[9/9/2020 6:43 AM] Good morning Dr. Luginbill -
I cannot access your site via Chrome or Safari. Praying!
Others have reported the same thing. My ISP seems to have had a service outage, but I think it's back. Try it now (as of 09:12 AM).
And thanks for the heads-up!
Praise the Lord!
I can't begin to tell you the loss I felt when attempting to access it and finding the site down. Yes, I have the majority of the studies downloaded - but the sense of community and connection to our online worldwide church saddened me, especially when thinking that day may/will come where we are all no longer gathering at the ichthys.com watering hole.
Thank you, Dr. Luginbill - and thank you for your continued prayers. We should be closing escrow on a home in Texas. Please pray things go without a hitch. We greatly appreciate it.
Keeping our eyes on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ -
Great news on the house! I'll have that in prayer for you.
Texas has advantages, especially vis-à-vis CA. Did you ever hear that old Johnny Carson joke? "We're grateful for these torrential rains today because they've started mudslides that are putting out the fires started by the earthquakes". An updated version would work in riots, tsunamis, lockdowns, government induced brown and blackouts, and potential North Korean nuclear attack. Yes, TX has it over CA in many ways.
Thanks for your good words, my friend!
I absolutely agree with you but I have to admit that when we first started conversing, I wouldn't have agreed with you. I still was in the political trap back then and believed that we should be fighting this evil in the political square but now I see this for the folly that it is.
I think that many Christians are being baited by Satan to fall for this Dominion type theology by trying to sort out the mess themselves. It is very tempting to go this way and Satan knows this but the fact is that only Jesus can put this rotten world right and Jesus does not need us, that is a satanic lie.
It is a very seductive lie though as I could see Satan attacking children directly but I have suddenly realised that Satan has been attacking children for thousands of years so there is no change there! I still struggle not to get baited, especially over the issues of teaching RSE and CSE to children. It truly is an evil bit of legislation from the United Nations but I realise that it is to create chaos. No doubt the Antichrist will "rescue" us from all this confusion and provide
the answer to all the world's ills!
Yes I now fully agree that sticking with spiritual growth in true faith of Jesus is the only way!
Was just watching William's video on the Seven Seals and was wondering why there are seven and what the seals meant aside from the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit. I just read this... Would you say this is accurate?
Just like to add that as I am currently re-reading Exodus, I thought I would read your studies on the hardening of Pharaoh's heart and I really loved it!
In our Lord and Saviour,
It's wonderful to see and hear of your progress in "spiritual common sense", my
friend. Believe me, as someone who likewise was "all about" confronting these
forces in my youth, I understand the temptation . . . and the trap. It's
important to remember that one quick prayer to the Lord is more powerful than
all the nuclear weapons on the planet – and far more effective as well. Nothing
will ever happen that He does not allow, and all that is allowed in the perfect
Plan of God is "working everything out for good for those who love Him". So we
have to trust Him, even as a little child trusts his/her loving parents to do
what's right and furnish all necessary protection (Matt.18:3-4).
As to the article linked, I couldn't recommend it. Here's a link to where this is all covered in detail in the CT series: "The Lamb and the Scroll".
On Exodus, whenever one studies something in depth, it's amazing what might come to light – especially in regard to the Bible!
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
This is my first time to actually ask you a question although I have often thought of questions while reading through the information in Ichthys that I wanted to ask. I know you must be terribly busy and I hesitate to ask you to take the time to answer a question that I could find the answer to with more study on my part. I have read and re-read much of the information on Ichthys over the last 4 - 5 years and it seems I can't get enough. I love learning about our Lord God and His plan for us. You seem to have a way of presenting thorough information in a manner that I can understand.
My question: Was the world outside of the Garden of Eden cursed prior to the Fall? I know that God planted a Garden eastward in Eden and put Adam in it to tend and keep it. But it makes me wonder if the rest of the world was imperfect (for lack of a better word) and that's why he planted the Garden and placed Adam in there. It seems that when Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden, they immediately walked into a strange, alien, and cursed environment that was in stark contrast to the environment they were accustomed to inside the Garden. Or was the earth outside the Garden cursed only at the time of and as a result of the Fall and the thorns and thistles started growing immediately? Another option might be that the major difference in the world outside the Garden was that the Lord God was largely obscured from view and not as available as in their previously experienced close relationship, and the recently cursed environment they found themselves in started becoming more and more corrupt.
Thank you so much for your time, and for your ministry that is helping many believers like myself grow spiritually.
Yours in Christ,
Good to make your acquaintance, my friend!
Thanks for all your positive comments – I appreciate them.
The specific "Genesis curse" has to do with the whole world and it is something that only begins after the fall of Adam and Eve:
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.”
Genesis 3:17-19 NKJV
The earth before the seven days of re-creation was of course "darkness
and void" like the rest of the universe, judged on account of the
devil's revolt. God did not completely transform earth as in the way He
originally had created it – or will truly create it anew when He
destroys all that is and replaces it with the new heavens and the new
earth. Instead He reconditioned it or refurbished it, so to speak, in
order for earth to be able to sustain human life for the creation of the
human race, we believers, who are replacing the devil and his followers
– that is the entire purpose of human history.
As to the earth outside of Eden before the curse in the verses above, while not perfect (being part of this marred creation) it was as yet also not cursed in the manner of Genesis 3:17-19. We also know that this curse will be removed during the Millennium, with the result that earth will be more blessed and prosperous than ever before (even though not perfect, as evidenced by the fact that non-resurrected human beings will still have sin natures; cf. Rev.20:7-9). This is one major reason why there has to be a complete, fiery destruction of all the is – so that it may be replaced with what is absolutely pure once all evil has been expunged.
See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Hebrews 12:25-27 NKJV
But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
2nd Peter 3:7 NKJV
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening [lit., being eager for] the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
2nd Peter 3:10-13 NKJV
Feel free to write any time, my friend.
In Jesus Christ our Lord,
I've been reading BB 2B. Sometimes it feels strange knowing about the hard times ahead - about how close the Tribulation actually is when everyone else around me is totally oblivious to it - by their own choice - unbelievers and believers. When I read 1 Thessalonians 5:3 - For when they say, "Peace and safety!" - even though it's not quite here yet, it feels to me like I can already see this. I see the people around me striving to work hard for stuff, buying houses, even planning to have their own house built, getting married, having babies etc. just life going on as usual but not one thought about what is to come and no sense of urgency to be alert and prepared. I understand this more from an unbelievers point of view but I see it in the lukewarm believers I know too. Believers that I have tried to share your teaching about the Tribulation with. Their minds are full of what's going on in their lives right now. They seem very wrapped up in themselves and I keep thinking if you don't wake up and decide to listen you're not going to be able to escape what's coming.
I understand that life has to go on right now but whatever they share with me or plans they have for the future, the thought is always in the back of my mind that it's all a waste of precious time. Like they're putting all of their energy into something useless, the things of this world rather than the things above. I praise the Lord that I do know about the Tribulation from your teaching and that I am preparing but sometimes it feels like I'm living on a completely different planet to everyone else. Sometimes it feels really strange and it just seems to get stronger and stronger.
The Lord certainly knows how to motivate us to give our all for Him while we still have time in this life. Not only rewards and crowns but a new eternal name for us. These things REALLY spur me to please Him and to glorify Him.
Praying that tomorrow is another good one for you!
In our dear Lord Jesus
I think every believer who has accepted the truth and who is striving to walk closely with the Lord can't help but be feeling the same of late. The contrast between the growing assurance of what is soon to come and the complete disregard for all things spiritual has never been more stark – even among believers as far as I can see (Ichthys and some few other good hearts excepted). It is almost as if the Bible and the things they hear are as our Lord said to Ezekiel:
"So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them."
Ezekiel 33:31-32 NKJV
They read the Bible (some of them, occasionally), they go to church (for as much good as that is doing them in most cases), they listen to "Christian music", but as to the truth itself, they are mostly disinterested in it. So this passage came to mind when I read your excellent analysis:
"But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be."
Matthew 24:37-39 NKJV
This passage, it is true, is about unbelievers at the second advent. But it
strikes me that the experience – of being caught totally by surprise, while in
the midst of being concerned only about mundane (in the true etymological sense)
activities, will certainly apply to the vast majority of our Laodicean brethren
– and very soon at that.
I thank the Lord for your sharp spiritual vision capable of cutting through the veil of worldly fog so as to be able to see that all these things we are busying about – and for the most part need to be (we do have to work to earn our bread, after all) – are temporary; but our true life is eternal.
We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2nd Corinthians 4:18 NKJV
For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
Colossians 3:3-4 NKJV
Keep your good perspective, my friend, come what may! Yes we are on a different
planet: "planet reality" . . . from God's point of view – the only point of view
And thanks for those prayers too! A blessing that I'm on campus now MWF but not TTh – major protests down around the university today and cancellations as a result. Nothing in my neighborhood . . . yet (but it's just starting to get dark).
Keeping you and yours in my daily prayers.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Thank you so much. Everything you wrote including all of the verses you gave to
me is absolutely spot on for how I see and feel about all of this. I had been
thinking about the exact same verses on Noah too. Even when you said we're on
"planet reality" it gave me huge comfort. Not only because it's right but
because you and our brothers and sisters who love the truth too can understand
what I'm saying.
Although we might live in different countries around the world and not know each other (yet!) nothing can take away that bond that we have with our Lord and each other. It's the greatest blessing and joy to be in the family of God!
How were things last night in your neighbourhood? Were there any more protests or cancellations today? I'm keeping you and everything in my prayers.
Work was very busy for me today but I've just got tomorrow then my week off. I'm looking forward to it!
Stay safe and well.
Your friend in Jesus
Glad to hear that some respite is just around the corner! I have another
week until my extra long weekend kicks in. The last duties will be a
mandatory test for Covid (yes, we all have to be tested now), then a
ZOOM faculty meeting to interrupt my second day off. But I'm still
looking forward to it.
The latest protest was much ado about nothing. A good thing. Nothing like the city of Kenosha a day's drive north of here which has been on fire the past couple of nights. There are bigger and nastier things planned for next week to coincide with the delayed Kentucky Derby, but as that event will now have no spectators, it might not be so bad. I listen for the helicopters. If there are none, I can sleep soundly (which honestly I do in any case: Ps.3:5; 4:8).
Getting more and more students quarantined (not sick) and lots of CV-19 related misses, but I'm trying to keep this rolling-disaster of a semester on a glide path for a not too bumpy crash-landing in November. Then I think about the spring (and no one has a clue about that just yet).
Enjoy your time off and get some rest – I'm very sure you've earned it!
