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Eschatology Issues CXII

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Question #1:

Great news Dr. , very happy to hear this!

I just arrived home from my early morning walk with our dog and had just finished praying for you and this exact request. God is good! Those around you probably have no idea the seasoning salt you bring to their earthly existence, but I do. As always I’ll continue to keep you in daily prayer and thank you for yours as well, it’s much needed here (between work, family, etc. the heat is being turned up a bit). With approximately 2 1/2 years until the beginning of the Tribulation I don’t expect the smoothest of roads.

All the best Sir,

Response #1:

I'm continuing in prayer for you guys as well. Keep me in the loop.

2 1/2 years? Oh I hope not! I need at least the full 3 1/2 myself.

Here's also praying for some respite for us all as we do our best to prepare for what's coming.

Thanks again for your prayer support, my friend! And for your faithfulness.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hi Bob,

Hope you've had a good weekend.

Thank you again for the emails this week - they were very interesting. Nice to read about those who are preparing for and moving into their own ministries now and for the helpful advice you give them. Very encouraging for you too!


Praying for a good week ahead for you and for you to achieve everything you have planned.

In Jesus

Response #2:


Sorry about the work day with no pay. We profs at U of L have to do all manner of training now as well for which of course we get no extra pay. But we are not hourly so no problem (for them) in heaping all manner of extra stuff on us. After all, we have a "merit pay" system whereby we are "rewarded" for our efforts in a laborious system of evaluation which happens every year. I've been ranked "exceptional" for the past umpteen years consistently . . . but because of budgetary considerations we haven't had any merit raises at all since 2017 (and that was a small one). Exploitation seems to be the name of the game all over these days. Good thing this is all coming to an end pretty soon. And it's good to remember that all this flak is meaningless in the end, because us who love the Lord, the end is just the beginning (Rom.8:28).

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1st Thessalonians 4:16-18 NIV

Keeping you and your family in my prayers – and thanks as always for yours.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hi Dr L,

First I think I have good news, that it looks like I am caught up in my job and so that is really great (have to wait until tomorrow to be sure), so thank for all your prayers.

Second, on the command to flee Babylon. I am asking out of confusion on what believer's duty to other believers is: if we are on the way, or with other believers when it starts: is this a "you just go straight and it is their responsibility to also go" or are we supposed to help other believers leave, risking the possibility that they are more like Lot's wife and get burned? Do you understand what I am asking? Like ignoring the calls of other apparent believers to wait a second for them or to help them with some small thing...

Does that make sense?

I think it is worth getting into, or rather that we need to do so, because there is both Lot's wife but also Matthew 25:35-40.

Hope you are well,

Response #3:

That's great news, my friend! I've been praying for your job situation.

On fleeing Babylon (see the link), I don't think that Matthew 25:35-40 applies; that passage is exclusively for unbelievers, not for believers who might get "hung up" trying to flee. Revelation makes clear the reason to flee:

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out from her, O my people, that you may not receive a share of [the punishment for] her sins, and that you may not partake of the plagues [which are about to fall upon] her."
Revelation 18:4

So this command is given for our benefit. Lot's wife disobeyed the command not to look back, but we have no comparable command, only to get out when we receive word to do so.

I am sure that if we worried about it we could find lots of reasons why fleeing might be problematic, especially under the dire circumstances of those times. How much time will we have? What means will there be for us to flee? How exactly are we to go about it? All such questions become even more complicated when we factor in that this will be at the end of the Great Tribulation wherein those of us still here (not having been executed) may well have been imprisoned or abused greatly and may have few resources left if any.

So I think that we just have to trust the Lord that if we ARE still here when the order comes, that He will provide everything we need, guidance included, in order to carry out the command . . . if we are willing. God will do His part, of that we can be sure. But we have to be willing to "step out of the boat" in faith that He will not let us go under. He provided water from the Rock and manna from the heavens for the children of Israel. He opened up the Red Sea for them to pass through safely. He can easily do whatever we need Him to do for us too, and that includes whatever He wants us to do in helping others escape as well. This is one of the many things we can't know everything about – or prepare for, really – ahead of time. We just have to have faith.

"For with God nothing will be impossible."
Luke 1:37 NKJV

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi Bob,

Eschatology Issues CXI answered many question I had. Particularly the exchange in #6&7. I believe this country is swirling down the drain of history and, to me, praying for the healing of the country would be hypocritical. Even scanning headlines has become self-inflicted cruel and unusual punishment. After reading again the persecution of Jesus and His crucifixion, particularly as recorded in the gospel of Mark, and seeing the headlines of current events, I realize nothing has changed since antediluvian times.

The persecution of Trump, though he's certainly no savior, is instructive. Corruption is endemic. The left is beginning to go after anything they think is christian [sic] or what used to be normal family values and morals or they just don't like which I believe will only increase in intensity as time goes by. I too believe it's time to keep our heads down unless called by the Lord to involve ourselves.

On a side note re: your comment that people would have a hard time eating if they couldn't buy and sell. I think that may be true only in the cities, though even there, if one looks, they could find food growing nearby. Here on the Final Fork, I've been fascinated by a bumper crop of mesquite beans, typically where I walk but not otherwise. I don't want to read too much into that, but I do believe the Lord is showing me something I need to know. The Lord provides for his own and feeds the animals. True, I haven't found a pleasant way of preparing green mesquite beans which are edible but I haven't really tried that hard, yet. Prickly pear cactus is tough this time of year but edible with work. In all cases, the Lord provides. When I lived in Massachusetts, I would scrape away snow to enjoy wintergreen berries. So no matter where or when, the Lord provides. Doesn't mean we'll necessarily enjoy it, but it means we can survive. Do you suppose the Exodus crowd was griping about the manna because they had no decent salsa to put on it?

But, I digress. Thanks. Keeping you and yours in prayer.

In our Lord,

Response #4:

Thanks for this.

I think I did mention that living on a farm might be a different situation. My mother grew up on one and they had plenty of food during the Great Depression – just no money. If I had to subsist on what I might raise in my mostly shady backyard, I'm pretty sure I'd starve to death rather quickly.

Keeping my head down is my policy for certain. I'm pretty sure that has been a factor in surviving all these years in academia – but of course it's the Lord's doing first and foremost, and we can count on Him helping us through whatever comes. If that means manna, I'm sure it'll be forthcoming, with our without salsa (see the link: Eschatology Issues XCVII: Starvation during the Tribulation?).

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
Psalm 37:25 KJV

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hi Bob,

Please keep me straight: for the past four years, it's been increasingly difficult to grow anything. Even native plants are struggling. That, along with the heat and drought has made growing anything outside of the northeast difficult. In the Northeast, there's been so much rain, growing anything there is difficult.

In Matthew 24:4-8 I read:
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for [a]all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, [b]pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. (NKJV)

It appears that we, worldwide, are experiencing Christ's prophecy. True, there have been droughts (the Dust Bowl years) but nothing I can recall on a worldwide scale. Grain disruptions and wars/rumors of wars seem to be rampant. The perversion Paul wrote about in Romans 1 seems to be worldwide as well, which suggests Ezekiel's prophecy in 14:13 is here. Thankfully the last part of that verse hasn't completely transpired.

I may be completely off base, but appears we'll have a tough row to hoe from here on out.

Last question: have you noticed any bad translations in the NKJV other than flaws in the original? I still prefer the KJV but the NKJV seems to be translating much as I habitually do in my head.

Yours in our Lord,

Response #5:

Sorry it's rough down there. I can't say the same thing for Louisville. There have been serious natural disasters in both the east of the state (tornadoes) and in the west (unprecedented flash-flooding) which have caused serious loss of life. But we haven't seen any drought or seriously abnormal temperatures here. Aside for the last thunderstorm beating down some of the flowers, we're having the best year ever in terms of blooms (also in terms of hummingbirds; butterflies just starting to arrive).

These things go in phases. That is true on the political front as well. As I've often said, one could be forgiven for thinking that WWII was the apocalypse, given the march of tyranny, the worldwide war of unprecedented scope, the persecution annihilation of the Jews. But it wasn't. The Tribulation will be far worse.

I do think it is true that the break down of traditional respect for what my old pastor/mentor called "the laws of divine establishment" (i.e., law and order and nationalism, see the link), is a telling trend. But things have been bad before. Stalinist Russia. Maoist China. Nazi Germany. And as bad as things are here today, they are worse in N. Korea. We are right to read "the signs of the times" and take warning, but we also have to be careful not to over-read. Things could continue to decline for a long time – past the horizon of our own personal time lines – without the Tribulation occurring.

The same goes for the climate. The famine you ask about is a tribulational trend. Everything in Matthew chapter 24 is about the Tribulation and second advent, coming from our Lord in response to the request coming from His disciples at the beginning of the chapter: "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" (Matt.24:3).

When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.”
Revelation 6:5-6 NKJV

The four horsemen represent major negative trends of the seven years which begin from the start, then build and continue throughout the Tribulation (see the link). The third horseman on the black horse represents famine. Things will be so tight that virtually 100% of earned income will need to be spent on food, so expensive will it be. That is typical in famine situations. Just for example, by the middle of the Civil War, a barrel of flour sold in Richmond for $28, four times what it cost before the war began. "Do not harm the oil and the wine" means, "don't even bother asking the price because you cannot afford them" (unless you are one of antichrist's elite).

