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Eschatology Issues XLVI

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Question #1:

Thank you!!!

Hope your first days are doing ok!

Response #1:

So far so good! We're getting some Covid cases, and some of my students have been quarantined, but no mass incidents at present.

The first two days went really well – would have been better for my students if they hadn't had to be wearing masks the whole time. I can easily tell I could NOT have lectured for one hour, let alone four in a row, wearing one of those things. Putting it on to transit in-between is bad enough. It's so much more enjoyable for me to teach in-person that there's no comparison. The only good thing about switching to online only would be that the several students I have in all my classes who've opted for the (actually non-existent and really teach-yourself) remote option would be able now to see me in my den teaching the class. Not much of a silver lining for me, though.

Keeping you and your new ministry in my prayers, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior.

Bob L.

Question #2:

Thank you my friend.

You better live to 100 because I always turn to you.

How are you? Your blood pressure was an issue. Is there anything I can pray for you?

I have talked with you since 2011. I love you man.

Response #2:

You're most welcome!

100! Don't know if that is well-wishing or a curse. Not that much time left in any case, if calculations are correct.

2011! The other day my smoke detector batteries ran out so I pulled a brand new pack out of the kitchen drawer. But when I popped them in, nothing, not even a 'low bat' warning. Wouldn't work in a flashlight either, so I checked the pack and read, "best used before August 2011". Time flies.

Keeping you (and your family) in my prayers daily.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #3:

What do you mean by 'not that much time left if calculations are correct?

Response #3:

Crucifixion/resurrection: 33 A.D.

Church Age: 2,000 years.

2nd Advent: 2033 A.D.

Tribulation: 2026

Link: in SR 5: "Specific Chronology of the Seven Days of Human History".

So there is SOME time left (but not enough for me to hit triple digits).

And of course, this is an interpretation based up certain assumptions which I believe to be correct (put forth in the link). The way things are at devolving at present, it is prudent to remember that the Lord can do whatever He pleases (and there are alternative interpretations for figuring the 2,000 years of the Church Age; see the previous posting at the link: "Eschatology Issues XLV").

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi Bob,

You wrote, "The spectacular thing about our Lord's promise in Luke 21:18 is that those who have to endure the entire Tribulation will have this protection all the way to the end of this earthly life where it will end without death. For they will be resurrected when our Lord returns. For them (us?) these words will have that special, blessed meaning of protection from harm and death until death is swallowed in life at the second advent of our dear Savior"

In this quote discussing Luke 21:18 about not a hair on our head being harmed, do you mean we won't be touched at all by anything severe if God has written us in to survive until that great Day? I was under the impression that if we're to survive to the end we could still very well face torture, beatings, etc... In this quote the impression I got was that those who do survive all the way won't be touched at all besides imprisonment. ("protection from harm")

In our Lord,

Response #4:

This all depends on what the Lord has for us (Rev.13:10). If it is His will for us to survive the Tribulation we will do so, "none the worse for wear". Anyone who has come through a difficult time of testing (especially one lasting multiple years) and is then restored by the Lord can appreciate this verse. Think of Job. He did suffer. But on the other side things were even better than before. Nothing is impossible for God. However, of course, there are some who will not make it through the Tribulation, those whose divinely set destiny is to be martyred to honor Jesus Christ. They will be kept safe and intact to offer their finally testimony -- given to them by the Spirit – without the evil one being able to prevent it (Lk.12:11-12). And I am confident that whatever death is decreed that God will make sure that it is bearable (Ps.116:15). All these too will be brought safe into the kingdom, but through martyrdom rather than the living resurrection (as was the case with Paul, e.g.).

At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!
2nd Timothy 4:16-18 NKJV

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hello Dr Luginbill,

Thank you for the update notice about BB 6B: Ecclesiology. It’s always good to have a reminder to revisit your site for insightful commentaries.

Since you’re discussing the church and the Jews and how you state that the Jews return to a leadership position in the end times, what do you make of the two sticks prophecy of Ezekiel 37? As you know the stick of Judah, the children of Israel and his companions are joined to the stick of Ephraim (for Joseph) and all the house of Israel and his companions. They will no longer be two kingdoms or nations and they shall have one king over them.

I don’t think that has happened yet as there is no King over Israel as of now. Jesus yes but I think the prophecy is a future king on earth. Is that what you think; that this prophecy is still future? Do you think the king here is referring to Jesus or David? Where do we find the people today that make up the two sticks?

Thank you as always for your kind attention to my questions.

I hope you are well,

v/r

Response #5:

There isn't any prophecy which is fulfilled in the Church Age before the Tribulation begins. The Church Age is the mystery age, largely hidden from view in Old Testament times. So, yes, this prophecy is about the future. Here's something from the posting "Prophecy Questions":

"I take the two sticks in Ezekiel 37 primarily to be demonstrating that during the Millennium there will no longer be any hostility between north and south, between tribe and tribe, but the Messiah will reign over all without brooking any opposition."

Doing well, thanks! Hope the same is true for you, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Thank you Dr L,

The idea that Ez 37 may fall during the millennium and not the end of the tribulation never occurred to me.

Is the king over the restored 12 tribes Jesus or David?

Thank you,

Response #6:

David is prophesied to rule over Israel per se (Ezek.37:25; Jer.30:9), but there will also be a non-resurrected "prince" who is the day-to-day administrator of Israel during the Millennium (Ezek.44:3; 45:7; 45:16-17; etc.), while the Messiah rules over the world – and we will share His rule!

"To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne."
Revelation 3:21 NKJV

Looking forward to that wonderful day!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #7:

To make sure I understand everything correctly - the 144,000 are sealed by the angels at the time of the seventh seal, but all the believers who have the Spirit have the seal already - even without the angels sealing them?

Response #7:

That's correct: all believers going into the Tribulation already have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; He is our seal (2Cor.1:21-22; Eph.1:13-14; 4:30; cf. Ezek.9:1-11; Jn.6:27; 1Pet. 1:1-2). The Spirit is doubtless also part and parcel of the seal of the 144K – given the special empowerment of their ministries especially.

Question #8:

Sorry, I didn't make my question clear here - I wanted to know whether all the other believers beyond the 144K can be considered as having the seal already, even without the angels sealing them.

Response #8:

Angels, elect and fallen, can see that we believers today have the Spirit and that He is our seal. The special mark on the 144,000 right from the beginning of the Tribulation is no doubt necessary because, technically, they will not have the anointing of the Holy Spirit Himself before they respond to the ministry of the two witnesses, Moses and Elijah – and that might not be until several months into the Tribulation at least. But the seal tells all invisible adversaries to stay clear as these are under the special protection of God even before they are anointed. We can compare the sanctification we believers have even before we believe (see the link).

Question #9:

Hey Bob,

I had a question about Zechariah Chapter 4 (A tough chapter -- one of the toughest so far!). Why does the vision invoke the name Zerubbabel 4 times when it has nothing to do with him? Also why are Moses and Elijah called the two anointed ones when they never had the priesthood or the kingship?

I agree with your interpretation so far because of the New Testament support (the transfiguration, conversation with sons of thunder, and Revelation), however I would still like to know how you address the two points.

Is it because the reader is supposed to make the connection between Zerubbabel as a type of Christ, and to simply swap his name in our minds with Jesus? Are we supposed to see anointed ones as synonymous with high status in the eyes of God?

In Him

Response #9:

Zerubbabel as the one who builds the second temple is a type of Christ who builds up the third temple which was started by the two witnesses. I don't think we need to do any mental swapping; we just need to understand the principle of typology.

Anointing is divine commissioning and empowering; these two are commissioned and empowered for their special task (see the link: "The Two Witnesses"), and while they weren't and aren't going to be literal priests or kings (though Moses and Elijah did function as the spiritual and political heads of Israel in their day), they are preparing the way for the One who will unite both functions in His glorious person, the Messiah (of whom Zerubbabel is a type, explaining his prominence in this prophecy).

