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Question #1:

Hi Dr. Luginbill!

Hope all is well with you and yours! A crazy past 3 years that’s for sure…

I remember reading through your studies about there will be no work to be found towards the end of days. My problems is I can’t seem to locate where that is in your website. Robots and AI are seemingly taking over quite easily and productively. Although it is fascinating to watch robots do human things… I am against it if it takes a human away from their ability to earn a living wage. I much prefer that they remain for emergency rescue or heavy-duty stuff that would be too dangerous for a human to do.

Also, Job 1:6 and Proverbs 19:26. What is the Hebrew word for ‘sons’ of God… another translation says ‘angels’ of God – sons = angels. My friends question is if angels are sons of God, how can man be sons of God? Also, when the sons of God present themselves before God – was that before 1/3 fell away and they are the ones no longer aloud in the presence of the Lord by their iniquities?

What do you know about the Ethiopian Bible? Is that translation more accurate than what we have in the West?

Dr. Luginbill, thank you so very much for your efforts, time and putting things into lay-terms for those of us who might’ve not understood. May the Lord Christ keep safe from evil and accidents, and I’m looking forward to meeting you on the other side!

Response #1:

Good to hear from you – hope you are doing well, my friend!

The whole AI thing really is scary – or I guess it would be if it weren't for the fact that Siri forgets from day to day where I live (and I've been here over thirty years). Of course it doesn't matter how we "feel about it" since there is nothing we can "do about it". We believers learn to leave politics, technological monstrosities and societal wrangling to others. Our job is to grow spiritually, progress in our walk with the Lord, and help other believers through the ministry opportunities we're given. That is the way to earn good rewards. The Lord will be back soon enough and will fix it all. Until then, things are going to be going from bad to worse with the animated statue of antichrist being the ultimate iteration of this trend that you find concerning.

As to "no jobs" in the Tribulation, I can't remember ever saying anything quite like that, although it is a fair assumption to make that we believers will be challenged on that front once the middle of the Tribulation arrives and antichrist demands taking his mark in order to be able to buy or sell. Hard to see how that won't spill over into every other aspect of life, employment in particular.

On "sons of God" in the Old Testament, indeed, this often refers to angels rather than human beings (Genesis chapter six being a notable case; here's a link to where I discuss the term). The "sons of" construction in the OT, while sometimes referring to literal genealogy, often means "members of category X" (see the link), and in this case, the angels are the only other category of creature in the universe possessing the image of God like we do, that is, the God-given ability to make moral choices – and specifically to choose whether or not to accept His authority. Since we share this image together with the angels, it's not surprising that we human beings are described in this similar way. The ultimate "family of God" in New Jerusalem will consist of saved human beings and elect angels both (Eph.3:15; cf. Rev.19:10; 22:9). For more on angels, please point your friend to BB 2A: Angelology.

In terms of who appears in heaven today, the conflict began by Satan's revolt is still going on and the third heaven has a place where all the angels assemble from time to time (at least those at liberty to do so; many fallen angels are currently sequestered in the Abyss; cf. Lk.8:31). So there seems to be a truce at such times in a specified venue. The conflict, after all, is being played out entirely on the earth in the lives and hearts of human beings. No wonder then that the devil delights in showing up there to accuse us believers when we do stumble (Rev.12:10), but he and all of this followers will be thrown down from heaven entirely and confined to the earth at the mid-point of the Tribulation (Rev.12:7-9), with then only a "short time" left (Rev.12:12) before they are all cast into the Abyss for a thousand years (yet another factor that will make the Millennium the best time in human history . . . following on the heels of the worst)..

On the Ethiopian versions (I think that it is fair to say that they are composed more of bits and pieces than being a set "version" as we think of in the case of, say, the KJV), these go back to the 15th century only. In any case, they are just that, translations, and all translations have their limitations. Since we actually possess the text of the entire OT and NT (and I have spent my life on the translation and interpretation of these), we don't need to worry about translations, especially ancient ones – except if they are of use in establishing the text in those relatively rare places where there is some question. I've never gotten much use out of any of the older witnesses there (the LXX very occasionally).

Thanks for your good words – prayers for myself and this ministry are always gratefully accepted and appreciated!

In Jesus,

Bob L.
p.s., if you haven't already seen it, I just posted the second installation of the Hebrews series: Hebrews chapter one (at the link).

Question #2:

Hi Bob,

Just another quick update. They are closing down so many businesses and shops in my home town's centre and yet a new shop has opened up. It is a Wiccan witchcraft shop selling crystals and all that witchcraft junk. How is that shops selling greetings cards or flowers or food are closed but a witchcraft stall can suddenly afford the rent?

I know I shouldn't let myself be goaded on this or let my blood boil. I am sure that this will be a trend that will be feverishly pursued by the enemy. In the UK now every other shop is either a drug shop (vaping) or a tattoo parlour. Now we have shops that are solely dedicated to witchcraft. So the freefall continues.

I am so glad to be not of this world anymore. Thank the Lord for bringing me to your ministry where I can find fellowship with those with eyes that see the hour we are living in!

In Jesus,

Response #2:

I don't think you (or your country) are alone here. Restraints of the past everywhere seem to be dissolving before our eyes at an increasingly alarming rate. It makes one wonder just how appallingly amazing that phenomenon will become once the Holy Spirit ceases His restraining ministry (link). The Tribulation won't be boring.

On that note, we can look upon all these distressing developments as important reminders of what is coming and also good training, reminding us as you have just reminded yourself that we are not "of" this world – merely very temporarily "in it" (Jn.15:19; 17:14-16) . We're going to need all the preparation of that sort we can get , i.e., helping us to build an unshakeable heavenly vs. earthly perspective on things, to navigate successfully what is coming.

"You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved."
Matthew 10:22 NIV

"Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."
Luke 21:36 NIV

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Ephesians 6:13 NKJV

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Doc, is it sinful to try to hide something or to keep someone from finding out about something if you're not telling lies about it? [omitted]

Doc, why do you so often claim that almost all false teachers and even those who truly seem to seek only the truth are in fact willfully distorting the Bible for their own gain, or even willfully following the devil? I of course realize having been in several cults that there are plenty of people who claim to be preachers of the word but prey on the fear of people to gain followers or money, or even prosperity gospel preachers who go to the other extreme for the same thing, and I also equally understand that good intentions, even the best of them do not a good exegete make, but I've always found it very suspicious that you claim such a thing. In fact, it's very much against the grain of what I perceive in people's behavior, even after receiving the Spirit. Perhaps once again I'm just not seeing the full picture, misunderstanding something you say for lack of context. Would you care to explain?