While such things have a tendency to upset believers contemplating the coming of those difficult times, it is critical to remember that we belong to Jesus Chris and He has never ever let us down . . . and never will. Also, the judgments that will come upon the earth are directed not at us but at the beast and his followers. Yes, there will be persecution of believers at the hands of the latter, but just as the exodus generation was kept safe in spite of all the terrible things that happened in Egypt, we too can be confident that our Lord will protect us. I'm not saying it will be pleasant (far from it); I am saying that as always we have nothing to worry about – and in fact are commanded not to worry (Matt.6:25-34; 10:19; 13:31; Lk.12:22-31 ; Phil.4:6; 1Pet.3:14).

As to the NKJV, I haven't done any sort of systematic analysis. I will say that whenever I have read it that it seems pretty solid without having the deficiencies of false interpolation in the KJV. But I do tend to take things passage by passage and know ahead of time where the rocks and shoals are. As I always say, I recommend having and consulting multiple versions wherever a question arises – and also consulting one's Bible teacher before drawing doctrinal conclusions about anything that runs afoul of prior beliefs or common sense.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Thanks Bob, for keeping me straight. I didn't make the association with the black horse. I understood just general hard times though I believe you wrote about it in CT. Shame on me -- gettin' old ain't for sissies! Sometimes I look out "there" and it looks worse than anything I've seen in my lifetime. A flash in the pan, I know, but it still seems I grew up in a different galaxy. I'm getting to the point I don't even want to see the scan-by headlines.

However, having said that, the Lord has taken care of me. Most of what I've planted is dead or dying and 7-8 weeks of highs over 100 with only enough rain to dimple the dust. I have absolute confidence, though, He'll carry me through the remainder of my days. Much like our current times, I think the Exodus crowd brought on their own troubles once they were freed from Egypt. I can understand Moses' frustration when he struck the rock. There's a lot to learn from that episode.

Thanks for babysitting my imagination.

Yours in our Lord,

Response #6:

Yes, I'd imagine it's too hot and dry down there at the moment for most anything to grow – anything good, that is.

No worries – we all need to be re-reading and constantly studying . . . myself included. It is certainly true that a nation which is closely following the Lord is blessed while one which is not frequently receives the opposite treatment. That is to say, the behavior of the remnant is what matters (see the link). If believers in this country were less focused on politics and culture wars and more concerned with what the Lord actually wants from us, I have no doubt that there would be more blessing (and less cursing) across the board.

Moses had a tough row to hoe indeed! And he's not done yet either because he and Elijah will be back during the Tribulation (see the link).

"For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more."
Luke 12:48b NKJV

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hi Bob,

I just need to reiterate how much I appreciate your willingness to answer my sometimes asinine questions. I have no one else to talk to about these things. Even people who supposedly are true believers shy away from conversations of this sort.

I've often fantasized about the country returning to the Lord, but I know that won't happen. It amazes me that people don't see that current thinking has created this mess and won't look for alternatives. Apparently people are willing to believe and try anything -- except trusting in the Lord. Another sign of the Tribulation?

Your cite from Luke 12:48 tells me I'll also have a tough row to hoe. In spite if my losses, I have been richly blessed and I've been provided with enough food and air conditioning to keep me fed and comfortable. I can only be thankful.

BTW -- even the bad (plantwise) is not growing. E.g. the okra I planted mid April has begun to set fruit at only 6" high. I've never seen that before. Normally, at this time of year, okra is four feet high at least and I would have had a couple of gumbos. C'est la guerre...

Yours in Jesus,

Response #7:

Re: "I've often fantasized about the country returning to the Lord", that IS a huge lift. If we are the soon-to-be mystery Babylon, and if we are truly only a few years out from the Tribulation, that would seem to be virtually impossible. What I find disheartening on that score is that even believers here seem to think that "returning to the Lord" is involving themselves in Asbury-like emotional excess and calling it spirituality. There's no hope if that is the approach.

Re: "Even people who supposedly are true believers shy away from conversations of this sort." This is another sign of the lukewarmness that characterizes our era.

Sorry to hear about the okra. We planted some a few years back and had "volunteers" for a couple years afterwards. It gets six to eight feet around here. We've had less heat than most years so far and a goodly amount of rain, so our blooms are really wonderful this season. But I hear that the "heat dome" is headed our way next week so stay tuned on that one.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Good Morning Dr Luginbill,

I have a question. 16] And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: [17] And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

When explaining to people who state to me, Christians won’t be in the tribulation because of “he causes ALL to receive the mark”. Doesn’t the next verse explain that” no man might buy or sell without the mark, unless he has the mark, wouldn’t need to be the following verse, except to clearly explain verse 16means all who are deceived by him. Christians in verse 17 will not be able to buy or sell.

I have a hard time explaining what is in my mind to people. It’s very frustrating. I’m so thankful for you . I rely on your teachings so much to help get my thoughts out , to where someone can understand them.

The scripture from Timothy “ forbidding to marry and sustaining from meats.”

People will say meats means food. I say it means meats.

The push for synthetic meats, the taking over of healthcare by the SDA. Just within this last 5 years all of our town of has become full of SDA doctors , since they bought the hospital. I refuse to use my doctor who has sold out to SDA , along with every other medical office. Thank God for Walmart Health. I digress, sorry.

I told my husband how people argue that meat means food. With the take over of SDA and their stance on meat. They may play a role in the Antichrist’s agenda. Yes, they are very loving and nice and role model Christians. I have many customers who have been with me a long time. I love them. They have tried so hard to lead me in the right way. They care for my soul. I care for theirs. I’m thankful I wasn’t raised in a traditional mode of religion and traditions.

But, it sure makes it hard for this uneducated girl to explain what God has shown me.

Response #8:

Good to hear from you (and thanks as always for your kind words).

On Revelation 13:16, antichrist will attempt to have "all" take his mark, but not "all" will take his mark. The Greek does not necessitate that "all" do take his mark and of course we know that not "all" do. After all, taking the mark means being subject to the "baptism of fire" when the Lord returns (link). If every living human being took the mark, then the Millennium would begin . . . with no one. Believers will not take the mark. And many will be martyred for their refusal (we see them in heaven in Revelation 6:8-11 and 7:9-15).

One may well ask where these believers come from if there were some "rapture" before the Tribulation even began? Also, we know that one of the blessings of the Millennium is the restoration of Israel. When our Lord returns, unbelieving Jews will see His sign in heaven and repent, "looking on the One they pierced" (Rev.1:7; cf. Matt.24:30; Zech.12:10). From scriptural descriptions a great many Jews from all over the world will be repatriated to the land of Israel in the early days of Messiah's return (see the link). Where do they come from if they have taken the mark? All who take the mark will be destroyed at our Lord's return (see the link).

In short, this is a very typical "rapture" defense: drawing an inappropriate and purely derivative conclusion from the misinterpretation of a verse that says nothing about any "rapture". This is the best they've got because the Bible does not teach a pre-Trib "rapture". However, in my observation and experience, people who are not looking for the truth, not truly interested in the truth, will merely defend their positions argumentatively without giving any genuine thought to the matter. It's like arguing with a Mormon or a Roman Catholic or a Muslim or any other unbeliever.

On 1st Timothy 4:3, first, I'm no defender of the SDA. The last installment of the Hebrews series and the one I'm currently working on (hope to publish it this summer some time: now posted at the link) deals with Hebrews chapter four which is very clear on the point that there is no longer a single day Sabbath as under the Law; we are under grace and now our "rest" is a spiritual one in the Spirit meant to be engaged in at all times (here's a link to something already published; and here's one specific to the SDA).

As to synthetic meat, personally, you couldn't get me to eat that stuff (or even a veggie burger) if you bound me hand and foot. That is a personal choice. Scripture is pretty clear that anything is now acceptable to eat because Jesus "cleansed all foods" (Mk.7:19; cf. Acts 10:9-16; and that is what the continuation of the passage you ask about says too: 1Tim.4:4-5).

As to the word "meat" (KJV) in 1st Timothy 4:3, it is translating the Greek broma from the verb bibrosko meaning "to eat" with the noun meaning "what one eats". So it means food in general. It is certainly also true that the beast's religion will make a big deal out of food, what is clean or unclean or specially holy or not. Believers need to ignore all such things. As Paul says in the context of the verse you ask about . . .

(4) For everything God has created is good, and nothing is to be rejected [out of hand if it is] received with thanksgiving, (5) because it is sanctified [for our use] through God's Word and [our] prayers.
1st Timothy 4:4-5

The point being that food does not recommend us to God and we are not better for eating or better for abstaining. Making an issue of food is exactly what legalism does and exactly what the beast's religion will do as well. We're allowed to have our likes and dislikes (as I say, I don't think I'd eat synthetic meat if I were starving to death), just as long as we do not assign any spiritual value to eating or to abstaining. Here is an excerpt from CT 4 (at the link) about this:

3. False Dietary Regime: Dietary regulations play a significant role in the Mosaic Law for the purpose of "distinguishing between the holy and the profane" (Lev.10:10). That is to say, Israel's separation from the practices of the world in diet were to be representative of their far more important spiritual separation (Rom.4:13). Reversing this relationship, that is, claiming holiness or righteousness on the basis of "keeping the Law" in any of its aspects is, as any reader of the New Testament is well aware, diametrically opposed to the true purpose of the Law and the true meaning of grace. Yet a key feature of antichrist's religion as administered by his high priest, the false prophet, will be to take traditional legalism a step farther, instituting a system of aggressive vegetarianism that will give its practitioners a feeling of "holiness" and "purity" on the basis of diet (i.e., physical, substituting for spiritual, purity), despite whatever truly sinful behavior in which they may be engaged (1Tim.4:1-5; cf. Col.2:16-23; 2Tim.3:5; Heb.13:9).

