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Eschatology Issues XXXVII

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Question #1:

Hello--I was wondering if you could give me the information on a couple of Bible verses, from the original languages.

First is Rev. 22:14--there is a big discrepancy between some translations and as near as I can tell it isn't limited to older vs. newer manuscript copies of the Greek NT. The KJV and some other old translations, like the Douay-Rheims Bible have "do the commandments.' Others, even literal ones like the ASV, have "washed their robes.' There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for the differences. Please explain. I think "washed their robes" makes more sense, since no one can do the commandments perfectly, except vicariously, through faith in Jesus Christ. Then His perfect keeping of the commandments is imputed to us as righteousness.

Response #1:

It is "washing their robes" which is correct. Greek plynontes ("washing") looks enough like poiountes ("doing"), and stolas ("robes") like entolas ("commands"), especially in Greek mss., to throw off a sleepy scribe who may have been thinking of Rev.12:17 or 14:12.

Question #2:

My second question is about Revelation 19:8. Many translations say the white robes are the "righteous ACTS" of the saints. But I looked and as far as I can tell, it is just the one word for "righteousness" used throughout the NT. in other words, the "white robes are the righteousness" of the saints. One commentary we have said that it could be translated as "righteous verdict." Which makes sense, though "righteousness" is certainly easy enough to understand. Why is "acts" added in some translations? If it's not there in the Greek? And it doesn't seem implied, either.

Thanks for your time, as always. God bless you.

Response #2:

In Revelation 19:8, "righteous acts" is a not a bad translation because the noun is plural; "righteousness" would probably have to be rendered "righteousnesses" to represent the plural. My translation: "(now this fine material represents the righteous acts of His holy ones [believers])"; meaning anything done in life worthy of reward ("gold, silver, precious stones" as opposed to "wood, hay, stubble" as at 1Cor.3:12-13). So the reference is to our coming reward, not to the righteousness we all have as believers in Christ (e.g., Rom.4): here we have "things done stemming from that righteousness" as we act in accordance with what Jesus wants from us, spiritual growth, progress and production.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3:

In Revelation 1:10 when John says, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day…” is “the Lord’s Day” the same as the “Day of the Lord”? I have heard from multiple sources (Dr. White being one of them) that “the Lord’s Day” is a reference to Sunday, the first day of the week, because it’s the day of Jesus’ resurrection, and we see in Acts 20:7 that the early church was already meeting on that day. So does “the Lord’s Day” here refer to the prophetic “Day of the Lord”, or simply to Sunday because that’s the day of the week when John would have been worshipping as a Christian?

Response #3:

The reference is clearly to Sunday. John phrases this much differently from the prophetic phrase "the Day of the Lord" or similar phrasing by using the adjective kyriakos in addition to "day" = almost "Lords-day".  So while it may sound similar in English, in Greek it's very clear that this is talking about a particular day of the week and not anything related to the end times.

Question #4:

Ok, Revelation 5:9 so would the reconstruction of events go as follows:
a) The original reading was ἡμwν.
b) This was corrupted very early and changed into ἡμας through a homoioteleuton.
c) Due to the corruption of the text being early, the correct reading has pretty much not been preserved.

Response #4:

That's right (see the link).  This sort of thing happens from time to time in Revelation in particular as many of the witnesses we would expect to weigh in do not include the book of Revelation (Vaticanus notably, and most papyri; also, "C" is very lacunose for the book). So it's not just that some readings are not attested to elsewhere, but that the whole book (or most of it) is missing from witnesses we would like to hear from. All the more reason to consider carefully what Aleph – the oldest complete witness to the entire book – actually says; shockingly, even many critical editions frequently do not even hint at important readings Sinaiticus has which are different from all others.

Question #5:

Since the verse Isa 52:15 also refers to seeing - "For what had not been told them they will see", do you think it could have a second advent application?

Response #5:

Yes indeed. They don't actually all "see it" – what they have been told of – until His glorious return in person. We can read about the second advent, but it can't really prepare us for the glory of it. Since the main context is about the suffering Servant, this is another case of the 1st and 2nd advents blended in OT prophecy (foreshortening).

Question #6:

Ok, I think this is clear. To make sure I understand everything correctly - the 144,000 are sealed by the angels at that time, but all the believers who have the Spirit have the seal already - even without the angels sealing them.

Response #6:

Yes, I am convinced that the Spirit is the seal received by the 144K – that is obvious also from the special empowerment of their ministries. So believers who go into the Tribulation already have that seal of protection, but the 144K have to be given it from the beginning, even before Moses and Elijah begin to minister and the 144K are saved. They are thus a good parallel for us, if it be our lot to enter the Tribulation soon to come. We have nothing to worry about or fear, even if the Lord intends to bless us with martyrdom. We will be given words of defense (Matt.10:19), and we will be brought home safe in a way that glorifies the Lord if that be His will (Rev.13:10).

No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the LORD.
Isaiah 54:17 NKJV

Important perspectives on the cusp of the Tribulation.

Question #7:

Revelation 22:2 (NASB)
2 in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Why are the leaves of the tree “for the healing of the nations” if there will be no illness in the eternal state?