Response #3:

In terms of the first email, I don't like to weigh in on specific situations like the one you ask about. You are well enough versed in the Bible to come to these conclusions yourself, after all. If we confess, we do so to the Lord, not our pastor-teacher or anyone else. None of us is perfect; we all sin and need Him to forgive us when and if and when we do.

In terms of this second email, I'm not sure to what you are referring since you seem to have conflated a number of things here. If you'd like an extensive treatment of the problem of false teaching and false teachers, please see Peter #39 at the link. Otherwise, if you know of a specific individual or group who/which is without question teaching lies but not out for their interest, please tell me about it and we can discuss it. I don't think it will be helpful to generalize about this in the main, but I will say that I've never encountered or examined any group that was not solidly teaching the actual truth which was not also out for your wallet in a serious way.

Keeping away from false teachers and false groups has never been more important than it is at this moment in history. That is because while in the past these may have merely been annoyances to those who know the truth, in the very near future we can expect them all to coalesce under the aegis of antichrist's religion and turn actively hostile to us. Thinking some group is benign when it is not will be a double problem, laying oneself open to attack on the one hand, and making oneself vulnerable to poisonous influence on the other. In the end, only believers are saved (Jn.3:18).

"Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved."
Matthew 24:11-13 NASB95

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi Bob,

I'm trying to make the best decisions (in matters big and small) under His direction, and moving in that direction by staying "connected" to the Vine (with some inevitable pruning necessary, to bear good fruit--John 15:4)....this is going to always bring the best results (Proverbs 3:5-7). The reality is that without Him there is no victory, or any good consequences for doing things with the wrong motives. I want His seal of approval in all my endeavors, and realize that He is a rewarder to all that "diligently" seek Him wholeheartedly, with the proper motives. He is worth it all!.... it is truly for His Glory!....to believe and honor His Authority in all. Sometimes it can seem daunting with all the "noise", but God is so much bigger than that mouse with a megaphone! So, I'll stay with that still small Voice that He has baptized me with, to avoid any spirit of fear that that "malevolent" mouse may conjure up! He is All Powerful.... the devil is merely a no-good lying loser, destined for eternal cursing, while God IS eternal blessing and glory, to those of us who believe (1Tim. 4:10; Gal. 6:10).

Our Lord is, and always has been, invincible... and He has conquered (at the cross) the evil underhanded schemer, even though the evil one is still wreaking havoc in so many unsuspecting lives for a while longer (for unbelievers, and unfortunately, spiritually weak believers alike). I'm keeping God's armor on (above all, the shield of faith) to withstand and keep standing.

I had wondered why Satan would still be granted an audience before Holy God (Who can't "look" at sin anywhere) especially in the third heaven headquarters. Here we see the "accuser of the brethren".... his "behavior" is such a futile arrogant endeavor, that will never end well..... with God's final solution to the problem coming after the Millennium. Is this "audience allowance", for untold eons, His absolute refutation and "put-down" of the harbinger of evil? Please help me understand this.

It gives us great joy to know it will truly end well if we endure in faith and follow Him until the end. All good things come from Him (James 1:17), and that Good Day is fast approaching!

I hope you won't have to check into that Holiday Inn anytime soon, due to any power "disconnections" there. Have a good one, Bob!

Your friend in Jesus,

Response #4:

It's a pleasure to see you "fighting the fight" with such a good attitude, my friend.

As to your question, this world, this creation, this temporary situation before eternity we all find ourselves in is all about choice, using our free-will "faith" to demonstrate what is really in us. Do we really want to live with the Lord forever? And if we do, are we really willing to do what He says, and, if so, just how committed is that free-will, how deep is that faith?

The angelic rebellion which predates the creation of mankind was inevitable once creatures with the image of God were created. Some would choose NOT to serve Him, given the choice. Once Satan did rebel, to repair the rift in the family of God, and to demonstrate the justice of God in condemning to the lake of fire those who rebelled, God created us human beings – not as an accident but as an indispensable part of the plan. We have always been part of the plan as the incarnation of Christ shows – we were created "for Him" (1Cor.8:6; Col.1:16).

Mankind, less than the angels in power and perception, likewise fell but for different reasons (Adam and Eve were deceived and pressured respectively). Since we made our mistake out of relative ignorance of the consequences, and since therefore, given the chance, some of us would be more than willing to come back, given the chance, God the Father sacrificed His Son to pay for that second chance. Satan, of course, has always done everything he possibly could to oppose this plan of salvation, knowing full well that it not only refutes his original lies by demonstrating that there was a way back for those willing and thus vindicating God's justice in condemning the devil and his followers, doing so at a price beyond true understanding, the blood of Christ; but also with every saved believer brought safe to heaven home, Satan's time has been running out like sands through the hour glass. When the sand runs out – when the entire Church has been saved, believers will equal the fallen angels in number, one for one. The resurrection of the Church will seal the deal of replacement, and Satan's foolish assumption with which he had suborned a third of angelic kind to the effect that they were "irreplaceable" will have been put paid to – and viscerally and tangibly so.

Until then, the conflict proceeds, not on a strength vs. strength basis, but on a spiritual level with truth being the issue down here on planet earth, and how human beings, each and every one of us, respond to that truth . . . or accept the devil's substitutes for it. The devil advances his system of lies; God counters with the truth in the hearts of those who belong to Him. And as those who belong to Him, we are expected to "walk as Jesus walked" (1Jn.2:6). Since we have sin natures, we are going to sin, so that is a standard no believer can completely meet, not all the time, certainly. And when we stumble, of course the devil is going to exercise the venue he has been given to slander and accuse us before the Lord (Job 1:9-11; Zech.3:1; Rev.12:10).

Since this is a spiritual battle, it does make a good deal of sense for our God to allow these criticisms, hiding nothing about what is going on planet earth with His plan to refute and replace Satan and his followers. By doing things this way, while the devil may gain some opportunities to hit us, hard, we believers understand that God never abandons us, and through this process He makes it clear that there are those human beings who will not turn to the devil no matter what happens (as Job did not, even though of course he wasn't perfect either).

