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Eschatology Issues CIII

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Question #1:

Hello Bob,

Just a quick note. I am getting through part 3B of the Coming Tribulation series. As a newcomer to this series, I am finding it hard to completely hold it all together in terms of who is fighting who. I understood it very well up until now but I guess it will take several readings for me to understand.

So will the South be under Islam? Is that right? So the leader of this Islamic movement will be the Islamic messiah who is false, fighting against the real antichrist?

Maybe this is why there has been pressure for Islam and Christianity to join together to form 'Chrislam'. I know Rick Warren has been passionate about pushing this.

So it would make sense that the enemy wants Christianity to merge with Islam as that would make it apostate and cheering on the wrong Messiah. It also makes sense now why the whole LGBTQ in schools thing has been most notably attacked by Muslim leaders and families. Indeed I have heard people say we should 'join with our Muslim brothers and sisters to fight this perversion in our schools.'

It would seem that the enemy hopes for this merger so that it then will be defeated by the Antichrist. So will the Antichrist be pro-LGBTQ or anti? I guess that remains to be seen whether he is legalist or licentious or both. For a while now I have wondered whether he would be leading a Christian lite New Age religion that has no real similarities to typical organised religion of today. Will it be obviously pagan in flavour? Drug use? Sex rites? Or puritanical and rigidly legalistic? Maybe both?

Something that may be something (or nothing). I have noticed the importance of the rainbow in all this. The LGBTQ use a modified rainbow (one colour short). The Noahides use a rainbow (Noahidism outlaws homosexuality by the way.) Children with Autism are referred to as being 'on the spectrum' which is another rainbow reference. Finally the rainbow is hugely important to the New Age, particularly Theosophy. They say some children are born under different colours of this rainbow. The most coveted child being the 'Indigo child' who are described as psychic but hyperactive, creative and stubborn (so that could be a reference to autistic children save the psychic reference.)

Of course there is only one true meaning behind the rainbow which God gave to us as a sign. All the others are doctrines of demons. Will this whole rainbow thing be significant in the future religion of Antichrist? Maybe, maybe not. I do like what Chekhov says though about writing plays. He says that if you have a gun over the fireplace, make sure you have it go off by the third act. This was meant to show that every prop had to earn it's right to be where it is (as opposed to being superfluous.)

I don't think this rainbow use is superfluous at all. I assume it will have an important use before the end of the third act! With all these other details though, we will have to wait and see. I know that we always want to know something else but thankfully the Lord has told us all we need to know!

In Jesus,

Response #1:

Your assumptions about what CT 3B is saying are correct – sorry if this prose is a bit dense at times.

On speculation about how what we see transpiring in the world will "shake out" in the run up to and more importantly in the early days of the Tribulation, while I think you have some excellent points and could be correct on all of them, I am personally loathe to commit to any particular scenario. Things are changing fast, and the pace of change is bound to accelerate the closer we get – and then to explode in unimaginable ways once the Holy Spirit releases His restraint during the Tribulation proper (2Thes.2:6-7). After all, the way we look at the world in the fall/winter of 2022 is a good deal different than the way we perceived it a mere ten years ago, or even five years ago.

What I will say is that antichrist masquerades as THE Messiah, even though he is the devil's son and arch-enemy of Christ. Since the coalition of nations which will oppose him in the early days of the Tribulation are all, today, Muslim countries, it is logical to assume that the ruler who opposes him in the book of Daniel (e.g., Dan.11:27) has managed to assemble this massive alliance based upon some religious claim to fame. For that reason I have opined that he will be taking on the mantel of the "Mahdi" – and that this is the perfect foil for the beast and his followers to portray him, the leader of the southern alliance, as "antichrist' . . . because, after all, he himself is "Christ" (so he blasphemously will assert). The other twists and turns, especially the interesting present alliances you adduce, are certainly possible, but, again, there are too many unknowns to "marry" any one scenario at this point. Scripture gives us the general outline, not the specifics which would allow us to do that. And things can change. The left in this country supported Stalin and carried water for the Russian communists as long as they existed; now they are the most vehement hawks for confronting Russia – even though the regime is hardly much different in its essence and becoming more like its progenitor every day. We will have to wait and see.

The same goes for the specifics of antichrist's religion. Here's a link which will take you to other links where this issue is discussed in some detail; and see also now "False Teachers and False Teaching in the Tribulation" at the link in Peter #39.

Thanks as always for your excellent comments!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Thanks Bob!

I suspect that the denseness is from me not the text! I am not very good at understanding military things and battles so I thought at some point I will need to condense this part down for myself and maybe have everything on a timeline so I know at a glance what happens, when and where.

On a different note, I have a feeling that the obsession we have here for both diversity and inclusivity is a cynical preparation for the Antichrist. In England they will now say such things as 'Autism is a superpower'. I am not sure how many people would avail themselves of miraculous healing these days as the current trend is to celebrate sickness as though it is health and suffering repackaged as superpowers.

This hasn't happened overnight because the powers that be here suddenly care for the disabled, disadvantaged or suffering, instead it is (I suspect) to accustom us for the shocking and unusual sight of the Antichrist.

Being a hybrid of both the human and demonic, his followers may fear that people may point to him as being freakish rather than something to be admired. Then again he may not be ugly in appearance despite his evil origin. I do think though his 'mixed stock' may have been rejected in the past due to views of abnormality (such as the hideous practice of freak shows). I think instead this push to normalise and celebrate all that is 'different' is to bolster him as being something desirable especially because he IS different and will be one of the most unique beings we have ever seen.

It is a difficult feat to pull off to, on one hand, encourage group mentality and strict conformity (under antichrist) whilst simultaneously glorifying the uniquely non-conforming person of a half human half demon hybrid. I think the self policing of language (political correctness without any concern for real suffering) of today coupled with the equating of weird with wonderful is a sign that they have already achieved this difficult feat already.

Whilst all this hullabaloo for the Antichrist goes on however, behind closed doors people will still suffer quietly as they always did no matter what laws or lipservice is passed.

Thankfully for us believers, the Lord is ALWAYS with us, even moreso in the furnace of suffering. Amen! So we should glorify Him all the more whether we are in famine or in feast. It is all within His hands after all! He is our glorious portion.

In Jesus,

Response #2:

What all these weird trends have in common, pronoun twisting, gender bending, light is dark and night is day, etc., is that they are all perverting the obvious truth that God has etched unmistakably on His creation (Gen.1:27, just for example: "male and female He created them"). As I have affirmed before, the devil and all who follow him seem to believe that if they can exalt the lie over the truth and destroy the truth, then nothing will be impossible for them. There is a giddiness to the arrogant presumption that "the truth is whatever WE say it is", and the more disciples who are willing to swear that up is down and round is square, the principle of "power in numbers" comes in; and the more who are not inclined to deny what any eye can see or who are forced or coerced into doing so, the greater the power, the arrogance, the exaltation, the victory over the truth – very temporarily, we believers understand (more on all this at the link).

There is also this to consider. At some point, one would imagine, this absolute insanity will rise to such a fever pitch that even the calmest non-insane unbeliever will become willing to say "no more!" Perhaps THAT is what the devil is angling for. So believers who are understandably upset by the trashing of all that is good, decent and traditional need also to keep in mind that it is just possible that antichrist will be a champion of most of what they hold near and dear – at least at first. We don't want to be deceived . . . by anyone.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Doc, if literally worshiping the devil isn't worthy of the Sin Unto Death, even witchcraft (divination) in his name, I'm actually terrified to think about what might be. Can you give an example? I'm tired of this evil cycle [omitted]

Doc, one more question: From what I've read from your emails on your site, it seems to me that the Tribulation will be harder for believers than any other time in history, which makes sense, but what worries me is that you seem to imply that the second half, the Great Tribulation, will be so hard to get through that every day will be an astronomical struggle just to not apostatize. I can't tell you how much this scares me Doc, especially if you've read my last email.

Response #3:

Whatever you did in the past is of no moment.

For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.
2nd Corinthians 6:2 NIV

We live this Christian life one day at a time. If we sin, we confess, and we move on (1Jn.1:9). If we have done something worthy of discipline, we will be disciplined – not by an angry vengeful God but by a loving Father who is trying to correct us to do what is right (Heb.12:1ff; cf. Ps.103:8-13).

The sin unto death is reserved for those who refuse to repent of whatever vile behavior they have involved themselves in (link). Discipline is progressive. So if we are suffering mightily under discipline, then we need to STOP doing what is bringing it on, change our behavior, and start moving forward spiritually. It's just that simple.

The Tribulation will be difficult but then life has always been difficult. It's just a matter of degrees. "WE" are the same either way. So the best preparation is to become a better "US" before that day arrives. And we do that too one day at a time.

There is no point in worrying about yesterday because yesterday is gone and can't be changed. There is no use worrying about tomorrow because tomorrow is not here yet and we don't know what it will look like, really – and certainly not whether we will even be there. God gives us one day at a time.

