Can I also say, for the longest time I wondered if watching secular
movies-if it could be neutral? And recently I came to the conclusion
that I did not think so, because NEVER do any of the characters think
about God or pray. Ever. Well reading The Iliad, they pray lots. So I
just feel a bit vindicated. Also a little irritated. So they can have
prayer, but if Christians have it in media suddenly that is bad? Also I
think I was right that we are very irreligious as a society. Sigh.
Anyway, have a good one!
To be honest, I'm not too bothered by the irreligiousness of society.
Religion is superstition (religio from the Latin); Christianity
is a living, breathing new life with Jesus Christ. Big difference. I
pray to the actual God and to His Son. Who knows to whom or what others
pray – we can be sure that all the prayers in Homer went absolutely
nowhere (of course they are also fictional).
But I do know what you mean. One feels that the society is a little further away from toppling into the Abyss when people are actually saying good things about God out of reverence or fear or tradition than when anything and everything godly is being trampled under foot.
Did I mention that the Tribulation is not far away? Therein, antichrist will present himself as God and people will get VERY religious – or risk execution.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
We can ALL sleep peacefully now.
ONE WORLD RELIGION SIGNED.
The signing of the Unity of World Religions ceremony led by Pope Francis means that the unity of religions will end all wars. (The above was sent to __’s Facebook).
Someone (a fly in the ointment) posted 1 Thessalonians 5:3
For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape.
and: Who are these religions going to unite under for World peace?
A: The Pope. Looks like this was signed years ago by different religious
leaders. Then there was the one signed by the Pope and the Grand Imam of
Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al - Tayyeb in Abu Dhabi, on the 4th February 2019.
Such measures remind me of the agreements signed after the war to make the world a better place and end all hostilities. Haven’t achieved. Neither will this, but seems like more conditioning for the one solution which will be enforced by the antichrist when he appears. Also interesting, the current reports of the US President saying that he might not leave the White House if the vote doesn’t go his way. Conditioning to not accept future election results and to prepare a way for the antichrist to use confusion and frustration to come to power? Even from an outsider, these tactics seem highly irregular to say the least. This would shatter confidence in the democracy and we know what can/will happen as a result.
It is good to have the scriptures to warn us of all these events in advance; even though not specific prophecies before the Tribulation, the trends/preparation seem to be in play already.
Praise the Lord for the scriptures and glory to Him for providing the truth explained by faithful Bible teachers, through the ages, past and present. He has always given what is needed, and always will.
Praying for you and yours. Thank you Lord for blessing us with knowledge of all things we need to know - beforehand.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior.
Well, anyone who pays any attention whatsoever to the pope could hardly
be a believer. Seems like a vain attempt to stay relevant. Ironically,
Islam and its coming Mahdi will end up being the rallying point against
which antichrist will launch his crusade – and that will be a large part
of the "proof" that he is "God". So I don't expect this event you share
here to be of any lasting significance.
As to "confidence in democracy", all Christians should have absolute "confidence in democracy" . . . to do the wrong thing. Blessedly, our King tolerates none of that.
Amen! Marana Tha! Return to us soon, O our dear Lord!
Dear Prof how are you sir? Please bear with my epistle. Though I try to
stay out of politics, in my mind I can't get out of unspoken opinion of
issues. I find this article quite interesting, but would like your
opinion of it. I see what is happening in your country and clearly what
happens there affects other parts of the world including Nigeria (as has
been before now). In fact I'm more interested in your country situation
than mine (to the irritation of those around me at times!)
During the 2008 elections I got into so many arguments with folk around here who were proud of the first black American president nominee and eventual president who could do no wrong. My beef was with Christians here supporting someone like that with his antecedents (turned out we were right, though we stopped arguing then because we were in the exceedingly few minority and received some serious insults cos of our stand).
Same thing during the Trump Clinton in 2016. We were told here that Trump is a fake Christian without experience etc etc. and we were kind of discouraged by the preceding polls. There was a slight drama when we woke up that morning while polls were being counted. Could hardly believe our eyes because the night before we felt that Trump had already lost!
I knew that our merciful God used Trump to create a window to allow believers to do what He wants (in terms of seeking first the kingdom of God in all the ways the scriptures talk about) probably before all hell breaks loose. Despite Trump's character we have been praying for him and its like we even have a stake in your coming election. We don't even argue about such things again with others, though we have our own personal opinion. I realised that It's not the most important thing (you reinforced that on ichthys). I have a tendency to get emotional about these things (I've changed now) but the most important thing is Jesus and the gospel.
I have been preparing for the coming tribulation and trying to get my family and all that God sends my way to listen to me. In fact I sometimes feel that I myself may not enter that period (though I'm preparing for it) but it's like God at this time is sending me to prepare others for it. How feasible is that? Prof sir, you gave me a lot of direction and my head has been cleared of a lot of cobwebs and I've tried to be focused. Ichthys has also helped me to not neglect other parts of the scriptures bcos in the process of talking to others I have to go to basics to talk to those just starting their Christian walk and even unbelievers. I myself am still learning! I find that when I talk to others somehow I get a better understanding of what I'm talking about. Some questions even come to me then that make me go back to the scriptures and many of them resolved when I also read on ichthys.
I'm still going through your Bible Basics. Wonderful tools! I can never get enough of the scriptures and understanding them. The more I know, the more I realize I don't know especially in understanding. Thank God for you. I'm committed to praying for you.
The article attached especially the analogy (though imperfect) sits well with me and helps me to be able to explain some things to some enquirers why I support Trump as president but Prof I hope you won't be bored with my so called politics. If I'm missing it, I want to know from you. Your opinion is very valuable to me. The author is a post trib writer who has a radio show. I read his writings but never listened to his show.
Thank you sir and God bless you and keep you.
It's me in Christ
I appreciate where you are coming from, my friend, and I did read your
I do understand the analogy, but I would suggest that in the analogy we believers in fact have nothing to fear from "crazy Sam" and his friends because the Lord is our shield of deliverance, not any human flesh. No human being can even keep him/herself alive for a day without the Lord's help. So I feel it is a grave mistake for Christians to be focused on the perceived means of deliverance (we could be wrong about that, after all), when instead we ought to be focused on the One who delivers. If the Lord means to bring on the Tribulation imminently, then the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit will be removed. When that happens, whatever small infelicities we are dealing with at the moment will seem to be "a walk in the park" by comparison. If we have some time left, even as much as a few years, we are better served by focusing ourselves on becoming spiritually prepared personally – and helping any and all who might be willing to take advantage of our help. This is Laodicea, and it is a great burden on my own heart that few of the small number of people the Lord has brought to this ministry over the years have deigned to do much with it. But since the same was true of the prophets of Israel and of our Lord (and who am I?!), it's not my place to complain. You, however, have been given an open door, and that is no small thing I hope you appreciate.
Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.
Romans 14:1 NKJV
Even if your opinions are correct, will that change anything? God will work
things out for the good regardless of what you or I think about what the best
political course of action might be. And beyond all argument our opinions will
not change anything if we refrain from voicing them. But if we DO voice them, we
can have an effect – an entirely negative one: for those who disagree, we have
thrown a stumbling block into the path of our weaker brothers and sisters. We
have led them to think that politics are important when in fact they mean
nothing to God. And worse, we have alienated them from our ministry of truth,
the one thing that might have helped them had they been willing to respond –
which they might have done, had we not upset them with "disputes over doubtful
things". And those who agree with us are not much better off, because in their
case too we have demonstrated that politics are more important to us than
spiritual things and so their hearts are strengthened to run after this
idolatrous activity too – to the neglect of their spiritual growth.
Isn't there anything that can be done? Indeed. We can pray. We can pour out our hearts to the Lord for deliverance in everything and in anything where that deliverance is perceived to be needful. While we can't do anything by human means, not even if we were trillionaires – because God frustrates all plans which are not in accord with His plan – we can be sure that He is listening to us and that He delivers all who belong to Him. Remember. There is only one plan, and it is perfect and all-comprehensive – and in it the Lord has already provided everything we will ever need.
So I advise you what I advise all my brothers and sisters in Christ to do: stay away from politics. I'm not saying you should keep yourself uninformed and I'm not saying you have no right to an opinion (we all have those, for all the good they do us). What I am saying is that one step forward in spiritual growth is more valuable to you personally and to your family and to your country and to your brothers and sisters around the world than devoting all your time and energy and resources to a political cause could ever be. The Lord has given you an opportunity to help prepare His people for what is soon to come. Nothing could be more important or more blessed – especially inasmuch as in your case there is some genuine response. So my advice is to embrace that opportunity – that responsibility – with all of your heart and soul and mind and might, even as you love Jesus Christ. Because these are His sheep we are talking about. And don't do anything to alienate them from the truth over matters of small importance. None of us are perfect. Who can walk perfectly and never give offense, even accidentally? But it is a good policy to stay away from things which by their very nature may cause offense, and unnecessarily so.
Your friend and fellow shepherd of the flock of Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Dear Sir, greetings to you.
I do appreciate your reply and with all seriousness, I take what you say to heart. That is the bottom line of my reply.
I have one or two friends over there. In my discussion with one who is a citizen, I had reason to tell him to vote for the current president because I believe God is using him to give us opportunity to do his will (which I encouraged him to do before it's too late -John 9:4) but I also told him God can use any body or anything at any time. What if that person dropped dead today, would it change God ability to protect us? No. Also if God decided to not follow any of the revelation He has given about the seven millennial days and removed His hand from holding back the mystery of iniquity NOW we should equally be prepared.
