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Eschatology Issues XLVIII

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Question #1:

The mystery that Paul spoke of in verse twenty five is the Church and the Church Age, isn't it, sir? I think that is what you teach, right, sir?

Response #1:

Yes. It was not fully revealed or understood (though it is to be found in scripture) that the gentiles would become fellow partners with the Jews in Christ's assembly (Eph.3:6). Best link on this is in BB 6B: Ecclesiology: "The Mystery Age and the Mystery Complement ".

Question #2:

Hello Bob,

Matthew 22:1-13 (NASB)
1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. 3 And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. 4 Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, 6 and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. 7 But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. 8 Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests. 11 “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, 12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Question: Can you provide a good rundown for this parable? I have looked for an answer in other places on the website but could not find one.

In our Lord and Savior,

Response #2:

Here's what I have in Q/A #11 for "Parables and their Interpretation" for the companion passage in Luke:

Q: Could you briefly explain Luke 14:12-24? Is the big dinner the Kingdom of God? Do the first guests symbolize Pharisees, the second the poor among the Israelites and the third (from the 'highways and along the hedges) the Gentiles? What is the meaning of the invitation to this dinner?

A: Yes, I take the "king's banquet" parable to be the celebration in the Kingdom from which most of Jesus' contemporaries will be shut out. They all have their excuses why they will not accept God's will and receive His Messiah who is right there in front of them. This trend to hardness in Israel will continue until our Lord's return (Rom.11:25), and the mystery of the Church is that the gentiles are now flooding into God's family (the people compelled to come in from the highways and byways). I also think you make a good point in identifying the "poor/lame/crippled etc." as those in Israel who were not of the privileged religious caste (cf. Matt.21:31).

You might also look at "Matthew Questions" in loc. where I say pretty much the same thing for the Matthew passage.

In Jesus Christ our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hi Bob,

Matthew 22:7 But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. -- Does this verse refer to the Armageddon campaign or is it the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD or something different?

In our Lord

Response #3:

The rage comes at / after the banquet has begun.  So I take that as the final destruction of evil on earth before the end of history.  Consider:

Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.
Revelation 20:7-9 NKJV

Happy 4th!

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi Bob,

Happy fourth to you too!

But this wouldn't make sense considering this parable is in reference to the hardened generation of Israelites who have rejected the Messiah and during the Millennium they will have accepted him thus not needing any judgement of fire. I thought that those killing the slaves were the Israelites who were persecuting God's messengers at the start of the Church age. This is a confusing parable I have to say.

In Jesus,

Response #4:

While the exact interpretation has to do with end of the "Day of the Lord" and the final disposition of all things, I have no problem applying this part of the parable (which is a bit different in the rendering in Luke) also to a) the baptism of fire (from CT 6 on that subject: "The enemies of the King who did not want Him to rule over them who are killed in His presence at His return (Lk.19:27; quoted above)."), and also to b) the purging of Israel during the regathering at the beginning of the Millennium (I quote the Luke passage there as well).

The parable(s) present the return of the King and His disposition of all matters as of one piece (meaning not only all of the things mentioned but also the end of the earthly and transition into the eternal kingdom with all the echelons of resurrection and judgments included), so that we are right to (and in fact must) include all these aspects.

The point of the parable is that opposing the King is insane and will be punished, whether that opposition is willful and violent (the rebels) or passive (the man without the wedding garment), and just because a person considers himself "a citizen of the kingdom" (as our Lord's contemporaries did on the basis of their genealogy), will count for nothing compared to one's actual attitude of heart towards the King. In the end, the King will come and all rebels and resisters will be disposed of, so that only the righteous enter into the eternal kingdom.

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Bob,

Thanks for the email! Can you kindly direct me to the page on your website that discusses the Tribulation, there are several people I'd like to send that to. Know that you are in my prayers nightly and I appreciate your friendship and kindness over the years.

Response #5:

Best page for that is the "home page" for the "Coming Tribulation" series.

There's also a synopsis of all my writings on eschatology: Bible Basics 2B: Eschatology.

Thanks for your good words, my friend!

Keeping you in my prayers daily.

In Jesus,

Question #6:

Hello Dr. Lubinbill,

I just finished an article that I wrote on the explanation of 1 Thess. chapter 4 verses 13 to 18, and expounding on what Paul was referencing in these verses. This is another fact that can easily debunk the so-called rapture theory. Can you please review and give me your comments or corrections that may be needed or perhaps with my understanding? Here is the article:

"The final clarification regarding the “First” Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians is as follows:

1. The verse that is often used for support of the so-called “Rapture” theory, and that is all that it is, a theory developed that is totally unbiblical, and the following statement proofs that this “theory” is without credence:

2. Notice first, and maybe it is not obvious, 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, follows 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 and is the conclusion of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians as I stated previously.

3. In light of this very obvious fact, Paul concludes his dissertation on “The Day of the LORD” as a continuation of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4.

4. Chapters noted in the Bible were added by an English Scholar in the 13th Century C.E., while verses were added come 300 years later by a French Scholar. Solid blocks of text! No punctuation. And none of the numbered chapters and verses that we use today. Bible writers did not divide their message into chapters or verses. They just wrote down the whole message God gave them so that the readers could also get the whole message, not just tiny parts of it.

5. Again, what we have here in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 is a continuation of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4.

6. There are a number of Scriptures that describe what is to take place on the “Day of the Lord” which are found in: Joel 2:1-2; Amos 5:18-20; Zeph.1:14-15; and incidentally in 1Thes.5:1-8 which just happens to follow 1 Thess. 4, where the alleged “Rapture” verses are written.

7. Again, as previously noted, Paul continues this first letter with an explanation of the events that will happen in 1 Thess. Chapter 4, and indeed provides exact information to the meaning of what he wrote in Chapter 4, and that is: “The Day of the Lord”.
8. Paul begins Chapter 5 of 1 Thess., with the words” Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you, yourselves know full well that “the Day of the Lord” will come just like a thief in the night”, as so on…..

I have also written an article on 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 which follows:

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 is speaking strictly of the “Second Coming of Jesus Christ”, not about a “Rapture”, and if anything, it is the “First Resurrection”, not a so-called “Rapture”. It also says that several things will happen before the “Second Coming”:

1. The apostasy depicted in 1 Timothy 4:1-3 will occur.

2. The restraining of the antichrist will be removed, the Holy Spirit will not be removed, neither will the church.

3. The antichrist will be revealed.

4. The antichrist will sit in the temple in Israel and proclaim himself to be God.

5. God will send a deluding influence on those who do not believe the Truth[The Gospel].

Other facts noted in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 are as follows:

1. The very first two verses of this passage of scripture that our “gathering together”[1st Resurrection] will not happen until the time of the “Second Coming” or, as it says: “the Day of the Lord”[this is the final day of mankind, the 7th day or 7,000th year.]

2. The passage them informs us what will happen prior to this “gathering together” which happens at the sound of the trumpet of assembly which is the Second Coming.