So this is a fight, and it's important for us to understand and remember all the dimensions of it. We are being observed in all we say and do (and what we think is probably pretty apparent from this). We are going to be evaluated, moreover, on the basis of all these decisions we are making, all these applications of our faith in trusting the Lord step by step, day by day . . . or not. Every good decision, decision to trust, to believe, to do what He wants us to do, is another step towards a "well done!" from the Lord – and the opposite the opposite. And when we do indulge in the opposite, you can bet that the Lord is going to hear about it – from our adversary (that is what the name "Satan" means in Hebrew).

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:11-12 NIV

This knowledge about the conflict we are engaged in and the forms of attack used by our foes, including accusing us before our Lord, is also beneficial for us, taken to heart. Of course we understand that God knows everything and that He knew of our every sin in eternity past. After all, they have already been judged in Jesus Christ. And if we actually saw the Lord Jesus standing at our right hand at any given moment, we would be a lot less likely to commit sin. But we can't see Him with our physical eyes; we have to see Him in our hearts, through the truth. We know that we will hear about everything on "the day", and that ought to engage our severe respect, reverence, godly fear (2Cor.5:11), but knowing that, well before that future time of judgment for reward, all of our failings are being brought up by the devil before the heavenly court ought also to give us pause whenever we are tempted to do something we shouldn't do – or slack off doing something we know we should.

So, why is this form of accusation allowed? To carry out the plan of God. To demonstrate God's justice. To help us to do what is right. There are plenty of reasons for everything that happens in God's perfect plan of which we are all integral parts. Trusting Him that this is so even if we don't necessarily "see it" is a big part of the faith we need to please Him in the first place.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6 NKJV

And this accusation will not go on forever. For those of us who do find ourselves in the midst of the Great Tribulation, we will have at least one very large consolation: no more such accusations from the evil one:

Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down."
Revelation 12:10 NKJV

In Jesus,

Bob L.
p.s., you can find out more about all of the above in the Satanic Rebellion series.

Question #5:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Just wanted to share some remarks with you to get your thoughts.

Strong’s Concordance. Hate, detest, love less, esteem less. Original Word: μισέω Transliteration: miseó

Luke 14:26.
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father,…….

Perhaps a new believer will look at this verse and wonder about this word that is hate, which Jesus is telling His disciples. Again, I wonder what gets into these translators to use this word, is beyond me. I reviewed 58 different translations, and 53 of them had the word “hate”. 5 other translations use one of these words:

1. “Contemporary English Version” has. :”unless you love me more than you love your father and mother”, which seems to me to be a much better translation than the other 58 have.
2. “ God’s Word translation”, says: “If people come to me and are not ready to abandon”.
3. “Good News Translation”, says: “unless they love me more than they love father and mother,
4. “World English Bible”, says: “doesn’t disregard his own father, mother,”.
5. “Mace New Testament” says: “he that can't abandon his father, and mother,

This is really frustrating to me to no end. The context to me fits, better with the CEV bible.

Also, I have been studying your teaching on “Tribulation Part 2A, The seven churches.” I fast forwarded the study to the church of Laodicea, and as the saying goes, it blew me away. What a marvelous teaching that matches exactly with the Post-Modern church. Would I could go and teach this in all the churches as many as I can, time is short. It is a very intense, amazing, wonderful dissertation of what is going on today in the churches.

May the LORD bless you abundantly always, everyday.

In the Love of Jesus,

Your friend,

Response #5:

Yes, miseo means hate (cf. misanthrope, misogyny). That said, I would never want to have to translate the Bible for general reading. As you know from the site, many if not most of my translations are "unreadable" in that they are not designed to flow and delight the ear. I also usually also find the need to put in so many parenthetical expansions that no one would be happy reading a whole book – let alone the whole Bible – done in that style. It is a teaching style, not an "easy reading" style.

It is also true that translators need to make hard choices: how close the original to hew; how much to invest in interpretive vs. "literal" translation. It's like I say about the NLT: like the fabled red-headed girl, "when it is good it is very good, but when it is bad it is awful". Meaning, that if the translator fully understands what is there and brings that meaning out, well and good. But to the extent that the true meaning is not fully grasped or exactly expressed, to that extent the translation will suffer and give the wrong impression – at best.

Yes, the description of Laodicea in Revelation chapter three does fit like a glove the state of the church-visible we see today – and it's fitting more snugly day by day. I thank the Lord for wonderful exceptions like yourself, my friend, and the other readers of Ichthys, who have not settled for lukewarm pabulum but have decided instead to honor the Lord by valuing, seeking out, learning and living His truth. That is the way to a good reward; that is the way to reaching the "line of departure" for the Tribulation well-prepared to endure whatever comes our way.

Thanks for the good words of support, my friend!

Have a good weekend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hi Dr Luginbill,

Please tell me how you're doing!

NKJV translates Psalms 68:18 like this:
"You have ascended on high,
You have led captivity captive;
You have received gifts among men,
Even from the rebellious,
That the Lord God might dwell there."

But on the site it seems to say that this verse has it as the Lord giving gifts (and giving even to the rebellious?). Could you please explain?


Response #6:

This is explained at the link: Victory at the Cross (in BB 5)

In a nutshell, Ephesians does indeed put it the other way around:

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

Paul modifies Psalms 68:18 under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to demonstrate and emphasize that our Lord's victory is the basis for the spiritual gifts we receive (i.e., the "plunder principle"; see the link). So in fact there is no contradiction: Christ had to receive the spoils Himself (Ps.68:18) in order to be able to distribute them to us (Eph.4:8). This is also just as it says in Isaiah:

Therefore I will allot the great [of heart] to Him (i.e., the Messiah) [as His portion of the plunder], and He will apportion plunder to the[se same] mighty [of heart]. Because He bared His life to death and was numbered with the transgressors, thereby He took away the sin of the great [of heart] and substituted [Himself] for the transgressors.
Isaiah 53:12

N.b., the "rebellious" are the ones FROM whom the plunder is taken: Satan and his followers. We believers replace them one for one, and will come into whatever positions and honors they originally had (and many more things besides, based upon the rewards we have earned through our positive response to the truth here on earth).

Things are problematic here in Louisville at present.  Prayers appreciated!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Dear Prof, how have you been doing? Quite some time I wrote you and i heard from you. I told myself I must communicate before the year runs out! I know you've been busy as usual. Trusting the Lord you're doing ok. How are the brethren over there?

I'm doing ok. [details of deliverance and continuing suffering omitted]

When I review the year, its been quite stressful but I've seen a lot of His mercy. A lot! I am going to get cracking this year by His mercy ministry wise. Enough is enough!!

