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Eschatology Issues XXXIV

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Question #1:

Hi Bob,

I hope the week is going well for you too. I'm sure you have been overwhelmed as the semester closes down. In two/three weeks you will be in the clear so that is exciting.

You said, "the end times have been imminent in the sense of no unfulfilled prophecy remaining after the resurrection of our Lord and until His return". However, in Revelation chapters 2/3 I'd argue that we do have fulfilled prophecy in the Church ages. What is your take on that?

I was wondering about the Church trends. These trends are clearly delineated in scripture as a set chronology thus this makes me wonder about the principle of imminency of the Tribulation for the past two thousand years. I know that you teach that God can start the Tribulation whenever He wants because Jesus made time so He controls it however He pleases. That makes a lot of sense. However, the word of Scripture also cannot be broken (John 10:35). Considering that the main application of the 7 churches Church may not be prophecy but they are explicit trends how do we reconcile these two points (Trib can start whenever vs. explicit church trends delineated in the future)?

In the Lord,

Response #1:

Scripture cannot be broken – but it is often not completely understood (which is not at all the same thing). You don't believe in a pre-Trib rapture but are convinced from scripture that the resurrection occurs at the second advent at the end the Tribulation, right? So "imminence" – if that were really a doctrine – would always have to be at least seven years out following the commencement of the Tribulation, and even then it could never be much off from seven years minus wherever we were in the timeline of those last seven years. In fact, "imminence" is a "rapture defense" concept that does not hold water when the scriptures supposedly supporting it are carefully examined (please read the link and get back to me if you have questions: "Imminence").

It is very true, however, that our Lord could take any one of us home at any time, so that from a personal point of view, we really do need to be looking for the Lord, if not His return for us all, definitely for His calling us back to be with Him.

Hope you are navigating all "this" OK. Keeping you and your plans in my prayers.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

[email regarding CV-19 forcing reexamination of worldliness]

Response #2:

We really do have to get to the place of "bidding farewell" to all we have (Lk.14:33), losing our lives for the Lord in our hearts and being willing to suffer whatever may come (Matt.16:24-27); but we can trust Him absolutely because He is absolutely faithful. We don't have to rely on ourselves, our smarts, our skills, our resources – in fact that's a mistake. We are here for Him, the plan of the Father in glorifying Him in our lives is perfect, and so we can rely entirely on His strength and provision to get us through, come what may.

Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2nd Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV

Those who apostatize during the Tribulation will the ones who care about their lives and possessions in this present world more than they care about the Lord. We who love Him more than our very lives have absolutely nothing to worry about. He will see us through to that perfect end He has for us, whether it be a death honoring to Him, or endurance to the end when we see Him return.

Mara na tha for His return!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Wow man that’s a lot of great info! I also read somewhere that there are gonna be a bunch of natural disasters before the Tribulation. Is that true or is that just during the Tribulation? Thanks buddy.

Response #3:

You're most welcome.

There's no biblical prophecy of any specific events for the dispensation we are in, the mystery age, the Age of the Church . . . before the Tribulation. All prophecy looks forward to the Tribulation and beyond. So there may or may not be relatively more or relatively less natural disasters in the next seven years, but it's not in the Bible. We will know when the Tribulation has begun, however:

When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake [i.e., seen and felt worldwide].
Revelation 8:1-5 NKJV

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Dear Professor,

Thank you for your reply and particularly for your prayers and encouragement - and your wonderful Ministry, without which many of us sheep would be left bleating in the cold.

Having looked at other preachers and teachers that those around me recommend, I am so thankful for you devoting your life to the truth - it really shows how diligent you are, and that you have the Spirit with you. For us fellow believers in Christ, you are the best Bible resource and this blessing is beyond measure. Together with you sharing all things, I believe and know your teaching of the Coming Tribulation is inspired to instruct and motivate all who will listen. It is so relevant to our day now - that if I did not know better (from your teaching also), I might have thought you were a prophet. How precious is a devoted Bible teacher!

Special pains for summer - I hope that means you will be able to recuperate and that you have “holidays” from the University.

God is good! Though I notice He does give you a lot of work. I am sure your rest after this life will be glorious in our Lord.

Yesterday, overdid it trying to restart the chainsaw, and shifting the cut wood from a fallen tree across a fence. At times I admit to wanting to go to be with our Lord - everything is harder to do nowadays, and what I used to enjoy doing, I can’t do as much, and what I do do, brings pain.

Hoping to keep CV 19 free (particularly for my family) if I am back at work next week.

Are you coming into a University holiday break?

I so much value your kind Ministry. No need for you to reply - I know you are busy.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior.

Your student and friend

Response #4:

Older age and faulty equipment are a bad combination. I hurt myself quite badly (still may be damaged some) repeatedly trying to start an old lawnmower that was most deficient. Never did get the thing started but pulled something pretty bad in the process. I'm certainly hoping that you can get back to work soon, my friend, and praying for that too. Getting a pay cut here and also cessation of retirement contributions. Many staff are being furloughed. Other troubles too, and that's just to the end of this fiscal year. What happens in the fall is very much up in the air, but I trust that the Lord will work it out for good. A lot of "arrows flying by day" at the moment, but even though a couple have whizzed by the ear pretty close, the Lord hasn't let me be hit.

Just ended up year #29 today as I put in my grades. Now trying to figure out the summer research schedule without being able to count on the library or being in my office. One day at a time.

Thanks for the good words and prayers, my friend. You and yours are in mine every day.

Thanks for the update!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Dear Professor,

Re #29 and research - does that leave you only the online option? Just about sounds like everything you do will be strung out online. Be nice to have a bit more variety than just one option. (Covid causation)

I pray your bodily injuries heal quickly. I wonder whether your mower problem was like my chainsaw - a dead generator. It wasn’t going to start, no matter how many times I pulled the rope. I really value people who can do things - especially when they also teach you how. This is also what you do on a spiritual level.

It concerns me that you hurt yourself. I am picturing that the best Bible teacher is entitled to have good neighbours to help with things like this - even to lend you a mower. Any young ichthys followers close by? This bloke even offered to come cut the fallen tree with his own chainsaw, but I am still a bit stubborn ( he is 10 years younger than myself, but also has back and leg problems), though I might have a rethink as there could be a possibility of a limited return to school next week and that would have me in tired mode again from the early get ups and winding roads, and so little light left at the end of my workday. The daylight hours are getting shorter.

Thank you for your prayers. Please look after yourself.

Keeping you and yours in my prayers.

Your student and friend in Jesus.

Response #5:

No worries. Remember:

"For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones."
Matthew 3:9 NKJV

NO ONE is irreplaceable in the plan of God – and anyone who reads too much into their "press clippings" and begins to think so will soon find himself replaced (Ps.115:1).

That mower is LONG gone. The one I have now is geriatric (one of the wheels is about to fall off despite my best efforts with the sockets) – but it starts very reliably. Hope to be able to get through this season of unpleasantness without have to engage with the trouble of figuring out how to buy a new one or the expense in uncertainty. It's also good exercise. On that front, feeling some better. Did a jog today during a break in the rain.

