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Eschatology Issues XLIV

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Question #1:

May I also ask you one more? Is this the Nestle-Aland book (New Testament in Greek) you mention on your site? Do I need to know Latin?

I also was reading a fiction work, and it was mentioning mental problems due to bad incarceration. I don't know if you remember, but a while back you told me you would prefer lashes, and I think, considering the mental problems incarceration generates, that I might agree.

Response #1:

This is the same GNT I have (though I mostly use an earlier, no longer available edition). As with many scholarly works in the Classical tradition, especially texts, the intros and critical notations are in Latin (Nestle-Aland has an English intro as well, but the critical apparatus is in Latin as with all Greek texts). But the text itself is in Greek, so this is a good edition to have. Easier to read (and with the same text) is the UBS "Readers Edition". I have and use that one too – but, again, an earlier edition.

I don't think I ever said anything about wanted to be lashed (who would?); during the Tribulation, there's no telling what we who are determined to stay faithful to the Lord may have to endure.

If anyone [is marked] for captivity, he is going into captivity. If anyone [is marked] for death by the sword, by the sword [he must] be killed. Therefore endurance and faith [on the part] of [my] sanctified ones is [called for].
Revelation 13:10

[But in contrast to those who receive the mark of the beast and worship him], the saints have perseverance, [even] those who in this way (i.e., by refusing to receive the mark or worship the beast) keep God's commandments and [retain] their faith in Jesus (viz., even though it may cost them their lives).
Revelation 14:12

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hola Bob,

Family came out for the fourth and he made much enjoyed carnitas. I got something like a recipe out of him. Attaching a picture.

As a side note: I failed my first pre-trib practice test. Texas recently instituted public mask requirements based on an unconstitutional EO loosely written and strictly interpreted. It surprised me at my last grocery visit. I was tempted to turn around and come back home -- a 25 mile wasted trip. I had plenty of stores to get through the 30 day legal limit on EOs but decided, rather than waste the trip and, since it wasn't the Mark, to accept the free facial diaper and got my groceries. In hind sight, that didn't auger well for my strength of resolve.

You are in my prayers, Bob, and I hope all is well with you and yours.

In Jesus,

Response #2:

Thanks for the recipe!

On masks, I think you did the right thing. We have to distinguish between rightly refusing to do something God tells us NOT to do (as in taking the antichrist's mark) and things we just do not WANT to do for a variety of reasons which may be very good ones. In the latter case, annoying as it is, it probably falls into the category of income tax. An argument could be made that this is unconstitutional too and evil in the extreme (for all manner of reasons), and that no country which has one is truly free. But it is "the law" and it doesn't require us to do anything which God tells us not to do (Matt.22:21), so we pay it (Rom.13:7).

I have absolute confidence in you that you will prove stalwart to the end in the things that really count with the Lord.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Ah, Bob, thank you for your vote of confidence. I have to admit, though, when thinking about facing the Tribulation, I feel like a green recruit (frogs as we used to call them) facing his first deployment. Since I believe what I read in Revelation and the prophets, it makes the Vietnam adventure look like a Sunday afternoon walk in the park (with too many "pigeons".)

I think you're absolutely right -- there is no preparing for the Tribulation except spiritually and even that may not be enough in the time remaining. Your weekly email postings, however, continue to be a great help. You raise points to others I have not considered or spent much time thinking about. Thank you.

Yours in our Lord and Savior,

Thanks!

Response #3:

I appreciate the support and encouragement.

We do know that the Lord and His provision will be all sufficient for whatever we have to face. That is the thing to hold onto. We can all imagine easily enough all manner of things we don't think we could take. But, blessedly, we only have to be able to take what the Lord actually puts on our plate, and He is for us, not against us. As long as we are willing to let go of everything that is not really essential, we don't have anything to worry about. Except for being uncomfortable (as mentioned, that's one I personally have to work on).

Too hot to even think about cooking here in Louisville! But thanks for the carnitas addendum.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Dear Bob,

I spent quite a lot of time thinking about your last email and your comment about the Peloponnesian War sent me back to the woodshed. High school history and Well's "History of the World" isn't great prep for understanding the world as it was. The same nonsense we face to day has always existed -- except for a few things. AI being one (signs and lying wonders) and gene editing another.

Long ago, I gave up TV and dropped newspaper subscriptions. I still scan news online but the scans are getting quicker and I only pay attention to things that affect me or presage events to come. I find I'm happier for that. Leaving the world behind is a blessing.

Except for forgiveness, I have been reluctant to pray for me. But after three very disappointing gardening years, I prayed for help (foolish, maybe) -- and it came. I planted late but things are growing well. Prayer works. Plus, I believe under guidance of the Holy Spirit, I've begun to pay more attention to what thrives out here and what doesn't and I'm learning so much more than I ever thought I would at this time of life. This is completely unexpected.

On another note, I'm still not sure what the Lord expects of me, but, in light of my past failures at spreading the gospel, I decided to sit down, shut up and wait for guidance. It came not long ago. A neighbor was just recovering from surgery and her husband had been in ICU for a couple of weeks and she was in tears. All I said was, "The Lord tests us, but no more than we can bear." Those few words seemed to calm and reassure her. (My instinct would have been to rail against the medical cartel. I have a lot of old baggage to overcome.)

So, no real questions here. But I do want to thank you again for your patience and support -- and the links. You have so much material on your site I am amazed you can keep track of it all and apologize for asking questions you've answered many times before. I pray all is well with you and yours.

Yours in our Lord Jesus,

Response #4:

I'm pleased to hear that you're now praying for your own needs and concerns as well as those of others, my friend. I think it's good and appropriate to do so. The Lord's prayer does that too, after all.

I'm also very encouraged by your report about letting the Spirit do the guiding and beginning more and more to put aside the "itch" of this world. We can't fix it, on the one hand. And on the other hand, all evil liars will be cast into the lake of fire at the last judgment along with the father of lies. Only people who embrace Him who is the truth will be saved from that. Blessedly, you and I are in that number.

For you have upheld my right and my cause, sitting enthroned as the righteous judge. You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; you have blotted out their name for ever and ever. Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies, you have uprooted their cities; even the memory of them has perished.
Psalm 9:4-6 NIV

Bully for you that you've killed you TV set! I need something to engage me when I'm preparing and eating and digesting lunch and dinner, but I'd probably be better off not as well. Anyway, I have to do something to keep my blood pressure up. As I tell doctors who complain about my numbers, well, it's better to have blood pressure than not to have blood pressure.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:

[omitted]

Response #5:

"We're on the winning team after all thanks to our dear Lord Jesus." - Amen!

It's good to hear you so upbeat! So many are experiencing "Covid fatigue" from all the claustrophobic measures and disruption. Believers have the right to peace and joy in hope at all times.

(9) So there does remain a "Sabbath day's rest" for the people of God (i.e., continual peace as the Church Age's fulfillment of the 4th commandment). (10) For he who has entered into [God's] rest has himself ceased from his works just as God did from His own. (11) Let us therefore be eager to enter into that [continual and spiritual] rest, lest anyone fall [from grace] following the same pattern of disobedience [as the Exodus generation did].
Hebrews 4:9-11

Even hotter today and getting back to the jogging was difficult. Guess I'll have to be getting up even earlier now and for some time to come as the forecast is for it to get even hotter in the coming week ahead.

I changed your prayer request as directed – let me know if you'd like it further amended in any way.

Long week dealing with university issues and syllabi and classrooms and the like (and personnel issues too); the library still can't get (or get at) the books I need. But we endeavor to persevere.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hi Bob,

Your email made me think how the world is definitely getting more and more stupid every day and it's only going to get worse. It made me think again about how we're right in the middle of it all - surrounded by it but that we need to remind ourselves again to keep our eyes focused on the Lord and rest in Him in a rest of faith. Focusing on what is to come instead of being preoccupied with what is happening around us.

I've been reading some of BB 6A today about how the Lord has planned every single event in the history of the world and that He has made perfect provision for us. That He loves us more than we can even imagine or understand and that we know He is absolutely faithful so we can confidently affirm with the Psalmist, "The Lord is on my side, I will not fear. What can man do to me?" (Psalm 118:6).

That with the eyes of faith we know He is our Shepherd, the One who is always looking after us and protecting us. That He is next to us - even in us - at all times.

That we have hope which is focused on "tomorrow": we are looking forward to a kingdom not of this earth, to a body which will never be ill or experience pain, and to a reward that neither rust nor moth nor thievery can take away or destroy, that wonderful tomorrow when our Lord returns.

That's what I've been reading today, and I hope it's a blast of encouragement to you like it is to me.

Enjoy your 4th of July and the rest of your weekend!

In Jesus Christ our Lord

Response #6:

Thanks for your encouragement!

It really is all about keeping our eyes on Jesus.

I have kept the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be moved.
Psalm 16:8

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:21

(8) Though you have never laid eyes on Him, yet you love Him. And though you cannot see Him at this present time, yet you have faith in Him. For this reason you rejoice with an inexpressible joy that bespeaks the glorious future to come, (9) when you shall carry off in victory the ultimate prize – the deliverance (lit. "salvation") of your lives (i.e., personal salvation) – which is the very purpose and objective of this faith of yours.
1st Peter 1:8-9

For [Moses] grew strong by seeing the One who cannot be seen (i.e., by keeping his mind's eye on the invisible Jesus Christ).
Hebrews 11:27

(1) Since then we too [like the believers of chapter 11] have such a large audience of witnesses surrounding us [both men and angels], let us put off every hindrance – especially whatever sins habitually affect us – and run with endurance the race set before us, (2) turning our gaze unto Jesus, the originator and completer of our faith (cf. "Alpha and Omega"), who, for the joy set before Him, endured the shame of the cross, treating it with despite, and took His seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2

Hope you're having a restful weekend! Lots of fireworks to keep us up at night here (but to tell the truth I snore right through).

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Dear Teacher

Thank you for your very kind words and for keeping us in your prayers. It has been a hard three weeks and I still haven't even had time to grieve for my dad.

I wanted to check in with you and tell you that I'm hanging in there and the Lord has been good to us. Somehow, I have come through each day still headed in the right general direction, I think. I also wanted to ask how you have been doing. Have there been any new developments at the university?

Keeping you in our prayers

Your student in Jesus Christ

Response #7:

I knew this was going to be a difficult time for you, but I'm sorry that you haven't even been able to properly mourn your father through this all.

Things here haven't changed much, but nationwide the Covid cases are spiking and the insanity level with them, so I'm not sure about the fall. I've gotten all my syllabi and basic prep mostly done – way early for me. Best I can do is meet three out of four days in person, but that is much better than teaching online over the computer. However, it seems that the local K-12 school district is planning now to be remote for the start of the their term and that will put pressures on us to do the same. A lot of planning went into the university's approach for fall and I don't think they'll want to just pitch it out if that's not absolutely essential. For one thing, we're facing a huge budget shortfall, and I don't think that losing a third or a half of students (likely to happen if we go remote) is going to even be possible for them budget-wise. We'll see.

Thanks for checking in. I have been praying for you about this situation and will continue to do so. I'm very happy to hear that you are still pushing forward.

Thanks for your prayers too, my friend! Be careful about your health. These situations are more stressful than we sometimes realize at the time and that can take it's toll.

In Jesus Christ our Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Dear Professor

Thank you for your reply and your vote of confidence.

