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Question #1:

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

Revelation 22:2 refers to healing of the nations and is linked to the tree of life. If we go to heaven in resurrection bodies why will healing be needed? Could it be that mortal citizens from the Millennial Kingdom will need to be healed?

I am interested in your answer because you have great insights on theological questions. Thank you and I wish you a Happy New Year!

Response #1:

You are absolutely right: no healing will be necessary in eternity; there will be no "mortal citizens" as there will be "no more death" (Rev.21:4; cf. 1Cor.15:51-57) so no more mortality or disease.

Here is the way I translate the passage:

(1) And He showed me the river of the water of life, sparkling like crystal[s of ice], coming forth from the throne of God and of the Lamb. (2) In the middle of the [New Jerusalem's network of twelve main] streets and on both sides of [this] river [of the water of life which ran through them] was the tree of life, producing twelve crops, offering its fruit every month, month by month. And the leaves of the tree are for the enjoyment of [all] the nations, (3a) so that there will no longer be any division.
Revelation 22:1-3a

So you see the problem is with the way various versions translate therapeia (cf. "therapy") which can have to do with medicine but often has to do with service of a beneficial kind where no illness is involved; that's the case here. After all, even at present we make use of all manner of plants with positive properties not merely for medicinal means. Some teas are relaxing; it is pleasant to smell a rose, etc.

Also, note that "division" is what is removed in verse 3a, not "curse" (this is a textual problem which the versions get wrong as well); so that this passage is not about the physical but about the spiritual: our blessed experiential oneness with Christ forever as His Bride.

This is all detailed at the link: in CT 6: "The River of the Water of Life and the Tree of Life".

Wishing you a happy new year too, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Merry Christmas, Dr. Luginbill, to you and yours!

Thank you for your prayers and warm wishes. I tested positive for Covid so I am hunkering down and riding it out. The Lord is so good in that all of the kids and grandkids were here for a Thanksgiving/Christmas combo in November until the 1st week of December. In other words, nothing was lost in time spent with the family now that I have Covid.

Yes, the temps have dipped drastically here too, but we were certainly better prepared this time around by covering the pipes, turning off the water, covering the plants, etc.

Thank you, again, for faithfully feeding all of us at Ichthys. We appreciate you greatly!

In the name of our Lord who came to save the world - Jesus Christ,

Response #2:

Christmas was great! Sorry to hear about the Covid. Got that on my list for you. Hope you feel better soon.

Thanks for all your good words, my friend. Here's wishing you and your family a blessed 2023.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Merry Christmas!

Jesus made the astounding - and almost heretical - statement “destroy this temple and in 3 days I will raise it up”. We now understand that He was talking about his own body. And yet, He also predicted the destruction of the temple building as well.

NT authors systematically carried on the theme of Jesus teaching showing how the physical temple has been made obsolete; Believers are now the temple of God.

With this in mind, that possibly enlarges the scope of the statement in Matt 24:15. A literal physical fulfillment certainly seems to have happened. But keeping in mind the idea of multiple fulfillments of prophecy, there seems to be a future fulfillment still to come.

So, if “temple” is no longer a building, and if “holy place” is referring to the “temple”, could the “abomination that causes desolation” be something less physical, (e.g. statue, hologram or physical object) and more spiritual and/or philosophical?

One thing that comes to mind is the current effort to disrupt the very foundations of human existence through transsexualism. It certainly is an “abomination” and, like nihilism, brings a profound sense of “desolation”. Just as large swaths of Christianity have embraced homosexuality, it isn't hard to foresee a time when the same occurs for the trans phenomenon.

This doesn't mean an actual temple won't be built, but maybe that wasn't Jesus's primary meaning?

I ran across the idea from someone and have had some stimulating thought exercise just speculating! I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

Response #3:

Good to hear from you.

Well, there was a literal temple (two of them, actually) – and there will be another literal temple during the Tribulation. Also, we have it from scripture that, as believers, we are a temple collectively and individually (1Cor.3:16-17; 6:19; 2Cor.6:16; Eph.2:21; 1Pet.2:4-5), and also from scripture that "He was speaking of the temple of His body" in terms of our Lord's analogy (Jn.2:21).

The abomination that causes desolation is clearly described in scripture as an idol and it is also very specifically detailed as to where it will be placed: in the temple court (Dan.11:31; 12:11; Matt.24:15; Mk.13:14; Lk.16:15; Rev.13:14-15; cf. 2Thes.2:4). I think it's pretty difficult to analogize that, especially since we don't have any scripture that does so. On the other hand, Revelation is not shy on analogizing things of importance. Babylon, for example, is described as "the great prostitute" (Rev.17:1; 19:2). In all such cases, moreover, we are not left in the dark about what represents what and why. And it's usually also the case of a symbol (e.g., a lamb or a dragon) representing something or someone very tangible and specific (Jesus Christ and the devil respectively).

It is true that the beast's religion will involve all manner of terrible things, exemplified by the cup of adulteries which the prostitute holds (Rev.17:2).