I'm strategizing about how to make the best use of the summer. I really can't count on being able to go down to the office (where all my files are), and the library isn't checking out books last I heard (and most of what I would need is either there or would come through inter-library loan), but I need to write something since I'm getting paid for it now (I think; we'll see how fall develops).

*Prayers appreciated for everything going on here.

Your friend in Jesus Christ – forever.

Bob L.

Question #6:

Dear Bob,

Last two decades saw world embrace more evil than did many centuries before. Do you think the coronavirus pandemic came as God's judgment on world ?

Thank you for always advising me on spiritual issues.

Blessings

Response #6:

Good to hear from you, my friend.

As to your question, I suppose I have a different appreciation of history than you do. From my reading of it, the world has been embracing evil ever since Cain slew Abel, and energetically so. In any case, God is more concerned with believers than He is with the followers of the devil. When He does judge unbelievers and unbelieving nations, it's usually for the sake of His people: cf. Sodom vis-à-vis Lot, Egypt vis-à-vis the children of Israel, and even the unbelieving Jewish population of Europe vis-à-vis the Nazis in the last century.

Of course anything that happens can only happen if God allows it, but remember that Job assumed God was judging him – unfairly – when in fact the devil was persecuting him; God was allowing it for His own good purposes. That may the case now too. Believers in the era of Laodicea – our era, the last era of the Church age – have gotten WAY too comfortable. The average Laodicean believer thinks he she is "wealthy and in need of nothing" whereas in truth he/she is "wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked" (Rev.3:17) – in spiritual terms. On top of that, the average believer today thinks he/she will be "raptured" to safety when and if the Tribulation does begin. That combination – of going into the Tribulation blindly and being totally unprepared in a spiritual sense – will mightily contribute to the Great Apostasy. So perhaps all this is God's very gracious way of letting believers see that, no, things are NOT secure in the world; there is NO security without the Lord, but He does keep secure those who found their spiritual houses on solid rock, not on sand.

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Isaiah 26:3 NKJV

The consequences of all this dislocation may be grave, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Lord turns the situation around rapidly and all this turns out not to have been the magnitude of problem first thought. If so, what a gracious wake up call for believers who are lukewarm to finally get red hot! This particular trouble may only last a little while and may not have the catastrophic results original thought. But the actual Tribulation will last seven long years, and will be far worse than we can presently imagine.

"For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be."
Matthew 24:21 NKJV

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Dear Bob,

Thank you for your prompt response quite explanatory. I thought LGBT acts God abhors was a key factor as He did for Sodom & Gomorrah. Incidentally, the nations prospered through prayer and now becoming Godless seemed most affected. Judgment is not ours. I was trying to figure out the situation in relation to Biblical references. Must start thinking the way you presented it. Shall come back if further clarification needed.

Thank you and blessings

Response #7:

I'm not saying you are wrong in your analysis (cf., Jude 1:6-8); it's more that I wouldn't want to call any nations of the past godly on the one hand, and that I wouldn't want to limit things to one area of sin and evil on the other. The Nazis were evil. The Communists are evil. The RC church of the middle ages was evil. There has been, as I say, plenty of gross sin and evil ever since righteous Abel was murdered out of jealousy for doing what was right. Also, I would say that the suffering and dislocation caused by, e.g., WWII was far worse than what we are seeing at present (of course things could get worse).

One thing I DO know is that God's plan is perfect: He loves us more than we can comprehend, having sent His One and only beloved Son to die in our place that we might not be condemned with this wicked world (Col.1:13). He is working absolutely everything out for our perfect good in every way. It may not seem to us at the time that this is so, but most of us with any life-experience can look back and see that disasters of the past were really God moving things and moving us into just the right direction for where He wanted us to be and what He wanted us to do.

We went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.
Psalm 66:12b NIV

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior.

Bob L.

Question #8:

Dear Teacher

How are you feeling now? I'm continuing to pray for your full recovery.

I keep thinking how much people have changed. Our world today is awash with fear. I don't think it has ever been this bad. And people think they're too good for the things that happen to them. I know that the Lord will keep us come what may.

I am still trying to regain myself. It really feels like I'm barely hanging on spiritually. I'm starting to get myself back into it, but I sense that it will take a little time and quite a fight to get back to where I was.

I have been talking with our friend to figure out what the realities of some of my career ideas might be. I've also been doing my own research. I feel like I'm getting the beginnings of a plan, but it is a long stretch if I do pursue it.

If I could, I would prefer a career in research, preferably in academia, but I'm keeping everything open. The time seems too short for me to be making the sort of plans that I want to make, but we really only have one day at a time, as the Scriptures say and you always remind me. I'm hoping that the practice that I am trying to build will still be useful for providing for myself and my fiancée eventually, but I don't know if I will be able to handle something like that along with school. But it seems to be the best way - maybe even the only way - that I can earn a living until I finish schooling. Of course, the Lord could open a better door. I am all for it, if He does.

Keeping you and your family in our prayers here, Sir

Your student in Jesus Christ

Response #8:

I'm doing better – so thanks for those prayers! When it first happened, I was concerned that possibly I had broken something, but it's clear now that it was indeed just a bad sprain. I'm able to walk and even jog slowly now without it hurting particularly. Still holding off on the sit-ups, however.

Yes, that's a good way of putting it. "Why me, God?!" is a typical unbeliever – or weak believer – lament. As if we were here in this world purely for our own amusement. As if the devil were not the current ruler. As if we were going to live forever in these decrepit temporary bodies. As if God OWED us something. As if the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in dying for our least sin of all was not greater than the entire universe. And as if the plan of God were not absolutely perfect and all-comprehensive, working all things together for good for those who truly love Him.

It's easy to look to the left and focus on pleasures – pleasures of this world which never truly satisfy anyone. It's to look to the right and focus on security – houses and land and money and all manner of material things that are actually just so much dust, incapable of sustaining our lives for a millisecond longer than the Lord wants us here. And it's easy to focus inward – which is really backward – and imagine "this" is all about us, when in fact it's all about Jesus Christ (link). The hard thing is the good thing, the strait and narrow road FORWARD towards the light of His glorious presence and a reward that in its smallest part will be better than the entire world at present – and that will have the benefit of being eternal instead of laughably temporary.

I keep you in my prayers every day, my friend. In your planning and considering, take pains to be confident in the Lord that He will do whatever it is you really need to have done. Know that He is with you and that He is working everything for your true good. Keep Him first in your thinking and first in your heart. Don't worry about yesterday. It's done and gone and can't be changed. Don't worry about tomorrow: today has enough evil to cope with on its own. Keep walking with Jesus Christ TODAY, one step at time. You have seen Him work on your behalf before, like a seed sprouting, and gradually growing, and eventually coming to full stature and producing. You just turn around, it seems, and there it is. That is His way with us too. Our job is to "hit it hard" every day, but only one day at a time, in full confidence that the Lord will use those days to bring about the good result He has in mind. It won't necessarily work out exactly the way we planned or anticipated (that is my witness!), but it will work out in His perfect way, a way that will delight our hearts beyond all expectation (that is my witness too!).