Do feel free to write me back about any of the above, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Good morning, thank you for the response. I absolutely love your clear and concise teaching. I learn a lot through your links in email responses.

This is just a thought , I shared with my husband. The SDA take over of the medical field , has an agenda.

These doctors , are promoting a vegetarian diet, along with exercise. Many are weaning their patients from medication, they deem unnecessary. There is a so nothing wrong with vegan living, if it is a preference. But, a lot of patients do not prefer to abstain from foods they were raised on.

I think SDA will eventually be the government run health care. Treatment could be with held , unless you are eating certain food. If you aren’t abstaining from certain food, you will not be treated.

It is so wonderful to share thoughts with you, and know that, you will always agree or disagree with a loving , kind heart.

Response #9:

It's my pleasure, my friend.

Re: no treatment without an authorized diet, I wouldn't put anything past our bureaucracy now. How much more once the Tribulation begins!

Blessedly, our spiritual fare is still available without any hindrance. I'll be putting up another post tomorrow as is my wont on Saturday (to be available on Sunday morning).

Keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Good Day to you!

First and foremost, thank you for checking in, I greatly appreciate it. This few weeks have been a bit of a challenge in terms of mentally, spiritually, and emotionally on top of all of that moving to GA with my son. A lot has happened. But all in all God is still good.

You still are a great resource and an inspiration to me, the fact that you have dedicated so many years into the Word of God and sharing the insights with us all. Much much appreciated.

Spiritually, things have been a bit uneasy. I know that from my last email correspondence I asked about Israel. I'm not sure if you are aware of what is going on around the United States. Multiple groups of African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans are "reclaiming their identity that was lost in history, declaring that those 3 groups make up the Israelites. I have studied and researched some things pertaining to history and the migrations that the Israelites went through (especially after 70AD). After looking at old maps of Africa (where they show Israelite camps scattered throughout the continent), reading some old books (Russian Icon [seen some pages that are within the book], Babylon to Timbuktu, who is Esau (Edom) and others, these books and other research seems to support the fact. I am at a stand still, as an African American, it does feel good to know that as a people we are not forgotten( in this American society where we are routinely cast to the bottom) in God's eyes. A lot of things just make sense, not sure if it wishful thinking or something real but their numbers are growing. As we approach Fall 2026, I would image this group will be a lot larger and more functional. What am I to make of this?

Are you familiar with this information about AA, H and NA claiming to be Israel?

I definitely will reply back this time, I am super curious and I just want to be on the right path if I will be alive during that time.

My problem is that I don't want to be led astray. These groups preach that salvation is only for Israel.

Response #10:

It's my pleasure – and thanks so much for the update. Moving is always a challenge. At this point in my life, it's not something I would personally welcome if not absolutely necessary . . . but sometimes it is absolutely necessary. I'll say a prayer for your safe move.

Re: "My problem is that I don't want to be led astray." Amen! And there are plenty of deceivers out there nowadays, liars with all manner of motives which might not be obvious at first glance. I always recommend our Lord's "fruit test" (see the link). If we eat of the fruit and the result is spiritual dyspepsia, that should tell us something (cf. Jas.3:11-12); but if we eat and are refreshed and built up consistently over time, that also sends a message, of a good tree producing good fruit. Mind you, it is not the APPEARANCE of the fruit or the tree. A good one and its fruit might appear nondescript while a bad one and its fruit might be pleasing to the eye – that was the case for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, after all. It's the effect that tells the tale.

Re: "These groups preach that salvation is only for Israel." That is a definite tell. What does the scripture say?

And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation."
Revelation 5:9 NIV

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
Revelation 7:9 NIV

Seems pretty clear. And of course there is much more in scripture about this. Salvation is a matter of putting one's faith in Christ, not of one's genealogy (see the link).

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

The only qualification our Lord gives here is faith in Himself; but even being born of the seed of Abraham does not qualify a person for salvation, absent faith. In speaking of Israel as the natural olive tree and the gentiles as the wild olive tree, Paul says the following:

(19) Now someone may say "Branches have been broken off for me to be grafted in." True enough. (20) They were broken off because of their unbelief, and you stand secure because of your faith. But do not think arrogant thoughts. Rather, have a care. (21) For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either. (22) So consider God's mercy and severity. For He is severe towards those who have fallen away, but merciful towards you – if, that is, you continue in that mercy. (23) And if they do not continue in their unbelief, they will be grafted back in. For God is able to graft them back in again.
Romans 11:19-23

So what advantage is there to being Jewish? As Paul says, that advantage is "great in every way" (Rom.3:2).

[But] . . . what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar.
Romans 3:3-4a NKJV

The truth is that even today, "they are not all Israel who are of Israel" (Rom.9:6), meaning that only those who believe in Christ come into the promises of God – and gentiles who believe do likewise as well. Only unbelievers are not saved – but they are not saved regardless of who their fathers were. As to the Bride of Christ . . .

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
Galatians 3:27-29 ESV

Paul said this to a predominately gentile congregation. Yes there is an advantage to being Jewish by birth – but only for those who also experience the new birth. And for those who do not have the advantage of being Jewish by birth, we too are one with Jesus Christ and heirs of Abraham in the same way as the "natural branches" are; we are all one in Jesus Christ. For what is the main advantage of being Jewish?

Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.
Romans 3:2b NKJV

In other words, their special relationship to the Word is their advantage. And that is the advantage which we who now belong to Jesus Christ should take maximum advantage of every day, not from any false source of truth, but from the Bible itself and from a good Bible teaching ministry.

In terms of the specific groups you ask about, I haven't done any particular research into their teachings. That is not "my job" (inasmuch as this is a teaching ministry [primarily proclaiming what is true to those willing to accept it and only refuting the false in that context] rather than an apologetic one [primarily refuting what is false through persuasive means and only proclaiming what is true in that context]). However, I will say that this particular heresy, that is, of trying to show that this or that race/group/nationality/country is "really Israel" is a frequent and longstanding one, so that this is just a variation on a quite familiar theme.

In my secular profession, I am an ancient historian by trade. And I can tell you in no uncertain terms that there has been so much travel and movement and intermixing of peoples throughout the centuries that it is very dangerous for anyone to say that he/she is this or that exclusively. We are all pretty well jumbled up at present. About all anyone can say for certain is what they know about their immediate ancestors – and for Americans, this is usually far less than, e.g., what families in the Middle East who make a much bigger deal of the issue can say. And even they can't go back to the beginning. Other than "father/mother, grandfathers/mothers, great-grandfathers/mothers (and in some rare cases a few more generations back), most of us can only say with certainty, "I am descended from Noah (and Adam and Eve)". In God's eyes, it makes no difference whatsoever. He looks at the heart (1Sam.16:7).

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
1st Corinthians 12:13 NKJV

There are believers. There are unbelievers. What our genealogy may be might be of interest or a point of pride. But we believers will be judged by the Lord on the basis of what we do for Him (see the link), not on the basis of our genes.

Here are some links to where related false teachings are addressed. I hope they prove helpful as well:

Who is True Israel?

Who are the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?

How Many Tribes Do The Jews Represent?

The 144,000 and the so-called Lost Tribes

Are the Celts the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?

As to the likelihood of groups like this expanding as we draw closer to the end, I wouldn't doubt it. During the Tribulation, antichrist will amalgamate all false groups, religions, and movements into his own syncretic worship. The only ones who won't be included are true born again, born from above believers in Jesus Christ. Just because false groups are zealous – as the beast's followers will also be – doesn't mean that they are of God. THAT is a very important lesson to remember for those of us who will face the pressures of the Tribulation.

For I can testify that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not in line with the truth.
Romans 10:2 NET

It is a pleasure to have you as my brother in Jesus Christ, my friend.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Good Day Sir,

Thank you for responding as always.

Although I have listened to multiple camps' teachings. I do a lot of my own research trying to possess the knowledge they have for myself. I simply want to know for myself and not because I was told. Given that I have "learned" a lot. To me it kinda brings color to the bible, knowing who's who does help (especially for these groups). Has it made me search and read scripture more, yes. I think that is good.

They don't preach genealogy as a way to salvation, it is by believing in Christ AND keeping the commandments. Rev 14:12. Their thing is that the biblical Israelites, specifically their descendants have been scattered and discontinued from their heritage, go into slavery and in the last days Israel will wake up. This is happening all over the earth right now (please search if you aren't aware), the people are waking up, and starting to keep God's commandments (fleeing Babylon in their thoughts and actions) in preparation for when Christ returns. I may be wrong here but the timeline, they are unaware of but it links up to me. It makes sense.

Re: Revelation 5:9 and 7:9, I agree with scripture. I would say that this they would say is in agreement with them. If the Israelites have been scattered into all nations, it would make sense that they would in all nations speaking different languages. Also Rev 5:9 and 7:9 the word for kindred (tribe) by definition is exclusive to all the people descending from one of twelve sons of the patriarch Jacob (Israel). So these people, although from different nations and speaking different languages, are Israelites by standing in front of the throne. G5443 (this is a defense that I once heard).

In their explanation of John 3, v14 identifies who the audience is. Moses only lifted up the serpent in the wilderness for Israel and Jesus says even so He must be lifted up. So going to v18, the people who believe or not are still only Israelites according to the content. In addition to that, they will further speak their point by referring to Isa 45:17 and says that in v16 he is quoting Isa 45:17 which says Israel ( the world without end is the world God loved). They declare that God has not declared His love for another nation outside of Israel anywhere in the bible so it's a misinterpretation to assert that God loves people who are not descended from Israel.