The whole world is getting set to receive the Antichrist while we are getting set to receive our Lord like a woman in birth pains. I pray I wont fall short.

Dear Prof I want to wish you a happy new year coming and pray that all the Lord has planned for you next year will be fulfilled in your life. May you not become a castaway after raising us.

Love you and God bless you sir.

In Him

Response #7:

I'm glad to hear that there is progress with your troubles, my friend! I keep that in my prayers daily.

Good news on the ministry front too!

Keeping ourselves focused on the Lord's return is an important perspective alright! The more trouble we see and experience in the run up to the Tribulation – and of course once it's begun – the more it is crucial to recall that this is all part and parcel of the plan that brings an end to the devil's rule and begins the commencement of our Savior's millennial kingdom.

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1st Peter 5:8-11 NASB95

Wishing you and yours a blessed 2023 as well, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hi Bob,

When looking at the big picture, I have to say we are blessed to have our "super-markets". I remember being in a couple foreign countries (1970), and noticed their small markets fell far short of what I had experienced back in the good, not so old (or good) USA. My weightier matter: It's pretty easy to put the pounds on, and more difficult to take them off! After retiring from my building construction work, during which it was easy to eat "whatever", and still stay "fit as a fiddle"..... but now I find it more challenging to stay at my "fighting weight". Thankfully, I "put the brakes on" at some time, and I'm gaining in the right direction now but not without the "help" from my Spartan coach! (no pain, no gain seems to be the game plan!). I think I'll be able to stay "on the wagon", and I appreciate your condolences in this matter.

However, I was sorry to see, on TV, how E Kentucky got hammered, and the devastation that followed. So much trouble happening everywhere, before the far worse trouble we know about, in advance, that is coming. Gives me kind of an eerie feeling, even though I know that this is all part of God's Plan, and He has it all worked out for good for us.( Rom. 8:28). Just have to remember He's always "in our corner", through it all!

Concerning "the work": Great to hear things seem to be moving in the right direction, even with the tight schedule. Enjoying "the work" is a plus....I really enjoyed it when I was working with my belt on. I still miss it, but I am working on other stuff now (not the least of which is studying from your ministry!...thank you!). The Lord has worked it out, "just right ", so you are able to do everything necessary (e.g.,tent-making, etc.), to perform "the work" for Him (all thanks to Him!). Praying all goes well on all fronts, with no labor on Labor Day, Bob! Your friend in Jesus,

Response #8:

No worries. I'm on the slow-lose plan . . . and it's been slow. But there is progress. Things do change, don't they? I'm grateful for the things that have not changed to the point of having to stop doing what's needful.

More rain this weekend too. Still no problems of that sort in Louisville. It'll be a while before they even know about all the troubles in detail out east of here. They still can't get into many of the "hollers" which suffered unprecedented flash floods.

And you're right, of course. It's going to get worse – even though I am sure that is hard to imagine for, e.g., someone who's whole material life just got swept down the creek. We can't prevent that sort of thing from happening. Even if we take all possible precautions, there is always something we couldn't have predicted or prevented. But God knows what's coming and whatever He allows to come upon those who love Him will be, in the end, for the good – as you rightly remind us. Our job is to hold onto that truth in good times and in bad, knowing that, in the end, it will all be nothing but good for all eternity.

"As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."
Luke 6:47-49 NIV

No, we might not be able to prevent our humble abode going down river, but we certainly can – and certainly should – be building our spiritual edifice on solid Rock. If we really are committed to the Lord heart and soul, if we really are walking with Him day by day and deepening that foundation, we can be sure that what we've built here, what really counts, that is, will never be washed away until kingdom come, no matter how high the water rises or what winds may blow or tide may surge. That is the "heritage of the servants of the Lord" (Is.58:14).

And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.
Psalm 90:17 NKJV

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV

Have a good week, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hi Bob,

Forgive the slight delay in my response – I’ve been thinking and rethinking your replies. Are we right to take the half hour as six months? I believe so. Now John could have been led to write, "half a year" instead of half an hour. That would not be symbolic but literal. If the half hour is literal, it doesn't have any import on our interpretation . . . and it would then be an odd thing to say since nothing else in Revelation deals with such minute increments of time. If it is symbolic, which I am sure it is, the only question becomes, what time period (and it must be time) does it indicate?

The months and days in Revelation are all literal months and days. Daniel chapter nine uses weeks, not days, as symbolic for years -- but really NOT weeks; really "periods of sevens". So while "week" is an acceptable way to translate, garnering from this that "days" are indicated as meaning "years" is not what is going on. We are talking about a period of time.

This passage is probably the limit of my understanding of what you’ve said so I’ll respond to that and if the following interpretation is wrong, I’ll defer to your better understanding. And I thank you for your kind and patient way of explanation.

If prophetic time being a week is 7 years and a day is a year, how is one hour a year? If one hour is a year I can understand a half hour is 6 months.

It just makes more sense to me using the prophetic timeline in Daniel that the half hour would be approx. 7 days.

So while "week" is an acceptable way to translate, garnering from this that "days" are indicated as meaning "years" is not what is going on. We are talking about a period of time. Is this what I’m getting wrong?

As always my friend,

Response #9:

It's no problem, my friend. I'll have another go.

You know the expression, "the Day of the Lord". That is both a literal day and also a period of time connected with it – at its longest, both the day of the second advent and the Millennium following (see the link). So a "day" in scripture may be a day literally, or symbolically a longer period of time, even a thousand years.

Similarly, in the examples I gave you last time (link), "hour" can refer to an unspecified, much longer period of time.

Is the "half hour" in Revelation 8:1 literal? If it were, it would not seem to have much meaning. If it is symbolic, representing a longer stretch, which I believe it must be, then the only question is "to what longer period of time does it relate?"

It is true that I can't think of any other place in scripture where an hour equals a year; but I also know of no place where an hour equals a day. What we can say is that it is a period of time, and further, I believe, that it represents a longer period of time than a literal half hour (which would seem somewhat meaningless to say since it doesn't relate to anything significant in the description of the Tribulation's commencement in that case).

Why "half"? That is really what is striking and key to this interpretation. The ONLY reason to use "half" an hour – as opposed to an hour – is precisely to emphasize the splitting up of a LONGER period of time into two parts. If it were a literal hour, that would seem to have no special significance whatsoever. If it were a day, likewise, I can't see how that would have any important meaning. If it were a half month, we still have the same problem. But half a year is precisely what the calendar demands for the commencement of the Tribulation, since Christ rose in the spring but the Jewish ceremonial calendar's festival symbolic representation of the end times events occur in the fall (see the link).