Any discussion I have with anyone politically (few) always brings in the gospel before and after because I'm very mindful of what is important. May the Lord forbid that I throw a stumbling block into the path of our weaker brothers and sisters. I will be very careful sir. That is what I've tried to be about. I know no amount of preparation can actually be enough so while prepping, prayers should also be going on like never before. I had actually recently made up my mind - so as to have more time for learning for growth - to reduce my listening to or reading the news. The Lord has spoken through you and I intend to fully take your counsel- Psa 141:5
I really appreciate the door that the Lord opened for me. Sir I don't make light of if. It has been a great privilege and blessing to me. I never expected what the Lord has done with my life but I see it, l appreciate it, I embrace the responsibility and I pray that before leaving this world I would have completed my testimony, while not being a castaway after all this. I have been doing and fully intend to do as much as the Lord will permit me with what I have gotten from ichthys with all my heart and strength.
Thank so much for your love for me. I pray I don't disappoint the Lord and you so that your joy may be full on that great day.
Your friend, brother, student and fellow worker to-get-there in the Lord!
Good words, my friend!
I very much appreciate you and your enthusiasm for the Lord, His truth and His people. It's my pleasure and privilege to know you, honestly!
I figured that what you write here was the truth of the situation, but a shepherd always has to be careful (so forgive me). Besides, I think we all get emotional (not in a good way) when watching news these days, so much evil is being ballyhooed as never before, anything good and decent being dragged through the mud, people being led off to slaughter by false shepherds who don't really care for them and cheering all the way. Hard to keep one's supper down. But not a bad way to take one's temperature to see just how focused we are on the Lord and His solutions – which are the only ones as we know.
Keep up the good work for Jesus Christ, my friend! I will delight in watching you be highly rewarded before the bema of Jesus Christ our King.
Amen to your prayer. Sir, forgive you for telling me to be careful? Sir you would not look at me wandering off in the wrong direction if you knew. And I need to be reeled back in from time to time. I guess many of us do. You are one of the pillars of my life that God provided for me. Big deal, even if you don't think so. With all due respect, please don't tell me about kind words; I need the stability I get from you.
The Lord keep blessing and helping you to keep on blessing and helping us. Thank you my dear friend and elder brother.
In Him who we have great confidence as we hold on to the hope that lies before us and which is an anchor for our souls.
It's my pleasure!
Hope your health and your family's health is completely recovered.
Keeping you and them in my prayers daily – and thanks so much for yours!
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. They're so good for me! And your emails are great - they're like a mini Bible study for me.
It's a joy to be able to support you my dear teacher, brother and friend in prayer and encouragement and not forgetting the typos too!
For all of us who love the truth so much and can only write to each other for now, then that day when we meet the Lord and each other face to face will be an even greater blessing! Lots of celebration and overflowing with joy!
I'm still here for now though very happy to fight the good fight in His strength and to grow up through the grace and knowledge of our Lord (2 Peter 3:18). I'm studying SR and I've been tackling the "image" and "likeness" of God again. A tricky one to grasp but I've stuck with it going over it slowly, looking it up again in BB 3A as well and reading the emails on the subject too. With the Spirit's help it finally clicked and I got it! I'm not happy until I've understood everything completely and it's well worth the perseverance in the end.
I hope you've enjoyed your fall break. I love autumn. When the leaves on the trees change colour to beautiful golden-yellow, red and brown and start to "fall". We had a heron come into the garden yesterday. Lovely to see. He was creeping really slowly and quietly around the pond and then stood very still like a statue patiently waiting and ready to pounce. He left disappointed - he was probably the one who feasted on the remaining fish last year!
I hope classes go well for you tomorrow. I'm back to work tomorrow too.
Keeping you in my prayers every day.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Saviour
The pond here went a couple of years ago. Too difficult to maintain.
It's now a lavender patch . . . but the ground is sinking (oops!). We
have herons in the park occasionally. Never had one in this rather dense
urban neighborhood that I've seen, even with the pond.
I appreciate your prayers on the job. It's been a difficult semester what with five classes and having to accommodate students who can't make class – a great deal of that. Also, this committee that I got stuck on is going from bad to worse and we don't have a chair [update: I got stuck with that too yesterday]. I'm praying not to be forced into that [I did strike an accommodation to roll off the committee at year's and so I just have to make it through now to Thanksgiving]. I'm already spending more time and effort on the job than I ought to be.
I also appreciate YOU. This ministry gets over ten thousand visits a week (used to be much more a couple of years or so ago, about twice as much). But only a few percent of the visitors do more than look around and leave, and only a few of those who do more have it "take", and of all the believers who've come my way in the past thirty plus years (including from the ministry's inception when I was still in graduate school), only a very few have ever gotten serious about it so as to read into it deeply and profit from the truth provided . . . and of those very few, most have sooner or later gone on to other things. So you are in rarified company.
I shouldn't complain, of course and I'm not complaining. The children of Israel rejected all of the great prophets of the Old Testament and also rejected our Lord – and I am no one. In fact, I'm deeply grateful to have access to these materials myself. That may seem to some a strange thing to say, but every time I read through them – and I read through them (and should do more of it) – I'm always struck by the notion "You couldn't ever have written this, Bob!" My "participation" has to be the result of a lack of many alternatives out there in Laodicea willing to be used at all to any degree.
So good for you that you are continuing to persevere in reading and in learning and in believing the truth that God has provided for you. Good now (for the spiritual blessing it provides), good soon (for the shield of defense it will provide in the Tribulation), and good in the end (when you are rewarded for your growth, progress and production).
Thanks too for your help with it! The typos and such really ARE all mine.
Prayers appreciated and reciprocated.
In Jesus our dear Savior and our all sufficient Lord and God.
Hi, I found your website ichthys.com and I am wanting ask if ICHTHYS is a
ministry that involves miracles, signs and wonders as I am looking for that kind
of ministry as I am seeking help from such a ministry.
I'm not sure if ICHTHYS offers spiritual services like healings, deliverance, prophecy, interpreting dreams, etc.
I seek a ministry to help me with my issues, and also I no longer want to "walk after the flesh" (Romans 8:1 (KJV): "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."), I want to be spiritually guided, empowered, armed and victorious in this life, and I think I need help from individuals or groups where spiritual forces are truly at work in them, that is why I am looking for ministries that actually have miracles like healings, signs and wonders, not fakers.
ICHTHYS may feel free to ask me any questions that they may have for me.
There is no such thing. Nothing is impossible for God – but no human being presently on earth has any special powers of this sort. If you look hard enough in this false quest, you may find someone who convinces you. But that won't make it real. Cf.:
Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Revelation 19:20 NKJV
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Weren't you a little hard on that guy? Doesn't sound like you.
He was obviously hell-bent on pursuing a very bad path. He needed to know the truth about that and the truth was what he got without sugar-coating. Perhaps, if he takes that in the Spirit, he'll come back to the place where he got a straight answer. I have prayed for that. You could pray for him too
I will definitely continue to pray about your job. I wouldn't want you to be forced to be chair either - you've got enough on your plate already. I'm sure your fall break wasn't much of a break at all.
I appreciate you sharing with me the info on the number of visits to the ministry etc. I had no idea that so many would visit and yet so few take full advantage of all the wonderful teaching. I'm so surprised but I really shouldn't be - talk about Laodicea! And for the number of visitors to have dropped by so much over the last couple of years seems that we really are close to the end.
When you wrote, "Of those very few, most have sooner or later gone on to other things", I was wondering what those "other things" are. Do you mean looking at other ministries elsewhere or having ministries of their own? I can't see why anyone would need to go anywhere else.
I don't have a degree or anything like that but I have the Spirit in me and He has given me the desire and the determination to keep persevering in reading and learning and believing the Bible and all of the materials at Ichthys.
I do understand when you say your ministry isn't everyone's "cup of tea" and I think I remember you saying your writing is "dense" but this has never put me off. This is the Lord we're talking about here - the One who loved us so much that He suffered and died for us. Appreciating and loving the truth He has provided for me and putting in the hard work of studying is the least I could do. It's not a chore - it's His beautiful Word to us. And it's a pleasure to see the wonderful gifts the Lord has given you and to enjoy seeing your gifts and the Spirit working and flowing together in such a beautiful way. It's plain to see that it's all from the Lord and so I'm not surprised you read it too!
I was thinking the other day about how churches haven't been meeting together because of the restrictions with Covid. I think a lot are having online services. It made me wonder how this will affect those who attend these churches. They won't be getting their weekly emotion packed "fix" to keep them going. I wonder if it will cause some to slip away completely or it may do others who are more serious about the Lord a favour. They might start searching more online and could even find the truth taught at Ichthys! Even if it were just one person. If that one person wants the truth the Lord will make sure they find it. It just got me thinking.
I got another answer to prayer yesterday - God is SO good!
Continuing to pray for you and yours every day.
In our dear Lord Jesus
I'm very happy to hear that you are becoming such a successful "prayer
warrior" – and all the more so since you are lobbing them up on my
behalf as well (a little self-interest here!).
Long day today but it went pretty well. My students are having a hard time of it and I try to be a positive spot for them. Hard to do unless they show up, but that's part of the problem this semester. One way or another we'll get through it with the Lord's timely help. As my dear dad used to say, "Everything is always over". Amen! You'd think unbelievers and especially lukewarm believers would put two and two together there (death and judgment are never far off). But people get wrapped up in the minutiae and miss the big picture. Keeping ourselves focused on that big picture – the day we appear before he Lord for our judgment – is not the easiest thing and for some and seems to become an impossible thing for others amidst all the noise and churn of the world. So "the desire and the determination to keep persevering in reading and learning and believing the Bible" slips away and lukewarmness results. A good friend told me one time of his experience on this, saying, in effect, that once you get to a good place spiritually through learning the truth, you can easily come to assume that you've got enough to get by. And for a spell, you may get along just fine. But sooner or later the lack of consistency begins to tell and your find that the place you are "in" is not so good at all. I think that happens to many believers. This is a fight. People take five. Then they take ten. Then you don't hear from them for years . . . unless and until the Lord "lowers the boom" and they respond.
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."