Response #7:

Here is what I write in CT 6 on the leaves:

We are also told that the foliage of the trees will likewise produce great benefits, though here again the English versions can be misleading. The Greek word therapeia (θεραπεία), the source of our "therapy", may indeed have a medicinal meaning, but not necessarily so. Its primary application has to do with care and oversight, a function which does not require some prior problem as in the case of illness (cf. Lk.12:42). Therefore "positive use" or "enjoyment" is a far preferable translation in this context where all tears have now been wiped away forever. This benefit of the tree of life will then be some sort of pleasurable activity apart from eating, and one of its prime applications will be the production of unity among all believers. For the occurrence of the word "curse" found in most of the versions in verse three of chapter twenty-two is based upon a misreading of the text (as we have seen, the “curse” of Genesis chapter three had already been removed at Christ's return: Rom.8:21; cf. Zech.14:11 NASB only). As Sinaiticus makes clear, the correct Greek text reads katagma (κατάγμα) "division", not katathema (κατάθεμα) "curse". In New Jerusalem there will be no further divisiveness between the tribes, now composed of Jews and gentiles both, nor between the Bride and the Friends of the Bride. The therapeutic foliage of the tree of life will provide a pleasurable means of fellowship and harmony between all believers forevermore (Ps.47:9; Zech.2:11; Jn.10:16; 11:52).

Question #8:

Dear Bob,

Thank you for your comforting reply. I didn't realize I needed that.

The current insanity has been weighing on me a bit. I didn't realize our practice for the Tribulation (advanced infantry training?) would get as intense so quickly, The country in which we grew up, Bob, is dead and gone. People have rolled over and gone along with government's unconstitutional, and in some cases idiotic, restrictions so enthusiastically I don't doubt that when the mark is required they'll flock to be tattooed. Ecclesiastes 7:10 keeps running through my head, but wishing those days would return won't make it happen.

Given my poor gardening results the past couple of years, I can only wonder what things will be like during the millennium. I assume we'll eat marvelously tasting food given our Lord's comments at the last supper. At least I would like to think so.

I pray all is well with you and yours.

In our Lord and Savior,

Response #8:

I think it's actually a blessing for patriotic believers to be so fully disabused of any notion that "most people" here are actually sound in their thinking, and that it's only the noisy few who are off base. The number of actual believers in this country is in my estimate far smaller than what many assume, and we know for certain that the number of believers who really are putting Jesus Christ first in their lives by doing the hard work of spiritual growth, progress and production that He desires from us all is infinitesimally small. So all "this" is a very good reminder that we are to put ALL of our hope in the Lord and NONE of it in people. We can and should stand with our brothers in Christ, but we need to be ready to stand alone if they "head for the hills", remembering always that we are NOT alone . . . as long as we are walking hand in hand with our Master.

The LORD is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1 NKJV

Looking forward to the glorious future is just what we should be doing. We brought nothing into this world, and we will take nothing out of it (1Tim.6:7-8; cf. Job 1:21). We could lose everything at any moment while we are here, and we have to be ready for that (Lk.14:33 in the Greek). Everything we see around us will be pillaged and plundered sooner than most imagine (Rev.18:1-24). And everything that exists will be consumed by fire in what by eternity standards is the blink of an eye (2Pet.3:3-13). So we keep our hope focused on what is to come, not on what is so transitory here in this distasteful world.

Looking forward to the grand party we will all enjoy – those who stay faithful to Him – where our Lord returns (see the link).

(6) On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine – the best of meats and the finest of wines. (7) On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; (8) he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. (9) In that day they will say, "Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation."
Isaiah 25:6-9 NIV

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hi Bob,

Hope your new trees came and you managed to get out into the yard today.

There's always going to be doom and gloom talk along the way and I heard some of that myself at work today. These are the moments where I know my faith is being tested a little bit more. I'm refusing to worry about any of this too. The part I've really been looking forward to from the start is when I can look back and see how the Lord brought me safely through this whole thing. I know that it's my faith that pleases Him and this is a faith building exercise. It's not always easy but I think taking it one step at a time with Him is the best way.

Thanks so much for your prayers and keeping you in mine too.

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #9:

Trees came and went in. But it turns out there's an old concrete pad a foot or so beneath them – which might just explain why the last ones died (oops!). These are a pretty hardy variety – I've seen them growing on rock ledges – so with enough water and the good new dirt put down they may be able to make a go of it. Don't think they'll ever get too tall though (not that there's that much time left for it anyway).

Lots of other yard work today too so no jogging. Double duty on the schedule for tomorrow.

Yes, lots of doom and gloom around here too. Got asked by my chair and the deans' office today for preferred teaching method in the fall. I said "face to face traditional" for all my classes. But my chair says that may not be in the cards (?!). So I had to put down one of the other five alternatives (yes, 5!). I chose "High-engagement hybrid" as my alternative, which they define as "a combination of hyflex, synchronous, and hybrid. A low-tech version of the hyflex that permits some students to be in class f2f and others to be online simultaneously; engagement is encouraged through the use of participant response units, chats, and real-time video conferencing (on Teams, collaborate, etc.). Class meets at regularly scheduled time and a learning assistant helps to monitor interactive tech." What I got from that is that if students don't want to show up in class, I'll have helper with a camera making the class available that way. Pretty weird, if you ask me. None of the undergrads is getting sick. It's just the invalid old people that are "buying the farm" as we say on this side of the pond. Oh well. I have a job – and I'm so grateful to the Lord for that, because it is needful.

You are SO right! It's the Lord who's getting us across this impassable sea. We don't even know how He's doing it and then we look back and see just how He did it – be we can have confidence that He WILL do it wherever we are on the journey.

By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
Hebrews 11:29 NIV

It's so much better to be in the "dry-shod" camp than the drowned camp! What's sad today is how many think they are about to drown, even though by Tribulation standards the water isn't even ankle deep.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hey Bro,

I hope the virus doesn't have you to down, you're hanging in there like a good jarhead.

Love ya man. In Texas by the way you can now get a haircut from a bar and a beer at a barber shop.