Your friend in Jesus Christ,
I hope you've had a good day - at home today? I'm happy to hear the latest protest wasn't too bad. But these are crazy times for you over there at the moment. I've been watching the fires that you mentioned in Kenosha on the news and also today about hurricane Laura and the severe damage it's causing. And residents being told to leave parts of Texas and Louisiana. I always think about Curtis when they mention Texas. I know it's a big place but I hope he and his family are OK. I always keep them in my prayers too. And then more trouble planned for next week with the delayed Kentucky Derby. But I love the Psalms you mentioned. And how you trust in the Lord and have peace in your heart and sleep soundly knowing He is watching over you and your family. It would be the noise of the helicopters that would keep me awake!
And then there's Covid-19 as well! It's interesting that you all have to be tested now. There hasn't been anything like that mentioned for us at work. When you started back teaching at uni, I didn't really think about the fact that you would have students quarantined and other Covid related misses. It's messy and it's unpredictable but keep doing the best job you can for the Lord and your students (like you always do) and He will help you to bring this "rolling-disaster" of a semester into land!
Hang on in there, Bob - just next week and then a nice long weekend for you. I must admit I'm looking forward to a bit of a rest next week.
Keeping you and yours in my prayers and thanks for yours too!
In our dear Lord Jesus
Thank you !
I've gotten most everything done, but still a bit of work to get to after a late supper (long day). Tomorrow long as well with another meeting after four classes (at least it's remote so I can do that from home).
I haven't heard from Curt but I did email him just now. I didn't hear anything about Houston suffering overly.
So far it seems as if the university is not looking for reasons to close down but rather reasons to stay open. I suppose they could easily decide to quarantine everyone in every class infected persons are in, but I haven't heard of that yet. Don't know exactly how it's working. Mostly the students who've told me about this haven't shared the details, and I haven't yet heard from any "contact tracer".
Glad you're getting a rest! I'm looking forward to mine as well.
In my prayers, my friend, and thanks as always for yours.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Thanks again for those verses you gave to me on Tuesday. The one that really stood out to me and that I keep thinking about is Ezekiel 33:31-32. It's so true and I felt that I could really relate to it. Thanks as well for the comfort and support you gave to me. The reassurance that although there aren't many of us, I'm not on my own on "planet reality" - I love that!
I've been reading more about the Millennium today in 2B - Wow! Times are challenging right now and there's even worse to come, but what an amazing future we have to look forward to with our Lord Jesus and each other. I was listening to one of Curt's lessons in Luke the other day and he said, "The little problems we have in the world right now like the corona virus may not be little to some, but compared to what's coming - it's a mosquito bite". Think he's right there!
I hope you manage to get some rest over the weekend. Take good care of yourself.
I'll keep those prayers going for you and thanks for yours too.
In our dear Lord Jesus
As usual, I agree with Curt. And I appreciate your focus on the other side. That
– and focusing on the second advent – is what we believers will need to force
ourselves to do if we do find ourselves in the midst of the Tribulation, taking
comfort in God's judgment on evil and trusting Him for that "other side".
Survived a very long day. Another meeting after it was all over (actually, the "whine fest" was today not last Friday as I had thought). Apparently, the university is not so far in the red as thought – at least the enrollments have held up so far. I'm doing my part to try and retain students, but I've already had now about 10% or more in quarantine (a number of new reports on that today). So far no calls on that account from "contact tracers" for me . . . thank you Lord! Short week next week (Derby days off) and a long Labor Day weekend as a result. So if I can get through two more teaching days, I'll have a good hold on the semester, come what may.
Prayers appreciated – and forthcoming!
Your friend in Jesus Christ,
Thank you. The links were most enlightening. #1 in "Spiritual Warfare V" was an eye-opener. I never considered technology a tower of Babel before but it most certainly is and reinforced my belief that technology will play a major role in the Tribulation. In many ways, it's played a major role in all the "peaceful protests" going on and I suspect will continue and intensify. (Note that English is the universal language of aviation.) I'll have to ponder this more.
Like weapons, technology can be used for good or evil and today, it seems to me technology is almost entirely evil. Where I live almost everyone is armed "to the teeth" as some describe it and there is generally gunfire going on most days whether hunting, dispatching rattlesnakes and coyotes or mortal combat with tin cans and prickly pear pads, yet all of whom I'm aware have no interest in harming anyone. I suspect that may change because it looks like we've entered Civil War II. All of us out here are at a disadvantage because none of live in a state of combat readiness.
I fully expect the Kenosha kid will be tried and probably found guilty of something. Under Texas law, there are several "affirmative defenses" for a justified shooting. But even if it happened on my property, during daylight hours, I would most likely have to stand trial, which isn't unexpected. (Note that Texas isn't the gun owner's shangrila most people believe.) I think the government restraint, outside of the cities, is that virtually everyone is armed or has neighbors that are. As you say, "for now."
Except for odd-ball calibers, ammo is much harder to get than before and will continue to be so. I don't know about guns since I haven't looked for one in years. Checking for ___'s request for recommendations, the prices for firearms have gone through the roof. Also not unexpected.
In any event, thanks to your reply and links, I'm now convinced that the current and future unrest is Satan directed. I also think that the unrest is leading to a more active civil war which will be the justification for the anti-christ's crack down. I think he'll begin as an average politician and do a lot of damage before he's revealed for who he is (or she?). I can see how many Christians will support and follow him based on their desire to end the bloodshed.
Sadly, current events are fitting together all too well. I pray all is well with you and yours. Stay safe my friend. You are in my prayers daily.
Just a note to say thanks for your weekly postings. I learn so much from them and not all related to the Bible. I didn't know about the garbage on the swab they stick up your nose. I'll never volunteer for that. Thank you. I also learned from my vet that the recommended dental protocol is to first require patients to use a chlorine based mouth wash. (Chlorine is an EPA listed toxin and dissolves biological material.) I haven't had my regular appointment with my dentist since.
I have to say, I operate on the principle that, if you don't load your gun, rack the slide, point it at your foot and pull the trigger, you probably won't suffer the consequences.
Some of the questions in this week's posting involved other "authorities," like C.S. Lewis (?!) I have to confess, you are the only authority I read outside of the Bible which I read almost daily. It's a rare day when I don't. I feel compelled (can't say guilty) if I don't read scripture daily. I have so much to learn and so little time left. I find that after all these years, I understand, almost daily, something new that I never understood before. The references you include in your email responses are most helpful.
When I read my emails in your posts, sometimes my reaction is, "Good grief! Did I write that?!" Hopefully, it helps me recover some of my language skills I lost during my high tech adventures. (Fer Shur!) It's good also to reread your responses. Thank you for overlooking my faux pas.
May I suggest for your mowing dilemma, a scythe? I have used one for quite some time to harvest the prairie grasses for my garden mulch since I don't need enough to justify the expense of a mechanized solution. It's good exercise, good cardio and quiet. Like kneading bread, once you fall into the rhythm, it's a chance to think or meditate or just tune out the nonsense swirling around us. Best of all, it doesn't need gas and it doesn't stink.
There are two different styles of scythe -- American and European. The European style works best for me. Scythes are also much less expensive than motorized mowers. Best of all, they are most effective when the grass is wet or damp from dew. It's the way lawns were mowed before the advent of Briggs & Stratton. A scythe is probably not something you would want to use on much larger than about 1/8-1/4 acre unless you're in your 20s, but, I think, it's a viable solution for smaller areas. And you get mulch or compost for free!
Just my two bit.
Hope the Derby "Cue" went well for you and the "peaceful protests" didn't intrude on your holiday.
Yours in Jesus,
It does feel that way – but I can't for the life of me figure out who is
supposed to be on the other side of this coming "civil war". Given that
the insurrectionists and the rich and the powerful who possess all the
levers of power and most of the wealth are all on this same side, along
with the media and academia (myself not included), just whom are they
planning to make war on? That is the truly disturbing part, actually.
It's hard to know what the beast will look like before the fact, but given his darkly exceptional abilities as outlined in scripture, I haven't seen anyone in public prominence who's even worthy of being considered a candidate.
Thanks for the scythe recommendation. I do have preferences, however. I'm reminded of the woman who went to the travel agent and asked him to recommend a country where they didn't have irregular verbs. In that same vein, I'd need a type of scythe that didn't given me blisters and wasn't capable of accidentally taking off a few of my toes.
Yes, blessedly things were relatively quiet at the dear Derby. They marched in a circuit around Churchill downs but the fence didn't come tumbling down, nor did anyone try to storm it (plenty of police and National Guard on the other side in any case). Marchers said they were disappointed that the Derby wasn't cancelled "with all that's going on" ?! (says a lot, doesn't it?). It was "interesting" to see black militia open-carrying assault rifles and – not far away – white militias doing the same. No cross fire this time around. See you next spring.
You may well see some more of your words "come back to haunt you" soon, my friend! Thanks for your willingness to share.
Thanks for those prayers!
In Jesus our dear Savior,
The other side? Let me see if I can get this straight. It will be we irredeemable deplorable ignorant rednecks who cling to our guns and Bibles. I think there's more but it doesn't come to mind. I think a good guide to the ramp-up to the Tribulation is Marx's writings. Most of his principles as set forth in the Manifesto have been accomplished here and world-wide. The next step, if I'm to judge by the Bolshevik Revolution, is the pogrom against those of us who don't go along. That seems to be beginning now. Good practice for the Tribulation.
As far as the beast, I'm of mixed emotion. I almost expect him (if a he, it is) to be possessed at some point much like Judas was. The links you sent reinforced that to a certain extent. I don't expect him to look all that different in the beginning if at all. The antichrist is another matter. It's all speculation, of course. Understanding it all is way above my pay grade. I have faith I'll know when the time comes.
Don't worry about your toes when using a scythe. The scythe is far enough in front of you that THAT isn't the issue. However, I put a nice deep gash in my thumb honing the edge once. That one was a stinker. Thank God for yarrow. I know first hand why Alexander scattered it all over the known world. I wish I could get it to grow as easily here.
I'm happy the Derby demonstration was peaceful and away from your street though the armed camps concern me a bit. Marching around an empty race track doesn't strike me as very intelligent and for the other side to defend empty concession stands doesn't make sense, either. I guess the jockeys had a crowd after all if anyone had sense enough to watch.
By the way, feel free to edit my emails that you choose to use. You won't hurt my feelings and can save me some embarrassment.
Yours in our Lord,
If the time-line plays out the way I expect, we may be in for a little peace
with all "this" blowing over for a while. Even if it does, it was a great
reminder of the need for preparation.
The beast and the antichrist are one and the same (best link: CT 3B). Definitely a "he", since he is the devil's offspring (Gen.3:15), a "nephilim" rather than a pure human being. As to being possessed by Satan, possible but hardly making a difference since they will be totally coordinated in their efforts:
The dragon gave him (i.e., the beast / antichrist) his power, his throne, and great authority.