So continue to be strong and courageous, my friend! And continue your good work for the Lord.

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
Hebrews 6:10 NKJV

Know that I and many others are keeping yours in our prayers daily.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Dear Sir,

I am new to your site but not to the Scriptures. I have been walking with the Lord for many years now and we have become one in our journey here on this earth; with the mission to love the unlovable, serve the needy, and be a light in the darkest parts of the streets of my city. [details of personal persecution omitted].

My question is: Do you think, perhaps, the first wave of persecution of believers in the United States may already be happening? Because I do. I think that it is just not talked about or televised or talked about in the Church. I think I am one of the believers that are being targeted and "practiced on" for the days to come. Because you wouldn't believe the technology and expense and lengths these "people" go to persecute me and to try to make my life a living nightmare. But they have not succeeded! In fact, it has brought the joy of my salvation back! I am stronger than ever in the Lord! I have learned that satan brings me closer to God, so to speak! Ha! The enemy does NOT have the final say! The cross did! But what are your thoughts on when the persecution of believers begins in the United States? Thank you for your time!

In all honesty,

Response #9:

Dear Friend,

Good to make your acquaintance.

Beyond all doubt, intolerance for the truth and for anyone who embraces the truth is at an all time high in this country. But I can assure you that "you haven't seen anything yet". What we are experiencing lately is merely a hint of what is to come. The recent pandemic insanity (they say we are seeing "history in the making" but it seems more like "hysteria in the making" to me), and the blow back against anyone who isn't willing to pretend that the emperor has no clothes is mild compared to what will happen in the Tribulation – and for that reason all "this" is a good warm up or tune up for what will surely be so much worse when the darkness falls.

For one thing, when the Tribulation begins, the Holy Spirit will end His restraining ministry which is at present keeping much worse tendencies and much worse satanic operations in check (see the link). As our Lord asked, "if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?" (Lk.23:31). For another, the Tribulation will be the most terrible of times, a time "such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matt.24:21).

So I commend your course of action to put the Lord first, and I remind everyone that doing so requires consistent spiritual growth through diligent attention to a solid, orthodox Bible teaching ministry. I believe Ichthys to be such a place. I also highly recommend Bible Academy.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Bob,

We are all doing fine. I may have told you this. I had a phone interview for my 6 mth physical and the Dr. said I may be immune to the virus because of my immune buildup to the allergies. Well I have felt mildy sick for about a month now. But it has not slowed me down. I tried running but I probably did more harm than good so back to walking.

Sorry to her about your coccyx. I think you are like me and just work through the injuries the best you can. Not many older people mow their lawns around here except me--too hot and too many lawn teams competing for lawns.

Take care my friend.

In Him,

Response #10:

As to ". . . older people" – I'm sure I have no idea to whom you may be referring.

More mowing tomorrow and other yard work. I finished e-teaching today. All that's left is grades. Then I have to do that online class about how I've been doing this all wrong, and of course then its on to research. That's a bit of a dilemma. The campus is shut down. I do have a key to my building, but I'm not sure they're going to be running the air conditioning this summer since summer school is on line (also being down there regularly when it's not absolutely necessary if frowned upon). You can't check books out of the library and all of my paper files are in my office. I've brought home some key stuff, but writing articles ends up being about footnotes and there is always something you need from the files or from the library or a physical copy from interlibrary loan. Guess I'll figure something out.

Sorry to hear you've been under the weather for so long! Guess that's better than being fully clobbered by this bug. Sure hope you have developed an immunity. I probably told you that we had very odd sore throats back in early January. Hope that's what it was.

Things here in L-ville are weird. A very beautiful spring; dogwoods and red buds and other flowering trees the nicest I've ever seen them, but most people staying inside. Sure hope our local businesses can weather this storm. But as bad as this is, we know that it's not the Tribulation or anything even close. A wake up call, maybe.

Keep fighting the good fight, my friend.

Your pal in Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Dear Bob,

1. On Isaiah: when he refers to islands, I assume he's talking about the Aegean and/or Eastern Mediterranean. I think I asked this once before but I couldn't find it. Maybe lost in my last "technological event."

2. On preparations: I have been so richly blessed I would be feeling guilty if I weren't so thankful. The worst I've suffered in this virus hysteria is annoyance. I've had plenty of food, shelter and warmth (and even toilet paper, though for the life of me, I don't understand that one.)

I learned from my grandparents who went through the depression and WWII. They may have been a little paranoid but they always had enough summer produce canned to get through the winter. They even preserved meat by canning and even older, traditional ways like compotes and fermentation. I originally thought it was just laziness or a deep reluctance to drive into town but I had plenty backed up to avoid running out of anything important.

I wasn't really trying to hoard, but I suspect I had a divine hand involved. Firearms have been most useful out here on the prairie and I've had enough ammunition to dispatch rattlesnakes and varmints. Probably enough to harvest some game, if need be, though I dislike killing. As a defense during the Tribulation, I wouldn't last more than five seconds so I have no illusions about that.

I think the current hysteria is only a sample of what will likely continue, so I would suggest that those worried about that, back themselves up with staples and let the Lord handle the Tribulation.

3. Odds and ends: I have lost my respect for government in general and some of whom I would consider the enemy within. Revelation 21:8 gives me comfort. It suggests that there will be few politicians from my generation being there. It's also a warning to those in a panic over what they perceive the current threat to be.

I worry sometimes that my dislike of my fellow man has kept me socially distancing for a number of years. I wouldn't treat anybody differently than I would want to be treated but I don't want to be around them, either. I know there are good people out there, but I don't often encounter them. I suspect I'm not called to be an evangelist though given Paul's example, who knows? Unanswerable questions.

I pray you and yours are doing well and your tech trouble is easing.

Note: the only real question is about the islands and it's not a critical issue. Please answer more pressing correspondents first. I know you're busy.

Yours in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Response #11:

I always appreciate your perspectives. Thanks!

As to your question, that's correct: the Hebrew word "islands" in the OT means essentially "lands to the west on the seacoast", and refers, in terms of biblical geography, to the western quadrant of the world generally. This is talked about at the link: "Probable identification of mystery Babylon".

Almost done with the semester, so I hope this is all "academic" going forward. I personally see no reason whatsoever not to have summer school in person (it will be all online, but I don't teach in the summer – that is when I reserve time for research), let alone the fall. Still, I've agreed to take a course on online teaching which will eat up a lot of valuable research time this summer, in addition to having to catch up on all the yard work and home repair / cleaning which has taken a backseat to this present set of emergency measures.

Wishing you a good week ahead, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Dear Professor Luginbill,

How is your health? Personally, I feel age creeping up. But I am looking forward to glasses; did you know they add like 30 points to your IQ?

Hey, when Revelations talks about the Dragon, did the Greek have a different thing in mind than us? I was thinking about Chinese dragons and some other versions, and was wondering..

Could I also ask: do you think there will be learning in New Earth? I fancy the idea of studying things then, I assume we wouldn't be omniscient. But perhaps we wont feel the itch, and will just be content and not feel the pull to study things (such as about the new world).