See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion."
Hebrews 3:12-15 NIV

We are not of the number of "those who shrink back and are destroyed", but of "those who have faith and are saved" – if we persevere IN FAITH.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Doc, do you think there's any chance of nuclear war before the Tribulation starts? Also I hear rumors of a bill being passed here in the states that supposedly will just completely eradicate Christian freedom in this country...like, you could be institutionalized by force just for claiming to have joy and peace in the Spirit, being marked as schizophrenic(!?)

Do you think any draconian oppression of such a level will actually come upon believers before the trib?

Response #4:

On the first question, I seriously doubt it, not a full-scale super-power exchange, at any rate. The reason I say that is that it would, in my estimation, make the events of the Tribulation which is only a few years away now virtually impossible. Mind you, I'm no prophet, so that is just my personal opinion based on the reasoning above, but I'm personally not worried about it in the least.

As to the rumors you mentioned, I haven't heard anything of the sort, but there are a lot of conspiracy theories making the rounds nowadays. Wise believers steer clear of this sort of thing, whether it's coming from the right or the left, whether it's a rumor or on the nightly news. Concentrating on spiritual growth gives a believer spiritual common sense and the ability to stay away from lies of every sort.

During the Tribulation, there will be much worse than this in any case. After all, fully one third of the Church alive at the time will be martyred for our faith (link). So we really do need to develop an eternal mind-set and not allow ourselves to be "swept off-course and carried headlong by every breeze of so-called teaching that emanates from the trickery of men in their readiness to do anything to cunningly work their deceit" (Eph.4:14).

God is in control of everything. We belong to Jesus Christ, and not one hair of our heads will fall to the ground without that being part of the Father's perfect plan (Lk.21:12-19).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Thanks Doc. Some people apparently think that some global cataclysm will come shortly before the Trib, and that will "just be a small taste of the suffering". If we really had cataclysmic events happening non stop during the Trib, I don't see how they think anyone would be alive to see the return of Christ.

As my IT teacher says, the chances would be "slim to none and out of town".

Response #5:

As to "I don't see how they think anyone would be alive to see the return of Christ", not that many will be. Here's what our Lord said about that:

"If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened."
Matthew 24:22 NIV

But believers really have nothing to worry about. All of the punitive judgments, trumpets, bowls, thunders, are directed at unbelievers. Not that things will not be difficult. They certainly will be:

"For then there will be great distress (lit. "tribulation"), unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again."
Matthew 24:21 NKJV

But from what scripture tells us, if believers do not apostatize (one third will), and if it is not their/our lot personally to be martyred (one third will be), then there is every reason to be confident of making it through to the return of Christ (again, not that it won't be a very uncomfortable seven years).

"But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."
Luke 21:36 NASB95

All the more reason to change the whole way we look at the world, learning to set our hopes entirely on the coming world to which we are anchored by the hope we have in Jesus Christ (Heb.6:19).

In Him,

Bob L.
p.s., I think the way it goes is "chances are slim to none, and Slim just left town".

Question #6:

Hello Dr. Luginbill:

How are you? I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones and a respite from teaching. We had a lovely Thanksgiving! The fruit of parenting? My oldest and his wife cooked and hosted our family this year. It was incredible! We also have been revolving doors on and off for the past 8 weeks as kids and grandkids have been visiting us in succession. Blessed!

Okay, so below are comment(s) made by someone when I posted on my social media page about the false rapture theory and then linked to Eschatology Part 2B. My goal has always been to point to truth and scriptures - and your studies. Plus, I ask if anyone would like to contact me for further discussions or to receive lessons from me on the subject. I currently have about 20 who have responded, although only about 5 actively participate with comments and/or questions and dialogue when I generate the lessons.

I have provided answers below that I am in the midst of crafting and I want your critique, plus some much-added value on your part - and particularly in his reply to, "Btw, Dr. Luginbill made a totally unbiblical assertion that, “God created Man as a replacement for the devil and his rebellious angels?!” That is nuts. “

Thank you!

His comments:
Dr Luginbill has some interesting stuff there and I think the correlation between days and 1,000 years is biblical, but I can’t see why he would omit the Bride of Christ and the marriage supper of the Lamb and the snatching away of His Bride in the rapture. Ludicrous to think that Jesus would punish his bride in His wrath before the wedding! The rapture is not only scriptural, it fits perfectly with Jewish weddings which were historically initiated when the groom came late at night for his bride and feasted for 7 days in celebration before bringing her to the house he had prepared for her (usually an addition to his father’s house). After the seven days, the presentation of the bride was made and only then was it officially consummated. Exactly what happens to the church who is prepared and dressed as a bride in Revelation 19:7. Btw, dr. Luginbill made a totally unbiblical assertion that “God created Man as a replacement for the devil and his rebellious angels”?! That is nuts.

My replies: Hey friend, #1 You said: “But I can’t see why he would omit the Bride of Christ and the marriage supper of the Lamb and the snatching away of His Bride in the rapture.”
My reply: If we took your viewpoint and understanding of it, then I can see why you would ask the question. If we take what scripture actually says and teaches, then you can clearly see the sequential timeline of when these events occur.

“For we tell you this by the Lord's own Word, that we who are alive and remain until the coming (parousia) of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout of command, with the archangel's blast on the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first (in resurrection), then we who are alive and remain will be snatched up (harpazo) together with them in clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and in this way we shall always be with the Lord.”
1st Thessalonians 4:15-17

As written above, it is one event (the 2nd coming) but with an order as to when we shall meet him in the air at Christ’s return. We, who are still alive at Christ’s return, will witness those who have fallen asleep/dead in Christ resurrect and rise first to join Christ in the air. Next, we who are alive and remain, will be snatched up TOGETHER with Christ and the assembly in the clouds. We, who are snatched, will leave behind those who are not (left standing in the field). - Matthew 24:40

#2 You said: “Ludicrous to think that Jesus would punish his bride in His wrath before the wedding!” My reply: I have not read anywhere in the Bible studies at ichthys.com where it says that Jesus would/will punish His bride. Furthermore, and more importantly, I have not found anywhere in scriptures where it says that Jesus would/will punish His bride. I do find in scriptures, however, numerous examples of God pouring out His wrath on the wicked while those who worshipped the One True God were spared (I.e. Noah, Lot) I also find God lovingly providing (Manna), faithfully guiding/delivering (Red Sea), covering/protecting (Passover) his people ALL while they went through some sort of tribulation. Noah (the Great Flood), Moses (plagues), Joseph (sold into slavery, imprisoned falsely), Daniel (a lion’s den) just to name a few by example - and, of course, the Israelites.

“Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Revelation 2:10

"Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Jesus Christ will be persecuted”
2 Tim. 3:12

Punishment and wrath from God is for the wicked. Persecution from evil is targeted at the church (believer). One is of God. One is from evil. Both are allowed by God according to His great purposes - our good, our gain, and His glory. Regarding trials, tribulations, persecution, affliction see additional sampling of verses; John 16:33, James 1:12, 1 Peter 5:10, Romans 12:12, James 1:2, Psalm 34:19 These trials and tribulations become the backbone to our faith, just as belief in Jesus is the bedrock. We are saved because of our belief (saving faith), we are rewarded because of our backbone (walking by and growing in faith).

#3 You said: “The rapture is not only scriptural”…. My reply: Where? Can you please show me where you find it in scriptures? You will be hard pressed to find it. Now let’s talk about what’s nuts! ;) The “rapture theory” is a false doctrine. The word “rapture” (known in its modern sense) has been “added to” which is always the basis for false teaching (added to or taken away, or out of context, etc.) The “rapture” known in its modern-day sense is a 19th century and onward teaching. This should tell us much alone.

“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”
Revelation 22:18-19

There are only TWO times that Jesus comes to earth found within scriptures. His original coming to save mankind, and His 2nd coming when he returns as King. How do you justify a third return with the rapture theory? The very center of this false teaching is based almost exclusively on 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18, where Paul is endeavoring to dispel the Thessalonians' misgivings caused by erroneous information that had infiltrated the church. Reports were circulating that the resurrection was applicable only to those alive at the time of Christ's return, creating the suggestion that those who had passed away had not been granted the same privilege. What does the Bible actually say about the return of Christ? As we read earlier:

“For we tell you this by the Lord's own Word, that we who are alive and remain until the coming (parousia) of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout of command, with the archangel's blast on the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first (in resurrection), then we who are alive and remain will be snatched up (harpazo) together with them in clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and in this way we shall always be with the Lord.”
1st Thessalonians 4:15-17

In addition:

Matthew 24 Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 2 But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” 3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. 9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then many will fall away[a] and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. 15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 19 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. 29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 32 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son,[b] but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. 45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant,[c] whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants[d] and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

#4 You said: “BTW, Dr. Luginbill made a totally unbiblical assertion that, “God created Man as a replacement for the devil and his rebellious angels?!” That is nuts. “ You also said: “Mankind was created as a redeemed bride for Jesus—those who will love him and serve him and reign with him for eternity. Angels are not redeemed and could never be the bride of Christ.”