Revelation 3:20 NKJV
This is from our Lord's fault-finding with Laodicea, of course, and the
"knocking" is warning discipline. The closer we get to the end, it
appears the more knocking we're going to experience. So perhaps the
response rate will pick up. We'll just have to wait and see on that.
But thank YOU for being neither cold nor lukewarm but zealous for the Lord and His truth!
Revelation 3:20 (NASB) 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.
a) If anyone listens to the word of God and opens their heart to it in belief Jesus will dwell in that person and that person will also experience close fellowship with Him unlike most of the other believers in the era.
b) This verse also has to do with the progression of history. Those living during the era of Laodicea live on the precipice of the Tribulation, the harbinger of our Lord's return. Jesus is truly "at the door" and close to His return. Those who respond and make it through the Tribulation will dine with Jesus at the wedding feast of the Lamb. This verse is evidence for Laodicea being the last era of the church.
Do you agree?
Your friend in Jesus too,
I do basically agree with that application. However, the messages to the seven
churches are essentially messages to those who are already believers. So while
this verse is often used in a salvation context, the main thrust of its
interpretation in context is for lukewarm Laodicea to finally get serious and
respond to the Lord, to His "knocking" – which is increasing divine discipline
continuing until there is a response.
Since things are close, we can expect the "knocking" to get louder the closer we get. I don't know about you, but it seems to me that there a "whole lot of knocking" going on at present. And I have noticed a few cases in which individual Christians have been responding to that – but so far nothing on a large scale.
Please read in CT 2A under the treatment of this verse: "Christ's Particular Message #3".
In Jesus our dear Savior,
More and more every day I can't wait for our Lord Jesus to return. I'm keeping close to Him. I can be surrounded by people yet feel on my own. But spending time with Him in prayer and studying "like there's no tomorrow" helps me through.
Amen! There is "no tomorrow" – not that we have any purchase on – except for that grand and glorious "waking up day" when the Lord comes back for us all or takes us home individually to be with Him and all of our brothers and sister forever. Until then, it's a scrap step by step, but we can have peace even so – in fact we are commanded to do so.
Finally, brethren, rejoice! Be complete [in your spiritual growth]! Be encouraged! Keep thinking about the same [truth]. Be at peace – and the God of love and peace will be with you.
2nd Corinthians 13:11
Since He is with us, there is no place we can't go and be safe and
secure, even if we have to cross the sea – or pass through the middle of
I always appreciate your godly and hope-filled perspective, my friend!
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
If it wasn't for our dear Lord Jesus and everything He has done for us we'd have no hope. However much time each one of us has left in the good fight - it's nothing compared to being with Him and our brothers and sisters forever. I can't wait!
Your very welcome as always, my friend. Indeed, if we only had a "1%
godly perspective" focused on the cross, it would change everything.
We're working on it – but most of us still have a long way to go in this
world full of intense and ubiquitous distractions (myself certainly not
On time left, I confess to being a tad disappointed that the Tribulation did not begin with the Jewish festival cycle. Matching the remnants of contemporary ancient history to the Bible in interpreting these matters is not so easy, and all we can do is come up with the best interpretation of the facts as they can be known and match them to the scriptures which are clear. I've had occasion in the past month to go over all these investigations again with a fine-toothed comb, and came up with the same conclusion about the probable date of commencement, in spite of the fact that there are several "moving parts" for which an argument for alternative interpretation can be made – not sufficient to persuade me, but still . . . I was hopeful. The sooner we get past the Tribulation, the sooner we will see the Lord.
Meantime, we'll have to wait a bit. So head down, forward march, oblivious to shot and shell (as much as possible), and keep making every day count for the One who died for all our sins to give us life eternal with Him and all of our brothers and sisters in New Jerusalem forever.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
2nd Corinthians 13:11 stood out to me when you said that this is a
command. It isn't something I should just take notice of when I'm
feeling good and all is going well but it's something that with faith
and the Spirit's power and help I need to be obedient to at all times.
Even more so when things are really tough - even if it isn't always
easy. It's a command from the Lord and what a great command and
encouragement and promise it is for us!
I'm going through some challenging testing right now. Although it isn't pleasant at all, I know that it's a good thing for me. If I wasn't being tested then I'd feel like something was wrong - like I wasn't making enough effort or enough forward progress. I'm not through it yet but in the meantime I'm remembering to "count it all joy" (James 1:2-4) because another test successfully passed is another step closer to spiritual maturity. Again mentioned in 2nd Corinthians 13:11 - . . . Be complete [in your spiritual growth]! . . . So I know it's good for me in the end and much better than that it glorifies the Lord.
It was interesting to read your thoughts on the Tribulation. I've been thinking about it too and it's probable date of commencement but in a different way. Even though we might have a good idea of when it may begin we still need to be very careful not to ease off the gas and sit back and think well I'm OK I've still got however many years to go before it starts. When Covid made its appearance the whole situation gave me a right kick. I thought I was doing really well but I soon realised I could always do much more. Like you say, make every day count for the Lord. And we can never be too prepared. I'm giving myself a good talking to here. The parable of the ten virgins is a very good one to keep in mind. The Tribulation is not going to be an easy ride so I want to keep striving today and every day to make the Lord and my spiritual growth my top priority (as it should be at all times). To take full advantage of the precious and little time we have right now to draw as close to Him as I possibly can. Absolutely none of this is a chore to me but a real desire in my heart. He is the most important Person in my life - the One I love the most.
In our dear Lord Jesus
Keeping focused on the Lord and having peace really are two sides of the same
coin. If we have our eyes on Jesus, if we are thinking about New Jerusalem and
being united as one perfect Church glorying our Lord together in perfect harmony
forever in the brilliant light of His presence, then it's a lot easier to be at
peace through all the troubles of this life – and being at peace makes it easier
to keep our focus on Him.
Speaking of commands:
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exodus 20:8 KJV
We are no longer under the Law and this is the one commandment of the ten which has been transformed from a literal application to a more intense spiritual one. We are to be at peace now at all times – just as important as "not taking the Name in vain" since it is a commandment.
(9) So there does remain a "Sabbath day's rest" for the people of God. (10) For he who has entered into [God's] rest has himself ceased from his works just as God did from His own. (11) Let us therefore be eager to enter into that [continual and spiritual] rest, lest anyone fall [from grace] following the same pattern of disobedience [as the Exodus generation did].
And that's the key: remembering that God is the one doing all this for us – just as has He has already done the most for us in saving us through the blood of Christ.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
Romans 8:31-32 NKJV
We really are in the position a little child being led by the hand by his/her
powerful big brother through what would otherwise be a dangerous place. We don't
have to be scared or look to our own devices because He has everything in hand.
All WE have to do is hold that hand tight – and rest in confident peace.
Of course we get flak, we have physical and emotional pain, we have tests and trials, we get tired and weary. But even so He lifts us up and grants us all the material and spiritual refreshment we need, leading us to the waters of truth, giving us plenty of good green pasture, leading us on the one good righteous way, and protecting us through all the deep dark places – and bringing us all the way through to the final place of blessing when all these troubles will melt away forever.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:29-31 NKJV
Sharing this journey to Zion, led on our way by our dear Savior Jesus Christ.
Thank you so much - I always appreciate everything you write to me. I've
read your email quite a few times over the weekend and looked further
into the verses that you gave me and it's been very helpful. It caused
me to search my heart to see if I'm being obedient to the Lord's command
to be at peace and to rest in Him.
I have no problem at all when it comes to having a LOT of desire and enthusiasm for wanting to learn, understand, believe and apply the Bible and with the help of your teaching too. If I'm being honest I know how much I still have left to read and learn and just recently I was starting to become a little anxious about it because time is short. But I'm very thankful to the Spirit for giving me little reminders through the verses you gave to me and gently guiding me back to where I should be. Not trying to do anything in my own strength but to be at peace and resting in the Lord knowing that He has provided everything I need. And that every day He is with me helping me in my spiritual growth and helping me to get to where I need to be. So I certainly will hold His hand tight and rest in confident peace every day.
Another good one is Philippians 4:6-7. The peace of God guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
He's helping me through my time of testing too. He had answered my prayer and gave me exactly what I had asked for. I praise Him for His answers to our prayers and for how quickly He answered this one. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. I'm holding His hand while he leads me through. I think we're nearly there now.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love, give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
He has put a lot of that in my heart!
Your friend in Jesus
It's wonderful to seeing you do so well spiritually, my friend!
And what can I pray more for you but this?
Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.
3rd John 1:2 NLT
I'm also most pleased to hear of your prayer victories. That surely is an indication of your spiritual growth as well.
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
1st John 5:14 NKJV
As burdensome as things are already, it's hard to see how the
Tribulation could really be much worse – but it will be. And yet we
having nothing whatsoever to fear, because if we are honest with
ourselves it's only the Lord who's holding us up right now. And as He
holds us up now, so He will hold us up then. We are merely strangers on
this earth, sojourners (Heb.11:13) of whom this world is not worthy
(Heb.11:38), longing for the return of our Lord (2Tim.4:8), and ready to
put down our crosses and return to Him whenever He deems it time
(Phil.1:21). Until then, we are here to fight the fight on behalf of our
glorious Lord Jesus Christ – and it encourages me greatly to see you
doing it so well!
Keeping you in my prayers every day, my friend.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
“ 11“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12“His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
1. I have searched 40 different translations of this verse 11 and found
the following: 3 have “in fire”; 12 have “with fire”; 13 have “and
fire”; and 12 have “and with fire”.
2. Merril F. Unger’s commentary of the Gospels says: “But besides John’s baptism in water to repentance and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, a third baptism in this passage must be differentiated; namely, the “baptism of fire”. The Messiah was to baptize not only with the Holy Spirit but “with fire”. This is not one and the same baptism with the Holy Spirit but a distinct baptism, as suggested by the following reasons:
(1) The context. Verse 12 - the words in verse 12 immediately define this baptism as connected with judgment (I.e., during the Tribulation preceding the coming of the King and His kingdom, a theme very prominent in the Old Testament).