I had an incident that showed me that I have been growing at least a bit, too. My car stopped working, but this time, when I went through the actions of calling in from work and having it towed and getting quarters for the bus, I was calm and not stressed. It didn't possess my whole day. That is new, but the Lord has always been and is trustworthy.

Thanks for everything,

Response #12:

A 'drakon' is essentially a huge snake in classical Greek. The idea of it having wings and feet is a later development. Here's a link: "Dragons in the Bible".

There's a great deal we don't know about eternity, but it is fair to say that in our finite existence and experience we don't have a clue about the infinite nature of God – God who created the entire universe in a split-second. Even in resurrection, we are still going to be finite, so I would imagine that eternity will not be long enough to learn everything there is to know about God and His creation – and certainly not long enough to sing His praises for what He has done for us in the gift of Jesus Christ. We're not going to be bored, I guarantee it.

Good for you on your victory in applying the truth! It is usually the case that we don't see the progress we're making – though others do – so the Lord gives us these experiences to show us how far we've come.

I am doing well – and I hope you are too.

Keeping you in my prayers daily.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Dear Dr. Bob,

Hi and good day Dr. Bob! I have 2 questions.

1. When the bible says *... a ressurected body of a believer in Christ that cannot know pain, or sorrow, or decay*, does this mean the believer won’t have any memories of a loved one in hell? Otherwise, that verse won’t be fulfilled as the believer will be forever hurt or sad knowing a loved one is forever condemned in hell.

2. I read an atheist asked why the bible was made with verses subject to different interpretations and used by most preachers to brainwash, struck fear and guilt in order to manipulate followers. Why not made rules and laws simple for men to follow and please God and just need bible teachers to guide them, just like in school, we are being taught and guided and then we graduate and think for our selves, not being dependent for the rest of our lives to the mysteries of the bible being unlock piece by piece by “preachers”.

And because of this, I, myself, don’t join a religion, and I am forever grateful to God for showing me your site Dr. Bob, here I see honesty, no ulterior motives, just the purest intentions to teach the truths in the bible.

May God bless you whatever you need to continue this mission and may God keep you and your loved ones safe.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Response #13:

Good to hear from you!

On your questions:

1) There is no indication from scripture that we won't be able to remember this present world. Here is what I do read in the Bible:

"And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
Revelation 21:4 NKJV

The former things are the things of this world; the fact that they will have "passed away" when are enjoying New Jerusalem and each other and our dear Savior means that they will no longer be important to us, and that is a large part no doubt of the end of all crying and sorrow. In other words, things will be SO MUCH different on the other side that we will have no regrets or emotional pain at all, even if we do remember. Until we experience this, it is hard to understand, truly. The best example I can give you is to remember something which as a toddler caused us great grief (a skinned knee, a broken toy) and how if remembered now it is matter of mild amusement that we could ever have seen things in such a childish way. This world is just dust, and on the other side we will see things from God's point of view entirely, so that joy outweighs any potential loss to an infinite degree.

2) I certainly would not sign off on what is said here. The fact that unscrupulous individuals and unprepared so-called pastors manipulate the truth is nothing against the truth – and if atheist got his way such individuals would have not trouble twisting the simple things he prefers (exactly as they are doing now). In truth, there is no contradiction whatsoever in scripture. But it does take a willingness to pursue it to find that out and to find out the answers to the questions one has. It is not a short process and often not an easy process, but it is a blessed process for all who embark upon it in the Spirit and in truth. Individuals like atheist merely demonstrate by such statements that they neither have any clue what the truth is or any desire to find it (cf. Jn.18:38). For that reason alone the Lord has chosen to make the truth – beyond the simple entry point of the gospel – not accessible immediately, but instead requiring some effort and response to authority on our part to get to it. In this way it is made abundantly clear who belongs to the Lord and who does not.

Thanks for your kind words – I'll endeavor to be worthy of them.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I just finished reviewing your study of 1st Peter Chapter 1 Verses 3-5.

After my review I now understand the resurrection more clearly.

But, I had someone who asked me if we will still have a "free-will" in heaven. I told her I would get her an answer. This is what I thought about. We will no longer have the sin nature, so we will no longer want to exercise any will but God's. Is that an appropriate answer?

I appreciate you help very much.

Your friend,

Response #14:

A good answer indeed! We will be in the position of Adam and Eve – but without any tree of knowing good and evil, and without any devil to tempt us, and in a perfect body with perfect knowledge and no sin nature so as not to be temptable in any case. We will have plenty to do, no doubt, and many wonderful things at that which have not been revealed (none of them even capable of being ungodly in any way):

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:11 NIV

But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
1st Corinthians 2:9 NKJV

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hello Brother Bob-

Have you a writing or some spiritual direction on our resurrection? If it is at the second coming of our Lord (the Rapture), where are we till then if we have passed through the shadow of death, and died (the first death)?

Thanks

Your Brother in Christ

Response #15:

There is a great deal on all this at Ichthys (the subject index is always a good place to check; link). I'll give you some of the main postings which will lead to many others:

The Resurrection (in Pet.#20)

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

Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State.

You might want to read the last one first since it deals with status quo at the present for departed believers.

Hope you are well!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Dear Bob,

The KJV renders Jesus' response in Luke 17:37 as "Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together." This made no sense to me. Raptors hunt and kill their prey.

The NIV renders the same as, "Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather." This makes much more sense to me since vultures eat the dead/road kill but only hunt for dead carcasses.

This suggests that when we are raptured we will leave our physical bodies behind. Ergo, one of the two women grinding will suddenly see a dead woman beside her.

This, if I understand correctly, means the current burial ritual is nonsense. Contrary to the Methodist (in which I was raised) Nicene Creed we are not resurrected in our earthly bodies.

Is this a correct understanding?

I still can't reconcile "...in that night..." with women grinding or men working in the field.

Thanks.

Yours in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Response #16:

Good to hear from you, my friend.

Different cultures view thinks slightly differently. For us today, eagles and vultures are two different categories of critter. But in the ancient world they were considered the same (see the link, Q/A #5).

You're correct that it's not good to get "left behind", so that the one taken up is the believer. But the resurrection will take all believers, the living and the dead. In the case of those departed, they will rise from whence they died; in the case of the living, their first body will be transformed into a resurrection body (see the link). So nothing will be left behind of the resurrected believer.

In terms of burial, it doesn't matter what happens to the first body (see the link).  Adam and Eve's bodies unquestionably turned to dust long before the great flood, and their atoms would have scattered about worldwide by that event.  But their spirits are in heaven in an interim body along with all other departed believers (see the link), and they will be resurrected along with all of the rest of us believers at the second advent, rising from the place where they died. Burial was the custom in Israel, and it has always been the preferred custom for believers because, no doubt, it represents this hope. However, cremation or obliteration (through some disaster or event of war) cannot prevent a believer from being resurrected. I certainly would agree that current practice in burial contains much which I personally find offensive (not to mention unnecessary and misleading).

