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Question #1:

Congratulations Bob on your astonishing achievement : completion of your Bible Basics series after 30 odd years of hard slog! Thank you for all you have done to help me grow in faith: to love and serve our Lord! God bless you and your ministry! Your friend in Jesus,

Response #1:

Thanks for the felicitations on BB 7: Bibliology!

Greatly appreciated, my friend.

Thanks for hanging in there with it.

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #2:

Professor, I forgot to include my question on 2 Thessalonians 2:11. How should we understand Paul's usage of the present tense in this verse?

Our friend's note based on your teaching:  "The empowerment of error" (2Thes.2:11) = future divine facilitation of unbeliever susceptibility to the satanic influence of the previous three passages during the Tribulation."

I have wondered whether the empowerment of error should apply only to the Tribulation, or rather in a sense similar to verse 7 where the "mystery of lawlessness" is described as being already at work even though it is already during the Tribulation that it will reach its climax.

Response #2:

On this one, as both Paul in context and John in 1st John make clear, that spirit of error / of antichrist is already at work, but there is an intensification of it during the Tribulation based on 1) the removal of Holy Spirit restraint (link) and 2) a specific "energizing" sent by God Himself to show the distinction between His followers and the followers of the beast along the lines of what He did to Pharaoh – not a removal of free will but a special allowance to use it insanely beyond all normal human restraints.

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hello Bob,

I am grinding out a comprehensive pre-trib rapture refutation. It's taking me a while though because I'd like to make it bulletproof and crystal clear. Lot's of reading, re-reading, and refining.

One question I had for you is the "days of Noah":

Matthew 24:38-39 (NASB)
38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.

Our Lord's wording through me off a bit. He says the words "eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage". This sounds almost a bit merry. During the massive judgements and death during the Tribulation it's a bit hard for me to imagine people living cheerfully like this, and does if indoctrinated with the false teaching sound a bit like what would be the case before the Tribulation.

In Jesus

Response #3:

It is a very interesting passage, one I've commented on before in this vein (but that reference would be hard to find no doubt). Yes, that is true – life goes on, even in the Tribulation. Despite all of the horrible things that will happen on the earthward side, and the intensification of evil due to the removal of the Holy Spirit's restraining of lawlessness (the mystery of which, of course, is already at work but not fully unencumbered), and despite the judgments coming from the heavenward side, people will still be functioning. That would have to be the case for any of the "history" described in the biblical texts about the end times to be possible, after all. Antichrist's mustering of the largest army in the history of the world for Armageddon and his transporting it to Israel from all over the world means that basic systems will still be in operation. There is much historical precedent for that. Just consider how completely devastated Germany and Japan were by allied bombing campaigns, and yet both societies continued to function without anything close to a break-down all the way until the end. After Dresden and after Hiroshima, there were still people left who "cleaned up" and went on with their daily lives as best they could. Understand: there was plenty of suffering and plenty of death. But life went on.

The present "double unpleasantness" (on the verge of tripling?) is a good example of this phenomenon of human resilience. Everyone seems to be somewhat miserable as a result of "all this" – and yet life is going on. The same will be true of the Tribulation. But in terms of being "a bit merry", I don't think we should infer that. Soldiers on the line have always had to "eat and drink", and there are plenty of marriages in wartime – even though things are very much less than "merry". This prophecy is literally true, but these activities are meant to represent life continuing, even if it's anything but "normal" – like today, only on a vastly more miserable scale. Here's the picture Isaiah paints of the situation just prior to the second advent:

Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left.
The new wine dries up and the vine withers; all the merrymakers groan.
The joyful timbrels are stilled, the noise of the revelers has stopped, the joyful harp is silent.
No longer do they drink wine with a song; the beer is bitter to its drinkers.
The ruined city lies desolate; the entrance to every house is barred.
In the streets they cry out for wine; all joy turns to gloom, all joyful sounds are banished from the earth.
The city is left in ruins, its gate is battered to pieces.
Isaiah 24:6-12 NIV

But very soon thereafter for us who belong to Jesus Christ . . .

They raise their voices, they shout for joy; from the west they acclaim the LORD’s majesty.
Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD; exalt the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea.
From the ends of the earth we hear singing: “Glory to the Righteous One.”
Isaiah 24:14-16a NIV

And . . .

The moon will be dismayed, the sun ashamed; for the LORD Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders—with great glory.
Isaiah 24:23 NIV

Anticipating all this in Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hello Professor Luginbill,

I think it is fair to call chapter 7 of Revelation a description of the Christian ministries -- the 144,000 during the first half and the martyrs during the second half -- as a direct contrast to the Satanic trends described in the 5 seals (6 being one of judgment for the evil).

The one hesitancy I have with labeling the back of half chapter 7 (the part describing the martyrs) as a juxtaposition of Christian ministries to the Satanic excess is the similarity between the fifth seal description and the description in the second of chapter 7. They are very similar, although I think the chapter 7 description has a more positive tone than the fifth seal in chapter 6. Do you agree with that?

P.S – politics is really getting out of hand – [comments about the addictive nature of following it – to which we can all relate – omitted]

In our Lord,

Response #4:

One way I try to keep perspective on that: did you see anyone in the debate coverage last night – at any time – who you think is likely to even be a believer? I did not. Think about that. They yell and lie and are yelled at and lied about and spin and judge and attempt to persuade and browbeat (talking about the commentators – you can throw the moderators and candidates in too of course) – and for what? Even if they got their way about everything (and that never comes close to happening), how long would that last? A few short years and back to dust they go just like the rest of us. The big difference is that we are going up and they are going down. Whatever troubles we've endured, whatever frustrations we have to deal with, whatever lies and pressures we've had thrown at us, it won't mean a thing on the other side. On the other hand, whatever victories they've achieved won't make them a tiny bit less miserable in Torments . . . where they'll be awaiting the last judgment and the lake of fire.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men 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 evil men will be cut off, 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 great peace.
Psalm 37:7-11 NIV1984

On your question, both passages are speaking of the Great Persecution; it's present in chapter seven because the 144,000 are the "first fruits" of that persecution. As to counterpoint, here is what I write in CT 2B: "This unique presentation of the gospel [by the 144K] will contrast sharply with the worldwide "evangelism of evil" by the beast and his false prophet for his false anti-Christian religion in the Tribulation's second half."

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hi Bob,

I was doing some thinking on the "half an hour" time length for the seventh seal. And while I do think 6 months is a good estimate ("half a time [year]") to get to the fall feasts, I stumbled across another possibility today:

Our Lord calls the Tribulation "the hour of testing" twice in His address to the church of Philadelphia: Revelation 3:10 (NASB) 10 Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.

Given that the "hour of testing" is 7 years, it is possible that the "half hour" is 3.5 years in length. This would put the start date of the Tribulation in the fall of 2029 rather than the fall of 2026. This interpretation would still put the start date in-line with the fall feasts as well and would give more time for Babylon to gain strength. Finally the antichrist would be at roughly the same age as Jesus Christ was when He started His ministry if we are assuming a 2,000 year birth for the antichrist.

While this may push the 1,000 year time-frame back to 1,003.5 years, it would not be out of character because the current 6-month interpretation is still over 1,000 years as well. In addition our estimates of the length of the age of the gentiles and Israel is approximate after all.

Just a thought.

In Jesus,

Response #5:

A most innovative theory! And well defended as a possibility too. If we are still waiting for things to happen six years from now, I'll definitely pull out this email!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hi Bob,

I have a couple more points to add in favor of this possible argument:

1. While Trump most certainly will be re-elected in a few weeks if this country is going to be strong enough to be Babylon. I also think there is something to be said for Trump being dead a few years before antichrist comes to power given the cult following around the man. If Trump is in power until 2024, which I think he will be, then that would leave only two years for his cult following Trump to die, his cult to die down, and the antichrist to take the shine. 2029 leaves more time for Trump to die and then there to be some sort of "void" for longer.

2. If we subscribe to "2026" that means we are less than 6 years away now. In my opinion that may not be enough time for the US to pull the remainder of its troops from the middle east, the middle east to unite, and the Mahdi to gain traction. Plus the side-effects of that (terrorist attacks etc.) will also take time to have an effect on western consciousness. 9 years gives this a more reasonable timeframe to brew.

3. Antichrist at 26 seems very young, while 29 seems like a more legitimate age of worldwide leadership.

In a response on the age of Christ's ministry you say, "I have tried to show that this would have been just before His thirtieth birthday in late A.D. 29. Thus, adding a three and one half year ministry (required on the basis of chronological information throughout John's gospel), yields a date for the crucifixion/resurrection of spring A.D. 33, making our Lord's age at that time 33 (and roughly three months)."

With the 2029 fall possibility, that would also make antichrist 29 years old or a little bit less, almost the exact same age as Jesus when he started his ministry. Him taking the seat in the temple would be almost the exact same age as Jesus when He died for our sins! I'd argue that the devil tries to imitate God more than anything else, and this seems like a replica emulation in his typical sick way. I already said this, but I wanted to flesh it out a bit more.

4. Joseph's dream of the 7 good years and then 7 bad years seems like it has Tribulational significance as you have postulated. I'd argue this coronavirus and the nasty effects it has had on alot of our brethren possibly argues that the seven years more likely begins in 2022 rather than 2019. Of course the problems were not caused by the virus itself but the "safety measures" such as shutting down the worldwide economy, putting people into solitary confinement for months, and keeping schools closed for twice as long.

5. The 3.5 "half an hour" of silence makes the last 10.5 years before Christ into 3 uniform chunks (3.5 year silence) (3.5 year first half) (3.5 year great tribulation). Interesting symmetry here. The half hour of silence would also be exactly the same the length of the great tribulation -- a day for a day to prepare.

6. I have caught a whiff of a growing popularity of this "2026" date among modern day evangelicals. Some of them espousing it are just horrific teachers with little regard to what the Bible actually says and means. In their arguments they typically cite the Hosea verse and date of the resurrection of Christ. None of them ever mention this "half hour" and disregard it entirely. Given that God typically likes to spoil bad teachers and their advice, I wouldn't be surprised to see the time go beyond expectations as a test of faith, only for it to happen just a few years later.

I hope that this is correct tbh! I'd like a few bonus years to prepare.

In Jesus our Lord and Savior,

Response #6:

These are all reasonable prognostications, but things could also go the other way easily enough. In terms of "enough time", for example, we have no idea how fast things could change during the Tribulation proper (let alone the few months before it starts.

Yes, I'm sure a lot of folks would love "more time". Personally, I'd just as soon get it all over with – but then I've had to put up with things a tad longer than you!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hello Professor,

How have you been, sir? Me, I am just as fine as I can be. The CV-19 hullabaloo has been passing me by, I thank my Lord. I have been following with interest the events in Europe & your country as far as the CV-19 issue is concerned; I have been following with even greater interest the chronicling of same in relationship to what you have been writing via the “Eschatology Issues” series (XXXXX this week). This has been a source of great teaching, encouragement, strength, fellowship, etc, to me, I have to tell you, during this time. I have also noted your personal physical health issues – hip, knee, ankle(?), and have been praying for your recovery and continual protection by our Lord throughout. I know I have been silent for a long time, but believe me, I follow and learn events through Ichthys eyes, so to speak, with utmost interest and focus. I noted with sadness the passing of our friend's dad; I sent him my condolences and commiserations. He is a great teacher, sir. Blessed thing for Nigeria.

I have been some busy. Last month I launched my ministry website. Its at: https://sayuni.co.tz  Its in Kiswahili mostly, but I will be going bi-lingual sometime in the future. Sayuni means Zion in Kiswahili; thought it was appropriate.