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

The group: I can imagine that by now you must be in contact with numerous believers and this is clear from your email responses - I have been struck by that from the moment I started to read your teachings. It's just that the number of potential ministers of the Word is very small. And while we all have different gifts, above all else this comes down to the issue of a person giving themselves over to the Lord or not. This is the disappointment.

I'm encouraged that apart from yourself, our friend and my father are really living the truth and are real bulwarks in this lukewarm era. And so beyond our friendship, a lifeline in my heart, it is with these two that I have the closest fellowship, but we have a very good relationship with __ also and ___ remains a real prospect for a teacher, but seems to be going through a very difficult time as he struggles with basic sustenance and provisions. As you would expect, ___'s systematic and comprehensive approach has impressed me also, it lends itself to producing good teaching, although until now we haven't been in touch for a while.

When it all started I didn't even think I would be a part of such a company. But I can now see how few set their whole heart on following the Lord at a time when everything is there for us. We live relatively easy lives, the resources for the study are better than they have ever been. It's hard to even imagine what scholars of previous generations had to go through without computers. And it is exactly at this time that the Church is in a state of ruin except a small remnant. This is another reason why it seems right in the plan of God for this lukewarm Church to experience the Tribulation, together with this prosperous world that has rejected God.

I know I must redeem the time and the Lord is helping me. I greatly appreciate your prayers.

In the grace of our Lord,

Response #10:

Your report of your spiritual advance and increasing proficiency in the Word and the positive results you're experiencing do my heart good, my friend!

I am praying for you on the tests et al.

Thanks for our prayers too – things still in the same muddle here. And I'm not feeling too well tonight; strep throat is going around – not exactly what I need, but who does? [in retrospect, perhaps it was Covid last December]

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

[omitted]

Response #11:

I guarantee you there'll be no regrets on the other side – for any BELIEVER like you:

And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Revelation 7:14-17 NKJV

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

[omitted]

Response #12:

Of course the Lord could bring you back to health in the blink of an eye, if that is the plan. I'm certainly praying for your complete restoration as soon as possible. This trouble you have been experiencing is so challenging that it seems it must have something also to do with preparing you. I'm not sure that I will make it all the way to the Tribulation (hard to say), but perhaps the Lord is actually strengthening you by showing you that He is sufficient for you even under such difficulty (He did the same for Paul: 2Cor.12:7-10). Once you learn to cope with this, is there anything you won't be able to manage, even in the darkest days? But I diligently pray for an end to this whatever the reasons.

Question #13:

I wanted to ask you a question on Matthew 22:1-14. I have had a difficulty working out whether this passage refers to the Millennium or to the eternal state (and eternal life). In your responses, if I understand correctly, you seem to have applied it both to the latter:

"As the context in which Jesus' words "many are called but few are chosen" occurs makes clear (Matt.22:14), the invitation to salvation goes out to many (the king compels various and sundry to come the banquet), but not all are found worthy (the man without the proper wedding garment represents those who have not been cleansed through faith in Christ; cf. Rev.3:4; 16:15; 19:8). Only the elect are resurrected to eternal life (cf. Ps.106:5; Is.41:8; 65:9; 65:22; Matt.24:22; 24:24;Mk.13:20; 13:22; 13:27; Lk.18:7; Jn.15:19; Rom.8:33;11:7; 1Tim.5:21; 2Tim.2:10; Tit.1:1; 1Pet.2:9)."

And to the former:

"the banquet per se I take to be the Millennium; many will come into the Millennium (and many more will be born into it) who will not, for all the generosity of the King, accept Him in their hearts (no wedding clothes: cf. Rev.3:4-5; 4:4; 7:13; 16:15)."

Response #13:

I read over both of these excerpts several times and I don't have a problem with what I've written about them. Unbelievers will go into the Millennium. We know that the judgment in the desert will sort out all Jews who refuse to believe even after seeing the Messiah, e.g. (see the link).

Question #14:

Understood. There seems to be no other way to interpret than the one you provide here, but I was seeking a more literal fulfilment of the man without the wedding garment who represents the Gentiles. If Gentile unbelievers are allowed into the millennium, then it means we cannot press the literal meaning of this aspect of the parable.

Since this question has actually been on my mind for a while now, however, could you please direct me to verses and your studies/responses which deal with who is specifically entering the Millennium? I'm now a long way off from re-reading the Coming Tribulation (where I assume you deal with that), but wanted to find out more about this particular issue.

Response #14:

Main reference for Matthew 22:1-14: ; issue is discussed a number of places elsewhere; one I found: "Who will survive the Tribulation?"

Question #15:

In "The Second Advent Judgments" you wrote:

'The second passage here also conflates the Baptism of Fire at the commencement of the Millennium with the disposition of all unbelievers at the Last Judgment and the entrance of all believers into the eternal kingdom at the Millennium's end.17 In respect to its Second Advent application, not all unbelievers on earth will be subjected to fiery judgment on our Lord's return (if they were, then no one would remain to repopulate the human race [And we know that there will be survivors who are not believers (Is.66:19; Rev.1:7; cf. Is.2:2-3)], since all believers alive at the Second Advent are resurrected "to meet the Lord in the air"; 1Thes.4:17)."

I would still make two points here:

1. Especially the reference to Isaiah 66:19 seems to indicate that at least some unbelievers will survive the coming of the Lord. However, I'm not sure this passage necessitates such a conclusion.

Isaiah 66:19 (NASB)
I will set a sign among them and will send survivors from them to the nations: Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have neither heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they will declare My glory among the nations.

This is because we could take the words "I will set a sign among them and will send survivors from them to the nations ... to the distant coastlands that have neither heard My fame nor seen My glory" as referring to the time before the Second advent:

The point would be that they had not heard God or seen His glory before our Lord's coming - but now they have clearly heard it and seen it and that's why the verse ends "And they will declare My glory among the nations". What do you think of such an interpretation?

2. I don't think I can agree with the conclusion that "not all unbelievers on earth will be subjected to fiery judgment on our Lord's return (if they were, then no one would remain to repopulate the human race, since all believers alive at the Second Advent are resurrected "to meet the Lord in the air"; 1Thes.4:17)". This is because the Jewish remnant who believes in Christ when He comes will not be resurrected at that time and so they could repopulate the earth.

I read the posting as well, but in the paragraph in which you deal with this question, there seems to me to be only indirect support for the conclusion that unbelievers will enter the land. The two main verses you use are Isaiah 66:15-16 and Ezekiel 20:32-38. In the first one "many" may be taken to indicate "not all", but that does not have to be taken that not all unbelievers will be purged - the slain will be many and not all even if we take the "many" to be all unbelievers, since there will also be believers who will survive. And both in Hebrew and in Greek "many" is at times used with the sense of "all" (Matthew 20:28). Ezekiel 20:32-38 deals only with the Jews.

On the other hand, there are passages which seem to at least make it possible that in fact all the unbelievers will be purged before the Millennium (e.g., Jer.25:30-33).

Response #15:

If unbelieving Jews are brought back to the land and judged in the desert, what basis is there to suggest that unbelieving gentiles are destroyed (if they have not taken the mark)? Also, it is more than likely (in fact unavoidable) that many young people will survive the Tribulation physically, individuals who were too young to pledge themselves to the beast (most pre-teens, I would imagine) and so who do not have the mark (it is not forced on anyone – even though the compulsion is large: possible starvation or execution in many cases). And equally important, these children would also not be culpable for not yet accepting Christ because they have not yet reached the age of accountability for making that decision. In any case, the passages which deal with the baptism of fire all characterize those affected as God's enemies, e.g.:

(5) [These tribulations which you are enduring] are evidence of the righteous judgment of God in His [judging] you to be worthy of His kingdom on behalf of which you are also suffering. (6) Since indeed it is just for God to repay with tribulation those who are subjecting you to tribulation, (7) and to give you who are being distressed relief along with us at the revelation of our Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels, (8) wreaking vengeance in a flame of fire upon those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (9) These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power, (10) when He comes on that [great] day to be glorified in the midst of His saints (i.e., resurrected believers) and to be marveled at among all those who have believed – as our testimony has been believed in your case.
2nd Thessalonians 1:5-10

Question #16:

It is a good point about young people and one I did not consider - and I would of course agree that all those below the age of accountability would be allowed to enter the Millennium. I have only considered those who have been mature enough to make a choice to believe. As for God's enemies and 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 - I am trying to find clear scriptural evidence for either of the views and I don't feel I can submit to the interpretation that the "neutral" unbelievers who did not directly oppose believers and take the mark - and I mean those who have reached the age of accountability - will enter the Millennium. I still find the opposite interpretation as possible and more convincing - and even the passage you quoted, 2nd Thessalonians 1:8-10, can be taken to support it. And this would be in line with our Lord applying the standard He taught in Matthew 12:30 when He comes again and establishes His kingdom.