Before the fact, it is impossible to say with certainty precisely what the beast's religion will look like, but scripture does give us plenty of clues and I have written a good deal about that (here is one link which will lead to more). I personally have little doubt but that the things you mention – along with all that is evil and hateful and growing in power and influence in the world today – will find a place in antichrist's system, and in his religion in particular. We probably won't have to wait too long to find out.

Thanks for the interesting email. Wishing you and your family a very merry Christmas and a blessed 2023!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi Dr L,


I was also thinking that, when believers are commanded to leave Babylon (abandon one might say), it seems fitting in a certain way of thinking. If Babylon is the cause of the slaughter of the Family, it seems fitting to separate from such a group, right? Even if the Lord had not commanded I mean.

Response #4:

Good point. There are many reasons why the destruction of Babylon will be just. Revelation tells us that she will be instrumental in the Great Persecution of believers around the world, as well as the purveyor of all manner of evils worldwide (Rev.18:24; 19:2). She is not called "the great prostitute" in the Bible for nothing.

As to your other emails, it sounds to me as if you handled things just right. Relationships between believers and unbelievers generally don't work out (cf. 2Cor.6:14). And while people are often willing to pretend to be what the other person wants before things get serious, later on the truth always comes out.

Wishing you a good run up to Christmas!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I am studying again, on "the paternal origin of the antichrist" and came to this conclusion:

In Revelation 9:4 it says that these demons [fallen angels} who have been loosed from the Abyss, were only allowed to harm those who "do not have the seal of God on their foreheads".

So, based on this scripture, I would ask the pre-tribbers this question: Why are these demons only allowed to harm those who are not sealed in their foreheads, since you state that all believers will be taken out before the tribulation begins? So, this statement in Revelation 9:4 would be redundant because, in their belief, that is all that remains on earth, there are no believers; so why the limit? Our Heavenly Father does not make statements that are redundant, does He, of course not.

See, they have their minds set on this false doctrine of a pre-trib rapture, and can't think any further than their noses. I would hope and pray that they will study for
themselves what Revelation 22:18-19.

Just an observation that I came across this morning.

Hope you are doing well.

God's continued blessings be yours.

Your friend,

Response #5:

There are plenty of places in Revelation where believers are present (e.g., Rev.5:8; 6:9-11; 7:9-17; 8:3-4; 13:7; 13:10; 14:12; 16:6; 17:6). Indeed, the Great Tribulation is only "great" because of the martyrdom which comes to one third of the Church (see the link). But if there were no believers, there would be no martyrdom. Where do so many believers come from if all were removed at the commencement of the Tribulation? That is a question for which pre-Tribbers have never had an answer.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6:

So Doc...you ever wonder what Heaven will actually be like, what the rewards we all strive for (or at least should be) will be? There are people who are legitimately scared that Heaven will just be standing and praising for eternity, just hymn after hymn, standing in front of the throne of Jesus described in Revelation. But I know God wouldn't let us suffer so much just for the "reward" be an eternal church service. How do I comfort people who are scared if this?

Can you also tell me how the Trinity works?

Response #6:

I guarantee you that you will not be sorry to be in heaven / New Jerusalem . . . especially considering the alternative.

It's not uncommon for Christians to be wondering about how eternity will be or how it could be "fun". I think a lot of that angst comes from their experiences in "church". I have to admit that I never liked "church" as a boy. It was not supposed to be "fun"; we had to behave (being the pastor's kids); it went on a long time (from a youngster's perspective). I never much liked singing the hymns which never really spoke to me, or any of the rituals, or sermons (even though my dad had a great voice and was a great speaker). I did like Bible stories. But church didn't seem to have much of that. I also have never much cared for church buildings. Stained glass is pretty enough, I guess, but these sorts of embellishments have never impressed me as much as a beautiful stand of pine trees, e.g.

So if heaven is anything like our contemporary experience of "going to church" and ALL THE TIME . . ., well, I can appreciate being concerned about that perspective. But it is not the correct one since heaven / New Jerusalem will not be anything at all like contemporary "church", not the "frozen chosen" Calvinist variety, not the leaping and laughing charismatic type, not the easy listening mega-church sort. But it will be "fun" – or rather something very much beyond fun.

As I have said before, if we really knew experientially just HOW good being in resurrection in heaven / New Jerusalem was going to be, we would probably be ruined for doing / thinking about anything else. At present, since we entirely lack a frame of reference to appreciate it, the Bible mostly describes eternity in terms of absent negatives – no sin, toil, tears, death (e.g., Rev.7:16-17). But imagining the absence of all the things that plague us, bother us, test us down here at present, while very nice, doesn't explain how much we'll enjoy being there – and we will very much enjoy being there.