Boy are things screwed up by the sin of fear and death or what?

Response #10:

I agree with you on that! I'm pretty well exasperated by the stupidity of it all. And there have been consequences for the university. Still not sure what the fall will look like. So far pay cuts for all, furloughs for some, no retirement contributions, and I had to teach over the computer for the last third of the semester. But I am grateful to the Lord to still have my job!

They're talking about some unworkable sounding "hybrids" for teaching in August. Online is not what our students sign up for. We'll see.

It's amazing what fear will do to people, but I understand that is pretty bad in CA where you are – not the actual bug but the people who have gone buggy. If you want to read more and see what my folks have been reporting, recent email postings are a good bet:

Eschatology Issues XXXVI

Eschatology Issues XXXV

Eschatology Issues XXXIV

Eschatology Issues XXXIII

Eschatology Issues XXXII

Eschatology Issues XXXI

Eschatology Issues XXX

Eschatology Issues XXIX

Your pal in Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #11:

So I'm reading through church history and something came to my mind. The church era of Sardis as you have it was from 1162-1522. Bubonic plague occurred through 1346-1353 as wikapedia puts it-

"The Black Death, also known as the Pestilence and the Plague, was the most fatal pandemic recorded in human history, resulting in the deaths of up to 75–200 million people in Eurasia and North Africa, peaking in Europe from 1347 to 1351."

Do you think its plausible to say that this "black death" was God punishing the apostate church, just as how the Lord would punish the apostates in the nation of Israel by destroying large numbers of people? If most believers of Sardis were backsliders and/or apostates to the point were so very few of Christ's true flock were left, then discipline on the scale of something like the black death doesn't seem far fetched.

I remember watching a documentary on this, and it was said that many people believed God had truly unleashed his wrath on them. Its really interesting, because so many people went into weird rituals and began to do all kinds of religious/cultic practices to appeal for Gods' mercy, even going so far as to cut and mutilate their own bodies to rid themselves of the plague. But their biggest and worst mistake was simply a repeat of what had occurred at Mt. Caramel with Elisha- all the rituals and yet no sign or deliverance from their "god". These people during the period of the plague failed to come to God in true saving faith, and were only appealing to Satan, and not the Lord Jesus, sorta like what Ahab's people did at Mt. Caramel trying to cry out to their demonic god baal. Since so many people at the time of the plague would not come to God in saving faith, why would He answer their prayers? He didn't, for despite the weird things the people practiced, the plague only got worse, and more people continued to fall by the day.

I'm not trying to make any reaches with this, its a thought of mine. Maybe this is all a possibility? What do you think about this? I've wanted to ask you this for a long time but never got around to it.

Response #11:

That's a great observation and application, my friend!

I have noticed that amid all the current uproar there does NOT seem to be any putting of things in God's hands or calling upon the Lord for help today. Instead there is unbelievable arrogance in assuming that man can solve this problem when of course we can do nothing in the face of discipline from the Almighty – if that is what this is. It is certainly a good test for believers and a good reminder that if we are going to get through the Tribulation we are going to have to start relying more and more on the only One who can help.

Initially when all this started, the website experienced a rush of increased traffic such as I haven't seen in several years. But today it was down to low levels I don't ever remember seeing before. Reminds me of the children of Israel crying out to the Lord for water or food or deliverance, then forgetting Him immediately upon getting what they wanted.

Be it the black plague or WWII or whatever, God always does bring His people through in just the right way. Walking with Him ahead of the crisis is always a big plus, turning to Him and relying on Him in the pinch is absolutely necessary – and a very good idea to remember what He's done for us afterwards and forevermore. As I say, this is all a fairly good test.

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Dear Professor

Decided we will leave going to the city for another week. Not a case of getting used to the lockdown and the temporary (now some dismantled) “state internal borders”; but ___ has exams this week and is a bit stressed.

If you are on summer holidays I hope you have an enjoyable time. Here we are heading into winter.

Just a thought, after I had listened to how a female American Airlines pilot landed in North Eastern Canada on 9/11. (Along with many other planes diverted to that largely underused former airbase built by the Americans)
- Americans stopped going out on planes for awhile after that
- With Covid 19, heaps stayed under their doonas, and just stopped going by any means
- will next be the gala performance that stops the world in their tracks? Physically, but particularly spiritually?

Each time we gave up more of our freedom. We can see where this is heading - giving up ALL freedom. Even the freedom to believe as one chooses. The pied piper will have little difficulty leading the kids to hell - based on what I see and hear around me now, even from some pastors and teachers. A lot of jolting of these people out of the stupor they are in even now, is needed to avert the perils just ahead.

Interesting how Australia in calling for an independent investigation into the CV 19, is hit with 80% tariffs on barley by China. Some talk to suggest China would like the USA to fill the orders instead. Timing was superb with many Australian farmers already having planted their barley for this market. China now threatening Australia with more bans on other products as it mocks Australia’s “success” in getting an international enquiry, as the one now agreed to is “nothing like the one Australia called for”. They infer that it is not independent, WHO will do it (rather than it being subject to it), and that they will agree to start once the crises is “largely over“. Lots of games, smoke and mirrors. I am sceptical of the truth being allowed to surface before the next worldwide crises erupts.

Meanwhile I hear today, that 60 million people will go near starvation because of this cv “response”. I think that people are primed for that one they can “trust” above all else. Saddens me that so few people are interested in the truth. I am hopeful that at least some will awake from their stupor. There is only salvation in Jesus. This fact does not seem to be lost even with the “pied piper”, or else why would he pretend to be the one who saves. I mean that he will realise people want a strong leader, particularly one who can “rise from the dead”.