3. Paul says this in verse 3-4 of this Scripture: “ 3Let no one deceive you in any way, for it [Second Coming], or if you believe this refers to a “Rapture” you will be shocked to find out that what you are calling a “Rapture”,will not come until the rebellion occurs [the falling away noted in 1 Timothy 4:1-3], and the man of lawlessness—the son of destruction [the a/c]—is revealed. 4He[the a/c] will oppose and exalt himself above every so-called god or object of worship. So he [the a/c] will seat himself in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.”

4. This 4th event which says”The antichrist will sit in the temple and proclaim himself to be God, does not take place until the last three and a half years of “The Great Tribulation”.

A multitude of Christians have been taught[or should I say deceived, because they have not studied the Scriptures for themselves, but have left it up to others to do, what they don’t want to do], that this verse in 2 Thessalonians 2 is talking about “a rapture”, and if that is true, then “all” these events mentioned in Verse 3 & 4 must take place; As it clearly says: “will not come until”, that is the so-called rapture, when in reality, it is not a rapture, but is indeed the Second Coming.

Scripture is very clear that the resurrection occurs at the parousia or (only) return of Christ:

cf. Matthew 24:3;
“ 3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

The “end of the age” is not “the end of the [church] age, but the end of the “last day”, the 7th year or 1,000 year reign of Jesus Christ, and the end of mankind on this earth, after which the first heaven and the first earth will be destroyed:

See Revelation 21:1;
1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.”

Cf. 2 Peter 3:10-13.

I will add a credit to this document to note that comments from you were also included. I do not intend to publish this, but I will share it with those who want to know the real truth of God's precious Word. Thanks so very much, I really need to know if I am on the right track or not. God blessings to you, I am so overjoyed that I found your Website, as God has and continues to teach me much.

Your Friend,

Response #6:

Great stuff, my friend!

Yes it is true that when the end of 1Thes.4 is not taken out of context, what follows is very clearly talking about the second advent and not pre-Tribulation event.

Nothing to add – except that I'd like to post this as part of the next "Eschatology Issues" offering.

Thanks for your positive comments, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Dear Professor,

It has been a while since we have corresponded. How are things in Louisville and with teaching? Have the university persevered with sticking to face-to-face teaching?

I am currently on a family visit. Currently in discussions with our friend also how I can better support his own ministry, whilst also at the same time preparing to work in the vineyard myself. Although it still seems a long way off!

I keep you in my prayers daily Professor. Thanking our Lord for the impact your ministry has had in bringing me to the Lord and feeding me the light of truth. All praise to the Lord!

Your student in Christ,

Response #7:

No reversal at U of L yet. We made it to the extended Labor Day weekend (longer here because the Derby was rescheduled for this Thu/Fri/Sat so we are not on campus today). I had some students quarantined, but what started to look like a trend seems to have evaporated. I'm certainly hoping to finish out the semester in the mostly normal way (I do have most Fridays scheduled for remote learning as I had to have 25% of my days logged that way, but I still have one upper level Latin class on that day). Covid numbers are up in Kentucky and rising, however, so it's one step at a time.

Good to hear that you're getting some time at home. A good place for contemplating the next moves, I'm guessing. It took me a minute to get to the online Ichthys solution for what the Lord wanted me to do. Some take longer; some jump right in. There's no one right answer. I'm sure that the Lord will lead you into just the right ministry at just the right time.

Thanks so much for your very kind sentiments, my friend!

Keeping you and your family in my daily prayers too.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hi Bob,

This is very alarming news indeed..

https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1316590/snp-news-scotland-hate-crime-law-humza-yousaf-holyrood-latest/amp

So in Scotland it may be a crime to simply own a bible as they may claim it to be "inflammatory material" under Hate Crime Laws. Also noticed that France are having a national debate about the "right to blaspheme"...

Your friend in Jesus,

Response #8:

I think this is a worldwide trend.

Here in the US it's not so much what you're not allowed by law to say but what you have to figure out you'd better not say (unless you want to lose your job and have your house tagged with graffiti and become an "unperson"). I suppose being jailed for it would be worse.

The good news is that, so far, I haven't heard of a case of someone getting into trouble of this sort by having a Bible. Not too many are reading the Bible even though they have it or listening to teaching from the Bible even if it is available, however. Mostly it's people who want to fight this issue out in the public square who end up being "martyred". My advice to all Christians truly interested in growing in and serving Jesus Christ is for them not to go looking for trouble. During the Tribulation, trouble is going to find us – and that will be soon enough for that.

In our dear Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Dear Professor

Hope you pass the all important (Covid) test - can’t help with the curricula - heard a lot about it, though totally confused still, and as you know they don’t test in this small town.

Thank you for your concern and prayers - I was getting rather down - certainly I admire those multitudes that have endured much, much worse. Mine was really minuscule. Then when I think of Paul, I shrink to very microscopic indeed. We cannot even begin to comprehend what our Savior endured for us leading up to, and then on the cross.

Heaps of news here about USA - hurricanes, fires, street “parties”, shootings. However, I fear US news will go pastel if the incumbent is replaced. He brings colour to the drab dreary monotone of even the obsessive covid. He is the most talked about in the media (usually negative), running second only to Corona. Not being political or picking sides- just telling it as it is reported here.

[omitted]

Have been enjoying Will Rieke’s videos. He has a good knowledge of scripture.

One question for when you get around to it (no hurry).

Q. Near the conclusion of the Millennium will there be a withdrawing of the restraining Ministry of the Spirit, similar to what occurs when the Tribulation begins?

Just wondering, or whether there will be sufficient pent up appetite for sin with the added encouragement of Satan at his temporary release. How does it work? Do the scriptures say?

I see the Holy Spirit as ALL powerful, so it seems He allows these things to happen to preserve free will.

Please let me know your score in the Covid test (feels strange a student asking for his professor’s score - please pardon).

Keeping you and your Ministry in my prayers.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior.

Your student

Response #9:

Good to hear that you are hanging in. What with the health problems you were having, I was getting concerned.

Yes, very difficult to watch the news too much here (I probably do watch too much).

Good to see that you and Will have hit it off nicely. That kind of mutual support was what I was hoping might happen when our friend first broached the idea of the forum to me.

As to your question, the only major passages we have on this are Revelation 20:7-10 and Psalm 2. Neither says anything about the Spirit, but your supposition is reasonable: obviously, this revolt couldn't happen unless the Lord lets it happen and tells all of His forces – us included at that point (as part of His millennial administration) – to stand down. But of course Satan is "released", so that we know that this is a deliberate test, a final cleansing of the threshing floor, allowing those who are determined to remain faithful to demonstrate their spiritual strength (cf. Matt.25:34-36), and allowing those who have no use for the Lord to demonstrate their rebelliousness openly. Yes, "pent up demand" is exactly the way I see it. The Millennium will be wonderful – but not for those who would love to be indulging their arrogant and violent predispositions and giving themselves over to all manner of gross sin. Those things will be impossible under the Messiah's perfect rule (without suffering immediate and just punishment, that is). By releasing the devil, the Lord will give everyone who's enjoyed (or "suffered under") perfect government for a thousand years the "opportunity" to show their true colors.

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

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Dear Professor

Hoping for a good report card on your Covid 19 test.