Wonderful to have witnessed close hand the launching of other friend’s ministry via those impactful videos! Great stuff to see all the “tutored” gradually becoming “tutors” themselves.

Prof., I have one small request. I have been noting the very excellent teaching that you impart via the weekly e-mails. I want to use some of those e-mails as a source of my own teaching. I will be giving full credit to the source, of course. But I wanted to get your permission first. I want to use the selected questions and answers as a skeleton and basis for a more expanded teaching, like, say, a single-page Q & A becoming a 3/4 – page short lesson. I have a section in my website for Short Lessons, where these will slot in nicely. I will be doing all this in Kiswahili.

Its been great to write to you after all this time. My prayers are with you every day.

In Jesus our King,

Response #7:

Great to hear from you, my friend – and heartiest congratulations on the website! Looks wonderful!

You absolutely have permission to make full use of any and all of the Ichthys materials.

I'm am very loaded down at the moment at work and in life generally with health issue on top of that. But God is good and He has "repaired me" to a workable level and is fixing me more and more day by day – so thanks so much for those prayers! The Covid thing and the insurrection have added to the trouble and the load here, making it hard for us all to function, wearing us down, adding layers of trouble to all we do and also piling things on top of all we have to deal with normally. My students at the university are having a very hard go of it. But all things come to an end. If I can make it through the next two months, the Christmas break is starting early (that is to say, because of going "digital" at that time it will be a break for me from then on because my work is mostly already completed), and next semester promises to be a great deal easier if not nearly back to normal yet.

So my prediction: "I survived it – thanks to the grace of God and the prayer of my good friends . . . such as you!"

In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
Isaiah 25:9 NIV

I'm linking to your site on my Special Topics page.

Keeping you in my prayers daily too, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hi Bob, I'm studying your CT series this afternoon, and a thought came to mind. This is not a big deal for me.....just wondering about how does this event work as stated from Rev. 1:7 and 1 Thess. 4:17. At the last trump and Jesus' 2nd. advent........"He is coming with clouds". What I was wondering is "where will we go (in the air) if that is the very moment He is coming back with "clouds" and we will meet Him in the air? This is the "snatching up" time and at this very same moment (our resurrection), He is returning with us in glory. It seems to me that this is a short launch into the air, then back to terra firma? I'm looking eagerly for our Lord's return. Whether I'm dead before or alive at His appearing this event will be the Blessed Hope that we believers have been waiting for. We will be praising God forever! Hope you are well. Your friend in Jesus, our Blessed Hope,

Response #8:

Always good to hear from you, my friend – and good to hear that you are studying the Word!

There are a great many events that happen just prior to, just after and coincident with the second advent. So when reading the gospels or epistles or Revelation, e.g., it is not surprising that not all of these are always introduced, individually discussed, and set in precise chronological order; that would require the NT to be about twice as long as it presently is (and heavily footnoted too). But there is more than enough information given to us in aggregate to be able to do just that in teaching scripture – and that of course is what the CT series is designed to do, and not just with the second advent.

As to the Lord's return in particular, I do lay this all out in CT 5 (link). Even so, some things have to be treated apart to avoid confusion. In short: Our Lord returns with clouds of angels; then the trumpet is sounded and the Church resurrected and marshaled into its units alongside them to become part of the Messiahs' host; then the battle of Armageddon begins (we have a role to play there as well; link).

Not that there is isn't a great deal more we would like to know – but we are given to know many wondrous things. After the battle, we know generalities about the establishment of the Messiah's kingdom (we have a role there too; in CT 7: "Judgment and Reward of the Church, see para.4, "Millennial Offices"), but we are only given a few things about the day to day development (mostly having to do with the return of all remaining Jews to the land of Israel).

Hope you and your family are doing well, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hi Bob,

Just checking in. I perhaps may send a more detailed email later, but I wanted to check on you. I hope all is well, and I am excited to see the completion of Bible basics. I hope you get a sense of satisfaction from completing such a monumental task.

May I have an invite to the forum again? I got sick around the time I got that invite last year. I’m still sick, but slightly more functional. I really need prayers for healing. I want to be prepared for the times to come, but all of my spiritual energy goes toward defense instead of offense. It’s very hard to keep a good attitude about being miserable for a year and wanting to be taken at times.

Thanks for your prayers, I will keep you in mine as well. I sometimes wonder how people can function day to day without taking refuge in Christ. What do they hope for? But we have eternity ahead of us if we choose to stay in Him.

Response #9:

I'm sorry to hear that you are still ill, my friend. I have been praying for your health. Health problems really do drain us and are a great drag on us. Fighting through even so as you are doing is passing the test – so please endeavor to keep it up, and I promise to keep fighting with you in prayer.

Thanks for your encouragement re: BB 7! It is a relief, actually, to have gotten this done (along with the SR and CT series) before getting run over by some errant bus. Finishing the Peter series will be next, but that really WILL depend on how much time is left. I'm up to 33 lessons and not done with chapter 2 of 8 chapters total for the two epistles, so I'll have to make some alterations to my methodology if I'm going to give myself a chance to finish it before "kingdom come".

Amen! I couldn't get through a day without the Lord, and I wouldn't have the motivation to do so either. This world is so totally pointless without Him and without the hope of resurrection and reward that I just don't understand how unbelievers can make themselves even get up out of bed in the morning.

Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.
What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?"
Ecclesiastes 1:2-3 NIV

I've sent our friend an email asking him to mail you a new request. Please let me know if you haven't received this in about a week or so.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hello Dr.,

In your DropBox you should find the following audio file: Should Christians Fear the Tribulation

Things are well here, no complaints. Been busy with work and and projects around the house. Seems from the postings at Ichthys that many of us are having the same thoughts. The globalist powers that wannabe are determined to usher in a dystopian “new normal” for us, it makes me wonder where their soon to be revealed satanic prince is, we’ll know soon enough. Things are not what they seem, the lies are endless and there’s a growing sense of unease in all of this that most people just can’t face, normalcy bias is becoming the rule for many. Thank God we have Jesus Christ, as long as we remain faithful to Him we have nothing to fear.

How are you Sir? I keep you in prayer daily and want to thank you for updating the prayer list for us at Ichthys, much appreciated and always needed. Thanks for all you do!

All the best,

Rev.22:20

Response #10:

Thanks! File works great. I was looking over the list on the MP3 page and was struck by how much work you've done on this over the years! Much appreciated, my friend.

I also appreciate your spiritual common sense and ability to cut through things to the pith. Yes, I don't know how people are coping without the truth and without the Lord. I guess the answer is most are not, not very well, at any rate – and that includes believers who have not yet gotten serious about the truth. My students at the university are having a tough time of it, I can tell you. I have this feeling of a pressure cooker getting ready to blow its lid. I think that phenomenon helps to explain the insurrectionist activities that have been going on of late too. There's always been a small cadre of such people around, but now they've got great heaps of tinder lying all about just ready to set on fire. No great cause or concern needed beyond the present uncomfortable situation to set things ablaze.

Staying busy is a tonic! I'm VERY busy at present. Teaching has gotten a lot more difficult with the Covid restrictions and with all of the accommodations I'm needing to make for what it seems like at this point of the semester are the majority of my students. Some sick, some quarantined, some running into one problem or another that is directly or indirectly related to what's going on (from one or the other of this double catastrophe we're enduring), many are depressed, and I've got a good deal of admin work from the committees I'm on too (and even there having to pick up some extra things because colleagues are also getting burned out). But I am making progress in the things that count. I'm getting very close on BB 7 and hope to have it out sometime next month at the latest [now posted at the link]. Health is not terrible. I had an "incident" with my right eye but it seems to be mostly recovered, and the left knee is about 2/3rds back now; other "issues" also on the back burner presently, so I'm happy to be declared fit for the next mission (even if the old crate is missing some parts and patched up pretty thoroughly, it still seems to be able to lift off the ground when necessary).

Thanks again for your help, your great attitude . . . and of course for your prayers, my friend!

Keeping you and your family in mine every day.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Bob, I'm glad to say that I'm already on the mend. What has helped a great deal was reading your section on Laodicea. It has made me feel less crazy now I know why this is happening.

Also I've been deploying my blood hound detective sniffer skills and have been nosing around the Nazarene Church and have discovered that in recent years they have made the very controversial decision to embrace the "Emergent Church" which has culminated in a huge number of older Pastors and Elders leaving en masse. Apparently they ushered these changes in so secretively that a petition was raised by many believers and pastors to demand transparency on the changes happening within the church and it's departure from a Wesleyan Holiness tradition.

What this Emergent Church is a "postmodern view" of Christianity and is typified by the following:

1) Promotion of social justice
2) Postmodern reading of theology
3) Dominion theology
4) Seeker sensitive (to get rid of the trappings of the old church services that make outsiders
feel uncomfortable and instead embracing contemporary culture)
5) Inclusivity (other religions and minority groups including LGBTQ)
6) Tech heavy services
7) Reinterpretation of the Bible
8) Casual and modern attitude to worship (Christian Rock songs promoted and dancing. Hillsong/ Elevation/ Bethel music promoted. Guitar band worship groups rather than organ and hymns)
9) Experience focused (about feelings and euphoria and how the bible relates to you)
10) Downplaying and removal of doctrines that may prove upsetting to newcomers (i.e. that we are all sinners and that some will go to hell)

This is not an exhaustive list but suddenly I can now understand why we had to watch videos about American footballers and human trafficking during the service and that some of the songs they played actually had dance moves that we were asked to do. That the whole service is always a PowerPoint presentation and that YouTube is the main source of material used in the service. I also know why they never touch on Eschatology, sin or death but only focus on the "feel good" parts of the Bible.

I also understand why the bible group walks on eggshells around people. Maybe they are taking the "seeker sensitive" approach of not correcting bad theology. Maybe this is also why they were horrified when I mentioned that Satan "exists"!

So I've now decided to break with both of them. I've been sent an invite to church hymns and prayers tomorrow night from another church that looks on paper to be more conservative. I guess I'll have to wait and see.

Now that I actually have a name for all this crazy stuff happening around me, I now feel a lot better. I guess Satan is really getting busy prepping the church for the great apostasy and he is using this post modern stance to achieve his ends!

I've also found out that the Nazarene church has paid for some of their youth groups to go to sabbaticals at Catholic monasteries! So you have the ugly head of ecumenism rising there too!

In Jesus,

Response #11:

I'm very glad to receive this email from you, my friend!

You are rallying as you always do – in Jesus Christ and in His truth.

I have been concerned about this association ever since you first mentioned it to me. And I am actually quite relieved to hear that you have parted company at last. Believe me, I know about the longing for personal face-to-face fellowship – or even virtual fellowship, but I also know from long experience and observation about the dangers and disappointments the WRONG places and people always bring on.

God does hear our prayers. And He always does give us what we really do need. But we do need to be patient in placing our petitions before Him and waiting on Him to deliver us and provide for us. He always does. The children of Israel whined and complained and immediately tossed aside all patience, faith and hope whenever they were tested. But Abraham waited until he was 99! It is rare that the Lord makes anyone wait quite so long (and even in Abraham's case it probably wouldn't have been that long if he had not let himself be persuaded to engage in "operation Hagar"), but we often do have to wait on necessary things. In the meantime, our Lord also always gives us the spiritual means to endure and, yes, to thrive . . . through attention to the truth of the Word.

So my prayer for you is that you will get what you want and what you need – but that in the meantime you will devote yourself to spiritual growth. After all, we can really only properly appreciate and handle great blessings if we are spiritually mature enough to have the capacity to do so in the first place.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior.