Response #16:

The Millennium is not the Church Age. Israel will again be supreme therein. And the promises of return to the land are made to Jews, not gentiles. But Jews who do not deign to accept Jesus as the Messiah even after being brought back will not be allowed to pass the threshold (see the link).

As to gentiles. First, many children will survive. Second, we know that many Jews will believe immediately upon Christ's return when they see His glorious second advent (e.g., Zech.12:10); since the whole world will see Him, it is not too much to conjecture that there will be even more unmarked unbelieving gentiles who will also believe at that time. Third, you will note that Revelation also very often puts things in an "either or" way (Rev.9:20; 13:12; 13:15).

All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Revelation 13:8 NKJV

This is clearly not a 21st century western culture "all" because we know that many Jews and all children who survive the Tribulation will not be marked; rather it is a "for all practical purposes 'all' " of the sort one often finds in scripture where there are two main categories being contrasted and where scripture (for obvious reasons) does not want to go into long digressions about exceptions with footnotes. That is the way I take 2nd Thessalonians 1:8 as well (where I will note that it doesn't actually say "all"). I take "those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel" as "those who have demonstrated as much by becoming His sworn enemies through taking the mark" – but there is nothing here to warrant suggesting that this group constitutes the entire remaining population of the world at that time following the resurrection (we know, in fact, that it does not).

After all, life is all about free will. Those who take the mark have essentially locked in their will in rejecting the Lord (a good description of 2Thes.1:8), but for individuals who managed to get through the Great Tribulation without at the same time taking the mark of the beast (no small accomplishment), it seems to me that it would be just to give them the rest of their lives to decide for Christ or not – just as is true for unbelievers today. So it would further seem to me that the burden would rest on proving that such passages absolutely preclude the possibility (rather than the other way around); I certainly do not think that they do, and, in light of the other evidence (i.e., the fact that many adult Jews did not take the mark and that no non-adult gentiles will have been marked and the likelihood that if there are many unbelieving Jews not marked there will doubtless be at least some adult gentiles also not marked), I will stick with my interpretation on this point.

Question #17:

There are passages in Revelation which seem to make it at least possible that unbelievers will not be allowed in.

Revelation 19:18 (NASB)
". . . so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great."

Response #17:

I'm glad you cited Revelation 19:18 because that has a direct relationship to 2nd Thessalonians 1:6-10. The context of both of these passages is not only the second advent but the battle of Armageddon, the main coincident event. All participants on antichrist's side are indeed destroyed, and that is the "all" that passages looking at the second advent are focused on, namely, "all" who muster in antichrist's great army and come to Israel to oppose the Lord and His return (not unbelieving bushmen still located in Australia, e.g.). As I often also say, the interpretation of eschatology in Coming Tribulation which Satanic Rebellion introduces is best read and understood as a whole; and I really do think that it is a case of "the whole being more than the sum of the parts". So while I have no problem digging into bits and pieces, I really would advise against committing to interpretations on such pieces in a rock solid way until you've had as chance to get the panoramic view of it all.

Question #18:

Revelation 19:21 (NASB)
And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

Would "the rest" be referring to all those assembled at the battle except the beast and the prophet, or could we take it as to the rest in an absolute sense?

Response #18:

Revelation 19:21 is definitely referring to Armageddon: 1) that's the context; 2) that is where the birds who are said to eat the flesh have been assembled; 3) Christ is still described as mounted and wielding the sword that proceeds from His mouth; 4) other passages make clear that the circuit on which He progresses while mounted and slaying is entirely within the ambit of the beast's deployments for Armageddon (see the link for the chart).

Question #19:

"Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left."
Zechariah 4:3

What is the meaning of the olive trees?

Response #19:

The two trees stand for and foreshadow the two-witnesses, Moses and Elijah, who herald the Messiah and restore Israel during the Tribulation. That is the point the Lord makes when He compares John the baptist with Elijah (Matt.11:14; Mk.6:15).

Question #20:

To take the two olive trees as referring to Moses and Elijah only is an interpretation not entirely clear to me. The view given above is directly linked to the immediate context, but at the moment I don't know what the link is to Moses and Elijah. It is true that Moses and Elijah are called the two olive trees in Revelation 11:4, but I'm not sure if this whole vision could apply only to their short end-time ministry, so I would appreciate if you could both provide a brief explanation of your interpretation and point me to a more in-depth exegesis you wrote.

Response #20:

New Testament scriptures make it abundantly clear that these two trees/witnesses are Moses and Elijah and that this is the critical matter of importance. When our Lord talks about this, no mention of Joshua and Zerubbabel is made; and none of priesthood and kingship. The same is true about the two witness who are Moses and Elijah and not Joshua and Zerubbabel. If we didn't have the NT, we would be struggling to figure out what all this meant. Blessedly, that's not the case; the NT interprets this passage for us (more at the links: "The Two Witnesses" and "The Two Witnesses of the Tribulation"). John and our Lord are the two of whom Moses and Elijah are types. These are the important references, future at time of Zechariah's writing at the first (Christ and John) and before the second advents (Moses and Elijah). Joshua and Zerubbabel can only be said to represent these two future pairs in the context.

And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus answered and said to them, "Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands."
Matthew 17:10-12 NKJV

And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
Luke 9:30-31 NKJV

"And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth."
Revelation 11:3-4

Question #21:

Our Lord not only makes no mention of Joshua and Zerubabbel - He makes no mention of any of the visions that Zechariah had, so I'm not sure this provides an argument here. As I wrote regarding Joshua and Zerubabbel - this historical application "is only a prefigurement of the ultimate fulfilment in the Messiah, who will combine the office of the priest and king in the Millennium, as as taught in Zechariah 6:13". The vision of the lampstand and the two olive trees not only follows shortly on the vision where Joshua as the high priest plays the key role (Zechariah 3:1-7), but when explaining this very vision to Zechariah it is the angel who makes a direct reference to Zerubabbel as the one rebuilding the temple, right in the middle of his explanation.

Response #21:

We know that the two witnesses are resurrected and play a fundamental role in the events of the first half of the Tribulation (there's no other way to read Rev. chapter eleven, and we agree on that). Revelation 11 describes them as "My two witnesses" (Rev.11:3), and says that "These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth." (Rev.11:4). So these two are not "like" the two described in Zechariah 4 – they ARE the two described in Zechariah 4. I don't know of anyone who identifies these two with Joshua and Zerubbabel . . . and for good reason. Not only are those two not particularly exceptional among great believers of the Bible (which would seem to be a prerequisite for being one of the two), but there is also good reason to assume that unless a believer was specially taken out of this life, it's not possible to consider them as likely: while resurrection needs no special bodily condition (even Adam and Eve will be resurrected from the dust), all cases of resuscitation in the Bible are of the recently deceased. So while it might be possible to argue for, e.g., Enoch (though there are good reasons not to prefer him to Moses), scripture gives us no indication of the preservation of the bodies of Joshua and Zerubbabel – but it does of both Moses and Elijah. Also, if a person wanted to argue for one of these other two, it's not really possible to ignore our Lord's words about Elijah who is said by Him to be typical (i.e., "type-ical") of John (as quoted previously); and that being the case, Moses is his true associate, not either of these other two:

"Remember the Law of Moses, My servant,
Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel,
With the statutes and judgments.
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.
And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."
Malachi 4:4-6

Question #22:

Hi Bob,

Your first day over and I'm sure you're feeling tired but hopefully happy to finally be back in class again. How did it go? I've been thinking and praying for you today.