Will’s videos give another element to teaching of the truth which I find reassuring, that more voices for the truth are available, as everyone’s cup of tea varies - and he spices things up for a wider range of palates (understandings). I can now have a lay down (I do too much sitting with job) and watch/listen to his explanations.

People use Matt.25:34-36 to apply to our situation now, in how we should be treating others. I have heard of a farming family that treats it’s workers very well and they “quoted” that teaching of Christ as an explanation as to why they do.

Thank you for the other scriptures. It was good to read them again in relation to that time of the winding down/up of human history.

Cold, damp day again today but I will try to get to that truck presently. We have had a few days (very few) of really pleasant warm weather, though it has since dived again. Many areas (not all) have had much welcomed rain for crops and stock.

Kinda put my foot in it again (you might have seen the odd student at U of L do it). Last night I thought I would look up Carm.org to see their perspective on the rapture. I read in part:

"Please note that the verses found in Matthew 24 and Luke 17, that deal with two men in the field and one is taken while the other is left, are not dealing with the rapture. This is a common misunderstanding about those verses. Upon close examination of the texts in Matthew 24 and Luke 17, you will find that the ones who were taken are the wicked. In fact, Jesus' disciples ask where they are taken, and He gives them an answer: “Where the body is, there also will the vultures be gathered,” (Luke 17:37). For an expanded look at this topic of two men in the field and one is taken, please see the article How to interpret the Bible"

I clicked on the link ‘How to interpret the Bible’. At the conclusion of his explanation, Matt Slick (whose site it is) asks: “One last thing. did you agree with my conclusion?

I had somewhat a different understanding - actually on Luke 17:37, the direct opposite, so I thought I would share my understanding of it with him. His is dated 11/22/2008, so it seems to be around a 12 year view, if not longer. I basically used most of his quoted scriptures and then added a couple at the end. I am not very good at understanding explanations on “how to interpret the Bible”, so I take them at face value in conjunction with other scriptures that say the same thing.

Keeping you and yours in prayer.

In Jesus our Savior.

Your student

Response #10:

Well I got my test. I'm a bit incensed, actually. No one mentioned – and I can't find out anything whatsoever about this on the internet (is Google suppressing this too?) – that they put some sort of chemical on the swab they rotate deep up your nostril for 15 seconds. It's not agreeing with me tonight, long after the fact. I suppose it would be too bad if I were highly allergic to whatever-the-stuff-is rather than just mildly irritated. If I were given to conspiratorial thinking . . . But at least I don't think the stuff was mind-altering (I don't have a craving to go out and get my forehead tattooed, e.g.).

Good job in standing up for the truth on CARM! I'm in contact with a Lutheran woman who moderates one of the lists there and she sends me questions from time to time. I can tell you from that experience that CARM has more of its share of "kooks" who post thereon, many of them skirting with getting banned. Your response was reasonable and well-reasoned. Of course I agree with you on Luke 17:37 (and everything else).

Hope your spring warms up soon. We are just getting to the mediating of the hot times here. Very rainy last night and overcast today with more rain on the way. Sadly, that may interfere with "opportunity" to mow over this extended Derby+Labor Day weekend. But if I let things get too much longer, the only solution may be napalm.

Glad to hear you seem to be doing some better, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Dear Professor

And I thought, when watching people getting their pipes cleaned on TV, it was the minor physical torture that quick auto reversed their necks. Hope you do not suffer much or long. Did you get a pass mark?

On Carm: I hadn’t been looking to go on their “lists”; just I saw Matt Slick’s article and responded to the invitation. I later noted he had written it in 2008, and am surprised his view is this, in light of the obvious (to me and any fair reader) that there is a complete resurrection of all believers; dead and alive at Jesus’ 2nd Advent. But perhaps I have developed the Ichthys syndrome, where one cannot but help looking up the scriptures, seeing you post them abundantly in your writings.

Busy next few days [omitted] Weather is a bit warmer today - supposed to hit 18 sometime.

It is good we have you and a few like ministries to help us in the truth. Besides the scriptures themselves, this is what helps us keep the faith.

In Jesus our Savior.

Your student

Response #11:

Always appreciate hearing from you, my friend.

No news here. 48+ hours before results come in. I know I don't "have it", but I am concerned that I "had it" and that this silly test can't tell the difference. We shall see.

You ARE busy this next few days – so please do be careful and put off things that can be put off. I have discovered that procrastination (which unfortunately I'm not terribly good at) is a wonderful strategy – and definitely superior to getting sick or angry (as immediate response to the ridiculous deemed essential by the insensitive can often produce).

You're in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #12:

Bob,

Well certainly a lot has happened in America since our last email exchange in mid-June, hope you are well my friend, or as well as can be expected during this mess. Things have degenerated to the point where I'm only able to watch the world/national news a couple times a week. Not sure how U of L is doing things these days but it can't be easy for teachers, parents or kids for that matter. Stay well my friend.

In Jesus Christ

Response #12:

We're getting by. I'm one of an increasingly small number of professors actually teaching classes down on campus, however. Half originally (and that proportion has grown) were all "remote" this semester, and the other half could only teach between 25% and 75% face to face; I opted for the maximum number of face to face meetings (though most seem to have gone to the opposite extreme of what's permitted). As things have progressed, more and more profs are bailing for one reason or another. So I don't see many faculty down there this semester at all, and mostly the classrooms are empty and quiet. But at least there is some in-class instruction going on, and I'm doing more than my share to try and keep things with one toe in normal. As I tell my students, "we are the glue" until things bounce back.

Had my Covid test today. VERY uncomfortable. And nobody tells you ahead of time that there is some sort of chemical on the swab – to which I seem to be having a mild reaction – and I can't find anywhere online where this info is revealed. I'm going to try and track that down tomorrow.

Have a look at the weekly email postings for the past several months and you'll get an earful about my personal "trials and tribulations" – as well as those of other Ichthys readers. As you will see, I, personally, have very little to complain about in fact so far – thanks be to God!

Yes, things are bad. But consider: they are about to get much, much worse (whether in a few weeks or a few years, the Tribulation is not that far off). So the more resolved we are about getting prepared for what's coming, the better off we'll all be when it does begin.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hello Dr.,

In your DropBox you should find the following audio file: The Sabbath

Not much new to report here – life goes on. Took this last weekend off just to rest up, feeling a little better now.

How are you Sir? I do hope things go well for you at the University this semester/year. I read an article quoting students on their experiences at various colleges across the country and it didn’t sound good. Hope you are holding up well. Got you in prayer daily.

All the best,

Rev.22:20

Response #13:

Thanks for this latest offering! Uploaded and tested fine.

Yes, it is challenging – as I'm sure you've gotten an earful from my last few weeks of postings (they do run behind a bit). Gloomy Monday today with low attendance, but at least no new reports of quarantines among my ranks. Guess they just didn't feel like donning masks and sitting in class at a social distance today. Pretty hard to blame them. Also, we're just getting to that point in the semester where if you haven't been studying yet but just coasting along for the most part, it's beginning to show (and hurt). That is always a challenge even during normal semesters, and this one is anything but. So I do have sympathy, but as I usually tell them (and purposely did not this time around), I can't teach them anything when they're not there. I found out that is pretty much true even when we are "remote" and "synchronous" – and even when they are logged in!