(2) Only then will the chaff mentioned by John the Baptist, be burned with fire (cf. Matt. 13:30, 38-42; 49-50. John provided the apt figure of the threshing floor with the returning Christ as Judge (Rev. 19:11).
(3) He makes this additional comment: “No believer is to pray for a baptism with fire, for there is no such baptism for the believer, who is united to Christ and His church. Believers are, therefore, “delivered…. from the wrath to come” 1Thess. 1:10 and will not go through the Tribulation (Rev. 3:10), when that wrath will be outpoured upon the ungodly (Rev. 6:1- 20:3.)
1. I would agree that the judgment Unger defines as connected with judgment, only applies to the “unbeliever” the “chaff”.
2. But, not to the “believers” the “wheat”, for our judgment has been taken by Christ Jesus our LORD on the Cross, and for us there is no more judgment for sins confessed and repented.
3. When we are “baptized into Christ” are we not cleansed by the fire of the Holy Spirit during the instant we are regenerated?
4. This is not a “third baptism” as indicated by Unger, but part of the process and in conjunction with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit the moment a person is “born-again”.
5. Could you review what I have commented and tell me if I am understanding this verse correctly, and also on Mr. Unger’s commentary.
6. As you already know, I wholeheartedly and totally disagree with his comment on “believers” escaping the tribulation. So sad that such a person is totally and completely misunderstanding scripture on the “Second Coming”; I just don’t understand why an alleged “Scholar” could propagate this un-biblical teaching in his commentary; I am at a loss!
7. I don’t mean to criticize, I am just trying to understand.
Thanks again and always for your excellent advice and biblical knowledge that God has given you to share with others.
Many blessings and bountiful Grace be yours always,
It's true that fire is one of the characteristic ways the Spirit is sometimes described (link), but the "baptism of fire" per se is indeed a baptism of judgment as John also makes clear:
“His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Matthew 3:12 NKJV (cf. Lk.3:17)
The threshing floor is first and foremost Armageddon, but also later the entire
world. The baptism of fire is the removal of all who opposed the Messiah after
His return (aka "fire upon Magog"). At the end of the Millennium those who
oppose the Messiah will also be burnt up with fire (Rev.20:9), and there is also
a sense in which the last judgment is a final fulfillment of all this, but the
Lord's dispatching of remaining enemies after His second advent victory is the
main interpretation. Here's a link:
"The Baptism of Fire".
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
Thanks so much for your clarification on Matthew 13 referenced in the subject line.
I have another question from the study of Revelation 9 and verse 14. At the end of verse 14 you have added [in the Abyss]. Is that what the Greek is actually referring to? Or, is it because Verses 1& 2 of chapter 9 of Rev. refer to the bottomless pit, and am I to conclude that is what is meant in verse 14, in the flow of the chapter?
Excellent study, this is my second time through this study of "The Tribulation Begins". Learning quite a lot from it as I study in depth, more than at the first preview. I really do appreciate your time and expertise, for it helps me so greatly.
Louisville still a hot spot it looks like.
Stay safe always and God Bless you always.
No worries my friend – and you are always most welcome.
As to Revelation 9:14, whenever I use square brackets it means that I have expanded the translation to explain what it means (see the link: "How to use Bible translations at Ichthys").
Yes, they are bound IN the Abyss; but the exit of that place is "AT the river Euphrates"; most interpreters wrongly assume that this is the place where they are bound, but of course there is plenty of information in scripture to show that the Abyss is always the place of incarceration for fallen angels (for one, as you note, right at the beginning of the same chapter; cf. also Lk.8:31; 2Pet.2:4; Jude 1:6; Rev.20:1-3).
Thanks for your prayers and concerns, my friend. Things are pretty quiet at the moment. All in all, it hasn't been the level of trouble anticipated – and I thank God for that (and attribute that to Him for the glory).
In Jesus our dear Savior,
In your DropBox you should find the following audio file:
The Only Opinion That Matters
I was told as a child that in most situations it would be best to keep my opinions to myself. While I haven't always been 100% successful in this (learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way), I believe I have improved with age. I was reading your “politics” section at Ichthys subject index and came across this passage. It doesn’t speak much to politics directly, but with all the “noise’' out there today it’s good for all us of to take heed of the message: ”The only opinion that matters is God’s”.
Were getting along ok here, no complaints, just trying to keep a forward momentum (been a little difficult lately, but we persevere). From the tone of your emails at Ichthys it sounds like your getting along ok yourself (even though you suffer the lack of a lawnmower, a bum knee, and a less than perfect work schedule), at least the zombies aren't burning down your neighborhood, we’ll thank the Lord for that and keep the rest in prayer. I’ll be in touch.
All the best!
Good stuff, my friend!
Thanks for the MP3 (up and working).
Yes, things are going pretty good here; not much to complain about (but I guess I've been doing my share even so!). Things are getting pretty "interesting" in the country at large. It'll be "interesting" to see what happens in Louisville this week once the Cameron report is released [two officers were shot, but police and NG push-back quelled things early on]. No zombie sightings as of yet, however – nor locusts either. So we count our blessings.
I'm happy to hear that you don't have any major disasters to report on your end either, my friend! That's always a positive. Hope things are going OK on your job.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Another hurricane, another riot, another election, another supreme court fight and another pro-sport taking the chicken knee but we keep right on going. Been remarkable seeing the opposition and jail time Paul spent as I plug through Acts. The only way he could stay out of trouble was to not serve the Lord – then he would be in bigger trouble. I do hope you are doing well. We continued to have our ups and downs. [details omitted] I am the same starting a diet every day and going off of it every evening. Take care my friend and keep that crowbar handy.
It does seem like "déjà vu all over again".
At least your part of Texas isn't on fire like most of CA. Here's a pretty funny – and right on point – spoof article my old company commander sent me on that: https://babylonbee.com/news/state-that-just-voted-to-reduce-penalties-for-pedophiles-not-sure-why-god-keeps-lighting-them-on-fire
Also, saw a great T-shirt in the local grocery the other day: "Kneel for the cross; stand for the flag" – gotta love that one (might want some Kevlar underneath, however).
Thanks for the update on Bible Academy [link] and your family. I keep all this and all them in my prayers.
I like your diet plan. I have had a similar experience. I've given up trying to be good at lunch and have adopted a continental approach, eating big at lunch and light at dinner. At least that is the plan right up until dinner time.
In terms of crowbars, it looks like the Cameron report on the B. Taylor shooting is coming out this week. I'm hoping that the Supreme Court brouhaha will suck up a lot of that attention (of course, Mitch McConnell lives in the neighborhood and his house is always getting picketed etc.; they park in our Kroger lot for the purpose; so we probably won't get off scot-free there either); but they're closing the federal courthouse downtown next week in anticipation. So I may need a double-barreled crowbar. Stay tuned.
No hurricanes on the radar around these parts anyhow. And they've only found 372 Covid cases on campus out of 23,578 tested (about one and a half percent) [as of 10/5: 697 @ 1.98%], so things bump along. No threats of closing down yet. But I have to get tested again some time in the next couple of weeks.
Always good to hear from you!
Your pal in Jesus,
I am aware that I write to you too much but I really need a friend who understands it from a position of faith. I'm starting to wonder if I'll make it to the tribulation. Things feel oppressively hard under the pressures [details omitted]
I feel very weary of this world and sometimes it feels too painful to go on. I'm surrounded by people doing terrible things and terrible decisions and I feel a pressure to agree with it even though it is terrible. I have no tolerance whatsoever of neglect or abuse of children. Maybe because I had a rocky childhood, the wounds of that make me hypervigilant of other children feeling pain or being treated badly. It isn't just this, I feel pain when parents try to bring a child up on money instead of love and the Word.
It eats away at me in a way that goes beyond reason. Every day people tell me things that are wrong and go against God and I feel that pressure to agree with it. Obviously I don't agree with them but then I am told that I am argumentative and divisive for not agreeing with truly awful things.
I have become so weary of this rock and hard place position that I am choosing to avoid people and go silent most of the time. To be honest though being mute on things hurts me too, I feel crushed and gagged and I end up saying everything to God instead of people. I pour my heart out completely to Him as He is the only one I can talk to. I can't tell people my thoughts and feelings because they are all counter cultural because the bible is counter cultural after all.
Maybe what I am going through is not so strange, I'm studying your series about Peter at the moment and it is all about suffering.
What should Christians do when being asked to agree on things we know are wrong? I keep getting cornered on things and my opinions are asked. Why then is it that people explode when I give them my opinion?
I have got to a place where I am almost frightened of talking to people or even emailing them as literally everything I say is offensive because I come from a position that we're near the last days and everything is falling apart and getting worse and worse. I am told that this is "too negative" and I need to be "more positive". So then I think okay, more positive. Well you can't be more positive than the Gospel but I then get shouted down for saying that.
This is not just a family issue but one with every person I encounter. I have started attending online services at a local church and they seem to have no idea about end times. They act as though it is another millennia away. I know that it is good to focus on the Good News but we have very tough times ahead and if it doesn't stray beyond the feel good, how can it sustain?
I know the answer is continued trust and faith and spiritual growth and application. How to respond to the world though? We can't close ourselves off like the Amish and judging by your other emails many feel like me, cut off from like minded believers but who are very aware of the time and the need for maturity.
Maybe it is a time to stay silent in these evil times. They are calling evil good and good evil after all. Maybe I should reserve all these thoughts and feelings for God only and seek counsel and healing from Jesus. Maybe then I won't feel the need to give an opinion or sound off. Maybe then I will be happier to say "no comment" more often.