I understand about you having to disinfect your teaching stations and the students their seats and the time pressures. In my job we're used to having to disinfect/sterilise everything but it's been taken to a whole new level since we've been back. We're starting about half an hour earlier in the mornings (by choice and unpaid) because there's so much more for us to do before we open up for patients. We'd never be ready otherwise. And there's more boxes to tick and forms to sign throughout the day to say that we've completed it all. And similar to you between classes - there was never enough time for us in the mornings even before Covid.

There's more deep cleaning to do before lunch time which means we only have half an hour for lunch instead of an hour and some of that is taken up by changing out of our scrubs to our normal clothes to eat and then changing back into our scrubs again before we start back.

They're trying to squeeze more and more in and that's when mistakes can be made. We'll see how it goes as time goes on. I say this with respect but it's very easy for managers to expect us to do all this extra work and give no extra time or help when they haven't got enough idea about what the job actually involves and they don't have to do it themselves.

Anyway, when I keep in mind that it's the Lord I'm here to serve and to be a good witness for and that I work "as for the Lord" (Colossians 3:23-24) then that spurs me on to do the very best I can each day. To do a good job for the Lord and to please Him is what's most important to me. And He really is looking after me and helping me through in so many ways. It might not always be easy but I'm well aware that He's right there with me - our God is so good!

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #22:

Thanks for asking. I have had a number of students requesting "on-line only" and I haven't said no to anyone, but I have let them know kindly that there won't be any recordings because "my technician Fred along with his camera, microphone, software and production skills isn't available this semester". So I had a couple of students who had asked about this over email actually show up today. In fact, it was one of the best "first days" for people on the roster actually showing up in class – or checking in if they didn't / couldn't – I think I've ever had! I think that is because anyone willing to come to campus under the circumstances and put up with all this has got to be pretty serious. So a silver lining.

Classes went very well today. I got a little tired during #3 out of 4, but I had a Starbucks cold Mocha in the break and #4 went very well. That's the one taught in the auditorium. A little weird. There is no podium, so it feels as if I'm out there doing a one-man "Hamlet", but at least the acoustics are great, lighting good, and now they've got a very nice white-board running through the entire back of the stage. Worked well – but if I'm ever off energy, it's going to be a crashing disaster.

Campus was ghostly quiet when I got there at about 9:30 AM, almost no one in the Humanities building. But things picked up by the time I left. I'd say that at 2:00 PM it was about half normal speed. Still, a strange feel for a first day.

Students were attentive and responsive, but subdued. It's clear that all "this" had gotten to them a bit. So it was nice to be able to pump a little normality back into things for them. We'll have to see how things go when they have to be doing some work. One new thing this year is that I've finally bitten the bullet and will be giving them a (near) daily vocabulary quiz. On top of the grammar quizzes, the exams, and the digital assignments (which they are supposed to work on during "remote" days – of which I had to schedule at least 10 per the Provost), they'll have plenty of work to do. But on my side of things, now that I've gotten most of the above already done, it may be an easier than normal semester for me as I have Fridays (about half of them) "off" (except for the upper Latin class at noon). That's when I plan to do photocopying and other things that must be down "down there" like office hours.

It's a good thing they revised the rules and let us lecture without masks. As I now know (from having to put it back on whenever I was handing things out, e.g., and before and after), I wouldn't have been able to do four in a row masked – and they wouldn't have understood about half of what I was saying (not that anyone understands much of anything of what I am saying normally).

The only unexpected negative was when I got home I realized I was having some trouble with the lungs. I'm not feeling sick and it's largely gone away. I think I may be mildly allergic to the disinfectant they are using – and there is NO fresh air in the crypt-like Humanities building. So not having to be there on Tuesday and Thursday is going to be important too ("stay off campus if you can" – OK!).

Bottom line: a good day. I believe I can do this until things get better . . . unless they pull the plug and push us all online for whatever reason (sure hope not!). I did see today that the Covid numbers for KY were significantly down. Hoping that's a trend [n.b., up markedly at the end of the week].

Glad to hear that you and your family are still in the pink (keep it up!).

Oh, and I didn't actually use the computers in the classrooms today, so no need to disinfect. I hope they don't think I'm going to wipe down the erasers.

Thanks for the prayers and support – and for your willingness to share.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hi Bob,

Thanks for taking the time to write your first day back report! I'm really pleased and thank the Lord that it went so well for you. Hope today went well too and that your lungs are still OK now.

Hooray for Starbucks! I have to do the same mid-morning to get me through to lunch time and it always does the trick! Your "one-man Hamlet" made me smile! I'd come and watch your performance if I could get over to your side of the pond! I remember that ghostly quiet feel at work for a while too. It was strange but things have picked up a lot more since then - still not up to normal speed though. You kind of get used to it after a while and settle into it but it will still be nice when we're finally back to "normal" again.

I think it's great that you've been determined to get back to uni to teach. It will be good for your students and for you too. Hopefully in time it will help to take some of the fear away from your students and they'll realise that actually it's OK to be there. If the semester continues in the way you've described it - it sounds pretty good to me!

I was reading Job the other day and I read Job 26:14.

Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, And how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?

As I was sitting typing my email to you yesterday it was thundering and lightening. I was merrily typing away and then all of a sudden I heard a MASSIVE roar of thunder real close to me. I could feel the vibration of it and it made me jump a mile and my heart was racing! I looked up, eyes wide open and said, "Wow Lord!" as I was smiling and holding onto my heart! Then straight away I thought about that verse and that what I had just heard was "the mere edges of His ways" - just His "whisper". That was a pretty amazing thought!

That our minds cannot even comprehend right now the invisible fullness of His majesty, His greatness, the depth of His power and wisdom and providence and everything else about Him. And yet we belong to Him - we are His sons and daughters and even His love for us is so great and beyond our understanding. And even though we may not understand the things we have to go through - the problems and pain, the trials and tribulations, the Lord remains in control and He is faithful and we can trust Him. And He tells us in Phil 4:6-7:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

It's amazing what the Lord can show us and teach us and remind us of just through one verse we have read. He certainly got my attention with that thunder!

Your friend in Jesus

Response #23:

Excellent! Thunder really does get our attention. No doubt that is why the Lord is going to use it to let us know "it's begun":

Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises [lit., "voices"], thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.
Revelation 8:5

Keeping you and yours in my prayers, my friend.

Day #2 coming up.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hi Bob,

Hope today at work went well for you. How have your lungs been today?

I survived another day! Back in tomorrow.

Keeping you and yours in my prayers. Thanks as always for yours too!

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #24:

Day #2 went very well. I read them about the plague at Athens from Thucydides' 'History' (2.47ff.). Makes things today sound not so bad at all by comparison. Our plague is nothing like theirs – AND we don't have the Spartans outside the wall burning our crops et al. (not yet, anyway).

Lungs are fine. Didn't notice any disinfectant related troubles today – but I am very tired. They had said, I believe, that the "full boat" disinfection would only happen over the weekend and that they would use electrostatic measures during the week. So maybe it'll only be a "Monday problem". The Covid number for U of L folks infected is at 53 today. I know that the University of North Carolina back-tracked on their plans for in-person instruction and went remote for the whole semester based on just over 100 cases, and Notre Dame, north of here about three or four hours, also shifted to remote for "at least two weeks". Sure hope it doesn't happen here! Today went very well too. The only down side was that several students were missing in all the classes. Some checked in about it – and a number who did either had symptoms, or were being quarantined, or were concerned. That included one really enthusiastic first year Greek student whom I would hate to have lost.

I'm glad to hear that you have survived to fight another day too. At least with all the get-up you're forced to don every day, I'm betting that at this point they won't be shutting your office down.

To top it off, my hot water tap in the kitchen went out as I was cleaning up after my very late tea-time lunch. Had to shut of the water to the whole house to stop it (no shut-offs for that very old sink). But blessedly I did manage to get a plumber to come out tonight and now I'm back in business – just in time to answer a few emails before quitting for the day.