Bob L.

Question #12:

I did do something that may have been rash.. In my panic about the Nazarene Church, I contacted another church near me that seemed to be conservative. I guess I was on a bit of a "rebound". I have been thinking of "Operation Hagar" all day in my head and realised that that is what I have been doing.

I committed myself to a prayer and hymns online this evening over Zoom and I have to say I almost cancelled a few minutes before as I actually felt scared. Anyway, it seems much more promising. Very simple old fashioned hymns with no accompaniment and some prayers. At the end I had a meeting with what I guess was their elders and I was terrified but they were approachable and they said that they only do everything by the bible and that they want to be told if they are not "by the book". They model themselves on the early church model.
I can see immediately that there is no danger of liberalism in this church but instead I could see how this kind of church could lean more toward legalism. The only way of knowing is through time I guess. They did mention that they rebuke one another. Should I be alarmed about that?

Have I done this wrong again? Is it operation Hagar again? I didn't wait on God about this and rushed in again. I don't want to go from the liberal frying pan and then into the legalistic fire!

I am a bit worried now as I have lost a lot of trust in "churches". A bit like the Nazarene church, they have something going on most nights. I don't want to overcommit myself again. Maybe I'll only join every once in a while and carry on with my spiritual growth through your site?

Like a person from a rebound, I'm feeling vulnerable right now. Should I take time out from churches altogether? I have to say that I am actually scared that this one will be worse than the last one but in a strict way. It's sad to say that I feel actually quite frightened! It's sad to be frightened of Christians isn't it.

Have you ever thought of hosting your own online video fellowship groups? I can imagine them to be standing room only and probably be so crowded that you might only be able to squeeze in yourself! Only thing is that it would be like an endless Q and A session and would probably be exhausting for you to field the zillion questions from people like me who've been too lazy to read your site.

I've just been going over that meeting with the "elders" again. Within a very short amount of time they mentioned both "rebuking" (they said that they do this A LOT) and then they also mentioned "discipline" also as a separate thing. This was pretty early on in the conversation. I know that rebuking and discipline is biblical but it's just that they seemed to immediately focus on that which seems alarming to me. When should discipline and rebuking be used in a church setting?

I'm also not happy that they have "events" going on every day of the week. Apparently that is another symptom of cultish behaviour, when they dominate your time.

They also tithe too...

In our loving Saviour, Jesus Christ,

Response #12:

I fear your analysis of this new place is right on the money as well. True biblical "rebuking" is a last-ditch sort of thing meant for only the most outrageous behavior which is leading some members of the congregation astray (see the link in BB 6B: "Discipline"). Doing it willy-nilly is tantamount to using tactical nuclear weapons for parking meter violations. And tithing is so obviously NOT appropriate for the Church (it being a system of income tax for Israel under the Law), that we can say for certain that any "church" using it is more concerned about money than it is about the Word of God.

Which brings me to the key point: the entire PURPOSE of Christian assembly is the teaching of and encouragement through the truth of the Word of God. Mutual encouragement of and from fellow Christians who likewise share this top priority – of spiritual growth, progress and production – can be a by-product of such properly motivated assemblies. But how can a Christian even come to spiritual maturity in the first place, so as to be able to give godly encouragement to others, if he/she is stuck in a place where the Bible is not being taught in-depth and in truth?

Sadly, these are usually the only choices in Laodicea. What they substitute for the truth varies (emotion, legalism, ritual, high-tech music productions, cult-control, etc.), but they all have in common that they do not provide the truth. This would be analogous to living in a city which all manner of interesting restaurants and cafes of every sort of ethnic cuisine and other variation with great ambience – and none of them actually serving any food. That's where we are at the end of the last era of the Church Age. Blessedly, you have found at least TWO good exceptions: Ichthys and Bible Academy (you might also try out Bible Crash Course). A lot to be thankful for there even if they don't provide the exact sort of "fellowship" one might want – because it's worth asking oneself what "fellowship" is worth if its not really based on a mutually deep commitment to Jesus Christ (but rather only superficially going through the motions).

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it."
Matthew 13:44-46 NIV

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Re: the "Frozen Chosen"

Bob, I have drafted an email to send to the Church of Christ next time they send me an invite..

"Thank you so much for inviting me into your church and for showing me around!

Since last night I have been thinking and praying a great deal and I have realised that jumping from one church hastily to the next is like Abraham trusting Hagar for a child instead of God. I did not seek God on this change and was not patient about it.

I am now waiting on the Lord to guide me and He will show me the way forward to find fellowship in His own time.

I study Eschatology a great deal and because I believe that we are near the tribulation and even nearer to the great apostasy, every decision I make over the next few years needs to be made very carefully (I do not believe in either pre-tribulation rapture, institutional security or OSAS).

I am going back to the original ministry that I started with as I was growing and maturing there a great deal and felt the abundant peace and joy there is in knowing that I am saved by grace through faith alone. It is a free gift, not by works (should any man boast).

Thanks again for your kindness in showing me around your church and congregation. I hope that you will endure and overcome all that we will go through in the future and abide in Jesus. As Paul said "Count it all for joy!"

1 John 4:7-21

God bless you all!"

Do you think this a good email to send? I was trying to plant discreet things against legalism in there but tried to make it as least confrontational and as loving as possible. I wanted to show them that I am strong and confident in my faith and that I am not easily duped by cult teachings (in case they tried to Lovebomb or bait me back) I also wanted to show the Pastor the truth and plant a seed in him to show him that a person can be certain of their salvation outside of a "bible following" "early church model" institution.

So I was aiming at multiple targets with one arrow. I know this will be the only shot I have at reaching out to him with the truth whilst maintaining my own position and safe distance. I had to make that one shot count.

In Jesus,

Response #13:

My own preference when it comes to these sorts of things is just to leave quietly. After all, if there is enough reason to leave, then the odds of any truth imparted on our way out the door having a positive effect are small.

I personally certainly agree with everything you've written, however!

In Jesus our all-sufficient Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Thank you so much Bob!

Yes indeed I was thinking of maybe writing it all up and then maybe it could be useful on your site to warn others and I could build on what I already know and put it together as a ministry like you said. I really enjoy investigative work and using my old bloodhound nose! Like a private detective!

Yes I feel so much freer now I know where I am and where I should be and to see how others are still in bondage makes me all that more resolute. I appreciate just how blessed I am to sidestep all these snares.. I am very stubborn when it comes to the truth. I will not be moved! Not even in the slightest.

The legalist church came back to my email and was trying to push the argument of "faith without works is dead" to push their idea on what those works should be. This seems a very common tactic. It was nice that the pastor responded so well to "God is love", hopefully I planted a seed there. It's sad to think he may not get much love from the elders in his church at all what with all the rebuking and disciplining they feel compelled to do.

That church is called Church Of Christ and it seems that they have tried to cobble together a list of "rules" from Paul and Peter's letters in the New Testament and then claimed that they are just like the early church and therefore only they will be saved! Crazy stuff!

In Jesus, the truth, the life and the way,

Response #14:

A very clear and incisive letter. However, to be honest, I'd be a bit surprised if you get any response. If you do, beware, because it probably will not be an "in kind" type of response, answering your qualms in the same logical and straightforward as you posed them, but probably more of a "personal appeal" and guilt-focused response (that is what I have seen many times occur, so I warn you ahead of time).

Keep pressing forward with the truth, my friend! You know a very great deal about all manner of false doctrines, dangerous theories and compromised groups by now – an ideal starting point for an apologetics ministry!

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hello again Bob,

I have had a reply from my Pastor and I'm trying to pick through it as I'm not sure of some of the points so could I run this by you?

[omitted]

It may be as I feared. He has taken this direction with this particular church because this is the direction he believes in and embraces as an individual. I thought it may be a decision from top down but it instead paints a picture of a church as a franchise whereby the pastor can choose bits and pieces and glue them together to make a church that pleases his individual temperament and identity.

Am I being too harsh here? What is your reading on this response?

In Jesus, the narrow gate,

Response #15:

As with most individuals who have a lot invested, this person seems perfectly comfortable with his views and with his application, and has made accommodations and rationalizations to "make it all fit". That is what people do in life generally -- when they are not seeking God. That is true of atheists and agnostics and deists and Catholics and traditional Protestants . . . and all manner of unbelievers and cult-members and traditionalists who do not actually believe in Jesus Christ. And, sadly, it is also true of the majority of genuine Christians in lukewarm Laodicea.

For these are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the LORD’s instruction. They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!”
Isaiah 30:9-11 NIV (cf. Ex.14:12; Job 21:14; 22:17)

It would almost be amusing if it were not so sad, that correspondent relates the deep personal revelation about there being textual issues in the Old Testament – and uses that as a magic wand to proclaim the entire Bible whatever he now wants it to be. This is the first step people take when they reject the Lord and His Word and the authority of both. First, you have to become your own authority – as opposed to diligently seeking out what His Word and His Will truly are.

I don't think this correspondence will come to any good, but you have to do what the Spirit is leading you to do.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Dear Prof, how are you sir? Trusting the Lord is keeping you and meeting all your needs. Realised I did not respond to your last mail. We have all recovered thank you. He will surely uphold us with the right hand of His righteousness.

Here, as you probably heard, there is a lot of protest going on nationwide . It started with extrajudicial killings by police officers. The protests then spiraled into protests against every conceivable evil that govt. is perpetrating. I think the frustrations of the effects of the just ended Covid lockdown spurred people to action; after all extrajudicial killing have been on going for years. Of course miscreants have hijacked the protests in many places and govt is reacting to the violence by using soldiers to massacre people.

What is happening generally is that most Christians here have joined the fray. (I know, I know; it's Laodicea. Don't say duh!) The way they are going on about it, you would think that this world is our kingdom so we must fight for it. I've had a number of people call me about the situation thinking I will join their them in sentiments only for them to hear what they don't want to hear. I talk about this scripture: 1 Timothy 2:2 NIV for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

And I ask: right now with the level of involvement of most Christians are we living peaceful lives? No. Quiet Lives? No. Godly and holy lives? No; we are distracted emotionally and even physically. Some Christians under the guise of prayer walked through the streets in protest. Obviously most will no longer be praying for those in authority. Few that called changed their minds when I asked: of what eternal value is this protest? And some other discussions. Hoping the mind changes will last.

Prof, trying to keep focused in the midst of all this. All things will work for our good if we stay focused on the Lords will. Thank God for what you taught me. Hope your election period will be peaceful for you. The Lord keep you and yours.

In Him

Response #16:

I did hear a little about this, but you have to understand that Babylon is entirely narcissistic, and very perversely so (95% of what one hears on "the news" is propaganda and one has to read between the lines to get any real information at all). I have been praying for you and your family and all our brethren in your country connected to Ichthys a little or a lot. I'm happy to hear that you are coming to end of this nightmare personally; I'm praying for good outcomes there too. Happy also to hear that you have good health!

I want to commend you for your godly stance and good words! I know this can't be easy to say – and it's very hard to keep one's own emotions in check and not be baited into participating (at least in one's heart) when we see evil flourishing and brazenly "calling evil good, and good evil; putting darkness for light, and light for darkness; putting bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter" (Is.5:20). It takes a very mature reliance on the Lord and determination to seek His peace and reject worldly solutions to do so. You encourage me, brother!

"All things will work for our good if we stay focused on the Lords will." Amen! If you can do this in what you are going through, we in this country ought to follow your good example under what are so far not nearly as extreme pressures – we'll see what happens over here in two weeks or so, however.

Stay safe, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our Rock of deliverance.

Bob L.