My reply: Angels (elect) are holy and in no need of redemption. We (fallen man) are in need of it in order to commune with a Holy God. We will be added to the elect number of God's Holy angels - yet higher in our authority (as the Bride of Christ) once we are in the kingdom of God. Both fallen angels and condemned man will co-exist in the eternal lake of fire.

“Then He will say to those on His left, "Away from Me, you accursed ones, into the eternal fire [already] prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Matthew 25:41


As far as the argument in regard to the balance, order, and our fulfillment of that final number I highly suggest that you read The Satanic Rebellion Bible study in its entirety. It appears as if you may have responded to my post by skimming the first few paragraphs to the study in the link I provided (Esch. Pt. 2B)

The wealth of Bible knowledge and depth of teaching found within Ichthys, I stand an applaud - and I am eternally grateful. Many other weary, hungry, and thirsty sojourners have also found their way there by power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, many that have found their way there are teachers, pastors and scholars too. Grateful ones. Teaching the Word of God is based on spiritual gifting. God gave it, we need it. I am personally responsible and accountable before God to read my Bible, study God's word, find solid Bible teaching, grow in my knowledge, discover my gifting and ministry, and grow up others. I no longer subscribe to “sermonizing” found on Sundays with three-point messages such as “Give, Serve, Grow” or “Love, Learn, Live” - or the sugary kool-aid that is dispensed on and on (such as prosperity gospel, OSAS, rapture theory). I hunger for more, namely the word of God taught sufficiently and with the honor, time and due diligence it deserves. Lastly, I encourage you to read Three False Doctrines here

#5 You said: “ The Thessalonians thought they were in the tribulation (day of wrath) and had missed the rapture. Paul clarified in 5:9 And encourage them that Christians will not go through the Day of wrath. Christians WILL go through persecution and suffering but that is not God’s wrath—it is from the world and false religions. Huge distinction. We are saved from Gods wrath—which will be poured out on the world during the tribulation. Many will be saved during this time and many will be martyred… but those who are saved will be divinely protected from Gods wrath.” Again: Punishment and wrath from God are for the wicked. Persecution from evil is targeted at the church (believer). One is of God. One is from evil. Both are allowed by God according to His great purposes - our good, our gain, and His glory. Both the church (believers) and the wicked will go through the Tribulation. Only the Jewish remnant will be protected in the desert during the Tribulation's second half. The wicked will experience the wrath of God. The church will experience protection by God (according to His will) AND persecution from the evil one (according to His will) - and for many believers' martyrdom at the hand of the antichrist in the second half of the Great Tribulation. The Great Apostasy will occur during this time where 1/3 of true believers will “fall away.” Perhaps it is because they will be unprepared for the sudden events that they did not expect, their faith weakened, even shattered, since they had so easily swallowed the sugar pill that included a “false rapture” theory that never happened.

Excerpt from Dr. Luginbill on the rapture:

On account of the controversial nature of this teaching, a brief rebuttal of the doctrine of a pre-millennial, pre-tribulational rapture is necessary: The word parousia: The word translated "coming" is the Greek parousia, a word used almost exclusively in theological contexts in the New Testament for the return of Christ, that is, the 2nd Advent when our Lord will return to earth to establish the Kingdom of Heaven (cf. Matt.24:3; 24:27; 24:37-39; 1Cor.15:23; Jas.5:7; 2Pet.1:16, 3:4 & 12; 1Jn.2:28). Even within the context of this very letter, 1st Thessalonians, the rule holds true (cf. 1Thes.2:19; 5:23), leading us to conclude that our Lord's gathering up of the believers in this passage too will take place at the 2nd Advent, and not (as the pre-tribulational position claims) prior to the Tribulation – for it is at that time, at Christ's return, that antichrist will be "annihilated with the appearance of His coming / parousia" (2Thes.2:8). Furthermore, that Paul's use of parousia in the passage above was meant to be taken by the Thessalonian church as the 2nd Advent is made unmistakably clear in the apostle's second letter to these same believers. For in 2nd Thessalonians 2:1-3 and 2:8 Paul states in no uncertain terms that the parousia of the Lord must follow the Great Apostasy and the advent of the Beast (unquestionably events of the Tribulation), so that the word parousia in those verses must also refer to the 2nd Advent, the final return of Christ after the Tribulation, not to a hypothetical, temporary return prior to the Tribulation in order to "rapture the Church”. The immediate context of the passage above confirms this view. With the Thessalonians so confused about the time of the resurrection, surely a clarification would have been essential here had Paul really been using parousia to refer not to the "final return" of our Lord, but only to a brief, pre-Tribulational rendezvous (especially since it is an event unprecedented elsewhere in scripture). The associated language used by Paul in this passage would also – without any explanation to the contrary – most naturally have been taken by his readers to mean the 2nd Advent. The shout of command (Jn.5:28; and cf. Jn.11:43), the archangel and his trumpet blast (Matt.24:31; 1Cor.15:52: Rev.11:15 and cf. Rev.19:1-6) are signs of the gathering together of the faithful, both dead and alive, prophesied to occur at the return of the King (Matt.24:31; Mk.13:27; cf. the Feast of Trumpets, which celebrates the predicted regathering of Israel at the 2nd Advent: Lev.23:23-25 & Num.29:1-6). Even the mention of the "clouds" (the armies of the returning, resurrected believers: Rev.19:14) is a clear allusion to the 2nd Advent (Dan.7:13-14; Matt.24:30; 26:64; Mk.13:26; 14:62; Lk.21:27; Rev.1:7).
(The study continues at Ichthys.com - and should be read: "Three False Doctrines").

Again, my encouragement is to read the studies in their entirety, bank it against scriptures, and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal/illuminate truth. Thank you for the discussion, my friend. I appreciate you and I hope you find this of benefit.

-End of replies-

Thank you, Dr. Luginbill!

In the name of our soon coming King Jesus,

Response #6:

Nice work! It is interesting that this person would consider the statement about mankind replacing the fallen angels as unbiblical, and then immediately turn to defend the non-biblical "rapture" by appealing to extra-biblical, medieval Jewish wedding customs engaged in by unbelievers. That really is "nuts", but I have heard that defense before. To me, it goes a long way to proving that the notion of a pre-Trib "rapture" has no biblical support . . . because proponents have to go so obviously far afield to defend it.

The "wrath" argument (see Q/A #9 at the link) is another new one (last decade or so) which of late has become a go-to for rapture proponents. Their idea seems to be that we can't go through the Tribulation because we would be subject to God's wrath. In fact, as you point out so well, we are never said to be subject to that wrath, quite the contrary: God's wrath is reserved for the wicked (Rom.1:18; 5:9; 13:4; Eph.2:3; 5:6; 1Thes.1:10; 2:16; 5:9). This argument makes it seem as if God can't tell the difference between the righteous and the wicked; or as if He is somehow unable to punish the wicked without harming the righteous. Have these people never read Exodus? We look at all the wrath poured out on the Egyptians – but the Israelites were entirely spared. The same thing will be true of the Tribulation. Just as the children of Israel suffered at the hands of the Egyptians – but not from God's plagues – so also we cannot expect to be trouble-free in the time of the greatest trouble (indeed, one third of believers will be martyred); but we can have absolute confidence that all the plagues originating from God will not be directed at or fall upon us, and that we will have a measure of divine protection from them. Analogous to the sign put over the doorposts of the Israelites which led to them being spared from the angel of death during the first Passover, the 144,000 are sealed (Rev.7:3ff.), and we believers have the sealing of the Holy Spirit already (2Cor.1:22; Eph.1:13; 4:30), a special assurance from the Lord that we will be spared the negative effects of the trumpet, bowl and thunder judgments. These are meant to bring God's wrath on unbelievers PRECISELY because they have tormented us.

(5) [These tribulations which you are enduring] are evidence of the righteous judgment of God in His [judging] you to be worthy of His kingdom on behalf of which you are also suffering. (6) Since indeed it is just for God to repay with tribulation those who are subjecting you to tribulation, (7) and to give you who are being distressed relief along with us at the revelation of our Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels, (8) wreaking vengeance in a flame of fire upon those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (9) These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power, (10) when He comes on that [great] day to be glorified in the midst of His saints (i.e., resurrected believers) and to be marveled at among all those who have believed – as our testimony has been believed in your case.
2nd Thessalonians 1:5-10

If correspondent wants to consider as "nuts" the proposition that ONE of the reasons for God's creation of mankind is that Christ and the Church replace Satan and the fallen angels (n.b., the study from which the quote is derived lists three reasons), one would wish to know what he/she thinks about our purpose here on earth. We must be here for SOME reason, after all. Often it is said, and this ministry affirms as another reason for us being here, that we have been created for the glory of God (Is.43:7; see the link: "The Purpose of Man"). But how is God glorified by creating us if not through the entire process of salvation in the sacrifice and Gift of Jesus Christ? And how is that even necessary without the devil's temptation of our first parents and his resistance to everything having to do with the Messiah and our salvation in Him throughout all of human history thereafter?