I pray for your gracious Ministry. Thank you for staying to teach us in preparation for this most perilous time ahead. You have not withheld anything that is beneficial to us.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior.

Your student and friend

Response #12:

No "road trips" on the schedule here either. I put in my letters of rec for students yesterday night, and actually began to dip my toe in the ocean of research today. I'm going to try to enjoy the summer, despite the prophecies of doom and gloom. God has all this in hand, and one way or another He is going to work it all out for the good. And He hears our prayers too. This is not as bad as the Tribulation. And the great thing about the Tribulation? It's only seven years long – we will be "on the clock", and the seven years can't be lengthened but will be shortened a bit at the end. Another great thing about the Tribulation: forcing the lukewarm to choose one way or another. And another: supernatural judgments like the world has never seen upon the evil and those who persecute believers. That doesn't mean it will be "fun", but once we realize we have nothing to lose but our lives – and that we gain them in so doing – then we really do have nothing whatsoever to fear. Not a bad time now to put that necessary thinking to the test.

Thanks also for the updates and the down-under perspective (we don't get that here as you might well guess!).

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior of all,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Dear Professor

The best laid plans on mice and men, or as you sometimes say about not being a prophet - neither am I - I am going to the city Saturday after all, and a really early get up. At short notice and I am the driver of the rental truck for moving.

Meanwhile while taking down a gutter between our house and patio (that was leaking) the patio came away from the eaves (I am heavier than In the olden days), leaving us vulnerable to water going everywhere, so I got my work cut out in between my shifts to try to watertight it before the rain predicted for Sunday -then reinforce the patio to house somehow.

I’ll be flat out this weekend with probably still having to go to the city next weekend. After “hibernating” with covid 19 drudgery, I will be much more careful for what I wish for in future.

Your email is so encouraging and uplifting - you put the situation we find ourselves in in such clear perspective with the promise of salvation in Jesus. Thank you. Might also use those words of yours to hopefully some comforting effect to those around me.

Your student and friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior.

Response #13:

I feel your pain. This house was built in the late 19th century and was designed by the person who lived next door for his daughters (so goes the lore). In any case, it is peculiar (he used whiskey barrels as molds for the concrete piers in the basement then removed the wood when done – or maybe the termites got it over time). The roof line is quite eccentric. When I moved in it had just had a new roof put on, but that had been way late in coming and there was a great deal of damage (cost me quite a bit to get workable right). Also, in spite of the new roof, there were about four places where it leaked and they were very difficult to figure out. I finally did (more or less), but it's still a work in progress. One rainy day I was sitting here in the office and thought I heard water running. Turns out that the flat roof over the porch at the front was funneling water down the internal support pillar right into the crawl space and had been doing that for years whenever the level got up to a certain point. Fixing that took redoing the drainage and a great deal of roof tar (it's still not perfect). I could go on. But with all the problems this place has been a real blessing. Much wandering in my life but I now have a place that is relatively solid and secure because the Lord makes it so.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
Psalm 90:1b NIV

Do be careful on that ladder! They are much more dangerous than the bug.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hi Bob,

I've got used to people not accepting the truth now and I try to concentrate instead on growing in the truth myself. As each day goes by I want to be with the Lord more and more - not here in this world. I thought today that maybe if I kept myself busier and busier it might help to take my mind off it. But really I need to be patient, accept that it's uncomfortable here and fill my mind instead with the Lord. Even when the Tribulation is here I won't like it but I'll be glad because I know I'll be closer to being with the Lord.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Saviour

Response #14:

More UK weather here today as well. You can have our weather if you must, but you have to take the bad with the good (90's and high humidity most of the summer, below zero for long stretches in the winter and plenty of snow at times). Still, planning to try and mow finally tomorrow. New trees to replace the ones that died last summer should be coming tomorrow too.

Actually started a little research today (got my letters of rec off last night). Need to get some momentum on BB 7 as well – that is a major concern for the summer.

Got a real doom and gloom email from our dean today about next year's budget. Meanwhile KY is beginning to open up albeit slowly. A number of local businesses aren't reopening yet even though they are allowed to (hard to understand that one). But I know that God has this all in hand so I refuse to worry about it. He always brings us through, even if "10,000 fall" right beside us (Ps.91). We just have to trust Him. Good practice for the Tribulation when things will be a wee bit more uncomfortable.

Good for you, staying engaged with the Word! That is the place of peace and happiness – and spiritual advance.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend, and thanks always for yours too.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Thanks Bob! I'll definitely be here to help you with BB 7. And no worries - I did think it would be some way off yet.

Interesting teaching methods. I'd never heard of anything like this before. So it's like a blend of both traditional classroom teaching and online too? I wonder how many students will actually want to be in class. But at least if it means you're at uni in class rather than stuck at home teaching it will be much healthier for you. Still not much fun for you but at least you'd be out and about more. Just might mean more organisation to get it all set up and allow you to get used to another method of teaching. There's still time between now and fall for improvements to be made on the virus front though. I'm very happy too that you still have a job and although this whole thing is annoying and hard work I pray that the Lord will help you through each step of the way - however far across we are at present.

As far as yesterday's negativity at work goes - well I'm not in their camp and there's no way they're going to drag me down with them to drown in their doom and gloom. The Lord has already looked after me so well and brought me safely this far. I loved the verse you gave me, (Hebrews 11:29). Those first two words I read were exactly what I had been thinking about and jumped out a mile at me – BY FAITH. It's by our faith in the Lord that He will bring us through all of this. He knows what He's doing and it's only ever for our good (Romans 8:28). And the good that I know is going to come out of this when it has all passed is that my faith will be even stronger. I can't wait to look back and see how He worked it all out and see His complete faithfulness to me. I honestly do mean that. I've been looking forward to it from the start! This is the kind of thing I need to help me prepare for the Tribulation which is going to be SO much harder.