Just imagine, for one thing, the entire Church, all together at once, with no ill-feelings or barriers, each of us knowing each other perfectly, without sin, without rancor, experiencing a oneness with each other and with the Lord we will be able to love perfectly on that day with a love that passes all present understanding. I don't know any more about the texture of eternity than what may be gleaned from the Bible (and I'll give a few links on that below), but we can certainly trust that a God who sacrificed His own Son for us and a Savior who gave up His life for us, who have only done good for us in this life under combat conditions will certainly do more than we can imagine for us when once the testing of this life is over (1Cor.2:9). If we trust God to save us, we can certainly trust Him that salvation will be "good" in every way, come the day.

Here are those links:

What is Heaven like?

Our Eternal Future

The Resurrection Body and our Eternal Future II

New Jerusalem and the Eternal State (in CT 6)

On the Trinity, I'm not sure what you mean about "how does it work?"; the classical definition, to which I subscribe, is "three divine persons sharing one divine essence". I'll give you some links; have a look and feel free to write me back if there's anything you want to discuss:

Trinity Questions II

Explaining and Defending the Trinity and the Person of Christ II

The Persons of God: the Trinity (in BB 1)

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Thanks Bob,

I have bounced back and I do bounce back quicker and quicker. In fact __ noticed today, something I always get stressed over and he said "You look so calm!"

Also I have been learning when not to speak and when to walk away from things. The thing is the people I love have hollow reeds to lean on and I know that. I have the rock and He is unshakable and I know that too.

I have grown recently in my faith and trust in the Lord. I don't complain as much and I am also being patient to wait on Him rather than bluster in and try to do it all myself. I am very happy with the way things are going spiritually but there is plenty room for improvement!

Thank you for your prayers my friend! I keep you and your ministry, your loved ones and work in my prayers every day.

p.s. what is the significance of 3 and a half? There are 3 and a half days associated with the two witnesses and there are also 3 and a half years of the tribulation before the great Tribulation. Then there is also 3 and a half years mentioned in Ezekiel. Is there significance to this?

Response #7:

Congrats on your growing spiritual resiliency, my friend! This is one of those times when others notice and we do too that we are a lot farther down the road than we used to be. It's good to take stock of that, because otherwise we have a tendency to get a bit frustrated when there is still so far to go. It's good to be on the road forward.

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”
Matthew 13:31-32 NIV

As to the 3 and 1/2 (also 42 months), with one exception (Rev.11:13), this designation always refers to the time of the Great Tribulation, the second half of the seven years (cf. Dan.9:27) – which means also that we have the same time period for the first half. Here's a link to where I've collected all these references and explained them: 42 months.

Wishing you a wonderful run-up to Christmas!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Greetings Brother Jarhead !

May God's loving kindness and His amazing grace be yours...in abundance! I trust all is well with you. Did you happen to watch the Army/NAVY Game this past Saturday? Alright, we won't go into that.

Concerning this past election, I found myself feeling discouraged and very disappointed. Very shortly afterwards I began to realize that our JESUS Never Seeks Re-election! He has been, is now, and forever will be the King of all kings and Lord of all lords! JESUS is in charge and He has everything under control! What a mighty God we serve! Can you say "Amen" my brother!

With the upcoming Christmas holiday, I see on banners and hear people say, "JESUS is the reason for the season!" That's so very true! On the other hand, we also need to remember that "We too are the reason for the season!" We were lost in our dark, miserable, sinful state, (we all had wretcheditis), and in desperate need of a Savior! Brother, our hearts, minds, souls/spirits have been rescued and captured by JESUS!!! Our names have been written in the LAMBS Book of Life, never to be erased!

Hallelujah, What a Savior! Can I get another "Amen" from you!

I wish You and your family a very Merry, Peaceful, Fulfilling, Relaxing Christmas! My Brother, even though we've never met, I thank GOD for you. I look forward to meeting you when we're in glory (we're in glory now)!

Can I get a third Amen.

GOD bless You my Brother,

In His precious name and your Brother forever,

Response #8:

Didn't see the game (just as well?).

On the election, your email reminds me of a "Babylon Bee" headline I saw immediately afterwards: "Disappointed Christian Republicans Briefly Consider Placing Trust In God Again". On a more serious note, it is certainly a sign of the times that with all of the self-inflicted disaster we are experiencing and the headlong rush towards previously unimaginable dissipation and disorder of every sort, most people seem not to be too exercised about it.

What is the real "result of our election"? WE believers actually ARE elected – by God (see the link). And there is nothing better than being elected/selected by Him for life eternal and all the glories which will follow (Rom.8:29-30; cf. Matt.22:14). What and/or who people "elect" in our secular government whether by fair means or foul, whether for good or for ill, should not be of any great concern for Christians who are putting the truth of the Word of God first in their lives.

Of course that is, while not a null set, a very small set of Christians in Laodicea. We all need to remember that God has a plan for us individually, and that everything that happens in this world is part of His overall plan. No accidents. Everything is serving His purposes perfectly. That includes election results. And sporting event results, even soccer results (when there is any result in that game which I understand does happen occasionally).

Thanks for all these good words, my friend! Looking forward to posting them in the near future. Meanwhile, wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas and a blessed 2023!

Keeping you and your family in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Thanks Bob.