Regarding Paul and his letters, according to Romans 9:4, their position is that the adoption, glory, covenants, law, service of God and promises all pertain (or belong) to Israel. They would say yes, Paul ministry was to the Gentiles but those Gentiles are descendants of Israel who went astray. For instance in 1 cor 10:1 Paul says "all of our fathers were under the cloud, and passed through the sea, only to say 2 chapters later (1 cor 12: 2) that the same children who fathers was with Moses were Gentiles (because of the fact that) they were carried away to idols. Furthermore in Galatians 3:27-9 the Greeks here are still Israelites because they have been hellenized and just lived in lands controlled by the Greco-Roman empires.

I am no historian either by trade although throughout the years I have been studying some history, I am no historian. They say that if you can trace your history to slavery (which most African Americans [as opposed to Africans who are Hamites], Native Americans and Hispanics (who traveled to America after the Assyrian captivity, those people are Israel. Yes we have been mixed throughout the years. Their answer would be that it primarily goes by the house of your father Num 1:18, so your father determines your nationality as opposed to what the Jewish people do to trace their lineage by maternal means. I agree with you that especially in America it is very hard to figure out but if you identify as one of those three groups you (according to them) are Israel.

God will determine and sort things out at that time, I just hope I got my side figured out, I don't want to be on the bad side of it.

Finally (at least in my current reply) they say that they believe in Christ and look forward to his return. They say that they keep the law not as a means to salvation but in act of true repentance because sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). They understand grace and repentance and tell the people that and to start keeping the commandments so that when Christ comes back we don't feel his wrath. For instance, not eating pork. Although it is a mandate by God not to do a lot of people do it to this day (whether Israel or not) but according to Isa 66:17 those people eating pork will be consumed together in this anger with fury and rebuke with flames of fire. I dont know exactly how that is going to look like but it is something I would like to avoid (if granted life during that time).

I am curious about your thoughts and seeking clarity.

Response #11:

Re: "AND keeping the commandments". If by this you mean the Law, scripture is very clear on this point too:

". . . knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified."
Galatians 2:16 NKJV

Anyone who teaches faith plus works is teaching works because faith and works are antithetical. You either believe that you are saved by grace through faith or (wrongly) believe that you are saved by works. You can't "swear by the Lord AND by Milcom" (Zeph.1:5).

A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
Galatians 5:9 NKJV

If you mean the ten commandments only, as long as the fourth is understood in its true spiritual sense and not as a once-a-week day of worship, well, we're all supposed to follow those. All believers are required to "be holy as I am holy" (1Pet.1:16); we are not free to sin just because we are not under the Law (e.g., Rom.6:1-2). However, we do not say or think that we are saved BECAUSE we strive to avoid sin. No one can avoid sinning; all believers need to confess when we do (1Jn.1:5-10).

For you have been saved by [God's] grace through faith [in Christ]; and this did not come from you – it is God's gift. Nor did it come from what you have done, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for [the purpose of accomplishing] good works, which [very works] God has prepared ahead of time for us, that we might walk in them (i.e., live our Christian lives in the accomplishment of them).
Ephesians 2:8-10

Re: "this is a defense that I once heard". To be honest, it's not much of a defense. It's hard to see how scripture could be more clear that the saved are from all peoples of the world other than saying, "out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation" (Rev.5:9) and "of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues" (Rev.7:9). But for any who wants to quibble about this, the word "nation(s)" in both passages is ethnos, the Greek word also for "gentile" (cf. the English derivative "ethnic"), meaning, by definition, nations other than Israel. In any case, it's not as if these are the only passages in the New Testament which stress that salvation has come to the gentiles as well as to the Jews. Again, these two passages are very clear:

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
1st Corinthians 12:13 NKJV

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
Galatians 3:27-29 ESV

And also, just for example . . .

When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”
Acts 11:18 NKJV

Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.
Acts 13:46 NKJV

“Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God . . .
Acts 15:19 NKJV

"I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you."
Acts 15:19 NKJV

Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also.
Romans 9:24 NKJV

What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith.
Romans 9:30 NKJV

The last passage is important not to miss. Only believers, those who have faith, belong to Jesus Christ. And all believers belong to Him regardless of genealogy. But no unbeliever belongs to Him, regardless of genealogy, not even if they say they have faith but they really they are relying on genealogy or works or anything else besides faith in Jesus Christ.

Re: "it's a misinterpretation to assert that God loves people who are not descended from Israel". On this paragraph, Jesus is Jewish in His humanity and He came to Jewish people first as their Messiah whom they rejected. Any scripture He quoted would have to have been the Old Testament which was also given to the Jewish people. So if a person wants to claim that the gospels are only for the Jews on that basis, we certainly can't deny our Lord's human ancestry or the origin of the Bible. But what does that Bible say?

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
John 3:16 NKJV

This seems very clear too. But according to "them", this must mean "the world of the Jews not the gentiles" and "whoever" . . . "as long as he/she is Jewish". Judge for yourself whether this will pass any common sense test. Better, consult the truth in the Spirit. Groups that take the truth and twist it to this degree are self-condemned by all except those who sadly fall under their evil spell.

Re: "Paul's ministry was to the Gentiles but those Gentiles are descendants of Israel who went astray". Same problem. Jews are not gentiles; gentiles are not Jews. This is fundamental in the way the Bible uses these words – as anyone who has read it (see passages above, e.g.), will understand. Also, if a Jew really is a gentile and a gentile really is a Jew, then all of us are Jews . . . and all of us are gentiles. So this notion of exclusivity is nonsense, at least for anyone who cannot trace his/her genealogy all the way back to Noah with no gaps. Postulating on the basis of a few old maps is not good enough. Who made those maps? On the basis of what historical information? As mentioned, and if you read the links previously provided, the human race has been in a constant state of mixing and flux for millennia, especially in the Middle East. Only God really knows who is who in terms of original genetics.

Re: "Furthermore in Galatians 3:27-9 the Greeks here are still Israelites . . ." Says who? The Galatians were an Indo-European people speaking a Celtic who invaded Asia Minor from the north and from the west (in different waves). No ancient historian ever considered them Jewish (?!); no authentic "map" ever described them as such.

Re: "For instance, not eating pork." Dietary restrictions went out with the Law which is now defunct (Rom.10:4; Heb.8:13). Telling people they need to eat a certain way is a prime tenet of legalism and another clear sign that the group has nothing whatsoever to do with Jesus Christ in truth, even if they use His Name (here is one link leading to more: The Dangers of Messianic Legalism I). These groups you mention seem, according to what you've told me about them, to be variations of the theme of Messianic legalism. There are plenty of groups over the years who wanted to appear special but were not really of God, preaching a "different gospel" (as anyone who adds anything but faith in Christ to it is doing: Gal.1:8-9). Whether they perform a violent twisting of words on the Bible (i.e., Jews are gentiles and vice versa) or produce their own holy books (as the Mormons, e.g., do), in any case, they are dangerous . . . to all who wish to be saved.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
1st Peter 1:3-5 NIV

We who belong to Jesus Christ have truly been born again, born from above, by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit through our faith in our dear Savior. And it is through that very faith, faith in Him and in the truth of Him who is the very truth, that we maintain our salvation until the Lord's return. Leavening it with other things, works and downright lies, will, in the end, destroy it completely.

As I say, apologetics is not my gift nor the purpose of this ministry. I do what I can for those who have questions about teachings/groups with the potential of leading them astray, but my responses are designed to point out what is true and only what is not to protect the flock, not to be persuasive in human terms. I am confident that if you consult the scriptures in the Spirit, you will see that what I have told you is the truth.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12:

I was pausing my normal ICHTHYS reading programming for a short break of looking at the 7 churches of Revelations. And I skimmed (read parts, skimmed others), and got to the Laodicea part. And I am realizing that maybe it was smart of me to distance myself from most pastors and Bible study and to have the wall up that I did. (I mean it seems most of the people don't care or automatically believe what is taught). Not meaning to boast or anything, for every smart thing there is almost a dumb thing.

Can I ask how much time you spend on your dailies? I just, I don't want to set my goals too high or low. I don't mean to get personal. Or maybe you could give me a little guideline idea?


Response #12:

It is dangerous out there. I dare say there are so few churches of any sort which are teaching anything correctly – or teaching anything at all – that it is prudent for someone who wants to grow to find another venue (like Ichthys or Bible Academy [link]) – IMHO.

As to "how much time": we have the time we have. We use it as we see fit. If we are making progress with the goals we have, then I would say we are doing well. You have set spiritual goals which seem good to you in the Spirit and are doing well with sticking to them. I know that the Lord honors that – and certainly takes into account everything a person has to deal with and cope with in their lives. So this is wonderful, regardless of whether or not it is more or less than others – or exactly the same in terms of the minutes.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hi Dr L,

Anyway I didn't communicate well at all in that email. I meant to say I was reading all the warning you wrote about and quoted via Scripture about false teachers (esp with that small table of the false kept out, then accommodate, then ruling, etc) and was realizing that my response of distance and a wall happened to be correct when I was in church or ready a Bible study book. And I was trying to think about how the blunting of Laodicea would be different from simple compromise. And I suppose the difference might be in that they don't seem to put the truth out there blatantly. As in, on the rare occasion they read verses like in Romans 1, they will put a bunch of softeners all around it. So the issue is never brought forward in a straight forward blatant manner for the parties to either compromise or separate. In general. Is that it?