Revelation 13:2b NKJV
Can't get yarrow to grow here either though tried for many years. Fennel does
well – a little too well though not as bad as bamboo – NOTHING is as bad as
bamboo . . . as I know from bitter experience.
Derby was relatively peaceful beyond expectation, so thanks for your prayers.
Keeping you in mine.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
I hope you're right and there will be a respite. I'm still treating it all as practice for the Tribulation. And I have to admit, I almost don't think I'll still be here for that. Still working on my family.
I didn't realize the beast and the AC was one. If I'd read all your materials, of course, I would probably have realized that. I apologize. I read two or three chapters in the Bible a night and some online (since I can increase the font size) but my old eyes can't take much of that, either. Gettin' old ain't for sissies!.
I have been buying yarrow and neem powder from Mountain Rose to mix with DE for flea powder. Works splendidly and yarrow powder is what I now use for deep wounds -- and even minor ones for that matter. It's now a habit. Still trying to get yarrow to grow, but so far, no luck. I'm thinking of making some yarrow salve for emergencies.
I'm happy things were peaceful there and pray they stay that way. What a world we've ended up with! I sometimes think it's all our fault and, then, I realize that it's all under the Lord's control. Bob, I think we've seriously screwed up/
Yours in our Lord,
I'll remember to say a prayer for your family. Ministry begins at home,
I don't say there WILL be a respite – but it would make sense to me inasmuch as it's hard to imagine things accelerating as they have been doing without "all flesh" perishing long before six years elapses. As you say, things are in mess mode and worsening.
Yes, on one level it would be nice to think that the Lord will take us home before the trouble starts (Is.57:1-2), but that is entirely in His hands. And, after all, that sort of wishful thinking brought us the "pre-Trib rapture" heresy.
You might try listening to the MP3 files our friend Chris B. has produced (link). They're a nice rest for the eyes.
You're my "go to" guy for home remedies, my friend! I'll have to make a list sometime – or, better yet, that is something YOU might consider doing; I'm sure it would be a benefit to many Ichthys readers (happy to post it).
In Jesus our dear Savior,
I have listened to Chris' audios. Not nearly all, of course, but quite a few. Retaining what I hear is another matter. I listen to them at night since I'm otherwise distracted. I remember he was agonizing over what he perceived as short comings, but I think he does a remarkably good job. I need to download Bible Basics and listen. I may stand a chance of retaining that which will save some of my foolish questions. (If I haven't mentioned recently, I truly appreciate you patience and tolerance.)
Hmm... I've never considered a list of herbal remedies but I'd be happy to make an attempt. I could only speak with any authority on what I've personally used. Give me a bit to ponder that. Is there anything besides hypertension that bothers you for which you would like some information?
I use hawthorn and CoQ10 for heart strength. Milk thistle and dandelion for liver and kidneys. All on a daily basis. (Those of us in our geriatric years need the support since it's rarely in our food. And the government considers us geriatric after 50!)
Plaintain is a general healing herb as salve or poultice. Yarrow, as I mentioned, to close up wounds. (It also relieves some of the pain.) Neem powder, which I have to buy, to kill bacteria and parasites. Dandelion for almost everything, including salads and risotto. Dandelion is one of God's greatest gifts to man, BTW, and a more powerful diuretic than many pharmaceuticals. Culpeper, in the 17th century, called it "Piss a Bed" which, if you're not careful will live up to it's name. Chickweed for salads and urinary issues (I use it for salads. It tastes like raw corn.) Also good for skin irritations and itches. Monarda for urinary issues and a pork rub (I only use it as a seasoning.) While not well known or even appreciated, bee venom is good for most auto-immune diseases and rheumatism. (Foraging bees don't really care about you -- you have to interfere with their hive or swat at them before they get hostile. Wasps are easier to irritate. There's even bee venom therapy out there.)
The longer I sit here and think, the longer the list gets. I need to think about this more and stop the, "Oh, yes and also..." Any suggestions on organization of the list that would be useful for your correspondents?
This has been an endless quest. Genesis 1:30 is what got me started and convinced me that the quality of the food we eat is critical to our health. (Davis 2009 at UTexas Austin) Of course, Revelation 22:2 has also played a role. While we're not there, yet. it got me digging and it turns out everything we need to live and be healthy is provided right here and now if we're just willing to use it. Up until the 1930s, this was reasonably well understood. Since, the information seems to have been steadily squelched for reasons on which I can only speculate. I can rhapsodize forever on this, so I'll leave it there. Tell me what you most need or feel would be the most beneficial.
Thank you for your prayers!
Yours in our Savior and Provider,
I'm happy to get your questions. Also good to hear that you are already
onto the MP3s.
Organizing a long piece is always difficult. My dissertation director used to say that you know you're ready to write when your outline satisfies you and covers everything you want to say in the order you want to say it (whereas having a dozen or so appendices is a bad sign). Seems to me, off the top of my head, that there are two basic ways to organize something like this, namely, by application / usefulness or else alphabetically. I suppose you could also do it by taxonomy, but that would leave someone reading who wasn't a botanist entirely to the heuristic approach or otherwise a front to back read. In any case, a good index would be most helpful: e.g., looking up hypertension leads to the following three plants and or remedies. The subject organization scheme would still need a good index, I'm guessing, because some things are good for what ails you in more ways than just one. The nice thing about informal e-publishing as on Ichthys is that you could update all the time as something else occurred to you to add. Anyway, I think it would be useful and could even become a cooperative effort since I know that there are others out there who are interested in this subject.
Thanks for your prayers too, my friend!
I just wanted to run this question by you because I am faced with a
slight dilemma. I am working on a paper that talks about no believer
being limited to what they can accomplish for the Lord, and the idea of
babies born in Christian families dying young came back to my mind. I
don't know how to answer that one as well as I'd like to, and I know
someone is likely to bring that issue up to me sooner or later.
We had a discussion about this on the community with some various answers. If I may ask, why does God allow the death of a newborn infant or young Christian? If all believers have an equal shot at accomplishing as much as possible for the Lord, what of babies or young adults that never had a chance to hardly ever produce anything for the Lord? Wouldn't that have been taking away the reward that could have been their's i.e. God limited their production and therefore their reward? What about the mentally disabled? Some might suggest God deprived them of reaping a bountiful crop. What would you say to this?
One of the answers or suggestions among those of us who have discussed this issue was that God takes the lives of babies and young people to save them from future apostasy, but doesn't that sound like their free will is being taken away?
Now it is true, the Bible does give us some reasons for a good long life, the book of Proverbs especially. Like righteousness will lengthen your days or something like that, I'm sure you know of such passages already, I can't think of them off the top of my head at the moment. But could there be other reasons as to why God allows babies and young believers to die young? I just can't believe God would limit a person's production for no good reason.
I assure you that we have free will and that it is absolute. But God is free to be God at all times. He never lets us be tested or tempted beyond what He knows we can handle (1Cor.10:13) – and we are happy about that and not complaining about our "choices" having been curtailed. Some folks ask for more curtailing – "take this (particular) sin and temptation away from me, O God!" – but He doesn't take away our free will entirely. Being the perfect God, He knows the perfect mix. We may THINK we know some things, but only God knows everything.
Then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.
Ecclesiastes 8:17 NIV
Bottom line: God is a good deal "smarter" than we are. Yes? He planned the perfect plan in which there is not the single slightest thing that has not been ordained, not the length or hue of a single pine needle, not the course or swerve of the smallest subatomic particle in the farthest galaxy. It hurts the brain to even try to grasp the outer limits of the order of magnitude of the wisdom of God – because it so far beyond us. So anyone who "dies before their time" does so for good reason.
The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.
Isaiah 57:1-2 NIV
We don't see it? God does – and did before He created the universe. Our job is
to trust Him that this truth we know is true – even if some people want to raise
objections; that is their problem: if they knew Him better, they would accept
this and other truths more readily. I have absolute confidence that He has
perfectly fit us all into the plan to maximize the reward we were willing to
earn – but since we have free will, we still have to go out and earn it.
And it's all founded on the bedrock of the cross of Jesus Christ
Keep up the good work of ministering to His Church! In that there is great reward.
In Jesus our Savior.
Thank you for the answer. This gives me relief because I was worried
that I may have to address this topic, but I don't think I should have
to come up with reasons of why God allows certain things to happen just
because, as you said, there is so much we don't know. We don't know the
mind of the Lord. I discussed this with a brother a while back and part
of my answer I post below. Would you say it's a good way to approach
this topic? If so, then there is no need for me to bring any of this up
in my paper, and that's good because I really didn't want to because
that is going way too deep into details. Not only that, but there is so
much I wouldn't be able to answer because (as your answer clearly shows)
there is so much we don't and can't know this side of eternity.
It's an interesting thing to think about, but my approach to this was to drop the topic and move on. Why? Because our God is a God of mysteries, and we can never know everything we’d like to know about why He works the way He does. Keeping this perspective in mind is the safest approach because it shows reverent respect for our all knowing Lord Himself. Its laughable and insulting to even begin to try to “figure God out” with the idea that we can know what's on his mind, no insults and harshness intended here. What He wants from us is obedience stemming from love. All things will one day be made clear when we enter the kingdom and see Him face to face. Many of those same people who died prematurely we will also see. Our ways are not God’s ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. God is a different thinker and actor, though He still wants us to be as much like Him as we can.
This was my original answer, but I hopped around a bit. I probably should have stuck with it and simply just moved on as I said I would in my post. Is it a good answer? I don't mean to sound dense or anything, so pardon me for that.
Your brother in Christ,
I think this is fine.
We are told not to "go beyond what is written" (1Cor.4:6), and while that doesn't rule out some godly speculation where we have reason to be able to deduce "2" from "1+1", we do need to be careful about anything not specifically stated. I think your answer is a nice "prose essay" expansion of the passage I quoted to you (Eccl.9:7).
The main thing about being a Bible teacher is to be as informed about the truth as possible – and teach what you believe, being able to back that up with scripture and godly argumentation.
Seems to me that is what you did.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Dear Prof, how are you? Glad to read about you personally in some of
your mails! The knee, the swab up your nose, your academics etc. Gives
me specific things to pray about for you even though we pray for you.
Just some weeks ago, my pastor preached a message on "dangers ahead" in which he skirted some issues about the days ahead. To Gods glory, I could see my influence in what he talked about. He could not finish because of time so he ended by giving a boatload of scriptures for all to go and read and he made with it mandatory for everyone to go and study them. Matt 24, 2Thess 2:1-3, 1John2:18 John 16:33, Rev 7:13-14, 13:13-16 etc. I thought he wanted to continue the next Sunday. When it was Friday he called me to give the next Sunday's message.