Moreover, how can any Bible-reading person explain us or human history without making reference to the unseen conflict of which we are an integral part? And since at the end of it all we remain as the Bride of Christ while the devil and his followers are cast out, how can anyone wish to claim there is not a connection, not a replacement of them with us? The Bible starts with perfect creation (Gen.1:1) but then relates the situation, after a long gap, of complete desolation (Gen.1:2). The ultimate result of the seven days of refurbishing the earth from that desolation which must have to do with Satan's revolt is the creation of mankind . . . and this is met by an immediate attack by the devil. Why should the devil even have cared about us, unless we were somehow an answer to his revolt? And why was it necessary to create us after his revolt, unless somehow we were God's answer to it?

There is much to say on this subject, but because the point considered "nuts" seems to be so obviously prima facie true to anyone who has read scripture and considered these issues (and because there is a five-part series at Ichthys devoted to this very subject, i.e., the Satanic Rebellion series at the link), I will leave things here for now, except to add in closing that God in His great love and mercy always seems to seek out that which is lost and to replace those who are otherwise unwilling to be restored (e.g., Samuel for Eli, David for Saul, Paul for Judas). That He should wish not to have a hole, so to speak, in the family of God for all eternity pursuant to the devil and his followers' unwillingness to obey, and that we, the Bride of Christ, should be elected by His grace through our willing faith response to fill that void does not strike me as "nuts" at all. It strikes me as the very sort of thing an all wise and all loving God would do, the very sort of thing He has always done.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond, Dr. Luginbill. Perfectly and beautifully and truthfully articulated.

After all was said and done, this was his response to my post (which you read), "You just described the pre-trib rapture. Awesome."

Which was really no response, or a deflective one with no merit. Makes me so sad.

Honestly, it's perplexing, frustrating, sad, and indicative of our current church era - and I just don't get it. It will be interesting to see who sticks their neck out when things go south quickly in a few short years. Bottom line, if the Lord willing, I will be here to help those who finally want to know the truth in God's Word.

Thank you again.

In Him,

Response #7:

That is a pretty lame response. Not being willing to listen as in this passage:

. . . like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears, that will not heed the tune of the charmer, however skillful the enchanter may be.
Psalm 58:4-5 NIV

I've had plenty of experience writing careful, detailed, doctrinally correct and (potentially) helpful emails which, based on similar responses, were never even read. It's part of the cross we bear at present. Nevertheless it was very good of you to fight this fight. You never know. Sometimes something of what we say when we say the truth lodges in the hearts of those who hear. And if the situation is otherwise, well, it's not as if we're not in very good company inasmuch as most people in the history of the world have rejected the Lord Himself and entirely so. Our job is to keep at the truth whether or not we receive the response we were hoping for.

And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
2nd Timothy 2:24-26 NKJV

As you say, my friend, the time is coming when the pressure to finally get with it will increase exponentially. Good of you to make it your intention to help anyone then who finally decides to respond.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #8:

I also saw a short video a while back of this guy interpreting the Bible (I mean signing the verses), and there was this line that ASL was moving a bit away from written English into its own. And I was thinking, wait are you crafting a new language (or version of it), because it is seems problematic to translate the Bible into a new and possibly shifting (version of a) language. I mean apart from the Bible, I am happy for them if it helps them, but in terms of the Bible, I think it is better to stick with tried and tested (ie: English or the original languages). Maybe I misunderstood somehow.

And I won't lie/hide it. Going through learning how to communicate past the barriers and make friends (harder because of the hearing and because of my family) was really hard and painful at time. But God brought me through it :)

I have been wanting to ask you, I am sure you have already written about this, but I could not find it, so if you could direct me?: On this verse all the translations have it like the antichrist is being attacked by the ships and not that they are attacking with him. Do you have this explained somewhere? Daniel 11:30. You also have your own translation of that particular section where you have in that he will be stricken, but I don't see that in the verse?

Please take care and thanks for your prayers. I pray for you too.

Response #8:

In terms of dedication to the Lord – or not – I would imagine that the deaf experience is exactly parallel to other evangelical venues, merely manifested differently.

On your question, that's right: most (all?) of the versions have this wrong. Here's the critical part (this is covered in CT 3B):

(29) During this period he will return and attack the south [again], but the circumstances of this [second] campaign will not be like those of the first one. (30a) For ships of Kittim (i.e., the western "Babylon") will attack with him [so that he will be victorious].
Daniel 11:29-30a

Now at the time of the end, the king of the south (i.e., the Mahdi) will make a thrust at him (i.e., the beast), with the result that the king of the north will come against him like a whirlwind with chariots, and with cavalry, and with many ships.
Daniel 11:40a

The reference to the naval forces of antichrist in both of these passages is noteworthy. In the first passage above, "Kittim", literally the people of the island of Cyprus, is most often used in scripture as a generic term to refer to all of "the islands", that is, the nations of the world's western quadrant (Is.23:1; 23:12; Jer.2:10; Ezek.27:6; i.e., as representative of all of the western sons of Japheth from whom "the islands of the gentiles divided", Gen.10:4-5). What this means is that these "ships of Kittim" are the ships of Babylon and its western allies. What we have here, therefore, is a reference to the beast's own navy rather than to some extraneous force opposing him (as is often erroneously supposed).(58)

[NOTE #58: These ships will also be instrumental in the exploitation of the beast's victory (Ezek.30:9-12), and the emphasis in scripture on the destruction of these naval forces of antichrist at the Second Advent underscores this point (Ps.48:4-7; Is.2:16; 33:21-23; 43:14; cf. Ps.72:10). ].

Once this point is understood, it is clear to see that in Daniel 11:30 these ships are the reason why "circumstances are different" in this second campaign, for it is just this naval superiority which proves to be the decisive element in the beast's victory, attacking "with him". The second passage above is in complete agreement with this interpretation. For here we see that antichrist's navy is not only the ultimate element named in the threefold list of his combat arms (stressing its importance), but is also the only one marked out as exceptional in terms of its quantity (i.e., his ships are "many", even in comparison to his certainly numerous "chariots and cavalry"). Together, these two scriptures confirm that the second campaign will be won by antichrist through the decisive use of seapower, and the precise manner in which he will employ that power has also been given to us in prophecy, specifically in the last oracle of Balaam son of Besor:

(23) Then [Balaam] pronounced his oracle, and said, "Alas! Who can survive once God unleashes it (i.e., the Great Tribulation)? (24) For ships will come from the direction of Kittim, and they will afflict Ashur, and they will afflict Eber. For this is even the one (i.e., antichrist) . . . until he perishes."
Numbers 24:23-24

It is not unexpected that Balaam, who sought to curse Israel, should be given this prophecy about the persecution emanating from the all-time nemesis of Israel, antichrist. However the context of Balaam's last oracles (Num.24:14-24) have the stated purpose of conveying information about "the days to come" (Num.24:14). In addition to this statement and to the other eschatological elements in these prophecies (cf. the irrefutably Messianic "star" and "scepter" of Num.24:17), the phraseology of the Hebrew words used in verse twenty-three above to identify the "mystery man" who will be responsible for the future "affliction of Eber" (ve-gam hu'i: "for this is even the one") is reminiscent of that used in the key passage in Daniel which likewise identifies antichrist (i.e., Dan.11:22b: ve-gam naghidh berith: "for he is even the prince of the covenant", cf. Dan.9:27). Together, these facts make the connection between these "ships of Kittim" and the "ships of Kittim" in Daniel chapter 11 virtually certain. Balaam's prophecy also provides us with the crucial information which details the precise place of this invasion, namely, through present-day Lebanon-Syria and Israel. For Ashur, of course, is the original ancestor of Assyria just as Eber is of Israel (cf. respectively Gen.10:22 and Gen.11:10-31), making it clear that the entire eastern coastline of the Mediterranean will be the focus of this unprecedented invasion.

The purpose for the massive amphibious assault suggested by these scriptures is plain enough when one considers the actions of the king of the south described in Daniel 11:40a above. In that verse, the king of the south is said to "make a thrust" against the king of the north in what would have to be a south to north direction, a maneuver which would entail the large-scale movement of most if not all of his forces toward the upper reaches of his realm, close to his border with antichrist's kingdom. We may surmise that this has been antichrist's expectation and plan from the very start, even from before the opening of the first campaign. By this time the Mahdi has no doubt mobilized an even larger army, confident of victory based upon the previous campaign and the improved ratio of forces that must now be even more heavily in his favor (when only those forces deployed on the ground are considered). After the king of the south thrusts to the north, Daniel 11:40 characterizes the beast's response as swift and furious (furious as a whirlwind, according to the Hebrew text), and we are again reminded of the leopard-like swiftness which characterizes all of antichrist's operations (Rev.13:2). Once the forces of the south have advanced into his trap, the beast will spring it by launching the largest amphibious invasion in history with the objective of cutting off his enemies from the rear, thus surrounding and then annihilating them. In this way, the last major independent military force outside of antichrist's direct control will be eliminated with a single blow.