I am becoming more confident that we can rely on scripture meaning what it says, and being clearly understandable to a Bible reader seeking to know the truth. Beyond that, I confidently use your explanations at Ichthys where you cite scriptures that reveal truths.

In my simple response to my friend, I realised that if he reads them as they actually read in Revelation, then some of his beliefs based on the false formula of “ministry teachings/ combined with historian human teachings” (a great little combo for coming up with your own favorite beliefs apart from the Bible - some “ministries” make extensive use this tactic,), would not stand the truth test.

What was good is that I did not even challenge or debate him, just cited Revelation with a few very brief (2 or 3 words) explanation of the OBVIOUS. I do often pray that those who teach the truth will be vindicated and prosper, while those that peddle falsehood will be exposed in their teaching of lies. This is becoming ever more necessary as the times grow even more deceptive and evil.

It might be appropriate to save some of these as “modules” ( a term I picked up from our friend), for future quick reference and for any teaching opportunities that may come my way. I hadn’t realised that so few lines of scripture debunk so much of the falsehood being taught; yes, by some of those flash “ministry” websites.

Covid Australia: You notice we are doing well as far as deaths are concerned (108). Only 1 male in the 10-49 bracket, and 1 male and 1 female in the 50-59 bracket. Current cases in hospital is 0 in four states. Even the remainder reads much less than the yearly toll from the common flu (over 3 thousand deaths each year).

Victoria has had a spike in positive cases, resulting in a lockdown there and the closing of their borders. Some people have been caught fleeing from Victoria to NSW and Queensland, lying where they had come from (their trusty mobile phone records gave them away), and they were fined over $4,000 each. The government has now deployed the military to help enforce the lockdowns. What stands out (for me) in watching the news channel with it’s almost incessant coverage of this pandemic, is the very few deaths recorded from covid (no doubt somewhat due to the isolation measures), and the minor script at the bottom of the screen indicating house fire deaths, shark attack deaths, car fatalities, cliff deaths, mental health crises, jobless, etc which don’t get the same sensationalism as “the main game”. Suicides are mostly kept off the bottom bar, despite being amongst the biggest (in numbers and lower in age group categories ) killers.
The economy has got a necessary mention - mainly to say that the covid inspired debt will be with us for a very long time (perhaps read forever).

This is the devils world until the 2nd Advent, and even then, most people will long for their release from perfect rule (as you have explained in your email). In Australia some trials are carried out without a jury and in complete secret, that even families don’t know where their loved ones have disappeared to. The “greater good” is being done - no good comes from whistleblowers revealing the truth of a governments own illegal actions! Certainly no good for the disappeared truth teller! Or their grieving families. The government play the national security card (I read “nothing we want you to see here”). I find it “hard” to believe this country is doing these evil things. I only imagine it is to hide the doings of some high people.

It is tortuous hoping for things to get better under the present regime. Regime change has not worked because it doesn’t follow God. It is ultimately really about choosing the eternal regime one wishes to be part of - and there is only 2 to choose from.

Thank you for all your encouragement to draw near to God. May He bless you for your diligent Ministry in His Word.

In Jesus the One and Only Truth

Your student and friend

Response #8:

I do hope you are beginning to feel some better – and also taking it VERY easy until you're back to 100% (or close).

Thanks also for the Covid info. Pretty scary. We we're on the cusp of getting back to semi-normal here but the case numbers are spiking so everyone is panicking again. I just finally finished my syllabi for the fall and posted them. I sure hope that I can go ahead as planned and teach my 75% face to "mask", and not have to do the whole semester remote (as more and more schools and school districts are caving into that).

But no matter how scary and unpleasant things get, we know that the Lord is in control of everything, that not one single tiny little thing happens without His say so – and without having been foreordained in eternity past (as everything has been). One blessed application of those truths is that He has already made provision for our every need and for every circumstance we will face, no matter how dire. We may be surprised, but as to the troubles and every troublesome individual which/who opposes us, "The Lord laughs at him, for He sees his day is coming" (Ps.37:13 NKJV). When we're suffering, it's hard to laugh about it, but we do have a right to be at peace about it all, because we do know and believe that "the day is coming" when the entire world will be judged for its evil – but we will be rewarded for our steadfast following of Jesus Christ.

For He who avenges blood remembers; He does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.
Psalm 9:12 NIV

Keeping you and your family in my prayers.

In Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #9:

Dear Professor

I am feeling frustrated and a bit anxious. This cough/headache, and sometimes faintness is really wearing and irritating . I went to the doctor surgery on Monday and rang from the car park and was told to wait there or go home and a doctor would phone me. Being cold I went home expecting to be called in, but the doctor phoned and after listening to my explanation of symptoms said it doesn’t sound like pneumonia. Rather a viral infection, wait another week and if it doesn’t improve ring again. I was hoping for some antibiotics as it seems to me I might have a secondary infection caused by the virus. Work starts next week and I wanted it knocked on the head before then, however it seems about the same every day. I started taking some herbal pills yesterday to go with the paracetamol (which I had stopped taking) the doctor recommended. At least with the herbal pills and Vick’s chest rub I have managed some better sleep but still waking in the morning with headache and cough. I read Job yesterday and marvelled at his faith and persistence in trial. Puts things into stark contrast when I am so frustrated with just a flu/infection.

[omitted] I think that the pretrib is also a “sore” point between us. I feel lonely for fellowship. I have missed the few Bible fellowships due to this flu. It is easy to see how things could/will go pear shape in the Tribulation when physical/spiritual relationships are difficult to maintain now.
Then there is my immediate family where I could be doing much better. The nod towards God seems to be the position of those that believe. It seems that even a small reading of a verse of the day brings distraction talk. I am concerned no one seems to have their FIRST love correct. I can’t see people’s hearts but from what they spend their time on, it appears God is quite down the list. Perhaps people may have a close walk with God without doing the outward things such as Bible reading, formal prayer and study at a good teaching Ministry. Knowledge doesn’t equal deeds, but both are surely required to follow our Lord. I confess it is difficult to progress in relation to self, and even more difficult making correct decisions when it comes to others, especially teenagers. A hard road. There is not much fuzzy warm feel as the world would have it.
Take up one’s cross daily isn’t easy even now. I pray for grace and mercy to endure better than I am now. Jesus is demanding our complete devotion, despite our weaknesses. I can sense things getting much more difficult, requiring much greater faith. Like his early disciples I find myself asking “WHO then can be saved? Matthew 19:25-26. Very few can answer and ask as Peter did at Matthew 19:27. Only 12 receive the exclusive promise in Matthew 19:28. Our commitment needs to be TOTAL to receive eternal life. Matthew 19:29. To pass our tests we need faith which comes from hearing the word of Christ. Romans 10:17. (I am giving myself a pep talk while praying). I have some sadness as I view my family and pray for wisdom to help me/them desire Christ more than life itself.

Good to hear that you have completed your preparation for classes. I will keep you and your situation in prayer.

In praise of Him to whom every knee shall bow, our Lord Jesus.

Your student

Response #9:

I'm sorry to hear that the medicos were of no help to you. That is often my experience. If the diagnosis is difficult, the best I generally get is "you don't have XYZ" – which is good to know.

I do hope that if you're not up to snuff come next week that you won't be trying to do your job even so. I tend to go the wrong way on these sorts of things too so I know what I'm talking about. When a person is REALLY sick as you clearly are, there's nothing for it but to make the commitment to stay resting until one is actually healthy again. Sorry to preach.

It really is an odd time. Just learned that our local K-12 is probably going to have the kids "learn at home" (imagine me holding my sides as I laugh – and cry). Problem for all the parents is that there is no one to watch them unless they stay home from work. This will set the university in a tizzy. A good percentage of our employees have kids and they can't be bringing them to work all the time. Provost sent out an email to head off professors who as a result are now wanting to switch their semi-face to face classes to all online too. Given the fiscal cliff we're facing, without the prospect of falling on some decent enrollments, we could be for it. And if I were a student and learned that my half-remote schedule had just gone full remote, that would be the end of my patience (and tuition).

You're fighting a good fight, my friend, and you're providing a good witness for your friends and family. We have to fight off the tendency to get discouraged when those around us don't get the obvious – it's only obvious to us because we ARE walking closer to Jesus Christ day by day. It is still possible they will come around. Our job is to be strong and courageous in the fight until they do.

Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
Psalm 126:5 NKJV

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Galatians 6:9 NKJV

Praying for your swift and complete recovery.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #10:

My pleasure Bob! Please post. It's how I really feel! I see many things that most people of the world revere, I see them as snares now, snares from the enemy.

It is actually very freeing when you are not tied down by the things of this world. It is good to appreciate everything we have, while we have it but it is also good to know that when we no longer have these things, that we can carry on trusting God and giving Him praise. As believers, we all now have something so precious that dwarfs all the things of the world combined.

I realise that to be in this current place where I have little in worldly terms, is actually a blessing. I have noticed that many people go through life living with a "scarcity" viewpoint. They are jealously guarding what they have and enviously coveting what they don't have. I now see God's abundance. He will always provide and He will provide perfectly and abundantly even when we don't immediately recognise as such.

Now that I am recognising this abundance, it gives me joy and allows me to give to others first as I am already assured of my own abundance. I already have received the greatest gift of the universe, the greatest gift of all time for an eternity! How after receiving this free gift can I be selfish, jealous or envious about anything?

We already have the greatest blessing on earth, our salvation! Everything we receive in addition to this from our Father's hand, is blessing upon blessing!

I want others to have this free gift too. By sharing the joy and love I have abundantly, people will see that although I have nothing, I also have everything, I have all that I need and truly want for nothing. This is a very powerful witness, that my God is the true God and that Jesus Christ truly saves. That this wonderful free gift from God through Jesus Christ is available to anybody, no matter who or where they find themselves, they only have to say yes!

In Jesus, in whom we already have everything,

Response #10:

Terrific! And thank you for this wonderful, godly perspective of trusting in Him the Giver and not in things, all ultimately given by Him.

I posted it yesterday.

Thanks for your willingness to share. This will be a great help to many to help put things into the right spiritual perspective (it certainly is to me!).

In Jesus the Gift of gifts.

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hi Bob,

I am so sorry! I thought I wrote to you but I can’t find where I did. The hearing was July 2 and he didn’t show up. I was hoping he wouldn’t. He emailed the judge and told him that he was going to be out of town the whole month of July, and he has been gone (yay!), and wanted it postponed until he gets back at the end of the month. The judge wasn’t buying that as an excuse and he denied his request and had the hearing without him. Long story short, the judge was upset that nothing had been done on the part of the owner/landlord, property management company and the police. He granted me the order with the broadest definition of harassment so it will be easier for the police to act on it. He will be served when he gets back and the property management company already has a copy for their file. I am praying that this is the end of it and when he does get home that he will move. I was told by a civilian that works in law enforcement that because he has had prior trouble (domestic violence, DUI, reckless driving, breaking a different no contact order and some other things) if he is arrested for breaking the order, it will be a felony. At this point I don’t want him to be on his “best behavior”, I just want him gone. It has been so nice without him here and it feels like a load has been lifted for us.