Luke 17:34 speaks of two "in bed", but the next verse does not mention "night" and need not be inferred. The resurrection will take place at the same moment around the world, and of course while it will be daylight hours some places, it will be night time hours other places. Also, the day of the second advent will be "a unique day—a day known only to the LORD—with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light" (Zech.14:7 NIV). So the description in Luke chapter seventeen works however parsed.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Dear Bob,

Thank you once again. You pointed me in the right direction. I never related Luke 17:37 to the invitation to the birds to dine on the corpses at Armageddon. The disciples, after all, asked "where?" In that context, Jesus' response makes perfect sense. I related the "where" question to the previous discussion of the resurrection.

Jesus' response also verifies that it will be an actual event. Otherwise, how would all that rotting flesh be cleaned up? An elegant solution, I think.

Is this the correct understanding?

I apologize for the wasted bandwidth. I searched for eagles, vultures and 17:37 and came up dry. I didn't think to search for birds.

Thanks.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #17:

You're very welcome, my friend, and no need to apologize. Ichthys has too much material in too many formats to be easy to navigate. There is a new expanded index that you might want to try (courtesy of Peter V., at the link). It does have "eagles", however, it doesn't have this passage (and no "vultures"). Another trick is to plug site:ichthys.com: into Google and then type in your search term [*note: Google has changed the way this works so I too am presently having trouble finding things I used to get to by that method; I'll have to figure something out]. I tried this with "vulture" and got the results I wanted.

In terms of the meaning of the passage, I take it to be a reference to the resurrection as the context suggests. The disciples ask "where?" in regard to where these taken will go/be, and the Lord uses the analogy of eagles gathering around a body wherein we are represented by the eagles and He is represented by the body. It is true of course that there will be a great deal of the literal flocking together of literal eagles/vultures etc. as a result of Armageddon (Rev.19:17-21).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Dearest Dr. Bob,

Good to hear from you again. There is absolutely no speck of doubt that the materials on Ichthys.com can help anyone seeking quality study material. Lord The Holy Spirit is the one behind your works. That is evident in every single sentence you write, this has been my continued personal experience. I have been recommending the website to everyone along with specific links to topics and it has been my good pleasure doing so as I can never explain it better than you. I recently was on the phone for 2 hours with a Brethren preacher and brought up the soon coming tribulation and he from an old school view quickly said no that is not for the church and that the judgment seat of Christ is before the tribulation and no need to talk about any date setting as it has always proven otherwise.

Finally, my arguments hit home and he said brother you are telling me things that nobody has in all my years in the ministry and I realize your intent in preparing the sleeping church. I then sent him the links and he said he would certainly be willing to discuss more. He said brother every true believer in Christ will automatically be ready should the church go through tribulation or otherwise and what if I died before the tribulation, I said it is not about you and I standing firm, its about the now sleeping brethren being awoken and equipped to stand firm if the church indeed passes through Jacob's Trouble. & God made you a preacher for nothing?. He said that is true.

I also am leading two of my Hindu ex-coworkers to Christ on Facebook, these guys I haven't met them in some 20+ years. I prayed that Lord The Holy Spirit would open their hearts and minds to the Truth of the Bible and the coming judgment, both are devout Hindus, please pray for them.

I apologize for not updating you on the health of my family, they are all doing fine in The Grace of The Lord. Thank you for your continued prayer support. I appreciate them very much. Please pray about our situation. [details omitted: prayer request for moving, for business situation and for children's education situation]

CONGRATULATIONS! on getting past year #28! That's about 3 decades wow. God has been good to you Dr. Bob. Guess you are getting busy finishing the repairs, I pray for that too.

I will stop with this as I know you are very busy. We will always pray for you and the ministry Dr. Bob until we get to heaven. WE ARE FAMILY!

God Bless and Keep you until I hear from you again.

Please take good care of your health. GOD is with you ALWAYS Brother.

In Christ our All,

Best Regards,

Response #18:

Thanks for the update. I'll say a prayer for your two acquaintances (I put this on the website too), and also for your move out of the city and for your business.

I appreciate your enthusiasm for the Lord and the Word of God, my friend! And also of course all of your very kind words.

Will keep your kids and their education in prayer as well.

Always great to hear from you!

Your friend and brother in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Dear Teacher

Thank you for the most recent installment of the answers, Sir. They are, as always, extremely helpful. Thank you also for the precious encouragement.

I have been rereading CT 5. It just occurred to me that the Millennium might begin with a population made up entirely of believers. It seems to me as if that may be partly what the parable of the wheat and tares was teaching. Obviously, believing parents do not necessarily produce believing children, so as new generations follow, unbelief would also follow and increase. Furthermore, as time passes, even those who started out believing at the Second Advent may very well fall away, as some do after memories of God's judgments fade and their hearts grow merry from the blessings that they enjoy.

What do you think of that, Sir?

Also, do you have any thoughts about how the Lord Jesus would be visible to everyone on earth at the point of His Return given the shape of the earth? I am sure that He will be, but I can't imagine how.

Response #19:

On the Millennium, we can expect – there's no reason not to expect – that children below the age of accountability who have not gotten to the point of believing will constitute a disproportionate number of those who enter. On the one hand, they will not have taken the mark of the beast (because of their age), and so will not be subject to the "baptism of fire" where all surviving marked individuals are summarily destroyed. On the other hand, they also will not have participated in the Armageddon campaign. It is also true that a great many Jews are prophesied to accept Christ when they see Him return – that means by definition that 1) they have survived the Tribulation, and 2) they were not believers during that time.

I take the kingdom referred to in the parable of the wheat and the tares to refer to the end of the millennial kingdom inasmuch as immediately after the believers are resurrected and the unbelievers are thrown into fire.

How is the Lord visible? Well, everyone sees the sun during a 24 hour period, so it depends in part on the angle and time of His return; and I don't see anything preventing Him from circling the earth; and it's also true that God can do anything: refraction of light seems a small miracle compared to all the others. We shall see.

Question #20:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I studying your teaching on Christology again and noticed the following:

In the Verse quoted, it says in the NIV:

19Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, 20coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long."
Exodus 14:19-20

In some other translations the word "it" is used to describe the cloud. Why don't the translators use the words "The Christophany" to describe the one who moved? They must know that it is the Divine person of Jesus Christ who is being referenced. Instead, they call the "cloud" an it. Is not this the same "Cloud" that came down in the Tabernacle in the Holy of Holies.

Also, we had a discussion this morning in our Bible Study session on the Biblical reference stated above. We only talked about Matthew 24:37-41, but never came to a conclusion on the meaning of these verses. I just read Luke 17:22-37 which included the reference to the Days of Noah, but nothing about the days of Lot, etc. I have read some different interpretations of Matthew 24:38-41, but don't have a clear understanding of these verses. Is the talk about one taken the other left, referring to Armageddon or ? Can you clarify please.

Can you also provide a clear explanation of the reference in Luke 17? The question also came up that if all the believers are gone, and all the unbelievers are taken for judgment, then where do the people from the nations come from in Revelation 20:8, who are these people?

I know you probably have a study concerning these topics, so I would appreciate a reference to those and any other comments or elucidation you may have on these subjects.

