (not a Royalist) said she watched the whole thing (it was a day long event). She said that she found herself getting emotional and swept up in it but how could you not do when watching something for over eight hours? At the very least you would want to get some emotional connection from it to justify the drain of time you put in, the sunk cost fallacy that many cults have learned to exploit. I once saw one episode of a TV show called The Crown and I found myself moved to tears at the end of it and stirred up over the Royals in a way I never had before. Such powerful propaganda from that one episode that I never watched another one again as the effect on me was immediate and startling. Those Charismatic cults rely on emotional highs too don't they.

So that's two other cult manipulations that the Royal family exploited :
1) artificial emotional 'high'
2) time sense deprivation. Being glued to your TV set for a whole day whilst listening to manipulative propaganda, destroys your ability to evaluate information, personal reactions and body functions in relation to passage of time.

Some people slept out all night to be near the funeral route. They were cold and I am not even sure how they ate or stayed hydrated or used the bathroom as they feared losing their position in the crowd. Did you know that a person that has not eaten or drank water and denied themselves normal bodily functions are easier to brainwash?

Other cult definitions that can be applied to the Royals in general

1) uses psychological coersion to recruit, indoctrinate and retain its members
2) forms an elitist totalitarian society
3) founder-leader is self appointed, dogmatic, messianic, not accountable and has charisma
4) it believes 'the end justifies the means' in order to solicit funds or recruit people (the Moonies called this a "heavenly deception). I think this applies to that book my mum signed. They didn't emphatically state that the King would read it but it was implied that he might, why else sign it? I realise now that this book was a recruitment book to get people to believe in them again. To invest time and emotion into them. Once a person has invested both time and emotion into something then they are less likely to give it up (remember your friend and their computer game addiction). I'm sure the Royals would say that book of comments was a heavenly deception in that it made people feel good and 'brings the country together'. I'm sure they would say that the implication that the King would read it was a 'white lie' that was meant for good.
5) it's wealth does not benefit its members or society. This last one is the most obvious one for the Royals. The Queen was the biggest land owner in the world, did you know that? I believe that the Vatican is pretty monied and powerful in that area too and their wealth does nothing for others either. This funeral will cost millions and be out of the public purse no doubt. Also being held at a time when the cost of living is at an all time high with food banks in the UK being used also by double incomed families gives plenty of food for thought.

Another cult technique is to go on and on about family. The Royals keep going on about their family and it quickly becomes the ideal for others or even a replacement for people who struggle with the dysfunction of their own. So then you get the whole 'nation's grandmother' narrative. The reason people weep is because they really believe they knew her and she was a member of their family. Again this is another direct imitation of God our Father into whose family we are adopted (all cult techniques are a mimesis and mockery of all true statements of fact and the reality of our Lord and God. After all Satan wanted to be 'like the Most High'.)

You pointed out Hitler. People would weep over him too. In North Korea, every home had to have a framed photo of Kim Jong-il and then Kim Jong-un on the wall that they had to dust and polish. Germans had photos of Hitler on the wall and no doubt many English have framed photos of the Queen on the wall too, mingled with all their family photos so the two are indistinguishable. That is the whole point. Did you know that Queen Elizabeth I was the first monarch to use the printing press to ensure all households had an image of her to keep in their house? She saw it as excellent propaganda and indeed it is. Many leaders have exploited this one to their own benefit.

I guess I am pointing all this out as it has come out through my study of cults but I said before that this obviously follows that cult techniques are how Satan operates in the main and all these techniques being used to promote the Queen and her legacy now will be put into overdrive once the Antichrist makes his first appearance on the world stage. This is what they call the 'dry run' or 'beta test' to check people's susceptibility. No doubt they are watching, making note and tweaking some aspects to make sure that when he is unveiled that it will be the greatest show on earth. I heard one onlooker on the Mall say that her father saw the coronation and it was a 'great day out'. She was about to say the same thing but then realised that she was talking about someone's funeral as a 'great day out'.