The Lord also brought to an end all the major working being done on the house. That and the neighbor thing all within 5 days of each other. PRAISE THE LORD!! Both “tests” started at the same time and it looks like they are finishing at the same time. Boy, it’s been a tough go but it was worth it. There were days I don’t think I was going to make it through for sure. One thing after another. Like I said earlier, it feels like a load has been lifted and we have had peace and we’re enjoying our house and the neighbor being gone. We can really feel the love of the Lord and the prayers of all our faithful friends, like you!, who have been with us through all of this. We can’t thank you enough and everyone of our brothers and sisters on the Ichthys site who are praying for us. We’re not completely out of the water, so we ask for continued prayers.

I hope you and yours are doing well and still safe from the craziness that is going on. Mom and I are still doing good. Our governor is threatening jail for people who open their business or if individual folks don’t heed his unconstitutional mandates. No riots in our town.

Thanks again for your prayers!

In Him,

Response #11:

Thanks!

You had shared some of this, but I appreciate the recent update!

I'm thrilled to hear that the house is done, the legal wrangling went as well as could have been expected, and that you have a bit of respite.

We'll keep praying that this continues to go well.

In Jesus our hope.

Bob L.

Question #12:

They were purchased from among men and offered as first fruits to GOD and the LAMB.
Revelation 14:4

Who is it that purchased these 144,000 men? And gave them to GOD and the LAMB?

Thanks,

Response #12:

Good to make your acquaintance.

First, the correct translation of Revelation 14:4b helps:

"These are they who were purchased first from among men for God [the Father] and for the Lamb."
Revelation 14:4b

The 144,000 are "purchased" or "redeemed" in the same way we all are, by the blood of Christ, the "coin of the heavenly realm" which alone can purchase a life from damnation (Ps.49:8-9; Matt.16:26). Here, however, the redemption also has to do with their martyrdom. They are "redeemed" from the earth first, and the rest of the martyrs of the Great Persecution follow after (see the link).

God is the ultimate Agent of these actions. However, when verbs are in the passive voice like this, they don't necessarily have an agent but work more as impersonals – as for example when we say "It's raining", there is no actual "it". This passage is saying that the 144,000 are the first martyrs, and that this is a glory to the Father and to the Lamb. If we wanted to swap this around and turn the passive into an active voice, we would get something like: "The Father and the Lamb redeemed them for themselves first". That is what it means.

In Jesus our hope.

Bob Luginbill

Question #13:

Hello Dr.,

In your DropBox you should find the following:

The Pastor Teacher pt.1

The Pastor Teacher pt.2


Doing well here and keeping busy as usual. Yesterdays posting at Ichthys pretty much covered just about everything that has been on my mind this last week, seems many of us are thinking along the same lines. When people ask me where I go to Church my response usually gets a strange look from them sometimes accompanied by the “you need fellowship” statement. However, I get a wonderful sense of fellowship just knowing that there others out there in the world that share the same perspective. I get more out of a weekend posting at Ichthys than I ever got out of a year of Sundays sitting in a pew. Thanks for all your hard work and sacrifice for our Lords flock, this is one sheep who appreciates it immensely!

How are you Sir? This heat we have been experiencing makes everything harder, I couldn’t imagine trying to run in it. I got up and walked the dog at 3:30 this morning and it was 77 degrees and nearly 90% humidity, I have too much Yankee blood in me for that, give me a mild Spring and Fall and I’m one happy dude! I ordered your book “Thucydides on War and National Character”, looking forward to getting into it. If book royalties are anything like music royalties you probably need to sell quite a bit just to be able to afford lunch from the dollar menu at McDonalds.

All the best!

Rev. 22:20

Response #13:

As always, I thank you for your great work on this my friend! It's all up and tested.

3:30!!! I only ever got up THAT early at OCS (and only because the corporal threw a garbage can down the middle of the squad bay and started hollering at the top of his lungs). I'm afraid the sun is at least one hand high in the sky by the time I get out there – and I'm still pretty much asleep when I hit the last big hill.

Thanks for buying my book! Yes, non-fiction titles never sell very much unless they are written by celebrities. A friend of mine from college and the USMC wrote a great little book on Napoleon. His enthusiastic comment to me, "It's sold dozens of copies!" Multiply that by ¢.037 and you get the idea. Of course my second book hasn't even made me a plugged nickel (but at least I got the rights back on the one you bought). Still, I did get tenure and promotion later to full professor, so complaining is not appropriate. Did I say "thank you!"?

Thanks also for your input on what real "church" is. Guess the "faithful" aren't even getting that nowadays for the most part since churches are mostly closed. Not a great loss, in my experience.

In Jesus our hope.

Bob L.

Question #14:

I think the combination of protests and Antifa have been waiting for an opportunity to strike. The new wave of jump on the band wagon by business and corp. are afraid of back lash from the media. Thus a beast is being formed. Attack the beast and you could lose your job. But the beast must be feed. Once it has devoured all it can, it will turn on itself. One way or another, the beast must be fed.

Response #14:

Well, I understand that the Ozarks are pretty remote, so I hope you're only having to deal with this through news reports.

Hope you're doing well!

In Jesus our hope.

Bob L.

Question #15:

Thanks sir for the reply. The study of the word and your teaching helps prepare for what’s now and coming.

Not caught off guard, focused on the Prize .

Response #15:

That's absolutely right!

As we have the time and the opportunity, we surely ought to use both in a godly way – before night falls and work is impossible (Jn.9:4).

In Jesus our dear Savior.

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hello Bob,

How are you doing? I hope you are staying healthy and that you have all you need during these tumultuous times.

Our country is going through a lot right now, as is the world, and I am both perplexed and yet confident in the knowledge that God is working out His plan before our eyes. Sometimes it can feel as though there isn't any time left before the commencement of the tribulation, and then other times it just feels like a slow boil.

Reading in Amos this morning I was struck by the similarities I see between our society and Israel at the time. It was another reminder that it really is man's cycle to eventually self-destruct apart from God. Greed, injustice, selfishness, it has all happened and will happen again until Jesus returns. Then we'll get a decent break, haha. Praise God for that.

Anyways, God bless you sir! Take care!

Respectfully,

Response #16:

Good to hear from you, my friend!

Hope you are doing well. You can read all about the "trials and tribulations" in recent email postings (the last dozen or so "Eschatology Issues" emails - link is to the last previous posting, #43, if you haven't seen it yet).

Yes, God has it all in hand. While we would certainly wish for these last 6-7 years to be restful, peaceful and prosperous, sometimes it's true that we get more done when the pressure is on. To the extent that the current double unpleasantness and reactions from on high causes believers who are positive to become red hot in the midst of our lukewarm era, to that extent we should praise the Lord for the trouble (even though we are not enjoying the disruptions). And to the extent that all "this" shakes rapture-think believers out of their complacency founded on that false doctrine, that is also all to the good.

We are certainly being reminded in experience of what we know in principle, namely, that nothing in this world is secure. Everything the eye sees can be overthrown in an instant. No fortress is strong enough, no wealth sufficient, no worldly wisdom clever enough to ward off the forces of evil once they are set in virulent motion. But believers need not worry about any such thing – as long as they/we are stayed upon the Lord and not upon the things of this world.

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."
Isaiah 43:2 NIV

As mentioned often in recent emails, we can't do anything for our country (whichever one we are talking about – there are Ichthys readers around the globe) . . . except to be "salt" for it, believers for whom the Lord has regard because of our spiritual progress and on whose account our country is blessed "by association" (see the link). That is an awesome responsibility when you think about it. So in terms of getting prepared for what is coming, it's not just about us personally, but about all for whom we care.

Good comments about the human race being naturally inclined to self-destruct without divine restraint. That restraint will be lifted during the Tribulation when the Holy Spirit's ministry of restraining is removed, and then the lawlessness we see will really run amok. There is a great deal about all of this in CT 3A: The Tribulation Begins: The First Half of the Tribulation: (rereading it now myself).

And yes indeed, we do look forward to our Lord's return for many reasons, and the judgment He will parcel out before, during and after are a big part of that anticipation. We will cheer every judgment during the Tribulation – because they are meant for those who are evil and not for us.

Every stroke the LORD lays on them with his punishing club will be to the music of timbrels and harps, as he fights them in battle with the blows of his arm.
Isaiah 30:32 NIV

Those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Isaiah 51:11 NIV

In Jesus Christ our Savior.

Bob L.

Question #17:

Thanks Bob, I appreciate the encouraging words and the reminder to think about helping those around us in the ways that matter, by being salt. It's so easy to be consumed by the politics or opinions of the world and think that we need to point people in the best direction in those areas, but they are all leading nowhere if not founded on Christ. Praying for you and the rest of the church body, I know God will provide as He knows best for all of us. It's always good to hear from you, and thank you for the quick reply!

Respectfully,

Response #17:

Thank you!

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hi Bob,

Ok thanks for the insight. Reading aloud in the ancient world is a great point. Does this mean that translators pick and choose when to capitalize He or he when it would be an interpretation to do so. For example in Isaiah 53, the translators decide to capitalize the pronoun he into He for good reason -- obviously it is referring to the Messiah. But the translators from the NASB are making this Messianic connection and then making the decision to capitalize the pronoun?

Isaiah 53:2 (NASB)
2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

I'm asking a fairly long and involved question here. Please do not rush in answering.

I was reading some random internet on the millennial day theory and ran across a few passages that a website used to support it that I would like to talk to you about. By the way, of the searching I did there was only one website even halfway close to the truth but they had a pre-trib rapture view.

1) Luke 13:32 (NASB)
32 And He said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal.’

Is there a millennial day evidence with this verse? It could possibly be that our Lord is referring to spiritual warfare during the Church age and then our Lord reaches His "goal" (i.e the fulfillment of the bride). The thing that wouldn't "fit" is the demon comment. We know that after the apostleship that this power left the Church.

In https://ichthys.com/mail-Communion-Spiritual-Death-of-Christ.htm (response #9), you said, "So I take the third day to refer to the cross and His completion of His work, with the preceding days indicating the time between these words and that event." I'm not sure what you are saying here with your interpretation. Can you provide some additional color on this one.

Response #18:

Capitalization is an English thing, so it most definitely IS interpretation. But not capitalizing is a choice too. Generally speaking, different translations have a style they attempt to follow on this issue throughout the Bible (though few are 100% consistent). If we are talking about God, the tendency is to capitalize pronouns, but not necessarily all of them (e.g., I don't even capitalize relative pronouns like "who" and "whom" and "whose"). So you are correct about what NASB is doing – I do the same thing where Christ is definitely in view. Also, the convention for many translations in the OT is to render the tetragrammaton (YHVH) as LORD (all caps); I use "Lord" myself; Hebrew also uses 'adonai for the Lord and versions use "Lord" (not all caps) for that, but we are talking about one and the same Lord in both cases so . . .

1) Luke 13:32: This is talking about Christ, so I don't find millennial days as part of the interpretation; if someone teaching the passage wanted to bring that in as an analogy, I wouldn't have a problem with that. This passage is about Christ's "end", His "goal", and that clearly is the cross and resurrection thereafter. This incident happened just before the final journey to Jerusalem, so this seems to me to be a valid way to lay out the future: 1) today; 3) the cross; 2) the relatively short time in between.

Question #19:

2) John 4:39-43 (NASB) 39 From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 Many more believed because of His word; 42 and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.” 43 After the two days He went forth from there into Galilee.