As to "If prophetic time being a week is 7 years and a day is a year, how is one hour a year?", that would be true – if there were such a thing as "prophetic time", that is, a recognized and consistent and predictable system of measurement that always works the same in biblical prophecy. But I don't find anything like that anywhere in scripture. Sometimes, in the Bible, a day is day; sometimes it is less than a day (as in the "three days" in the grave); sometimes it is a prolonged period looking forward to a day (the "Day of the Lord"); sometimes it is a thousand years (the seven millennial days).

Is a day sometimes a year? The Daniel prophecy, rather than being a model of how to calculate time elsewhere, is specific to itself alone. Daniel speaks of "seventy sevens" and each "seven" turns out to be seven years; but while the word can justifiably be translated "week", that is only because a week is likewise a "seven". More literal is NIV's "seventy SEVENS" than KJV's "seventy weeks". And the word "day" is never used anywhere in that passage. It's not a problem to say or use "day" in interpreting this context and in understanding each part of the "seven" to represent "year" – unless that is then used to imply that days elsewhere equate to years. I can't think of another place where that is the case – and, as mentioned, the word "day" doesn't actually occur here (nor does "week").

So I think that taking "hours" in conjunction with the derived-by-interpretation-Daniel-"days" as things to be conjoined and used to interpret each other is not correct. Additionally, in the ancient world, their "hours" are different from ours. There are only 12 hours in their days (cf. Jn.11:9), not 24, and the length of those hours varies from day to day, splitting the daylight into exactly twelve equal periods, longer in the summer, shorter in the winter, only ever equal to the twelve hours of the night at the equinox.

That brings us right back to the "half hour" which is a period of time that only makes sense as symbolically representing some longer period, and the really significant thing about it is that this represented period is split in half. The only significant period to be split in context which I have ever been able to come up with is a year because that yields the six months necessary to have the second advent occur at the proper season, according to the symbolism written into the Jewish calendar (link).

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Bob,

Again my thanks for you kind and patient way of explaining a rather confusing passage of scripture, which I’m sure I’m not alone in.

This email has indeed helped in that I’ve now understood it better – in many things I’m a slow learner but in other things I grasp it immediately, and this example is of the former. I knew the half hour was definitely symbolic rather than literal, and I was associating it with the ‘Daniel prophecy’. And by you taking a slightly different tack, I see it in another light.

I do very much enjoy our conversations on these and other things and my constant prayers are that many more will find ichthys first in the coming days and mine also, as I’m sure when the anti-Christ rises, he will cause all such articles to be taken down or removed from the internet – so I can only hope they will have free course in the world and some might still benefit from them beforehand.

Keeping you in my prayers and that He will preserve you through the coming days dear Bob,

As always my friend,

Response #10:

Thank you my friend! Happy to help. Sometimes my writing is a bit "dense", so I appreciate the opportunity to explain and expand. As I tell my students, "If one of you has a question, please don't hesitate to ask, because undoubtedly others have the same question but are afraid to ask it".

With people getting cancelled already at the present time and getting thrown off the internet – and entire services as well (Parler) – it's certainly not inconceivable that Ichthys may one day no longer be available online. Whenever this subject comes up I always encourage readers who may be concerned about that to download all of the Zip files on the Archives page (link). The entire content of the site consists of a modest amount of bytes (because these aren't programs and have few graphics), less than a small program in toto, so it's worth it in my opinion to have the backup. N.B., I do tweak the files from time to time, so doing the above every six months or so wouldn't be the worst idea.

Thanks so much for all your prayers, encouragement and good words, my friend. I keep you and your family in mine daily as well.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #11:


I just wanted to add that humans always seem to veer towards one of two extremes, either liberalism (licentiousness) or legalism. I see both of these all the time and humans just seem to veer from one to the other and back again. It's like Pepsi and Coke right? Not really much of a choice. I see that the narrow path rests in the middle.

I remember that psychologists with Transactional Analysis came up with that "I'm okay, you're okay" model.

I realise that liberalism is "I'm okay, you're okay"
Legalism is "I'm okay, you're not okay"
Whereas Christianity is "I'm not okay, you're not okay. We all need Jesus".

I said the other day that no matter what the question is, the answer is always Jesus.

I am pretty weary of this place. I know people worry about the Tribulation but to be honest, I would feel worse thinking that things are carrying on getting progressively worse forever. The good news is all this is coming to an end.

Something is happened to me that has surprised me. I feel as though I would rather get the Tribulation started just so it is started. Also I actually have hope about the Tribulation. Now I know that the judgements are not for us, I see hope there. I see the opportunity for witnessing and for fishing for mankind. Everyone is fast asleep now, sleepwalking into judgement but they won't be able to sleep through the Tribulation, no one will. It will really be a time of everyone showing what they are really about and I think that is a good thing. It is so hard to tell believers from unbelievers and sometimes difficult to believe there are any at all. At least we will know for certain then what people really stand for. We will be in no doubt what is really in everyone's heart.

Maybe it's the way I am, I always want to know the reality even when it hurts, I've never liked a false sense of security. I've always wanted to know exactly where I stand. They say Franz Kafka spent his whole life a hypochondriac, worrying about getting ill that when he finally got TB he felt relief. It was the not knowing that was tortuous.

Now that I know what's round the corner I feel I just want to get through it. Is that strange? All this waiting isn't something I am very good at. Once I know something is going to happen I'd rather get it over with.

I know how I feel and what is right are two separate things though. I shouldn't be selfish, I hope many more come to Christ before it all starts. God's timing will be perfect and I know that I won't regret any time of study I put in now.

It is wearisome life here though isn't it. I can't imagine why anyone would want a long life here at all. I now see how foolish it was for Hezekiah to want more time. It truly is a blessing to leave here knowing it will mean eternity with the Lord. I want to use my time wisely here though, to learn how not to complain, to be a good witness and carry on.

Why anyone would love this place though?! Beats me!!

In Jesus,

Response #11:

I would amend your very trenchant model re: liberals, to "I'm OK, you're OK – just as long as you agree with me". Of course that's not as pithy.