Actually sir when I looked at those scriptures he gave, I knew instantly that it was God that brought up that opportunity. In fact I was a bit anxious because I knew I had so much to say based on what I've learnt from you that is already residing in my heart. But I decided to trust God for what exactly to say. God came through for me to push His Word out to the people. No small thanx to our mutual friend who encouraged me and also been praying for me.
To talk about posttrib to pretribbers in such a setting! Not just to one person. And they listened attentively because they trust their pastor so anyone coming to the pulpit, he must be in agreement with. I think the times we are in created the opportunity.
I know many of them understood and would go and at least take another look. In fact there was one of the ministers that had previously had arguments with me on pretrib. He could not prove his case so had been avoiding me. He felt the pastor was still in complete support of pretrib. He was shocked at what I was saying but l know he will go take another look.
A few told me that this was the message for the hour! No man on earth should give glory to himself, all glory must be to the Lord. Pastor closed the service by begging people to go and reread those scriptures I used even though he had given them to read the previous week. I just explained the scriptures he had given and added a few. Pastor told me he and his wife were discussing throughout the night and the following day. Obviously something was happening! I pray the Lord will move us all forward in the truth.
Prof my heart is always rejoicing when people learn the truth. Just as I rejoice when I learn a truth in the scriptures through you. Just as I'm sure you will rejoice too to see lives being affected through your ministry. Why else did you put ichthys up!
That week (last week), my daughter had some severe abdominal pain, my wife fell ill and I had some severe waist pain! All much better now. I remembered what you said about rebound! Well to His glory and praise we are all getting better. There is a saying here that God does not allow something (however bad) without giving opportunity for thanksgiving. We are to give thanks in every situation and to rejoice always. Thank God my daughter in third year medical school finished her online exams the day before she took ill...opportunity to give thanks! My wife has been overworking herself so she was down but it made her to rest...opportunity to give thanx! The waist pain confined me to bed...I read some old emails on ichthys that I've been planning to read and gained more...another opportunity to give thanks. We are all getting better...great opportunity to give thanks!
My dear Prof, only eternity will tell the effects of your ministry in the hungry lives of so many of us that have come in contact with it. I keep gaining new insights daily on Ichthys. It never ceases to amaze me. Thank you sir. The Lord keep you in every imaginable way. Prayer can never be too much so prayer continues! Please don't forget to thank our mutual friend on my behalf. Again thank you sir. All glory to God for making me to know you and Ichthys. Where could I have gotten such understanding and boldness!
In Him through whom we strive for perfection
You are such an encouragement to me, my friend. You have been "strong and courageous" and the Lord has rewarded you with fruit for your efforts. That is precisely what we are supposed to be doing. I also want to commend you for the WAY in which you have been going about this: not self-righteously pounding your chest, demanding compliance, angrily hurling threats, and being generally impatient; instead you were following the biblical way:
By long forbearance a ruler is persuaded,
And a gentle tongue breaks a bone.
Proverbs 25:15 NKJV
Keep up the good work for the Lord, my friend!
I'm pleased to hear that your prayers were answered – that is an encouragement to us all – and also to see your godly approach of thanking the Lord in the midst of trouble. It's always easier to be grateful on the OTHER side of the Red Sea; it takes a real spiritual warrior to thank Him for the Sea being in the way – and being about to be parted – before it even happens (as the victorious martyrs of the Tribulation will).
As to your more than kind comments, I fear they greatly overestimate things – they certainly greatly overestimate me! Whatever good is being or has been done through this ministry is very much the work of the Holy Spirit (Ps.115:1). Trust me on that one.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Thanx for your response. Hearing from you always encourages me. In all honesty I don't feel strong and courageous. When I told our friend, he reminded me of Luk e17:10 .......when you obey me you should say, 'We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.'" -and said we should just give thanks that the Lord is pleased to use us at all. I told him that one will not leave the hard disk in my heart!
Sir I'm don't think I am overestimating you. I know it is the work of the Holy Spirit. I trust you on that one (and many other things!) If you refused to cooperate with God, we would not have Ichthys. I know it is the work of the Holy Spirit but like the scriptures say and our friend reminds me, not you but the grace of God with you. 1Cor 15:10. But you still labored so Heb 6:10 applies and I also thank you sir for the labour of love that I am benefitting from so that I too can go and benefit others.
2Cor 4:15 ........as God's grace reaches more and more people through your ministry, may there will be great thanksgiving and may God receive more and more glory. IJN I pray Amen.
Phil 3:17 KJV -Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
Someone said followers together may also be read as followers "to-get-there". Prof, we are followers to get there with you. By the grace of God nothing (not even tribulation) will be able to hinder you and all of us your "children in the Lord" from getting to our ultimate destination in Christ. Amen
Much love in Christ
I love that "together = to-get-there". Of course we who are fighting
this fight for the Lord want to get a good report from Him – and a
corresponding reward – WHEN we get there. For many of our Laodicean
brethren, "getting there" will be about all they can expect, and not
entirely without cost either given the Great Tribulation. We and they
are going to have to be ready and willing to lose everything for the
Lord in order not to falter and succumb. As I often recall, my maternal
grandmother used to say "Blessed be nothin'!", and that will be more
true than every when the beast's system of repression makes all commerce
for those not marked impossible. We will have to wait for Elijah's
ravens and the manna that fell for the children of Israel just to stay
alive – or whatever turns out to be the Lord's provision for us during
those times. Because He WILL provide. But losing the things we tend to
rely on at this moment will be difficult for many to endure.
Thanks again for the good words, my friend. I assure you, however, that I no less than any other reader of Ichthys needs to pay attention to teaching and be careful to believe, remember and apply it. Thank you for being such a good example of that!
Your friend in Jesus Christ our Lord.
It's been awhile, hope you're doing well. I follow your weekly emails from time to time, I'm aware that everything has made work difficult for you, I pray you have the strength to endure, honestly; personally I have the conviction that things will not get better only worse, though I hope your 2026 date is accurate as I would appreciate the few years to heal, grow, and bear fruit.
As for myself I can say that this isolation time has done me good, as the last 2 years of my life have been by far the most difficult in my life to a degree only the Lord knows, and not having to move around in the nerve wrecking pace of NY life has helped me take a deep breath. I have been doing better lately, praise God, I'm still not out of the woods though. If I have to suffer like this with doubt the rest of my life I will not let go of the conviction that God gave me that Jesus is the truth, yet I hope that is not the case, as this struggle due to my actions and the trauma it has caused me has truly crippled my life, yet im striving to move forward.
What doesn't help is having virtually no Christian fellowship other than a friend who lives overseas who is a blessing to me....hard to fathom why God hasn't put me in touch with fellow Christians tangibly.
Anyway, the main point of this email was for guidance on 2 issues:
1 - Are we to forgive even without the other person repenting? Luke 17: 3-4 makes sense to me, clearly here we are told that if the other person repents we are to immediately forgive them.
Matthew 18: 15-17 seems to correlate perfectly with this. What really confuses me is Mark 11:25, is this talking about forgiveness to someone who has repented, or as it seems to imply, does it mean whether they repented or not? If it means the latter, this is very contradictory and hard to understand? On top of that, if someone hurts us deeply, and justifies themselves how can we forgive them? Even God who is the greatest forgiver requires we repent and confess first.
2 - [omitted]
God bless you Bob, in Jesus Christ.
Good to hear from you, though I am sorry to hear that you are still struggling a
bit. Faith is always a fight, however, and I sense that yours is strengthening
even if it is not yet perfected: we all can afford to improve on that score,
As to Christian fellowship, I don't remember if I asked ever whether or not you wanted to participate in the Ichthys forum that our friend has set up. If you do, I'd be happy to ask him to send you a link. Lack of "tangible fellowship" in one's vicinity is not necessarily a bad thing, given where most Laodicean Christians are nowadays. So be careful what you wish for there. Falling in with the wrong group can be very debilitating to faith (believe me, I know what I'm talking about here from decades of personal observation and experience).
Yes, I'm very hopeful that the time-line I have inferred based on applying the biblical passages to the secular chronological information we have is correct. On the other hand, the sooner it all starts, the sooner our Lord returns. And I'm getting more and more anxious for that blessed return (in spite of all the "bad road" between here and there). If we do get six more years of respite before the Tribulation, it would certainly behoove us believers who know something of the truth to use it wisely and aggressively in spiritual growth and preparation – especially after the recent series of "wake-up calls". That is of course the "R/x" for your particular complaint as well, so hang in there, be "strong and courageous", and trust the Lord.
As to forgiveness, as you know, when we say the Lord's prayer, we always qualify the forgiveness we ask for by stating that we forgive others their debts / trespasses. So forgiveness is something we should get into the habit of doing no matter what and always. The distinction in these passages – which are not mutually exclusive after all (i.e., just because we are to forgive if asked to forgive does not mean we can't or shouldn't forgive before we are asked) – seems to me to be more along the lines of fellowship. If someone acts towards us in a very harmful way, we can forgive them but at the same time not feel obligated to have anything whatsoever to do with them in the future. But if our brother/sister offends us and then asks to be forgiven, that would indicate our being willing to extend fellowship to them again. Even this doesn't mean that we have to take leave of our senses or abandon our common sense. If we loan money to a relative when hard pressed ourselves, if they squander it and prove ungrateful, and if they then ask for forgiveness, we should forgive them and not shun them – but it's not like we have to loan them money we can't afford to part with ever again (or at least until they've demonstrated by their actions that they've changed).
As to question #2, this is one of the devil's favorite traps as it happens to be the "Achilles heel" of many human beings. Advice? Yes. STAY AWAY. Don't allow yourself to come near anything that tempts you. We all have to "build walls" against the enemy where we are particularly vulnerable. Start building – that's my advice – and don't allow yourself any compromise whatsoever. People who are beset by alcoholism can't allow themselves to even think about the possibility of drinking – let alone allowing themselves to stray into tempting environments. So they wall it off. Same goes here – or for anything that hits us where we have a weak spot. Forget feeling guilty about it (or worrying about not feeling guilty). Just don't do it.
Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Thank you Bob for the swift reply.
Honestly it's always refreshing to read your messages. I want to say that though I have been very shaky about everything these last couple years, I believe you were an answer to a prayer when I first turned back from the mess I made, I asked the Lord to bring me into contact with a learned Pastor/Christian who can help me on difficult questions I had/have, I prayed that it be someone without a denominational bias, honestly I don't think there's anyone who fits the description more than yourself, and your site has been a great pillow to fall on, if not a rock to hang onto.