So here we have our Lord giving the gospel to the non-Jews for two days and receiving an overwhelming response that puts the contemporary Jews to shame. Interestingly He stays there two days and then goes back to the territory where He interacts almost exclusively with the Jews.

3) John 2:6-10 (NASB) Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each. 7 Jesus *said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” So they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He *said to them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it to him. 9 When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter *called the bridegroom, 10 and *said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.”

So we have 6 empty waterpots that are later filled to the brim with exquisite wine by our Lord's supernatural power and not human. Could this bespoke our Lord's temporary absence from humans for 6 thousand years (emptiness) to our Lord's glorious return and His millennial kingdom restoring and replacing all that was lost.

Response #19:

2/3) John 4:39-43 and John 2:6-10: I don't find anything particularly significant about these numbers in terms of the interpretation. Again, if someone teaching the passage wanted to bring that in as an analogy, I wouldn't have a problem with that – as long as they weren't saying "this is what it MEANS". Generally speaking, "numerology" has gotten a lot of otherwise sound exegetes into trouble in their teaching (but see the link: "153 Fish"). More often than not, unless scripture makes a specific point about the numbers, we shouldn't either. We can use them as a point of departure, but it's important not to give those listening to us the idea that the numbers in the Bible always have some "magic" significance. If unsure, I would err on the side of "nothing to see here".

Question #20:

4) Exodus 19:10-11 (NASB) 10 The Lord also said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments; 11 and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.

The problem with this verse as evidence is the involvement of Moses and the consecration. Also, there has been no consecration of the Jewish people during the Church age.

An issue I have with these four verses is that they are not slam dunk verses and that could dilute the really good millennial day evidence for a brother or sister who is just beginning to learn about the theory. Also, if they are just not plain related then they are not correct in arguing for this interpretation.

In our Lord and Savior,

Response #20:

Exodus 19:10-11: If I were going to make anything of this, it would have to do with the cross and resurrection, not the millennia of the Church Age and what follows.

"An issue I have with these four verses is that they are not slam dunk verses and that could dilute the really good millennial day evidence for a brother or sister who is just beginning to learn about the theory." Amen! Right on! Except . . . it's not a "theory" – it's a biblical teaching.

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #21:

Dear Prof, how are you sir. Trusting the Lord for you that He is keeping you and will keep you in every aspect including your job. I see the Lord is helping you to keep up the good work you are doing. Everyday it just seems more and more that your work on Ichthys is priceless what with the emails too. I keep learning and growing.

I also keep getting engaged with people especially in the area of eschatology. One pastor on learning that I had an "idea"of the book of Revelation asked me to explain the 144,000. This was child's play for me as I have gotten very conversant with Coming Tribulation series and the scriptures bcos of my interest and the type of inquiry I often get. After talking with him, he said I should schedule to teach his church but I told him I would like him to have understanding of it himself before then. Apparently he does not want to take up the mantle himself.

My pastor and I discuss a lot and he is using a lot of my language in the church, but not the scriptures which I offered to discuss with him but is not yet ready. I had to tell him though that if he is believing due to fear it will not last but if it is a result of deep understanding of the scriptures it cannot be taken away by any circumstance. (Luke 10:42 NLT: "There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.")

My daughter's friend who had been staying with us for the entire 3 months of lockdown went back home last week after interstate travel was permitted. We had gone through the whole book of Revelation with all my children using Ichthys CT. On getting home, she challenged her father on pretrib in a very tense situation (he is a pastor in a solidly Pretrib setting). At a stage in the confrontation, the man went mute and then agreed with her. He then called me to tell me exactly what transpired, thanked me for what I did for his daughter and told me to please send materials to him. That he cannot afford not to be prepared for the coming tribulation! He told me his daughter is a different person and that it is clear that his teachers who taught him pretrib were also deceived! I was really elated and I want to thank you for the influence of your ministry on me and the ripple effects. I pray that I will finish my testimony on this earth before departing (Psa 73:24-26 is a watchword for me)

Sir I do have a problem, I don't feel the least inclined to study languages like Greek or
Hebrew. In my studying I have come to learn from you some of your translations that help me to understand scriptures better and do some explaining of some scriptures better. but I feel it's too difficult for me at this my age and the little time to start classroom learning of the languages. Also I'm still studying ichthys and because of the confidence I have in your teachings I find myself rereading and rereading a lot of the materials (which, thank God, I grasp quickly). But each time I do that I still get something new despite having reread them before. Some of us need to read stuff many times before being grounded in them. Your counsel sir?

Ichthys is my school and I keep giving thanks to the Lord for you. Many things that I have learnt and taken for granted still makes people amazed when I share with them. Actually I think that shows the paucity of the truth all over the place. I say again sir that I am privileged but with great privilege comes great responsibility!

Of course you are familiar with our friend's situation. He has some fiery family, but who does not have?! It is more the rule than the exception. We've been praying for the wisdom of God for him. I try to encourage him. That guy has been a gem to me.

Hear that some militia groups are coming to invade Louisville. Please stay safe. We will be praying for you and your loved ones protection, just as we have been praying concerning Ichthys ministry.

In your last mail, you talked about some people here in Nigeria that needed help. Though I'm also "managing" myself I still requested that you put me in touch. I might share a little of the little I have when I have. I have not heard from you about that.

Prof, I just wanted to update you and probably (if possible) encourage you. Once again thank you for the hard work you put into Ichthys. The Lord renew your strength in Jesus name, Amen.

In Christ whose grace is sufficient.

Your friend, student and brother

Response #21:

Good to hear from you, my friend, and thanks so much for the very encouraging email! It's always great to hear when my brothers and sisters in Christ are being given visible and positive results to their efforts in the Lord.

[contact info omitted]

As to Greek and Hebrew, I wouldn't worry about it too much. Not to say that the languages are not important (they are very important), but it's certainly possible to get everything "gettable" out of Ichthys without knowing a word of either (or Aramaic too, of course). Doing independent study as a pastor-teacher, having to rely on other people's translations is a limitation, but even there that doesn't have to be a "no-go" impediment. It's also true that having some knowledge of the languages but not a true mastery of them (which takes a long time and a lot of consistent effort) sometimes leads to false confidence and doctrinal error (I've seen that more than once as well).

Thanks for your prayers. What happened here was a little concerning but the Lord kept everything under control for us. First, one of the militia members accidentally shot three others of his group (that put a damper on things); then, the Lord unleashed a massive and long-lasting thunderstorm right about the time that nightly marches get unruly. Things are peaceful at the moment.

I appreciate the update, my friend – and it was MOST encouraging! Thank you!

In Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #22:

Hello!

Yes, sorry about the mask analogy. ha. But at least the mask I was referring to was giving oxygen!

Speaking of masks, I tried to find your stance on all of this mask mandate business. Indiana governor just mandated it for our state on Monday.

I don't think wearing a mask in public spaces is the "mark" but I can't help but feel the mandates, compliance, social shaming, are conditioning us for things to come. Due to my recent medical issues, I really cannot wear a mask. It triggers a panic attack in me and I have to leave. Honestly, just seeing the masked masses out and about triggers me, too. People have been so nasty in public since I don't wear a mask. It makes me not want to leave the house.

If I absolutely had to, I bet I could do a super lightweight scarf that I could pull up temporarily. Or a mesh/cheesecloth non-clingy mask. But should I comply? Is it wrong to not follow the pack? (especially since it's an unconstitutional mandate, right?) I've even seen theories on face coverings as being part of occult rituals. Some believe we're actively playing a part in a huge ritual of submission. Yikes! Just wondering your thoughts on all of this.

Thank you! Your friend and student,

Response #22:

You're most welcome – glad to be able to help.

I don't find anything in the Bible to suggest that wearing a mask is a problem. It's certainly annoying. If you have medical reasons for not being able to do it, I wouldn't recommend it. Otherwise, in my view of things, Christians should comply with the law, even when it is ridiculous or onerous – as long as that doesn't cause us to do something against the Lord's will or stop us from doing something that is the Lord's will. I don't see that here. Of course we could protest – but now we are playing the devil's game of politics and making an issue of something that is not a biblical issue.

Seems like there ought to be some sort of work-around for those who can't wear masks – like a green sash that says "medical exemption". Maybe you could start a trend!

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus.

Question #23:

If I may, I have one more question to do with government and complying. What about a vaccine? I have many friends whose children (or they themselves) have had adverse reactions to vaccines. It prompted me to start researching a couple years ago (before I was following Jesus). Back then it seemed physically dangerous for some. And now as a Christian, I have a few more red flags. aborted fetal cells as an ingredient, mRNA vaccines able to re-write DNA, etc.

Hmmm.

Thank you for your time in helping me navigate all of this for my family and I!

In Christ,

Response #23:

My pleasure.

Well, I probably don't have to tell you that plenty of folks are concerned about vaccines, and especially something that is brand new and without a track record. That's a legitimate concern, in my opinion. But no one is making getting vaccinated mandatory – not yet, at least. In fact, from what I'm hearing, the big "problem" will be "who gets it first?" because so many want it. They can have my place in line.

When it comes to children, most public school districts require childhood disease vaccinations be current (always make sure never to misplace your child's "shot card"!). If a parent is really unwilling to have a child vaccinated (children handle this stuff better than adults and oldsters – I got my share as a kid and you probably did too and we survived), then there are alternatives after all (private school, home schooling – lots more options for both nowadays). As far as a vaccine for the current bug is concerned, I'd be really surprised if anyone tried to make that mandatory. I think my university offers a good parallel here. When they were coming out with the new Covid guidelines for fall, they said that flu shots would be mandatory – but they did allow exceptions for medical and also for religious reasons. Even so, that trial balloon was shot down quick. Now they are "highly recommended". Given the potential problems with a Covid vaccine – and there may be a large number of different vaccines all with different issues – just the lawsuits alone over mandatory vaccination would incur massively prohibitive cost and effort. And then if anyone died as a result...

So I don't rule out that this is a possibility down the road. However, I also try not to deal with hypotheticals. It's very easy to imagine this or that situation where we would be "in the soup". But in my experience – and reading of scripture – God always delivers us, whether "out of the soup" or "from getting into the soup" in the first place. So what we do not have to do is to worry about things that aren't even on our doorstep yet. I'm not firmly against preparation (I'm especially for spiritual preparation), but when it comes to things over which we largely have no control and against which there is no reasonable preparation we might make ahead of time, I have found that it is much better just to leave all this in God's hands.

Cast your burden on the LORD,
And He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
Psalm 55:22 NKJV

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

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Question #24:

Thanks! You always know how to guide me back to Peace through His Word.

I am copying and pasting your responses to my Notes app so I can access it quickly. I also just added to my Notes your old email response about not being fearful re: Tribulation and what my family and I might face. See a pattern here? Ha. Fear is a nagging liar! Yes, you may post this!

The buzz in Indiana this week is Gov Holcomb started the state mask mandate Monday but then he was at an indoor IHSAA sports banquet Monday night, giving the speech and posing for photos (all without mask). The photos/caption/date on the IHSAA Twitter page confirm the date. People are losing it. The people scared of the virus are mad because the governor is setting this example and breaking his own mandate. The “woke” people are telling everyone to wake up, it’s all a hoax. Ha. That’s what’s happening over here in the Hoosier state. Confusion, fear & anger seem to be the themes of Covid/2020.