Thanks so much for all your prayers, and I'm keeping you and yours in mine too. Have a great weekend!

Your friend in our dear Lord Jesus

Response #15:

Turns out things may be worse than it seemed yesterday. Today our chair started to make it sound as if ANY "in class with students" time is "unlikely" in the fall. I find that strange (since it's the opposite of what our uni president said), but I'll wait and see. The fancy model shared will indeed cost a lot (more than I had even anticipated) so it's likely to be unusual and not the norm. I do know that if things revert to what we had last spring we will lose a great many of our students. I mean, I wouldn't pay all that tuition just to have access to some online lectures. So far we've had 368 people die in KY from CV. More people fall of ladders and die as a result. Except that the CV dead couldn't get up on ladders in the first place since they were almost all geriatric and invalid. Yet we are doing all this when our young students usually don't even get the sniffles from this bug. It's tedious even to talk about all this. At such times we have to pinch ourselves and remember the hope that anchors us to heaven above.  Life is short.  History is short.  But eternity is very, very long. 

Yards are looking good though!

Keep up the walking – I'll attempt to keep up the jogging in between yard work.

I appreciate your prayers, my friend! Keeping it going on my end too.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hello Dr.,

Things are well here. Not much has changed for us through this “plandemic”. We’ll see how things go with the phased reopening of the State. ___’s business is comprised of small business's, also the City is talking about the possibility of furloughs in the future, so... we’ll see. One thing for sure, “the powers that be” certainly made a mess for us, however I suspect this is exactly what they wanted. The Hegelian Dialectic can be defined as “a framework for guiding thoughts and actions into conflicts that lead to synthetic solutions which can only be introduced once those being manipulated take a side that will advance the predetermined agenda.” Doesn't it seem that this is just a deceitful (although successful) attempt by globalists to gain control of the world population through fear? Those of us with a sliver of commonsense can see through this charade, but for the majority it appears that they just want some entity to make them all safe...whatever the cost. We know that God is ultimately in control and that those who construct these false narratives can do no more than He allows, and that is comforting, but at the same time it’s quite disturbing to see how many embrace the lie. This world is ready for Anti-Christ, and I have no doubt it is a remnant waiting for Jesus Christ.

How are you Sir? I’ve heard the recommendations that schools should not be able to reopen until there is a vaccine, I hope that is not the case in your case. As always I’ll keep you in prayer on this and all that God wills for you. Until next time.

All the best!

Rev.22:20

Response #16:

Thanks for the new MP3 – uploaded and tested AOK!

I thought TN was ahead of us in this respect. Still no eat-in restaurant activity here – but apparently that will change on Friday. U of L is still work-at-home, but they haven't given any guidance on when staff will be back or how. We've been told that Spring '20 was "the semester with the asterisk" and that Fall '20 will be "the semester with the question mark", so I'm sure not spending any time and effort on fall syllabi until decisions have been made. Got my teaching evals today. Not bad (about typical). I did get the sense that my students got as worn out as I did with this process last spring. Doesn't bode well for an entirely online year next AY since we'd had it after six weeks last semester.

I certainly agree with your take that all "this" has made it even more clear that people are ready to be saved – but not by Jesus Christ. Who then other than a substitute "Christ" will fit that bill? I know it's apocryphal, but that great, supposed Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times!", certainly seems to apply, and augurs to do so even more as we get close to and then into the end. A very important passage to keep in mind:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Romans 5:8-11 NKJV

We who belong to Him have no reason to fear any wrath whatsoever. Any plagues that befall will be aimed not at us but at those who oppose Him. As I've said before, despite this unpleasantness affecting us all to one degree or another, I've yet to hear from anyone close, from any believer walking with the Lord, that "all this" has produced personal catastrophe for them. That is clearly the Lord looking out for those who are His.

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
Psalm 91:5-10 KJV

"In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you. If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you. See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc; no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me," declares the LORD.
Isaiah 54:14-17 NIV

Keeping you and your health and job situation in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus Christ the only Savior of the world.

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hi Bob,

Hope you had a good weekend. I've been praying for you and I hope everything is going okay for you.

Are you out of pain now after your coccyx strain? Be careful working in the yard - don't overdo it even though there's lots of work to be done. Hope your mower is still surviving or are you due a new one? We've got a petrol mower and they can be a real challenge to start up for the first time after the winter. You could rip your arm off the amount of welly you have to give it to get it going! Any sign of life with your nasturtiums or do you still reckon they might be a bum batch? My hostas are coming along nicely but I'm on slug alert. How are the termites? Not very well I hope! Did the treatment work? I'm keeping everything in prayer for you.

I'm glad you managed to figure out a plan for your research with it being a bit tricky at the moment. Is there still a lot of turmoil at the uni? Have you heard much more recently?

I was wondering, have you noticed if this whole virus thing has caused any of your family or friends to think a little bit more about the Lord? Or hasn't it had much impact on them? I always keep them in my prayers and I always will. If not then it's okay - the Lord has it all in hand. We just have to hold on tight to His promises and don't let them go. He's working everything out for us and our loved ones even though we can't always see it with our natural eyes.

You're right about us humans being impatient. Our timing is not the Lord's timing. His timing is sometimes a LOT longer but always perfect. He is faithful and it's all going to be fine. How blessed we are to know that we can have full confidence in our Lord.