The scan went smoothly enough but now we have to wait for the results.

Just been thinking about something today. __was talking about how everyone is talking about how 'all the people should come together and rise up against various tyrannies' we are seeing around us but then he said something that really made me think: He said "how can we all rise up and band together when we all hate each other?"

I thought that was a very insightful remark and made me think of how people actually DO come together to hate one thing, that people can be united by a single hatred. Of course those same people can be then riven with paranoia, backstabbing and infighting but then can forget that through a surge of unified mob hatred.

A whole country mobilised against the Jews through Hitler (as a scapegoat). The Communists were happy to rat each other out as dissidents in the purges. Football hooligans can spend half their time fighting amongst themselves before their 'real enemy' shows up.

I keep coming back to that verse

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

I used to think this was about the love of one another but I realise now it is about the love of God so that would refer to the apostasy. This verse points to the abundance of evil being a cause for many to apostatise.

I have to say that I have personally at times found it hard to not be weary of doing good when others around me are doing evil. I have realised that much of my walk is exactly that, acting in a way that glorifies God even whilst everyone else is doing the opposite. I have only recently been getting better at this so it does make me wonder how the lukewarm can hold their own and resist the temptation to fall into the overwhelming majority of evil doers when there will be so few active servants of the Lord.

So back to the original point. The media makes much of love bringing people together but that is only really true of believers after all. The opposite is more often true for unbelievers, that it is usually a common hatred than unifies. That makes sense then in the context of the verse that we will be "hated by all nations".

Antisemitism has been a main channel of Satan's attack on humanity. As real believers will refuse to join in with the unifying mob hatred of Israel then I guess we will be guilty by association. Couple this with our obvious lack of support for the Antichrist, as you often say, we will be the skunks at the proverbial garden party.

In Jesus,

Response #9:

Waiting seemingly forever for medical test results is something everyone over here has to endure as well. If my late mother's experiences are any guide, they don't generally even ever tell you anything if there's no further procedure required . . . unless you bug them about it. And it always takes way longer than it seems it should.

Good points about love growing cold. I don't think we have to choose between the two. As our Lord told us (Matt.22:36-40), the two greatest commandments are love for God and love for our fellow believers ("neighbors"). These obviously go together and when one cools off, so does the other.

Yes, we believers who refuse to go along will be the object of a good deal of scorn no doubt, even before the Great Persecution begins at the commencement of the Great Tribulation half way through the seven years (see the link). But we have to resolve to be ready to fulfill the role the Lord has for us, whatever that may be, whether enduring to the end (Lk.21:36; cf. Matt.10:22; 24:13; Mk.13:13) or witnessing for Him with our martyrdom (Rev.6:10-11; 7:13-15; 13:10).

There is a purpose for everything and the Plan is perfect. We may be uncomfortable for a few years (and I dearly dislike being uncomfortable, personally), but the Lord will see us through to His perfect end if we just determine to hold on in faith no matter what betides (Lk.18:8; cf. Matt.10:22; 24:13; Mk.13:13).

Keeping you and yours in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Luke 4:5-7 Christian Standard Bible
So he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. The devil said to him, “I will give you their splendor and all this authority, because it has been given over to me, and I can give it to anyone I want. If you, then, will worship me, all will be yours.”

This is what the devil said to the Lord Jesus without dispute. My question, one that's been on my mind for quite a while is; Where does it say Adam gave the World to the devil? This may be implicit but it is not explicit. I find no scripture that plainly states that as fact.

What if , the truth is, the World was given to the devil (before he was the devil) by God sometime before Genesis 1:2 before the renewal/recreation (details a bit sparse here). Then follows the devil's rebellion and all that it encompassed. Eden as an Outpost was installed somewhere on the surface of the world with Adam's mission to;

Genesis 1:28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.”

Adam was meant to subdue a hostile world. This seems consistent with the replacement of the Fallen by Mankind you mention. That plan was derailed and the new (or rather just in case man blows it) redemption plan implemented.

Just a thought. Not a matter of faith just clarity. This stems from reading your "Satanic Rebellion"

Response #10:

To answer your question, it doesn't say that anywhere – because it didn't happen. Satan grabbed temporary and partial control of the world through deceit. Nothing was "given" and that control has never been uncontested by the Lord. Indeed, we are part of that process of contesting Satan's rule. And since the great victory of the cross, the resurrection, the glorification of our Lord and the gift of the Spirit as a result (Jn.7:39), we have become part of the great expansion of the Church in the exploitation of our Lord's victory.

[For by means of the cross, God] has stripped [demon] rulers and authorities [of their power] and subjected them to public humiliation, having triumphed over them in [Christ].
Colossians 2:15

The Spirit and the spiritual gifts we are given in this new Church Age are the first-fruits of the plunder we have received as a result of our Lord's victory and our sharing in it as those who belong to His Church, His warrior assembly (ekklesia).