I'm sure the launch junket and media blitzkrieg for the Antichrist will be like the Queen's funeral but 'on steroids' as they say. In other words, you ain't seen nothing yet!

In Jesus,

Response #15:

Excellent comments as usual, my friend. That's right! This sort of thing is only in the realm of dress rehearsal.

The response is pretty impressive. Personally, I can't think of anything I dread much more than having to go to a funeral, especially of someone I didn't know well and most especially if he/she was not a believer (or there are grave doubts about it). So it is pretty impressive, I say, that they have managed to generate so much attention with such a by nature unattractive proceeding.

Maybe it's a British thing. People over here went gaga for the Beatles when they first came over ("Beatle-mania"). At least they had a few catchy tunes. Not sure what the royals have done for us or for you – except spend a lot of your money . . . meanwhile you can't afford your utility bills.

Over here our government spends money like it grew on trees, but mostly on things that are not only completely pointless but actually detrimental to our society, economy and general well-being. Come to think of it, I'd gladly trade you.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Dear Brother Robert,

Hope you and and everyone around you are keeping well.

Have you got anything on the false pre-tribulation rapture, verses from scripture that prove it wrong?

The grace of God be with your spirit,

Response #16:

Here are some links on that (it's not everything at Ichthys, but it'll get you started):

Dangers of the Pre-Trib Rapture False Teaching

When is the Rapture?


The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory

No Rapture

Three False Doctrines that Threaten Faith

Misplaced Faith in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture

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

Tribulational Security (i.e., why belief in a pre-trib rapture gives a false sense of security; in Peter #27)

The Resurrection (explains the timing of all of the echelons of the resurrection; in Peter #20)

Pre-, mid-, or post-Tribulation rapture?

Faith and the Pre-Tribulational "Rapture"

Pre- or Post-Tribulation "rapture"?

What is your view of the rapture?

More on the Rapture

What is the evidence for the "rapture"?

Partial rapture theory

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Thanks Bob for your encouraging email,

I am getting on with my study again in earnest and am feeling better as I am giving myself more time to do things for myself and not being just family focused.

I have made some new connections too, though only secular. I have been invited by a moth researcher to go to the Entomology Department at the Museum of Liverpool to ID some of the moth specimens there so I can learn more about how to distinguish them! Also he has events to show how to attract moths with just a torch and a sheet!

In other news, the new caterpillar I have been looking after has now gone into a cocoon inside one of the curled leaves I have at the bottom of the enclosure. My bird watching chums think it will emerge after winter as a Ruby Tiger but my wooden nickels are on a Buff Ermine. Either way they are both incredible looking moths and provide me with a very calm and relaxing hobby that doesn't have the stress of more modern day pursuits.

It's such a thrill to know that our Lord and Saviour made these little critters too isn't it?
What an incredible miracle metamorphosis is! No greater though than the change we all go through when born again right?

How wonderful is all His creation. How sad that all His wonderful creation does not glorify Him or even acknowledge His artistry and majesty. It saddens me at times that I cannot share the love and delight I have knowing our Lord, the Creator of all.

Remember how in the past I would get upset and even cry eating communion without the fellowship of believers? Well now I look forward to having communion with the Lamb Himself and surrounded by my family of believers for all eternity! Amen!

In Him,
I have just been reading the "Book of Consolation" in Jeremiah. How wonderful to realise how much of the Bible looks forward to the Millennial Kingdom reign! It is so wonderful to read our own Lord's words of comfort here and when I read these words I feel as though I could become more excited about this to the point of this excitement eclipsing any fears about the Tribulation! If only I could live every moment of every day with the pure joy of knowing that I will be with Jesus Christ forever and very soon! I know that this is possible to live this way in the joy of the Holy Spirit! I know it is true and now I am daring to believe I can be joyful always!

Response #17:

Great perspective!

That is what we should all be doing, namely, living our lives above all this, living in the joy of New Jerusalem in spite of being physically here. That is the best way to cope with "all this".