We endeavor to persevere.

Hope things are at least muddling along in your job – got you both in my prayers on that front too.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Thank you Bob for your reply. I agreed entirely and as we were talking about the so called "wisdom" and philosophy of man.

Your email readers and people who are within your ministry need to know that CS Lewis was not a Christian! Obviously whether he was saved at the end is only known to himself and God but when he was actively writing "Christian" books, he was not a Christian!

<image1.JPG> "C.S. Lewis the famous heretic"

The reason I mention him at all is that he is much loved by many evangelical Christians as a man of faith and people cite his work as though they are worthy accompaniments to the Holy Bible itself! I have noticed that one of the people who emailed you recently mentioned The Screwtape Letters. If Richard Dawkins wrote this book, Christians wouldn't touch it with a barge pole because Dawkins has become something of a conspicuous Atheist. CS Lewis conversely has appeared historically as a conspicuous Christian and so many deem his canon "safe". If only they knew he was an occultist, held many heretical views on Christianity, the most alarming one being not believing in Jesus' atoning work but instead believing in a "God within". If they knew all these things and more, would they still cherish his work or instead see him as a wolf in sheep's clothing?

Read the following quote: "This is why I was surprised to learn that millions of Bible-believing Christians in the US were looking to Lewis for guidance and edification. Most members of the New Age, especially those who have read widely and met with representatives of its various branches, know that C S Lewis is simply a vehicle for drawing new converts into paganism and the New Age movement. He does this by the time-honoured method – pretend to be a friend, use the right terminology, and slowly draw your audience in another direction."

More information on what CS Lewis really wrote about can be found here..
https://www.google.com/amp/s/biblescienceforum.com/2016/06/09/lupus-occultus-the-paganised-christianity-of-c-s-lewis/amp/

I know that you personally Bob would not see the profit in reading fiction from alleged "Christian writers" alas members of your flock may not be as discerning. It's so late in the day that I realise that not only is there no profit to be had from reading writers who have a mere "Christian flavour" but downright dangerous if we are to survive the tribulation (the worst time that humanity has ever experienced) with our faiths' intact. p.s I also want to add that not that long ago a Christian co-worker when I was volunteering tried to recontextualise the Harry Potter books through a Christian viewpoint by claiming it was good versus evil. He did this to justify reading them to his very young daughter.

I am seeing something that many Christians are guilty of, something that I myself have been guilty of, we want to abide in Jesus whilst simultaneously be affirmed by the world. We simply can't have both!

It seems many long for a person who is famed and admired in the world but also a Christian so that we can then say "Look! You can be successful in the world and loved by it and be a Christian! Look at CS Lewis!" He simply wasn't and worse than that, he was actively deceiving Christians into thinking he was just to promote his own heretical belief system.

We don't need affirmation from the world. We expect derision, persecution and scorn. Why would we expect to be treated better than our beloved Saviour Himself?

Sorry if I seem a bit rattled. I've known about this CS Lewis business for some time and it seems that every now and again his name pops up like a bad penny and so I had to share this with you. This whole "Christian writer" malarkey has all got a bit out of hand. Why do people go for things that have bible flavoured morality when they can have the real deal?

In Jesus,

Response #14:

You make an excellent point. I think part of this has to do with the history of our culture. People like to be entertained, and we grow up with the expectation of it in this modern culture and in the western world (and I suppose the entire world by now). Entertainment is, of course, by definition a non-profitable use of time. Of course, if it involves physical exercise (like playing, e.g., badminton), then it might be healthy; or if involves mental challenges (like doing crossword puzzles), then it might be good for the noggin; or if it involves reading, well, reading is better than "watching". If what we are reading or listening to or even "watching" has educational aspects, that is to the good, but that is rare in TV and movies (and lots of what is e.g. "historical" is far from reality in fact).

I suppose people rationalize Harry Potter because it's so popular, and gravitate to C.S. Lewis because of the "Christian connection" (nice job by you and your sources putting that in some perspective). But there are plenty of things in the world of entertainment today which are worse than both. I suppose the problem with HP is "humanizing sorcery" and with CSL spreading false and non-biblical ideas. In both cases, however, I have to say that a Christian who is genuinely growing in the truth of the Word of God is not likely to have their understanding of that truth swayed or corrupted by either one.

The real issues – in all entertainment – are 1) usage of time and energy, and 2) exposure to things that are worldly or in plenty of cases tempting us towards bad thinking and bad behavior. In terms of the former, few of us are at the near 99% positive usage rate of our time and energy (most of us nowhere close), so that we are not really in a position to tell others to lay off of XYZ when ABC – which we have no problem with – are equally consumptive of our resources on that score. In terms of the latter, if ANYTHING we are watching or reading or listening to or doing is leading us personally into temptation, then we ought not to be engaging. If it's not, if we appreciate without being seriously influenced the silliness of things that are silly, e.g., so that it is really only a matter of the former issue, then at least we are not damaging ourselves.

Of course, we are always better off reading our Bibles, or praying, or listening/reading/watching good Bible study. Otherwise, doing something productive is also better of course . . . like mowing the lawn – something I REALLY need to get too (I always fall behind on yard work when the new semester hits in the fall), or whatever. But people do seem to need some relaxation from time to time. And that is a personal decision to make in terms of what and how much. We only have a limited time down here, and, as the old hymn has it correctly, "only what's done for Christ will last". So we do need to understand that every decision we make is important, even as we are careful not to place burdens on our back we are not yet capable of bearing (such as signing out of all entertainment if we are not up to being able to do that – and who is 100%?), at least until we have grown to the point of being able to make such a decision from a position of spiritual strength.

And of course this issue is of prioritization is becoming more of a critical one day by day as we approach the time when we enter the Tribulation with what we have stored up in our hearts – and without being certain any longer of time or opportunity to store up or access more therein.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Thanks Bob,

Of course I didn't want to seem ascetic or legalistic over this. I didn't want to condemn downtime per se but I thought CS Lewis in particular a bit of a fraud. It's one thing reading Harry Potter but having a constant check in your spirit as; the writer is not Christian, the books are hugely of the world and promotes sorcery. But then to justify Lewis and believe you are in like minded (and like spirited) company seems a different danger. If I was in the company of a stranger or an enemy, I would act very differently than around a friend or a fellow Christian. I would expect the friend to be trustworthy due to experience and the Christian to be in simpatico with me if only on the basics (John 3:16).

This is where the real danger lies with Lewis. He is actually promoted by Christians in ways that JK Rowling just isn't. Rowling is either guiltily excused or begrudgingly tolerated by Christians but Lewis is a whole different ballgame. He is BELOVED by Christians and quoted from all the time. To such a degree in fact, that when I first became a Christian, I immediately picked up 'Mere Christianity' and 'Screwtape Letters' and started reading them as though part of my spiritual education! They are promoted as though part of some unorthodox apocrypha! If only I had a pound coin every time I was told "So you're a Christian now! You MUST read CS Lewis!"