As far as strengthening it seems so, though I admit I am moving forward, at times it seems almost unbearable and incremental, I try and remind myself that this shouldn't surprise me in the hour we're in and in what waits ahead, I just feel like I lack that crystal clarity. The thing is I know for a fact that the Lord has helped me through this, but he just feels far off and I've never gotten back to that crystal clear closeness I had when found him prior to my folly; I feel like if I could be restored to that I could grow exponentially and get through anything.
Also I hear what you're saying on the wrong Christian group, truly this is Laodicea, I stopped looking up churches in my area because some of the stuff they believe or teach in this late hour is pretty outrageous, and I cant see myself growing or healing in those environments.
The things unfolding in the world and that I hear first hand from acquaintances around the world blatantly stink of the new world order or rather tribulation being laid out. I really feel something is about to happen Bob, even if the tribulation doesn't start I just almost sense all kinds of increasing craziness about to break loose. I'm all for this coming to an end, I just want to be content in Christ with no doubts before going into that if you know what I mean....
Let me comment back on your 2 replies and add 1 more question:
Forgiveness - I find it very difficult to just forgive and let go of the bitterness when someone hurts me and they don't repent or own up to it; this is something I've been struggling with. At the same time there are other verses such as Matthew 18: 15-17 or the parable about the unforgiving servant which all seem to show us forgiving when the other person repents, just as I understand God does. I'm just struggling as they feel contradicting. I feel sometimes as if this difficulty has to do with the perceived unforgivness I've been wrestling with for so long. Like I said I know the Lord has helped me and answered me in certain things through this all, the best way I can put what I'm experiencing is I'm not out of the woods yet.
And my new question is one about prayer. Why do we intercede and pray for each other...in the beginning I never thought twice about this, but recently it's mind boggled me a little, if God wants to take care of all our needs, and lead us on the right path, which I believe he does, why are other peoples prayers necessary (I've experienced the power of them). An example that comes to mind is that of Moses on behalf of the Israelites, or 1 John "of a sin not leading to death"...when God helps us in this way I would think its because he loves us, but if its on behalf of the other person it seems as if its only because of that persons petition...lately I feel like I'm finding more and more things that seem to contradict, maybe its because I'm looking more deeply into them than in the past.
I do believe that "something is about to happen" – and that something is the
Tribulation. Whether it's coming very soon, or whether there are six more short
years to go as I believe (with some unpleasant preliminary "somethings" in the
offing meanwhile), in either case believers who recognize this really ought to
take it to heart and redouble their efforts at becoming prepared for whatever
befalls. No doubt that is part of "all this", namely, a timely warning for those
willing to receive it (not many in that camp in our Laodicean era).
Small advances are better than nothing, and they almost always precede large advances. Spiritual momentum is difficult to attain and easy to lose. What's the solution? Fight the fight as best you can day by day and don't worry about yesterday. We can't afford to let past failures stop us from making progress today OR yesterday's success lead us to become complacent today. This is a day by day fight, and it will be until we see the Lord face to face.
A lot of people have trouble with forgiveness, especially if they've been hurt badly. But it is important. Lack of forgiveness is a bitter root that can befoul everything. It's also insane, from a godly point of view (it won't matter to us a bit in New Jerusalem – except to the extent that it compromised our reward). Then again, all the wrong and pointless things we think and say and do in this temporary world fall into that same category. If we could see all this as God sees it for just a few minutes, we would be terribly ashamed of so much and cease to worry or be concerned about almost anything – except the furtherance of His perfect plan . . . of which we are blessed to be a very small and yet very important part.
Like so many other stumbling blocks, lack of forgiveness is caused by focusing on ourselves instead of seeing things as God sees them. He knows very well that He is providing for us all we need and always will, that what we are really supposed to be doing here has nothing to do with past offenses we've suffered (or present or future ones either), because He is always making it possible for us to grow, advance and produce for Jesus Christ – to the extent that we are willing to do so (Jas.1:20).
Most such ticks are analogous to a soldier being upset and fretting about getting "ham and lima beans" in his C-ration draw instead of the tuna fish and fruit cocktail he was hoping for – when he should instead be focused on the more important things he's supposed to be about: taking care not to step on that mine in the first place and how best to assault that hill in the second. This is a war we are in, and if we take all these little offenses personally we are going to be missing the big picture and compromising our role in fighting it.
It's good to revere the Lord (Ps.19:9) and also to have a godly fear of deadly sins, especially anything sexually illicit (1Cor.6:18). To be angry at oneself for even coming close to stepping on that particular mine is also appropriate (because the damage can be just as horrible).
In terms of prayer, of course God could, I suppose, have omitted "history" entirely and placed only believers and elect angels in the eternal state right from the start. In such an eventuality, Jesus would not have had to have suffered death for all sin. However, since the magnitude of the cross is far beyond our ken, and since of course it would have been avoided if it could have been avoided (cf. Matt.26:39-42), clearly it WAS necessary . . . and so equally clearly "history" had to happen for the perfect plan of God – of which there is only one and no hypothetical alternative with any variation however slight – to be carried out.
And so it was, after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the LORD commanded them; for the LORD had accepted Job. And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
Job 42:7-10 NKJV
As can be seen from the passage above, it was important and necessary for Job to
pray for his friends, both in order for them to be spared serious divine
discipline and also for his own losses and health to be restored. In fact, the
Lord Himself commanded it personally. Why? Because of the way God has set up
history with prayer being an essential part in causing what He has decreed to
happen. Prayer is an essential element of the plan of God whereby He has
integrated our free will into that perfect plan. There are ground rules in the
plan of God, and prayer is one means that God has deliberately set up to allow
Him to bless those we pray for under those ground rules. The details and
ins and outs we can only see from instances like the above in scripture, but we
have more than enough to know and understand that prayer is vitally important –
even if we don't know with precision exactly how and why. We'll get the
details on the other side. On this side, we just need to trust Him and
So while God can do anything without hearing from us, nevertheless it is also very much evident from all the Bible says about prayer (here's one link leading to others), that it is an important thing for us to do, to exercise the free will we've been given on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Christ (just as we encourage them and aid them in all manner of material and spiritual ways). Can God deliver us without our asking? Yes. But it is unquestionably good for us to ask – and even better for others to ask on our behalf. That is one crucial way that we are participating in this fight. It's roughly analogous to us asking our platoon sergeant to make sure Private Jones doesn't get "ham and lima beans" again because we can see that it is distracting him from being a good soldier and will lead to no good.
And so I pray for you – and I thank you for praying for me. We all need prayers – and it's not necessarily obvious on this side just how much we need them. But we will see that on the other side when that issue along with all others is illuminated for us. Until then, we follow the S.O.P. for effective combat operations here in world where the plan of God is underway – and that includes "praying continually" (1Thes.5:17).
Your friend in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Plenty of Christians do lots of damage to themselves after they believe. Then, if they choose to respond to the discipline the Lord graciously gives them and seek to recover, the road back is as long as the road is, and the journey is as fast or slow as they are willing to make it. Removing "scar tissue" from the heart requires 1) an aggressive turning away from the world and especially from the things that were problematic in one's drifting away from the Lord; and 2) an aggressive program of reprogramming one's heart.
How to accomplish the former is straightforward enough; the latter means
not just reading the Bible but also giving oneself over to an aggressive
campaign of spiritual growth where good Bible teaching is accessed in
volume (to the exclusion of much else), the truth received is then
believed, and that truth is then aggressively applied to one's life. It
takes active thinking of the truth to accomplish this. It is a matter of
one's level of commitment. If a person wants to walk to Jerusalem, but
is only willing to stroll forward a hundred yards or so a day, it will
take a while. Fifty mile a day forced marches are more difficult by a
lot – but you get there quicker.
It's always good to hear from you, my friend.
In Jesus our dear Savior.
Good to hear that you've survived some tough tests at work – and passed them
with flying colors!
Yes, I'm not particularly patient. The progress with the knee is slow, so much so that it sometimes seems like "no progress", but looked at objectively I can see it is gradually getting some better. I guess at this ripe age it all takes longer. The other problem I've had (psi-joint) is still not 100% resolved at this point and after all this time, but it's more like just a nagging occasional reminder than a problem. I'll take that any day. From your report, it sounds to me as if it would be prudent for you to put your feet up for a day or two as well!
Covid rates are up and down in KY; last few days they've been down or at least less, and the university has only had 128 cases since we've reopened (no reports that any of these have actually been sick, just positive swab tests). So we may "get there" after all! Starting next week, I'll have only one class on Fridays (except for two) until the end of the term, so I'm feeling like we have gotten through the danger period, mostly.
Relying on the Lord when things get tough is no problem for the likes of us who are in the habit of relying on Him at all times. All "this" is passing away, and these small troubles are nothing compared to all that's coming. So keep up your good attitude (it's inspiring) and your good application. There's great reward ahead.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2nd Corinthians 4:16-18 NKJV
In Jesus our dear Savior whose blessed return is closer every day.
First, thank you for your dedication to your ministry. It is an encouragement to us all.
I was wondering if you have any familiarity with the book "The Rod: Will God Spare It" by a pastor named Joey Faust? In summary, it goes through a detailed biblical case that the millennial reign of Christ is a prize for believers who persevere until the end. He maintains all believers have eternal security in Heaven, but those who didn't earn the prize of the millennium must wait that time until they get their gift of eternal life. I could go on, but my point is, this is such a "radical" position that I have never even heard of it until recently and I cannot find any literature on it one way or another.
On one hand, my discernment says it may be a viable interpretation because I simply cannot refute it, but on the other hand, I defer to the counsel of the saints, in that, since I cannot find any other support for it, it must not be valid in any way.
Do you have an opinion on this and/or any references I could look into further? I thank you in advance for your time.
Good to make your acquaintance, and thanks for your positive words.
I've never heard of this individual, this book, or this (false) teaching.
But it is false, obviously. First, 1st Corinthians 15:23-24 tells us that there are three echelons to the resurrection: 1) Jesus Christ; 2) the Church – who are His "at His coming"; then the sheep and the goats at the end of the Millennium. The Bride is Christ's prize, so we who are believers will all be resurrected when He returns.
Second, if a person does not persevere, that person is not a believer – and only believers are saved (e.g., Jn.3:18), which is why there are so many passages in scripture which warn believers about the danger of apostasy (e.g., Matt.10:22; 13:20-21; 1Cor.6:9-10; 15:2; Gal.5:19-21; Eph.5:3-7; Col.1:21-23; Heb.3:6; 3:12-14; Rev.14:9-12). So anyone who has passed and who is not resurrected at Christ's return will be among the condemned.