I've said it before that I have a very overdeveloped sense of justice and fairness and when these are contravened like sinning with a high hand, then it eats away at me. I know there will be no justice here until the second advent. I need to give it all up to Jesus as it is more than I can bear and is not even for me to carry.
I wish people wouldn't keep asking me my opinion. We live in a time when everyone has something to say about everything. It has all become about chattering away. The problem is that there are only a few viable responses that are the "correct" ones. I'm exhausted.
A very wise piece of advice I was given long ago: "Never quit on a bad day" – meaning that we all have days and sometimes weeks or longer when things are bad, going wrong, and are pretty depressing. That is part of life. But it is a mistake to project that "it'll always be like this". That, after all, is what the Israelites did, grumbling against God immediately whenever the going got tough.
But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.
Hebrews 6:9 NKJV
Because YOU know the truth and that is obvious from your email. We all are tested as to our patience and endurance. We all sometimes feel we can't do it any longer – but we know in our hearts that God never puts on us more than we can actually bear (1Cor.10:13), and if we "project" the burden growing until we break, we're not seeing things from God's point of view as we should. If we trust Him, we will not break – and He will lighten the load.
. . . say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
Isaiah 35:4 NKJV
When it comes to people, people can be difficult. It's impossible to completely separate, but it sounds to me as if tolerating a lot less of the problem people in your lives would be beneficial to you in lots of ways.
Woe to me that I dwell in Meshek, that I live among the tents of Kedar! Too long have I lived among those who hate peace. I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.
Psalm 120:5-7 NIV
We can't convince unbelievers to stop thinking and acting like
non-believers. Non-engagement with people who love darkness and hate the
light is in my opinion the best policy. This is not usually possible to
implement 100%. I work at a university and I am bombarded nearly daily
at present. Family who don't believe are also heavy loads. So we may not
be able to disengage with the problem completely. But I think you'll
find that there is a level of distance that is possible and that is
bearable – because God always provides.
This problem you're experiencing is one that is falling upon the shoulders of all who love the truth at this present moment much more heavily than in times past, and there's no indication of any immediate change likely to be forthcoming. But with God's help – and with the wisdom of spiritual maturity – we can in fact cope. That doesn't mean there won't be "days". Seek His peace – He always makes it available for those striving to enter into it.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
I don't know if this is a comfort, but consider that as bad as things are, it's not nearly so bad as the Tribulation will be – and "all this" is good practice for it, no doubt necessary practice for it, for us who have been called to endure it (Jer.12:5). And endure it we shall – because the Lord is with us.
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV
Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.
In Jesus our dear and merciful Savior,
Please forgive me for complaining about petty and small things. I see
how small the things are now and I see the great pressures and
tribulation that we have to come.
I feel that I have been an endless burden to you and for that I ask for your forgiveness. I am like the Israelites wailing at the first problem that comes my way even though it is obvious in the light of your words that they are a mere irritation at best compared to what is to come.
I'm grateful for all this. I am doing a spiritual health check now and I think my faith is checking out as weak as I still haven't got out the boat yet! I will do though and I will know that there will be no need to be frightened as long as my eyes are set firmly on Jesus.
I'm surrounded, like you are, by people who live by sight and not by faith and I am foolishly allowing their vain philosophies and spiritual blindness to make me stumble and look back to where I was delivered from, the wretched spiritual Babylon. I still know all these things even when people bleat on around me about money, money, money or careers or successful families or holidays or hardwood flooring. It goes on and on and yet I know.
When Noah was building the ark, it took some time and they must have thought him stark raving mad to do that. They would've kept berating him and mocking him and yet he kept at it because he kept his eyes on God and trusted Him. When Moses was leading the Israelites, he had to listen to their constant whining and complaining and yet he kept his faith when he was ridiculously outnumbered. Job lost everything and yet he still kept his faith even though his friends were constantly criticising him and wore him down. Many thought John the Baptist a crazy man indeed he was characterised as a "voice in the wilderness" which shows the stark contrast of his lively faith in a spiritual void. Then of course there is our loving Saviour Himself, rejected at birth, rejected in His home town, at times by His own family. They said "he is beside himself!" His own synagogue tried to throw Him off a cliff. Later His apostles couldn't stay awake one hour when He asked them to and they deserted Him in fear and even denied Him when He was arrested.
I'm not going to give up, I'm not. I know that this is a walk in the park compared to the Tribulation so I can now see where all my weak points are so what I am going to do is go all in for Jesus. I am going to make daily bible reading and spiritual growth my priority now. Whenever I am in a situation where I don't know what to do, I would be wise to do what Moses did and fall on my face before God. Jesus often needed to leave the crowds and pray alone. I need to make this my default position.
We are in a spiritual war here after all. We battle against sin, we battle against the evil one and the torpor, drag and ridicule from the unbelievers all around us. We also have to battle against the weeds of life that threaten to choke the life out of our faith. We have the full armour of God don't we. I need to meditate more on these words. You have said about good offence and good defence. Time and time again I come back to Peter being called out of the boat. Those verses are very important to me on a personal level. I think about them again and again. I sometimes think am I getting onto the water to meet Jesus or am I still in the boat doubting and having "little faith". I going to swing over the side of the boat and start walking on the water. It's not about me, it's about HIM.
You're no burden, my friend – it's a pleasure to know you as well!
No Christian gets through this life without troubles, and none without times when we feel ourselves spiritually flagging. That happens to us all, creatures of emotion and of physical bodies that we are. As mature believers, however, we learn to ignore – to a greater or lesser degree – what our ears hear, what our eyes see, and what our feelings and physical bodies feel. We do better with this at some times than at others, and even the most mature of the mature need to fight that fight – of combating the noise and the churn of the world with the truth of the Word of God – every day, and every step of the way. And if and when we get sloppy about it, we are going to have "one of those days". Moses failed, David failed, Elijah failed, Abraham failed – we all fail. But the victorious Christian doesn't let a small hiccup color everything. We have to have "the courage of a bandit", so to speak, "forgetting what lies behind", as Paul told us to do, "and stretching for the finish line" instead. That is the only way to run this race – with endurance all the way to the end.
I'm confident – and was fully confident – that you would as you did slough this off and get back to putting some more miles behind you. That's the spirit! In the Spirit.
Looking forward to cheering your reward at the judgment seat of Christ.
Your friend in Jesus our Lord.
I see Louisville is in the news again and even in the press over here. Do please take good care of yourself. I hear some people have been shot recently. We have had a police officer shot over here too. I guess it is only a matter of time that similar rioting will carry over here. They say that when USA has a cold, England sneezes! I guess that is a very appropriate saying given the virus hitting the same time as leaving Europe.
I hope that reaction to the Covid test you had has cleared up as well as that reaction to the cleaning fluids they were using in the rooms.
I will pray for your left knee!
Thanks again for your tireless encouragement and fellowship. I don't know what I'd do without you!
Your friend in Jesus,
Knee is doing some better – slow mend but mending!
Covid test troubles far gone. They're "encouraging" us to do it again; threatening works better with me [next mandatory test a couple of weeks out now].
Night #2 was mostly peaceful in my end of town. Just getting dark here tonight, but no signs of trouble yet. The curfew is being enforced.
Thanks for your encouragement too, my friend – and for your prayers!
In Jesus our dear Savior,
With regards to your confidence in a respite, I'm inclined to disagree. This entire COVIDiocy is, I believe, a concocted hoax and part of the world-wide Bolshevik Revolution II. I believe the virus is real but the fact that it's targeted at people over 60 suggests a much closer origin. After all there is much to be gained by eliminating as much Social Security demand as possible and stodgy old fogies who won't go along. If it were a weapon, it's turned out to be a fairly pathetic weapon at best. Now that so many have been willing to go along though, it seems clear this nonsense won't stop. I've never known the Bolsheviks to give up anything they've gained and they've gained a great deal of control.
I also am convinced that CWII has started. More people are defending their homes with arms to prevent attacks by "peaceful protesters" and arsonists. It's also interesting to watch the renewed push for gun control which is fully equivalent to "preventing" drunk driving by taking away sober driver's cars. I expect that to intensify which will also create a resistance that I doubt will be expected. What I think those people overlook is that those considered "gun nuts" have enjoyed years of punching holes in paper and knocking over steel or doing combat with squirrels and deer (and making delightful stews and sausages) without doing or desiring any harm to anyone else. Instead of "spraying and praying" though, they're more likely to pray and take careful aim.
I don't think the "winner" of this coming election makes any difference in terms of the violence and hysteria which I still believe will be one of the excuses the coming beast will use to restore "peace." Year after year for the days remaining, there are likely to be continual pandemics and continual protests, vandalism and looting.
Regardless, I think this is only the table read-through of the Tribulation script and I thank the Lord we've been given a chance to rehearse and practice. I pray I'm not one of those cut before the performance.
Yours in our Lord and Savior,
I certainly don't have any confidence in a "respite"; things could
actually get much worse instead. But however bad they get, they won't be
as bad as the Tribulation, so in that respect . . .
In any case, my personal motto has always been "things didn't turn out the way I expected" – but with the Lord they've always turned out AOK.
It certainly is getting interesting, however. You have to admit that.
I could use a little less interesting and a little more bland, personally, but we can't control anything. Blessedly, however, the One to whom we belong IS in control of absolutely everything, and He's working it all out for our good – whether or not that is always easy for us to see through the veil of this life.
Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.
Hello Dr. Bob, don’t write much, but I’m always reading your post. Praying you’ll stay safe during the crazy riots. My advice is buy a Tarus Judge (google it). 2025-26 may be early. I’m still trying to find out Jarred Kushner’s tribe, betting it’s Dan. One of God’s warriors till the end when I kneel, when HE calls my name, only to return with HIM in HIS Glory. Love you my brother, stay safe. Of course our safety is our Lord Christ Jesus.