It didn't take long for the conspiracy theory bloodhound in me to be on the trail of Lewis and one bored afternoon I typed into Google "CS Lewis exposed" or "CS Lewis occult" and that is really all it took to take the man down from his exalted position! The occult connection was obvious because, after all, his much loved children's books on Narnia are all about magic, sorcery and witchcraft. I was exposed to all this as a child and even designed a poster for a play version of 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'. I was told like everybody else that Aslan the lion represented Jesus.

What has angered me about all this is that this is EXACTLY how the Roman Catholic Church operate. I am told "this is this and that is that". I then read the bible for myself (God bless you Tyndale!) and all of that fell apart for me rather quickly. Whilst getting deeper and deeper into the bible, CS Lewis wasn't passing the litmus test for me anymore just like the Catholic Church wasn't.

It is this issue of presuming you are in "safe" company with Lewis being the main issue. He wrote books around the theme of Christianity and claimed to be a Christian. That is all it takes seemingly to pass the litmus test these days, a Christian veneer.

Most Christians will feel a little on their guard around Rowling but that guard seems to be completely down around Lewis. I cannot stress how universally he is enthused about by believers.

CS Lewis' epigrams seem too fridge magnet ready to me and is the preferred matter for a Christian to read when "at ease" from reading the bible. It is when people are in this unwinding and relaxed state (it is called the Alpha state) that we are so easily "programmable". That is why TV is so incredibly popular, it puts us into a hypnotic state that is similar to trance. Television programmers know this and that is why TV is the number one tool for brainwashing and subversion by the enemy.

It's sad to see Lewis' books sold in church bookshops and Christian bookstores as though he were a trusted friend on this same journey of ours. He clearly knew what he was doing and was an early part of the New Age infiltration of the church visible that is rampant today. Until JK Rowling writes books on Christianity that undermines its main doctrines, she simply won't be the same kind of threat. She will be seen as the unbeliever outside the house rather than the believer within like Lewis claimed to be.

I know you are not fond of that saying "what would Jesus do" but sometimes when I am sitting down in my downtime moments, I find myself thinking "Would I watch this with Jesus sitting next to me?" or "How would I feel if Jesus caught me reading this?" Of course Jesus sees all we watch, read as well as hearing all we listen to. We all fail in these areas and vast improvement can be made for all of us. The danger lies when we read CS Lewis contented in the belief that Jesus would heartily approve. There is no other word to describe this state of contentment other than that of being woefully and even dangerously deceived!

I guess in a nutshell I am trying to say that wolves in sheep's clothing are far more dangerous than wolves themselves. When we know there are wolves around us, we are vigilant. When we see the soft, white fluff of a supposed fellow Christian we will naturally relax.

Won't the antichrist himself be a wolf in sheep's clothing deceiving the whole world and if possible the elect?

In Jesus

Response #15:

You've convinced me about CSL.

To be absolutely honest, I've never read any of his stuff nor even seen any of the movies or shows based on it. I had a roommate in grad school who was into it and he shared with me the plot of the "Screwtape Letters" one time. I thought it ridiculous and also odd to write something which was in nearly every part contrary to what scripture actually has to say about such things. But people have always gone in for these sorts of things. Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" is considered a "great work"; never could bring myself to read that either, actually. I'm not much on allegories in any case. If I want to read the Bible, I'll read the Bible – which I do daily.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Dear Professor

48 hours. Hoping for you, the best with the test.

Do you think me starting my own Facebook page might be a goer? Always apprehensive about these online things but I don’t think there will be many hiding places once the Tribulation gets going - I was thinking that as well as exposing myself, it would expose any on the Facebook group who also believed. Cyber warfare is escalating in diverse areas even now. Just thinking of how to get the word out to more people and alert them to the truth.

Any who are ‘out there’ would seem to be obvious quick targets for antichrist’s fury - was thinking about those we love, and that we do not want them to become targets.

Thinking of nutshell posts (perhaps a bit longer than the previous one at Carm), and introduction to your site later. Do you think ‘pearls before swine’ would be a danger? (Some diverse range of beliefs amongst family).

If I had a Page I would find it too difficult NOT to post my beliefs. Another thought I have is to email “nutshells” to family, even to those I live with. More likely to read them than long sermons.

Meanwhile, spring is the busiest time for me, so the summer seems a better time to get right into any “new’ venture.

I am grateful to you for enlightening me in the scriptures. What a blessing are great teachers!

Keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus our Lear Lord.

Your student

Response #16:

Passed my Covid test. The report told me nothing, however, except that it cannot detect any evidence that I have it. It didn't say anything about whether or not I HAD it (which I suspect I did last December before we'd even heard about it – but who knows?). I'm still not fully recovered from the test itself, however. The chemical on the swab they rotated around in my head for what seemed an eternity did a number on my sinuses, and they're still not quite right. But it's only been two days, so . . .

As to your question, to be honest, I have a serious dislike for FaceBook (even though I know little enough about it). It's main utility seems to be as a platform to keep in touch with a large group of acquaintances that might not otherwise be apprised of what you had for breakfast.

Our friend Will presents helpful Bible lessons on YouTube. Don't know that he's yet provoked trollish comments (if there were a way to turn that feature off, I'd recommend it). Not being an FB user, I don't know for certain, but wouldn't these "nutshell posts" be vulnerable to inline commentary with opposing links and the like? So you'd probably have to respond to these in the interest of those listening – and at the same time not let yourself get upset. Will posts videos – take them or leave them. I post writings – you have to email me if you don't like them (and if you are just a sourpuss I delete them without ever posting them). But things may be different on FB. You'd have to consider just how this would work.

My advice: listen to the Spirit on this. This could be just the ministry for you, but I can't tell you what to do. I can say that with this dangerous medium in particular, it would be prudent to have a lot of things thought out ahead of time – not the "nutshell posts" (I'm confident they'd be super), but precisely how this would all "work", including just how to react to any hornets' nest you may happen to stir up.

And one last thing: The question I would ask would be "Who is the audience?" Evangelicaldom in this country has long believed in button-holing the unwilling and jamming tracts into reluctant hands, then calling that doing something for Christ. I suppose there are groups on FaceBook that do that virtually. It's easy enough to attract enemies on the internet, and people who'll gladly argue with you. But such types are not likely to be persuaded. In fact, it's doubtful if they are persuadable at all.

Keeping you and yours in my daily prayers.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hello Bob,

I am sending you an important dialogue I had with my friend on what I believe to be one of the most important verses in our day and time: Acts 1:7

I sent this message to a friend: "The apostles wanted Jesus to institute His kingdom immediately. Jesus told them He had to go away for a long time which brought great sorrow to their hearts so they were not willing to own that teaching. Instead they ask Jesus in His resurrected body whether He will institute the kingdom immediately. They do not ask about His second advent. They ask Him if He will start the Kingdom right now -- maybe rationalizing that His burial was the "going away". In response, Jesus says it is not for them to “know” the “times and epochs”. This verb “know” makes no sense in context. A few weeks earlier He had spent the entirety of Matthew 24 telling them about the times and epochs. The times and epochs is the progression of history with a special emphasis on the end times. We have a plethora of scriptural evidence about the times and epochs all throughout Scripture in the Old and New Testament — most specifically in the last few chapters of Revelation (i.e. Rev 20:2-7) and of course Rev 2/3. This translation should read “decide”. For the apostles desperately wanted Jesus to institute the Kingdom right then and there. Jesus' usage of the words “times and epochs” -- something Scripture tells us a lot about --makes no sense otherwise, and in fact directly contradicts Scripture when Paul says in 1 Thes 5 that the “time and epochs” (the end times starting with the tribulation) will not come upon believers like “a thief” unlike the rest of the world in which it will be like a thief raiding their home."