Therefore He says:
"When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men."
Ephesians 4:8 NKJV

"Captivity captive" refers to the release of our brothers and sisters from paradise below to accompany our Lord to the third heaven in His ascension (so that now all believers go directly to the third heaven when we pass), while the gifts are the plunder referred to above, spiritual gifts which are also the means for us earning the heavenly rewards we will all receive for our fight down here, the battle decorations which reflect how well we fought this fight (see the link: "The plunder principle"). We, the Church of Jesus Christ, are in the process of replacing the devil and his fallen angels one for one, and though he and his are resisting us might and main, they cannot stop the inevitable and inexorable advance to completion of the Bride of Christ.

"And I tell you that you are Peter [the little rock], and upon this [mighty] Rock (i.e., upon Christ Himself; cf. 1Cor.3:11) I shall build My Church (cf. Dan.2:44-45), and the gates (i.e., the fortified defenses) of Hades (i.e., the devil's kingdom) will not [be able to] resist it."
Matthew 16:18

In short, the devil lied. A typical satanic lie, containing an element of truth but twisting it to Satan's own purposes (see the link for an exposition of the devil's system of three essential lies). Just as he told Eve that she "would not die" and just as that was true from one cynical point of view (i.e., no physical death immediately but immediate spiritual death resulting in eventual physical death followed by the second death – absent the merciful intervention of the cross), so what the devil told Christ was partially true in a very limited way but far from the actual full truth. Satan had no intention of giving Christ anything at all if He had done as asked and worshiped the devil. Instead, of course, our Lord told the devil to "worship God" – and as God Himself that meant with no little irony that Satan should bow down and worship Him right there and then. But that of course was the original problem, namely, the devil refusing to worship God and wishing to be worshiped himself instead – and being willing to engage in any and all lies to gain his end, suborning one third of the angels with just such lies . . . to their eternal destruction in the end.

Yes, the devil is in some measure of control of planet earth at the moment, and that control will increase greatly under the rule of his son, antichrist, in the not too distant future. But his control has never been complete. He doesn't control us – unless we are foolish enough to believe the lies he tells and stray from our Lord and His Spirit. He doesn't even control all unbelievers: anyone who adheres to the basic, natural truths of this world designed by God to preserve mankind so as to have the chance to be saved (i.e., nationalism, law and order, upright conduct commended by many families, nations and even some philosophies) is essentially opposing Satan and his plans. And even in the Tribulation the beast will not be able to compel everyone to take his mark.

The devil and his minions influence people with his system of lies (see SR 4: Satan's World System), but they are limited in their ability to coerce outright – limited by God through various means and measures, direct divine power, the ministrations of the holy angels, and of course through the truth, both naturally revealed and most especially as revealed through the Bible and made understandable by the Holy Spirit.

Without divine restraint, the devil and his angels could have made short work of the human race at any point, and nearly did us in before the flood (which is why the repercussions were so dramatic for those involved in producing the nephilim: being cast into the lightless Abyss, something which terrifies the demons: Lk.8:31). They will come close again during the Tribulation (Matt.24:22), but will not succeed in destroying mankind and, more to the point, will not delay the completion of the Church, their replacements, a single minute (see the link: Replacement II). The second advent will occur right on time, and we, the Bride of Christ, will rise together to take our places in the Lord's host and take part in the final defeat of the devil's legions (see the link).

For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against [angelic] princes, against [angelic] authorities, against the cosmic powers of this [present] darkness, against evil spirits in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12

At present, our warfare is entirely spiritual, waged on the battleground of our hearts as we seek to bring every thought into captivity for Christ (2Cor.10:5), striving to grow spiritually, to progress in our walk with the Lord, and to help others do likewise in carrying out the ministries for which we were appointed in eternity past (link). Or at least that is what we all SHOULD be doing – and if we are, that is the basis for our eternal reward when we stand before our Commander in Chief on that great day to come (see the link).

I hope I've gotten to the nub of your question. Do feel free to write me back. If you haven't already done so, please do finish reading the rest of The Satan Rebellion series which deals with most of these issues eventually (other things are covered in the Coming Tribulation series to which the former forms the introduction).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hi Bob,

I hit another speed bump in my current reading of scripture. The entire Psalm and the next few seem to be confusing though it improves over the next few. In the KJV Psalms 76:5, I read:

"The stouthearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep: and none of the men of might have found their hands."

Whereas the NIV reads:

"The valiant lie plundered, they sleep their last sleep; not one of the warriors can lift his hands."

Which is much more clear but much more specific than the KJV. If I understand the KJV (which isn't easy even when somewhat familiar with Elizabethan idioms) the NIV is much different. Which is closer to the Hebrew?

Also, Psalms 76 seems to start a series of confusing translations in the KJV that improves over the next several Psalms. Is there anything in the Hebrew that's different or difficult to understand in that series of 5 or so Psalms?

Or, maybe I'm the only one confused...


In our Lord,

Response #11:

First thing to say is that I don't think it's profitable to interpret the Psalms in groups except in very general terms. That is to say, there may occasionally be some discernible pattern to a grouping, but even if that is demonstrably so, it usually isn't going to affect the interpretation of a psalm or part of psalm, with the result that there is a risk of overemphasizing that connection and misinterpreting as a result.