Question #17:

Dear Prof

I wish to congratulate you on the Bible Basics series completion. The Lord has manifested himself in this ministry to be faithful and we are grateful to the Lord to be associated with you. We have been praying and keep praying that this grace through you shall reach more and more people and will cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of our God. May this (and the whole BB series) break stony hearts and turn them to the Lord. Thank you for your inspired focused efforts.

As per the NLT, when I reading that version and go "wow I didn't know that was in the bible" I usually go to various other translations till I'm comfortable. Your translations have been invaluable. Thanks for looking at the chart. When you say "busy", does it mean it may not be so useful? That its too loaded up for clarity? It actually helped me after I had read and assimilated CT. I'll break the chart down sir so you can review and respond.

Streams of Events in Daniels 70th Week: The last 7years before Christs second coming- known as the Tribulation

[From 0 (or day 1) - start of the tribulation
To 7years - Christ's Second Coming
Broken into two halves of three and half years each.]

1. Daniel
2. Matthew 24
3. Seal Trends
4. Trumpets
5. Wise Virgins
6. Witnesses
7. Vials

1. Daniel
Week of 7years starts with signing of covenant Dan 9:27
1st half - Antichrist (AC) fights wars Dan 11:5-30
Midway - Covenant broken Dan 9:27
- AC enters temple Dan 11:31
2nd half - AC reigns, Great Tribulation (GT) Dan 11:32-45
2nd Coming of Christ - Dan 7:14,18

2. Matthew 24
1st half - Beginning of sorrows Matt 24:4-8
2nd half - GT Matt 24:9-25
2nd Coming - Matt 24:29-30

3. Seals: Trends (Revelation 6)
Start - 7th Seal opens the book
1st half -Seals 1-4
Midway - Seal 5
2nd half - Seal 5
2nd Coming - Seal 6

4. Trumpets (here's where my question starts)
Starts 21 months after the start of the seven years (Rev 8:5) ; since the 1st six trumpets last 21 months and end at midpoint of the 7 years and the 7th trumpet starts then till Christ is about to come.

If we know the tribulation to be 7years and the 1st trumpet starts 21 months after the start of the tribulation, can we still say that Rev 8:5 is the start of the tribulation? Is there not a conflict (probably in terminology)? That is, I can't say: Start of 7years of tribulation = Rev 8:5
Hope I'm clear sir.

5. Wise Virgins (GT) (Not like this in CT, but correct me sir)
Midway of the 7years = Start of GT - Bridegroom Announcement Matt 25:6 cf Rev 11:15
2nd half - AC Onslaught Dan 11:32-35
2nd Coming - Matt 25:10, Rev 19:7

6. Witnesses and 144,000
Start of 7 years of tribulation - Witnesses build (supervise) temple Rev 11:1-3
Commissioning of 144,000 by witnesses
(144,00 already sealed in Rev 7:3-8)
1st half - Witnesses minister
144,000 evangelise
Midway - AC kills - Witnesses Rev 11:7
- 144,000 Rev 14:1

7. Vials
Starts one year before Christ's return Isa 34:8, Rev 16
Till Armageddon and it is done Rev 16:16-17

Additions:
Midway of Tribulation - War in heaven Rev 12:7
- Satan thrown down Rev 12:9
- GT starts Rev 12:12
- Jewish Converts flee into desert Rev 12:6&14

Apostasy and its wide ramifications is the only other major thing in those 7years.

Having all this in chart form helps me to understand, summarize, remember and explain easily (and prepare too). Some others like me may benefit from it (I know my family did. They wanted it but I told them I would perfect it with you first). I would like you to correct any aspect including the scriptures. Thanx for your time and patience sir.

Response #17:

Thanks, my friend! I appreciate it very much.

On the chart, nothing jumped out at me as being incorrect. On your question, the half hour of silence begins immediately after the opening of the 7th seal; nothing happens immediately because of the silence (six month delay); the casting down of the censer is the very first indication given to the world that the Tribulation has begun (Rev.8:5). It seems to me unlikely that this would only happen 21 months into the Tribulation. From the context, it seems to me that it has to happen immediately after the silence because it breaks the silence.

Keeping you and your family in my prayers, my friend – and hoping to hear good news from you this week!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Dear Prof,

Thanx for yours. I don't want to be a pest but I'm still not getting it. Please bear with me. It's like a splinter in my mind.

The half hour of silence begins immediately after the opening of the 7th seal; nothing happens immediately because of the silence (six month delay); the casting down of the censer is the very first indication given to the world that the Tribulation has begun.

Chronologically:.
1. Opening of the 7th seal
2. Six months delay
3. Casting down of the censor - voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. (7 YEAR TRIBULATION BEGINS. CORRECT?)
4. The seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
5. The first to sixth angels sounded - 21 months duration of effects
6. The seventh trumpet - 42 months duration of effects (the second 42 months of the 7 year Tribulation which is The Great Tribulation)

-Number 3 above kicks off the 7 year tribulation. Correct? (That is: Daniels 70th Week)
-Number 5 does not span the entire 1st 42 months (of the 7 year tribulation) but 21 months. (Coming Tribulation 3A)
-Number 5 dovetails into number 6 (because there is no respite)
-Therefore number 5 spans the second half of the 1st 42 months of the 7 year tribulation.

My question is: what therefore happens in the first half (21 months) of the 1st 42 months of the 7 year tribulation. (Since the six trumpets occupy the second half that dovetails into the great tribulation at the seventh trumpet)

Hope I'm clearer!

Thank you Prof

Response #18:

You seem to me to be understanding what I have written perfectly.

When the Tribulation begins, we will know it (Rev.8:5).

After that, the trends of the first half will begin (described in the first four seals); so that the first quarter of the Tribulation will be consumed by antichrist's machinations in taking power in Babylon, taking power in revived Rome, and beginning his conquest of the biblical south. These events – and all the evil connected with them and all the evil expanding in the world once the restraint of the Spirit is lifted and the "mystery of lawlessness" bursts forth through the "empowerment of error" – are what the trumpet judgments respond to. So that is yet another reason why seeing these judgments as taking place during the second quarter of the Tribulation makes good sense – as God's warnings to those who are taking up the cause of the beast, his political and his religion movement.

Your friend in Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #19:

Sir,

EUREKA! You solved the mystery for me. There is a gap between Rev 8:5 and the trumpets! The problem was that I thought the trumpets followed virtually simultaneously with it.

"These events – and all the evil connected with them and all the evil expanding in the world once the restraint of the Spirit is lifted and the "mystery of lawlessness" bursts forth through the "empowerment of error" – are what the trumpet judgments respond to."

Its very clear sir. Please don't mind me. Err, I take that back; please continue to mind me! Wouldn't be where I am if you did not mind me. Don't know why I missed that Intel! Sorry for the long winded "half of first half" etc when I could use "quarter"! Thank you for bearing with me.

My son in final year Med told me yesterday that he just finished Satanic Rebellion. He asks how one could really understand what God (and man) is about without that series even though he has been reading the bible. He is seriously more in awe of God. He actually echoed all my sentiments. His brother will soon finish it. He is more busy. The way I reacted, you would have thought I just won a jackpot! All praise be to the Lord. Who am I to be blessed by God like this? Thank God for you.

Kindly remember sir when you pray for me that the good Lord will keep my children focused on doing His will. There are many distractions nowadays and devil also tries to use financial scarcity to distract and derail. We will keep praying for you.

In Him who is able to preserve that which we have committed unto him until that day.

Response #19:

Sometimes I do need to be asked and re-asked until I finally come to understand the essence of the question, so thanks for persevering with me.

Yes, I am and will be keeping you and your family in my prayers – what a blessing to have family members who love the truth! I can tell you from much experience with many correspondents over many years that this is not something to be taken for granted.

And thank you for YOUR continued enthusiasm for and service to the truth of the Word of God.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

[omitted]

Response #20:

I greatly appreciate your insightful spiritual perspective, my friend! That is right. All "this" is so very temporary; and all that is to come is SO very much better in every way. As I often say, one minute in eternity will be sufficient to cause us to effectively forget everything in this short life and in this tainted world. I think every believer can also identify with what you say about people who are of the world thinking that they need this or that to be happy. Maybe they do – but their happiness cannot compare to the bliss of belonging to Jesus Christ. That joy is no ginned up emotion for believers who are walking closely with Him through His Word of truth. It flows naturally through our hearts in the Holy Spirit whenever we take pains to keep what is important in mind, to "remember" as you are seeking to do. We don't need things to bring us joy like the world does; nor do we have to gin up joy with music and dancing and all manner of foolish carrying on like an increasingly large percentage of our immature brothers and sisters do. We have the truth of the written Word from Him who is the truth, the Living Word of God, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – and that is more than sufficient.

One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple.
Psalm 27:4 NKJV

In Him.

Bob L.

Question #21:

[omitted]

Response #21:

Thanks for the update. I'm keeping this in prayer. Rehab does take time, it's true. Seems like every time something goes wrong with me now it takes six months to get back to square one! The knee is still achy but getting stronger. I'm able to walk a fair distance and I've done some test "limp jogging" for a few yards here and there (usually regret that, however). As to the eye, I noticed one night that I had some sort of scratch on my glasses that was causing flashes when I turned my head a certain way. Well, there was nothing wrong with the glasses. I seem to have had one of those deals where small particles get loose and fog things up. It's clearing . . . gradually. Another rehab!

No, I worked like a Trojan today and got many things done but there are new things getting flung on the pile every day in "Covid semester", so I didn't get to the exams . . . yet. I'm going to try and do some tonight even though it means a late one. Don't really want to leave it all until tomorrow.

Thanks for the great encouragement here, my friend! You're getting really good at that! It is so very important to remember that whatever we have to cope with here and now, it's all not very important compared to the salvation we have through the cross of Jesus Christ.

Your friend in Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #22:

[omitted]

Response #22:

I managed to get almost everything taken care of between last night and today, and even got through the meeting – although I had a nasty shock when I found out it was at 3PM instead of 2PM, meaning that I couldn't really relax much for my lunch break (did get it earlier than planned, however). I'll take care of the few other things this coming week – including Covid test #2 (my poor nostril!). I'm decompressing now, so I don't think the blood pressure is any worse than it usually is. I'm just glad to have some at this point!

Knee is doing better but still gets achy in the middle of the night; gradually being able to take more and more of a load. Rehab takes longer for those of us born in a prior millennium.

Yes, thanks for reminding me of what my dad used to say: "Everything is always over eventually". I think my dad would be tickled to see that he's being quoted! He was "Dr. Luginbill" too, however. Although his was a "D.D.", "Doctor of Divinity" which was an honorary degree; he did earn a Masters after he came back from the war on top of his B.A. and seminary degree, however. My mom had a B.A. and a teaching masters too; she got the latter late in life so she could teach in the public schools (got a very hard time from the profs too for being "older" – in her 40's!). Once my brother was deemed "old enough", on top of being the pastor's wife, which in those days really was a full time job, she managed a cafeteria for the phone company while completing her second degree (still remember the family dropping her off in the wee hours downtown Chicago). My gramps was also a Dr., in entomology; did the seminal work on the "corn borer", and one of my uncles followed in his footsteps. My other two uncles on dad's side were engineers (all of the other three brothers got free degrees when gramps was teaching at Purdue). Mom's only surviving brother ran the family dairy farm in New Hampshire and it's still in their family.

Time for me to stop reminiscing and get to work now! Wishing you a great weekend, and thanks as always for your great help.

Keeping you and your family in my prayers – and thanks so much for yours.