Thank you again for taking the time to respond to my inquiry about vaccines. I am very skilled at worrying about hypotheticals.

Your friend in Christ,

Response #24:

It's not just you, my friend! If worrying were not a common human problem, a bad habit which believers need to kick (that's a tough lift – getting it under control is a good start), then there wouldn't be so much in scripture about not doing it – it's the polar opposite of trusting in the Lord to deliver us, after all.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
Matthew 6:34 NKJV

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:6 NKJV

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened." (Is.8:12)
1st Peter 3:14 NIV

So we may boldly say:
“The LORD is my helper;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
Hebrews 13:6 NKJV

From what I hear from all sources, things are equally messed up all over. The current unpleasantness is two-headed and the consequences stemming from the reactions to both are producing troubles at least equally to (and to my mind, far beyond) the original problems. Learning to see ourselves as temporary sojourners here for whom none of this is really important is a critical skill for believers to be able to cope, especially in difficult times such as this (and even more so during the Tribulation). We came into this world with nothing and that is how we will leave it. We might be sickened, impoverished or even killed – but that can only be done to us once. We are going to be packing up our tent and moving on soon enough whatever we personally experience (a little more than a dozen years at the outside, if calculations be correct). And we are not here for ourselves in any case – far less for the things we may possess or the places in which we currently dwell. We are here for Jesus Christ. And He honors those who honor Him (1Sam.2:30).

When I am afraid, I will trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust;
I will not be afraid.
What can mortal man do to me?
Psalm 56:3-4 NIV1984

The LORD is on my side;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
Psalm 118:6 NKJV

Thanks for your willingness to share!

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hi Bob,

Hope you’re coping and are well. I want to study Romans and can’t find a good online study. Any suggestions? I tried Doug Moo’s site on Biblical Learning but it seems to be directed at pastors and is a bit beyond me.

Appreciate any advice.

Regards,

Response #25:

I'm pleased to recommend "Bible Academy".

Link is to the Romans series in 75 lessons.

Pastor-teacher Omo is an old friend and fellow seminarian from many years ago.

I highly recommend him and his studies!

In Jesus our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #26:

Thanks Bob. Will do.

You always reply so quickly and I know how busy you are!!

Response #26:

You're most welcome!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Dear Bob,

I'm having trouble reconciling the vial judgments described in Revelation with the Olivet Prophecy in which one of two in the field will be taken and one of two women grinding will be taken. Also, "...eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage..." as in the days of Noah seems like normal life. The Olivet Prophecy and the vial woes seem diametrically opposite.

What am I missing?

Also of current note, I read an headline that Boston Dynamics has developed a robot that can do gymnastics. Other news has described how other robots speech is indistinguishable from a normal human. That got me to thinking again about the "Abomination of Desolation." I can now see how an image can be set up in the Holy Place, be made to speak and even, if necessary, be made to move about. In fact, those images (or robots) could be set up worldwide and with current efforts to deploy 5G satellites for world coverage completed, the robots could be made to say and do the same things at the same time worldwide.

I also now see the connection with Nebuchadnezzar's image (golden disk?) and the Abomination. I think that scripture is there as a warning for us in the near future.

Thanks.

Yours in our Lord Jesus,

Response #27:

Just as "normal life" in terms of essentials is continuing today during the current unpleasantness, so during the Tribulation social and economic activities will not completely stop. The "one taken" is the believer being resurrected; the "one left behind" is the unbeliever not resurrected. So the parallel is perfect because unbelievers in Noah's day and on the verge of the second advent were and will be caught completely by surprise in both cases. Destruction will fall on them at the second advent as well – if they have taken the mark or if they are participating in the Armageddon campaign (this will include most of the world outside of believers).

Thanks for the report (got this one from a old USMC buddy: https://boingboing.net/2020/07/27/japanese-engineers-built-a-60.html). Technology is quickly eliminating all of the "it can't happen yet because . . . " objections to the Tribulation as imminent. To the extent this leads believers to become alert, that is good. That is the kind of "woke" the world really needs right now.

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #28:

Dear Professor

Many thanks for your kind reply.

Working parents of school kids left at home is quite a problem no matter what country.
I overheard on the radio the president of a country (perhaps Brazil) that the close down of the economy will kill more than covid. And don’t we know it. Places like in South Africa are behind the eight ball as corruption and neglect have ensured hospital infrastructure is crumbling even before covid hit. Many doctors, nurses and cleaners have abandoned hospitals to the rats and mice (disgusting scenes on TV).

Not making full use of this world. I knew I had seen this somewhere and came across it again at CT 3A II. The Great Apostasy 2. The Situation of the Church and “church-visible” on the Eve of the tribulation: b. The Vulnerability of lukewarm Believers (The Problem of Complacency) 5) A Good Christian should be making the most of every opportunity for Christ: NOT making full use of this world:

“ And those who use this world [should] not [be] as those who make full use of it. For the [present] form of this world is passing away.”
1st Corinthians 7:31

This is the scripture I was referring to when commenting that a lot of these decisions seemed to have been foisted upon me, and not all of my own choice, but the way things have worked out over many years that prevents me using this world anywhere near I had planned. A lot of frustrations and unfulfilled plans that makes this obvious, that even the enjoyment I anticipated from my efforts will now never be realised. After all the set backs and challenges, I am past it now physically. I enjoy physical work but the delays have meant I will never realise what I first shifted here to achieve. Rather barely keeping it together and seeking wisdom how to proceed.

My immediate concern is that if I do not go back to work next week, is that will likely be the demise of my job - I am casual - no work, no pay. Someone has to be found so that being the case I may find I am out in the cold. Had the doctor seen me last week I would have been able to plan things a bit better. Thanks to COVID-19 they did not see me. Many people are falling through the holes associated with this cv19 panic. Managed a somewhat better sleep last night and back on the road this morning.

Covid clip I heard yesterday on TV was that if you enter ICU with covid in Australia you have an 80% chance of survival; in the UK a 60% chance; in the USA a 30% chance. Statistics can be misleading but that was the report. In Australia, a few more have died since I sent the chart, including a woman over 100 years old and one each in their 90’s and 80’s. Due to the new outbreaks, the schools have closed for face to face classes in Victoria, though we in the West are business as usual (at the present).

How different my holiday plans have worked out. Thought of a week up north in the warm for a week and instead ended up spending it all laid up at home. Ah, the plans of mice and men! (Again not making full use of the world - but not by choice). I also had ideas of catching up with family and contacting some old Mormon friends to check out the lay of the land (hearts), to see if there was room for more truth.

Frustrated all round, but praise our Lord for His mercies, even when it seems to us it would have been better being in good health to spread His Word. I wanted to make face to face contact, despite the danger of visual shock of aged bodies after so much elapsed time.

Enjoyed reading your latest emails from your correspondents around the world. I am grateful for everyone’s perspective and insight and for your replies to them. How nice of the chap to offer to put you out of debt!

Always grateful for your gracious Ministry of truth. Keeping you in prayer.

In Christ Jesus our dear Lord and Savior

Your student

Response #28:

I always appreciate your perspective, my friend. Things can get pretty insular here in the states.

I'm sorry to hear that you had to get back on the job before you probably should have. I'll be keeping you in my prayers on this. Too bad my correspondent isn't a multi-millionaire (didn't have the heart to tell him he'd have to be to retire THIS debt and not have it hurt like blazes) – if he were, I'd send him your way too!

But even if we/you/I had a nice vacation home in XYZ and could comfortably retire and "kick back" as we say over here, for how long would/could that continue? Just had an email about a colleague with 40+ years at the university who retired in April – and died in July! How often that happens! "Kicking back" often results in "kicking the bucket" right soon.

In any case, even if we were granted a few years after that mythical event of our ship coming in, we know very well that there aren't that many years left. Once the Tribulation begins, I doubt anyone will be having much of a "good time" regardless of their economic and leisure situation (or lack thereof). Indeed. How many people are really enjoying things now? With all the rancor and the riots and mask wearing and the shutting down of everything people consider "fun" – even after it was tentatively opened – the dew is off the lily. During the Tribulation, even multi-millionaires at leisure are likely to be very unhappy . . . unless they are walking closely with Jesus Christ (and that is rare: Matt.19:24). And if we ARE walking with Jesus Christ, then we can be happy and satisfied even with a very little.

A little that a righteous man has
Is better than the riches of many wicked.
Psalm 37:16 NKJV

Better is a little with the fear of the LORD,
Than great treasure with trouble.
Proverbs 15:16 NKJV

Yes, better to be able to say with Paul – one of the greatest believers who ever lived and a man who never had much more than the clothes on his back . . .

(12) I know how to handle humiliation; I also know how to handle prosperity. I have learned by experience in each and every way how to handle being abundantly provided for and being impoverished, being in prosperity and being in a state of deprivation. (13) I have the strength to endure all [extremes] in the One who empowers me to do so.
Philippians 4:12-13

Paul's "prosperity" was having food and clothing (1Tim.6:8) and a roof over his head for the night without trouble. Those of us who have that abundantly along with the opportunity to continue our spiritual advance daily should definitely be counting our blessings.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5 NIV

In Jesus Christ who has indeed never left us in the lurch one time.

Bob L.

Question #29:

Dear Professor

Thank you for your explanations.

We are not in debt, so compared to you we seem to be going quite nicely at the present. Compared to Paul, we are living in absolute luxury. Of course, things could change quite rapidly, especially with covid 19; and anything else, accidental or engineered, around the bend. Having assets that have already reverted to bargain basement prices (if one could sell them at all) we wouldn’t be able to service the running costs very long if I lost my job. I have already considered that during the Tribulation, perhaps even early on, everything might be taken away, so I am mentally and spiritually preparing, knowing that everything is just dust, if not for Christ.

Believers and Non Believers

This morning I was thinking about this during prayer time.
1. I take it that the scribes and Pharisees were not real believers.
2. They had the scriptures and read them.
3. Believed in a heavenly king.
4. Believed a bit, or a lot, off the mark. (John 8:41) [claiming belief]
5. Rejected God and His Son Jesus, manifest in the flesh, as their Savior.
6. How is this much different to other believers today who “believe”?
7. You have explained that not all church goers or even those who say they are believers, are in fact believers. (Just a fraction may be).
8. Then, thinking of say, pretribbers. They believe, but what? What are they believing in? The Bible? Certainly not.
9. People do not have any more excuse than the Pharisees, for not believing what is written.
10. If we say that people who believe in clearly contradictory doctrine are not really believers at all, then it is really scary to think that of those who really believe in the truth, one third will apostatise in the Tribulation. (For lack of diligent preparation and application). This is kind of the bare bones of what I was thinking; then how to develop it into a “module” should a teaching opportunity arise; but I want to get it right.
11. Jesus had those who stopped following Him when they heard the hard sayings. (John 6:60)
Those same hard sayings are in the Bible for all to read, but today many “believers” do not believe them, even though they are repeated so many times and in many ways, so as you can not mistake them (pretrib comes to mind again), unless you are really not interested in the truth (non-believer). (Matt. 16:24)
12. The Bible is the Word of God. If you do not believe the Word of God, by definition you are not a believer in Jesus.
13. I realise that if you are teaching something, it needs to be correct, and, you had better be living it. Application is certainly much more difficult than just reading.
14. May seem a bit harsh to look at it in this way, though a bit harsh will certainly be the understatement during the Tribulation. And either something is true or it is not true.