Your friend Jesus our dear Lord and Saviour

Response #17:

Great to hear from you as always, my friend.

Also good to hear that the family is doing well. I do keep them all in my prayers, and of course you and your health as well. Mine is doing fairly well. Seeds did all get planted (a few hold outs for various reasons). Yard work has been interrupted by about a week of rain. Honestly, it's like living in the UK! Seriously, I'm happy for the rain. The nasturtiums are doing quite well. A few of them did get "nuked" by the unseasonably late frost we had about a week and a half ago, but the zinnias put in last week are already forming a carpet over the "meadow". Still lots to do. Seems I am still shrugging off the after effects of last semester. Got the teaching evals today and they were about typical – pretty good all things considered.

I wouldn't say I've seen any great changes from those near and dear (most dear are not that near, so there is that). Also, the big pop in site traffic at Ichthys has reverted almost to pre-Covid levels. I suppose the one thing this has done is to let believer see, whether super positive or marginal, that the world is not what is seems, and that it is not some stable playground where we are just waiting things out. A good perspective to have – if one holds onto it and uses it to get better prepared for what is coming.

One other observation is that with almost no exceptions, no one I know personally has been overly negatively affected by this incredibly awful situation. Not that there haven't been dislocations and furloughs and the like (everyone is suffering to one degree or another), but I haven't had any reports of catastrophic personal disaster. That is also significant. The plagues that struck the Egyptians did not directly affect the children of Israel in any serious way – even though the entire situation was no doubt not a pleasant one – and I fully expect that to be the case for the Tribulation. What Pharaoh did and tried to do to the Israelites did affect them, but God's plagues were directed at him and his. Similarly, during the Tribulation, we can be sure that if a judgment is from God – our present viral plague as a parallel – it will not be directed at us who love Him and who are eagerly awaiting the return of His Son our Lord. The main difference, of course, is the Great Persecution, but even there we can have confidence that God's will for our lives in glorifying Him will be carried out perfectly, if only we keep faith until the end.

If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.
Revelation 13:10 ESV

Termite treatment done. No more plagues to report as of the present. Thanks for those prayers!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Dear Bob,

https://worldisraelnews.com/ancient-horned-israelite-altar-discovered-in-samaria-earns-protection/

Do I misremember? Was not the altar to be made of unhewn stone? Altars not of stone, like in the temple, could be made with horns since they were cast and not made with stone? Is this something else?

There appears to be much interest in the last days which is good. But there doesn't seem to be many newcomers which is disappointing.

I'm still somewhat stuck in the prophets. I have to admit that they describe in similar terms what is happening today. In fact, the prophets are better news analysts than can be found in today's media.

The prophets talk about the Lord's punishment in terms of plague, famine and the sword which seems to accurately portray what's active and growing today. The sword is not presently a foreign invader, it's internal with school shootings and murders as is famine with the current and coming food shortages, bread lines, crop destruction and previous crop loses via floods and weather. And, now of course, the plague, SARS, MERS, Ebola, Swine Flu, amongst others, and the magic Kung Flu is active.

Ezekiel, particularly, talks about paganism and the Lord's wrath inflicting the above. The paganism seems alive and quite well. That got me thinking about the RC. (And protestant denominations with their black robes, et. al., as well.) I read years ago that the pope's mitre was worn by the priests of Dagon. Do you know if that's true or do I misremember?

The Roman Catholics pray and light candles to the virgin Mary. That seems like a good analog of the Queen of Heaven to me. The Orthodox Church shakes incense and sprinkles "holy water" at icons on the wall. They also call their priests "father" which the Lord specifically prohibited. I once had to sit through the entire rosary, 180 some odd verses, if I remember right. An incredible guilt trip. How is this different that what the prophets warned against?

In my believe, there is absolutely no truth coming from government at any level. FDR said something like, "There is nothing in government that happens by accident." If that's true, (or even if not - see previous statement) then we can assume that the true motive behind this exercise is an unstated agenda. A concept that's helped me interpret current events is, "The purpose of a thing is what it does." It certainly appears current government actions have nothing to do with health as much as how many restrictions people will tolerate and the destruction of traditional society.

The COVID tests are meaningless. E.g., the commander of the coast guard tested positive over a recent weekend but negative the following Monday. Many deaths are recorded as COVID, but Colorado recently revised how they account for COVID deaths by separating those who died from other causes but had the virus from those who actually died of the virus. That dropped their COVID death rate by nearly a third. Assuming the tests were accurate!

Given that the primary promoter of vaccines is also a promoter of world government and population reduction. I will decline the magic and mythical vaccine. I doubt things will ever return to the way they were - so why volunteer?

Enough ranting and raving. I apologize. I hope your spring is off to a good start and your research and gardening go well. Stay well, my friend and, as they say, you'll know you're getting old when the only thing that still works hurts. (It does seem to work that way.)

Yours in our only savior Jesus Christ,

Response #18:

Always good to hear from you, my friend.

First, I would be wary of anything archaeologists have to say. Second, if this is Samaria we are talking about, well, the northern kingdom worshiped bulls made by Jeroboam, so this altar would be the least of their violations of the Law. And the Samaritans who followed were not really even Jewish, or at least only partially so in their religion (if it turned out to be one of theirs).

Yes, if there really was a 100% accurate test, perhaps it would be useful, but when there are so many false positives and false negatives, this is only going to spread confusion and be an excuse to discriminate. I'm certainly hoping and praying that some of the light of realization that seems to be dawning on people will begin to break through more and more. Being starved to death would seem to be strong motivation to reevaluate what you've been told. But there is no point in a believer worrying about that.