The above is a long way to say that it's best to take the Psalms individually, one at a time.

In terms of the meaning of Psalm 76:5, both translations you ask about say essentially the same thing: 1) the warriors who opposed the Lord are defeated and plundered; 2) then they are put to death; 3) none of their great strength availed them aught in their contest with the Lord. This verse (and much of this Psalm) has application to Armageddon as many portions of many Psalms do (e.g., Ps.9:7-8; 45:1ff; 75:1ff; 76:1-3; 93:1-100:1ff; Is.9:2-7; 12:1ff; 14:1ff; 25:1-27:1ff; 30:27-29; 35:1-9; 52:7-10). This all has to do with what I have dubbed "the Day of the Lord paradigm" (see the link); that is, the inspired appeal by a prophet to that coming Day of Days in interpreting contemporary or near-term fulfillment events, using the one as an analogy to explain the other.

That is what we have here. The entirety of Psalm 76 is really best explained as an inspired appreciation of the Lord's second advent requital of His enemies; but David also applies that principle of divine intervention to his near-term personal experience of the Lord's deliverance of him in smiting his and Israel's enemies during his lifetime.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hello Dr. Luginbill:

Is there a specific verse(s) in the Bible which indicates that the 144,000 will evangelize to Jews worldwide under the ministry of Moses and Elijah during the Tribulation or am I am error in deducing this from your CT series? I know that you have taught the 12/72 (and what scriptures teach in regard to their ministry) as a basis for the 144k.

Please advise.

Thank you!

Response #12:

Always great to hear from you, my friend.

That is right: that is what I teach in the CT series.

The only two places where the 144,000 are directly discussed in scripture are Revelation 7:3-8, and Revelation 14:1-5. Neither passage goes into all the detail we would prefer about the specifics regarding them or their ministry. So if you are looking for a "smoking gun" passage that teaches all of these things, it doesn't exist. However, this interpretation does have much to recommend it as we put the pieces of Revelation together with the rest of the eschatological information in the Bible (as we are clearly meant to do).

Yes, you are also correct that the 12 and the 72 sent out by our Lord give the pattern of the ministry of the 144,000. For one thing, there are some instructions given by the Lord to these two prior groups of evangelists sent to "the lost sheep of Israel" (Matt.10:6) which cannot apply until the Tribulation, e.g.:

"Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes."
Matthew 10:21-23 NKJV

John the baptist was instrumental in our Lord's earthly ministry and is said by our Lord to be the typological counterpart of Elijah. Moses and Elijah are the two witnesses (best link on that), so that since our Lord sent out the 12 and the 72 (multiples in both case of the 144), it is not without some basis to suggest that Moses and Elijah, the counterparts of John (Matt.11:14; Mk.6:15) and our Lord (Deut.18:15-22) would be commissioning and sending out the 144K. And we can see from the description of their ministry in Revelation chapter eleven that the focus is Israel, not the gentiles; and following their elimination by the beast, it is believing Israel in the land of Israel which is given "the eagle's wings" to escape from antichrist, not gentile believers (in Revelation chapter twelve). And finally on this point, we can see from where their martyrdom is described in Revelation chapter fourteen, that the 144K are martyred at the Tribulation's mid-point, after the escape of those they helped lead to salvation, after, that is, their job is done; and, as I have described things based on other passages in scripture which describe antichrist's entrance into the land of Israel to commence the Great Persecution, the martyrdom of the 144K also serves to provide cover and time to escape for those saved through their ministry.

It is also true that if the 144,000 were meant to evangelize the gentiles, it is odd that they should be taken only from Israel. The Church Age does not end – we are not removed nor the Spirit removed from us – before Christ's return; but the 144,000 who are specially called are likewise given the seal of the Spirit that we have when they are called (and subsequently saved). It certainly is appropriate for "this generation" of hardened hearts in unbelieving Israel (see the link) to be prepared specially for the Lord's return at the second advent – just as was the case in preparing them through John's ministry during the first advent (Lk.1:76; cf. Matt.3:3; 11:10), again, with Moses and Elijah playing the evangelism roles of Jesus and John respectively and likewise sending the missionaries forth.

Here are some links on all this:

The ministry of the 144,000 (in CT 2B)

The martyrdom of the 144,000 (in CT 4)

The 144,000 and the Two Witnesses of the Tribulation

The 144,000: God's Seal vs. the Mark of the Beast

The 144,000 and the meaning of the number

The 144,000 martyrs in Revelation chapters 7 and 14

I hope I've gotten to the nub of your question. Please do feel free to write me back about any of the above.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #13:


Enjoying your web site.

I see from the Word, that the concept of apostasy is taught. To unconditional eternal security folks, they would say that only unbelievers can commit apostasy.

Would not the true definition of apostasy demand that a believer is the only person that can commit this?

Please give me your thoughts from the Word.


Response #13:

Good to make your acquaintance.