Keeping you in my prayers,

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Since the other versions say "against him", does the original text allow for that translation, that it is "with him" they attack?

(29) During this period he will return and attack the south [again], but the circumstances of this [second] campaign will not be like those of the first one. (30a) For ships of Kittim (i.e., the western "Babylon") will attack with him [so that he will be victorious].
Daniel 11:29-30a

I was thinking this too: the subject could be switching in that longer line. So that the him whom the ships are attacking is a subject switch to the South king maybe. Like (hope it is not sacrilegious to do this):

“At the appointed time he (north king) shall return and go toward the south; but it shall not be like the former or the latter. For ships from Cyprus shall come against him (south king) therefore he (north king) shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage."

Though there is still a weird break at the "begrieved" part. I will read more.

Anyway, Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!

Response #9:

Daniel is one of the more difficult books to translate because his Hebrew is very succinct and thus demands that the text be completely understood in order to render it correctly by fleshing what is not actually there but meant to be understood.

"With him" vs. "against him" is the Hebrew preposition be- with the third singular masc./neut. suffix "him/it". Clearly, it is antichrist we are talking about here, but "against" is usually not what be- means and, when the context is understood, also clearly not what it means here. "Grieved" is one of the traditional translations of the word nichah which, as with many Hebrew verbs that only occur a few times in different forms in scripture, is variously derived by different scholars and lexicons.

Roughly similarly to Greek (with which you are familiar), Hebrew verbs are modified by alteration of the stem, but there are many stems which look similar to one another in Hebrew; and while sometimes the similar stems bear identical meanings to one another, sometimes they mean something completely different. I derive nichah from ca'ah as the niphal of that verb (Hebrew passive, normally); that base verb seems to mean "strike" so that the passive would mean "stricken".

Because it is applied to the heart in Psalm 109:6 and Ezekiel 13:22 (both meaning "break the heart"), many have wanted to make this passage likewise emotional ("grieved") rather than physical ("stricken"), but the word "heart" does not occur here as it does in the other two passages so I find that unlikely. When one adds the context, I believe my renderings in both instances are defensible (much more so I would argue than the alternatives) – and I believe them to be correct.

Happy Thanksgiving to you as well, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Bob,

I wanted to reach out and wish you a great Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for you. We are well, thank God.

I've been busy as our world increasingly shakes - and that certainly impacts everything from people's lives to business, marriages to finances, nations to kids and grandkids. It's quite a thorough shaking. Hag 2:6-7. Our gracious God sure does a great job fulfilling all His promises and working to get the attention of all people.

There's been more travel than I'd care to do, but the Lord has been with me. This is my second LA trip in three months (to be with our daughters and their families for the holiday) plus I've been to Dallas and Chicago. I'm looking forward to time home in TN!

Bless you, friend. Let's try to catch up sort of soon.

I'm very thankful for you and your diligent and priceless contribution to the Kingdom of God.

In Jesus,

Response #10:

Thank you, my friend.

It was quite nice – hope yours was as well.

Thanks for the update, and I appreciate your good words as always.

Yes, there really is "a whole lot of shaking going on", and the time for much more shaking is approaching rapidly. While it may seem that things are already shaking at present, I'm sure we've not seen anything yet.

I'm thankful for your friendship too!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Doc, a lot of Christians talk about the moral decline this country has been through over the last 60 or so years. Someone once brought up regarding this that 100 years ago someone would have literally been murdered for using the wrong water fountain, and that women had very little rights even from a Biblical perspective. Do you mean when you talk about moral decline that while general freedom has increased and thus the evil of oppression lessened, that caused all sorts of extra wickedness in the general populace because the freedom lead to more worldly distractions, thus less incentive to seek out the truth? That's what I interpret this all as.

Do you also think it would have been better for everyone if this country then if these new rights and freedoms never existed, so that people would have more reason to seek the truth? If that's true than honestly I think I might have rather lived back then...it would be easier for me to get going spiritually with less exotic and extreme worldly distractions, I probably wouldn't even have gotten into the mess I'm in now.

Response #11:

When you say, "do you mean when you talk about moral decline. . .", I don't ever remember "preaching" about moral decline. I do constantly inveigh against SPIRITUAL decline, but that has to do with believers being lukewarm and not concentrating on spiritual growth, progress and progression as they should.

What unbelievers do or don't do is neither here nor there. Believers shouldn't allow themselves to get overly fixated on that as you seem to be doing. As someone who has always been interested in history, I'm not sure that things were ever that great "morally" in this country, just different. Clearly, it is true that the "opportunities" for grossly sinning have increased dramatically as the penalties, legal and merely societal, have decreased or entirely evaporated, and thus much that was done in secret or merely lurking in dark hearts has now come brazenly out into the open. Many of the prior checks against doing all manner of insane things no longer exist. That has of course led to more of a Sodom and Gomorrah type of atmosphere, which also of course grates on believers who have to live in a society where these things are the case (cf. "for that righteous man [Lot], dwelling among them [in Sodom], tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds": 2Pet.2:8 NKJV).

Of course it's also "no fun" living in entirely repressive societies (think China or Saudi Arabia). Believers get flak in both types of societies, just for different reasons – or actually the same reason, namely, adhering to the truth (which no humanly concocted society cleaves to as we might prefer). But whatever the times, whatever the morals, the Lord makes a way for us to get through.

Please note that this deliverance from Him is NOT accomplished through us trying to change things; that is only playing the devil's game. And also NOT through us fretting about things going one way or another in terms of trends. We are not supposed to be distracted by all this sort of thing. This is the devil's world. We are in it (temporarily), but we are not "of it" as our Lord assured us (Jn.17:16). We have our job to do here for Him, which is all about what is spiritual, and not at all about what is material/political.

So my advice is to stop worrying about what's going on in this country. In a few short years, Babylon will be completely destroyed in any case; she will receive her complete comeuppance from the Lord – along with all within her who are casting the Lord and His truth behind their backs (Rev.18:1ff.).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hey Dr. Luginbill.

In Matthew 10:15 when Jesus says it will be more bearable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgement, is He referring to the Great White throne judgment? Also, (just to make sure I'm not misunderstanding what you've written on this), the Great White Throne does come after the Millennium correct? I may write a small topical on the timing of the Millennium and the final and only judgment for unbelievers. Thanks!

Response #12:

To take these in reverse order, yes, that's correct. The Great White Throne or last judgment (aka the "sheep and goats" judgment of Matt.25:31ff.) happens sequentially in Revelation 20 at the conclusion of the Millennium.

As to "more tolerable" for Sodom, after all, Lot was a believer so that there was at least one man of God therein, and that will be better than having the whole population thrown into the lake of fire. Yes, the "day of judgment" or "that day" (in Mk.6:11; Lk.10:12) is the last judgment when one considers that the eschatological "day" is the Millennium coupled with the end times events that precede and follow it.

Have a look at CT 6: "Last thing" where all these matters are discussed (at the link).

Hope your new job is going well! Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Thanks Doc.

Do you believe you'll receive the greatest crown that believers can be rewarded with (I forgot what it's called)? Also, do you plan on keeping Ichthys up for as long as possible even until the Tribulation if possible?

Response #13:

The three crowns are what we should all be striving for! And it's possible for all of us! But we also have to remember this:

I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
1st Corinthians 4:3-5 NIV

If the greatest apostle doesn't win the three crowns, who could? But since he took that humble attitude, who are we to do differently? This topic of rewards is covered at the link.

The only way I plan to "retire" from this ministry is feet-first.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Many thanks Bob my friend,

I am just reading Ezekiel chapter 8. Is the Image of Jealousy similar to what the Abomination of Desolation will be?

I actually got quite upset reading chapter 7 and 8 as it doesn't seem so far removed from today's culture even before the Tribulation. So I see that gross idolatry will be a part of the Tribulation and part of the Antichrist's religion. I have noticed the rise of all things pagan and occultic around me so I am sure this will all be gathered up within that one world religion of the future (not long now.)

Like I said before, psychotropics were used in the past to induce altered states as part of pagan rites. As we already talked about the acceptance of rife drug use, I wouldn't be surprised if these drugs will be incorporated into this 'new religion'. I can imagine that the Tribulation will be very similar to the landscape of Ezekiel's time but probably a lot worse. Like you said, it's time to promptly divest this crumbling world with any lasting importance and work hard while it is still day to fill up that heavenly bank account. Something you said often makes me think and get moving, that we won't regret a single moment in which we served the Lord's (but instead regret what we didn't do once at the judgement seat).

In Him,

Response #14:

I love your perspectives.

"I can imagine that the Tribulation will be very similar to the landscape of Ezekiel's time but probably a lot worse." That is exactly it. The image and the situation in Ezekiel is not a prophecy of the Tribulation but a close parallel to what will happen, a "type" of that situation, so to speak, given to us in detail so as to be able to see and anticipate similarities in appearance of similar events – and also to give us a good sense about what the Lord's attitude to all that is.