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #23:

[omitted]

Response #23:

Survived the Covid test today. A bit groggy. I asked the "chap" who took my IDs et al. what they put on the Q-tip, "No idea" he said, after at first saying it was just a Q-tip. Thought about asking the "bloke" with the Q-tip but then thought better about that lest he take offense just before jamming it up my left nostril. Not too much of a reaction this time, but it certainly doesn't agree with me.

I seem to be mostly caught up on things! If I keep abreast tomorrow, I can possibly spend a little more time on BB 7 – getting close to the end there. I may send you a copy of the finished draft for safe keeping. I've worked on this series for over 30 years now, and I hate to think of getting "bus-ed out" before I get around to posting it with nobody realizing that it was essentially done!

Hope things went well for you at work today – prayers for getting through the week.

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hi Bob,

I'm happy you survived the Covid test again - you'll be a real pro at this by the time it's all over. You're a very wise "fella" not asking the "bloke" about the Q-tip just as he was about to shove it up your nostril. It reminds me of some of our patients who give the receptionist so much grief but as soon as they come into the surgery they're oh so very nice and polite to the dentist. You know the "guy" who just happens to be standing there with a very long needle in his hand!

Whenever you're ready I'd love to have a look at a copy of the finished draft for BB 7.

Congratulations, Bob for working so hard on this series for over 30 years and almost finishing it now.

Hope you have a good day tomorrow too. Keeping you in my prayers.

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #24:

Super! I've attached the file in two formats. I do feel much relieved to know that this study is safe in your hands (still planning on being on the look out for runaway buses, however).

Passed my Covid test! Though I did have a reaction to it (set in a little later this time) and am still not completely myself. Hope this is the last one I'll ever have to take. But at least I didn't get the "scarlet letter" and have to quarantine. That would have been a disaster at this point in the semester. Color me very relieved.

That's funny about your patients! I didn't give the young man a hard time – just asked. Still, I felt it better NOT to ask the man with the Q-tip.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hello, Bob,

I must compliment you. Your memorization of 4-6 versions of the Bible in three languages is nothing short of astounding. I read something, it gets synthesized down to principle, and I can never find it again. Don't worry about a number(s). What's important is that it's all there in scripture. Those of us who are memory challenged will find it again.

Thank you for your prayers. They are effective. I've suffered only minor annoyance and rather a little more disgust. (Little amusement, though.) And grasshoppers. You are in my prayers daily, my friend.

To be a bit facetious, I have plenty of shallots growing and onion bulbs going in next month that, for the time it lasts, I won't be in the same position of the Israelites who were whacked for complaining about lack of onions and garlic. Along with air conditioning, running water and a toilet, I will miss onions and garlic.

Stay well and safe.

In Jesus,

Response #25:

Sorry about the grasshoppers. We get cicadas/locusts here – every seventeen years or so. Seems to me we are overdue for a blast of them. We've got a very nice collection of butterfly bushes, but the last time around they killed them all. Hope we can avoid that again next year.

There's plenty we could end up having to miss, but we'll deal with it when it comes and not before. As long as we are willing to let the Lord take us wherever He wills, it'll all be alright – and so much better on the other side. Meanwhile, enjoy your onions and garlic!

As to your high and misplaced praise, just to let you know, I have a terrible memory, especially for word-for-word exactitude in language. But somehow I manage to bump along (God helping me).

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Thanks, Bob,

I need to read CT from the beginning again. (Memory isn't what it used to be, either.) Given the timeline, I still think it's unlikely I'll live that long unless the Lord has something He wants me to do. If I do, I'll have outlived all the men in my family and probably wouldn't last long.

From what I read in the news, Louisville is now a war zone. (Baghdad West?) I pray that you're safe and well and the "peaceful protesters" stay out of your neighborhood and away from UofL.

Yours in Jesus,

Response #26:

I AM re-reading CT nightly. These things given by the Spirit are valuable for me too, and more and more needful as the day approaches.

Just getting dark here, but the no-nonsense approach the police and National Guard adopted yesterday sent a message, I think. With two officers shot, I'm sure the other side understands that they're dealing with a very short fuse now. We'll see.

U of L is mostly deserted this semester. I'm probably teaching more actual classes on campus in terms of raw numbers than almost anyone else in the college. Rarely see a colleague down there as most of it is online. So there wouldn't be much point in marching on the university. Downtown or my neighborhood, the Highlands (where the mayor and also Mitch McConnell live) are different matters.

Thanks for those prayers!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Hi Bob,

I've discovered understanding in CT this time that I missed, overlooked or forgot. I'm going to finish CT4 and go back to the beginning. I've decided to use the PDF version I have because I can increase the font size and easily mark my place. It's slow going but I'll get there.

I'm glad you're safe. What amazes me about our "peaceful protests" is that in the clear face of insurrection and sedition, almost nothing is being done to bring it to an end. It appears we're losing Tet Offensive II and there are no choppers to fly us out. Like then, the police are out manned, out gunned and taking heavy casualties under unworkable rules of engagement.

The book our friend recommended arrived and I've only been able to do a quick check so far but it appears quite good. It's valuable in that it gives many different treatment options, Not just herbs. It's a valuable reference. It's much like "Back to Eden" by Jethro Kloss.

Yours in our Lord,

Response #27:

Thanks for the update on the book.

Yes, rereading is necessary for some of these materials. Did I mention I reread them too.

I have to give our police credit here. They didn't allow things to get out of hand this time. The curfew is being enforced and crowds are being dispersed. The second night passed peacefully in my neighborhood (heard the diehards downtown took refuge in the Unitarian church for sanctuary). Figures. Just dark now. We'll see what Friday night brings.

Thanks for your good words and prayers, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #28:

One question kicking around in the back of my mind is this: am I reasonably understanding the inquisition was a template for a part of the coming tribulation? Public burning, gibbeting or guillotining would seem logical as an example to those who refuse the mark. That struck home because many were burned at the stake for practicing herbal folk medicine. They were called witches or warlocks. (which may bode ill for me.) Gas chambers don't seem like a good model since most didn't see it.

To be fair, there is still an element of witchcraft with some herbalists. And curiously, I find it more common among women. Particularly young women. I suspect that's the way it always was. In any event, I suspect death, if burning at the stake or the guillotine, after a brief moment of searing pain would come quickly. I wonder about Steven and his death upside down. The impression I have had is that death came quickly for him though I can't think of anything that confirms it. Is that a reasonable understanding?

One of your correspondents clearly was breaking free of a cult or cult-like church. I'm impressed with your patience. You explained yourself thoroughly and completely without frustration. For someone raised on a "special" bible like the JWs or Mormons, breaking free can be difficult.

I have to admit, in recognition of their struggle, that when praying the Lord's prayer, or running the 23rd psalm through my thoughts, it's still the Elizabethan KJV. It's what I grew up with and read for years. At this point, I see no reason to change even though the NIV you suggested has been very helpful. I still find things in the NIV where my first reaction is, "Wait -- that doesn't sound right" but when I check, it's the same, just said differently.

Praying for the safety and well being of you and yours up there in Little Baghdad.

Yours in our Lord,

Response #28:

We may be called upon by the Lord to suffer martyrdom (Rev.13:10). Just how that martyrdom will be implemented, we are not told. Revelation 20:4 describes the martyrs in resurrection as having been "beheaded with an ax", but it's fair to assume that this verb is being used for "executed" generally. One thing I will affirm for certain is that the Lord will not let us suffer unduly, even if the manner of our deaths seems horrible to the eyes of the world. Daniel's three friends were cast into fire, but did not feel it – and indeed were not even killed by it while walking around in it. They Lord even fellowshipped with them while they were inside the fiery furnace. I am confident that He will be with us too, regardless of the method chosen to dispatch us. We don't need to worry about it. We are told specifically not to worry about "what we will say" in our defense, because the Spirit will give us the words. Likewise, it is more than right to assume that He will give us the strength and the grace to navigate that transition. The test and the witness is in "not loving their lives unto death" (Rev.12:11). Once we have demonstrated this by our refusal to bow to the beast, there is little gain in some sort of horrible and agonizingly prolonged suffering on our part. If anything, I would imagine that we will be given the grace not even to feel it – because otherwise our obvious discomfort might be a benefit to antichrist. So I trust the Lord on this one, and absolutely so.

Steven is a good example (upside down?). Steven was stoned to death, but in the midst of it he was given the grace to stay conscious and also to be able to call upon the Lord to receive his spirit, and then to bless them that were cursing him with an unjust death. Then "When he had said this, he fell asleep." (Acts 7:60 NIV). No sign of crying out in pain here.

On herbs, in the Bible and in the ancient world generally, drugs / pharmakeia have dual use: medicine and witchcraft. But there are no "witch-doctors", only witches and doctors; in the Bible, the former profession is a mark of following Satan, the latter is considered useful and noble along the lines of what we have today (cf. "Luke, the beloved physician": Col.4:14 KJV).

As I've always said, the KJV is a very good translation; if the language "speaks to you" all the better; most people find it confusing. The biggest problem with it from my point of view is that it was translated from a problematic critical text that was based on one single and rather late Greek ms. So it has a number of errors (and false interpolations) as a result, which "ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction" (2Pet.3:16 NIV).

Thanks for those prayers! There seems to be a small cadre of "out of towners" who are continuing the protests, but the numbers are small and the authorities are not putting up with much at this point.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #29:

Hello Bob,

Sorry about the Steven confusion. I understood one of the apostles was crucified upside down. I assumed, as I typed, it was Steven. Until now, it wasn't really relevant. but the more I think about our practice for the Tribulation, I suspect it is. Your response (thank you) was a nice whack on the knuckles. Also, I understood from something you wrote, I believe, that Paul was either martyred or executed in prison. I don't recall that in scripture.

Your martyrdom examples were a comfort. If I make it that far, I'll be ready. One way or another. I should keep Matthew 6:34 more firmly in mind. Your comment about Satan having little to gain from a peaceful death along with examples was compelling. That would be sticking a thumb in Satan's eye.

The AKJV is what I'm most accustomed and a continual back reference. Since you recommended it, I've been reading the NIV. Some verses, though just don't "sing." Ecclesiastes 8:15, 5:18 or Matthew 6:34 AKJV. e.g. Just my opinion, of course, but the AKJV is familiar. I do have to admit words like shambles or phrases like houghing horses or dunging vines are not particularly revealing today. Houghing, I think, is far more descriptive than hamstringing. The Achilles tendon is what got cut. The hamstring connects the buttock with the entire back of the leg. I think "cut the Achilles tendon" would be a better translation. Houghing was last used in the Civil War aka War of Northern Aggression, I believe.

Stay well and safe. You're always in my prayers.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #29:

No worries, my friend. Thought I might have misspoken. There is a tradition that Peter was crucified upside down (preserved in Eusebius), but that's impossible to state with assurance. The tradition also is that Paul was martyred (Clement of Rome, late 1st cent. says so), but that he was beheaded, while a good inference (since he was a Roman citizen) is found only in late, apocryphal sources.

Yes, we ALL need to work harder on the "one day at a time" thing.

As to Bibles, as I usually say, it doesn't really matter what version you read as long as you read – and remember that Bible reading, while so very important, is no more of a substitute for good Bible teaching than good Bible teaching is for personal Bible reading.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #30:

Dear Bob,

In the news recently are these:

1. The CDC effectively admitted the COVID hysteria was a scam. Less than 10,000 have died of Kung Flu and that number was determined with a test that's known to be inaccurate. Of course, the media don't report this -- it would calm the hysteria and circulation. Curiously, seasonal flu deaths declined about the same as COVID deaths have risen. Given that the CDC says 100,000+ die every year from the seasonal flu, how does COVID compare? Note that most CDC numbers are estimates based on simulations. Garbage in, garbage out.