Your friend in Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hi Bob,

Great to hear that day #2 went very well for you. I would have enjoyed listening to you speak about the plague at Athens too. I'm very happy to hear that your lungs are fine too - it will be interesting to see how you feel after next Monday. We had some new disinfectant wipes for Covid to clean around the surgery with and they really pong! Maybe the pongier they are the stronger they are!

I do hope and pray that you don't have to shift to remote any time soon. This must feel like a very strange start to the semester for you. I'm sure in all the years you've been teaching you've never seen anything quite like this before. I'm not surprised that you've been very tired - you haven't really had the rest or break that you normally have over the summer. Taking it one day at a time is a good thing I think. And I can give you the same excellent advice you gave to me now! Make sure you take extra good care of yourself.

I survived another day too! And it was a good day. I found out yesterday that one of the nurses failed the "fit test" again for a different mask (the black one). So this means that it has come down to me to fill in where she would normally work. But no problems - head down, get stuck in and work hard for the Lord. And that's what I've done and it's gone really well. I think I'm starting to get used to all my get-up now. The more I'm wearing my "battle gear" the more it's starting to feel (nearly) normal to me. We've even got hair nets now! The dentist I was working with today put his on and we had a real good giggle about it! I don't remember Darth Vader ever having a hair net! We don't have to wear all this the whole time - just for certain types of treatment - but it is increasing now. So no talk of them shutting us down at this point. We're getting busier which is a good thing.

You sure did have a challenging end to the day yesterday! Good going shutting off the water to the whole house in time. You certainly don't need any extras like that to keep you on your toes!

I hope today was productive for you too. Friday already tomorrow. I can't believe how quickly the weeks go by. All the more reason to keep diligently preparing for what is ahead of us.

Keeping you in my prayers,

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #25:

I'm impressed and encouraged by your good attitude in the face of "all this", my friend. I'm endeavoring to be a good example to my students too. Some of them really are concerned about all this, but at least they are biting the bullet and showing up in class for the most part (so far). One more day and we'll have a week in the bank together face to face. Not much to build on, especially in the case of my 30 person spread-out-all-over-the-auditorium first year Latin class (I've only learned about six or seven of their names so far, and that is WAY harder with masks on them all). Four in a row tomorrow followed by an hour and a half faculty assembly which is likely to be nothing but a "whine fest". At least it's remote so I can monitor it while I try to work on something else. I do have to rush home after the last class to try and catch the start, however.

No hair nets here, praise the Lord. That might be the last straw.

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

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #26:

Dear Professor

Thank you for your reply. I too look forward to the end of this madness. Our Lord and Savior is the Only One who will put an end to the devil’s rule. We look forward to that glorious day.

Not recognizable with my mask on. Seems the Chinese may have the jump here (if you can believe the report), as I recall awhile back hearing that the walking gait can identify an individual. Also eye recognition technology. We may need to push the mask up a bit higher but then ...

More recently, on the same day and program and time slot as in my previous email, RN hosted a section entitled “Synthetic media and deep fakes in an information dystopia”. RN reviewed a publication with its author Nina Schick, entitled: “Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse”.

Started the segment with the voices of Barrack Obama And JFK each claiming he was the best sniper shot in the entire US armed forces with more than 300 kills. Of course they never said any of it but with AI they “did” say it. JFK was “resurrected from the dead” with synthetic technology to speak words he never ever spoke.

Nina says the age of information has become the age of disinformation and poses a dynamic threat. It allows a COMPUTER to learn how to generate fake media and has only been in the realm of the possible for about 2 1/2 years. Democratises fakery. Almost undetectable to the human eye and is advancing to the the stage where it is only detectable BY Artificial Intelligence. We may even advance to the stage where AI will not be able to detect these fakes. That is, AI won’t know when AI is fibbing, nor will humans! All within the next 5 to 7 years! Trust will disappear. Source: ABC, Radio National, Late Night Live with Philip Adams (the podcasts are on the internet for anyone to look up).

Any serious Christian would realise that we can not always (or hardly ever) believe what we see and hear. The world will look for someone they CAN trust. This is another peril, as the antichrist will be the MOST charismatic deceiver the world has ever known, and will succeed in all he does, that is, until Jesus, at His second Advent, returns to defeat him.

Serious Christians need to rely on the Spirit bringing to mind the words in scripture we are NOW studying and NOT on things they will then see and hear. ANYTHING contrary to the Word of God should NEVER be believed, no matter how authentic they look and sound. Revelation 13:14. Matt: 24:23-26. 2 Peter 1:16-19 . (See especially ichthys.com/translations 2 Peter:16-21/ RB; and CT 3A; where Peter says that the Bible is a MORE sure witness, even than what he saw with his own eyes, where he refers back to Matt. 17:1-8).

I like your explanation where the appropriate words are bolded, that are accessed at Translations/PDF/expanded translations/Romans to Revelation/2 Peter 1:16-21/Q6/EM/ Healing, Miracles and Dreams: Sorting the Wheat From the Chaff.

This is the truth of scripture. It trumps even what we see and hear with our own eyes. We need to value it to the same extent as Peter did, and, implores us to do so also. It will indeed be perilous times and we all need to heed the warning so as to be numbered amongst the 5 wise virgins.

We will know (the truth), IF we prepare by LOVING the truth in scripture BEFOREHAND. Mark 13:23.

You were saying the Tribulation ONLY lasts for 7 years. Thank our Lord for knowing that there IS a glorious end for those who endure to the end. (Following your advice in steeling myself for the “unpleasantness” before the great day).

Thank you Dr Luginbill for your most gracious Ministry. I am reminded of how precious the scriptures are as you teach the truth with such diligence to us, the Lords sheep, who will not follow a hireling, but follow the true shepherd as revealed in, and by a diligent love of the sacred Word of God - in the Bible!

Hoping U of L is working for you.

In Jesus our Hope and Salvation.

Your student

Response #26:

"We look forward to that glorious day" -- Amen! The blessed hope WILL come (Tit.2:13).

A little distressed to hear that you are still not back in the pink. Praying for that to come soon.

I'm not terribly worried about AI: human beings are bad enough. Plus, as mentioned, whenever I need to jazz up my first year Latin class, I have "Google Translate" try some of our Latin sentences, or, what is even more fun, try turning English into Latin. Sometimes it does OK. Often the results are really laughable. Ridiculous mistakes of the sort even the worst human Latin student would never think to make. And the truly interesting thing is (as I have been doing this for years now) . . . Google is getting WORSE at it, not better. And Google has good and bad days too (that is the only human-like feature I've noticed). Also, when I ask Siri something like "who was the first president of the Greek republic", she wants to give me the address of the nearest falafel shop. Not the sort of thing to have you shaking in your boots about computers taking over the world. Antichrist will be a different matter.

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

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Dear Professor

Thank you for your reply. Was good to permanently put that one to bed with the re-reading of the link you attached. While I have being feeling quite physically vulnerable for the last 6 going on 7 weeks now, I have come to re-appreciate how little and insignificant I am. Not even being able to fellowship with other believers, even though I thought I was coming good I did not have the steam to go to Bible study last night. I was thinking that the only pre-trib “rapture” there is, is dying before the Tribulation starts. Of course, that is not a “true” “rapture” (read resurrection) in any case. I have been feeling a bit sad at this prolonged recovery, thinking I am just about there, and then regressing again. I gather there is more for me to learn from this situation. I have faith that God gives us what we really need.

Thank you for your support you give through your Ministry.

Your student

Response #27:

If it wasn't for the people I'd be letting down, I'd much prefer to "go home" . . . just as soon as I finish BB 7.

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.
Philippians 1:21-24 NKJV

The Lord has the perfect plan – so we are perfectly fine with however He works things out.

Survived day #2 here! Very tired. Plumbing went out! Got it fixed pretty cheap. But the day is gone.

Keeping your health in my prayers (and well done you for pulling in your horns until you are totally back in fine fettle).

Your friend in Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #28:

Dear Professor

It is true - so many people rely on you and your Ministry (I also must confess). Glad you made it through the day.

The simple truth is that there is not much out there that teaches the whole truth in any consistent meaningful way, and the burden has fallen on so few to shoulder. No wonder you are very tired (together with all the worldly stuff you have to cope with).