Good news about the moths. Knowing something about butterflies (not a lot), I've been impressed with your success in spotting, identifying and nurturing their cousins. I'm happy to hear that you're going to be able to put your talents to work. My grandfather and one of my uncles where both entomologists at university. They made nice careers out of it! Some of their stuff is still in print. I guess entomology sells better than etymology.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hi again Bob,

Just a quick question. I know that you don't like to be prescriptive about how to approach your materials, but I would like a recommendation of the order in which to read your series.

In the past I have dipped into things at various times depending on what I have searched for. Now that I have a regular bible reading and bible commentary reading system going, I'd prefer to have a solid order to read through your materials.

Should I read Bible Basics numerically in order?

I think before you recommended to start with the Peter series first if memory serves?

Thank you my friend!

In Our Lord and Saviour,

Response #18:

I do recommend starting with the Peter series. Here's what I say in the FAQs about that:

8. Recommended Sequence: Which of these studies should I read first?

As these studies all reinforce and complement one another, a variety of approaches will work equally well (for a summary and synopsis of suggestions, please see the link).  I do recommend the study Read Your Bible as a good place to start in order to understand the methodology of this ministry.  The Peter Series then provides a good general introduction to many basic doctrines.  The Bible Basics series is now complete, with the available studies (Theology, Angelology, Eschatology, Anthropology, Hamartiology, Christology, Soteriology, Pneumatology, Peripateology, Ecclesiology and Bibliology) providing comprehensive treatments of the subject matter they contain.  The completed Satanic Rebellion series and the completed Coming Tribulation series, while primarily focused on eschatology, contain much additional doctrinal information on a variety of subjects and can thus also be very profitable for general spiritual growth.  Making a habit of reading the weekly e-mail response postings is also recommended:  E-mails at Ichthys.

But reading several places at one is not all bad. As to Basics, it's only got the order it's got because I followed (roughly) the layout of previous systematic theologies (which mostly start with "Theology" proper), modifying the standard pattern as I thought best, and adding things too ("Peripateology" is something not found elsewhere).

Hope you are doing well!

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hi Professor,

Yes we will.

On BB Ecclesiology on footnote 8 you said, "two echelons during the Jewish Age and four during the Church Age". I believe that you meant to say "two in the age of the Gentiles, 2 during the Jewish age, and two during the Church age".

Besides our friend Unger's failure on the pre-trib rapture are their any other major interpretation error biases that I should be aware of. It is the real deal in terms of commentaries. His belief flows through the pages as does yours. That is the key to a good teacher it seems!

Great email's as always.

Actually, I just realized my "correction" was wrong, sorry about that.

In our Lord

Response #19:

No worries.

One always has to take any commentary with a cellar of salt. In MLB, if a guy hits 4 out of 10, he's a super-star. If a commentary gets half of that, I consider it useful. Never seen one hit "500". The value of Unger is two-fold: 1) he actually believes the Bible (almost all other commentators either believe it only in principle maybe to some esoteric degree or not at all), and 2) he interprets it as if it were the Word of God (which of course it is; but even those who believe it – rare – usually allow scholarly scruples to corrupt what the Spirit is telling them).

The problems with Unger are 1) he's steeped in evangelicalism (so he believes in the "rapture" and "once saved always saved" and doing water-baptism, etc., etc. – but blessedly these errors don't often negatively affect OT commentary), and 2) since he's proceeding from a flawed overall theology, and one that has the normal gaps in it (that anyone who's read all of Ichthys will easily discern), he misses things in his exegesis. But as I say, he bats pretty well, and it is heartening to read SOMETHING that gets it right on occasion – when almost everything else you might find only ever gets it right by accident it seems.

In Jesus our Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Hi Bob,

I hope I can frame this question reasonably. I couldn't find it addressed on the Ichthys site.

Considering the water of life in New Jerusalem, Christ speaking of living water to the Samaritan women at the well and then thinking about the Lord changing water to wine which was better than what the host had available at the wedding, and thinking about wine representing the blood of the covenant at the last supper, is it reasonable to understand the episode in John 2 as the gospel in a nutshell? The first miracle! For believers, our new life will be so much better than what we have today and as different as wine is to water. The word of God waters that belief. And, who knows, we may enjoy some of that wine in New Jerusalem.