We saw what happened to Judah in that day; we can thus understand from that the devastation destined to fall on any and all who get involved with antichrist. The "doom" is reserved for them, it's important for believers to remember, and we have a right to cheer the destruction of those who were "destroying the earth" (i.e., us and all that is good), when judgment falls upon them, confident of our own deliverance (whatever form that deliverance may take, even martyrdom).  See the link in CT 7: Paradigms for the Tribulation.

We, like the Lord, wish well to all, wanting all to be saved (1Tim.2:4); but we, like the Lord, rejoice in justice when it comes in full measure once truth is rejected (2Thes.1:6-8).

In Jesus our Savior and Deliverer,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Dear Professor

Anything I “do” nowadays, I do with the realisation that the credit is due to you and your Ministry. Having confidence in you and your teachings allowed me to present the truth to others who have differing views. Your conviction in the truth of the written Word has allayed my former fears of me not understanding the scriptures correctly.

This fear kept me quiet for a long time; (especially after so many years believing in mormonism - this tact was even used by the pre-tribbers to say my mind was still tainted by false doctrines, so they need not take me seriously). And I had thought I had left all the false doctrine behind to be among like-minded friends!

Even after some time at Ichthys and believing what you teach, I started out tentatively with others as they knew more scriptures to quote than I ever did. I would have to go home and look up the scriptures they quoted and come back with my (your) understanding of them. (Their baptist pastor’s tip to get the Tecarta Bible App allowed me to look up the scriptures on my phone while seated with them).

It has caused some cooling off of relationships that were just budding ,particularly among the pre-tribbers who hang onto that doctrine with a zeal, which zeal, if put to support the truth Instead of fiction, would go a long way to preparing believers to face the Tribulation. Paradoxically, the person who first invited me to join their coffee mornings, now seems to avoid me - well before the CV 19 plague became known.

I do try to teach with love particularly when in person with them, though I am mindful of you saying that we are not here to please each other, but instead to please the Lord. This straightaway causes anxiety in me, but it seems, now causes much more anxiety for them.

It is good to be at Ichthys, where, even when I do go ‘slightly” off course, you gently counsel me.
I few of my texts replies might have been a little wobbly. Perhaps it will be difficult for some pretribbers not to avoid apostasy - well before the 10 virgin stage - such is their inclination/steadfastness to already believe what is not in scripture.

When a child, and coming from a family and circumstances where I internalised shame, I suffered huge anxiety in many situations in Primary and then Secondary school. As my turn to read a passage from a book got closer to me, I broke into a sweat and my body shook uncontrollably , then as I read my voice would shake. The shame of being exposed as “existing as a shameful person” caused me to perform exponentially worse than I could when alone, where I could read considerably better without the bodily quakes. All my adult years this fear has never entirely subsided. Having to give the occasional talk from the mormon pulpit, I would still sweat and be anxious beyond any reasonable “stage fright”. I was given a teenage class to teach and I never felt reasonably comfortable in any teaching situation even down to this day. On a recent Zoom meeting, I was anxious beyond any reasonable measure when given the opportunity to have my say. This had me tending to beat myself for not putting the Lord’s word more confidently.

Though to one question the pastor posed, where we were discussing the angels, soldiers, and believers at the rolled away rock from the tomb of Jesus, I was moved by the Spirit to confidently comment as to why the soldiers were reduced to “jelly” whereas the woman was able to endure.
The Lord can certainly use weak things, such as myself, anytime He so chooses. The advantage of being weak in some things, avoids us having too much pride in ourselves- whereas ALL gifts are GIVEN. That is what we need to know. Like you say - it is all about Him, and not about us - without Him we are nothing.

Fully believing scripture needs to be followed by fully living it (much harder), and certainly fully teaching the truth when you are a teacher (the point I was trying to make from scripture to our Bible teacher). We are watchmen to those we teach and we need to impart only what is written in scripture.

Thank you for gracious Ministry.

Keeping you and yours in my prayers.

Your student and friend in Jesus our Teacher and Lord of lords.

Response #15:

A great number of good and godly people have this issue you report. I'm reminded of this passage:

Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
Exodus 4:10 NIV

Moses is pretty good company to be in, it seems to me. I'm very impressed by your spiritual courage and even more so now that I understand it is doubly not easy for you to do what the Spirit is directing you to do. And we know what the Lord replied to Moses:

The LORD said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
Exodus 4:11-12 NIV

One perspective on this that it's good to keep in mind: the people you speak with/to are only just that, people. It doesn't matter a whit what they think of you. It only matters what the Lord thinks, and if He is sending you, He will help you speak and tell you what to say. We'll all be counting on that once the Tribulation begins (Lk.12:11-12).

Maybe it's time to start your own Bible study.

Keeping you and yours in my prayers daily, my friend – and thank you so much for yours!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hi Bob,

Just want to thank you again..... this time for the excellent study presented in Peter lesson #39. (much more than a summation with closing arguments---#2 reading will be forthcoming!). This really hit home for me, in exposing falsehood in the battle for the truth, where so many, if not most, are "striking out", and absent recovery, heading back to the dugout, falling "into the ditch" of "outer darkness" (literally). As you know, I fell prey to a lot of falsehood (teachers, teaching, organizations) unintentionally and ignorantly, by not acquiring enough spiritual discernment, for too long a "sometime" until I "found" your site, and this was not a coincidence! God always provides a way for anyone who is desirous of the truth, so I know for sure he "brought " me to your ministry, so I could get fed with the Truth, and thereby get much needed spiritual discernment to start growing in the truth (instead of all the false approaches that are lurking around, trapping so many unsuspecting souls). My "famine" for the Word is over, so I thank God for your careful shepherding (feeding the truth), which is building rewards for you as well as for all of us sheep, forever, in the New Jerusalem! It's a win-win for sure! (Rom . 8:28). Praying for you daily, that He will supply all of your needs, and keep you going-- feeding us sheep. ( much needed, as the darkness of the Tribulation is fast approaching). Hope you are well! Your friend in Jesus,

Response #16:

Thanks much for this, my friend!

You are certainly not the only one who has been bamboozled. And in all of our cases, it was only possible because we were at least partially willing to be led astray. But God knows our true hearts, and in the case of all who really do want to follow the Lord, even if we need to have the sheep crook used energetically and often until we finally start following our Shepherd of our own accord, He is gracious to provide it. That was certainly the case with myself as well. As mentioned in one recently posted email, just because pastor-teachers teach some point of truth does not mean that they were never ever on the wrong side of it. We get our comeuppance before everyone else as we study and thus privately, but scripture has a way of humbling us all – if we are willing to listen in the Spirit.

I appreciate your encouraging words! Looking past "all this" towards what is yet to come is exactly the right approach. We walk not by sight, after all, but by absolute faith and confidence in all of our Lord's wonderful promises regarding the future blessings that are ours in Jesus Christ (2Cor.5:1-8).

Thanks for those prayers too! Keeping you and your family in mine as well.

In our dear Savior.

Bob L.

Question #17:

I know I just emailed you but I had another question. I clarified in my paper on the sign gifts that I'm not dogmatic that some of them are no longer being given to some today. In other words, I'm not 100% sure because I think it would be dangerous to teach this issue as if there is absolutely no chance I'm wrong (especially since the Bible doesn't come right out and state that all the gifts ceased). I wouldn't dare say that I can't be wrong. Yet I'm confident enough in my view (98-99% sure) to teach that I believe the sign gifts are no longer given at all despite that possibility.

I don't believe we have to be dogmatic about everything to teach it. Of course, we do need to be 100 % sure and dogmatic on some of the biggest most important teachings like the trinity and the gospel etc. (just as examples). But my question is, do I have to be 100 % and totally dogmatic on the issue of sign gifts in order to teach that they are no longer around? I don't believe that is compromising at all. I do think some issues don't allow us to be 100% certain. But some may challenge that unless you believe it with absolute certainty, you shouldn't teach it. But there are many teachings (especially in eschatology) where we can believe certain things enough to teach them even if we aren't dogmatic. I've seen that in your teachings, yet I still agree with your interpretations. I don't think there is anything wrong with that practice depending on what you're dealing with.

I also don't believe this is an issue of "it depends on what you mean by dogmatic." In my view, it has nothing to do with terms. There is only one type of dogmatism- either you are 100% certain or you're not. Simple as that.

What do you think about all this?

Your brother in Christ,

Response #17:

We teachers are all responsible to the Lord for what we teach. And we should only ever teach what we believe.

I believe, solidly, that sign gifts are not being given at present. They were for a special purpose at a special time – a very short time empowered in special people (cf. also the short time of Elijah and Elisha's miraculous ministries and also of Moses' time).