2. An injectable micro chip has been developed to "monitor" a person's health and report to -- whom? The chip supposedly interacts with RNA and could potentially be used to alter DNA -- for health reasons, of course, It could also be used to sicken or kill an intended target since it can be monitored and controlled remotely. Would they do that? Who knows. But I've learned over the years that if something is possible, it will be used. If you have the chip and don't have the Mark, what then?

3. Health passports are being implemented across the globe. Theoretically, if you haven't been vaccinated (had your DNA changed or chipped,) you won't be able to travel. Reminiscent of the Nazi's "papers, please" but much more sophisticated. They're getting us used to the coming restrictions. We're being prepared to want the Mark. Much like the push to cell phones. (Self paid tracking devices and no pay phone alternatives available.) Will we be able to get along without cell phones? Apparently not.

4. Most of the world's central banks are moving to digital currency. Not only will that allow banks to implement negative interest rates, That would make it possible to instantly cut off anyone's access to funds or savings. That would also makes it possible and quite easy to make sure a person couldn't buy or sell unless "approved."

5. The federal government is still arguing about internet "kill switches." An easy thing to accomplish if you just kill the root DNS servers. I expect that to be used successfully, when people start tiring of restrictions. to cut off communications.

I don't think I'm being paranoid because I don't think I really care anymore, but I've learned over the years that as new capabilities are developed, they will be used. Generally, not for our benefit. I think the Tribulation read through has gone to the starting rehearsals -- on stage read-throughs. (Note that many professional performance rehearsals only run for a week or less, so we are in for a very short trial before the Tribulation.) I also suspect that the techniques developed and used now will be used in the Tribulation. Wonders and lying signs are already in place and being used. I believe we are literally practicing Tribulation today. Bob, my friend, I believe it's coming more quickly than we have realized. They are practicing, too, to implement all the woes described in Revelation! You may be right on your estimation of the start of Tribulation. I pray you are.

On another note, I keep returning to Romans 1. It describes what we have today perfectly as I suspect it always has. BTW, your explanation of Romans 3:3-4 this week's email posting was the most cogent I've read. Thank you. Paul or Peter never said we have to like them.

I pray all is well with you and yours and you escape the "peaceful protests." (It sounds like Louisville is doing a good job!)

Yours in our Lord and Savior,

Response #30:

Thank you SO much for that overly cheery news update, my friend!

Seriously, it is what it is. We tend to take ourselves and all this a bit too seriously. It is serious, of course, but really only on the spiritual dimension. As far as what unbelievers are doing, it won't make a lick of difference in a thousand years – and actually not in about thirteen (more or less). Babylon will be destroyed, everyone connected with the beast to any degree will have been marked with the result of being blasted to Torments (to uncomfortably wait out the time before the last judgment), and we who believe will have been resurrected and will be enjoying the great victory feast – followed by our sharing of our Lord's 1,000 year rule. Wonderful things to come – we just have to grit our teeth and get through the flak in between point A and point B. Hallelujah for point B!

Thanks for the encouraging comments! Things are quiet here at present. But reported cases of Covid are up and my students are getting more depressed by the day (the ones who are still bothering to show up to class). I'm trying to give them an oasis of normality and – believe me – I'm trying to cheer them up; and I do go easy on them. But all "this" is a big load on them and it's more than most of them can easily tolerate it seems. Same is true of most of my colleagues. So there really is a disconnect between how believers strong in faith and in the Word of God handle things and how everyone else does. No surprises there.

Keep being strong and courageous, my friend! You weren't planning to fly to Australia in any case, were you?

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #31:

Hello, Bob,

I apologize for being a wet blanket. It never ceases to amaze me how so many things in scripture, which seemed nearly impossible just a couple of years ago, we are now putting in place. I expected it to take longer. As you say, "It's not turning out the way I expected."

My traveling days are over I'm afraid. Ears can't take the pressure changes of flying and I can no longer drive at night. That's all OK. I'll stay where I am and watch the show. Shortly, it would appear, I couldn't travel anyway with out my passport and shots.

Sorry to hear about your students and colleagues. I assume, though you haven't said, you're teaching post-grads. I would have hoped they had matured a little more. I think what surprises me most is that those who have rejected Christ, as I think most students and faculty have, don't realize they haven't rejected faith; they just believe a different gospel.

Bob, my friend, we're in for an "interesting" six years. Stay well and safe. You're always in my prayers.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #31:

I'm not crazy about flying much anymore either. As to the uni, no, I teach almost exclusively undergraduates. There's no grad program in Classics at U of L (probably a good thing as those programs are down on enrollments nationwide because, for whatever misguided reason, folks are increasingly thinking that Greek and Latin are not particularly relevant).

Make that twelve years a lot of change, my friend!

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #32:

Hi Bob,

The more I see out there, the more I withdraw. The hatred of Christians is increasing at an alarming rate and it's looking dark. Keep in mind that all email and phone calls are copied to the NSA Utah data center for analysis (automated at first) and has been since the late '90s. This is handled in all telephone switching stations. The mechanism to copy an IP packet is standard and fairly well known. It's all handled automatically. All telephone traffic, outside of local exchanges, is VoIP aka Voice over IP and once it gets to the switching station, it's VoIP. The hardware is in locked rooms and entrance is denied. It is/was all a part of the FBI "Condor" project which was advertised as cancelled. Only the name was cancelled. For now, everything is OK for those of us who are not causing trouble, but I don't have the confidence it will be so when policies change and "trouble" is redefined. Matthew 24:43 seems appropriate.

Enough angst. I truly miss seafood. Not just shell fish. There is a vendor near here who takes fish off the boat out of the Gulf on Thursday, fillets, processes, ices down, and sells on Saturday. Not as good as the Boston mongers which used to sell that morning's catch, but the very best we can expect in central Texas. (The old saying about guests after three days is true... Three days is maximum.) Still, with the Corexit business and spills, I've stayed away from Gulf seafood. I haven't had good seafood for a long time but I'm getting used to what grows here and what I have available.

I'm beginning to think more fondly of rabbit; they're easy to skin and I've learned a new technique to clean and prepare. Wild rabbit is very good. Domestic rabbit is just like chicken and a waste of money in my opinion. (To put it in perspective, my geriatric Basset hound discovered a recent cat-killed rabbit. He gobbled it up. My vet gave him a young domestic rabbit and he rejected it. And we call them "dumb" animals!)

I just finished Revelation again and have started to reread. There's still much I don't understand but that seems to be normal. The more I learn, like all of scripture, the more I realize how much more I still need to learn. I don't have enough time left to learn what I need to know!

Stay well and safe.

Your friend in our Lord,

Response #32:

OK, that seems prudent – especially in light of all the blood-curdling details you include here! I'm losing track of all of the "alarming things" that have and are happening. Getting a sense of what it must be like to live in N. Korea – but we may really understand that better in a few months.

I received a suggestion that perhaps the Tribulation is really nine years off rather than six – a fair defense was given of a possibly true interpretation (may be posting that this Saturday or next). Don't know if I could make it another NINE years before the fun even starts – especially not given how much "fun" we're already having!

It makes me think I'd be happier moving to some place like west Texas and pulling the plug. Of course then how would I do this ministry? Maybe I'll just cancel my cable.

On rabbit, my dad was a pastor in a small town (before we moved to Chicago when I was about six – talk about culture shock!), and he had seen some people really messed up by tularemia . . . so he always warned against rabbit. I did have it occasionally when I'd go back to that place to visit and it never hurt me. But still . . .

Passed my Covid test! Messed me up again somewhat, but at least I wasn't declared an "un-person" just yet.

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

In Jesus.

Question #33:

Hello again Bob,

I couldn't take nine years of this. In fact, I doubt I will be here in nine years. I agree; what I'm seeing out there tells me we have degenerated beyond recognition. Six years will be a challenge let alone nine. Though, if you're right, and your argument is I believe sound, nine years is still a little before the second half. I'm beginning to think, though, that we've entered the extended first half or open dress rehearsals. If current trends continue, life will be unbelievably bad at the start of Tribulation.

After living in Boston and working off and on in NYC and other cities, I thought I'd seen it all, but I didn't even get into the stadium. I have to admit, while I trust your judgment that the days will only be shortened by days, considering the expression the "days" of Noah and similar expressions in the English Bible, I'm rather hoping it will be shortened a lot more than a few days. I'm ready though I don't know that my family is, being in the throes of raising a family and making a living but I pray for them, too.

I believe human nature is the same today as it has always been. That suggests to me that the perversion of Israel and Judah the prophets warned about had to be similar. Antediluvian times, if we knew more about it, is probably where we're headed. In fact, I'm understanding more about those scriptures by comparing with today. One of the puzzles I've wondered about is how much of a parallel is there between the nephilim of those times and the genetically "engineered" creatures we're making today? If these new COVID vaccines are mRNA vaccines that will change us, is it just technology or do we have demons involved? In fact, if one didn't have the Spirit, would that make them prone to possession?

Fortunately, I'm in a position where, except for the internet (and I'm avoiding a lot of that,) I have pulled the plug. If you do pull the plug and move to West Texas, you would find it pleasant, I think -- it's not like the movies. Sadly, I don't think there's much of a market for the Classics though one never knows. There are a number of small colleges in Midland/Odessa or Lubbock. (I did some contract work at Odessa College.) Texas Christian is up near Lubbock and a neighbor's son is attending. Frankly, farm/ranch kids seem to be much more firmly grounded and mature than urbanites. I suppose when you've had or seen someone up to the elbows delivering a breach calf, you have a different perspective.

If you could retain your retirement, it might be worth considering. You probably won't make as much though. Of course, it wouldn't cost as much, either. Your ministry, thankfully, could continue as always. I suspect you could even keep your current hosting company. The only serious drawback I see is that you and family will have to learn to appreciate Tex-Mex food and mariachi music. After a time though, you'll come to enjoy it -- and jalapeños, too. There is a flood of refuges coming in from California and New York driving up prices and taxes. It looks like that'll only increase. It's beginning to fire up the Texas secessionist movement.

Should you do something like that, you will still have the internet -- as long as they let us. I know there are many of us who would sorely miss your ministry. You might even find an enthusiastic flock locally.

Here I am evangelizing you. I apologize. I think cutting the cable would be a good thing unless you like Rogain and Cialis commercials. I cut mine off some 15 years ago and dropped the newspaper subscription even before that. I've been happier ever since, I still scan the news every morning but by the time I finish, it's still dark outside.

My vet tells me that tularemia is rarely seen down here. (She's from Ohio and has treated it.) It seems to be much more common up north. It's fairly easy to spot when you skin them. though. I was warned about that when I was a kid. BTW, there are even recipes for jackrabbit if you ever have need.

Congratulations on passing your COVID test. I doubt I'll ever let anyone shove a stick up my nose but then, I don't have employment obligations either. What you described before was enough to convince me to avoid it. A sister-in-law had one and she was diagnosed as "positive -- abnormal" whatever that means, She was quarantined 14 days, felt fine the whole time, except for boredom, and resumed life as normal. The message to me was never get a test. If one isn't ill, why get a test to see if you might be?

I apologize for the rhapsody. Thank you for your prayers. Prayers work. You and yours are in mine daily as well. I wonder if they are more effective now that we're getting closer to the show?

In our Lord,

Response #33:

Believe me, I would be overjoyed to see the Lord return tomorrow!

There is a lot we can't know, but we do know that He will get us through whatever we have been called to endure.