That realization was a little like stepping on a rake and getting whacked in the head. I hope I'm not off in the weeds on this. It's a pleasant belief.

I pray all is well with you and yours up there in the frigid Harvard on the Ohio (and I hope the Ohio River is cleaner than when I left many years ago. It didn't smell very good back then:)

In our Lord Jesus,

Response #20:

Very nice, my friend! This is excellent application of scripture. In other words, these are blessed things to contemplate and they are all true – even if this is not a direct interpretation of the passage in question.

How are you holding up? I pray for you and your family daily.

Thanks for keeping in touch, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Hi Bob,

"Sleep is medicine" - I love that - and it's so true! I had a very good night's sleep and feel much better for it. It's a lovely day here today. It's a bit chilly and breezy but the sun is shining and I had a lovely walk this morning. I hope you're managing to work your way through all your uni and "life stuff". There's always some kind of stuff to sort out. Praying for you!

I've had some thoughts running through my mind this week. I'm not really sure what made me think about this but here we go.

So, you were born in the US where Christianity is the main religion, your parents were Christians and your dad was a pastor. I was born in Northern Ireland again with a high population of "Christians", to a mom who is a believer and a lot of my family in Ireland were/are believers (protestant) either lukewarm or just profess to be. So we were brought up around Christianity and like our parents became believers.

But I've been thinking about those in countries like India or Pakistan where there's a large population of pagans and Muslims. Their children are brought up in that environment and very often go on to follow (or are expected to follow) religion as their family does. It's what they're used to and what they're surrounded by.

So it seems that you and I had an advantage in where we were born and to whom because we were exposed to the truth from birth. And it's the Lord who decides where we are born and who our parents will be. But then thinking some more about it, none of that really matters because if a person truly has a heart for the Lord and the truth then the Lord will lead them to the truth no matter where they are born or who their parents are and what religion they believe. Heaven will be full of people from every tribe and nation - all praise and glory to the Lord!

A person could be born into a pagan or a Muslim family and end up choosing for the Lord and spending eternity with Him. Another person could be born into a Christian family whose dad could be a pastor and never truly believe in their own heart or fall away from the Lord or convert to Islam or whatever and end up in hell for eternity.

So at the end of the day circumstances don't matter. God is bigger than our circumstances and it just goes to show it always comes down to what's in a person's heart. Do they want the truth or not? Do they want the Lord or not?

Maybe the more that is seemingly stacked against people in their lives yet they still come through and use their free will to choose for the Lord, the more the Lord is glorified. Proof of the very thing Satan and his followers don't want to acknowledge or believe.

I'm "grateful to be one day closer to the end every day" too! Thanks for your prayers!

In Jesus

Response #21:

This is wonderful! Exactly the way I see things too. The perspective is that God is perfect and perfectly wise, all-powerful and all-knowing . . . not just theoretically but in marvelously comprehensive ways that are beyond finding out – with the result when we fully believe this, we begin to be able to trust Him absolutely regardless of what anyone else says or does, or what we may hear or see or feel or think.

How great is God—beyond our understanding!
Job 36:26 NKJV

He is the Rock, His work is perfect;
For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without injustice;
Righteous and upright is He.
Deuteronomy 32:4 NKJV

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor?” “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
Romans 11:33-36 NKJV

Have a good Friday!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Hi Bob,

Hope you've had a good day.

I was looking at something on YouTube today and in the comments below a person from India said he was the only person who is saved in his entire family from a Hindu background. He asked readers to pray for his family's salvation and named the members of his family. There was another comment from someone who was raised in a Buddhist family. A teacher in his school shared the gospel and he became a believer. He's praying for his family to be saved too. Just as we were talking about the other day! I know there are many more stories like this out there but it gave me real joy in my heart to read some of them this morning.