The LORD knows the days of the upright,
And their inheritance shall be forever.
They shall not be ashamed in the evil time,
And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
Psalm 37:18-19 NKJV

Whatever betides, even the Tribulation, the Lord will bring us through.

And they will say on that day, "Behold! This is our God! We waited in hope for Him to deliver us. This is our Lord. We waited in hope for Him. Let us rejoice and be glad in His deliverance!"
Isaiah 25:9

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Dear Teacher

I have been thinking for some time now that the New Jerusalem is actually a whole Mountain with the Throne of the Lord at the top of it from where the river of the water of life flows down the wide boulevards. Seems in keeping with the elevation of Adam and Eve's Eden and the Garden of God (Ezekiel 28:13-14; Isaiah 14:13-14) and also Millennial Jerusalem.

You do say that, "like the prehistoric “Mountain of God” (Is.14:13) and the miraculously elevated millennial Jerusalem (Is.2:2; Ezek.40:2; Zech.14:10-11), so too the center of the new city must be of considerable height to necessitate this action."

I've just been wondering if when reference is made to the height of the city of the city, it's not necessarily the walls that were being spoken of, but the height of the mountain rather. So that the city is a mountain 12,000 stadia high.

This would also mean that the greater one's eternal rank is the higher up on the Mountain their lodging will be.

Just a thought that I've been nursing for a long time.

[personal details omitted]

We're keeping you in our prayers, Sir. Thank you so very much for helping us grow up, for not losing your confidence in us, even though we don't deserve all the trust and help that we have received from and through you. Sometimes, just your confidence in us has helped us fight when we lost any confidence in our own selves. Of course, it is not about ourselves. When we get to the point that we lose sight of the Lord and His Ability, then we doubt that we can ever be what He wants us to be. At such times, when you have held out, your faith in the Lord concerning us has been our anchor. Thanks very much for that, Sir. And thank you for not ceasing in your prayers for us.

Your student in Jesus Christ

Response #19:

Yes, that is my best supposition about it too. There is "broad place" in the middle of New Jerusalem, a network of roads and no doubt a central square (plateia meaning literally "wide place" at Rev.22:1-2), which I assume to be the place where we will all assemble, but it does make sense to me for it to be elevated since it is from that place that the river emerges, e.g.

I'm happy to hear that now that you have gotten some momentum in figuring things out, some of the pieces are beginning to fall into place. I expect that to happen more and more as you get further down the road.

Thanks so much for all your good words, my friend! Looking forward to the day when you and our families and our fellow believers in the Church all stand side by side together in the place of assembly in New Jerusalem, adoring the One we love so much together and for all eternity.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil.
Hebrews 6:19 NKJV

In Jesus our dear Savior and the hope in Him which is our eternal anchor.

Bob L.

Question #20:

Dr Luginbill,

Thank you for what is obviously a labor of love – your voluminous website! I’ve been browsing around it for a couple of years, drawn to it in search of insight on the end times and particularly the gathering of believers, aka the rapture. My evangelical and Pentecostal background has taught me the typical pre-trib approach which I came to question many years ago. I still attend a modern version of this type of church in Fort Worth Texas.

I have 2 questions: One of the reasons for my belief that those believers who are alive at the time of the 70th week of Daniel will be present during the calamitous events described in the Bible is simply the fact that descriptions of those future events exist at all! The Bible is notoriously short on details about things which don’t matter to our spiritual well-being: E.g. most of the life of Christ before his ministry; or what happened between Genesis vs 1 and 2; or what we will be doing after the New Jerusalem comes to earth. All of these are interesting subjects for speculation, but not particularly needed ”for life and Godliness”. But there is an abundance of information for things we do need to know about.

Would you consider this a primary or secondary argument for consideration by those who think believers will miss all the discomfort of that last 7 years via separate rapture event?

The church I attend is pastored by a terrific man with a heart after God and a shepherd's heart. Through this pandemic, he has pointed out the need to be prepared spiritually as well has care for others during difficult times. This is very much the message I would expect from someone that expects things to get far worse for believers.

However, during this time, he has also done a video series on the end times and adamantly claims both the doctrine of immanency and that Christians will not be around for those end time tribulations.

I have great concern that both of these beliefs will lead to a falling away when persecution begins.

Should I continue to be involved with and support such a church to be a sort of salt and light regarding these issues?

Sincerely,

Response #20:

Good to make your acquaintance!

As to your first question, I think that is exactly the case. Why we would need the book of Revelation, for example, if the Church were to be raptured away from having to deal with the Tribulation at all? As the SR and CT series show (links), I believe, there is indeed a voluminous measure of information about the end times. That volume and stress scripture gives to it cannot really be reconciled with a pre-Trib rapture (which of course is not only not taught in scripture but directly contradicted by it in many places, e.g., Matt.24 and 2Thes.2). And as far as "imminency" is concerned, that is clearly no argument because no scripture teaches that the second advent could come at any time (it is at least seven years on the other side of the Tribulation, e.g.). However, OUR end could come at any time individually, so spiritual alertness is always to be recommended (good link on that: "Imminence").

As to Q#2, that is always a difficult personal question to answer, an application that has to come from an individual believer's heart. One thing I can tell you for certain is that there is no way for you to change your present group or present pastor from the inside, so that it is a grave mistake to try:

"No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."
Matthew 9:16-17 NKJV

Having "one foot in and one foot out" is always uncomfortable, and few positive believers are able to keep that up indefinitely. On the one hand, we crave fellowship with other Christians and treasure our friendships and relationships; on the other hand, the truth is the truth, and having to listen to what is not the truth puts us in the position of righteous Lot "for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard" (2Pet.2:8). A pre-Trib church is, admittedly, not as bad as Sodom, but the principle is the same, namely, having to put up with and not oppose too vigorously things that are untrue and even hostile to the truth.