I was to report on Robert Breaker’s pre-trib teaching, but I’ve been so out of it lately I am trying to think whether I have watched it. Had a bit of a relapse of health today. Our internet is down again so can’t easily look it up. I do remember him saying in one video that people have emailed him to point out scriptures to show there is no pre-trib rapture, but he shakes his head with some vigor and says something like, no, no, no, I won’t believe it. Do not send me stuff (from the scriptures); I won’t believe it! You are wasting my/your time. I won’t look at it. (That will also be my lot of that site).

Justin Peters was a site where the teacher spoke calmly. I was looking for ___ for a site where the teacher speaks face to face with the viewer. She and others I can think of need a face to face teacher speaking slowly, explaining well, and definitely not a racehorse ranter - some people are not that good with reading and their speed of and levels of understanding vary. I thought he would be a good one until I looked up his statement of faith to find he is pre-trib and a few other things that didn’t quite gel. There Is a vacancy to be filled here for someone to teach the truth face to face.

Carter Conlon (we viewed one video of his at our Bible fellowship) from Times Square Church seems quite a speaker and some things are well taught. There is a section to donate a tithe, or, to various other causes. I looked it up on my phone internet as house internet is down. The give button is so close to the search button, that it is difficult on my phone screen to hit the one you aim for, so I ended up hitting both. I am still not clear what his exact “rapture” position is, though he does say the Church will prevail through the difficult end times, which is true in a way (he that endures to the end will be saved - my insertion). I hit “the mark of the beast” title and came up with a pamphlet from Carter Conlon (March 2011), saying that we do not need to worry about that because if our value system is aligned with God’s we will have His (God’s) mark. When Satan sends his hordes down to mark believers, there will not be any room left to put the mark of the beast as the space will be fully taken up, leaving no room to write.

Certainly there is not the in depth, or clarity found at ichthys.com or any Subject index other than a list of sermons - some video, some audio, and some pamphlets). I will send a link to the pamphlet if I can get the internet back or if my mobile phone connection works. “sermons.tsc.nyc (Not Secure - whatever that means) March 2011 Carter Conlon.

Actually now that the internet has re woke there are heaps more sermons and a link to Carter Conlon (still part of the TSC but has his own separate site as well it seems, but handed his TSC position over to another to be senior pastor at TSC). Looks like there are 83 pages of sermons - image trying to find what you are looking for by scrolling through vague titles!

With Ichthys I can find things logically set out and explained at your site and you have a Subject index and a Translations tab as well as other tabs to make navigation simple.

I do not like to think of you “moving on” as it would leave a gaping hole here. Selfish motives coming out here, as we should be happy for believers, especially for those going to their Lord after such faithful service. Thank you for the timely reminder of our nothingness and God’s greatness.

The truth in Christ is the only truth. Thank you for teaching it with great dedication.
No need to reply right now, nor any time soon, nor even anytime - I know you are flat out and tired.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior.

Your student

Response #28:

Glad to hear that your internet is "woke" now (guess that means you'll have to be doubly careful about anything coming in over it).

As to burdens, the Lord blessing me with the opportunity to participate in this ministry is the best thing in my life, and I don't think of it as a burden, even when there is a lot to do and a lot of "noise and churn" keeping me from doing as much with it as I should.

What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.
1st Corinthians 9:18 NIV

Proclaim the Word! Keep at it, whether circumstances are favorable or not! Reprove, rebuke, [and] encourage with all patience [in your] teaching!
2nd Timothy 4:2

I'm willing to keep at it as long as the Lord is willing for me to keep at it.

Thanks for your perusing of cyber-space on the lookout for worthwhile material. It's a bit like rummaging through the Apocrypha for "something good" which, as Jerome even told us, was like "digging through the mud for nuggets of gold" (and in that case, no gold). Have you checked out our friend's new YouTube channel? Pretty good, IMHO. And of course Bible Academy is first rate as you know very well (link).

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

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #29:

Hello, Bob,

Don't feel obligated to respond to this since I know you're busy. If you're inclined, put it off until you have time. Your correspondent (#7 - Eschatology Issues XLV) in this weeks email posting expressed concern that he was withdrawing from society. (I may be way over interpreting.) But, I feel much the same.

As I may have mentioned, my wife was raised Catholic and I was raised Methodist. Both of us rejected the doctrines. Our problem was finding a church in which to raise our child. We never did. So, instead, we tried to use our best understanding to raise her, which I think was successful. But as a result, I've rejected all "churchianity." At the time, our understanding was meager, to say the least. Now, thanks to you, my understanding is much different.

You're correspondent in this week's posting expressed concern about withdrawing from society. I, too, have withdrawn. I used to feel guilty because I wasn't producing for the Lord. But then I considered Abraham who didn't go to church or participate in society any more than required and I don't feel so bad. Whatever the Lord has in store for me will be.

I have come to the point where I consider current events in light of Genisis 3:5. I have a neighbor, a retired federal marshal, who maintains that EVERYTHING coming out of government is a lie. I'm inclined to believe it. In fact, everything I read, whether from government or scientists about the COVIDiocy seems to confirm this assumption.

I may be way off base. I trust you'll correct me if so. But what I'm seeing out there is the warm-up act for the Tribulation. (Lesser known names giving the ticket holders a full evening's entertainment.) I've given up trying to understand it all and trust that I'll know when it happens; the shoots of the fig tree are freshening. When it happens, I think my daughter will be OK. I hope and pray my son-in-law and grand kids will be, too. I really only worry about my geriatric basset hound who relies on me for everything. Perhaps that's not appropriate, but he's become family. The Bible says nothing about the fate of animals.

Where I would still question you would be on "except the days be shortened." I would defer to your judgment, of course, on the last days, but I still wonder. I hope it will be shorter. The "in the days of Noah" suggest some wiggle room. No matter, I have no doubt it's coming soon.

I hope and pray all stays well with you and yours. I also hope your coming school year is successful and effective. My only experience with teaching was private french horn lessons. I found some willing to learn who had the talent and some whose parents insisted they take music lessons. I was paid the same but it was still frustrating.

Yours in our Lord Jesus,

Response #29:

Always great to hear from you, my friend.

In terms of "doing something for the Lord", modern day evangelicaldom has largely reduced "good works" to going out and cramming the gospel down the throats of those who aren't interested, then "counting coup" when someone who was already a believer gets guilted into coming to their church and "testifying". This is on the other end of the spectrum from the RC church where "good works" are everything but actually nothing (to God) because they are done with the wrong intent and do nothing to carry out His purpose. What should we be "doing"? Growing spiritually through the Word; applying it more and more in our daily walk with the Lord and in passing the tests He allows to come our way; and helping others do the same – through encouragement or guidance or sharing the truth in issues large and small. This last "step" does require that the Lord bring into our path the "good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Eph.2:10 NKJV). When you share with me – and the other Ichthys folks by your willingness to have these conversations posted – you are doing that for certain. So don't feel guilty. Guilt is, as I say, "the devil's ace trump". If we are allowing ourselves to feel guilt, we are almost always thinking about things the wrong way (unless we are being convicted by the Spirit of some offense; in which case we stop, confess, and move on).

As to everything coming from the government being a lie, consider also that it is all coming to us through some form of media (talk about lies). Yes, the current double unpleasentness and the outrageous reactions from all in positions of power and influence do signal that something larger is afoot. That is why I decided to post what I posted this week (link). Not because I'm convinced that things really are as close as a few weeks out (we will know soon enough), but because it is becoming clear that getting prepared is more important than ever:

"For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?"
Luke 21:31 NKJV

As to shortening the days, this is said by our Lord in the context of the end of the Tribulation and His subsequent return. Without that shortening just before the second advent "no flesh" would survive. It is true, as I have said probably every time these issues come up, He is sovereign and can do whatever He wants with the time line for reasons we may not understand until after the fact. Once again, the conclusion to draw: be ready.