I love your application here. Yes indeed – let's get this over with! The Lord won't be returning and we won't get to the resurrection and reward until AFTER the Tribulation is done. So yes please, let's get cracking and the sooner the better! Also, it's a good point that having to witness the ever increasing decline of all that is decent, good and sane is pretty depressing. At least once the Tribulation begins, there will be judgments from the Lord on all these things and the people who embrace them. It won't be pleasant for us, make no mistake, but that IS a key perspective on the Tribulation which believers can never let slip from the their hearts: whatever trouble we must suffer therein, whatever persecutions we must endure, the judgments (trumpets, bowls, thunders – and whatever Moses and Elijah call down in addition) are meant for those who oppose the Lord and NOT for us who love Him.

Add to that the additional opportunities we will have to minister the Word (one hopes) and to demonstrate the true mettle of our faith under pressure (whether imprisoned and/or martyred or not) which things will redound to our eternal reward, and the Tribulation can be seen as the graduation exercise for our Christian lives. It's what we've been training for.

It's been said that professional military men hate war because they know how bad it is. On the other hand, if a person has trained all their life for combat and never seen it, that may not be so terrible but one can understand how finally going into battle might have an appeal. That may be a mistaken notion for many in the secular side of the analogy, but on the spiritual side it really shouldn't be.

So thank you for this email and the great perspective! Let's try to hold onto that and redouble our spiritual growth efforts so that reality can be as good as the intention. However much we end up liking (possibly not) or loathing (more likely) the actual experience of the Tribulation, one thing is certain: we won't regret a single minute of Bible study and spiritual preparation we were able to get in ahead of time once it begins.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Doc do you think Nephilim (the half demon people from Noah's time) had any potential for redemption? I mean yeah their existence was a perversion but they didn't ask to be born. It just wouldn't seem fair to me if they were screwed over just because of their heritage. I mean they were PART human, so I was thinking maybe at least in theory they could have been saved (not that we know of any).

Response #12:

With all we've got to be concerned about on the cusp of the Tribulation, this concern should probably not be high on the priority list.

To put your mind at ease, Christ paid for all sins and God has never allowed anyone to go to hell who was interested in being saved by submitting to the will of God through faith in Christ. Other than that, theorizing and hypothesizing is of little use: there is only one perfect plan of God, already foreordained. What they did, they did. AND what we did (from our perspective, "will do"), we did. So let's focus instead on using the free-will faith we've been given to do what Christ wants us to do – grow, progress, produce – so that on that day when we stand before Him the "will do", "meant to do" and "did do" will all coalesce into a loud "well done!" from our dear Lord.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1st Peter 1:6-7 NIV

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #13:


Okay. To clarify on my last paragraph from my previous email, I understand that God cannot "change His mind", so we agree on that. God's plan is simply unfolding and He's always known it. Any "change", in scripture especially, is simply something us humans can fathom or understand. Just to be clear, though, when you say, "The fact that God has the right and the ability to change whatever He wants whenever He wants does not conflict with the fact that the actual plan will turn out to have been perfect and consistent and unchangeable from the beginning., we know that His Word is perfect (1 Cor 13:10) and that if a Millennial Day interpretation is correct, the datings essentially won't change, and He couldn't just start the tribulation tomorrow. You see the conflict?

Also, I just can't see how the passages stating that no one knows the "day or the hour...for [we] do not know when the appointed time will come" (Mark 13:32-33) or that "it is not for [us] to know the times or epochs" (Acts 1:7) don't contradict with a Millennial Day theory. Why would God even try to reveal in his Word something that we can't/shouldn't know?

As to what you wrote: "And I can see good reason for God allowing things to have been written (and later taken) the way they were written and have been taken: had this all been understood and explained correctly in the first century, it might have gone a long way towards reducing the alertness scripture calls for – which is absolutely necessary for all believers at all times living in the devil's world as we do." Doesn't this apply to today as well? It's true we could meet the Lord at any time, but that's not what these passages are talking about, even including Matt. 24:50-51.

I also am not sure I'd parallel our Lord's use of parables to scripture. Don't we have the Spirit now and the entire body of scripture, so that we can comprehend His truth fully now. Also, didn't Jesus essentially rebuke his disciples for not understanding the parables (Mark 4:13)? It seems that our own lack of understanding nowadays is due to our own ignorance or hard-heartedness, not necessarily because it's "concealed from us". Please respond as you may.

I'm sorry to rip into this, but it's how I see it.

In Jesus,

Response #13:

No worries, my friend.

On "changing", the point is, just because God has the right and the ability to change anything does not mean that He will. Believers have to accept both that fact and also the truth of everything He has told us – with sufficient humility to accept that we do not know everything and may have even misunderstood some things, and with sufficient faith that when all is said and done He will have worked everything out together for good and that nothing will have happened amiss.

These two things may seem to be contradictory positions to hold at the same time, but they are both true. It is our job as believers to trust the Lord regardless, and our job as teachers to teach all points of truth. We accept and believe and teach true interpretations; we have the humility to understand that we are not God, that "our God is in heaven and He does whatever He pleases" (Ps.115:3), but that also "the Scripture cannot be broken" (Jn.10:35) – and that if we teach all the truth, in the end, it will all turn out to have "made sense" completely, even if there are some things that are difficult for some to accept at present. Because the "change" – if there should be one – would only be an apparent one from our limited point of view and not an actual one in the integrity of God. The plan of God in fact is all-comprehensive, perfect and unchangeable through and through.

"For I am the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob."
Malachi 3:6 NKJV

As to your second paragraph, I have written extensively about both of these passages. In a nutshell, the "day and the hour" are just that: a very small variation of what would have been the full time of the Tribulation which is briefly shortened "for the sake of the elect" (Matt.24:22; Mk.13:20; see the link). Secondly, "not for you to know" is really "not for you to decide" – that is the frequent meaning of the aorist of gignosko and clearly what Jesus meant in this context since on the one hand the disciples were indicating their desire for "kingdom come" immediately, but on the other hand our Lord had just previously told them, in His teaching to them just before the cross, that indeed the Spirit would teach them all such things, NOT keep that information from them as taking this verb the wrong way implies (Jn.14:26; see the link).

As to "Doesn't this apply to today as well?", I would argue "not with the Tribulation so close". Indeed, it's never been more important for believers to have some certainty of the time of the end approaching. The passages in scripture which counsel alertness have always been important. The point I was making is that in the distant past, a certainty of the Tribulation being far away could and did lead to the following attitude with some:

. . . and saying, "Where is the promise of his coming? For, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation."
2nd Peter 3:4 ASV

But today, since we are standing on the very threshold of these things, imminence in principle and imminence in practice have fully merged. So passages such as Matthew 24:50-51 have a double application for all believers, both personal (the Lord could take us home any time), and eschatological (He is indeed returning very soon). Today, we feel both with equal urgency – or at least we certainly should. As I often say, when the Tribulation arrives, we're not going to regret a single moment of spiritual preparation we have invested in. Marines on landing craft approaching the line of departure no doubt have plenty on their minds but are probably NOT wishing they had spent LESS time on the rifle range, e.g.