The police busted up the rolling riot just five or so blocks from my house and
headed our way – so thanks for your prayers! Still not dark here tonight, but I
think the combination of the National Guard, the dispersal of the crowd by
flash-bangs, pepper balls and batons, the arrests – and the shooting of the two
officers (which should let anyone who's paying attention understand that next
time the rug will be a lot thinner) – means less rather than more trouble
tonight. We shall see.
As to recommendation, in the immortal words of Jimmy Cagney: "Never trust a revolver; always go with the automatic". But I'm pretty sure my crowbar will never jam.
I've heard the Kushner speculation before. I'd be surprised if it turned out that way. The beast, from everything I read in scripture, is uniquely exceptional (in terrible ways), and not rather ordinary (as in this case).
Thanks for you concern and good words, my friend, your godly point of view – and especially for those prayers!
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Thanks for the reply, no tv or internet here because of Sally, but we
have power. I do hope to night is better for Louisville an all the
country. I’m sure the crowbar, and tThe angels of our Dear Lord and
Savior Jesus will keep you safe in all conditions.
Spell check ___. When I sometimes take a knee to remember all the people who have helped me in my spiritual growth, you're in the list. It is a great exercise and joy to remember our family, friends and mentors in prayer takes you away from the concerns, burdens and worldly hassles of the day. Praise and thanksgiving for them makes for an interesting chat with our Beloved Heavenly Father.
And that is a joyous time when His Peace settles upon us. I’ve always contended that thru all the pain and agony of Calvary, that Jesus was smiling when he answered the thief “this day you shall be with Me in paradise”. Try saying that without a grin. Safety to you in our Wonderful Lord’s Care. I’m out of here for the night,
Thanks for the encouraging email, my friend, and for all your good
words. Didn't realize you were suffering Sally effects. I'll say a
No worries about the iPhone spelling! I get upended by that all the time!
Your friend in Jesus Christ,
And I have a question and you can print this is you want. Do you think Christians who are faithful but are not martyred during the trib and are alive at the second coming, were not martyred because their faith lacked the substance to survive being tortured/killed but was strong enough to stay faithful and not become apostate? In some ways dying seems easier to me; I’d certainly rather be executed than be in a small dark cell for years; shades of the dungeon scene from Ben Hur. Not that I’m asking for either; the Almightly knows what’s best and I leave it to Him but I’m somewhat claustrophobic. Maybe that’s an odd comment coming from an old Marine tanker but you won’t find me crawling or diving in caves. One could always jump out of a tank.
On your question, I said something about that in the last posting. I wonder about it myself. Best guess: it will be a mixture. God deals with us all as individuals, so He knows not only what's best but also what we can actually take and what we can't. As you say, having to stick around to the end will make for a very long seven years, somewhat shortened or not.
That question came to mind because of your comment last week. I don’t imagine the deaths will be quick; based on my past readings of history and how those viewed as not following the “party line” were made examples to the masses, the deaths will probably be visually horrific. No doubt many will be thrown into the fire in Jerusalem as examples; probably televised or streamed for the benefit of the beast’s followers and as a warning to others.
While that may be the case, I'm counting on the Lord being with us no
matter what, and giving us the strength and grace and protection to
endure whatever must be endured. After all, we're not supposed to even
consider what we should say in defense – because the Spirit will give us
the words. So also I would infer that the Spirit will do for us as was
done for Daniel's three friends – except that our fellowship with the
Lord will be permanent and not temporary from that moment onwards.
But I certainly wouldn't want to be an unbeliever who was refusing to take the mark. No grace in suffering there.
Interesting article that I view as possibly mapping out the situation setting
the stage for the future antichrist take over of the USA. Am still of the
opinion that its more likely that he’ll be seen as a conservative type as
opposed to a liberal type since the left is still so very anti Christian,
military, Israel, etc. and pro Moslem/Iran, and do not see that as changing in
the near future. As I’ve mentioned before, someone with that position is more
likely to draw in actual Christians than a socialist. Think things will get
worse even if Trump is reelected so that may move to convince many on the right
that at some point they have to actually crush their opponents with physical
force. That could create the conditions for imposing emergency powers leading to
dictatorship. If Trump is not elected, then that sets up the right accepting a
white horse person who promises to end the persecution against them and restore
the country but then ends up in sole charge. A truly historical time we live in.
A plausible set of scenarios. We do all have to flexible in our pre-event
suppositions, however. As I often have had occasion to say in my own life: "It
didn't turn out the way I expected".
Thanks for the other link. We were just talking about that sort of thing here re: the so-called sarcophagus of "James brother of Jesus" – actual artifact but forged inscription. Also the recent discovery of the Christopher Columbus letters having been replaced by forgeries in the Vatican and elsewhere. More grist for that mill.
Oh yeah! What does turn out how we expect? We don’t know how it will progress to it but we do know the trib will occur. Notice that I’m not asking to take bets on my supposition. I do think the article is correct that we are witnessing the potential death of the republic; it sure isn’t like it was when we grew up. Representative government depends on its citizens holding certain beliefs in common; probably why they don’t endure more than a handful of generations if that long.
All that is certainly very true. I don't think the current generation has a clue
about history in terms of basic information, let alone any respect for the past
(probably an understatement given a desire to get rid of, e.g., the Washington
Ironically, the existence of democratic and republican institutions in the west universally derives originally from the enfranchising of the warrior assembly – because otherwise the aristocrats in ancient Mediterranean countries couldn't get the lesser lights to fight or pay taxes. So the franchise was purchased at a great cost of blood and treasure. Now it costs nothing so it means nothing . . . and since the process has been completely cheapened and corrupted.
But then, it's all going to be destroyed stock and stem here in just a few years, so I'm not going to get too upset about it.
In Jesus to whose assembly we blessedly belong.
Mankind’s sinful nature seems to always show thru anything he conceives, even when he is trying to construct something that takes it into account. And it is the devil’s world for now.
If I had a better, granular knowledge of the middle east and Islamic world, it might be easier to prognosticate ala Themistocles. The rise of unity in the Muslim world following their Mahdi will be largely responsible for the rise of the beast in the west (as he uses that person and movement as essential counterpoint). Don't see anything like that out there at the moment, but I'm not terribly well plugged in to happenings in that part of the world.
When I hear that Moses and Elijah have arrived and are rebuilding the temple however . . .
He said to him, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”
Luke 16:31 ESV
“And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” Revelation 11:3 ESV
In Rev.11:3 the Jews are getting instruction from some coming “back from the dead”. And so did those Apostles on the Mount in Jesus’ day.
“And behold two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah.”
Luke 9:30 ESV
Technically Moses and Elijah are not dead, so the scriptures are ever true, however it is similar to some returning from the dead. The Jews are looking forward to Elijah returning;
“Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?”
Is this also a case of our Lord doing everything for them/us, even
bringing back people so as to demonstrate the truth in every possible
way? In essence, almost “complying” with the rich man’s request; “....,
but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Luke 16:30
ESV [Moses, and, the prophets (represented by Elijah)]. However,
many will only believe at the very end. Zechariah 12:10 Also, after
passing through the Tribulation, of those remaining and returning to go
to Israel, the rebels will be purged out. Ezekiel 20:38. Does seem as
though the Lord goes to the nth degree, and to the very end of history,
to make it possible for all to be saved, even among those who resist.
I would particularly appreciate your comments regarding the profound testimony of the two prophets returning, and how that does seem to go close to the rich man’s request of “someone coming back from the dead”.
I do realise that the world has the testimonies of those who saw Jesus after His resurrection, yet many still do not believe their testimony. The testimony of the two witnesses seems to be felt and seen worldwide, so leaving no room for anyone to doubt where they come from and who they represent. Also angelic pronouncements leave no excuse for anyone. Revelation 14:9 seems directed particularly for believers to strengthen them in the very last dire days. Revelation 14:6 seems directed to the all world and is unmistakably a call to worship the true God. With the false trinity of satan, antichrist and the false prophet operating at the same time, how clear will the choice be, given that antichrist is the “man of deception?”
I am trying to imagine where the balance is for free will faith in the last dire days given Jesus saying in Luke 18:8. “.... when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” That is, notwithstanding the heavenly pronouncements; “... his elect, who cry to him day and night?” (verse 7). It seems like the saying of being caught between “a rock and a hard place.” Clinging to our Rock (Jesus), while we are in a hard place (the devil’s world directly governed by his antichrist).
Oh, we wait for You our dear Savior. Psalm 37:34
Of course technically no one believer is ever dead:
“But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.”
Luke 20:37-38 NKJV
I certainly agree that the Lord goes to the greatest lengths for His people during the Tribulation – but then again there is no greater "length" than the cross, and He did that for all.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 NKJV
And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
2nd Corinthians 5:15 NKJV
In terms of free will, I would say that this series of events you recount so
well indubitably proves free will: after all that, how could anyone still doubt?
And yet so many – the majority – will still oppose the Lord (putting the truth
to death with their free will, the essence of rebellion, lies and unbelief).
Praise be to the gracious Lord who bought us and gave us a heart to cut through the hardness and believe in Him!
We are still in the discernment section of BB6A in our Zoom Bible study group, in the midst of looking at "great matters." Predictably, we talked some about how it is generally prudent for Christians to avoid politics, and then the inevitable question arose "what happens when a government authority goes off the rails and starts doing evil?" The passages we turned to were Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2.
The main verses that we went back and forth about:
(3) For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. (4) For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
Romans 13:3-4, NKJV
We all agree that there is nothing humans can do to our actual spiritual
harm (cf. Matthew 10:28). The matter of interpretation that was
discussed is what exactly these two verses mean.
Do they mean that no matter how badly a government mangles morality they still can't really do anything to damage us spiritually, such that we take the verses as absolute? (That is, for all people that are rulers, there is not a single one who in actual fact is a terror to good works... [because the "good works" here are spiritual considerations that such rulers cannot materially affect anyway].