As to animals, I have posted some things on this. Personally, I am of the opinion that no spirit ever perishes. For human beings whose spirits contain the image of God, continuation in eternity is dependent upon accepting the gift of Christ. But for animals, there is no such need – so I expect they'll all be there on the other side.

It does take patience to be a teacher! I suppose I'll need a double dose of it tomorrow. Thanks for you prayers!

Keeping you and your family in my daily prayers, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior.

Bob L.

Question #30:

Dear Bob,

Thanks for the encouragement. I have no problem with you sharing my emails in your weekly posting. I've gained much from other's questions and your answers. I only hope I can contribute something to others. I certainly have little opportunity otherwise. I have to admit that sometimes it's a shock to read my words coming back at me on a Sunday morning but it always helps to reread your response in the context of the posting.

It took me a while to get a handle on "no flesh would survive" against the plagues afflicting those with the mark and destruction at the Lord's return. My current understanding, please correct me if I'm mistaken, is some will survive the tribulation who have not taken the mark but who are not believers until out Lord returns. That also implies a concerted effort on the part of the antichrist to destroy all who haven't taken the mark. When He does return, I can't imagine anyone who survives would not be a believer at that point. It's said there are no unbelievers in a foxhole. That has to be much more true on His return.

You're right in that what we assume about government is for the most part filtered through the media. Even emails from my representative are normally about his schmoozing with district businesses so are functionally useless. I suppose if I cared enough, I could read the congressional record. But that, like reading "scientific" papers gives me a roaring headache and acid indigestion. So I don't.

Good luck tomorrow!

Yours in our Lord,

Response #30:

I appreciate you, my friend!

On Tribulation-survival, scripture says "I will make people more rare than fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir" (Is.13:12 NKJV). But there was and is gold, and there will be survivors. As I have opined on this in the past, a goodly number of these will no doubt be the very young who did not take the mark if only because it has to be the result of a free will decision – albeit mightily coerced through potential starvation and execution (the devil also wants people to "choose" for him and the beast but unlike the grace of God makes it materially hard not to do so); so those who were too young for that by the time of the second advent will not be destroyed either at Armageddon or the "baptism of fire" thereafter (when all who took the mark and still survive will be unceremoniously incinerated). Then too we know that the number of Jews being repatriated to the land of Israel will be large – so that tells us something about survival generally as well; I suspect their rate of survival to be higher than that of gentiles because of their likely greater antipathy towards worshiping antichrist and also taking on his mark, but that still does indicate that many will survive (even 10% of the current population of the world would be hundreds of millions).

As to "I can't imagine anyone who survives would not be a believer at that point", that is to underestimate the potential for human beings to harden their hearts (see the link on that):

The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk.
Revelation 9:20 NIV

And, nota bene, these individuals are not "atheists" – they "only" reject the One true God and His Son our Savior Jesus Christ and choose the devil and his son instead.

The LORD Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen. I will crush the Assyrian [typical of antichrist] in my land; on my mountains I will trample him down. His yoke will be taken from my people, and his burden removed from their shoulders. This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations. For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?
Isaiah 14:24-27 NIV

We know everything we need to know about the true governance of all events on planet earth; we just need to hold onto those truths and trust the Lord to see us through whatever may come, whenever it may come. In the end, all evil will be crushed.

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

Strengthen the hands that are weak. Bolster the knees that are giving way. Say to those with anxious hearts, "Be strong! Don't be afraid! Behold! Your God will come, as an Avenger. [Your] God will come, as a Rewarder. He will come, and He will deliver you".
Isaiah 35:3-4

In Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #31:

Hola, Bob,

It sounds like you had only minor skirmishes. I'm happy things went well. Enjoy the auditorium and realize that those people can't do a thing until you do or say something. I used to be on stage in front of sometimes two thousand people or so. (Much easier than 50. The worst was in front of three professionals.) After I got over the initial jitters the first couple of times, I realized I could do or say about anything and they would just sit there. I had fun with it. The more outrageous you become the better they listen.

I've also discovered that if I get the face diaper down near the tip of my nose, I can breathe much better. Too long in one of those things will reduce your blood O2 sat. Be careful. Even after a grocery visit, I can feel the difference and ___ has told me the same thing.

I do have a bit of testimony. I took your advice and prayed for myself. (Prayers answered.) I learned much which I'd like to share when things settle down for you.

Stay well and safe.

Yours in our Lord,

Response #31:

I'm glad to hear that you are "boldly approaching the throne of grace" (Heb.4:16).

Yes, I've noticed that breathing is an issue with the mask on if one is doing anything out of the sedentary. A couple of my asthmatic students have to pull theirs down even while sitting from time to time. Don't know how much longer we'll be on campus but I sure HOPE it lasts all semester. Day #2 went well. They enjoyed hearing about the plague at Athens during the Peloponnesian War. Much worse than ours – and no enemy outside the gates keeping us jam-packed together. Lots of students having issues, some quarantined, some sick and wondering if it's Covid, some merely in contact with others in those sorts of situations; some just worried. With all the fear pumping out there, it's not surprising. But we endeavor to persevere – in person for just as long as they will let me.

Days like this though, I think wistfully about my boy out in Gallup where a man could buy a small ranch for a song and be done with the likes of all this. Maybe before the Tribulation starts; we'll have to see.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #32:

Hello, Bob,

I'm happy things went reasonably well for you though it sounds like the students have bought into the COVID hysteria. I can understand. People who are a lot older and who have lived through the past seven or eight pandemics have bought into the nonsense as well. It still goes on here with our governor flip flopping from one position to the next. I've passed on your concerns and problems with the remote classes to __ in California; still under lockdown. He has to do the same. They just started classes, too. So I haven't heard, yet. I think it would be incredibly difficult without the feedback. I haven't read of any violence at U of L, so that's reassuring.

The short form of the answers to my prayers for myself was for rain and to make my garden grow -- or show me the way. I've discovered it's best to be specific in prayer. We did get a brief shower one afternoon and for reasons that escapes me, I planted cow peas/black eyed peas and a sweet potato that was getting long in the tooth. They've both grown well and I'm not particularly fond of either. (Got a lot more learning to do...) Not much else has. To be sure, the Spirit answered my prayers. Just not the way I envisioned the answer. The answer, though, will ultimately be much more productive than my way. The grasshoppers left both alone but ate my lima beans and okra to the ground.

New Mexico is pleasant -- and they have trout fishing! I don't know what you consider a "song," but there are so many migrants flooding in from New York and California they've driven land values and taxes sky high here. In my neighborhood, it's not unusual to find small 10-14 acre parcels of bare land at $15,000 - $18,000/acre. That was as of a year or so ago. I have no idea what it is today. If the economy goes the way I think it'll go, prices should fall back to reasonable.

Still, living in the country has it's rewards -- and challenges. Stay well and safe. You're in my prayers daily.

Yours in our Lord,

Response #32:

Some of my students have no choice – the quarantined ones, at any rate.

Don't think a move is in the future any time soon. I have noted that prices of real estate everywhere seem now to be sky high. Not the time to even think about buying (even if there were money to do so).

And getting results on a "rain prayer" puts you in very good company, my friend (Jas.5:16-17)!

Yes, the city life does have some pluses. At least I was able to get a plumber to come after supper and fix my kitchen hot water tap which went bust – had to shut off the water to the whole house (no cut off valve on that old contraption). Living 50 miles outside of town, well, I'd probably be tempted to have a go at even electrical problems (would make short work of yours truly, I'm sure).

One more day and I'll have a whole week of face to face in the bank – and that can't be taken away even if they do pull the plug.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #33:

Hello Bob,

Curiously, it's been about 3-1/2 years of drought and 3 winters my young figs have frozen to the ground. Hmm...

Heard from my ___. He's had to go into an empty classroom (grade school) to teach remotely. At least he has a blackboard. but I don't know what would be harder. All remote or his hybrid.

In other news, I ran across a study today establishing that natural exposure to COVID creates long term immunity via memory T-cells. Ergo masks are unnecessary. The soon to be unveiled vaccines will be much more dangerous as the lockdowns and quarantines are proving to be.

https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(20)31008-4?rss=yes

I'm only 11 miles out of a little town and have trouble getting services. C'est la guerre.