You are absolutely correct. "Apostasy" means (in Greek) a "standing away" or "departure" or "rebellion" from something one is involved in. So only believers can commit apostasy as you surmise.

I have written a great deal about this over the years. The main place where this is taught systematically in BB 3B under "Apostasy and the Sin unto Death" (at the link).

This is no small matter at present, since we stand on the threshold of the Tribulation wherein a great many believers of weak spiritual status will indeed be deceived by antichrist and apostatize (see the link). The "once saved always saved" false doctrine may be comforting (as the false doctrine of a supposed pre-Tribulation rapture is found by some to be comforting), but it does a grave disservice to the Church since it gives the lukewarm incentive to stay lukewarm, imagining that "it can't happen to them" when it certainly can – and all the more so for being lukewarm.

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Doc...the Bible says vengeance belongs to God right? Well how is He going to avenge what's happened to me...unless I'm going to be the one vengeance is exacted on for all this?

[omitted - upset by lies in fiction and media and having trouble forgiving]

Response #14:

One of the great comforts believers have is that the Lord is going to return and will indeed take vengeance by repaying all of those who have troubled us in service of the devil.

Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
Isaiah 35:4 NIV

For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will repay every man in his own coin.
Matthew 16:27

(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.
2nd Thessalonians 1:6-9

In fact, when we rise in resurrection at our Lord's return, believers will get to participate in the removal of all demons from the earth in preparation for our Lord's millennial kingdom (see the link).

Behind every lie there is a liar. The devil is the ultimate source of all lies, being "the father of lies" (Jn.8:44). And he has enlisted many followers, fallen angels and human beings, who do his work. Whatever lies people have concocted and deployed, lies which have caused believers pain and trouble, I guarantee you that there will be retribution.

What is the vengeance? We know that well enough from the Bible. For the demons, it is sequestration in the Abyss without light (a thing they hate: Lk.8:31), until the last judgment when they will be cast into the lake of fire forever. For unbelievers, it will be 1) a fiery end after the second advent when the Lord removes all who have taken the mark of the beast from His Kingdom through the "baptism of fire" (see the link); 2) a thousand year stay (at least) in torments (which is awful: Lk.16:19-31); and 3) being thrown into the lake of fire at the last judgment (see the link). How bad is that? Worse than you would want to know:

"It would be better for him if he had not been born."
Matthew 26:24b NIV

For our part, we are to forgive everyone everything. That is something we ought to be able to do, since Jesus forgives us (1Jn.1:9), since God wants that person saved (1Tim.2:4), and since there will be retribution in the end (if not way before) for all who spurn His grace.

"And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors."
Matthew 6:12 NIV

"Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us."
Luke 11:4 NIV

"But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."
Matthew 6:15 NIV

So keep focusing on spiritual growth, my friend. That is the way to redeem the short time we have down here before the Lord returns.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Doc, are we to forgive even the demons who torment us, qnd how do we bring ourselves to forgive those we feel genuine hate for?

Also finally some good news...I got a cat a few days ago. It's the first cat we've had in almost 8 years.

That brings me to an important question: do animals go to Heaven? It just doesn't seem right to me if God would lovingly create and take care of a creature it's entire life, only to let it completely cease to exist.

Response #15:

On animals, my position based on scripture is that when God creates a spirit, it never goes out of existence. Unbelievers and fallen angels do not cease to exist in eternity (though it would be better for them if they did). Believers of course along with the elect angels will live forever on the new earth. Animals, creatures with spirits (that is basically what the word "animal" means, a creature with an "anima" = Latin for spirit), do not have free will, the image of God, so they are not responsible for their eternal future the way we are. Therefore there is no reason for them not to be in eternity too. This is how I see it; but it is an interpretation.

Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?
Ecclesiastes 3:21 NIV

As to demons, we are not supposed to have anything to do with demons – or angels of any stripe (see the link). We cannot see them and we have no business trying to commune with them in any way. The upshot of all the Bible has to say about angels, elect and fallen, is that it is good to know what the Bible has to say about them (just as it is good to know what the Bible says about everything), especially since the unseen conflict between them is the entire background for the creation and history of mankind, but that we ought to live our Christian lives as if they don't exist. We have no idea what they are doing in particular and so focusing on them in any way is a distraction, one which can potentially be very dangerous (please read the last two installments of the Peter series, Peter #39 and Peter #40 at the links).

I'm glad to hear that you are feeling better. More attention to Bible study will make you feel better too – if you stick with it.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hi Bob again,

I know you and I have corresponded about this in the past, but, I can't find it... Do you believe the spirits of animals return to our Lord. I had to make the hard decision today. I hope his return is good. He's been a good friend and companion.

In Jesus,

Response #16:

I'm sorry to hear this, my friend. That's a hard thing to have to do – at any time.