Are these versus more gnomic in nature? That is "In general, rulers are set up by God to oppose gross human wickedness and outlaw things such as murder, rape, and theft of property. This does not mean that you won't occasionally have governments that can be fairly said to endorse evil more than good, but since these statements are more generalization than absolute propositions, there is no contradiction. That is, the general state of governments agree with the statements in these verses, pace uncommon deviations."
What are these verses generally getting at?
Yours in Christ,
I've written about these verses and companion passages (e.g.,
1Tim.2:1-2; Tit.3:1-2) on many occasions.
I guess my counter question would be "or else what?" That really is the functional concern here. How bad does a government have to get before we are allowed by God to rebel against it? This hypothetical is unlikely to ever produce any valuable fruit for us or for those we minister to. The Church era of Smyrna lived under the shadow of persecution for its entirety, with ten prolonged periods of "tribulation" (Rev.2:10). Moreover, they weren't just victims of a dysfunctional or tyrannical government – they were actually persecuting for being Christians. And what does our Lord tell them? "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life." They are told to persevere through the suffering, enduring what comes – not to be resisting it or even fleeing it.
I really think that is all we today need to know. Given where we are on the "clock", the sort of exception a person might be looking for here isn't going to come up. We already have our Lord's guidance for what we will soon face:
If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.
Revelation 13:10 NASB (cf. Rev.14:9-13)
And if we do as we are commanded . . .
And they overcame him [i.e., the devil] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
Revelation 12:11 NKJV
As a student of history, governments "do evil" all the time. It's only a
question of degree. If, in spite of their mal-administration, lack of
justice, and even occasional persecution, for the most part we are left
free to "live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness"
(1Tim.2:2), then we should thank God for that and persevere.
If things get to such a pass that the above is impossible, in the past it might be an option to find somewhere better to live, and God helping us we would do so and make the switch despite the cost, the dangers and the effort. But antichrist is going to control the entire world, so in practical terms for those of us "on whom the end of the ages has come" (1Cor.10:11), willingness to lose all and be crucified on the cross we're carrying seems to me to be the proper mode of thinking we have to get into.
What are these verses getting at? That a proper Christian witness is law-abiding and not insurrectionist. If, as I often point out, Peter and Paul (in whose writings these passage occur) could be so clear about what our necessary obedience is when they personally had suffered all manner of persecution, even wrongful death (as tradition has it), being upset about, e.g., a lack of justice in enforcing the law, while understandable, does not justify political action or worse.
Does lack of justice and crime damage us? Of course it may. Terrible things happen all the time, even in places and at times where the sort of thing you're talking about isn't pronounced. And people tend to blame God for all that goes wrong. That's what we need to avoid. That is really the only thing that can damage us spiritually, namely, not accepting that God is working things out for us for good when we are made to suffer something horrific. That has happened to many good believers in the past, and it is certainly going to happen to many if not most of us in the near future. We have to trust God no matter what. And in terms of the Tribulation, we do have the benefit of being told about all this ahead of time (Matt.24:25; Mk.13:23).
None of this is to say, as mentioned above, that we have to "take it" if "it" can be avoided (e.g., by getting out), or that we are not within our rights to use self-defense where the government is deficient in protecting us from lawless assaults (of course we are), or that we are not allowed to make use of legal rights and legal remedies available to us (Paul certainly did). But it does mean that our personal negative evaluation of a particular government does not suspend our duty to give a good Christian witness in respect to it – at least as long as we are subject to it.
We don't have to do things that are forbidden by God (even if they're being commanded); we don't have to stop doing things that are commanded by God (even if they are being forbidden) – we should not in either case. But the "solution" to such things would not be to try and change the government against its will; the "solution" would be to trust God, do what's right, and be willing to suffer the consequences.
I will also say that while political action may or may not happen as a result of bad government, even violent political action, even if said action is "reasonable" or "predictable" or "understandable", it's not the best witness to be involved in that sort of thing. That doesn't mean that we have to defend the bad government; rather, we await the Lord's solution and resolution in all things.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Let me try again.
I think we all have no issues with the general concept of submitting to government authority even when it is being unjust and persecuting us (like Peter and Paul). Even further, we all agree that people/nations get exactly the governments they deserve.
I suppose in a manner of speaking, ours is less a question of "what ought we to do in regards to submitting to government?" and more "how does one reconcile a face-value reading of Romans 13:3 with history and observation?"
Putting things more starkly:
1) Romans 13:3 states "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil."
2) Sometimes it seems that government authority calls good evil and evil good (i.e., are a terror to good not evil). There are various historical examples of this (Nazis, racist laws in America), and certain places in the world (Muslim countries under Sharia law, some parts of China) where this statement is more or less true even today.
3) How do you reconcile (1) and (2)?
I believe this is more or less our question.
One option is to say that the statement is supposed to be taken as a gnomic generality, such that counterexamples do not disprove its general veracity.
Another option is to define exactly what "being a terror to good works" and "being a terror to evil works" mean such that the statement can be absolute in all circumstances without leading to any contradiction.
Are either of these the appropriate path to take in interpreting this verse? Is there some completely different third interpretation that makes everything more coherent?
Hopefully this more clearly elucidates where we were/are getting hung up.
So this gets to methodology in interpreting the Bible.
The Bible is written for believers. If I were a philosopher with a specialty in ethics and wanted to see what the Bible had to say about such matters, I might delve into this question.
As a believer, I accept that this statement as absolutely true – for believers. If we do what is right, we never have anything to fear. Is it possible that believers will be abused by government? Certainly. During the Tribulation that will be the rule rather than the exception. But in all such cases, we will be suffering for God's glory and according to His plan for our lives. Bottom line then: we accept these verses and act accordingly. And as a result we have nothing to fear from government. If we are damaged by it, it's not without God's foreknowledge and, more particularly, his oversight.
Wrong perspective: "May the LORD look on you and judge you! You have made us obnoxious to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us" (Ex.5:21).
Correct perspective: "Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country" (Ex.5:23)
We do what's right; God works it out . . . for good. But if we get upset, we're tempted to react and blame someone – or react and resist. That's really is all we need to know (in my opinion); I'll leave the rest to the philosophers. Keeping you and your family in my prayers, my friend.
As best I understand, your last response takes the "for rulers are not a terror to good works" more or less as "they are not ultimately a terror because of God's direct oversight of believers a la Romans 8:28 -- even bad things are for our blessing" rather than "government authority does not ever do bad things to Christians." Is this correct?
Do we then take the flipside the same way? To re-quote our passages with the salient bits bolded:
(3) For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. (4) For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
In the same vein, ought we take "[rulers are a terror] to evil" more or
less as "since God is ultimately in control of everything, despite
appearances, government authority ultimately always works to the overall
detriment of those committing evil" rather than "government authority
will always punish evil as it ought to." Is this correct?
If these things are so, the last bit would be the "receiving praise for doing good" bit. If we are taking these things more along the lines of God working things out in His perfect omniscient way for the blessing and punishment of people based on their moral choices, then this would still seem to be a loose end.
I confess that I am still puzzled as to why we can't just wave our hand and say something along the lines of "pace exceptions -- real or hypothetical -- governments exist to promote good and restrain evil, maintaining law and justice" or something along those lines, and not tie ourselves into knots about trying to make these statements apply to all possible circumstances.
Even if governments treat people unfairly, they still impose laws about theft and stealing, for example. Even the absolute worst of them. And no matter the society, people are praised for courage and valor, for example. So despite the fact that sometimes good people come under fire from government authority and sometimes bad people get away with things, even in the absolute best governments that have ever existed, these verses are still generally true. Why can't we leave it at that?
Hopefully I'm not being too muddled here in my explanation. I "get" the principle that the Bible is written for believers approaching things with open hearts (i.e., I'm not trying to find cracks and holes to poke at), I'm still just fuzzy on the best way for us to understand and teach the meaning of these verses specifically.
Your brother in Christ,
I do understand what you are saying and where you are coming from, my friend.
Really, I do. And I think you have essentially "got" what I'm trying to say – so
good for you! But the distinctions here are important, so let me shine a little
more light on this.
If we were to say "this is a general principle but of course there are exceptions", then don't we open the door to "here's an exception right here!" So that whenever someone feels that the government is in the wrong or abusing them, then it's open season on the government and its representatives – because of the exception which negates the principle. We could get rid of the ten commandments that way. And we've got plenty of that sort of exception-claiming right here in my town right now (haven't heard the helicopters yet tonight, however).
On the other hand, isn't it also true that God knows you and me and all His children, and that He has perfectly planned out our lives for us (of course, taking into account ahead of time everything we would choose)? That being the case, we can be sure that, for us, "all things are working for good" because "He is working all things together for good for us who love Him". Whatever comes our way, therefore, is for good, even if it doesn't seem that way – and even if the trouble comes from "duly constituted authority" – which in my life experience is not all that exceptional. That is a hard one for many believers to digest and handle, but one of ever increasing importance as we approach the end when believers will in fact be the targets of antichrist's blended government and religion.
How can that fit with Romans 13:3?
In my view, it does. That passage tells us that if we do what is right, we don't have to fear the authorities, even then. Might they arrest us, throw us into jail, and execute us for our unwillingness to take the mark of the beast? Yes indeed – we expect that to happen to many if not most of us who live that long. But THAT we don't have to fear – in fact we are in the wrong place spiritually if we DO fear it. What should we fear? We should fear doing actual wrong – as in taking up arms against the forces of the beast. In that case, we SHOULD be afraid of that authority. Why? Because in THAT case, God will not be with us. And isn't that exactly the path our Lord left us?
For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
1st Peter 2:19-21 NIV
If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
1st Peter 4:15-16 NIV
This is the "code of conduct" to which we have been called. It's not for
everyone – but then again not all will be saved.