We may now be in the (chaotic) picnic preparation phase. We all need strengthening (in the truth), for, as they say about the covid “plan” in this country, before we can “move to the next phase”. The phases are jumping all over the place in different states so is difficult to keep up with them all - and we only have 7 states as compared to your 50. Keeping our eyes on Christ is more needful with each new day.

I am a bit tired so apologies if it is a little incoherent (might have been anyway). I appreciate your kind Ministry.

I pray that the truth will prevail and those that teach and live it will prosper in Christ Jesus.

Your student

Response #29:

I'm doing just fine – the Lord has blessed me and mine in SO many ways! Don't want to give you the wrong impression just because I have mortgage et al.: I've also been given blessed means to handle that. The one debt NO ONE could ever have paid was the debt of sin, any sin, even one "small" one. Praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ that because of Him all those insoluble debts have been forgiven us "in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (Col.1:14). No debts in New Jerusalem, nor money either. My kind of place!

On your points and question, I do hear what you are saying. On the other hand, I have been around Christians my whole life, and I have to say that the number who have even been close to having it doctrinally correct, even in principle, is infinitesimally small. I know for a fact there are believers in traditional denominations (even though they are dead wrong as amillennialists). I know for a fact that there are believers in evangelicalism (even though they are dead wrong about the "rapture", water-baptism and OSAS). And I know for a fact that there are believers in the charismatic movement (even though they are dead wrong about tongues and other now defunct spiritual gifts). I know this because I personally know individuals who are born again, born from above Christians in all three groups. None of these incorrect positions requires these believers to be wrong on the basics of the gospel.

Whether one can find a few actual believers in other groups – which would require them to believe differently about salvation than their groups teach – is hard for me to say. Whether they be RC or Greek Orthodox or baptismal regeneration or hyper-Messianic groups, it is a fact that there are members of all these groups who do not in their hearts believe all they are taught (to use that word loosely). So I'm agnostic about that. But as to believers who are lackadaisical about the truth to the extent of being willing to continue in or join up with groups that are in fact Christian but are not in fact right about basic doctrines beyond salvation, we should not be surprised to find a slew of them out there. This is Laodicea. The individuals addressed by our Lord in Revelation 3:14ff. are believers – even though in danger of being spit out. And that is the danger, alright. When the pressure builds, any and all who are weak and lukewarm because of not paying attention to the truth – and continuing in a group that is a) incorrect in its principles and b) doesn't teach much of anything in any case, is certainly an indication of not being interested in the truth.

During the Tribulation, one third of actual Christians are prophesied to fall away in the Great Apostasy (2Thes.2:3 with Rev.12:4). They fall away because they are weak in faith and doctrine. But they do fall away – meaning they had a status of faith, however weak, to fall from.

It's hard to look into individual hearts and see how people stand in their faith. We can only listen to their words and observe their actions. That is actually one of the "nice" things about the Tribulation (I use the word advisedly): finally we will be able to see with our own eyes who really loves Jesus Christ and who does not.

So your question is on the verge of being answered – in an unmistakably graphic way.

Meanwhile, I continue to pray for your health and well-being and that of your family, my friend.

Thanks as always for your thoughtful words, your zeal for the Lord, and also of course for your prayers.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #30:

Dear Professor

Thank you for your kind (and gentle) reply. Yes, the New Jerusalem is the EVERYTHING kind of place to be.

In looking up the references (through your Translations Tab) you gave, I “chanced” upon the greatest commandment reference just below the reference for Revelation 3:15-16 in CT 3A;
being in Matthew 22:36-37. Wow. Sounds simple to read, yet reveals the measure of our love for God. Challenges our view of our commitment to Him. In line with your quoted scripture of Col.1:14, I am always moved to tears when I read Revelation 5:2 onwards. The Lamb is the only reason we can have hope for eternal life. He is pure love and mercy.

As well as more fully heeding the scriptures ourselves, it is evident many of our fellow believers are in need of a decent dose of some of the fairly basic truths to equip for the testing time of the Tribulation so uncomfortably close at hand. Why are they so hard headed to not even consider what is written? But they accept what is not written? Frustrating.

In my observation of those around here, tragically, many believers are still looking for earthly redeemers (ALL the way with the USA - right or wrong, and the like). People do like “heros” to follow. “Great” fall back position for not being raptured before the trouble ensues and pursues. This also can bring us to tears.

I am hoping for better health to keep up with things and to venture to contact a few old Mormon friends. I would like to think that I have reached out to them in the love and truth of the gospel.
For about a month now, I have not felt the energy to fellowship or attend any local Bible study group.

Thank you again for your kind measured reply and for your prayers. It is comforting to have your knowledge and wisdom on hand. I am keeping you and your Ministry in my prayers.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior.

Your student

Response #30:

You're always most welcome, my friend.

Yes it is tempting to get frustrated with Christians who are not interested in the truth. I think I've gotten beyond that one – from having to deal with it for so long. More frustrating to me are the believers who come to the ministry to "straighten me out" about this that or the other thing, but don't actually read or consider what I say to them in response. I need a stable of apologetic warriors to "sic" on them – but that would probably be a waste of time in most instances, because rejecting the truth is rejecting the truth, no matter the source. As our Lord said,

"He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me."
Luke 10:16 NKJV

"Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also."
John 15:20 NKJV

It's always about the Lord; it's always about the cross. Anyone serious about their gratitude to Christ will "do as I tell you" (Lk.6:46): 1) turn away from the world; 2) embrace with gratitude our salvation; 3) get moving with spiritual growth, progress and production:

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must 1) deny themselves and 2) take up their cross daily and 3) follow me.
Luke 9:23 NIV (Matt.16:24; Mk.8:34)

Simple as "1,2,3". But if you love the world, if you're not even clear about what the cross means, let alone appropriately grateful for it, and if you're not really interested in getting cracking for the Lord – only interested in offering Him vegetables like Cain when He requires a blood sacrifice like that of Abel – then of course you're not likely to listen to one of His disciples.

Keeping you and your family and your health in my daily prayers, my friend!

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #31:

Great Bob! Many thanks!

I've ordered a 2 Terra-byte Hard Drive today so I can download your whole site and Pastor Omo's too! Obviously downloading is no substitute for actually working through the materials but I have felt prompted several times to download and store it offline.

I hope I'm wrong but I have a deep feeling that the enemy and his human cohorts will not allow such strong and powerful bible teaching online available forever. Given the current climate and whatnot. I hope I'm wrong about this as so many people need it! There really aren't any good teaching ministries anymore, there really aren't! Sometimes it seems as though you are the last two left!

There have been times when I wonder if we'll be the only believers left! There are so few now, it's truly shocking. I don't even know whether we'll be able to stay in touch in the future, I even have doubts about that. I think that we'll start to "go like China" very quickly it would seem.

I just want to say now in case I never get to say it here on earth, you've really helped me and I don't know what I would've done without your ministry! I'm still not 100% sure how I found you in the first place. I think it was God's doing.

Just a tip off before I forget. The "conspiracy theory" people have been saying that there will be a power outage/ blackout this September/ winter. They have been predicting this for years now. It may be off base but even so.. Stock up on torches, batteries, candles and matches just to be on the safe side. They even talk about the Internet going out. This may all be conjecture but it's good to prepare for things even if they don't happen! Forewarned is forearmed so to speak.

Either way, God will always provide!

Sent with love for all the love, friendship and fellowship you have given us all over the years!

In Jesus,

Response #31:

I do think it may be the case that at least in the waning years of the Tribulation these things will be impossible to find otherwise. I do have just about everything in the archives of zipfiles on Ichthys (link). That will save a little bit of download time. N.B., however, I do edit these materials all the time, making small additions, correcting typos and verse references, etc. The HTML file on the site will always be the most recent "take". And Curt is always updating Bible Academy too, I know (link).

A word about preparation: the batteries in some gizmo I have pooped out so I went to the "battery drawer" in my kitchen and pulled out an unopened and pristine pack of double A's. But they didn't work either! I was incensed. These things aren't cheap, and I'm sure I don't have the receipt. Then I checked the "freshness date": "Use before 4/1/2008". Okay. Maybe there were in there a while. Time does go by. So much for hoarding.

In Jesus our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #32:

Dear Professor

Yes, it seems I am slowly on the mend. After my morning bus run I did decline a couple of invites to go to the cafe this morning, which was sad, but I wanted to minimise mixing with the old guys (my age group) just in case. My wife wants another trailer load of potting mix so that should do me in for today (in between my bus runs).

In Australia, and Victoria in particular, covid 19 is on the move again with many more cases and deaths. We in the West are doing well so far with fairly minimal social restrictions. Hoping it stays this way and gets better.

I now take my time before deciding to support/engage with a ministry. I had quite a long look at Ichthys before deciding it was the correct teaching Ministry for me, even though yours is a grace Ministry. The more I looked, the more I realised you ticked ALL the boxes (even the Google search of U of L came up trumps). I do admit to then taking your recommendation of Curt’s Ministry without scrutinising it, relying instead on your recommendation, as by then you had gained my trust.

Most out there does not come within many bulls roar of your Ministry. This sad state of affairs does not seem to be improving as we near the Tribulation. As friends have recommended pastors/YouTube’s/websites, and I have given them a hearing by applying scripture and your teachings to them, none have passed muster (except Curt, and a couple of other ministries that originally lead me on the pathway to Ichthys).

I am so grateful for the pearl of great price at Ichthys. You would be aware that your Ministry rubs off on many out here so that many of us promote Ichthys, and/or the teachings (if they won’t read your site). I have found that your teachings can not be seriously challenged by an appeal to the scriptures - and those scriptures are the truth.

I pray for things to work out for you in your classics teaching.

Thank You Lord for the ministries that teach the truth and especially for Dr Luginbill and his Ministry at Ichthys. It gives us hope that we will prevail in the truth through the dark time of the Tribulation, and even in the run up to it, as we prepare and need You more than we realise. Thank You for Your mercy and grace. Our hope is in You forever.

In Jesus our Savior

Your student

Response #32:

You always encourage me, my friend – I'll try to be at least partially worthy of your praise.

I'm very happy to hear that you are on the mend. Keeping it in a lower gear until you are 100% is just common sense.

I had to burn the day doing reassurance emails to my prospective students (Provost's orders), knocking out letters of recommendation, and plugging away at the new "digital assignments" I'll have to give in lieu of the 25% of the time I'm not allowed to meet with my students face to face. When they are out of the way, THEN I will finish self-paced distance ed. course that is teaching to do what I did last spring. THEN I will begin actually preparing for classes, handouts and the like. And perhaps I'll have a day or two to look at Thucydides and the research I'm supposed to have been doing all summer long. The library can still not get the books I need for that, however. Interesting times. But I'm happy to have a job still! And also happy not to have to wear a mask while teaching after all! And I'll be doubly happy if things stay in the present attitude of going back (for those minority of us who will be teaching 75% face to face come three weeks from today when it all begins), and if we do not get pressed back into remote "alternative instruction "which ought to be called "alternative TO instruction". I'm grateful to the Lord that I have the grace and the strength and the means to "hang in".

Meanwhile, BB 7 isn't going too bad. Need to make sure to get to that tonight.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #33:

Dear Professor

You are so busy. I will give you a break from emailing. I am praying you are protected from the madness I see on TV news.