On the time: I just get frustrated because I do set high goals and do not meet them a lot of the time. I do make progress in the overall goal. Just that when I want to say that I need a break, I get frustrated with myself because I argue within about if my goals are even achievable in the long run, if I should be doing them, etc.

On Colossians 2:1-3, some translations have it:

NKJV Colossians 2:1-3
For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

NIV Colossians 2:1-3
I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Why do you say the second meaning is correct? (The "namely Christ" portion)

I hope you are well,

Response #13:

On Colossians 2:1-3 as to why I prefer the NIV's interpretation, it's because what this means had just been explained a few verses earlier:

To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Colossians 1:27 NKJV

Christ IS the mystery now revealed (salvation for all); He is the heart of it (see the link).

On Laodicea, there are many dangers out there in terms of what is false, so we need to be particularly wary before committing to following any teaching ministry (not that there are many out there even close to being worthy of that name).

(1) The Spirit explicitly says that in the end times certain men will rebel from the faith, giving their allegiance [instead] to deceitful spirits and demonic doctrines. (2) With their own consciences seared away and speaking with the hypocrisy of men [who peddle] lies, (3) they will [instruct their victims] to refrain from marriage, and to keep away from certain foods – which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and fully understand the truth. (4) For everything God has created is good, and nothing is to be rejected [out of hand if it is] received with thanksgiving, (5) because it is sanctified [for our use] through God's Word and [our] prayers.
1st Timothy 4:1-5

So be aware of this, that in the last days there will be difficult times. For [in those times] there will be men (i.e., false teachers; cf. chap.2) concerned only for themselves, devoted to money, egotistic, arrogant, blasphemous, not concerned for their parents, ungrateful, irreverent, implacable, slanderers, uninhibited, savage, despising the good, betrayers, impetuous, megalomaniacal, devotees of pleasure rather than lovers of God, possessing an [outward] appearance of godliness, but [in reality] having rejected its [true] power. From such men turn away. Of this sort are those who [even in our own day] worm their way into households and take captive the [spiritually] weak who are loaded down with sins, leading them astray with various lusts, [victims who consequently,] though always learning, are never able to accept the truth. In the same way that [Pharaoh's court magicians] Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, for their minds have been corrupted and they have been found wanting concerning the faith. But they will not keep on striding forward forever. Their folly will become obvious to all, just as in the case of those two.
2nd Timothy 3:1-9

[Timothy], I [give] you [this] charge before God and Christ Jesus, the One who is about to judge the living and the dead, [charging you] by His appearance [at His Second Advent] and by His Kingdom: Proclaim the Word! Keep at it, whether circumstances are favorable or not! Reprove, rebuke, [and] encourage with all patience [in your] teaching! For the time will come when they will not put up with sound teaching, but will [instead], desiring to have their ears scratched, heap up by their own [devices] teachers to match their specific lusts. And they will turn their ears from the truth and resort instead to fictions (i.e., made up by these false teachers).
2nd Timothy 4:1-4

We are always reassessing our priorities . . . at least until we get to a place of "cruising speed" where we are pretty happy with those priorities and the progress we are making. It's important not to get too wrapped up with the planning to the detriment of the doing.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Do you think this understanding on the difference between the compromising of Thyatira/Pergamum and the blunting of Laodicea is correct: ...the difference might be in that they don't seem to put the truth out there blatantly. As in, for example, on the rare occasion they read verses like in Romans 1, they will put a bunch of softeners all around it. So the issue is never brought forward in a straight forward blatant manner for the parties to decide to either compromise or separate. In general.

Thanks for all your help!

Response #14:

The seven church eras represent trends throughout the entire Church which are also characteristic of the time period in question. The problems (for those with problems), are representative of the way individual believers are responding to the truth. So in our era of Laodicea, for example, the problem is that individual believers are, for the most part, lukewarm about learning the truth. I don't think this is really about evangelism or theology. It's about Christians in our day and age thinking they have it all and know it all, when in fact they are really "wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked" (Rev.3:17 NKJV). There are exceptions – and I praise God for exceptions like yourself!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hi Bob,

God spoke to me several years ago, saying ‘ the days are numbered’. I saw your site and read that 2026 is the same as my expectation, just not exactly aligned, but I’m happy to be wrong. I’d just rather be ‘in faith’ than have no faith!

Response #15:

Good to make your acquaintance.

Well we'll know pretty soon now!

And we'll know for certain once it happens:

(1) And when He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. (2) And I saw the seven angels who stood before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. (3) And another angel with a golden censer came and stood by the altar, and much incense was given to him so that he might offer it for the prayers of the saints on the golden altar in front of the throne. (4) And smoke from the incense went up from the hand of the angel before God for the prayers of the saints. (5) Then the angel took the incense holder and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it to the earth. And there occurred thunderous voices and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
Revelation 8:1-5

This will all happen worldwide when the Tribulation commences, and will be pretty hard to miss.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

In your study titled "The Seven days of Human History" you make the following statement:

"These Jews and gentiles who will turn to the Lord after His glorious return are a complement above and beyond the fulness which is the Church at Christ’s return."

Among the Gentiles who turn to the LORD after His glorious return, I am thinking that this will include all unbelievers who came through the Tribulation who did not take the Mark of the Beast nor worship the Antichrist.

Is this a correct assumption? or?

Just a small question.

May His blessings be with you always,

Your friend,

Response #16:

Re: "I am thinking that this will include all unbelievers who came through the Tribulation who did not take the Mark of the Beast nor worship the Antichrist." I don't know about the "all", but otherwise that is correct. Everyone who takes the mark and survives will be removed through the "baptism of fire" John talked about (here's a link on that). Also, while all Israel will be regathered to the wilderness on the threshold of the land, only those who believed when our Lord returned (or subsequently do so) will be allowed to enter the land (link). For everyone else, the issue of the gospel is still the same; I don't know of any scripture which precludes there being unbelieving gentiles surviving into the Millennium (there will no doubt be a goodly number of children who have not reached the age of accountability and who have not yet believed as well).

In any case, even though the Millennium will start out with an entirely believing Israel and a world population (much diminished) which, even if not believing in part, never bowed to the pressure of accepting the devil's substitute for Christ, by the end of the 1,000 years, and in spite of a millennium's worth of perfect government and unprecedented peace and prosperity, the vast majority of the population at the end of that period will join the briefly released devil in an attempt to overthrow the Messiah's rule (Rev.20:7-10; see the link: The Gog Magog Rebellion).

(1) Why are the nations forming into a mob and the peoples [of the earth] grumbling idly. (2) The kings of the earth are assembling and its princes are gathering together – against the Lord and His Anointed One, [saying] (3) "Let us pull off Their chains, and cast Their cords from us!" (4) The One enthroned in heaven will laugh. The Lord will mock them. (5) At that time He will speak to them in His anger, and in His wrath He will throw them into confusion. (6) "But as for Me, I have anointed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain." (7) I shall relate the Lord's decree. He said to Me, "You are My Son. Today I have begotten You. (8) Ask of Me and I shall give [You] the nations as your inheritance, and as Your possession the ends of the earth. (9) You shall shepherd them with a rod of iron, and You shall shatter them like a potter's vessel. (10) So now, O kings, learn prudence! Take warning, you judges of the earth! (11) Serve the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling! (12) Kiss the Son (i.e., pay homage to Him), lest He become angry [with you] and you perish for your [insolent] behavior. For His anger may blaze up in an instant [if you do not]. Blessed are all those who take refuge in Him."
Psalm 2:1-12

Hope you are doing well, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #17:

You think that the angels sung at the recreation and not at the original creation?

Response #17:

Hello Friend,

That's what the Hebrew of Job 38 says, correctly translated (see the link).

And how could there even be angels before the original creation since angels are part of this creation and could not exist without the prior existence of time and space? They do not pre-date original creation so could not have been around to sing when that happened (so that Job 38 has to be speaking of the re-creation following the Genesis gap). As it says in the very first verse of scripture:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1

The phrase "in the beginning" is a Hebrew prepositional phrase without a definite article, that is, without any "the", so "at first" of "first off" is what it means: before God did/created anything else, He instantly created the universe.

There's much more about this in the first part of the Satanic Rebellion series (at the link); see also part 2 of that series: "The Genesis Gap" (at the link). For a listing of other files commenting on these issues see "Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers VII".

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Greetings in Christ Jesus!

I was wondering what you think of those who link “no one knows the day or the hour” to the Day of Trumpets. I cannot seem to find any actual Jewish sources (or Scripture) that link that phrase to Rosh Hashana/Yom Teruah, but I see many today (especially those fond of connecting with our “Hebrew roots”) trying to make a case for Christ’s return on a future Day of Trumpets based on that day depending on the sighting of the moon.

Forgive me if this is an intrusion on your time, but I read one of your articles on His return (“Bible Chronology, Aramaic and Interpretation”), or page of Q/A rather, and it prompted me to ask.

Thank you for your consideration of this question,

Response #18:

Good to make your acquaintance. Happy to take your questions!

A couple of points before I get to your specific question. First, let me first point out that the "Hebrew roots" movement has done a great deal of damage to many believers and I urge all my brothers and sisters in Christ to steer clear. After all, wasn't "going back to roots" exactly what the Judaizers convinced the Galatians to do? Wasn't "going back to roots", exactly what the Hebrews in the Jerusalem church did? And what did scripture say to them respectively?

You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
Galatians 5:4 NKJV

Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
Hebrews 10:29 NKJV

In the second passage above, these believers had returned to the temple rites and were sacrificing on the altar, a practice which foreshadowed our Lord Jesus Christ's spiritual death for us on the cross – and by doing so were proclaiming, in effect, that He had died for nothing.