Thank you so very much,

Blessings to you always,

Your friend,

Response #20:

On your Exodus question, in the Hebrew, it literally says "the pillar of the cloud moved". In terms of interpretation, you are correct; in terms of translation, that would be injecting the interpretation into the translation. Using "it" is incorrect, however, because there is a subject expressed which must be taken with the verb directly.

As to "one taken" and "one left behind" in Matthew 24:38-41, it's never good to be "left behind". This all happens in conjunction with Armageddon because the resurrection of the Church – to which this phrase is referring – happens just prior to that; it's all part of the cluster of prophecies fulfilled at the Second Advent. Luke 17 is Luke's rendering of the same session; so "taken" is also resurrection of believers, whereas "left behind" is non-resurrection of unbelievers.

At the Second Advent, believers are resurrected; unbelievers are not. After Armageddon – where all the beast's participants are killed by the Lord – there does follow a string of judgments, one of which, the "baptism of fire", does remove any and all who have voluntarily taken the name of the beast or his mark (see the link). So the Millennium will begin with a very small number of people relative to the current population of the earth, maybe only tens of millions – but that will be more than enough since we started with only two, and two thousand or so years in re-started again with only eight.

As to Revelation 20:8, this takes place at the end of the Millennium when I would guess that the population of the earth will be much larger than today – after a thousand years of perfect environment, no crime, no disease, very little death, and the most perfect rule in all of human history; we will be playing a part in that, my friend! So keep running your wonderful race; that's the way to earn a great reward and share in Christ's rule.

In our dear Savior.

Bob L.

Question #21:

Re: are there two different judgements for the dead and are they on earth?

Response #21:

No, there is only one "Great White Throne" judgment (Rev.20:11-15); this is the same as the judgment of the goats in Matthew chapter twenty five (the "sheep", the Millennial believers, have their own prior judgment). The "last judgment", as it is often called, takes place in an interim space after the destruction of the present universe but before the creation of the new heavens and the new earth (Hades and the third heaven are not part of "this 'kosmos' " and are not destroyed). Here is the link to where all this is described in great detail: "The Last Judgment" in CT 6.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Dear Professor,

Thank you for your succinct scriptural evaluation of my dream question. I wonder if I might get back to a bit more of my knitting?

A friend asked me to read Jeremiah and I realised I had tried to read it once before and found it very difficult to understand. Searching your site I see you have quite a few references to Jeremiah in your Index and I was going to read them all to help me understand this book. Then I thought, why not start at the beginning, Genesis, and create another offline index I can use and perhaps I could post a copy to you.

It would take some time as I tried this sample longhand, retyping your translations, as I do not have a system to cut and paste from Ichthys. Then follows finding the pages in PDF and Word.
Before I “rediscovered” your above Index I was about to troll through all your works for references to Jeremiah, and that WOULD be a forever job.

I will probably not get going properly for a few weeks at least as I am losing my accountant this year and need to tackle heaps of “that knitting” before he retires in a few months.

As always I am grateful for all you do, especially when I imagine what an enormous amount of spade work you have dedicated to building faith and encouraging believers to persevere in following our Lord.

Bit of update. This “flu” now has me thinking that I might be experiencing similar symptoms I had a few years ago when I ended up in hospital with pneumonia. I hated being in hospital so I have been lax about seeing a doctor. Might be time for me to see one and get a script, though they might go for another x-ray or ultrasound (can’t remember which) that revealed my last bout with pneumonia. Hard to imagine surviving the Tribulation when now one sometimes struggles while the going is good.

I do trust our Lord looks after us and it will be for our best interests. I have wondered at times what our eternal status would be if we simply died during the Tribulation, that is, not from Martyrdom or jailing, but from such things as I am suffering now, or old age. I am supposing, that as long as we are faithful we are saved no matter how we leave this mortal world.

During that hospitalisation I was concerned about my family’s temporal welfare, and now, in addition, I am also more aware of their need for spiritual preparation, though some of them are not preparing well.

I do appreciate your prayers and encouragement. I also always pray for you and your family’s welfare.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior.

Your student

Response #22:

The new index format is great (links: OT; NT1; NT2)! It would be very time consuming to have it reflect every time I've commented on a passage (that would be wonderful), and every time I've CITED a passage would be impossible (and not particularly useful). The translation index at Ichthys is for the main or first time I've translated a passage myself and posted it, so there are lots of passages commented upon elsewhere which are not in that index.

I'm praying for your health, my friend. Sure hope you don't have to take any serious steps.

I think everyone (every serious Christian, that is) wonders about the Tribulation. Personally, I hate being uncomfortable or inconvenienced or having to suffer annoyance (not that I haven't had plenty of all of the above in my life), so I doubt I'll be enjoying the Tribulation, should I make it that far. I'm not sure in any case that this ministry will long endure once it begins, but one never knows. I'm sure that many of our brothers and sisters who've been wondering about their particular calling to ministry will find plenty to do once the balloon goes up, helping all the Laodicean lazies get up to speed when those folks realize they were mistaken about the "rapture". Don't know if that goes for me since I'd be in my 70's at that point. I do know that the Lord has a very specific plan for us all, and that we don't have a sliver of a chance of figuring out the details ahead of time. That's true in "predictable times", and I'm sure much more so in the Tribulation.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hi Bob,

I have a couple of Biblical questions:

– In your comprehensive description of the church of Laodicea, you say that the wealth enjoyed during this 144 years is a product of the Philadelphians. However, this description tripped me up a bit because it lines up with the prosperity gospel. And I know how you feel about the prosperity gospel. You made an analogy such as grandchildren enjoying the fruits of the grandparents thriftiness. Can you clarify this one for me?

– In Matthew 5:3 Jesus says "blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven". Is he referencing humility here and a propensity for one to confess their sins? Also are the "pure in heart" people who have taken in the word and have therefore purified their hearts?
Your student in Christ,

Response #23:

On the prosperity gospel, I'm on record many times completely rejecting and refuting this false doctrine (see the link which will lead to others). I assume that this is the passage in CT 2A to which you are referring?

The (relative) political stability, material prosperity, and scientific progress which followed in the wake of the era of Philadelphia was, from the standpoint of opportunity, a blessing, for it provided heretofore unheard of possibilities for individual Christians. In no other era have Christians collectively had as much time, as much freedom, and as much availability of necessary materials (everything from scriptures in original languages, opportunities for education, books, pamphlets, and potentially well-trained teachers) for spiritual advance. But as so often happens in the secular realm, the "prosperity test" is a difficult one for most human beings to handle, and followers of the Lord are in no wise immune.

Jeshurun grew fat and kicked – [Yes,] you grew fat and heavy and were sated – so that he abandoned God who made him, and considered foolish the Rock, His Savior.
Deuteronomy 32:15

The "prosperity test" is something altogether different from the "prosperity gospel"; the latter suggests that the plan of God is like a slot-machine with the more you give to some so-called church, the more chance you have of a big material payola (this is a lie); the former is a biblical observation (backed up by the verse quoted above, for example) to the effect that when things are going well, many forget God – and forget that He is the source of all they have.