In terms of what the Bible says and doesn't say, I read this:

(8) Love never falls [into inactivity]. But whether [we are talking about gifts of] prophecy, they will cease, or about [gifts of] tongues, they will come to a stop, or [about the gift of] knowledge, it will be done away with. (9) For when we exercise the gift of knowledge, its results are only partial. And when we exercise the gift of prophecy, its results are only partial. (10) But when what is complete shall have come on the scene (i.e., the completed Bible available to a mature Church), all partial measures shall be done away with.
1st Corinthians 13:8-10

Since we have the Bible now (and have had for centuries), there is no need for these special gifts. Paul prophesies in the Spirit here that these gifts will cease to be given. If that hasn't happened by now with the Tribulation on the doorstep, then that prophecy would be in danger of failing – because they may very well be empowered again during the Tribulation (certainly they will be during the Millennium: Joel 2:28-29).

In terms of dogmatism, consider that if you teach that "it is possible" that the gifts are being given, you are teaching a principle then too – even though I would consider it incorrect. I.e., if you are teaching that they MAY be given (regardless of percentages) then you are teaching that they have not ceased. So if you are not sure one way or another, the only safe course, it seems to me, would be to say that you don't know – or else not mention the issue at all.

The word "dogmatism" has become loaded down with such negative connotations that it can be used as a weapon. I believe what I teach and what I teach I believe. If that makes me "dogmatic", so be it.

The point is, that we either believe something or we don't. If we "believe something 99%", it seems to me to be fair to ask whether or not we really believe it at all – since we hesitate to embrace it fully.

Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
John 20:27 NKJV

Building up our faith is in many ways what the entire Christian life is about, causing that "mustard seed" to blossom into a gigantic tree in the end. That happens through faith. Unreserved, complete, absolute faith. So have faith!

In Jesus in whom we believe 100%!

Bob L.

Question #18:

I didn't reply immediately because I needed to pray about this and give it some thought (I lost a good bit of sleep over this issue). I have concluded that you are right. But there are some things I need to clear up.

If I may ask, when you say, "The word "dogmatism" has become loaded down with such negative connotations that it can be used as a weapon," what exactly do you mean? Could you give an example? I have heard someone say something similar to this and I don't understand.

If someone were to ask you (just as an example) if the tribulation were to begin in 2026, you believe that it will without a shadow of a doubt? As in, there is no chance that that date could be wrong?

Response #18:

I'm surprised to learn that you've never heard anyone criticize someone else by saying, "You're being dogmatic", or anyone apologize similarly, "I don't mean to be dogmatic, but . . .". In our present culture being absolute about anything that is not popular is often considered just shy of being mentally ill, and these are words I've commonly heard used with the above pejorative connotations.

A few "definitions" from a quick Google search:

"Dogmatism is defined as avoidance from accepting others' beliefs, ideas and behaviors."

"Dogmatic individuals hold confidently to their beliefs, even when experts disagree and evidence contradicts them."

"To be dogmatic is to follow a set of rules no matter what. The rules might be religious, philosophical, or made-up, but dogmatic people would never waver in their beliefs so don't even think of trying to change their minds."

"Dogmatic thinking is buying into the idea that your set of beliefs, social codes, or ideas are indisputable fact."

While I don't personally buy the above, this is indeed the way I have seen this word group used of late. The idea being that all "reasonable" people accept that anything they believe might be wrong – which in terms of biblical Christianity is the death of faith.

That is why this is so important. Namely, because what we believe is more important to us than our lives. Compromising on what we believe and know to be true from the scriptures and the Spirit's witness – the bedrock of our Christian faith – is anathema to all who are walking closely with Jesus Christ.

Important here too is the fact that pastor-teachers set an example for the flock – whether they desire it or not. If we are not solid in what we teach, in what we believe, that will undermine the faith of those who listen to us, who follow us – often in not immediately discernible ways. A very wise person (my dad) once observed about pastors that, "They should never preach their doubts". And we have ALL seen that (anyone who's ever been to more than one church in his/her life, anyway).

So I firmly stand by what I said that if we are not sure of what we teach, then we should not teach it. When it comes to principles of faith, that is absolute. When it comes to interpretation of scripture, I will allow that there is a sweet spot between throwing up one's hands and professing ignorance and being arrogant in assuming the mantle of "everything I say is true" on the other. The key is in discerning where the issue is of an absolute nature and where it is not, being instead one of interpretation. For me, if scripture says it, then I believe it and I teach it. If it is not directly stated in scripture, then I have to be more reserved in my presentation. The cessation of "sign gifts" I take as a principle of faith based upon 1st Corinthians 13:1ff. The "2026" interpretation is just that, one of which I am confident but not "dogmatic" because scripture does not directly teach it; it has to be derived as an application and interpretation from other scriptures. And I have always been up front about that (and recently posted a long discussion about it which was focused on exactly this sort of question you ask; see the link).

Honest, god-fearing Christians can disagree about where to draw the lines on such things, of course.

Apologies if I misconstrued your own "line-drawing". Knowing what I do about the dangers of the charismatic false doctrines, this point is a very important one in my estimation and for that reason I have spent a great deal of time on it and come to be very certain about it. Not to the point of denying that "God can do anything" – which of course He can – but to the point of knowing that the Bible is very clear . . . and the external evidence is as well.

Thanks for your "longsuffering" with me, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hello professor,

Understood on the sign gifts and absolute truth vs interpretation. I did read the link but I'm still confused (please bear with me). I'm just trying to understand by the way, not argue (I'm not that kind of person).

In the link you wrote, "I have spent a lot of time and effort marrying up the various biblical statements relating to the chronology with the secular historical evidence we possess and these results are presented in the prior link given. Am I confident about this? Yes I am. But I have enough humility to understand, since this is an interpretation built upon a good number of potentially "moving parts", the evidence for some of which does not derive from scripture, that I should acknowledge that it is possible that the date provided, 2026, might turn out to be early or late by a few years either way. Mind you, I do not think so nor do I anticipate that such is the case – but it is my responsibility before the Lord to say what I've said."

You stated above that the date provided as 2026 might turn out to be early or late by a few years. Doesn't that imply you aren't 100% certain? And if you believe its possible the "interpretation" could be wrong (yes I know it isn't an biblical absolute principle) then how does that square what you said above when you wrote, "So I firmly stand by what I said that if we are not sure of what we teach, then we should not teach it." It seems to me that your saying that absolute truth vs interpretation makes no difference- we can teach both but only if we believe what we say without a shadow of a doubt.

However, you did say in this email, "When it comes to interpretation of scripture, I will allow that there is a sweet spot between throwing up one's hands and professing ignorance and being arrogant in assuming the mantle of "everything I say is true" on the other. The key is in discerning where the issue is of an absolute nature and where it is not. For me, if scripture says it, then I believe it and I teach it. If it is not directly stated in scripture, then I have to be more reserved in my presentation."

Of course nobody is right about everything. But when you say that you believe the 2026 date might turn out to be early or late by a few years, it just seems to imply that you are less than 100%- more reserved whatever you want to call it. Again, I get this is an interpretation and a not a foundational principle but it is an interpretation that you still teach others. I don't see how this doesn't conflict with what you told me originally when you said, "If we "believe something 99%", it seems to me to be fair to ask whether or not we really believe it at all -- since we hesitate to embrace it fully." And if that is the case, then someone could ask, "why teach it?" Could you explain all this to me?

Maybe this question will help me out. There are some "interpretations" deduced from Scripture that aren't directly stated as such in the Bible itself (nothing to do with any foundational principles that we know for certain). Yet we have to interpret some things even though the Bible may not come out directly and state what we believe. So the danger is that outsiders or spiritually poor believers (at the very least) will use this as an attack because we teach something that isn't stated straight out (we can use the 2026 date as an example). It is one of those situations of "which way do you take it." But then outsiders may ask, "whose to say the side you chose is the correct side?" However, somebody has to have the right interpretation. So someone has to interpret and therefore teach that interpretation. So I would imagine that you would have no choice but to teach said topic. Am I getting hot or cold? Am I misunderstanding something? Does any of this make sense?

Sincerely in Christ,

Response #19:

I think this all turns upon what it means to say, "I can't be dogmatic about this . . .". I don't much like that phrase (although I'm sure I've used it myself many times).

The precise year of the second advent is not in the Bible – indeed, the entire A.D. / B.C. system of dating did not exist until around 500 A.D. So I think this is a different case by far than the one we're discussing regarding "sign gifts" (if you haven't already done so, please do read the link I gave you where that point is discussed in some detail).

Let me put it this way. Here are some possible ways to address the issue you originally asked me about:

1) "I don't know whether or not 'sign gifts' were being given at that intertestamental time".

2) "I can't be dogmatic about this, but I think it's likely that there were no 'sign gifts' being given at that time".

3) My preferred approach: "First of all, the Bible does not cover this period, but we do see that when Jesus comes on the scene and begins doing miracles, it is astounding to people – because they've never seen anything like this.