“I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
Galatians 2:21

The Law has been fulfilled by Jesus Christ (Rom.10:4).

In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
Hebrews 8:13 NKJV (cf. Heb.7:12)

So going back to it is forsaking the New Covenant to return to the Old, but the Old could never bring salvation (Gal.2:16; 3:11), so that those who return to it are risking everything for nothing. Here are a few links on this movement.

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism I

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism II

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism III

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism IV

The Law, Love, Faith-Rest and Messianism

Second, the passages "no one knows the day or the hour" (Matt.24:36; cf. Mk.13:12), are often misunderstood. They are to be taken literally. The exact day and the exact hour of our Lord's return is not revealed in scripture even though we have a very good idea of generally when He will return. After all, the second advent will occur after the Tribulation is over, and that event will last seven years, with its second half, the Great Tribulation, lasting forty two months, as we know from a variety of places in scripture (see the link). In the same context of the passage you ask about, our Lord also had said this:

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

From the above, we can say for certain that 1) there is a precise time-table; 2) it has been slightly shortened at the end for the sake of the elect (that is, to preserve the lives of believers who are still alive on earth at the Tribulation's end); and 3) this shortening is, literally, a matter of "days" rather than months (since the 42 months is confirmed repeatedly in scripture; see prior link).

So how does this relate to the Trumpets you ask about? The first thing to mention on that score is that the trumpet judgments of Revelation are a series of warning judgments (one function of the trumpet was to warn of impending attack or disaster), and these occur during the first half of the Tribulation, not the second half (see the link). As such, in the Jewish ceremonial calendar, the Trumpets represent the commencement of the Tribulation and thus its first half, while Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, represents the Great Tribulation and the anticipation of the second advent. This is a highly condensed version of these matters, all of the details for which may be found at the link: in SR 5: "The Jewish Ceremonial Calendar". Since these festivals / holy days represent much larger periods of time (that is true of the calendar in its entirety as you will see at the link), it is not possible to calculate an exact day or an exact time – the very thing which our Lord told us was impossible because "no one knows", meaning that this exact day and time have not been revealed to us.

Another complicating factor for anyone trying to pin down an exact day of the year for the second advent is the fact that the days dedicated to these celebrations at present are based upon Jewish tradition which certainly cannot be verified to be tracking exactly to the divine calendar given to Moses at Mt. Sinai. The first thing to say there is that there were many periods of national apostasy during the long history of Israel which followed when many of these festivals were not even kept (cf. Josiah's re-institution of the Passover: 2Ch 34:29 – 35:19 ). And of course the whole nation went into exile during the 6th century B.C. and again during the 1st century A.D. After the latter event, Jewish scribes and scholars – unbelievers who rejected Jesus Christ – did their best to preserve the text of Old Testament (the Masoretes) and to interpret the Law (the Mishnah and the Talmuds). Part of that process was the codification of the calendar used by orthodox Judaism today whence we "know", for example, that today, September 24 2023, is the Day of Atonement. But even in our Lord's day the calendar was open for debate (that is why there are two Passovers in the gospels, the one celebrated by our Lord and His disciples and the one on whose eve He was crucified; see the link). The upshot of all that is that if the purpose of the discussions you are asking about is to figure out the exact day of the second advent as it would correspond to our present day calendar on the basis of the present practice of Judaism in reckoning the festivals, that would be impossible to do with any confidence based on the reasons given above, even if it were possible to know the "real" date of, e.g., the Trumpets festival and Yom Kippur – which it is not. Nothing in scripture suggests that possibility and our Lord told us explicitly that it was not possible because "the days have been shortened" by an unrevealed amount. We can know approximately, but not absolutely.

(7) And He said to them, "It is not for you to decide the times and occasions which the Father has ordained on His own authority (i.e., the Second Advent et al. will happen on His time-table, not yours). (8) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth".
Acts 1:7-8

As with all things, some exegetes, interpreters, and teachers have taken this principle of prudence too far. The passage quoted immediately above is often quoted wrongly to suggest that we can know nothing about the end times before the fact – even though the New Testament is filled to overflowing with information and prophecies about future events. The translation above makes it clear that "not for you to know" is wrong. Instead, our Lord was telling the disciples that even though they wanted Him to stay and to restore the kingdom "at this time" (Acts 1:6), there was going to be a gap: the Church Age, the very gap which the Jewish calendar contains between the spring and fall festivals – and it was not for them to make that "decision".

As mentioned, all this is the very short version. End times matters are covered at Ichthys in a great many email responses (check the list of prior postings here, and check for topics here at the link), in the Satanic Rebellion series, and in the Coming Tribulation series. A good place to start would be Bible Basics 2B: Eschatology, which summarizes all of the above.

In Jesus our dear Savior for whose return we breathlessly wait,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Thank you so very much for taking the time to reply, dear Brother!

Much here for me to read (which I will take the time to do over the next day or two), but let me first assure you that I am quite familiar with the dangers of the "Hebrew Roots Movement." Also, let me say from the get-go that I think you and I are much in alignment/agreement based on what you have presented here. SO much I would like to say/share—I look forward, perhaps, to future conversations.

My specific question/concern as per Christ's return allegedly being linked to the Day of Trumpets by many (so-called scholars included), stems from my concern that they are misguided, but I thought I'd ask if you knew if there were any primary sources these folks are supposedly using to make that connection (that it is allegedly a Hebrew idiom from the 1st century relating to the Day of Trumpets), given that I have not found where this idea was first "concocted".

I am glad to hear that you do not hold to that "position", but if you happen to have any additional info. on where this idea came from—or if pure speculation based on someone trying to fit it to a feast day, I would certainly appreciate anything else on that front. My heart has been breaking for "the Church" on many fronts (this is certainly not the highest priority, but nonetheless, I like to get to the bottom of things), and I know the Almighty will set the record straight, but until then, it would be nice to have some additional "ammunition" to counter these "interpretations" ...again, if there is anything "solid" that they point to—not that it would make it valid, since I am quite certain that the fulfillment of the Day of Trumpets is something (quite) other than His return...ahead of that.

Thanks again, and I will read all you sent (because that's what I do), and I, too, am happy "to make your acquaintance"

Grace and peace in Christ Jesus,

p.s. That said, I do think that the Spirit of God has had a hand in prompting many to look into the "roots of our faith" for reasons OTHER than what has been the outcome (since the Adversary has done an excellent job in obscuring that and "hijacking" it), like the "appointed times", but more on that another time, perhaps. g&p

Response #19:

It's my pleasure.

I do think it is true that people who are really searching for the truth will, if serious about wanting to have a relationship with Jesus Christ (or deepening it if already saved), often have to be disabused of certain erroneous ideas first, and that sometimes includes getting their fill in a negative way of things which are not right. Our Lord told us that "by their fruit you will know them" (Matt.7:16), and that is a point I often try to emphasis (see the link: "the fruit test"). Succinctly, if a person eats from some fruit tree and gets sick repeatedly, one would hope that eventually he/she would figure out that this is not a good tree. But if after looking a good tree is found, then it would make sense to stick with that fruit. It does amaze me though just how many Christians out there are content to persevere with "spiritual dyspepsia" from continuing with what is clearly bad and clearly bad for them, doing them no good and only harm. That has to do with not really wanting something good in their heart of hearts. But for any and all who really do persevere with their search for something good we have this from our Lord:

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."
Matthew 7:7-8 NKJV

Regarding discovery of some means to identify the second advent "allegedly [from] a Hebrew idiom from the 1st century relating to the Day of Trumpets", what I can say is that there is very little in terms of anything in Hebrew dating from the first century, A.D. or B.C., remaining, so I'm not sure where this supposed idiom would come from. The Law was written ca. 1,400 B.C., and the Mishnah and Talmuds (not written by believers or with the Spirit) which interpret it are significantly latter the 1st century A.D. (the Talmuds by many centuries). Not that I put any stock in them when it comes to finding the truth in any case since they are not inspired and written by unbelievers.

It is a sad and not uncommon phenomenon in the world of "Bible teaching" today, for individuals with very thin or even non-existent credentials in the original languages to make up the wildest sort of falsities and expect to be believed on account of the fact that those whom they are "teaching" know even less than they do. Also sadly in many cases this false patina of legitimacy gathered by invoking Greek and Hebrew often does convince sheep that their "teachers" are not really wolves.

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.
2nd Corinthians 11:13-15

Do feel free to write me back. If someone claims some of the things you report, they ought at least to give an author name or a source name and reference. If you have that, I'd be happy to analyze things further for you.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Thank you again, Brother. I spent a good part of the day reading material from your website, and I very much appreciate your input here as to my question. Backs up what I already supposed. I just received a message from a FB post I had commented on earlier (regarding Yom Kippur), and the reply started, "As a former Christian..." Breaks my heart all over again.

I found it "fun" to read a bit about you and to discover that we have a few commonalities on a personal level [omitted]. I had thought you must be retired to respond so quickly (and thoroughly) to (what appears to be) a large volume of emails, so I was a bit surprised to see you are still teaching!

Like you, what I find most alarming right now is how shallow most professing Christians are in their faith (and Bible literacy), and how few of them are being prepared for what is coming. While I differ with you on a few details on the unfolding of the seasons ahead (birth pains through Tribulation up to His return), I found your articles quite "refreshing" (in that they are so full of info and so in line with Scripture and "proper" interpretation), and know they will be of great service (beyond what they have undoubtedly been already) in the months/years ahead.