Beyond all question, many people in the west, regardless of spiritual status, have been better off in terms of opportunities to pursue the truth in the era of Laodicea (which is why Laodicea proclaims "I am rich!"; Rev.3:17). However, it is also a fact (born out by the description of Laodicea in scripture) that most Christians in this era have failed the test and have not used the bountiful opportunities provided during this last era of the Church to do what the Lord wants: pursue spiritual growth, progress and production.

If you'll read the quote above carefully, you'll see that I don't attribute the [relative] material prosperity of these times to Christians or to Christian activity or to God's blessing based on giving (or to anything else). I'm just noting that things in the modern world are more prosperous than they were in, say, the 18th century, and that this has provided spiritual opportunities unheard of before – which have by and large not been exploited by the Christians of this era so blessed to have them. Welcome to Laodicea.

If you had another passage in mind (or have further questions about this one), do feel free to write me back about this.

As to the beatitudes, here our Lord is contrasting the way the world looks at things with the way God looks at things. In other words, this discourse is an excellent refutation of the prosperity gospel. Those coming in for praise, are told they should be "happy" (a better word than "blessed" because the latter word has picked up non-biblical connotations) by the Lord because God is pleased with them for being believers and for acting as believers should act. And this is true in spite of poverty, persecution and the reproaches of the world. It's far better to be under God's grace and favor, even if that entails ostracism and suffering and persecution in this life, than to have only the approval of this world and its material blessings. The latter are temporary and will not prevent a trip to the lake of fire; the former are eternal and result in blessing in eternity that will last forever – as well as the great spiritual blessings believers experience in this life in spite of sharing the sufferings of Christ.

So even though materially poor, "spiritually" speaking believers should be happy / consider themselves blessed because they will have eternal life in the kingdom (Matt.5:3). And those who are thinking correctly in their hearts – those who have responded to God's command to accept His truth in Jesus Christ – are pure in God's eyes, justified by their faith (cf. Gen.15:6), and will indeed see God face to face in life eternal . . . and that is definitely something to be happy / feel blessed about (Matt.5:8). The entire discourse revolves around this same theme of those who are genuinely following God being in truth blessed by belonging to Him (even if suffering materially in this world) because of all the wonders to come which far exceed whatever material blessings of "prosperity" a person might somehow get in this life.

Then Jesus called the crowd, along with his disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and for the gospel will save it. For what benefit is it for a person to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his life? What can a person give in exchange for his life? For if anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
Matthew 8:34-38 NET

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hmm, that makes a lot of sense. I am skeptical about the moon landing. I just don’t know why they would feel the need to fake one. So do you think all of these “sightings” could be angels/fallen angels? I know Catholicism has some Exorcism book too so I’m sure they believe in demons showing themselves & possessing people. I don’t like Catholicism too much though because they seems to do things that aren’t in the Bible. I’ve never really heard of any other denomination performing exorcisms & that is a little worrying. I don’t affiliate myself with any I don’t think. I just simply read the Bible & pray. I don’t know if there is a name for that. What do you think? I’ll definitely check out that link though. Seems very interesting.

You said “So I doubt that any serious space travel is going to take place in the next 14 or so years before the Lord returns.” and it made me think of the Tribulation. I know there are a lot of people talking about the last days & a possible apocalyptic future recently. I don’t really believe in a rapture because I haven’t seen it in Scripture. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough. Is it true it will begin in our lifetime? On your website I believe you say it starts in 2026 or 2028. Is that an educated guess or does the Bible really support that? It’s very confusing to me. Anytime I think one way I find something else that says I’m wrong.

Anyway, thanks for all the help so far. This has been very useful & I’ve shared some of your words with people I know. Especially the medication thing. Have a good day.

Response #24:

I know a very good lawyer who told me one time, "In my experience, people lie". That is certainly true as anyone with any life-experience knows. The ancient Greeks had a proverb: "learn to swim . . . and not to trust". That sums up what you needed to know in ancient Greece as a prerequisite to survival, because it was (and is) a country of coasts and islands where you were always going somewhere by boat – and they tended to sink, especially in storms; and Greeks were (and are) quite persuasive and talkative by nature: if you believed everything someone told you, you'd be in trouble in a heart-beat. And of course there is that wonderful sign I always quote: From a rural Texas convenience store: "In God we trust – all others pay cash".

If it is true that people will lie to you (and they will), then what about stories that are second and third hand? In other words, what you are hearing reported might not even have too much relationship to what was originally said. Here's a good link on all that: "Third Party Testimony I". This is very important because Christians tend to be good-hearted in all ways and want to assume the best about people. That is a mistake – not the good-hearted part but the making assumptions that other are too part. Our Lord told us to be as wise as serpents – even as we are to be as harmless as doves (Matt.10:16). That's the right perspective. Love the Lord and love others – trust Him, but not them (unless and until they've proved themselves).

On top of that, even if I were to see something with my own eyes that did not comport with what I knew to be the case from the Bible, I would believe the Bible rather than my own eyes.

You are correct about the Roman Catholic church. It is a religion of works-salvation which has nothing to do with being born again, born from above through simple faith and obedience to Jesus Christ (here is a wonderful series that will explain much about that: "Mary" by Bartek).

On exorcism, while anyone reading the gospels can see that demons can and do possess unbelievers (not believers – we have the Holy Spirit within us), no one today has the power of exorcism (our Lord did of course, and so did the apostles, but those special gifts and powers have now ceased: 1Cor.13:8-11). What passes for exorcism today is play-acting – and dangerous play-acting at that. It is beyond dangerous to even pretend to have anything to do with demons and the occult (cf. 2Pet.2:10-11; Jude 1:8-9).

No, there is no "rapture" of believers before the Tribulation. You are absolutely correct that it is nowhere to be found in the Bible; only by inventing it and distorting some scriptures and ignoring many others has this "doctrine" been "discovered" (here's a link on that: "Dangers of the pre-Trib rapture teaching").

On 2026, as I always remind anyone who asks about this, this is an interpretation of scripture and not a prediction. The interpretation is based upon a number of postulates which are laid out at the link (read down to the bullet points). Here's the short version: 1) there are seven 1,000 year periods in human history; 2) we know this because of a) Psalm 90:4 and 2nd Peter 3:8; b) the seven days of re-creation which are models for how human history would play out; c) because the Millennium is a thousand years long and is the seventh day of human history; 2) the chronological information given in the Old Testament adds up to circa 4,000 years between the fall of man and the birth of Jesus Christ; 3) this leaves 2,000 year for the Church Age (which matches the prior 2,000 each for the Age of the Gentiles and the Jewish Age); 4) adding 2,000 years to date of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, most probably 33 A.D., gives us 2033 as the likely date of the Second Advent; 5) Subtracting seven years gives us the likely start of the Tribulation. There are a few other variables which you will find discussed at the link. But I think any Christian with eyes open can see that things cannot go on as they are for too much longer.

Thanks for your good words and for sharing the site, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Dear Bob,

While reading Corinthians, it struck me that Paul was writing to us! So, I went back to Genesis to reread the whole Bible as if it were addressed to me personally and to us generally. That should
have been an obvious approach from the beginning, but I'm getting slow on the draw in my old age.