In terms of your question, yes, I do believe and teach that spirits made by God are indestructible. Since animals (a Latin word mean "spirit-creature") have spirits but no free will, there seems no theological reason to posit anything other than their continuation in eternity. That is how I see it, anyway. Here a few links:

Pets in heaven

Animals are not the problem

More on animals

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #17:

My point was not to say there were not degrees of rewards but ask why Paul in 1 Cor 3 only mentioned two extremes zero rewards and rewards. Since further on he states everyone will receive praise from God.

Any way, one thing that has always caused a tension in me is grace and works. My favorite verse again Hebrews 12:14 where he is saying a person must pursue peace with all or among all as you would interpret it and holiness without which no man will see the Lord. We know pursuing peace is part if seeing the Lord as Jesus said that peace makers are blessed and will be called the sons or children of God.

Which is it. If a person has to keep examining their works to see if they are brining forth enough fruit doesn't this causes the danger of looking to ourselves rather than the finished work of Christ. Since I tend to often feel how do I know I'm pursuing peace enough or am I making psychological excuses to be less than I should. This is doubly troubling if you have a complicated situation.


Response #17:

On 1st Corinthians 3:12-15, I don't see this as a case of extremes: "whatever remains" after being subjected to the Lord's discerning fire receives a reward; "whatever is burnt up" is not rewarded; that is true of every believer.

In terms of pursuing peace (Heb.12:14), the peace we are to pursue is with the Lord. Here's a link on that. Not that good relations with others, especially other believers, are not recommended – they are. But when it comes to peace with a capital "P", Jesus Christ is our peace (Eph.2:14; cf. Jn.14:27).

Scripture is very clear on the grace/works issue: we're saved "by grace, through faith; not of works" (Eph.2:8-9). Genuine spiritual production as opposed to energy of the flesh "works" are things the Lord has "prepared for us ahead of time" to do, when we are walking with Christ (Eph.2:10).

We know what we're supposed to "do" in this life: grow spiritually, pass the tests that come through that truth we've believed, and help others through exercising our spiritual gifts. If we are doing that, we don't need to be examining ourselves constantly. In fact, it's not recommended:

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

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #18:

The works which will or will not be burnt up is the influence, teachings and morals that a Christian especially leaders and/or result it has upon those who are under its influence.

The works here are specific works of obedience are they not? Not directly addressing other works.

The things planted are things taught, the good things planet God causes to grow or the increase?

Response #18:

The Greek word erga in scripture covers a lot of ground – essentially everything we think or say or do. Some erga are worthy of rewards; some are not. Everything worthy of reward will, for believers, be rewarded at Christ's judgment seat; everything unworthy will be burned up and remembered no more (see the link).

Unbelievers are on a different plane since they did not believe in Christ; their works are 100% not rewardable because they have not been done "in the Spirit"; these will be examined at the last judgment to show that nothing they did was worthy of salvation – and as a result their names have been blotted out of the book of life for failing to believe in Jesus.

And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
Revelation 20:12 NKJV

Here's a link on this: "Christian production".

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Works is also determined by context. In the text it is referring to the specific work of planting seeds in evangelism

Response #19:

You mean in the text of 1st Corinthians chapter three?

If so, in that context Paul says that Apollos watered and the he, Paul, planted. But this is not just "planting the seeds of evangelism" . . . if you understand what the word group euaggel- means in scripture, namely, teaching the entire realm of kingdom truth, not just giving people what today is called "the gospel" (see the link). Since teaching initially and all the way to the end of the full realm of biblical truth is meant here, this is the entire ministry of Paul and Apollos in view. One might think then to restrict rewards to teaching, but here is what Paul actually says in next chapter that he was using himself and Apollos as examples ("figures") for all (1Cor.4:6), so that we know for certain this passage is not to be restricted to the two of them – it applies to all Christians.

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.
1st Corinthians 3:11-13 NIV

It seems to me crystal clear that this is referring to the Judgment Seat of Christ where all believers are evaluated for everything they have done (Rom.14:10-12; 2Cor5:10). See the link.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #20:

I have found certain similarities between Iliad/Odyssey and the Bible. Like when the Greek gods use air to hide vs God using air to cover when He comes down (Ezekiel). It makes me uncomfortable. But the earliest manuscripts of the Tanakh are earlier than the earliest manuscripts of Homer, right? (I don't take the idea of oral tradition well, as it's too easy for mistakes to happen). I don't think it is doubt, but it does make me very uncomfortable.

Overall, looking at all the things, it seems far more likely those similarities are a fluke, as the Bible is all encompassing and true-seeming and most likely of all the possibilities.

Response #20:

I think it's the case that all mythology and religion, being satanic creations, deliberately mimic the truth in many ways. What better way to make a lie attractive than to wrap it in a thin covering of truth? There will be a lot of this in the Tribulation as antichrist seeks to ensnare the entire world into his satanic religion (see the link). So it's never been more important for believers to stay alert – and keep on plugging away with learning, believing and applying the truth. The "line of departure" is not far off at present.

"For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect."
Matthew 24:24 NIV

Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.
Revelation 13:11-14 NKJV

Thanks for your prayers. Keeping you in my prayers too.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a blessed 2023 (and to all my readers as well)!

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

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