I've been reading all about the heavenly scene in CT 2B and just to read about it is breathtaking even if we can't see it. The last sentence of the synopsis said it all - We should take a moment to visualize these glorious things, and to remember that they are real, more real than the tangible world we inhabit. For this picture gives us a blessed foretaste of the wonders to come for all who have put their trust in Him and in His Son.

The illustration of the earth and the heavens and waters above and below is so helpful. I find it a lot easier to grasp sometimes by looking at an illustration. I'm on a roll with it now, and going to keep the momentum going.

Friday tomorrow! Praying for some drama free meetings for you.

In Jesus

Response #22:

Those are great reports!

No meetings tomorrow! Looking forward to NOT having one on Friday for a change.

Have a great weekend yourself, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Doc...I'm not sure what to believe anymore. I know there are times to defy evil rulers, but when? I feel like God is just having us be kicked around like soccer balls for the vile wh*res who call themselves leaders and authority figures just because. I mean, if God just did whatever He wanted, no matter what it was, and called it just, He would be no better than any pagan god, no, even Satan, right? unfortunately, that's what some people think. and I mean they think just because He's God, whatever He does, no matter what it is, it's right, even if He says it's an abomination. I know that can't be the case. He's better than that, He must be. what do I say to convince someone who believes such a thing?

Read my other message I sent too please. why so some people who say men have authority over women think women are dumb, incapable of most things men can do, almost only halfway between human and animal? it makes me so mad, and at times it makes me revile God for supposedly making women incapable of being anything but half-witted...things. cursed to only be half drone, half truly free. I know women are smarter than that. even if they aren't as smart or strong as men and they are to submit to their husband (granted they're competent as a husband of course), and I agree, they aren't just animals with free will. and I know you agree. how do I convince these people?

Response #23:

Re: "I'm not sure what to believe anymore": You need to find a good source of Bible teaching – like Ichthys – and devote yourself to learning the truth. You can trust God. You can trust the Bible. Find a ministry you can trust as well, and commit yourself to spiritual growth. That is the only thing which will counteract all these ups and downs.

Re: "at times it makes me revile God for supposedly making women incapable of being anything but half-witted":

1) If you worry about what other people think in this world you will be lost and/or destroy yourself on account of that worry. The devil is in charge down here, and most people are dancing to his tune – sadly even most believers in Laodicea. Again, the only antidote for this is the truth of the Word of God, good solid Bible teaching and a heavy and consistent dose of it.

2) Why would you blame God for this?! We are all down here to choose, and after six thousand years of this (and if you've read any history at all) it shouldn't come as a surprise that most people choose what is vile and spurn the truth. That has nothing to do with God who has never been anything but absolutely faithful to everyone. Didn't you hear that He sent His Son to die for all their sins – and yours?

Question #24:

Dear Dr. Robert D. Luginbill,

I have recently discovered the Ichthys site and am absolutely grateful that the Lord compelled you to establish it. I have been a believer for years but only recently gained a true focus on the Lord and our purpose here. As a former Marine (3years) and Police Officer (28 years) I know of the evil that exists and has become more prevalent in society and the world as well.

I had the fortune of enduring a crippling injury, which allows me unlimited time to study the Word. I found your Biblical exegesis on the rapture convinced me of it coinciding with the 2nd Advent.

Though I rarely do this, I had to write and express my thanks. Thank you for your efforts and faithful presentation of God’s Word.

A Fan and Brother in Jesus,

Response #24:

Very good to make your acquaintance, my friend!

Thank you for your service – all 31 years of it!

Being a police officer today is somewhat akin to (but in actuality so much more difficult than) being in the service was at the end of the Vietnam war as I was in – with no proper respect being given then or now respectively.

I appreciate your good words – very encouraging!

Do feel free to write any time. Ichthys can be challenging to navigate.

One other site to recommend to you is Curt Omo's "Bible Academy" (at the link). Curt is another former Marine and a seminary colleague of mine. His videos are first rate (and easier on the eyes than the writings at Ichthys). Please also consider Steven Tammen's "BibleDocs" (at the link).

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.


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