A number of places in the western part of your state do have Classics departments, but my field is a shrinking one, and only very rarely do any universities hire in Classics at an advanced rank. So I'm likely to be right here at "Harvard on the Ohio" (local joke) for the duration.

Keeping that family of yours in my prayers along with yourself, my friend.

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #34:

Hi Bob,

Thank you for asking, we’re both doing OK.

I forgot to mention yesterday some disturbing but not surprising news and that is, one of our largest food distribution stores, Woolworths has said they won’t accept cash in their stores – only plastic, under the ‘smoke screen’ of the CV pandemic and Coles and Aldi and others are expected to follow suit. The break down of society has well and truly begun.

I used to wonder how Satan would orchestrate the acceptance of the mark and naturally it will be presented as ‘being in your interests’ and many will fall for it. Now I see just how easy it will be for him to do it and so many will be like lambs led to the slaughter.

We must hold on to faith and the promise of salvation more than ever in the days shortly to come.

Keeping you and yours in my prayers too my dear friend,

Response #34:

Well at least the banks over here still take cash! But it is true that our local Kroger won't give you coins as change – you get a "credit" for your next trip. Never thought I'd live to see the day. On the other hand, I still remember when the idea that grocery stores would take credit cards was considered immoral. We've seen a lot of changes in our lifetimes. Some of them pretty good – I have to admit that I'm very happy to be writing this message to you on a keyboard and being able to send it all the way to Australia instantly and virtually for free instead of having to hammer it out on a typewriter and waiting for a two month turn-around to hear back. Of course all of this technology will and does facilitate evil as well. Here's to using it for the sake of the Church of Jesus Christ!

In Him,

Bob L.
p.s., Given the "state of play" in the world and its trajectory, there are worse things an Ichthys reader could do than to download the archives. One never knows when the DNS will be blocked forever.

Question #35:

Dear Teacher

Have you been well? I have been meaning to write, but I just haven't been able to muster the emotional energy. I'm not in a bad way even emotionally, just been feeling a bit harassed. Keeping a schedule going was hard, and trying to make a decision about what adjustments to make was hard too. So, there has been a bit of a "deer in the headlights" feeling. Your last email has remained a mighty bit of encouragement to me especially through this time.

This email is really just to check in with you and tell you that I'm still pulling at the plow everyday, even if not as much as I should be, and I am keeping you in my prayers.

Any news from our friends yet?

Your student in Jesus Christ

Response #35:

Thanks for checking in, my friend.

I'm fairly loaded down at present. I did get stuck with chairing our personnel committee so things will be difficult for the next couple of months. But after that I will now rotate off, so an easier spring, provided I make it (which God helping me I will do). A very busy time and I'm having some trouble with my right eye (it's cleared back up mostly but still a bit problematic); I am back to walking on the left knee (still a ways to go rehabbing that). So God is good! I'm still functioning and still hammering away in spite of the load. I hope to have BB 7 finished and up before Thanksgiving [posted at the link]. Sorry to hear that things are also a load on your end, my friend. Reminds me of that favorite saying of mine, "If you are getting that kind of flak, it probably means you're getting close to the target". So keep up the good work for Jesus Christ!

Haven't heard from our friends – if you do, please pass the news along.

Keeping you and yours in my prayers daily.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #36:

Dear Teacher

Thank you, Sir. I'm sure that your prayers are in no small measure part of the reason that I am still making progress at all with the Lord. That is not to mention your constant encouragement. I certainly wish that what I needed was more pulling on the reins than more spurring. LOL.

As if I couldn't possibly have enough pressure to deal with, my country appears to be on the road to going up in flames for real this time. I was concerned that that might happen when I was travelling back to Jos in August. I really wondered whether my plan to do a degree before applying for a PhD to leave the country would work, given that there might be no Nigeria to do it in by 2021. Now, we have protests breaking out everywhere and easily turning violent in quite a few places. In fact, right now, I'm a little raw emotionally because I made the mistake of looking at a relative's WhatsApp status and found footage of a man getting hacked to death. Apart from that and my concern for a dear friend who is emotionally caught up in the whole business, I have found myself largely unmoved by the events unfolding. Such a thing has been long overdue and I suspected that the Lord was holding it back for some reason. At the moment, I consider that it might open a road to leave the country sooner than I thought possible, but who knows what the Lord has planned? We will see.

Please post the writings, if they are good. My plan for posting them weekly is for my own website. I have some trepidation or, perhaps more correctly, hesitation about going on to start the website right now, but I think that I am about ready to do it. It feels like I should be able to handle the pressure of posting small writings like that once a week on the website. I wish I could do it everyday, but I'm almost certain that I can't cope with that much writing with every other pressure that I am feeling mentally. The smallness of it makes me feel like it may not be worth it. What good really does it do anyone to come and read maybe 2000 words a week about just one small part of a very large subject? I devoured all of Ichthys (except the emails) in a matter of months. Someone that hungry might feel frustrated to have only so little to treat himself to for a whole week at a time. But John 15 seems to tell me to just go do what I can and trust the Lord to make me more productive as I try to be obedient to Him.

How have you been, Sir? I haven't really paid much attention to the news for a bit, so I don't know how things are in your country at present. I understand that the election business is now in high gear, but that's about it. Are the protests still going on? Did you do the COVID test you were mandated to do again? Did you have to deal with the chemical problem like last time or did they make any adjustments this time? How is your knee?

Your student in Jesus Christ

Response #36:

Great to hear from you, my friend!

Thanks for the update – as distressing as it is. I just receive a similar letter from our friend. I am keeping you and all the brethren in your country connected to Ichthys a little or a lot in my daily prayers.

On your writings, they are good – but if you are planning to revise, I'll hold off until I receive the revisions. Doing a little is a whole lot better than doing nothing. That is my testimony. Ichthys started off as "just a little once in a while" and grew from that. All seeds start small. But you have to start somewhere at sometime. If you do, one day you turn around and, behold, a mustard tree!

Things here now are apparently all about the election. Hard to say because the news isn't covering much of anything else. I do think that the possibility of trouble connected with it is large. It would be best if one or the other of these camps won very big so as to put aside all doubt. But I have no idea what will happen. I do hope and pray that things settle down in your country soon.

We are all fine. Very busy at work with this additional committee duties and with all the accommodation of students who are not coming to class. Knee is slowing mending. My test went OK and I'm only mildly affected this time. No desire to do it ever again, but we seem to falling into a disturbing pattern. Teaching hybrid and to students in masks will be the norm at least for the spring. But I'm happy to still have my job.

I do pray for you also for guidance and success in whatever plan seems best – may you be led into the one the Lord prefers!

Nothing is impossible with Him.

In Jesus Christ our mighty Fortress.

Bob L.

Question #37:

Dear Teacher

I'm deeply grateful for your prayers, Sir. I haven't been too concerned about how things are. It probably helps that I'm barely hearing the news, even though I try to listen for information purposes, and I basically emptied my Facebook feed, so that I don't really see what anyone is posting unless I manually go and check on their page. I know that things are supposed to be scary now, but I also know that the Lord is able to preserve and deliver His children. Perhaps, it will please the Lord to not let anarchy break out. Or it may please Him to deliver us in the middle of it. Either way, He does all things well.

I can see what you mean, Sir. It occurred to me today that this year so far seems to be quite the dry run for the Tribulation. First, a big, possibly unprecedented, fire in Australia, then a plague that runs round the world scaring the Dickens out of unbelievers and marginal believers and then all sorts of protests break out everywhere too. Hong Kong is still crazy after so long. There's your country. There's mine now. And they're not the only ones. Christians are losing their minds. I have been tempted to wade into the debates online to try to persuade fellow believers to stay out of it, but thankfully, I was able to rein myself in enough to post barely cryptic comments advising them to stay out of politics. I have enough of a target on my back without also drawing that much ire onto myself too, is what I think. But it's a little disturbing sometimes.

We continue to pray for your peace and fruitfulness for the Lord, Sir. If we never see the Tribulation, the current experience should still count as quite the test for not a few of us. So, I'm sure that holding out and continuing to try to do our jobs for the Lord will mean something significant to the Lord.

Your student in Jesus Christ

Response #37:

Yes, things really are in a mess. Hard to see how they could get much worse but they seem to be doing so more and more with each new day. I'm tempted to cancel my cable subscription, but then again I suppose this is good practice. We do need to learn how to see and hear all of these things and not let them get to us – as if we had any stake in this corrupt and temporary world when of course we do not (Gal.6:14). And it's good to learn not let ourselves get "baited" by things that naturally upset us. It is all disturbing, and the reactions of those we know and love who are either getting upset (the way we are tempted to) or processing it all wrong (and being led astray), make it all the more disturbing still. But we have a right to stay at peace.

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

As is even more clear in the Hebrew than in the English, it is trusting God and solidly so that results in us actually being at peace. And that makes sense, doesn't it? To the degree that we really do accept and apply the truth that our Lord is in absolute control and is absolutely working everything out for our good in every way down to the last minute detail, we can have complete peace no matter what betides. But to the degree we doubt that or, more commonly for mature believers, are failing to apply that to the things we find disturbing . . .

Confident that you are running the race the right way, my friend!

Keeping you and your families in my daily prayers --thanks so much for yours!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #38:

Dear Professor

Praying you are keeping safe and well amidst the madness. Also those fires over there are frightening. What are your Springs like? A week ago we had a maximum of 27 degrees then it fell away quickly. Tomorrow is just 12 degrees max after the morning of 4 degrees. The other day, I got caught out in the paddock after starting to sweat and leaving my jumper in the ute. The wind swung in from Antartica passing through my bones, so I have ended up with another cold. Stayed indoors today as the mercury kept a low profile with the damp wind keeping the apparent temperature just half of the real temperature. You are not alone doing things you aught not.
Friday night we enjoyed a massive bonfire. Wow the power and spectacle. Even the green stuff exploded. Many gum tree leaves are full of oil hence the ferocious fires. Do the west coast trees in the USA have a high oil content too?

How things are rapidly changing. Australia’s LAST 2 correspondents have fled China after taking refuge in the Embassy and Consulate. The Chinese now see no value in having Aussie reporters in their country. They are still our biggest trading partner barring rapid changes (some have occurred already - barley, wine and they are looking at the rest to punish Australia for it’s “hostile” stance towards them.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (farms, orchards and market gardens) there are not enough back packers to do the work. Covid-19 put the skids on work visas and despite the government letting those on Job keeper of $1500 a fortnight (people who lost their jobs due to Covid-19) and those on Job seeker of $1200 a fortnight (those who were already unemployed), keep all these government handouts, PLUS keep everything they would earn doing this seasonal work, PLUS pay them a travel allowance to get there and back, PLUS paying them an accommodation allowance, not enough are attracted to work. Hence on TV we are seeing farmers plough their plants back into the ground, pull out apple orchards and otherwise leaving produce to rot. Prices are predicted to soar.

Seems most won’t work no matter what the pay is. Hard to get away from our computer screens, even when there are no slaves left to do the actual work. Perhaps that is the work the border crossers into the USA find themselves doing as well? Some other states have relaxed their Covid-19 requirements and are allowing Islander people in to do the manual work - but Western Australia hasn’t. We don’t mind eating - it’s just the work we despise. [where are our slaves?]