As you have probably gathered from reading the weekly email postings, most of the regular readers of Ichthys are refugees from various Christian denominations and churches and are similarly desirous of fellowship with other like-minded believers. But when the like-mindedness is based on being red hot for the truth instead of lukewarm, the salient characteristic of Laodicea, that is a difficult sort of fellowship to find in our day. I will say that most have indeed found others who love the truth – because the Lord always provides for our true needs – even if they have never found a brick and mortar traditional "church" that teaches the truth (much more on all this in the recently posted BB 6B: Ecclesiology). I will also add that all friends who are worthy of the deepest trust and friendship tend to be those who are equally committed to the truth – and they do sometimes follow along when we reach out for something better (not that this should be counted on, however).

Hope to hear from you again!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Hi Dr. Robert D. Luginbill

Thanks for putting together an insightful website on the study of the end times. I find it helpful.
I would like to seek your help on the following questions:

It was mentioned in I Thess 3:13 that the Lord will return with his saints during the 2nd coming. Does this mean that the saints would be caught up into heaven before the end of the Tribulation prior to the 2nd coming. What are your thoughts?

Response #21:

Good to make your acquaintance.

As to your questions . . .

"Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
Matthew 24:30-31 NKJV

In verse 30, the return of Christ will be seen by every eye and the unbelievers will mourn – because their error is now made clear to them (Rev.1:7). In verse 31 we see the resurrection of the Church – here is the trumpet spoken of in 1st Thessalonians chapter four. After this, we have the marshaling in the sky of all the heavenly hosts which includes us, the Church, and all the holy angels too – these are His hosts, His army (Rev.19:14).

It should be noted what 1st Thessalonians 3:13 has in the Greek means, literally, "in the presence (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ and with all of His holy ones." The word parousia does refer to the second advent but it is not a motion word; it means "to be here" and it means in the NT "Christ's being here (again)". So the idea of motion in the word "advent" (or "return") is not actually present at all in the text.

Question #22:

It was clear that Adam and Eve had free will at the Garden of Eden and they chose to sin. In heaven after the new millennium, would the saints have free will? If so, would the state be like the state in the Garden of Eden where the saints may choose to sin again?

Thank you

Regards

Response #22:

The eternal state will be wonderful! But we can't imagine how great until we experience it in resurrection. What we are given to know now is the absence of all negatives: no pain, no pressure, no loss, no death, no disease, no embarrassment, not fear, no worry – and no temptation. We won't have a way to sin. Adam and Eve had no real motivation to sin but Eve was tricked by the devil (no devil in the eternal state) to do the one thing forbidden (nothing forbidden in the eternal state). Living in THIS world in THESE bodies of sin as we do, it's almost impossible to conceive of it being different – but in New Jerusalem it WILL be different . . . and blessedly so.

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”
Revelation 21:5a NKJV

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:

I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations;
Therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever.
Psalm 45:16 NKJV

Who is the "You" in "You shall make them princes in all the earth"? I'm inclined to think that it is Christ but how does that explain the earlier statement that "in place of your fathers will be your sons" which seems a little like something that would be said to the Church?

Response #23:

Yes, it is Christ. The princes who rule with Him is a reference to His sharing of His millennial rule with believers (cf. Rev.2:7; 2:26-27), something we can all look forward to and anticipate, especially during the Tribulation's dark days.

Question #24:

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
Psalm 46:4 NKJV

This river is the river of the water of life in Millennial Jerusalem which has multiple branches, is it not?

Response #24:

I wouldn't rule it out. The water of life and truth has always proceeded from the dwelling of the Lord, metaphorically, and from the time of the second advent and on into the New Jerusalem it will literally as well.  Believers will drink of the crystal waters of the river of life in New Jerusalem for ever, a blessing to keep in mind during the Tribulation when there will be "water tests" which we may not entirely escape – though we can be sure that the Lord will provide, just like He did for the Israelites.  Let us be resolved ahead of time not to whine about those tests like they did before He brings us through them, looking forward to the crystal waters of life to come.

Question #25:

Hi Bob,

Revelation 2:4 (NASB)
4 But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

How do we know the word of God was the Ephesian's first love?

In Jesus the true King

Response #25:

1) The "love" has to be something.

2) Since this is the Lord talking to a group of believers – in fact to an entire era – it has to have to do with important spiritual matters.

3) The believers of the Ephesian era seem to have been OK on sanctification (they hate the Nicolaitans' ways); so it's not their defense that is at issue.

4) That leaves their spiritual offense.

5) Spiritual offense is all about the Word of God, learning what it means and believing it, walking according to it to make spiritual progress, and helping others through ministering the Word.

6) The Lord threatens them that if they don't repent their era will come quickly to an end.

7) It did.

8) And we know that the church fathers who followed were legalistic and highly confused on a great many spiritual matters, so much so that reading them can do more harm than good – this in spite of the fact that the Ephesian believers had been taught by the apostles themselves.

9) So the true teaching of the Word was largely lost in the very first post-apostolic era.

10) That's why I interpret as I do.

Holding onto the love of the truth will never be of greater importance than when the Tribulation begins.  Looking to how we are doing with that now during this present unpleasantness is a guide to how we are likely to do then.  If we find ourselves wanting, doubling down on Bible study wouldn't be the worst idea in the world.

In Jesus our dear Savior whose return is our blessed hope (Tit.2:13),

Bob L.

 

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