Keeping you and your family in my prayers daily, my friend.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Just because some people will twist things around the wrong way doesn't mean we should be shy about teaching something that the Bible teaches, right? So we teach that life begins at birth and not conception despite some using this as a fig leaf for the despicable practice of abortion. We can teach the truth while at the same time railing against its abuse.
If these statements are in fact general principles then we have a duty to teach such. Will some people run off and oppose their governments, using the (actually invalid) excuse that their particular authorities are "exceptions" that they don't have to listen to? Sure. But the truth is the truth... and while it seems to me this text contains general principles such that exceptions do exist, the verses never say that resisting these exceptions is OK. And the rest of the Bible -- Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2, for example -- gives exactly zero wiggle room on this point.
It in no way seems to me like the points of view we are taking are mutually contradictory. It is true that we are never to oppose legitimate government authority -- even when they show up to execute us. You are right to continually bring this up because it is critically important, ever the more so as we approach the tribulation wherein the government really will be out to get us. And just look at how poorly the people of our country understand this principle in our time, even right on your doorstep in Louisville. So I definitely understand the perils of even seeming to give people any excuse they can latch onto.
But is it not possible to emphatically force the point of never resisting government authority, while at the same time saying that some governments are in fact exceptions of the general principles laid out here? In other words, if we are crystal clear about the fact that our duty to obey our authorities is not at all conditional upon said authorities acting properly (i.e., we are called to submit even to the "exceptions" to the general principles of these verses), then do we really need to walk on eggshells in discussing this passage? Can we not say "most governments function as enforcers of general moral behavior as described here, and even when things break down and they don't, we don't have any excuse to resist them because God's got it all in hand (i.e., the point you've been driving home)"?
It seems to me these things thus go hand-in-glove rather than running orthogonally to each other.
I'm fuzzy on if you are saying that these statements are general principles but just typically subject to great abuse as such (such that we as teachers should typically emphasize God's sovereignty much more than the exceptions to the rule, even if they do exist), or whether you are saying that they are not in fact general at all, but absolute.
If the latter, while I understand believers not needing to fear plenty fine (like you've pointed out several times now), it is still completely unclear to me how the flipside with evildoers works as an absolute principle, and how it is we are supposed to take the mention of moral behavior receiving praise from government authority. When governments go off the rails, how is it that they hold the sword at the necks of evildoers, when it is very often these very people with all the power? When the dogs are running the show, is good ever truly praised?
Everything makes sense to me if we take the principles as being descriptions of the general functions of governments. The exceptions then prove the rule. But when we try to force the absolute standard... does it not seem like great gymnastics are necessary to explain away what the text clearly states?
Or is there some way to also explain the flipside with evildoers and the praising of moral action such that we shouldn't take these statements as general principles?
Your brother in Christ,
"Just because some people will twist things around the wrong way
doesn't mean we should be shy about teaching something that the Bible
teaches, right?" Absolutely! Which is precisely why I have been
defending the clear and unambiguous direct meaning of, e.g., Romans
"But is it not possible to emphatically force the point of never resisting government authority, while at the same time saying that some governments are in fact exceptions of the general principles laid out here?". I don't see any exception clauses. Did you have a government in mind, one where if a believer commits crimes, said believer will not suffer the consequences; or one where not committing actual crimes is considered a negative rather than being a cause for praise? I've never heard of one. This passage doesn't say that all governments are good or that all of their laws are good. It says God has appointed them all for our good. Christians can flourish even under bad governments because God protects us individually. But good or bad, any Christian who does wrong will quickly find the Lord "removing cover". As mentioned, the Bible is not a philosophical tract; it is written for believers. Here is what believers need to do, and if they do, these things are true for them for their good; and if they don't, these things are true for them for their ill. Worrying about the wicked is never particularly profitable (Jer.12:1ff.; Hab.1:12 - 2:1).
I don't think I would have enjoyed living as a Christian in the Roman empire; many were martyred purely for not being willing to renounce Jesus Christ. But they weren't being persecuted for failing to commit arson or praised for breaking and entering. And the framework of law the empire provided, flawed though it was, was sufficient for the bursting forth of the Church and for the writing and dissemination of the New Testament. Even under a horrible regime, we pray for peace and quiet so that we can do the things God wants us to do (1Tim.2:2), and any regime that does not provide basic law and order soon ceases to exist (in my studies of history). You may not like the regime; you may not find its method of enforcement pleasing or just; and it may commit abuses – all governments do. But believers have the right to put all that in God's hands – and do what's right. If they do, if they suffer, they'll suffer as Christians and not as lawbreakers (1Pet.4:15-16).
Of course when we teach what the Bible says, that life starts at birth, we will be challenged: "what about still birth, what about motility in the womb, what about the horrible nature of abortion?" etc. And no doubt teaching obedience to authority will be challenged too: "what about North Korea, what about Hitler, what about Trump?" In my opinion it's a mistake for a teacher of the Word to allow himself to get dragged into such "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" type discussions. If someone has a problem with the authority principle in theory, I'm interested in it in practice, and I'm not interested in hypotheticals. "You, Christian, need to obey authority, pay your taxes, not take up arms whenever you get your nose bent out of joint – otherwise you are opposing God, because that government wouldn't be there without Him". People use these sorts of hypotheticals to try and overturn the truth so as to allow themselves to do what they want to do and not feel condemned by the Bible – the way the Jewish survivors asked Jeremiah to get the Lord's opinion about moving to Egypt when they had no intention of not doing so whatever He said. We can't stop people from doing this sort of thing. What we can and should and must do as teachers of the Word is to never given an inch when it comes to the truth. It only takes a small hole in the dike to result in the sea flooding in – and it can happen very quickly too.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity. The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.
Psalm 37:7-13 NIV
God and government work hand in hand because God is in control of all
government – as He is in control of all things. Do the evil get away
with things? Some do, for some time; but none do forever. We have to
have patience, as in the Psalm above, and understand that IF we do what
is right, God will work it all out together for good for us, and He will
also see to it that the wicked receive their due. And the means He most
often uses for the latter is government, good or bad (in our subjective
determination and evaluation).
Your fellow worker in the Lord's vineyard.
(1) Beloved, don't believe every spirit [of every so-called prophet], but test the spirits [of these "prophets" to see] whether [or not] they are from God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world. (2) By this [test] you [will] know [whether or not a person has] the Spirit of God. (3) Any spirit (i.e., a person or organization) which professes that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but any spirit which does not profess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not from God. And this [latter] is the [spirit] of the antichrist, which you have heard about, that he is coming, and [even] now [his spirit] is already in the world. (4) You are of God, children, and you have overcome them. For greater is He who is in you (i.e., the Spirit) than he who is in the world (i.e., Satan represented by his antichrist-like false prophets now, and, ultimately, by antichrist himself).
1st John 4:1-4
How come the word pneuma can be used interchangeably between
being a reference to individuals and also a reference to an unseen
Is the "spirit of the antichrist" simply a synonym for the devil?
I think it's pretty clear from context which is "spirit" and which is "Spirit" –
with John adding "of God" here just in case anyone didn't "get it". Also, in the
Greek, John is careful not to put the article "the" and "spirit" together with
"antichrist": he says "every spirit" (no definite article) and then "the __ of
antichrist". So there's no confusing any of this.
As to what it means, certainly the devil is behind all lies and particularly and actively behind those which support his anti-truth system and his plan to dominate the world through the person of his son in times to come (not too far off now). But "the spirit of" means "the guiding or empowering principle of __" rather than something concrete – another difference from THE Spirit of God, the third person of the Trinity.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Matthew 24:1-2 (NASB) 1 Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. 2 And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”
When exactly will the Tribulation temple be torn down? Moses and Elijah will build the third temple, the beast will take his seat in it, then when his northern kingdom goes dark the orthodox Jews will cleanse it, and then they will have control over it until Jesus comes back to save at the second advent. So, I'm assuming that the temple will be destroyed at the final siege by the antichrist?
Zech 14:2a (NASB) 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled,
In Jesus our Savior,
As to Matthew 24:1-2, that verse has been fulfilled. It doesn't apply to
the temple of the Tribulation the building of which Moses and Elijah
will oversee. That is the basis of the millennial temple – which will be
"built up" and embellished by the Lord on His return (see the link:
"Will the Temple be Rebuilt?").
Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.
Dear Prof, greetings to you sir. How are you doing? We hear so much of
Louisville in the news. All not too good. Even in the University.
I hope you and your family are safe.
Praying for you sir.
The Lord keep you and strengthen you.
It was a tense day, that first day, but the authorities put down the trouble
forcefully, and we haven't had any trouble since (still early tonight, however);
curfew in effect.
All safe and sound here – thanks for your concern and for your prayers, my friend!
In Jesus our dear Savior,
Looks like things are getting "spicy" in your town tonight. Our Lord knows all and I'm sure is keeping you safe and sound. If they riot every time the police shoots someone then "justice" will continue to just keep getting more and more perverted. That's what Satan wants after all considering our God is a God of perfect justice.
Amen, my friend! Justice IS coming, but a lot of those who are yelling for it aren't going to like it much when it does:
But the LORD Almighty will be exalted by his justice, and the holy God will be proved holy by his righteous acts. Then sheep will graze as in their own pasture; lambs will feed among the ruins of the rich. Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes, to those who say, “Let God hurry; let him hasten his work so we may see it. The plan of the Holy One of Israel— let it approach, let it come into view, so we may know it.” Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent. Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 5:16-24 NIV
Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD? That day will be darkness, not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light— pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness? "I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me."
Amos 5:18-21 NIV
Law and order, family, nationalism – these are all the basic elements of freedom
necessary for people to have space to make their decision in life whether to
follow the Lord or not. Without them, anarchy becomes tyranny and then there is
no space for choice. We'll see the full fruitage of that during the Tribulation.
This is just a small murmur of what's to come.
Thanks for your prayers and concerns, my friend! All safe and sound here present – thanks be to God!
In Jesus our dear Savior,