Yours in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Response #33:

Interesting. I'd like to think that this means the second advent is just around the corner, but I fear otherwise.

Thanks for the update and for the other info.

I guess if my situation were similar to yours, I'd be taking a wrench to the faucet myself. Turns out, however, that when new stems were put in about a year and a few months ago, the plumber forgot the two little screws that are supposed to go into the top of the stems. That caused the washers to get chewed up. Don't think I'd have ever figured that one out on my own, and I'm also guessing that the nearest plumber's supply warehouse is more than eleven miles out.

As it is, I had hot water the next morning. I guess that's more than half the state of California can say at present (heard that the fires have caused a drain on the grid and brown-outs because they've closed down the natural gas power plants in favor of solar and wind which can't take the overload and whose production can't be adequately stored for such peaks).

Classes went well today so now at least I have one week in the bag "face to mask". As strange as things are, and in spite of the greater load this semester with all the hoo-hah, it's still ten times better than trying to teach ghosts over the computer. Hope we stay "live" to the end.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #34:

Hi Bob,

I'm sure you must be feeling very tired tonight but I'm happy that you made it through your first week back with your students. I hope today went well for you and you survived the "whine fest!"

Thanks for your kind words about work. I'm trying to dig deep and do the best job I can to help and support in what is a hard situation for everyone. I can't say I'm enjoying all of the changes at the moment but I'm enjoying the Lord's help in getting me through each day. Even the tiny things He does makes a huge difference to me.

Whenever we can enjoy a lighthearted moment at work it helps. It doesn't take much to make me laugh anyway! I was very grateful to the Lord yesterday for the lovely breeze that was coming through the window to help to cool us down. It made it so much easier. And the sun was shining too. It was a lovely blessing from Him.

I really feel for your students and understand their concerns. This isn't the way their time at uni should be. But they're blessed to have such a caring professor like you, the good example you are being to them and doing all you can to try to bring some kind of normality, interest and enjoyment to your classes at this difficult time. You're giving them your all, just as you do for us and you can't do anymore than that.

Thanks so much for being there for us too. For being such a great example for us. Thank you for taking the time to even read my emails after you've had a long, tiring day at work - especially the other night when it was late and you had to call the plumber out too. Thanks for your wonderful teaching and encouragement and friendship and your sense of humour too! I love that! I'm very grateful to the Lord for you.

Thanks so much for your prayers and I'll be keeping you and yours and everything in my prayers too.

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #34:

And thank YOU for your terrific encouragement! I appreciate it greatly.

You can bet I WILL post this one!

Today went well too. It's harder to teach with students spread out and wearing masks. It's WAY harder to get them to come out of their shells (can NOT put them in groups) so I am "dancing" more vigorously than ever. Sort of ran out of gas today – blessedly not until the walk back to the car.

Happy it's Friday!

One week of "face to mask" in the bag. Thirteen (and a "wake up" – a single Monday before Thanksgiving) to go!

Thanks for those prayers, my friend! Most needful of late.

Keeping you and your family in mine everyday as well.

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #35:

Dear Professor

Hope you get/got off to a reasonable start for your next term at U of L. It is good to see Will Reike’s work on You Tube.

In keeping my ears open to see how the world interprets our current events, Radio National’s Late Night Live program offered up a couple of things that piqued my interest. The first was an interview with Bernard-Henri Levy: philosopher, activist, filmmaker, author of more than 30 books (I’d never heard of him before either).

“The Virus in the age of madness” was his book being discussed and promoted as I rattled and rolled my bus home the other afternoon. Time difference with the eastern states means I am probably getting the night before’ s offering rebroadcast.

All the following is in his words or paraphrased:

The madness was around before the virus and will be around after the virus, but the virus has accelerated the madness. He despises the fact that with Artificial Intelligence which has been around before the virus, but the virus has accelerated the trend, of each of us being spies on each other. In the early stages of the virus, we in the west were laughing that in China they use AI to detect a virus, detect a demonstrator/dissident, and we were saying WE would never do that. The Chinese pattern is where we are heading. The mask is a necessity in times of pandemic, but if it goes beyond, and as common as wearing pants, civilisation will be MUCH worse. Shaking hands, same logic, if necessary to control the virus ok, but if shaking hands is banned we will become the enemy of each other. He said Dr Fauci is a good man, but when he heard him say that he wasn’t sure shaking hands would EVER come back, Bernard was freezing with anxiety for the world he was leaving to his children. The Spanish flu of a century ago, we will never know how many died but was probably in the scores of millions of people, The Hong Kong flu of 1968 where at least a million people died, but we have forgotten that, worse, even erased it from our memories. It is difficult even to find any documentation of this flu. 2 reasons. First, life was less sacred than it is today. Second, in the last month how many times have we heard that this pandemic is “unprecedented”? We WANTED that term. Though 1968, 1958 with the Asian flu, that was even worse. The term “unprecedented” was WILLED by dictators, democratic leaders, and all of us. The pandemic has eclipsed everything else. I got the last plane out of Bangladesh and the idea of looking beyond the borders of your apartment unit was considered as an act of “un-citizenship”. This was another example of this madness, this panic, this overreaction in my country and over the world. The Chinese leader, Putin and Erdogan could do anything they liked because this virus has become the king of our spirits, king of the media. This is NOT a sane reaction because there are other diseases and happenings around the world. He did a survey of a week in French media where there was NO space for ANYTHING else! No space for the crimes of Bashar al Assad in Syria, no space for the moves of Russians and Turks in Libya, and as we were ecstatic about the blue skies and empty streets in Paris, not even space for the criminals burning the lungs of the earth in the Amazon. This is another example of the madness. A strange pre Christopher Columbus universe. When I observe all the new imperialisms; the Ottoman, Russian, Chinese move like elephants in the room, as if the master of the living room was no longer here - as if America did not exist. For the first time in my life, the world does not expect anything from America - good or bad. This is the vanishing of America. (End of French philosopher’s spiel).

I was going to report on one or two “bible preachers” lot on YouTube. Unfortunately the sad state of the vast bulk, including these two, relegates them below the level of worldly philosophy. Their madness matches the worldly madness which also denies the truth of the scriptures. While the worldly, mass in their apartments and contemplate their navels for fear of corona, these two “teachers” contemplate why they are still not raptured - perhaps it will be tomorrow- at least it must be before Tribulation - or so they think. We would love them to be right, BUT then, there IS, the scriptures, and we do well to believe the Bible than false teaching. Clearly, “unprecedented” is not the truth. Clearly smokescreens can suffocate all else. Clearly clear, is not clear to the world or to most of those preaching. Clearly you can very easily become an un citizen (non citizen in antichrist’s world).

Clearly we have a firm hope in the One and only Way of salvation. John 14:6

Keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus our Savior.

Your student

Response #35:

Thanks for sharing this, my friend.

I heard a semi-sane environmentalist the other day blaming Green Peace for much of the trouble in the Amazon basin caused, for example, by their dictatorial insistence for "green islands" in the savanna which have essentially eliminated top predators which cannot safely transit from island to island. Reminds me of the "one size fits all" Covid decrees from our governors here in the US, and changing all the time: "25% capacity OK, now 50% – no wait, back to 25%!" (meanwhile, the restaurants have to throw away the food they ordered for the 25% extra who can now no longer come to their establishments).

At least if we are all wearing masks we'll be more difficult to track. My own IPhone can't recognize me if I have a mask on.

The wicked plots against the just,
And gnashes at him with his teeth.
The Lord laughs at him,
For He sees that his day is coming.
Psalm 37:12-13 NKJV

We see it coming too – and coming right quick at present. One great thing about all this double unpleasantness is that it really is showing believers the difference between those who trust the Lord and those who despise Him. We are concerned, but ultimately can laugh at all this in the Lord and with the Lord. We carried nothing into this world, and the only thing we'll carry out are the crowns we're winning by seeing and thinking and speaking about things God's way.

"And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not."
Malachi 3:18 NIV

Looking forward in company with you and all those who love the Lord to His swift return.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

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