I am getting back a little bit each day health wise so at this rate should be back to something like full functioning in a couple of weeks. Remarkable how much energy is required just to get my brain to think effectively - I’ve noticed how much good health is essential in this. Will be nice for me too to get back to face to face with other believers - has been a lonely stretch. Perhaps it is a bit of preparation for things to come. Spiritually I realise that I am not up to the mark myself in this rapidly changing environment, with also the realisation that these comforts we now enjoy can be taken away at any time, and especially most swiftly during the Tribulation. Left without Bible, teachers and fellow believers, or possibly even a home, will require immense spiritual strength through a close relationship with Christ.

This covid 19 world event has left me wondering if I have compromised already, by not taking a firmer line with the medical profession. In retrospect I could have tried another doctor. As it stands, I have decided to tough it out. The thought of losing my job is discomforting - and still 6 years till the real starting bang sounds. I was thinking of your writings where you say that little compromises can lead to bigger ones. It didn’t seem to be the time for throwing caution to the wind (though that is what I thought I was doing at the time). Future events may/will be tricky to navigate, and keep on the narrow path.

When you realise your decisions will also affect your whole family, it becomes increasingly difficult to discern what is the right thing to do. Protecting family and friends is the strongest pull, though what that means is sometimes not readily apparent, and certainly will exponentially increase in complexity and urgency once things really hot up. Will try restraining myself from leaping back into things, as I felt I overdid it a bit yesterday. Also will try giving you a break from my emails, so that you can focus on your writings. Rest assured I will still be engaging with your website.

I got an email from my accountant to say he would be doing returns this year, but I need to get it to him by end August, so I will have plenty of drudgery paperwork to do as well in the meanwhile, on top of everything else that has fallen behind. Seems like the covid 19 pandemic may have put a scanner in the works of his retirement travel plans. It turns out being a plus for us in not having to search for another trustworthy accountant this financial year.

Thank you for your diligence in encouraging us in Christ and his truth in the scriptures.
Do not feel you need to reply at length - or at all, given your hectic schedule.

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

Response #33:

Taxes sound even worse down under than over here.

It's always hard to know how to deal with medical stuff. I've had several things in my life that I've "pursued" but to no avail. Medicos are good at fixing obvious stuff – like broken bones; not necessarily good at finding and fixing problematic and difficult conditions (which is what most things seem to be when one is "of a certain age"). But there are some things which to us who are suffering with them the first time seem unique but which the docs have seen a million times and can fix. So that's why we go. When I developed a frozen shoulder, the doc actually did see that for what it was and prescribed just the right therapy: three months of physical torture that would have made the NVA proud – but I've got my range of motion back.

For what it's worth, I think you're doing just fine. And on top of that, when it hits the fan, I'm positive you will rise appropriately to the challenge (you are packing the gear to do it and you are just the man to do it). We don't have to worry about that ahead of time (cf. Matt.10:19; Lk.12:11); we just need to keep doing what we are supposed to be doing, and the Lord will work out the details.

This is a difficult time. Gloomy is the word that comes to mind. But I think we can anticipate the Tribulation being quite a bit more "interesting" at least.

Your friend in Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #34:

Hi Bob,

I'm happy that you managed to finish your online class yesterday. At least that's something else out of the way. I'm not surprised this has been the most unrestful summer you've ever had. It sounds like you just haven't stopped at all. I know you still have a lot left to do but I really hope that you can manage to squeeze in some time to rest before you go back.

We had booked to go away for a week's holiday at the beginning of June but it had to be cancelled because of Covid. I could have done with it because I've been feeling really tired. Oh well - maybe next year - or maybe not - who knows!

I'll "hang in" there - with the Lord's strength. (Phil 4:13)

Take good care of yourself - I'm praying for you!

Your friend in Jesus

Response #34:

Lots of rain here again. Good for the plants. Good for the grass too – unfortunately. And my new lawnmower is on back-order. Thank you Covid. All the old stuff will just have to bump through until all this gets straightened out. Maybe next year.

Getting away sounds great! Same problems here though. Can't really enjoy eating out. Hotels and planes problematic as well as road-side services if you go by car. Lots of things closed. As you say, maybe next year – a nice thought!

Reminds me of the Jewish saying: beshana haba'ah – "in the coming year [in Jerusalem]". But we have that hope for real.

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #35:

Hello, Bob,

Sorry for revisiting this. Your explanation and Paul's instructions are clear. However...

David committed treason in going to the Philistines as well as feeding his men from the temple bread - which Christ used as a positive example. As well, the Lord led his disciples through a wheat field to eat on the sabbath which was illegal. There are other examples, e.g., rescuing a sheep from the pit on the sabbath, etc. All of which was in violation of contemporary law and authorities. Admittedly, He had the authority to do so, but the fact that it is in scripture is telling. I realize that mercy is the lesson but isn't doing what's right when the law is wrong also part of the message?.

When the law and the "authorities" differ, should one adhere to the law, yield to the authorities, do what's right either way or just be practical? Just as in the UCMJ, it's a soldier's duty to disobey an illegal order (or at least it was in the '60s) though he had BETTER be sure the order was illegal or suffer the consequences, are we not in the same spiritual situation?

The more I think about the current situation, the more questions arise. There is coming a moral dilemma even before the Tribulation.

BTW, in the midst of "peaceful" protests, it's much safer to have one of these protesters shooting at you than standing beside their target. I used to help range master at one of my local ranges and I can assure you that the casual and untrained shooter couldn't hit a bull in the back side if it backed into them. (Most cops fall into that same category, too, and I was trained by a cop.)

I apologize for revisiting this. Your previous explanation was clear and understood. But, I am still troubled by current events and our proper relationship in the midst of it.

Thanks.

Yours in our Lord,

Response #35:

There are always "difficult cases", and we can all come up with hypotheticals that would make anyone scratch their head. But the Lord always gives us reality to deal with.

I find mask-wearing very annoying. But it's not in any way against the Bible, as far as I can see. If I had a medical condition that would cause me to expire were I to wear one, that would be a place to draw the line – but such people are exempted. They may be wrongly shamed by others; I think if I were in that category I would wear a bright sash embroidered in bold with the words "medical exemption" and wave it anyone who gave me a hard time ("shame on YOU!") – not that I would actually DO that.

As to your examples: 1) The disciples were hungry and doing the Lord's work on a day that happened to be the Sabbath; they were not emulating Rosa Parks; and Jesus Himself gave them leave to do what they did (I would happily burn my mask at His command).

2) No one – certainly not the Lord or His disciples – is recorded as actually rescuing a struggling animal from a pit on the Sabbath; He is using that example to bring home to the Pharisees (and even more to those listening to them) the truth of the matter, namely, that they OFTEN did things which were technically illegal for good and practical reasons; if I needed to shout a warning to someone about to be run over by a truck, I would pull off my mask to do so – even if technically I wasn't supposed to because such exceptions are not contemplated by the mandates.

3) As to "treason", David had a choice to either be wrongly executed or go into exile; he chose the latter (I think Philistia was a mistake but going into exile was not "treason" merely godly survival); David had the opportunity to kill Saul on several occasions but declined to do so (so much for treason); feeding his men was a technical violation done for good and sound and necessary reasons (covered above), and as you mention approved of by our Lord after the fact.

4) Service members are obligated to disobey illegal orders of consequence which involve wrongly harming others (such as burning down a village); refusing to something you don't want to do which does no harm to others and is arguably within the authority of those commanding it (even if it is total nonense) doesn't come close to that. When I was a fairly freshly minted second looey, I gave my tank platoon an order to prepare their lockers for inspection in preparation for a major parade coming up. Several of them blew it off and weren't the least bit ready. OK. I had the OD duty on Christmas Eve, so I told the slackers to be ready at 10 AM sharp for reinspection. Two of them blew that off too. OK. I had them written up. They were furious – to do something like that "on Christmas Eve!" The order might have been borderline unkind, but it wasn't illegal (the write-up stood). After all, the enemy doesn't guarantee they won't attack on Christmas Eve.

I'm sure that the Lord will make everything crystal clear to us when the times come. From what I read in scripture about the Tribulation, the big test will be taking the mark or not. And that issue will not be any sort of matter we have to wring our hands over in terms of what that means. It will be made abundantly clear:

Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus."
Revelation 14:9-12 NKJV

In Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #36:

Hello, Bob,

Points taken; I'll stand down, now. I'm not trying to avoid what I dislike but to find a clear cut approach that comports with Scripture. The "government" of Portland and Seattle. for example. seem to be aiding and abetting the intensifying Marxist revolution and defying the constitutional duty of the federal government to quell insurrections.

There is a bright side to facial diapers; we don't have to smile. can avoid conversations and confuse facial recognition. (My ornery side is coming out, now.)

I don't remember the UCMJ qualifying the injunction against illegal orders but that was 50 years ago. I started prowling around the UCMJ after I designed a poster for the band that featured four flags in a square rotating around the center. I got chewed out for illegal use of the flag. The only one I could think of was the bottom flag which was upside down and which was (is?) a sign a unit is in trouble - not that it was what I was trying to represent. I just wanted an interesting graphic. Our commander at the time was also a butter bar which no one liked. He also was the one who gave me an Article 15 for getting a cup of coffee. (He didn't like me, either.)

As to David's treason, I remember him supporting the Philistines, though he didn't serve in their military. Today, that would be called treason -- giving aid and comfort. His motives were legitimate and probably guided by the Spirit but I suspect Saul didn't see it that way.

Your reference to Rev.14 is relevant and is also clear cut. After so many years bit-flipping, one of my failings is a tendency to see things as binary -- yes or no, on or off, black or white. Paul was also specific about submitting to authority. I normally don't have a problem with that but the outstanding question is what to do when the authority breaks the law? (I'm not good with shades of grey.)

Ah, well, thanks for babysitting.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #36:

I'm glad you've given me another chance to home in on this.

The thing I'm trying to make clear – for the benefit of Christians who are trying to walk close to Jesus Christ – is that staying away from things that really don't concern us is the godly approach (cf. Ps.131:1). A peaceful and quiet life lived apart from all political intrigue is far to be preferred (1Thes.4:11-12; 1Tim.2:2), because that is the basis for using our time effectively without being riled up so as to be able to serve the Lord as He would have us to do. But if we get concerned over things that really don't concern us, we are not going to have the peace of mind necessary to keep growing and progressing and producing.

We are not in positions of power. We are not opinion makers or celebrities. Regardless of how we feel about this or that government or government official at whatever level doing this or that we personally find not only harmful but illegal, we can't do a thing about it – without getting political. And that is in my studied opinion one of the worst things we could ever do. Since we can't do anything about it, and since we're not willing to take actions that might (to fleshly eyes) have some positive effect, getting exercised about it is not spiritually helpful.

But we CAN pray to the Lord about it. We CAN become ever more savory salt – which is the main way believers influence such things in whatever country they find themselves. These two spiritual approaches are in truth far more effective than anything we could personally do of a material nature – even if we were governor or president. There are greater forces involved here, after all. This is a spiritual conflict, not the physical/material one the eye beholds.

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

On the UCMJ, your example (and mine too) demonstrates that what I said is practically correct. Those in authority have wide latitude to command so that claiming anything ordered is "illegal" is almost always going to be a fool's errand – unless it meets the criteria of over-the-top outrageousness (or war crimes) I suggested.