As to parables, I disagree with what you write here but I think you've misunderstood what I wrote. Indeed, we are supposed to learn it all. And with the Spirit, that is indeed possible. That is precisely what I am about with this ministry and precisely what I am attempting to help you to achieve as well. The point is that many do not have that attitude or commitment and the same was true in our Lord's day (so that parables allowed Him to teach the truth without at the same time bumping hard into unyielding resistance). Then as now, many are in their heart of hearts unwilling to seek or to accept the truth, so that for them, much of the truth of what scripture contains is hidden from them, even if they listen to it occasionally and "go to church".

"Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice."
Ezekiel 32:33 NIV

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #14:


Okay I think you're starting to make more sense. My only quibble with your first paragraph would concern your use of "right". How would you define God's "right" to do whatever he wants given that he can't lie to us?

With Acts 1:7, I sort of suspected your point on "decide" was correct, just because the verse ends with "which the Father has fixed by His own authority", in contrast to the authority of the disciples. And I see your points on the "day or the hour passages". One question from reading the links is this: Does the shortening of the tribulation for the elect mean that there will be a less than 7 year tribulation period? No? Or is this "shortening" from the post-trib Armageddon period, or is Armageddon and the Lord's return included in the tribulation? Just fill me in here. Apologies for not reading some of CT yet.

With the "Doesn't this apply to today", I see how Matthew 24:50-51 has a personal and eschatological application. But I still see that PERHAPS someone from the first century could come up with the Millennial day interpretation. Also, the eschatological application from this passage could be neglected if someone, let's say, had a terminal illness, and was destined to die in a few months. It seems then that there wouldn't be imminence in eschatological terms if the interpretation was correct.

In Jesus,

Response #14:

In terms of authority, God's is absolute, of course. We have to be careful how we talk about the issue. We want to be sure not to suggest any arbitrariness on the God's part. Everything He does is just and good and right, of course, but we don't want to put things in a way that might give anyone we are teaching the wrong idea. When all is said and done, we will find out that everything in the plan was perfect – because everything in the plan IS perfect. I see the purpose of this imminence issue, that is, the scriptures which put things that way, as necessary inclusions by the Spirit to prompt alertness. IF there was going to be a complete understanding of and absolute confidence in the millennial day interpretation from the early days, one could see how perhaps the Spirit might have wanted to put things differently. As things have worked out, however – in the actual, perfect Plan of God which anticipated everything – while there was some speculation about it there was no general acceptance to the point of anyone we know of making such logical deductions and concluding that therefore alertness didn't matter. And as mentioned, even if we knew for certain we wouldn't personally be going through the Tribulation, it's not as if life is not filled with personal tribulations great and small – for which we equally need spiritual alertness.

The plan of God takes into account everything. And there is nothing in the Word that is not absolutely true. I'm confident that no aspect of this issue, rightly considered, violates these principles or can reasonably be the cause for any serious concern. Other ways of understanding it are only confusing . . . because they are wrong (in my humble opinion).

As to the shortening of the Tribulation (link), scripture indicates that it is a matter of days, a few weeks at most, not of months – since we know from many places that the Great Tribulation will last 42 months, "a time, times and a half a time" (see the link).

I certainly agree that Matthew 24:50-51 can be personal as well as eschatological. My point with all these imminence passages is that the two things are never mutually exclusive.

No worries on not getting yet to CT – there is a lot to get to at Ichthys!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Last thing! I was reading your Eschatology part of Bible Basics (link), where you talk about the possibility of death by fire for believers in the Great Persecution. And in case it helps believers, we can also think of it this way: in both paths there is fire (martyrdom vs eternal fire), but His path is much easier than the Eternal Fire we would have had both in the other path at that point AND previously if not for His sacrifice.

Response #15:

That is a very nice observation! Good to keep in mind.

Burn now, chill forever; escape the flames for now by betraying Christ, burn for all eternity.

It's not much of a choice when you put it that way. How amazing is the hardness of the human heart that so many would rather choose the lake of fire on account of being unwilling to submit to Jesus Christ so as to have life eternal.

I thank God that you have chosen the better part (Lk.10:42).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #16:

You wrote:

3. The Angelic Infiltration of Genesis 6: As both Jude 6 and 2nd Peter 2:4 make clear, "the sons of God coming in to [mate with] the daughters of men" was a Satanic attack of immense proportions which violated God's ground rules for the resolution of the angelic rebellion in human history (see part 5 of this series where the Gen.6 attack is treated in detail). The direct mixing of angelic and human seed is clear-cut proof of the desire on the part of Satan and his followers to attain the (for them) unattainable: corporeality.

My question is; How could Angelic seed mix with Human seed had they not already possessed corporeality?

Response #16:

Good to make your acquaintance.

"Corporeality" and "spirituality" are terms of art conventionally used to discuss these matters, but they should not be thought of in terms of the traditional philosophical or theological labels. That is because on the one hand while human beings have corporeality, we are also spiritual, possessing a human spirit, and in time, when we are resurrected, we will be able to do things – as Jesus did in resurrection – which defy traditional notions of what corporeal bodies can do and what they cannot.

On the other hand, while angels are spirits, it is not as if they aren't restricted to being in only one place at a time just like us. And it is not as if they are unable, just because they are "spirits", to interact with the material world in all manner of ways about which we are given only limited information in the scriptures. Satan had his minions send fire down upon Job's flocks and destroy them and cause a great wind to collapse the house in which his children were staying.

In many instances in which angels appear in scripture, they are doing things that require an interaction with the material world which takes physical activity of one sort or another. So dividing things up in the manner above, as traditional philosophy and theology commonly do, cannot be used as an argument to dictate what can and cannot happen according to scripture.