Leviticus 26 lists the "if you do" benefits for the Israelites and the "if you don't" punishments. We appear to be well into the punishment portion. Moses later expanded on that, more harshly, just before the Israelites entered the promised land. I realize we are not Israelites, but if we are grafted on the vine, are we not subject to the same rules? (Does Acts 21:25 absolve us of those promises?)

Or is this, perhaps, the outline for the decline and fall of nations? If I remember my high school history, we are about the same as 2nd century AD Rome. Do I misremember?

Should we expect the rest of Lev. 26 fulfilled in the US before the Tribulation?

After reading this week's emails, I have been richly blessed. Please address those with pressing concerns first. If you can send links where you've addressed this before, that would be much appreciated,

[Repeat] After reading this week's emails, I have been richly blessed. Please address those with pressing concerns first. If you can send links where you've addressed this before, that would be much appreciated, [End Repetition]

In Jesus Christ our Lord,

Response #25:

Good to hear from you, my friend.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
Romans 15:4 NIV

So I agree that the entire Bible is a great gift from the One who is the Gift of life Himself, and we are to read and ponder and treasure it all.

Interpretation is another matter. Just because the Bible is ours and written for us does NOT mean that we are allowed to keep slaves, for example, as long as we follow biblical rules for doing so; NOR does it mean that we can have multiple wives, just because many great believers did, as long as we don't disobey the inheritance provisions of the Law. One could go on at length.

It does make a difference that we are now in the time of light and truth in the revelation of Jesus Christ to the world and in His successful victory at the cross, having expiated the sins of all, then having been resurrected, seated at the Father's right hand and glorified. It does make a difference that the Law has been abrogated in terms of its specific provisions and that we have all been baptized into Christ Himself with the Holy Spirit and that we now have the Spirit residing in our bodies.

There are wonderful applications to be made from everything in the Old Testament; there are also commandments and guidance which is still in force; there are also prophecies which have not yet been fulfilled. Sorting these things out is important to be able to do. This comes as all things scriptural do with time and effort applied in the right way through the process of spiritual growth in the Holy Spirit.

In terms of nation states, it's important to distinguish on the one hand between Israel of the past – the one nation in the history of the world created specifically by the Lord to be His special possession and to be governed by Him directly – and every other nation on the other. We, the USA, are not special in that sense. All Israel was supposed to be composed of believers only and follow the Law whole-heartedly. Of course she never ever came anywhere close to that. That will take the Millennium and Christ's direct rule.

So I would say that many of the principles in scripture which apply to how nations should govern themselves are good to consider. Of course there is nothing whatsoever that individual believers can do about that – if we are talking about politics. In fact, if we get involved in trying to change our nation in any way, we are really only playing the devil's game. A nation gets the leaders and the treatment it deserves – based upon where it is at spiritually. If believers want to help, the only way to do so – and the wonderfully blessed way to do so – is to "be salt". The more dedicated believers there are in any country who are actually growing spiritually, progressing in their walk with the Lord day by day, and ministering to others to help them do so as well, the more favor that country has in the Lord's eyes – because of His being pleased with the believers therein. But it's no good to try to fix things from the top down – just as we can't fix things personally from the outside in. Just as individual spiritual change has to come from the heart in response to God's truth, so any national change would have to come from the true heart and soul of any nation: it's believers through their growing closeness to the Lord.

Given that most Christians in this country are lukewarm – and that this trend seems to be if anything intensifying (precisely as one would expect in this era of Laodicea) – I'm not sanguine about any positive changes going forward. Indeed, we seem be getting set up perfectly for the not too distant Tribulation.

As to your other question, as Shakespeare said, "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet"; meaning in this context, it doesn't really matter what it's called. Anyone who wants a relationship with the Lord will avoid and turn away from things He finds abominable -- whatever the name society places upon it.

From a practical point of view, and in light of what I wrote to you in the beginning of this email, it's not possible for individual Christians to change societal trends and dangerous to try. We speak the truth to anyone who is interested in the truth. But as far as all others are concerned, these verses definitely seem to me to apply today:

Since truth is lacking, he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey.
Isaiah 59:15

When the righteous exult [in victory], it is most beautiful [to behold], but when the wicked rise [to power], men hide themselves.
Proverbs 28:12 (cf. Prov.28:28)

This trend and all associated and other evil trends are likely to continue – and accelerate as we approach the end.

Thanks for your good words, my friend!

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Dear Bob,

I sometimes wish we could sit down over coffee and have a long talk. I learn so much from you and you can shine light on a question from a different angle that helps me clarify my thinking. (Which can be somewhat murky at times.)

Leviticus jumped to mind this year because of the hurricanes, flooding across the corn belt, fires in California and the absolute abominable farming and gardening results in Central Texas – including my garden with the plague of grasshoppers. (The Lord, though, provides. I have garden spiders all over the place that catch and eat grasshoppers. I love them.)

Your cites from Isaiah and Proverbs rang my bell. For the most part, I have little contact with the outside world. A weekly trip to the grocery is about it. I seldom see many Christians and few
people, so in effect, I am in hiding.

I don't often pray for something specifically for me but I did pray for good land with reasonable well depths and I was led here. As comparison, most Central Texas land is mostly limestone with well depths that range from 500' to 900'. My prayer was answered with deep soil and no large rocks down to a well depth of 180'. Because of that, I believe this was where I was meant to be. Either I got my reward here and now or I'm being protected for a purpose I don't understand. But I asked and received. It took five years, but I received beyond my expectations.

As far as politics, I haven't voted since electronic voting has been used except for one time many years ago. Electronic voting machines are easily hacked and voting security is abominable. I
see no point and it's a waste of time. Those elected will swear the same oath as you and I did once and as near as I can tell, never honor it. Isaiah 3:12 seems to me to be most relevant today.

I'm sorry to rant and rave like this. The later part of Leviticus 26 seemed to me the outline of the decline and fall of empires and nations. The American empire certainly seems to be in decline.

When the Israelites clamored for a king, Samuel told them exactly what they would get. It seems we got exactly that.

Thanks for your guidance and support.

Yours in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Response #26:

No rant detected (nor any rave either). It's a fair comparison to make. The point I try to scare readers off is the opposite assumption that somehow the US is special "like Israel", and theologically speaking that is not the case. But all nations are judged by the Lord, and the special discipline that came to Israel as outlined in these passages you quote certainly sets the pattern of judgment for everyone else (even if we incur a less strict judgment because we are not "the light of the world" as Israel was supposed to represent Him).

I've got friends in and from Texas. I know some folks in Australia who have a nice spread that would accommodate Tribulation refugees. Seems a long way for an old man to travel though (I may qualify for that moniker by that time). So maybe I'll show up on your doorstep – as long as you promise ahead of time not to shoo me off with a shotgun.

As to what's coming, as you know from Ichthys it seems to me way beyond likely that this is (or more accurately "will soon become") mystery Babylon. No political action is going to change that. So the rule that Christians are better off staying out of politics is doubly true in our case here today.

I keep you in my prayers every day, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

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