I have always admired people who can actually do practical things, rather than those in the establishment system where most create empires of “important busyness” without being of much use whatsoever - rather being like leeches. Years ago, on a mining site, I was advised to make myself “indispensable” as they were doing, by withholding job information. What I did was the exact opposite, in making what I did to be easily understood. The plant ended up closing down due to so many problems including gas explosions occurring in an area I worked. Someone in the Control room authorised welding in an area that I had reported a safety valve was not closing, thus allowing gas to escape. It was tagged as such. I had the graveyard shift and the following day at home, I was stunned to hear on the local radio station a report of the explosion which injured several workers. People in their air conditioned offices were not doing their jobs in company time but also freelancing other lucrative schemes. Strange, with just a reported 7% unemployment rate, our country is facing potential economic disaster. Seems the 93% of us still employed aren’t that important, or even able to support the unemployed. Serious flawed and corrupted system in play.

I know none of us is perfect, but an almost complete turning away from the 1st and 2nd commandments is leading the world to the prophesied coming complete turning away from God - to culminate in The coming Rebellion.

When I was a kid my father had a scythe for cutting grass. I even had a go and found the same as your correspondent - get a rhythm and relax into it. Nowadays I use the noisy whipper snipper, same as other “progressives”.

Thank you for your excellent Ministry, and for your prayers. Much needed and much appreciated.
Keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus our dear Savior and Lord.

Your student

Response #38:

Ouch! Sorry to hear that you're down under down under again. Hope this is a short one (praying for that).

Also, thanks for the Aussie update. A real wake-up call for what over-dependence on China can mean. Nobody is paying attention here, however.

I don't know about exploding trees in CA. In the residential areas, especially the ones built on older farm plots, there are a lot of eucalyptus trees, imported and started, as was told, in the late 19th century as excellent wood for railroad ties. Not much shade, but pretty. The hills mostly have conifers.

Some sorry situations you have there. I'm not sure it pays so well to be out of a job here. They did have a fight over the latest stimulus proposal, some feeling it incentivized the bottom end to stay home. But it's moot now (no package forthcoming) and a great many of those jobs are in the hospitality sector where things are still in a holding pattern, probably at least until after the election.

Also, the disappointing work ethic in a private (?) company over there is telling. And to think at one point I actually was contemplating the possibility of moving your way. The grass is always greener, even when it's on fire.

And, oh yes, actually we did have a scythe at the manse as well and I used to cut grass with it occasionally (still remember some awful blisters from over-enthusiasm).

Take care of yourself, my friend!

Prayers forthcoming.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #39:

Dear Professor

Turns out I spoke a moment too soon, as last night there was a 4 Corners programme on the slave trade in the UK (this time real slaves). People sleeping on the streets in Poland, taken off the street and shipped to UK by well organised gangs. One successful gang bust and prosecution took years. These people penetrate whatever organization necessary, including government agencies, to facilitate the trade in human misery. That was only about a dozen people in one gang who were caught. It is estimated there are 42 million real slaves worldwide. Of course that doesn’t include the low paid manual labourers who certainly get paid a wage, and at least get to keep their money. The UK gangs hold the bank cards of the real slaves, to enable the gangs to live in style. Might be another marketing tool for the antichrist in promoting the idea of the benefits of his mark (security of personal funds, anti criminal) even before he makes it compulsory for daily commerce! Also a huge amount of money laundering going on worldwide. On TV, here in Australia, a woman regularly used a travel suitcase packed with $100 notes to wheel Into the same bank branch. The money was then sent away to overseas entities. Seems the bank asked no questions. Great for their business - and for organised crime. This sort of thing would also play to the idea of having some sort of bodily mark to stamp out illegal activities.
Before the Euro the Germans used the Deutsche Mark. Perhaps mark II will emanate from the “desire” to “fix” things once and for all! With the assertion that those refusing the mark, are the criminals.

When you say you have not seen anyone with the charisma that would identify as a likely antichrist figure, do you think that he, being the master of deception, would only reveal that fully about himself once he has got control and power over what he requires to succeed? The Bible says something about him initially accomplishing his designs with a small force. Daniel 11:23. [I am going back to read CT 3B / II/ 3.] Part of the deception may be behaving not so polished; that is, build in a few imperfections into his facade. The serpent in the garden had to be “corrected” of his “faulty understanding” by Eve. Having let her “correct” him, he then gives her even “better good news” than she gave him. (She: We can eat of every tree except one - He: but guess what, that one is the best of all). Small imperfections can be endearing to the unwary.

Do you think that persons are currently actively devising the plot with the antichrist - and just waiting for the opportunity and/or for the Spirit to stop restraining him? This seems to be the case from scripture (2 Thess. 2:7) Anecdotally, he would have quite a broad appeal even now.
Now is always a good time to pursue spiritual growth and help others do the same (as you rightly remind us).

I asked the teacher on bus duty whether he knows of any teachers at his school that have had the covid test - he doesn’t. He said it is because you have to wait 3 days for the result and isolate in the meantime.

Just 2 1/2 days to go before a 2 week school break. Hopefully recover somewhat. Since that Psalm you sent, your prayers, and some desperate prayers here, I have much better sleeps.
I cancelled my doctor’s appointment yesterday (they are not keen if you have a cold).

Thank you for all your good words and your work in your Ministry. I am very grateful that I was permitted to find your site. It is easy to take it for granted after awhile, until you re realise what a great blessing it is to have a teacher in the truth, especially one not being affiliated with any denomination.

Just to clarify from my other email: Here the eucalyptus trees leaves go off with quite a roar, even when green, which seems to aid them accelerating to great heights and a great spectacle shooting up from the bonfire on a calm cool night. BUT terrifying on a hot windy day in summer when there is no stopping it (barring Devine intervention) - hence the efforts to minimise the risks beforehand.

The Jobkeeper allowance was only a new thing to combat covid depression and is to be scaled back some time soon. The Jobseeker allowance was the doubling of the old Dole payment. It was introduced to also combat covid depression. This too, is to be scaled back soon. [where do they get all this cash? The young woman with the wheelie suitcase frequenting the bank was sending it overseas - so I suppose there is stacks of the stuff around].

Yes, it is a private company. A VERY big global company that is still going strong. Most of their operations they now endeavour to automate - driverless trains and mine trucks which can be controlled by computer from Perth, over a thousand kilometres away. Thankfully not all employees are in the same mould, though most prefer how much of the mining operations are done from their computers in air con comfort alongside the latte strip in the city.

So do come over. No one is sent to the mines here; in fact there is keen competition to get there. The money is very generous. I’d guess that people here aren’t that much different to those in the USA. Even Australians are finding it difficult to return from overseas at the moment because of the weekly intake quotas, due to covid quarantine; for 2 weeks in hotels at their own expense. Don’t worry, they are taken care of by doctors, nurses (for covid tests) and security - private and reserve forces to ENSURE your stay is the FULL 2 weeks.

There is a large Jewish community just outside of the Perth city block, and near the Mormon Temple, (this may be an opportunity for your language tuition at university or privately). I listened to the rabbi on the local radio yesterday. A young man in his thirties. In his office he has pictures of a Harley Davison and other stuff that the reporter said was not quite what she expected of a rabbi’s office. He did briefly describe the Jewish ceremony about to happen (couldn’t make it all out due to noisy bus).[ A reminder to me to get back to the Jewish Calendar at Ichthys]. So here could be just the spot for you after all (wishful thinking on my part).

In fairness, I must disclose that Clive Palmer, a mining magnate Billionaire from Queensland is suing our State to the tune of $30 Billion dollars (apparently about $1200 for every adult and child in the state - you might need to pop that in your purse when you come). On top of that he has a defamation case against our Premier, who, on legal advice, has lodged a counter defamation case against Clive. The donation box signage for Clive I had envisioned to don the school bus dash, might need to be altered to cover the extra fees lawyers are reaping. Also in fairness, it is reported that he is earning just 1 million dollars a day nowadays. However, it appears he may have a legal case. We are not privy to contracts and negotiations previous governments have negotiated with him.

How things can change in a flash! One minute doing well, the next, might be looking lucky to even get a banana from living in the “republic.”

I suppose this is small fry to what changes rapidly in the Tribulation, but nevertheless a warning of the fickleness of everything we see as being our “security” now. Sorry. I didn’t set out to put a damper on any plans you may have had. Yes, the grass is green here now (spring). Summer it’s grey. Perhaps wait for the result of the court cases, though this may take years (and more money for lawyers).

It is good we have One (And only One) to rely on in All situations, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Your student

Response #39:

Well if I moved down-under, I'd miss all the "fun" over here. Lot's of that today with a major battle on the main drag just a few miles from my house, but the police got the upper hand quickly. So far so good.

Thanks for all the details and for reading me into the situations. I don't think there will be any safe haven during the Tribulation, not all the way through at any rate (except that provided for those so ordained in Revelation chapter twelve). So it's six of one. Besides, I've had to move many times in my life and if I never had to do it again it'd be too soon.

Keeping you and your family in my prayers.

With appreciation of your friendship!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #40:

Dear Professor

We are where we are on the earth for good reason, no matter where the grass is greener. (You probably have said this somewhere too). Saw Louisville on TV news last night with the protests and two police officers shot. Hoping you are kept safe through all this. I am impressed that you sleep so soundly no matter the goings on around you.

Lately I have looked up things l am not sure about, and am impressed finding the answers at Ichthys, through the scriptures. Of course the answers are always already in scripture, but it is a huge benefit having a teacher dedicated to teaching the truth. I really wonder whether any of us would be making much progress at all had we not found your Ministry. The saints in former days were strengthened by prophets, apostles and teachers. It is good and necessary that we also have some dedicated teachers today (you are an extraordinary blessing). Just giving deserved credit where it is certainly due. Your gift is to our advantage. I realise this each time I need to check something in scripture for understanding and the great encouragement you give to all.

On abc radio Philip Adams interviewed Eric Cline, Professor of Classics and Anthropology at George Washington University. [do you know him/of him?]

His book (of course this is what most interviews are promoting) is ‘Digging up Armageddon: The search for the lost city of Solomon.’ Published by Princeton. The podcast is about 19 minutes. In that short time I had difficulty ascertaining whether he is a believer. Just his comment that John worked out that that Megiddo was where the penultimate battle was likely to be (other battles had been fought there), just prior to the final battle for Jerusalem. That comment had me thinking that he does not take the Revelation to be wholly Divinely given, but I could be wrong.
So the formula to get an interview seems to be to write a book for sale.

In am impressed that you have written a great many books which are freely available and of far greater value than any media promoted book.

The author had worked on the excavation for quite a number of years. He says that he doubts that even 10 to 20% has so far been uncovered.

When I listen to the radio, I realise I have the benefit of the best possible teaching at Ichthys.
I am grateful that you have also inspired others to start ministries.

Praying for your safety and blessing.

In Jesus our Lord.

Response #40:

Thanks for your encouraging words as always, my friend (Ps.115:1).

Not much went on in my neighborhood last night. The set is setting earlier and the curfew is being enforced, so that is a real plus. Just got dark here on night #3; no signs or sounds of trouble just yet.

People have been identifying Megiddo with Armageddon for centuries – wrongly. The two words have nothing to do with each other (see the link: "Where is Armageddon?"). No, I've never heard of this person, but that's no surprise as I am not so much "in the loop" with my colleagues beyond Louisville. This is my job, not my life. If he were a believer, it would be a shock. I've only known a couple of believers in my long time in higher ed., and most of them have fallen into the category of that old Quaker joke: "I'm only sure of thee and me . . . and sometimes I am not at all sure about thee".

People feigning Christian bona fides to make money? How shocked I am. Seriously, I always moan when people talk about "their faith" and "having faith" and being "a person of faith" – knowing full well that whatever they mean by that they absolutely do NOT mean a born-again, born from above faith in Jesus Christ as the God-man who died for our sins.

Keeping you and yours in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Lord.

Bob L.

 

 

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