Here is a link where this subject is explored in a bit more detail: "The nature of angels"

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #17:

I also wanted to tell you: I had been looking into a deaf church in Houston. I like the idea of not having to do all the extra steps I have to go through just to communicate with others, and still come up short sometimes, and then pretend (is it lying?) that I understood. It just doesn't work to be honest about no I didn't hear that or this and irritate the person (doing it over and over) and end up isolated. (I catch I think 85% with my latest hearing aid and am very good at employing various methods not to let on if I missed something (not 100% successful because it is not possible). So I thought, well ASL isn't like (I mean that is the point of it), so I was looking at online sermons of one of their churches. While I only know a very few amount of signs, it seems like an offshoot of a Baptist type church, you know in teachings (but also literally). So I am conflicted. I am telling you because I was reading what you wrote about trying to do the ICHTHYS (which I am not giving up) and another.

I mean the Truth/teaching or lack of is the preeminent part isn't it? While worship and prayer and socializing (wrong word, but I think you understand what I mean) is very important, how do you know you are doing it in Truth or that you are on the same page (worshipping God the way He wants, or even the same deity) if there is bad or no teaching?

Also, I have an odd question. The Lord says that looking at a woman with lust (to commit adultery) is committing that in one's heart already. On the mark of the beast, the taking of which is an unpardonable sin, what does that mean for someone who fantasizes themselves doing it but then changes their mind before actually doing it?

Response #17:

Your experience is very typical of what I have heard very, very often and also experienced myself many times. This is the dilemma most if not all of present day believers who really do want to grow are facing. Just about everyone who is being "fed" at Ichthys would like to have a positive-to-the-truth Christian spouse, Christian friends, a good place to attend where there is the potential for spiritual growth without compromise, or legalism or false doctrine. In the waning hours of the era of Laodicea, however, it's pretty hard to find a place where there is any genuine teaching going on, let alone enough substantive teaching of the truth to grow – which ought to make you wary of the spiritual commitment of the people who attend such places. If you haven't already seen it, have a look at the posting link: Church: The Biblical Ideal versus the Contemporary Reality IV.

As to the mark of the beast, the main thing is NOT to get in line to have it tattooed on your body. If a person avoids that, then the consequences spelled out in Revelation 14:9-12 will be avoided. Our Lord's words make it clear that thinking about "it", whatever "it" is, is not without sin just because the idea is not followed through on – and also that thinking about it usually DOES result in "doing it", whatever "it" is. But beyond all argument, while thinking about it is bad, actually doing it is clearly worse.

Keeping you in my prayers,

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #18:

I've been torturing myself over this the last few days (what we were talking about this weekend-the mark). I was listening to music and letting myself get carried away daydreaming with emotion. And I am afraid He won't forgive me. There are two things that seem unpardonable which is the one people always think of and then the mark related one. And you know how I said I thought of that adultery verse. So it is sort of like "you've already done it in your heart, though not in the real world (yet, it is sort of a step in that direction, but not the actual thing)"?

I also did go to that church. I wouldn't stop reading ICHTHYS, but I think I'd like to learn ASL and that means get involved in the deaf community somewhere. Incidentally I didn't understand 99.99% of it. But I think, if I were a child to learn, you would throw me into it and I'd learn by immersion over time. I did understand whenever he said the Lord's name (it is using a finger to touch where the holes in the palms of the hands are). I am also coming to understand socializing differently than I used to, but that is something else.

Happy Thanksgiving week!

Response #18:

We teach ASL in my department. It takes students a lot of work and several years of academic training to get good at it, I believe.

On the other issue, I can assure you that no one is going to lose their salvation for fantasizing. The devil is good at reading where our "guilt points" are, and hitting them accordingly. Only those who actually, physically, willfully, no doubt in a religious ceremony, ask for and receive the tattoo on their body fall under the strictures of Revelation 14:9-12. And only someone who has totally abandoned Jesus Christ in their heart and become an unbeliever (apostate) as a result would do such a thing. It won't happen by accident. It won't happen through thinking/fantasizing. Read the passage – it's very clear. So please don't torture yourself with this.

You are a person of strong faith who would rather die than be separated from Christ. I know that. Jesus surely knows that.

Keeping you in my prayers,

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Doc, I still fear being jailed or otherwise societally devastated because of what I do or my Faith. I just don't want to go through that with how much abuse I've already suffered, how much suffering I'm already in...I honestly just think it's insane that God wants me to go through that after so much pain. I sometimes feel the whole peace and joy and comfort stuff from God is just a little bandage on all the savage mauling and beatings we can and almost always do go through in this world. What i'm saying is I know He helps, He would never abandon those who love Him after all, but it often feels like there's no deliverance other than an often horrible death after excruciating torment at the hands of this wicked world. I sometimes doubt if any amount of reward in the end will be truly worth a lifetime of living in an actual nightmare...I go through trauma after trauma, heartbreak after heartbreak, and then finally find what's supposed to give me joy and freedom from my pain...only to be thrust into a war I didn't ask to be in, and the nightmare continues regardless. I hope you now understand why I came to you on the brink of ending my life to escape it all and basically skip to my eternal peace so many times. I don't know how I'm going to live like this anymore, even knowing how much I have to only rubs salt on all the horrible, horrible wounds...

Response #19:

You have no idea what's going to happen . . . tomorrow. Let alone during the Tribulation. So you could worry about it, or you could take our Lord's command to heart:

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Matthew 6:34 NIV

Scripture tells us that the Lord will never lay on us anything we actually can't bear (1Cor.10:13). So if that is what you are worrying about, stop worrying about it, because it can't happen.

You need to recognize how BIG God is, how much He loves you (He sacrificed His own dear Son to "torture" beyond anything we can presently imagine in dying for our sins), and how well (perfectly) He has planned everything out.

Trust Him.

I tell you, if you fear God as you should, you have nothing whatsoever to fear from this world. Nothing can happen down here accidentally. God is in complete control of it all.

Trust Him.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Thanks Doc, and I'm sorry for doubting God's goodness again. I really should just look at what I've done and see that most of my situation is really my fault. Sure there are the narcissistic cult leaders I've been under who broke my trust so many times to the point I have trust issues even with legitimate teachers, the enemy who opposes my spiritual progress, but really it was me who let all the bad stuff aside from that happen. Is there a way to fix what I've done?


Response #20:

"Is there a way to fix what I've done?" You're in the process. Just keep on reading Ichthys, committing what you learn to your heart by faith, and making the effort to apply the truth in your daily walk. That is the way of spiritual growth. That is the way to prepare for whatever life brings your way – including the Tribulation. That is, in fact, the ONLY way to do so, building up and strengthening your faith so that it has the strength to endure and persevere no matter what.

"And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
Luke 18:17-18 NIV

I've said a prayer for your friend's salvation and spiritual growth.

In Jesus,

Bob L.


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