In response my friend said: "Jesus could have meant specific times because these are not given. Even He, in His humanity, said that He didn’t know the exact time of His return (Matthew 24:36). So your assumptions do not have to be correct. We have a general understanding and sequence, we haven’t got many specifics. I am hesitant to take precise dating. "

I followed up: "Jesus says “times and epochs” (a general phrase) not “specific times” or a derivative thereof, and Matthew 24 is talking about the “Day and hour” something extremely different than the words “times and epochs”. The verses that do say "times and epochs" is 1 Thes 5 which supports the "decide" translation."

My question to you: The crux of Acts 1:7 -- is your (controversial) translation to write "decide" instead of "know". The context supports your translation in full as I lay out to my friend. However, I was wondering on a scale of 1-10 in regards to the Greek how certain are you that the actual language supports you as writing this as "decide" -- the linguistic evidence. Because this is the one aspect where I must rely on human evidence rather than Biblical.

Hoping that U of L is hanging there.

In Jesus

Response #17:

1) If Jesus had meant "you can't know these things", then how would we explain, e.g., His giving the entire book of Revelation to John? So clearly, "stay ignorant; it's impossible to know" can't be what He meant – and it's not what He meant. The apostles wanted to know if the kingdom was about to come immediately. It was not. Jesus certainly knew that – and when He said this the time of His kenosis was over (so there was at that point no self-imposed limitations on His humanity). His point was to dissuade the disciples from thinking that the kingdom was imminent – which is what they wanted of course (don't we all!) until such time as they received the Spirit – at which time they would be able to understand more. It was not their decision – but they would come soon to be able to understand the whys and wherefores:

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

2) So if this meant "[not] to know", then it would contradict all the very specific information about the kingdom and the second advent and eschatology throughout the New Testament. I wouldn't teach what I teach about this passage it if I didn't believe it.

I'm getting lots of rave reviews about your YouTube channel (link) – keep up the good work!

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hi Bob,

I hope you are well, and teaching in person continues to be enjoyable. It sounds like you have a lot of students this year and that you got most of the hard prep work done beforehand. I bet your back into your groove. I am pretty close to being done with the hard initial work of starting this business. Likely in a week or two I will have a good rhythm going that allows me to commit more of my time and "juice" to Bible Crash Course. All well and good.

You frequently mention that the Church Era is the "mystery age" and therefore there are no event specific prophecies that relate to the age.

Ephesians 3:4-9 and Colossians 1:26-27 both say that it was hidden to the past generations of Jews and prophets that there would be a time when Gentiles would be the focal point of believers.

While these statements both mean that the prophets have no prophecy on the expansion of the Church -- somebody could argue that that doesn't preclude specific events of things.

The rebuttal to that would be -- if the most important thing of the Church Age was not explicitly prophesied (the expansion of the church) then the prophets did not see anything about that time period.

However, I am a bit skeptical to just call off the entire "mystery age" in one blanket push. In the church of Smyrna era the 10 days are 10 explicit ages of persecutions. In addition, our Lord tells the women who were beating their breasts about the upcoming Roman Siege. This is a prophecy of the Tribulation to be sure first and foremost but it is also a prophecy of the siege a few decades later because He addresses the daughters of Jerusalem pointedly. Therefore I am hesitant to just call off the entire age as the "mystery age" and say no specific events apply to the era.

I am not trying to say that "1968" has any significance or any other wacky theory, but I would like your thoughts on this subtlety to your teaching on the mystery age.

In Jesus the King

Response #18:

You do have a point and I have mentioned and discussed these exceptions before. The destruction of Jerusalem along with our Lord's prophecies on that score is, in my view, "the exception that proves the rule". The temple was in God's eyes no longer carrying on a legitimate function from the point of the cross and resurrection forward – and doubly so not from the day of Pentecost onward. But it took even the apostles some time to climb that "learning curve".

As I discuss and explain at great length in BB 6B, the apostolic era was a time of transition, and the Romans destroyed Jerusalem at the end of that functional overlap. So I would say that these prophecies, while technically taking place in the Age of the Church are really associated with the Age of Israel, because they put an end to that age in all functional terms. We have a similar overlap during the Tribulation which shares the end of the Church Age with the prophesied final seven years of the Age of Israel.

As to the "ten days", this is part of the trend of persecution during the Age of Smyrna. There are no specifics given – other than that there would be many persecutions – and while we can guess from history what those were (as I have done), there weren't any specifics for the people of that time to hold onto besides the trend of persecution. So I see that as different from a full-on prophecy.

Finally, if there were prophecies for the Church Age, then where are they? The simple fact is that no such prophecies exist in the Bible, even if one looks high and low. Those that have been "found" by people who want to dispute the mystery age principle are really not referring to anything in this 2,000 year period. In fact, scripture is entirely devoid of any actual prophecies for the time in which we live. You mention the very frequent attempt to tie "1968" to prophecy but of course there are no such numerical links to be found in scripture (and the A.D. numbering system was, of course, a late invention, 6th century). That proves the point too: if there were any such prophecies, they would have long since been discovered. Some false teachers are "discovering" them alright – but in their own minds and not in the Bible.

Good news about the business!

Keep up the good work on they ministry! One thing all online self-publishers find out soon enough is that volume of postings – along of course with QUALITY of postings – is what builds up traffic over time.

Keeping you in my prayers for all these things.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Virtual classroom leads to virtual grades

https://www.theverge.com/2020/9/2/21419012/edgenuity-online-class-ai-grading-keyword-mashing-students-school-cheating-algorithm-glitch

Response #19:

Very interesting. The next step for students: have their own AI program respond and complete the tests . . . then they can go back to binge-watching and playing video games.  Blessedly, this won't work with Bible study.

Question #20:

Dear Bob,

I look at the nonsense out there and the closest analogy that I can see are the Gadarines coming out of the tombs to accost people. Is there anything in scripture at all that indicates demons don't posses people today? There's good evidence they do since the apostles were casting out demons after our Lord's ascension. Why should they not be considered part of the current problems?

On another note, I'm glad to see you have introduced a discussion of weapons in your last email post. I think many people are considering buying weapons but I'm concerned that the only thing they know about them is what they have seen on television. You, my friend, are in a unique position to advise those who would see a gun as a magic wand.

I have to admit, I'm impressed with the kid in Kenosha. Regardless of what you think of his reasons for being armed, when confronted with deadly threat, he handled himself well. He obviously had training. Not sure I could have handled myself as well – particularly at 17.