On David, I'm not aware of him actually doing anything that helped the Philistines. I'm on record as suggesting that his sojourning there was a mistake, but he went out of his way NOT to actually ever attack Jewish settlements – and the Lord bailed him out before he found himself in such a situation during the battle of Mt. Gilboa.

On authority breaking the law, authority IS the law in God's eyes, and Paul's emphatic commands for us to obey in spite of his long experience with the imperfections of Roman authority make that point all the more tellingly. We can always do what Paul did, namely, make use as best we can of whatever procedures and rights we are given. He did call the Philippian officials to account. He did proffer his citizenship. He did appeal to Caesar. He did defend himself – most brilliantly too – when given the opportunity to do so. He did not ever proclaim his trails and imprisonments a sham and so reject the authority of the court to try him, even when he was correcting it. And he pronounced himself willing to abide by its decisions. But it was the Lord who delivered him time after time, not his own efforts. And if we find ourselves similarly illegally prosecuted – as so many of us will during the Tribulation – it is on the Lord we must rely, and completely so.

“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
Luke 12:11-12 NIV

I do see this all as pretty much black and white. It's only when we jump into it emotionally and politically that it all turns gray.

In Jesus our dear Savior.

Bob L.

Question #37:

Bob, thank you. Once again, you've turned on my light. "...authority IS the law in God's eyes..." was what did it. A number of things came together when I read that. You said it in many ways and scripture is plain enough but I just never put it together. Mental myopia, I guess.

I appreciate your patience. Thank you.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #37:

I appreciate you, my friend. These are good and important points to think about and consider. We really are going to have to learn how to back out our emotional investment in everything we see down here to be able to keep from getting sucked into dangerous currents. Analogous to the political/cultural/economic situation today: If one backs out personal concerns, it's almost funny (almost).

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #38:

Dear Professor

Thank you for the thumbs up. Interesting about your shoulder torture therapy. Good to hear that you have some face to face teaching to look forward to.

My son has put his tax in online and got his refund already. Ordinary returns are not a problem. However, I got to keep and document receipts and all kinds of stuff to do with how our “temporary” arrangements have dragged on, and complicated by this “retiree” still needing to work, and so I also report every fortnight. I have used this accountant since my days in the inspection service. He was a television station manager at the time and continued with taxation when he left; meaning to retire last year; however, even the best brains in the world never saw covid 19 coming to destroy the plans of mice and men. (Or did they?) A couple of years ago, when he emailed me about retiring, I replied somewhat glibly, that he might as well travel in the “good” years before it gets increasing problematic with the onset of the 7 years of Tribulation.
I have no idea if he is a believer, but I did not get a nibble back on that one.

Here goes. I will let you get on with your work. You and your country are always in mind as here the news coverage of the USA is fairly constant, particularly with all those “street parties” and the 6 foot rule and all the political goings on. The covid numbers and toll here, are starting to accelerate, though no one knows the true numbers. I do not know of anyone in this town who has been tested, and we have had a lot of people down with the flu. Don’t look (don’t test), don’t find, works it’s own little miracle. (I did hear a radio report that said over 70% of donations for protestors goes to nameless individuals pockets - no accounting of that money. Would make a great family business).

Just as the bush fires here in Australia were NOT put out by man’s best, but entirely futile effort, BUT by GOD with NO effort, just a little rain, the same Water of the Word (Spiritually), is the ONLY solution to mankind. This DID cost God to save man. Why do not men submit and be saved? It is notable that in the face of destruction, instead of calling for the mercy of God, men will curse God who has power over ALL these plagues. Rev. 16:21.

Yes, God has already revealed to us the physical salvation by water, as the sign of man’s spiritual salvation through His Son and our dear Savior Jesus Christ. Look in the same direction whence the rain appears.

Thank you for your continuing Ministry in our Only Savior.

Your student and friend

Response #38:

They do sound serious here about getting back to campus. But what happens when one of my students (for the sake of argument) gets a test and tests positive? Do I and the whole class have to quarantine? What about the people we've been in contact with? Depending on how sanely they react, it could be a real mess (not that it's not already a real mess). I love your regional strategy: "Don’t look (don’t test), don’t find"– don't tell anyone else, but that is my personal "hull defilade" plan as well.

Good bush fire analogy! I'm surprised, however, that the people in charge of the response down there didn't claim credit for the rain. If the virus abates, I'm sure masks and "social distancing" and all other such things will get the credit. I am petitioning the Lord for relief, and I'm sure every godly Christian is doing the same. He has His plan for this bug; if and when there is relief, it will be His doing.

Love the water of the Word analogy too. It's for that very reason that the Tribulation plagues look as they do. From CT 3A:

There is also an important symbolic meaning to take away from the two examples of localized plagues mentioned here, namely "blood" and "drought". Both of these miraculous judgments, each being characteristic of the respective ministries of the two men as we have seen, are also connected to water, a literal substance which is necessary for physical life, and a symbol for the Word of God which is absolutely essential for spiritual life (Is.55:1; Jer.2:13; 17:13; Jn.3:5; 4:10-13; Eph.5:26; Rev.22:17; cf. Ps.36:8-9; Is.8:6-8; 1Cor.10:4; Tit.3:5; 1Pet.3:21). The judgment of drought symbolizes a taking away of the truth from those who have no desire for it, while the judgment of blood symbolizes the truth meant for blessing but willfully rejected now transformed into a means of cursing judicially imposed. Just as Ahab's attitude represented the general rejection by his countrymen of God's "water of truth" subsequently punished by the withholding of literal water, and just as Pharaoh's attitude represented the general disdain by the gentile world at large for God's "water of truth" subsequently punished by the transformation of literal water into undrinkable blood, so in the times of these two witnesses the world in general will continue to disregard and reject God's truth, and will be subsequently punished through the very water which represents it (cf. Rev.16:5-6).

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior.

Bob L.

Question #39:

Dear Professor

Please pardon this extra shot. After reading your reply and related scriptures which give me increased understanding.

There was one lone politician (Barnaby Joyce - Barnaby cockatoos are an endangered species In Australia - perhaps like this politician, who is also from the bush) who was courageous enough during the bush fires and drought to declare on television that we had missed the the cure - prayer to God. True to his declaration, this is what saved Australia from the drought and fire. Same analogy of the Water of Word (Jesus Christ) saving us from the spiritual drought now, and the eternal lake of fire. There is ONLY ever ONE salvation.

I may have missed it, but I did not see the media give Barnaby air time AFTER the drought breaking, fire extinguishing, widespread rain. No doubt Barnaby influenced some to pray fervently for relief, and that prayer was answered. However, no acknowledgment of God that I could see from the media. Wilful non reporting of the facts. Isaiah 47:14. Perhaps, as you indicate, the media are waiting for the paper masks (what are they hiding? Is.47:10) to hail as the “cure”, before they rejoice, party, give gifts and obeisance to the magicians for their deliverance. This is what they want to do. Rev.11:10

I applaud the courageous efforts of all those fighting the fires - Australia had help from an American air water bombing team who tragically crashed and died in the fight. International co-operation is a good thing particularly in times of crises. What is FAR more effective is turning to God - it was the solution. I think of how Israel turned to other nations to help protect them, and they did not rely on Their God who had told them that He would deliver them from their enemies. Jesus has overcome even the last enemy - death. 1Cor.15:26

A Different Subject

That missionary evangelist Robert Breaker ( the one that got a billing on Jeremy Golden’s site), is at it again breaking the peace of the good news. My wife continues to receive links to his “sermons” from well intended friends who I thought by now knew better, especially after I sent them texts refuting the pre-trib. As you say, people who get this wrong usually get many things wrong. He is no exception.

(The Following is from R.B. ; and NOT my position, though some things are “interesting”).

His latest missile, it goes for an hour and a quarter, his time line drawings also starts from the pre-trib position (without any explanation) and then says it is imminent - 2020 or 2021. Israel ‘founded in 1947 or 1948, depending on interpretation of ‘founded”, add a “generation” (which he says is either 70 or 80 years). 1948 + 80 = 2028. Then from 2028, minus 7 years of Tribulation (the church can’t be here as believers are not subjected to wrath) = 2021 is the ABSOLUTE LATEST the Rapture can occur. No wonder he looks perplexed every New Years (“I don’t understand why we are STILL here”! says RB. In previous videos) Then he goes into the all seeing eye on the US dollar bill - the Illuminati 1776 - the Fix - 4th July- the price of gold $1776 (actually he had to later admit to getting this gold price wrong for 4th July) Corona = Crown (Of the antichrist); covid 19 = Certificate Of Vacination, I. D. (Artificial Intelligence - has taken over)The vaccination is the the mark of the beast. Bill gates is giving heaps money to WHO. Supporting a quantum tattoo. The tattoo injects into the part of the brain that has to do with belief and eradicates belief in God. Depopulation Agenda. Masks are not a law - you do not have to wear them - masks are no barrier to a virus, compares a link chain (mask) to a dot (virus) - against the law to ask about a medical condition - HIPPA law - CO2 headaches from reduced oxygen - “I can’t breathe” - take the exemptions from masks - need 19% oxygen - same principle mark or masks - 1776 they tore down the statue of King George - they were claiming freedom from a dictator - a government Passover in 2019 -20, a lockdown - if the rapture happens in lockdown, then people wouldn’t see it, so people of the world wouldn’t know the rapture happened and could say they just died of covid - he believes the antichrist will be a communist system - if you have accepted the mask, you will undoubtedly accept the the mark! If you have accepted Jesus you will be raptured BEFOREHAND - if you haven’t accepted Jesus, you won’t be raptured, and then if you don’t take the mark you will be beheaded.
(End of 2020 R.B. Video).

I am going to watch his “The Bible Teaches A Pre-Trib Rapture!”; so I can understand where they get this belief from. As it is an hour, I will watch at another time and report back (not that you haven’t heard this stuff before, but so I can understand those around me that like this “doctrine”).

Keeping you and your Ministry in my prayers.

In Jesus our Only Salvation.

Your student

Response #39:

So in your country the media is devoid of spirituality and has no gratitude to God? That really is immensely shocking, coming from a US perspective especially. Didn't know you had cockatoos in Australia however.

Thanks for the rapture/pre-Trib/heard-it-all-before-conspiracy-theory synopsis. Well done you! Saves me time looking into any of this myself. Give me a report on the video, if you please.

On this latest "proof", namely, that "wrath proves the rapture", here is verse I don't think I've quoted enough in this regard:

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ
1st Thessalonians 5:9 NKJV

This of course comes in the context earlier in the chapter of us already knowing "the times and the season" and needing to be alert for the Lord's return. I do understand how pre-Tribbers twist this, but the point shouldn't be missed by anyone that WE BELIEVERS are NOT subject to God's wrath. Wrath is for unbelievers only (e.g., Matt.3:7; Jn.3:36; Rom.1:18; 2:5; 5:9; Eph.2:3; 5:6; Col.3:6; Rev.6:16-17; 11:8; 14:10; 15:1; 15:7; 16:1; 19:15). Since that is the case, we will be cheering God's judgments during the Tribulation – because they will be aimed exclusively at our enemies, not at us.

. . . and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
1st Thessalonians 1:10 NKJV

In Jesus.

Bob L.

 

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