I also was very pleased to see you affirm a great spiritual/Kingdom increase alongside the great falling away—I find most push one or the other and fail to see God's plan for the Church, for the most part (either because they are "dominionists" or because they think they will be raptured out). I am very much looking forward to what God is going to do in our midst (fairly desperate for it, really—so tired of the heartbreak and the burden), although I know the heartbreak will continue (watching so many who will fall away and not receive the Truth), it will be "for the joy set before us"...

My greatest desire is that we "would be one as He and the Father are one" and that we would be purified "so that the world might know."

This keeps me going...one day at a time.

In Christ and for His glory,

Response #20:

We have almost crossed paths a number of times!

My dad was a Presbyterian minister in Chicago for many years (Rodgers Park).

Yes, I'm still teaching/researching (and doing necessary admin) at U of L. I do like most aspects of my job (not so much the admin), and plan to keep it up for some time. The Lord is using it to keep Ichthys on the air!

I'm happy to discuss/answer questions about/on any of these disagreements you mention.

I do anticipate a potential revival from lukewarmness once the Tribulation begins, if only because one third of the Church is prophesied to be martyred (and that will take some faith and spiritual maturity to endure in a way that glorifies Jesus Christ), while one third is prophesied to make it to the end for our Lord's return – also no mean feat, given what we know of the pressures that the Tribulation will place on the faith of many: one third is prophesied to fall away in the Great Apostasy (e.g., 2Thes.2:3-4; cf. Matt.24:10-12). Of course, we do have to factor into our calculations that a great many "Christians" in the world today (estimated at somewhere around two and a half billion), are that in name only. Even many in the evangelical fold are probably only traditionalist Christians. How many genuinely born again, born from above believers there are at present is anybody's guess. The Lord knows. We might shocked to hear the true figure.

Re: "My greatest desire is that we "would be one"", it is comforting to keep in mind that all the foolish divisions which keep believers apart today, all stemming from apathy to the truth at their core (where zeal is often a cover for other things), will be absent in New Jerusalem. There we WILL all be "one" in wonderful and blissful unity which we cannot even really understand at present. That will be one of the great things about our eternal home . . . the greatest of course being in the presences of our Lord Jesus Christ and our heavenly Father forever.

We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
2nd Corinthians 5:8 NKJV

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
Philippians 1:21-23 NKJV

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
Colossians 3:1-2 NKJV

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Hello again, Bob!

Glad you are still enjoying teaching and that it is supporting ICHTHYS. (It's funny, even though I used to have a "fish" on my car, when I see it spelled out, I can't help but think of my ichthyology class—grad school in marine ecology)

Are you getting the "one third/two thirds" from Zech 13:9? (although that would be only a one-third remnant, 2/3s lost). Not sure where you get the one third martyred, one third makes it through... Personally, it seems to me that most of the Church will be martyred (based on seal 5 and Rev. 12:17 & 20:4).

I think it would be hopeful if the current remnant were more than 5% of professing Christians today, However, it seems I am a bit more optimistic on the "unity" front... I am expecting a new "Rev. 2-3" season, if I can say it that way. A time when the church is called to repent and to bring Humpty Dumpty together again. I believe Jesus' prayer will get answered on "this side" and then we will be able to give the world one final great witness (along with the full meaning of the word "witness" in Gk).

I'm not sure the "disagreements" matter a whole lot at this point, but may I ask what you consider "the Day of YVHV" to be? The literal day of His return (followed by Armageddon)? All of Daniel's 70th week (or some portion thereof)?

In Him,

Response #21:

As to "it seems to me that most of the Church will be martyred", a great many believers will be, and we all have to be ready for that (e.g., Rev.13:10), but we also have passages such as these:

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
1st Thessalonians 4:16-17 NKJV

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1st Corinthians 15:51-52 NKJV

Both of these passages suggest no small number of believers caught up in the living resurrection at our Lord's return. As to the one third calculation, the first piece of evidence is the "one third" who fall into apostasy as described at Revelation 12:4 (for commentary and details, see the link). Here is what I write about that in CT 4 about the 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 breakdown:

It is worth noting in this regard therefore that the fact that those martyred will be an innumerable multitude [Rev.7:9] does not necessarily mean that they will constitute the majority of those still faithful to Jesus Christ when the Great Persecution begins (although that may be the case). Based upon the passages covered above [incl.] all we can say of a certainty is that virtually all believers will be subject to persecution during that time, and that an extremely large number will be martyred while a sizeable number will be spared in order to be resurrected while still alive at our Lord's return. It is therefore probably best to estimate the ratio at approximately "50/50". This proportion of the martyred to those who survive until the coming of the Lord is supported indirectly by the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. In that parable the light of the lamp represents faith so that the five virgins whose lamps are extinguished before the bridegroom arrives stand for those who fall away in the Great Apostasy. Thus the five wise virgins whose lamps continue to shine represent those who maintain their faith until the end of the Tribulation (in contrast with those who fall away). Since we do know that those who fall away constitute one third of the Church (see part 3A, section II, "The Great Apostasy"), and since in this parable they are complemented by an equal number of believers who survive until the second advent, the only way that the one third proportion can thus be preserved is by positing an equal number who neither fall away nor abide until the end, namely, the martyrs who will quite possibly be commensurate in number with both of the two groups described in the parable.

As to changes to be expected before the Tribulation begins, I believe the seven churches to represent (primarily) the seven eras of the Church Age (this is discussed throughout the site but here is the main link in CT 2A). That would make our era that of lukewarm Laodicea, and I think that fits hand in glove with everything we see around us.

As to the prophecy of "this gospel" being presented worldwide before the end (Matt.24:14), our Lord makes the statement in discussing the Tribulation, and we do find that happening then in Revelation 14:6-7 where the "everlasting gospel" is miraculously presented "to those dwelling on the earth, even to every nation and every tribe and every language and every people". So I don't expect any major changes before the beginning of the Tribulation (rather an acceleration of the degeneration).

As far as "the Day of the Lord" is concerned, this is a special term which covers the end times in toto, so as it is used in scripture it may refer to the day of our Lord's return but also often to the millennial day of His 1,000 year reign (as of course "one day with the Lord is like a thousand years": Ps.90:4; 2Pet.3:8). This is covered in some detail in CT 1 (at the link).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Hello, Bob, thanks again for taking the time to consider my questions and send a reply. My comments are below in red (I hope you don't mind)

As to "it seems to me that most of the Church will be martyred . . . .

OK, thank you for explaining your thoughts on that! [It seems to me that Rev. 6, seal 5 and Rev. 12:7; 20:4 suggest a majority martyred (and not sure the verses you've shared above suggest that a great multitude will be alive/remain, but I am not "concerned" about this.)]

I believe the seven churches to represent (primarily) the seven eras . . .

Well, you certainly are not alone with that interpretation (but I would differ with you on this as well—but, again, not sure that matters much.)

As far as "the Day of the Lord" is concerned . . .

OK, so if I am understanding you correctly, you would say that Rev. 6 to the end are all part of "The Day of YHVH", is that correct? If so, then I would have a bit (lot) more to say on these last 2 (or 3) items

Deeply grateful for the replies...I do have another topic to toss at you (also re; eschatology), but I don't want to take advantage of your time and generosity. (I will go ahead and forward that to you, but no rush on any of this, certainly.)

Also I had this in draft form, and wondered what your thoughts would be on this. I think I remember reading in some of your material that you favor the USA for this spot, but I could be wrong about that. I know this is lengthy, so please do not feel obligated at all!! (and if you do choose to reply to this—no hurry on my end)

I am enjoying your commentary on Hebrews; I started Ch. 3 today.

grace and peace,

Response #22:

It's my pleasure.

Re: "It seems to me that Rev. 6, seal 5 and Rev. 12:7; 20:4 suggest a majority martyred (and not sure the verses you've shared above suggest that a great multitude will be alive/remain". On the one hand, in regard to your set of passages, they don't say anything about a majority (a million would be "a great multitude" without being anywhere close to a majority), and on the other hand, in regard to the passages I shared (see the prior link for more), Paul in both places divides the universe of the resurrected into two parts without characterizing their size, something that wouldn't make sense to me if the one part were insignificant in terms of numbers in relation to the other set. And since we know that one third will fall away and that there will be both martyrs and survivors, splitting the difference, in the light of no numerical value being placed on the two other parts directly, would be reasonable. When one adds the parable of the unwise virgins, where half apostatize and half enter into the wedding directly (martyrs being a third category not occurring in that parable), I believe the evidence is strong for 1/3, 1/3, 1/3, so strong that I would be uncomfortable teaching it any other way.

Re: "Well, you certainly are not alone with that interpretation (but I would differ with you on this as well—but, again, not sure that matters much.)" In terms of the specifics of "that interpretation", I don't know of anyone or any group which teaches the seven churches precisely in the way that I do. Here are some links on that:

More on seven churches.

The seven churches in CT 2A

Computing the seven eras

Others compute the eras

Where does the 360 years come from?

More on the 360 years

What church era are we in?

Several questions on the eras

Re: "OK, so if I am understanding you correctly, you would say that Rev. 6 to the end are all part of "The Day of YHVH", is that correct?"  The seals are a preview of the entire Tribulation (see the link).  As to the Day of the Lord, that term (and related terms, see prior provided link) sums up all of eschatology and was used by the prophets as a point of comparison, or paradigm, for the Lord's method in judging, restoring and replacing what was lost (which is itself shorthand for the plan of God; see the link).  His "Day", in a nutshell is the Day of His return which includes the anticipation of it (the Tribulation) and the results stemming from it (including the Millennium; explained at the link).