Third, this sort of thinking is typical of individuals who are focused on this world. Those of us who are dedicating ourselves to follow Jesus Christ and win a good eternal reward understand that the blessings of New Jerusalem and all of the spiritual wonders of that place are worth far more than a million years on this temporary earth. The blessing that those who stay true to Jesus will have during the Millennium is to share His rule – in resurrection (cf. Rev.2:26; 3:21).
One could go on. But it seems to me that the best refutation of this dangerous position is to point out that there isn't a single verse in the scripture which supports it – not if it is meant that we are going to continue in the Millennium in these physical bodies. I'd rather be resurrected. For those who aren't, it will mean that they were not – or were no longer – believers (for example any and all who succumb and take the mark of the beast).
For what the Bible has to say about the return of our Lord and the Millennium, best Ichthys references are CT 5: The 2nd Advent and Armageddon: The Return of Christ; and CT 6: Last Things: The Millennium and New Jerusalem.
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Questions at II Angelic Pre-history: In # 5 b) you say cf. "Certain cases where they place there hand on the head AND the laver in the second paragraph." Could you give an example. I trust you but cannot recall or find that.
Also in # 6 The seven Edens. I'm not getting how Abraham's bosom meets the definition. I'm sure is was the best place to put the believers at the time but it lacked fellowship with God which you used in the first sentence as part of your definition of Eden and paradise.
By teaching, I feel like I'm sure learning so much more than when I just read through this before but it is sure slow going. I feel like I'm in a race against time considering the date. How do I get through all of this and stop watching the calendar?
Sorry I didn't ask about you to begin with. Had to type it before I lost my thoughts. I'm glad your getting through the civil disturbances unharmed. Has your nose recovered from the testing?
Good to hear from you.
1) What I say there is (bold, italics and enumeration added here for clarity):
"Entrance into the tabernacle is not permissible without first passing (1) the altar (where the blood sacrifices depict the saving work of Christ on our behalf in various ways; cf. certain cases where there is an actual placing of the hand on the victim's head) and (2) the laver (where the symbolic washing away of sin on the basis of the sacrificial work of Christ is clear enough; cf. John's water-baptism)."
So the altar and the laver are connected not together with what is in
the first bracket, but as two separate places which must be passed by,
one at a time, on the way into the tabernacle. My writing is pretty
dense at times (apologies for that).
2) On Abraham's Bosom as paradise, you may be right about the presence of God; however, the Garden of Eden was clearly a "paradise", and the Lord was not present there at all time. If He were, there wouldn't have been the opportunity for Satan to tempt Eve, for example. He seems to have made a habit of visiting our first parents "during the cool of the day" (Gen.3:8). Believers before the cross went to Abraham's Bosom after death because THEY were not to be allowed into the third heaven until the victory of the cross was won, but I don't know of any theological reason why our Lord couldn't have visited those righteous departed below on occasion as He did Adam and Eve (e.g., He has certainly visited believers on earth before, during and after the cross). Also, we have this verse from our Lord Himself directed towards one of the men being crucified at the same time:
And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Luke 23:43 NKJV
Since this is speaking of the very place we are discussing, I'm content
to call it "paradise" as well.
Nose is fine! Knee still beat up (but we trust in the Lord: Ex.15:26; Ps.103:3).
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Luke 12:40 (NASB) You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.”
Jesus says to have an attitude of readiness "for" (because?) He is coming at an unexpected hour. How does the fact that Jesus comes at an unexpected hour have to do with readiness. Shouldn't the fact that Jesus is coming at an expected approximated time be the reason and fuel for us to be ready when He does return?
Also, you have some terrific explanations out on Matthew 24:36. I had one more little insight to add to it. During the "days of Noah" God warned Noah of the exact timing of the flood, whereas the world did not know or believe. Given this the "days of Noah" adds to the fact that believers should be paying attention to God's word on chronology.
As to Matthew 24:36 and "God warned Noah of the exact timing of the flood", I don't recall reading that and I couldn't find it in scripture:
And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. “Make yourself an ark . . ."
Genesis 6:13-14a NKJV
And then after the ark had been built and it was time . . .
Then the LORD said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. You shall take with . . ."
Genesis 7:1-2 NKJV
The way I read it, I do think you are correct that there is a parallel: like
Noah, we "know it's coming", but also like Noah, we don't have a calendar date
given to us. Like him, we may have indications of how close it is just from the
circumstances. Things were so bad in Noah's day, that it was clear that God
wasn't going to put up with the status quo much longer (Gen.6:5) – just the
situation we are looking at today as well.
However, I'm sure Noah, who was a righteous man (Ezek.14:14; 2Pet.2:5; cf. Heb.11:7), was working as hard as he reasonably could to get ready, so that until the ark was close to completion, he would have had faith that it wasn't time "just yet". By contrast here, God is NOT going to wait until we personally are ready for the Tribulation. Noah's ark was a means of deliverance for him and his family from the flood that came; but the flood of the Tribulation will come at it's ordained time whether or not the "ark" of truth and spiritual resilience we are building in our hearts is completed yet or not.
We do not, in fact, know precisely how much time is left. I stand by the interpretation posted at Ichthys for all the reasons mentioned, but I have always made a point of emphasizing that it is just that, an interpretation – because scripture does not give a date. Even if it is correct (as I believe it to be), the Bible's silence on this point is salutary because it is GOOD that we don't know for sure the exact time – because if we did we might be sore tempted not to get out the hammers and saws and start building until it was getting very close. Procrastination is a natural human tendency, and in spiritual matters that seems to be even more pronounced (the large number of death-bed conversions being one measure of that).
Not many people are like Noah who, when warned, got cracking immediately and never slacked off. We might have six years left (I do think so), but that will go by in a flash – as anyone over sixty can tell you with authority. Now if it turns out we only have a few days or weeks . . . when the seventh seal is broken and Lord announces the Tribulation's commencement, none of us who've been laboring in the Word as teachers or students will regret a single hour we've invested. The Tribulation will tell the tale as to whether or not what we've constructed in our hearts will "float".
As to Luke 12:40, I think this is apropos of the above. If a person is really devoted to His Master, then he/she will want to do all that the Master requires and knowing the exact time will merely give him/her the ability to plan out doing all that will need to be done so as to have it done in plenty of time. But that mind-set is rare, even among believers. Most people need a little uncertainty – or else they have a tendency to procrastinate. If I tell you that the surprise quiz will come "on the last day of the week", in my experience as a teacher, only the one or two really outstanding students I'm likely to have in any class will do much studying before Thursday night (or Friday morning); but if I say "any time next week", that is an incentive to be ready for Monday just as much as for Friday.
"Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers."
Luke 12:43-46 NKJV
Thanks for being one of the "outstanding few" to the point of not even
understanding the procrastination viewpoint!
In Jesus Christ our Lord who is coming soon – Marana Tha!
That is very good to know, Sir. Perhaps it's a bit presumptuous, but I really took for granted that you and the rest of us would be largely untouched by the virus. I haven't been going out of my way for a while now to try to protect myself against it. Everything I know about it tells me that it is rather foolish to think that beyond certain common sense things to do, like washing your hands when you come in from the outdoors and using hand sanitizers when they are available - things we should be doing anyway - there's really nothing anyone can do to escape the virus. That is how it seems to me. If all the fear-mongering had anything to it, I should have the virus many times over by now. If I do, it certainly hasn't put me down.
I googled the Derby thing. It's about horse-racing? It should be interesting how that works out with all the craziness going on.
Your student in Jesus Christ
You're a good son to stand by your family like this in their hour of
need. I'm distressed to hear that you might have to remain in place for
another six months, however. What about your plans?
Everyone here is fine and, yes, the Derby is a horse-racing event, probably the #1 in the world – the only "claim to fame" my adopted city has. I've never cared for it, personally. But then, I'm not very interested in sports generally, especially not now when over here it has become impossible to divorce sports from politics.
Thanks for explaining things about your country. Can't say that I find any of that appealing. Of course there are plenty of things I'd change about this country too, if I had a "magic wand". But that of course is God's prerogative, and He is working it all out together for good, even if it seems messy to us (it may BE messy, but He is control of the mess). Things are changing here, but mostly for the worse (and quickly too). Just what we ought to expect from incipient Babylon.
Prayers for your safety and success and for the quick realization of all your good plans, my friend.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
I am trying to maintain momentum in my studies in preparation for the entrance exam that we take for uni here.
I take for granted that it's bad all over, Sir. It's sometimes a different kind of bad, and other times a different degree of bad. I seem to have got a little bit into the habit of "complaining" about my country, but in fact, I mostly remember to speak of it for perspective. Sometimes, my feeling is that when I tell it as I see it here, it sounds as if I'm making it up, that things could never be so bad anywhere. It's one reason that I don't like talking about it. I don't mean to do it for sympathy or pity, but I suspect that that is how it is sometimes received.
Thank you for the answers, Sir. I understand it clearly now.
How are you?
Keeping you and yours in our prayers, Sir.
Your student in Jesus Christ
Thanks for the update, my friend. I'll be keeping your future plans in my
I'm doing OK except that I'm hobbled by a bad left knee. Stayed off of it completely today (holiday here) and will try to do the same tomorrow, but it's really messed up. I probably should have given it the rest treatment when it started acting up a month ago, but I seem to have aggravated it something terrible now.
Yes, things are bad all over, but cheer up: they're going to get SO much worse. I just hope all my brothers and sisters take this current trouble to heart and use it as motivation to purify their approach and make the most of the little time left to prepare.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
LOL @ "they're going to get much worse." I find that I increasingly dislike inconvenience and discomfort, but at the same time, I have a desire to just get the Tribulation over with to get to the good part.
I have been praying for your knee and everything else, Sir. How is it today? Did the rest do you any good in that regard?
There is nothing new really here, except that ___ visited and her presence at home appears to have increased the general affinity for the Truth, so it has been far more interesting teaching them than before. I have to be careful of not getting so caught up in our meetings that I basically spend the day in it. Yesterday, we were at it for more than 4hrs. I was pretty wrung out at the end, but the questions and segues were very productive. I had intended to use the study of Revelation to teach the whole Bible to them as well, but that is made much easier when they themselves ask questions that allow me to pursue some of the subjects that I would love to discuss with them. Sometimes they asked, sometimes they didn't. But ___ made it a lot more lively with her curiosity and surprise at how different everything I was saying was from what she was used to. It's very difficult to teach people who don't seem interested at all. Repeating things is obviously productive for me and for anyone I'm teaching, but sometimes it feels frustrating and limiting, because you have to double back a few times before you can even finish one thing.