Yours in Jesus,

Response #20:

There most certainly IS demon possession today. But in the west at least, the devil seems to have opted in the main for less obvious forms of it (the better to influence people through those under his control). Here is a link to everything I have been able to discover about that topic (but also see the subject index under "demon possession", and see the latest major posting: "Spiritual Warfare V").

I saw somewhere that gun sales are way up in the US . . . and that people in California wanting to buy them – the same people who voted for very restrictive laws – are now complaining they can't get them as quick as they would like or buy as much ammo as they want. Typical.

On the young man in WI, it should also be noted that even though he may have acted in justifiable self-defense, he's likely going to be charged with first degree murder, and I wouldn't bet on him being acquitted. People need to factor that development – of the evaporation of true justice – into all of their present calculations. I'm sure the police in many jurisdictions are doing so (which explains a great deal about the current crime rates as well). Not things to be overly concerned with in rural Texas . . . yet.

Keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #21:

Hello, Bob,

I have to admit, technology is one of my hot buttons. In the '70s I saw all the good that it could do and then steadily watched people corrupt the possibilities. By the mid '90s, the phrase I kept hearing over and over was, "It's good enough!" Today, well, that's a different rant. Technology is made up mostly of the younger generations. About the same age as our rioters, arsonists and looters.

The Lord has led me all along and what I thought were major disappointments and set backs turns out to have been his guidance -- even when I was searching for an alternative. The military draft, e.g., was one of the darkest periods of my life. It destroyed my budding career and changed the course of my life 180 degrees. For a long time I was bitter but later came to realize it was one of the best changes I made. So I agree, trusting the Lord is the only reasonable approach to our current and steadily worsening trends.

That doesn't mean I still don't get angry. Old habits die hard. I apologize for mother-henning you about technology. I've run into so many people, though, who seem to worship technology and make astoundingly ill informed comments that I never know. Today, I'm a tech Luddite. I still stand by my warning even though as I reconsider, perhaps the Lord intends that those who succumb to the illusion do. It's playing out as I type.

Bob, you are slowly convincing me to get off my high horse and calm down. Thanks for being a friend.

As an irrelevant side note, I remember seeing a copy of an 1836 Harvard entrance exam. Incoming students were tested on their mastery of Greek, Latin, advanced mathematics and logic.

Yours in our Savior and hope,

Response #21:

I appreciate your comments and your informed perspective, my friend! We do have to operate on two levels, after all, those who are in the world – and the world possesses all the dangers you describe, even as we are not of the world – so we are able to appreciate the dangers and warn others of them even as we recognize that we are ourselves can never really be harmed by them, not eternally in any case.

The temptation to get very angry and at the same time the perspective to be able shake our heads in disgusted amusement thus go hand in hand. We can't afford to "blow our stacks" as Moses did, nor can we afford to get overly intimidated as Elijah did: we have to stay in the sweet spot of trusting the Lord and seeing ourselves already face to face with Him in New Jerusalem, even as we do have to muddle through down here for a brief time longer. We have the Spirit to help us with all that, so we don't have any excuse not to be able to pull off this balancing act. Good brothers and sisters like yourself who can sympathize from a standpoint of the true godly perspective makes is easier to do so.

Fascinating about Harvard! They still have one of the best Classics departments in the country. Doubt you'd find many believers there, however (of course, that is true of university faculties generally nowadays).

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Hello, Bob,

Now, "...disgusted amusement..." is something I don't think I've ever experienced! Disgust, yes, and truthfully, disgust is more what I experience than anger. I thank the Lord every day that He led me to this little corner of the prairie where I'm out the fracas. I don't think I could handle or control my temper living in a city again.

I suppose everyone has their favorite Bible verses. There are two that I fall back on. One, for day to day activities that I try to keep in mind is Ecclesiastes 8:15 and for the more difficult times and concerns I turn to the 23rd Psalm. I doubt there's anything unique about that but they are a comfort.

Speaking of warning, I forgot in my tech rant to mention that you have to be very careful with broadcast advertising when you're attention is divided. Consonants, if carefully arranged, convey one message if you're paying attention but if you're distracted, cooking, washing dishes or generally paying attention to something else, like driving, the words can convey an entirely different meaning. It can be done visually, too, but I was never involved in that part. Those techniques came out of the subliminal projection lawsuits of the late '60s/early '70s.

I think I can understand "disgusted amusement" a little. Considering some of the insane re-definitions of English, like "Woke" which is used in ways I never understood the word, disgusted amusement reasonably describes my reaction.

Ah, well...

Yours in our Lord Jesus,

Response #22:

Cities are a challenge – but doing without their amenities is pretty difficult, so kudos to you for being able to handle that! Time is of the essence for me (also need to earn a living), so I make do.

As to words and consonants, here's something I share with my students occasionally:

Wreid how the mnid wkors! Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?

I don't think this works in Greek, but the above does go a long way toward explaining my own personal spelling "issues" in English.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Dear Teacher

Thank you very much for clearing that up for me, Sir.

How have you been? In the last email posting, I was surprised to intuit a sense of uncertainty about the continuation of the protests. I thought they had mostly ended. I didn't realize that there was still much of a chance of anyone protesting in your city or anywhere else. I continue to pray for your safety, Sir.

Family is hard. I believe it must be tough elsewhere, but what I'm seeing in my own experience leaves me quite befuddled.

I'm just thankful that I have been more or less able to continue reading my Bible and praying and rereading Ichthys and teaching my family and doing my programming and math classes. I've had very bad stretches, but somehow I regroup again and again. I can't see how I have been able to besides the Lord's Own incredible Help which I know very well that I don't deserve.

I'm grateful, deeply grateful for your prayers and for your remembering me and emailing when you haven't heard from me in a while. I'm not worthy of the gift of your kindness, but I know now that the Lord does not give us what we deserve, not even in terms of the discipline we expect.

We keep you in our prayers, Sir. And we hope to be a joy to you in the work that you have put into us and others like us.

Your student in Jesus Christ

Response #23:

I don't have Covid anyway (got my test results today), but I'll suffering a bit from the chemicals they jammed into my sinuses. Completed eight days in a row of teaching Wednesday (MWF, that is), and we're now on an extended weekend (Derby days followed Labor Day). What happens going forward is anyone's guess. Many of my colleagues would much rather shift to remote.

Speaking of the Derby tomorrow, there are "major protests" planned, but just what will materialize is unknown. At least the police here seem to . . . now . . . have no problem arresting those who go over the line. Also, the Derby won't have any fans this year, so that will no doubt put a damper on things (why yell and scream if there's no one around to hear you or care?).

I'm sorry to hear of the continuing difficulties at home, my friend. I am praying about that. You seem to be doing – and to have done – all that is possible. At some point, you have to get on with your own life.

Best wishes for a safe trips.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hi Bob,

Hope you had a good weekend. How was today for you? It was good to hear the positive news about the university not being so far in the red as thought. Any more students in quarantine today? You're doing your part in trying to retain students and that's all you can do. I'll continue to do my part in keeping everything in prayer for you and I know the Lord is faithful and will never fail to do His part in hearing and answering our prayers and to help you through this semester.