As to Mystery Babylon, the first thing I always say is that while the USA is at present the only potential candidate to fill that bill if the Tribulation is imminent, there will be no Mystery Babylon until the Tribulation actually begins. I fully expect that seven year period to begin very soon – but if for whatever reason it turned out to be 1,000 years out, there might not be a USA at that point.

I did look over your piece. There are many reasons why Israel and Jerusalem do not fit the bill – and many reasons why the USA does. I'll leave you with two things to consider.

1) Because Babylon is described as a city does not mean that this could not possibly apply to the USA. A "city" in the Greek NT is a polis and a polis is a state first and foremost rather than a "city" proper (that is an asty). Athens, for example was an asty (the walled city itself) within a polis, a larger territory, Attica, which at one point controlled not only Attica (where less than 5% of that land mass was the asty) but the great part of coastal Greece and Ionia in its heyday. Rome is also called a polis in Greek works, even though Rome was an empire.

2) Jerusalem also can't be Babylon because Revelation chapter 18 describes the complete destruction of Mystery Babylon just before the second advent, destroyed by antichrist and his lieutenants out of jealousy. We are told that the Lord will rescue Jerusalem even though the time before His return will be grim, but Babylon is so completely destroyed that "the smoke [of her destruction] will rise up forever" (Rev.19:3), and she is described throughout scripture as a desolate waste ever after (see the link).  Millennial Jerusalem, however, will be the most blessed place on earth in the time of greatest blessing in all of human history (see the link).

As I say, there are many other reasons for embracing the one interpretation and rejecting the other, so could I ask you to have a look at these links first if you'd like to continue discussing on this point?

Probable Identification of the Future "Mystery Babylon"

Babylon USA?

Who is Babylon?

Is the US Mystery Babylon?

Babylon is not Rome

Thanks for the good words on Hebrews! Hope to have chapter 5 posted fairly soon too.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hello Brother, forgive the multiple emails...

Just wondering if you will be "o.k." if things unfold differently than you are anticipating. You and I are concerned, for example, about those who are clinging to a pre-trib rapture idea—that their faith might fail when they are not raptured out of here.

Given that you have spent so much time and energy (thought, study, writing materials, discussion, etc.) on eschatology, and seem to have a fairly good idea of what you think is going to happen (as so many others also do), I am just wondering if you have considered how it might affect you if your scenario does not unfold as envisioned.

I am not at all implying that I think your faith might be in any sort of jeopardy, but just curious if you might find yourself "resisting" what God is doing if it looks different that you expect at this point. Wondering if you have thought about this at all.

I am starting into your commentary on Peter's epistles.

charis kai shalom,

Response #23:

In regard to the other message on days such as "day of wrath", there are overlaps with the "day of the Lord" in some cases, but I'd prefer taking those phrases one at a time. For example, Romans 2:5 is speaking of the last judgment; that is eschatological, of course, but it happens after the end of history, not at the commencement of history's last 1,000 year day.

On being "O.K.", let me answer this way. As to "as so many others also do", I would say that when it comes to what scripture means, that is what it means. So if two individuals have completely different and irreconcilable interpretations of some passage/doctrine, only one can be right (and both can be wrong). The multitude of interpretations put out by Protestant groups and teachers is the standard way in which Roman Catholics reproach us, saying, to the effect, "Look at all those different views! They can't all be right so they must all be wrong!" To which I reply, "Roman Catholicism has a now [though not historically] unified view of their doctrine but it is 99% wrong and founded on things so wrong that no one who actually believed it all could possibly be saved".

There is a difference between teaching which is mostly correct and so much so that any quibbles should be put aside and the teacher be given the benefit of the doubt on the one hand, and teaching which is filled with holes like Swiss cheese on the other. Worse still is teaching which is so obviously wrong in the main (like the RCs) that no one truly born again, born from above who is "seeking" will fail to "find" that this is the wrong place to look for spiritual growth.

"By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."
Matthew 7:16-20 NIV

Our Lord's test, the "fruit test" (see the link) seems so obvious that it's almost embarrassing to repeat – and yet, so few Christians abide by it, mostly because they are not looking for spiritual sustenance in the first place. But for those who are seeking the truth and who deeply desire to grow spiritually through the truth, finding a "good tree" is absolutely essential. That is because we are the Body of Christ and only those parts placed in the Body with the mission of supplying spiritual food are gifted to do so. A believer without the gift of teaching may be brilliant and diligent, but beyond the basics of very simple and obvious doctrines will not be capable without that gift (and other things, see below) of extracting sufficient spiritual nourishment from the Bible for him/herself. If everyone could do that, then there would be no Body of Christ; each of us would be eyes/ears/feet/hands etc. unto ourselves and have no need of one another at all. That is obviously not the case (and Paul has three chapters in 1st Corinthians alone, 12-14, explaining this important principle).

So how is a Christian to grow? The first step is to acknowledge that growth requires denying oneself (e.g., recognizing that we need help), picking up that cross (e.g., committing to the process), then following Jesus Christ (e.g., actually following through on what He has for us in this life: growth to maturity, progress in passing tests et al., and ministering to others once we have accomplished the first two tasks). After we acknowledge our need, then we have to find a place where we can grow. This may require a bit of searching and testing – an important part of the process to demonstrate that we are really serious enough about it to persevere, and that we are humble enough to accept someone else' teaching authority. Because the best even a highly intelligent and well-educated Christian can do without that authority is to learn a lot of information true or not and without necessarily believing it. And it is only actual truth actually believed that is of any benefit to us and useful to the Spirit in guiding us (see the link: in BB 4B: "Faith Epistemology"). So knowing, for example, half a dozen positions on doctrine X can't do any believer any good – even if one of them is correct – unless and until he/she believes the one that is the actual truth.

Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
1st Corinthians 4:1-2 NKJV

What this ought to look like in terms of present day pastor-teachers would be someone who 1) actually possesses the gift of pastor-teacher, given by the Spirit, not falsely claimed for oneself; 2) has diligently prepared for teaching the Word of truth; 3) is being empowered by the Spirit in the conduct of his ministry; and 4) works at it very hard.

While I do recognize that there are plethora of interpreters and interpretations of, e.g., Revelation and the doctrines of eschatology with which it intersects, in my opinion it is not all that difficult to figure out what is good fruit and what is bad. One would start with the four points above, then one would actually sample the fruit. As I have said on more than one occasion, when it comes to the unity of teaching in the Coming Tribulation series (and its precursor the Satanic Rebellion), in my opinion the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. That is to say, anyone can quibble about any particular point of eschatology and adduce reasons why they think that this is right or that is wrong. But if a person were to carefully consider the totality of what is presented at Ichthys, and then if it "all fits", that means something in and of itself. Whereas, the "does it all fit?" test will usually poke plenty of holes in other attempts to explain that book, the vast majority of which are nowhere near comprehensive in the first place.

As to "how things might turn out" and etc., let me put it this way. If the Bible truly teaches something, I am prepared to believe it more than what my eyes see or ears hear or feelings feel – just as Peter affirmed that we should do (i.e., "the prophetic word more sure" than what he saw on the Mt. of Transfiguration: 2Pet.1:19). Mind you, there is a difference between direct teachings of scripture and derivative ones, and when it comes to the latter, I've always been clear about the difference, even though it is the case that I only advance these interpretations when I have faith that they are correct. To take two examples briefly:

1) The seals of Revelation: it is beyond clear to me that this sealed "book/scroll" is the book of Revelation and that the seals are on the outside, opened only by the Lamb, with this action constituting the commencement of His revelation, which begins with the Tribulation's start and ends with His return. As such, the six seals give a preview of the major contents of the book while opening/breaking them ending with the last seal commences the Tribulation (see the link).  This is what these chapters teach – and many have gotten totally wrong these very clear and obvious points (obvious to anyone who had actually studied them in the Greek and with proper background and hard work in the Spirit).

2) The probable date of the start of the Tribulation: this is not a direct teaching of scripture, obviously. That would not really be possible in terms of years and dates since our present system of dating did not even exist until the 5/6th century A.D. There is, however, a great deal of information given by scripture, so much so that it would be irresponsible for me, as a teacher of the Word, to pretend it didn't exist, to ignore it, and to fail to give my flock the benefits of what I have been graciously blessed to find out. But since this is, as mentioned, an interpretation not of direct statements of scripture but derived from information scripture provides instead, while I do share the interpretation and express my confidence of it, I also always provide the precise basis for my coming to the conclusion (here is a link for that).

As to resisting God, heaven forbid any of us should be guilty of doing that! But we are also not supposed to be paralyzed by the possibility that we might not be 100% correct about absolutely everything so that we end up teaching nothing. That will help no one. Though of course we pray and strive and work and sweat and listen closely to the Spirit that we might indeed come as close as possible to reaching that standard.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
1st Timothy 1:7 NKJV

This is the cross pastor-teachers have to bear. They DO have to teach. They DO have to be right in what they teach. They DO have to answer to the Lord for anything that is not matching that high standard. And they DON'T get to slack off and teach nothing of substance because they may be afraid that they have missed the mark. I am sure that if any such who had this compunction asked the Lord about it and got an answer it would be, "Well then, don't miss the mark!" We know what it is to fear the Lord (2Cor.5:11; cf. Ps.147:11). So it is really is a blessing for members of the Body who have other gifts and combinations of gifts – all of which are essential to the proper functioning of the Body – not to have to bear this burden. Their job on this score is to find a good tree . . . and stick with it.

In Jesus,

Bob L.



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