I think that this whole experience is good for me, to learn to be patient with those that the Lord gives to me and to do whatever they need to help them learn. I just feel a little inadequate, especially because I found it hard to imagine or create some way of making the discussion interesting enough, in addition fighting against a decades-long adherence to certain traditions. Yet another thing that I may be learning how to handle the belief that hearing something and nominally accepting it is enough, that there is no need to keep rereading it or thinking it through or questioning to understand it better.
Question regarding a document: The way it is written is meant to both warn against legalism and encourage frequent Bible reading, but I worry that it can be misconstrued for a dismissal of a need for daily Bible-reading. I would appreciate any thoughts that you have on it, Sir.
Your student in Jesus Christ
Thanks so much for your prayers and concerns, my friend! I still haven't
been fully "off" the knee for an entire week yet (and of course MWF I've
had to be working which involves lots of stairs and being on my feet for
four hours in row). I think it's improving but its incremental and
frustratingly so. I guess it's a good thing I decided to try the
rest-cure when I did (should have done so earlier no doubt).
"It's very difficult to teach people who don't seem interested at all." Amen! One thing I can share from years of it, however, is that sometimes you can't really tell what is going on inside of someone with the result that outward enthusiasm may be only skin-deep whereas apparent disinterest is masking serious thinking going on underneath – this is not the rule, mind you, but it happens often enough to make a teacher very wary about assuming what the students are thinking.
As to repetition, that is "the name of the game" in teaching, so don't ever apologize or feel bad about doing it. Most people do not, in fact, "get it" the first time – or the second. I have this thing I call "the rule of twelve"; meaning that I often have to repeat something a dozen times before it dawns on my classes that they need to pay attention to this particular principle.
Be grateful you have people showing up! I've had about 30% attendance this week – and these students are paying for classes! I always tell them "it's harder for me to teach you when you're not here", but then they all seem to be strung out by this "wacky" semester.
In terms of your question, telling believers they don't have to or, worse, encouraging them not to read their Bibles is something I feel is a mistake. It is definitely true that JUST reading won't result in much spiritual growth on its own, and it is also true that people who know their Bible's pretty well but aren't willing to submit to your teaching authority completely can be aggravating, but in the end the more scripture that is up there, the better a believer will be able to understand, accept and apply the good things you're teaching them . . . eventually.
In Jesus Christ our Lord,
Thank you for the great honor of being included in this past weeks email posting. Of course I am honored anytime you reply to my question. I would love to be included in the on-line forum so please do pass along my email address to the moderator.
I turned on Youtube a little bit ago and a live feed from Louisville protest came across my feed. The media has caused so much division in our country. Tensions have been high but nothing to big happened. I did hear several folks say they are going to burn the town down tonight. I hope your not living in town! I have no doubt God would protect you and know you have your shield and helmet.
In reading the emails this week , the ones with the man that is prepared with weapons and physical combat abilities. It brought to mind the verse that says if you live by the sword you will die by the sword. Am I using this verse wrong?
Praying for you extra tonight
Thanks for your prayers, my friend!
I've asked that you be sent a forum request.
Got through the Derby here without live-fire or town burning (in spite of threats and dueling militias open-carrying assault rifles). That really is God's blessing. Hope folks around the country got the idea that Louisville is boring when it comes to this sort of thing (sometimes it's good to be boring). When the B. Taylor report comes out, we're sure have another round, however, I'm guessing [update as of 9/19: they're closing the federal court house next week in anticipation of the report coming out and likely ensuing trouble].
As to my friend, he's been a hunter from his youth and would have a nice collection, I'm pretty sure, even if all here was harmony, peace and quiet. As to "live by the sword", that refers to criminal behavior as opposed to peaceful effort in order to "live" (i.e., make one's livelihood). So our Lord was most definitely telling Peter that striking off the ear of the temple servant in the crowd which came to arrest Jesus was a mistake (criminal behavior) not to be repeated. Good lesson of application for us all. The individuals who arrested our Lord had no real legal right to do so inasmuch as He had done nothing wrong whatsoever, but they were legally appointed arms of the state acting under state authority. True, that authority was craven, unrighteous, and under the sway of the evil one – yet even so our Lord did not resist and castigates Peter as a wrong-doer for violently doing so. This tells me that believers will be in the wrong – from God's point of view – to violently resist the minions of antichrist when the Tribulation begins. Not what many want to hear, but it seems a necessary conclusion.
Thanks for those prayers! They worked!
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Thank you Dr. for clearing those two points up for me. I think its so funny you say your writing is dense, it is, but I believe the problem is my head: it's dense also!
You're not the first person I've confused. As I often say to my students: "Are you totally confused?" [lots of heads shaking yes] . . . "Then my work here is done".
I wanted to ask you one more thing today. You teach that the 10 virgins falling asleep is to just further the story since we all need to sleep and because the virgins are not faulted for sleeping. However, it is peculiar to me that Jesus says "stay awake" in the last verse of this parable. This could mean that there is some spiritual significance to the virgins sleeping. Could it be that the Tribulation doesn't start until "midnight" and that the "delay" is before the Tribulation even begins?
Matthew 25:1-13 (NASB) 1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5 Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. 11 Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Be on the alert then [stay awake], for you do not know the day nor the hour.
I was wondering if the "delaying" in the Parable has to with the last era of Laodicea. In that this parable explains the drowsiness of the church before the Tribulation. And then the "midnight" is the start of the Tribulation. Those who have enough oil despite their sleepiness survive, while the others do not.
Great news about the business! Sounds to me like you picked an excellent
means of support for what you're trying to accomplish for the Lord –
good for you! I'll continue to keep it in prayer.
On the parable, I hear what you're saying. The thing about parables, not every piece of "furniture" has important symbolic meaning. For example, I can imagine someone making a thing out of the fact that these are "virgins", but I wouldn't press that too far. Same goes for the "falling asleep". What you say is true about staying awake, but the point of the parable is that there is a right way and a wrong way to go about this and we should do it the right way. If in the parable some were awake, then they wouldn't have had to "re-trim" their lamps in the first place (but that need is at the heart of the parable's point).
The way things actually are stated offers the clearest possible contrast: between those who have enough oil (cf. the truth used by the Spirit whose anointing is compared to oil) and those who do not; lesson: have enough oil in your lamp / have enough truth in your heart. THAT – in this parable – is how you "stay awake / stay alert", through the truth and through believing and applying it. Because this parable is not about literal wakefulness but spiritual alertness . . . which is a function of how close we are to the Lord through His truth. That is what we will all need once the Tribulation begins – a whole lamp full of it so that it doesn't run out.
In Jesus our dear Savior.
I just wanted to "sound you out" about something. I've met some
Christians from Hong Kong and they are very keen to evangelise to
Muslims, in fact I think they have moved over to the UK specifically for
that reason. I was thinking the best way forward with this is to go via
an ex-Muslim just as it is easier for an ex-Catholic to witness to
Catholics because they "speak the same language".
I was looking online if there was such a thing happening in their area and I stumbled on a website called "Mahabba" and apparently they are already pursuing this route. Looking around this website, I'm not sure whether this is a good thing or not? I was looking at Mahabba's ethos and a few things jumped out at me. Their ethos includes words from St Francis and that confused me. They write confusing things such as
"The Mahabba Network understands the term “biblical” to mean issues supported (directly or indirectly) by the teaching of the prophets of the Old Testament and in Jesus and the Apostles of the New Testament. We recognise that our Western understanding of the sweep of Scripture is influenced by Western European scholars who bring their own culture to the Bible, even though it came from a Middle Eastern context. So, we don’t assume that the Western understanding of the Bible is definitive and infallible. We try to avoid conveying the gospel to Muslims, using Western forms and assumptions, because that could, arguably be tantamount to “theological imperialism”. We are, however, committed to finding culturally appropriate ways to communicate the truth of the timeless and global gospel. Let’s aim to be ‘conservative on Scripture but radical on everything else.’ The Mahabba Network affirms the following about the Bible: ‘All theology is contextual.’ (John Stott) The centre of gravity in world Christianity, has shifted from the Western ‘Christianlands’, to the southern continents. While Western theology is important to Westerners, any scholarship can only speak into the setting in which it was produced. Given that Islam has Semitic roots and 25% of the Qur’an is a direct reference to the biblical text (18), we recognize the considerable Christian scholarship, which identifies Islam as borrowing heavily from ancient Judaism (e.g. Abraham and circumcision; Moses and law; adopting of the Hebrew prophetic tradition, holy war). This makes it ethically and theologically an ‘Old Covenant’ oriented religio-political phenomenon, as demonstrated by its teaching on the nature of God; revelation; gender arrangements in marriage and society; a religious legal code; and holy war. To this extent Islam is chronologically AD in its founding, but theologically BC in its thinking (i.e. it remains un-informed by the New Covenant of divine grace in Christ, as attested to in both testaments)."
Maybe I am being cynical but this sounds more about getting Christians
and Muslims out of their fixed positions and into a homogeneous Chrislam
religion. This Mahabba network says that Islam, Judaism and Christianity
believe in the same God but only differ on Jesus. Are they saying that
Muslims can just "add on" Jesus to their faith whilst maintaining their
previously held views? Would you argue it is the "same God" for Muslims
as many people have argued before with me?
They are asking Christians to do something called "Jumaa" which means Friday prayer. I understand that we can and should pray for Muslims to come to Jesus Christ but if we are appropriating Islamic terms and doctrines to stay relevant and culturally sensitive, is this not a slippery slope?
Do you think movements like this could be used to create the Antichrist religion?
I have sent a message of caution to my new friends. Maybe they will not like what I have said about staying with the truth, maybe I will lose their acquaintance now. I sent them 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 and told them that Islam is spiritual darkness and so to tread carefully so as not to be converted to Islam or some Chrislam heresy. Do you think that I have spoken too harshly?
Something else that "popped" out at me recently is that in England they used to say that we have to wear "masks" because of the virus. Recently the word "mask" has disappeared from shop signage and government guidelines to be replaced with the words "face coverings". This change of wording immediately gave me a check in my spirit...The only other time I have read those two words together is in relation to Islam. In Islamic cultures, women often wear a face covering and it is known as a niqāb or face veil.
Do you think this is meaningful? It is interesting how a few years ago tattooing became ridiculously popular and may be to lessen people's revulsion to the mark of the beast. Now we are all wearing something that, prior to Covid, was associated with either the medical profession (masks) or the religion of Islam (face veils),
Just some food for thought
In Jesus the only truth, life and way.