Many came to him and said, “John never did a sign, but everything John said about this man was true.”
John 10:41 CSB

And the fact that many thought our Lord must be Elijah or a prophet like Moses means that they knew of no such miracle working since those famous examples recorded in the Bible (Matt.16:14; Mk.6:15; Lk.9:19; Jn.1:21).

Further, given that only Moses (a type of Christ and the minister of foundation) and Elijah and Elisha (the great ministers of restoration) were given these sorts of signs, we have an additional strong proof that they were always rare and special and only attended significant ministries – which the intertestamental period entirely lacked.

While such gifts were widely given during the early part of the apostolic era, they had the special function of assisting in the transition from the Age of Israel to the Age of the Church and were necessary for that purpose (i.e., moving to an international and dispersed from a national and concentrated venue for spreading the Word), and they were only given once the Spirit was given, following Christ's glorification (which had not yet happened: Jn.7:39).

So we conclude that such gifts – of the which there is no mention in any credible secular literature – were certainly not being given during this time."

Of the above, as I say, I think that #3 is the most helpful for any who are attending to your ministry, giving them insight into the Word and also the means to refute what is false.

Should someone who disagrees ask, "So are you saying, dogmatically, that this couldn't have happened?" It could be replied, "God has the power and the right to do anything He pleases; but the fact that He could turn your head into a big ball of cream cheese immediately is no reasonable basis for assuming that is a likely possibility. And if something is so unlikely as to be essentially a null set, then worrying about it and arguing about it is not only pointless but a violation of scriptural guidance (e.g., 2Tim.2:14; 2:23)".

Hope this is helpful, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Thanks for your time and patience. Please don't mind hearing out everything I've written below.

Regarding the sign gifts, I have laid the issue to rest (yes even in this extremely short span of time). I did some "scrambling" but to no disappointment. Considering the word "perfect" or "complete" is shown to be more of a "thing" as the Greek suggests, then that ends the discussion for me. The sign gifts are gone (for certain in my mind). Of course I still believe that God could do whatever He wants and all that. Well yeah, all that was obvious to me. And, of course, He still performs miracles today. But the gifts to do so are no longer given to believers.

I did go through Pastor Omo's tongues special and he didn't seem to view the perfect as the closing of the canon but only the return of Christ. Admittedly, I wasn't yet convinced that the perfect had a dual application (referring to the closing of the canon and the return of Christ). I did find the return of Christ view to be the best and only option that could be taken until I noticed you mentioned in one of your emails on the site that the perfect refers to more of a concrete thing and not just a concept. I emailed Pastor Omo to see how he took the Greek in this passage. He has amended his view over the past few years (he made his tongues special back in 2017). He states in one of his lessons in 1 Corinthians (a recent series I was unaware of until he brought it to my attention) that the completed canon is part of the meaning of the perfect, the same view that you hold from what I have read correct? In other words, it sounds as if this passage is referring to both. The only difference (I believe) is that Pastor Omo thinks the second advent is the primary meaning whereas you see it as the completed canon (please correct me if I misunderstood your view). Doesn't make a difference for me as long as the completed Bible is part of the interpretation.

I discussed this issue with our friend (about a week or two ago) and he basically wanted to know (he hasn't studied this subject in-depth) if there were any Scripture passages that come right out and tell us if the sign gifts have disappeared. Since (at the time of the discussion) I took the perfect to refer to the return of Christ only, then my answer was no. But if we take part of the perfect as the completed canon, then the issue is solved. The Greek suggests it, so I don't see how Scripture couldn't be in view here. But you can see why I was cautious in being "100%" in stating the sign gifts were gone before I came to this conclusion.

I understand the 2026 dating was not our original subject (although I alluded to it indirectly in my first email). But I'm mentioning it as an example because it involves (what appears to me) to be a principle you're trying to teach me (not just with the sign gifts but with all things Bible-related in general), that being that if we aren't 100% sure on something, than we can't really say we believe it. And if we don't believe it, we shouldn't teach it (as you said). So for example, let's say in the distant future I wanted to teach the 2026 date. If it could be wrong (off by a few years), then what business do I have teaching it if I can't be certain? Yeah sure, it's just an "interpretation" but one I would still teach and incorporate into my studies just as you do. I just don't see how it being "only" an interpretation makes any difference. I should have clarified this originally in my initial email, so forgive me for that. But I say all this to show you what I was getting at originally when I said what is quoted in italics below (even though I was wrong about the sign gifts specifically). Again, I'm just asking for clarity to understand this subject better. Otherwise, (if I don't understand it) I feel I am faced with a bit of a dilemma of what I can and can't teach.

With the above said, wouldn't my statement "I do think some issues don't allow us to be 100% certain" be correct? That is a general statement regarding all things related to biblical teaching by the way.

I did read the entire discussion in the link. I thought this was all clear from my last response?

Sent in His love,

Response #20:

You're very welcome, my friend.  Bible Academy is a wonderful resource, isn't it?

I think this discussion illustrates my point of view pretty clearly. Whatever the Bible says is true. If one doesn't understand what the Bible says, then if said person is a pastor-teacher, then he needs to study out the problem until he does have confidence that he knows what it means. Until then, no dithering. I don't like putting percentages on things. This is a faith / no faith sort of thing. Believe it or don't. If you're not sure, study it out – and put it on hold until you've gotten it figured out . . . with the help of the Spirit, with the help of all your tools and the ministries of others, with a lot of sweat and time and toil. If the Bible doesn't say one way or another, but it is something that you need or want to address, the same process holds. If you want to qualify what you teach on something like that, I do think it is OK to explain that "this is an interpretation based upon the Bible" – and then give the basis for your conclusion. That is something I think PT's should be doing anyway. I always try to do that (verse citations, translations, argumentation, whatever the basis is).

By the way, I also think it is a mistake to be going through the Bible verse by verse or principle by principle and prematurely "deciding" that this means XYZ or ABC – as if you might never learn anything new. We ought to be learning things every day. Ideally, this will mean NOT a complete reversal of some position or passage's interpretation but more details and deeper insight added. But putting off any teaching until "the whole Bible is decided as I see it" is a really wrong-headed approach to things (for lots of obvious reasons including the above).

The "perfect" is a principle in Paul's treatment. It is a biblical principle that when "perfection" arrives, the "partial" is done away with. That is true of the scriptures – which make the temporary gifts no longer necessary; that is true of eternity – which makes this temporary world unnecessary. Paul does look forward to the resurrection because at that point we won't be interpreting the Bible but will see Jesus "face to face". So it's not really that there are two things here but that there is "one thing" which encompasses all of this: no more partial knowledge in the shorter term (Bible replaces temporary gifts) or in the longer term (complete knowledge when we see the Lord in resurrection).

As to "let's say in the distant future I wanted to teach the 2026 date" . . . As mentioned in the linked discussion, I do think this is correct because I think that all the pillars of interpretation it is based on are correct. As a teacher, however, since it is an interpretation – and one upon which people might be tempted to place an incorrect emphasis – it is incumbent upon me to let people know 1) that it is an interpretation as opposed to something directly stated in the Bible; 2) what those pillars it is based upon are and how I put them together, and 3) other reasonable interpretations and why I believe those are not correct.

As to "it's just an "interpretation" ", we are in the business of truth. Interpreting the Bible is the process of gleaning truth from the Bible – if that interpretation be correct. So what we want are true interpretations, genuinely correct ones, which we accept as true (after plenty of hard work of the sort that you are doing), and teach as true. If it is true then it is true. I honestly don't like the percentage part. I understand that we don't want to come across as arrogant, as if we "knew everything" which we certainly do not. But we do want to have confidence in what we teach and impart that confidence to those we are teaching – because what we are doing is all about the building up of the faith of our listeners through the truth. And, after all, we have our Lord as the prime example of this approach.

And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Matthew 7:28-29 NKJV

This "authority" has to be earned through hard work, employing the gifts we have been given in the Spirit. But once it has been earned, it should be expressed as such.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #21:

That clears everything up for me. I understand now, except for the quote below. What do you mean by this? Did you get the impression I was doing this or are you just running this past me as a good reminder? I figured it didn't hurt to ask for clarity.

"By the way, I also think it is a mistake to be going through the Bible verse by verse or principle by principle and prematurely "deciding" that this means XYZ or ABC -- as if you might never learn anything new. We ought to be learning things every day. Ideally, this will mean NOT a complete reversal of some position or passage's interpretation but more details and deeper insight added. But putting off any teaching until "the whole Bible is decided as I see it" is a really wrong-headed approach to things (for lots of obvious reasons including the above).

Response #21:

Glad to hear it!

On the quote, no, but whenever I discuss any issue of this sort I try to make it a point to set the guard rails on BOTH sides of an issue – in the event that this gets posted and someone else is apt to over-compensate on the other side of said issue. I have definitely seen people who in the very attempt to not be in the position of "not knowing" how to interpret some passage in scripture have tried to nail down once and for all what they think is correct about the entire Bible ahead of time. That is impossible – to do correctly, at any right. We can't build the house from the roof down; we have to start with the foundation and build upward, one brick at a time.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

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