I'm going to ramp-up my studies even more now. I've been doing well but I know I can do more and I want to and need to. The Lord and studying His Word and your teaching and growing spiritually are the most important things in my life. It's all good character building and we need it to stand up to what is coming. To know what's going on in the world but at the same time not to be consumed, dragged down, worried or distracted by it. To learn NOW how to deal with everything that's going on and the opposition we face right now - even if it's easy stuff compared to the Tribulation. A gentle practice run!

Your friend in Jesus

Response #24:

Thanks for your very encouraging report. It is difficult to maintain a consistent forward progress in spiritual growth: difficult to get up to speed to a point where you are really doing enough for "critical mass", and oh so easy to slip back and think you're OK without if for a few days . . . which have a tendency to stretch on until one finds oneself in spiritual distress. This is a basic spiritual discipline that few manage to be constantly engaged in; the next hurdle is maintaining that moment by moment walk of peace with the Lord, eyes on Him. Everyone gets knocked off THAT hill multiple times a day. But we have to keep on counterattacking with the truth and taking that high ground back.

No emails from students today telling me that they weren't coming on account of the virus. But the attendance was light. A very gloomy Monday. Overheard a student talking to the prof who follows me in the auditorium. He asked her about her semester and she said that she did have to other hybrid classes (partial face to face) but that they had both transitioned to all on-line (!!! – we're not allowed to do that by Provost's orders). I'm finding more and more of my colleagues don't seem to want to come down to campus at all. It really is a bit ghostly. I've only had about a half a dozen "colleague sightings" since the semester began! Of course I used to be down there every day, but now it's only MWF (following the rules and making do from home as much as possible). Sure hope next semester is better on this score. We just have to get through this year.

Things in the city are pretty quiet. Say a news report today that the KY AG is discussing ballistics with the local FBI, meaning that the report on our local cause célèbre is still being delayed. If it doesn't turn out the way some people want, I'm sure they'll be getting on buses all over the country to come here and make noise (hopefully ONLY noise).

Yes, my first mandatory Covid-19 test is the day after tomorrow. Sure hope I pass – guess I better study up!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hi Bob,

Thanks for your encouragement too.

I think I'm just very aware now of how important it is to be prepared for the Tribulation. Every day for us is a spiritual battle but the Tribulation is going to be a HUGE battle. When you mentioned "critical mass" - well that's part of the armour of God isn't it. The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17). I want as much of His Word stored in my heart and mind as I possibly can to give me spiritual strength and to be able to withstand whatever the enemy throws at me.

And you wrote about the "moment by moment walk of peace with the Lord, eyes on Him" this is the shield of faith - "with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one" (Ephesians 6:16). Satan's attacks can sometimes cause us to doubt God but faith prompts us to believe God and that He is true to His Word.

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

It must feel really weird down on campus with it being a bit ghostly and no buzz about the place. I'm sure there's some fear flying around with your colleagues too which might have something to do with them not wanting to be there. Not only the virus but from the protest too including the one down around the university the other day. But they haven't got the Lord to help them to ride the storm. Like you said to one of your correspondents in the emails this week - "He will see us safe through the storm". (Matthew 8:23-26) So I know He WILL get you through this semester and this year. Sometimes it's hard when we have to be patient as well!

Hope you've been doing plenty of study to pass your Covid-19 test tomorrow!

It was lovely to read the emails and to see that so many people are praying for you and your family - including me.

Your friend in Jesus

Response #25:

Thanks for the encouraging email, my friend!

Tomorrow is likely to be long. I've got a feeling that the testing site will be swamped as this is the last day to do it (Derby week starts Thursday and all the sites will be closed down). We'll see what happens.

Hope you're enjoying your time off! You certainly deserve it. The length of the grass here is letting me know that, if it gets sunny and the rain passes by, I'll have to be devoting at least some of mine to outside.

There's nothing more important now than spiritual preparation. That has always been the case, but especially at this present time.

Yes, I DO appreciate the prayer. A little scary to consider what things would be like without it!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Hi Bob,

Did you manage to get your test done? I hope you didn't have to wait too long.

I'm having a nice week off, thanks and enjoying being PPE free this week. We've had quite a lot of rain recently too but yesterday was a lovely day and so I've been working in the garden. The grass finally dried out enough to mow it (I don't do that bit though). The bees love the nasturtiums. There's still lots of flowers and I was sitting watching them buzzing in and out of each flower. We haven't had many butterflies either this year but I did see a beautiful one yesterday. I always think about our Lord when I watch nature - He is such an artistic and intelligent and perfect Creator.

How's your knee doing, Bob? Hope your "undercarriage" is better too!

Enjoy your days off, Bob - you definitely deserve them. Steer clear of the trouble and stay safe. The only experience I've ever had with a "rifle" was when I was younger in a paintball skirmish in the woods. I wasn't even very good with a toy gun. They reckon I did really well (for a girl) but I still got shot - and it hurt! So I'll stick with the full armour of God - there's no beating that.

I read about a Louisville pastor who is supporting the protests too - Hmmm. Not surprising with the way the church-visible is in these times.

And I thank our gracious Lord too for always hearing and answering our prayers.

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #26:

Thanks for the update, my friend.

Got barbecue to celebrate today – ate far too much. But it was a nice solace to the Covid test. Nobody told me – nor have I read about nor could I find out about anywhere on the internet – that they put some chemical on the end of the swab. I seem to be having a reaction to it tonight. Even the Kentucky hotline didn't know what it is (but acknowledged that they do use something). Talk about "hmmm"! If I were prone to conspiratorial thinking . . .

Mowing is "my bit" but I'm about ten hours or so behind on that, and my new lawnmower order got cancelled out (Covid supply chain problems no doubt). Don't know if the old dear can handle the length of the grass at present. It's supposed to rain tomorrow in any case so I probably wouldn't get the "opportunity" (how sad).

I've become resigned to no jogging until the knee is back to being 100%. Work is filled with stresses for that joint (up and down three very tall flights of stairs all day, on my feet teaching for four hours, moving around and even on and off a stage in class #4), so I have to be careful to leave "something in the tank" and not be on the edge of aggravating the sprain/strain (whatever it happens to be). But it does feel better tonight, in spite of a short walk this morning and a full day of teaching.

Thanks for those prayers!

About to quit for the evening here after a long and "interesting" day.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #27:

I read about a professor who happened to say a Chinese word on their Zoom call to his students. He got into trouble for saying that Chinese word because it happened to be similar to the English slur word.

With far too many people (and the general public are like that), you cannot have a conversation at all. You have to be formal and short in your words and then get away. You have to keep them as strangers and carefully vet who you are open with. No! If that is the environment (projecting the opposite of something you say or do onto you, and then reacting and attacking-and it is such an environment), strangers are strangers who may or may not try to harm you. And friends are people you have carefully vetted.

I want to tell you to be careful, but the point here is that it doesn't matter how careful you are if that is their behavior. God will take care of you, and may He do so.

Happy Friday,

Response #27:

Yes, these days it's very easy to get into serious trouble whatever you say, even when you have no malice in your heart.

In fact, I suppose I could get in trouble for saying that.

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus.

Bob L.

 

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