I think you have good spiritual common sense. God wants all to be saved – but on
His terms. I've never liked any approach that even seems to "dumb down" the
gospel. The gospel is the gospel. Period. Because of their very defensive
religion, it is no doubt difficult to witness to Muslims. However, I always also
stress the other side of the mandate to share the truth, namely, that we are
told to beware of sharing it with those who are not worthy of hearing it –
because they don't want it (Matt.7:6). So if someone does not give me any
indication of positivity to the gospel – and it is easy enough to make it clear
that one is a Christian and has a Christian hope – then I take that as a sign to
be cautious at the very least. Aggressively giving ANYONE the gospel without
knowing anything about their willingness to receive it is always a questionable
approach in my view, and even more questionable after it's been made clear that
there's no positive response likely to be forthcoming. That is not to say that
there aren't certain individuals that are gifted to do just that, or that the
Lord might not sometimes use such efforts even so. But the fact that someone
jumped off a cliff "to save time" and didn't end up breaking anything and DID
save time is no recommendation for jumping off cliffs in my humble opinion.
And as you note, seeking "common ground", ecumenicalism is going to be part and parcel of the beast's religion. Everything will be tolerated – with the exception of unadulterated faith in Jesus Christ.
It's funny, but it did dawn on me the other day that I have noticed that people seem to be getting comfortable with these awful masks – and more subdued (even "submissive") in their attitudes as a result (at least when wearing them).
Your friend in Jesus Christ,
I was reading what you wrote about Seven Churches, that the final period is 1882 - 2026.
Is this when the rapture occurs?
I thought nobody knew the day or hour?
Good to hear from you – been a while!
Glad to hear you are getting to Coming Tribulation – it's a good time to be doing this inasmuch as the time is getting very near.
As to "day or hour", 1) 2026 is a year, but our Lord was referring to a literal day and hour; we know that because He had just told us in the very same context to be alert when things are near by comparing the signs of the second advent to the budding of a fig tree (compare Matt.24:32ff. with Matt.24:36); 2) the "day and hour" are that of the second advent (see the context mentioned) which comes at the end of the Tribulation, not the beginning; 3) while 2026 is an interpretation (as I always say – and give the assumptions on which it's based; see the link), I firmly believe it to be true. You can do the math yourself: 7 days of re-creation in Genesis = seven millennial days of human history; the Millennium is one; the biblical record shows 4K years from the fall to the birth of Christ; it's been nearly 2000 years since the cross and resurrection in 33 AD; subtracting seven years gives the putative start of the Tribulation.
When you say "rapture", if you referring the incorrect (and in my view dangerous) popular theory that the Church will be resurrected before the return of Christ, that is not biblical – as any careful reading of just these two chapters will show: Matthew 24 and 2nd Thessalonians 2.
Links to help with this:
When is the Rapture?
The 'Rapture' and other Eschatological Issues
Eschatology Issues XXIV: the 'Rapture' et al.
The pre-Trib 'Rapture': so called 'imminence' and other false proofs refuted
Dangers of the Pre-Trib Rapture False Teaching
Three False Doctrines that Threaten Faith
Misplaced Faith in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture
The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride (in CT 5)
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Just want to send some info over to warn your flock about.
As I may have mentioned before, many Christians are falling into this Q Anon thing with Donald Trump. They think it is a Christian movement and they believe Trump is a modern day Cyrus. The scary thing is that the Q movement uses very occultic language that sometimes can sound "religious" and yet tells people that they are "their own saviours" which should be a huge alarm bell for believers! It has pretty much become an actual cult now and people can lose family members to this stuff and it is a huge distraction from keeping our eyes on Jesus.
It has that dominion theology behind the Q movement but it is also very much a "new age" self actualising cult that has a Christian veneer. They mention God a lot but never talk about the Gospel.
Another dominion theology movement rearing its head on the September 26th is the "Return" movement headed by Jonathan Cahn as a "national day or repentance and returning to God". He seems to think that if people seek God and repent they can stop the events of Revelation from happening. I think he thinks he is a present day Jonah warning Nineveh. He wants ten days of prayer, fasting and repentance to bring the US back to their biblical roots.
He believes he is a prophet because he actually called it a "prophetic announcement".
He doesn't seem to realise that the Tribulation will happen no matter what we do as it is part of the plan. If Christians fall for this and then think their "prayers have failed to stay the hand of God" it could lead to their falling away. It's also alarming that he wants people to pray around the Washington Monument which is a Pagan/Masonic representation of Baal's reproductive organ.
Cahn says he is a Messianic Jew but he is acting as though he hasn't read the book of Revelation or hasn't really understood it. It really is quite odd. It is also odd that one of the people who will be a guest speaker (Kevin Jessip) said it was fine for Mormons and Muslims to pray beside Christians too so it is pushing that Co-exist ecumenism again.
The dominionist slant is that one guest said that unless we have unity in the body of Christ (he said "unless we all become one") then the end won't come. This is really odd as one lot are saying it is to be like Nineveh and praying and repenting to stop the judgement and the other lot say that if we don't come together and do this the end times won't come and so suggesting Jesus won't come either. So this sounds like a huge mess to me. A high profile event with some well known speakers but they can't decide whether they want the end times to happen or not? (I also need to add that the whole "becoming one" thing is basically more new age talk again.)
I don't think praying for a country is a bad thing but I think falling in with these false teachers definitely is a bad thing. I have a rule of thumb now that if is mainstream and is being pushed by the big hitters at this point, I stay clear and stick to what I've always done up to this point.
Your friend in Jesus,
Good stuff, as always!
I'm not too worried about anyone who is a regular and a serious reader of Ichthys. And those who aren't, well, they're not going to listen to warnings from me in any case.
I love this part: "He doesn't seem to realise that the Tribulation will happen no matter what we do as it is part of the plan." Amen! That is the godly perspective, and the one which – in all things – believers are going to have to hold tight to once the Tribulation does begin. All the terrible things prophesied are going to happen no matter what. But it is also true that our God has already made every single divine provision we need as individual Christians, ordaining it in His plan from eternity past. So while we may not be dancing for joy during the Tribulation, we have the right, the ability, and indeed the necessity of seeking and being at peace every step of the way therein (Lk.24:26; Jn.14:27; Rom.5:1 [Greek]; 2Cor.13:11; Col.3:15; 1Thes.5:13; 2Thes.3:16; Heb.12:14; 1Pet.3:11; 2Pet.3:14).
"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
John 16:33 NKJV
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.
Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV
In Jesus our dear Savior our Life, the only Way and the only Truth.
Interesting. I note that the exempla are all "Christian" colleges.
Not really a surprise. I was not fond of the way Biola / Talbot did things when I got my M.A.B.S. there in the 80's. I knew a great "ex-pat" when I later was at UC Irvine who had a tenure track job at Biola – but gave it up in protest when a colleague was similarly maltreated. And that was in the 70's!
It's actually typical of so-called "Christian" institutions to behave far worse than secular ones. One can easily see how antichrist won't have much trouble rallying them to his banner.
I am very impressed by your knowledge. Thank you for answering my question. I have another one. Why were the 2 witnessed in Rev. Ch 11, why are the 2 witnesses called the 2 Olive trees and the 2 lampstands?
Thanks for your positive comment.
As to your question, if I'm understanding the first part correctly, God has always heralded His coming kingdom with pairs of witnesses: 1) John the baptist and Jesus Christ (who, of course, is also the King to come, but that was veiled from His contemporaries); 2) sending out the twelve in pairs; 3) sending out the 72 in pairs; 4) sending out the 144,000 in pairs; 5) and the ministry of the latter being directed by the pair you ask about, Moses and Elijah, the two witnesses of the Tribulation who are also the two olive trees and lampstands (see the links: "The Two Witnesses of the Tribulation: Moses and Elijah" and "The Two Witnesses and the Ministry of the 144,000").
"One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established."
Deuteronomy 19:15 NKJV
"But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.' "
Matthew 18:16 NKJV
This will be the third time I am coming to you. "By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established."
2nd Corinthians 13:1 NKJV
These two are called "olive trees" because they are (literally in
Zechariah) "sons of oil" or "anoint-ING ones" as conduits of God's power
in the Spirit (who is often represented by the warming and empowering
properties of oil); they are "lampstands" as reflectors of the light of
the truth in offering the kingdom to all in Israel who repent and return
to the Lord. You will find all this in some detail in the links above.
In Jesus our dear Savior who is returning soon.
I was studying the causes of the great apostasy, and one of the causes didn't necessarily jump out at me as a major cause: a lack of Bible teaching.
My question on this is how are 2/3 either going to grow spiritually so much so as to either be martyred or survive the whole 7 years with their faith intact without accessing and learning from good Bible teaching.
Is it more accurate to label the cause as a "lack of a demand for good Bible teaching" of a portion of believers?
The reason I say this is because the current environment of demand of the church militant as a whole is so bad that I figure for them to get to the spiritual highpoint of martyrdom during the Tribulation they will need to get cracking once they realize there is no rapture. And they will need resources to do that.
You cite Amos 8:11, and I agree that is terrific evidence, but still would like a little clarity on this.
On "how are 2/3 either going to grow spiritually so much so as to either be
martyred or survive the whole 7 years with their faith intact without accessing
and learning from good Bible teaching":
First, we are talking about actual believers. Most people today who identify themselves as "Christians" are not born-again, born-from above, members of the Body of Christ. I rather suspect that while we hope for rather more being saved than seem to be, in fact it may be just the opposite. Of those who do believe:
1) 1/3 will fall away.
2) Of the 1/3 that survives to the second advent, I do suspect that some of these will have been spiritually mature before the Tribulation commences; it may be the case for many of this category that they have enough faith to hang on but that is all; and that may be why – for most of them – they are not given the privilege of being martyred for the Lord.
3) 1/3 will be martyred: this will include some who are in fact already spiritually mature; it may very well include some who are at present growing to spiritual maturity, possibly having been shaken awake by the recent double-unpleasantness to do so; it may include some who, while not terribly strong in their faith or spiritual growth, yet for all that are not willing to deny the Lord and do prove strong enough to endure (like blasting a large amount of current through a single copper filament which manages – just barely – not to melt); it may include some who do in fact reach maturity during the Tribulation: a dearth doesn't mean a total absence. God always provides. Even at present, most readers of Ichthys had to do some searching before they found it. A greater effort may be necessary during the Tribulation for those who finally wake up. That is where your ministry and ministering – and that of those like you who are preparing to teach the Word – will come in.
In terms of lack of demand, what you say is certainly true. One thing we can say for sure is that anyone who really, deeply desires the truth will be provided with it – but it may take more effort and sacrifice to get to it once the Tribulation begins, and that will winnow many out. Today, all a person has to do is fire up the computer / IPad / smart phone.
Finally, we do know that the 144,000 will be spreading the truth worldwide for the entire first half of the Tribulation. That ministry will be for Jews not gentiles, but one wonders where or not there might be some crumbs that drop from the table (Matt.15:26-27).
In Jesus our dear Savior,