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Eschatology Issues LXIII

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Question #1:

Dear Bob,

I've been reading a little about predestination vs free will. I believe that both occur at the same time without one refuting the other. I don't fully understand how, I guess the most simplistic way of explaining it is that it is like a big chess game and we are all the pieces except we can move in any direction we choose whether we follow the "rules" or flout them. God knows every move we will ever make (all of us) and has factored in all of His moves in advance in full knowledge of our own moves. Our own moves are up to us we can move in any direction how we like when we are here. This is our free will. We can move against God by sinning and this move is in Satan's favour. When we walk in the works that God has made for us, we are moving to His will and in accordance to His plan for us.

In a sense the game is already completed and the game is already won by God (as we can see in the Book of Revelation, that the prophesy is so certain that it is as if it already happened!) but He is patiently waiting for each and every move we make no matter how slow and laboured they are. When the game first started, Satan believed he played a move that checkmated God but he didn't. Instead God checkmated Satan but Satan didn't realise this at first.

God made His first major counter move to Satan's through the first Adam but checkmated Satan with the Second Adam, Jesus Christ. The "game" could have finished there and then but instead, because this is not a game of chess but life itself, is playing on.

Satan wanted to take Jesus out of the game and thought he was successful when Jesus was crucified. Little did Satan know that he actually helped along the fulfilment of prophesy and God's plan, the salvation of mankind.

When Satan thought he had checkmated God through his rebellion, God created man to replace the fallen angels. When Satan connived to get Adam and Eve to sin against God, he again thought he was triumphant.

Romans 5:12
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

God cannot be shocked or surprised by what Satan does, indeed God would've planned for both Satan's and man's rebellion before both were even created. If we stick with the chess analogy, God is so brilliant that He knew every move and counter move before the game itself begun or was even invented! God has already won it completely (as detailed in Revelation) because He is so brilliant and yet He is so patient and has so much loving kindness towards us that He waits patiently as we sometimes hastily move our piece in anger or agonise over it in fear.

God cannot be shocked but angels can be. So Satan would have been shocked by Jesus' arrival on earth although he was given a warning in the garden.

Romans 5:15
But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

Although He is already victorious, He concerns Himself with all of His pieces on the board and helps us to choose the right moves across the board which gives Him greater glory. We are giving Him glory when we recognise that He has already "won" the game and we put our full trust in Him by moving in faith that He has the game already and in victory.

Satan can no longer attack Jesus because He is no longer on the "board" so to speak. Instead he attacks us while we are trying to make our moves in faith towards God and in full recognition of His victory.

Satan also fights hard to disguise the fact to unbelievers that this game is even taking place and that they are a part of it. He is also desperate to hide God's winning of the game from the players and still insists that he is the one that is actually victorious.

When the antichrist comes, a great many will think that the game has been won by him and that "this is it". It will be a false victory and both the ones that never acknowledged that they were on the board in this game as well as the ones who realised but were lukewarm about trusting God's victory (as well as those who have been playing the game on Satan's side) will acknowledge the antichrist as victor.

At that point when people take the mark they are saying that the antichrist has won, that he is their true king and that they belong to him. Lukewarm Christians will do this because they no longer trust that God has already won and rather than trust Him with faith in the Spirit for future victory which is painstakingly detailed in Revelation, instead they go with their eyes and their flesh and trust in the one who has taken the heir by force rather than by God's office.

Obviously by using the word "game" I do not imply that this is trivial. A battle analogy could also be used. I just find it easier to picture moves and counter moves on a board rather than on a battlefield. Having said that, battles can be planned on a board or on paper beforehand. It is what strategy is all about.

Satan's attacks are strategic and so our defences and offences must be also. I think that this morning I have woken up to a much clearer view of the battle or "game" we find ourselves in. How wonderful to know that it has been already won! That all we must do is trust in our Saviour that it already has been won! That God is victorious on our behalf. That we also can be victorious, not because God needs us but to give God's victory even greater glory with our obedient "moves" through our lives here.

As a follow up question. How much do the Angels know about us? Do they just hear our voices or can they read our thoughts as well? God knows who will be saved beforehand. Does Satan have any prior inkling?

The reason I ask this, when I was a child I was very quiet and sensitive and in my Catholic school I didn't feel close to Catholicism but I was drawn to Jesus. I didn't understand Jesus or the bible then because Catholics are really adept at obfuscating the truth. They also steer a person away from Jesus and towards Mary instead. I never felt comfortable praying to Mary. It always felt wrong to me but I didn't know why. I wanted to know Jesus better because I was told from the bible that Jesus was kind and loving and I wanted that. I can't explain it thoroughly but I remember the Bible witnessing to me despite the opacity of Catholicism. The problem is they left Jesus as an unapproachable enigma and I was forced to go to Mary instead which I didn't feel was right. The story I remembered the most from school was the "Gadarene demoniac" and the demons going into the pigs and off the cliff into the sea. It was such a vivid image to me and there was something shocking and yet intriguing about it and yet my Religious Education teacher didn't tell us what it meant. It was described as a miracle for miracles' sake and that the whole thing was some unapproachable mystery. I was given a Good News Bible as a child but never encouraged to read it. They silently implied to me that the Bible was dangerous to read and that only priests or the Pope could understand the mysteries of the Bible.

Whilst I felt this draw towards Jesus, I was being very badly bullied at school, so badly that at times the words I would use to describe it would be "satanic". I was surrounded by little girls who took delight in other people's pain. There was one there in particular who was so delighted by my tears and mental anguish (and sometimes physical pain) that she would laugh in delight at it all. I am trying to forgive them this. It has been hard to as I am at times still haunted by those experiences.

I guess another question would be is that I have said out loud that I have forgiven them and yet still feel pain at the recollection of it. How would I know if I have forgiven them if remembering it still causes pain? I want to forgive though. If I don't forgive, will I not be forgiven? (I will pray on this)

My main question though is that maybe I was being drawn to Jesus then and Satan used those children to stop me? Could that be possible? The bullying continued and got worse and worse. I went from being straight A to getting lower grades in my actual exams. At the time I thought it was my academic capabilities that made me a target (and some said it was because I was pretty and well behaved) but now I am wondering whether it was my draw to be near Jesus. Would the other children sense this? Would Satan know? Could he have used children in this way?

Well I'm saddened to say that Satan's plan at that time worked. I stopped going to church completely just before (at College) I decided that "if you can't beat them, join them".

I can actually remember the lesson I was sitting in and even where I sat when I decided to "give in" and be part of the world and embrace it because I couldn't wrestle against it alone.

So Satan had his victory over me then and I had an even more miserable time after that. I look back at them as my "lost years". Even though I wasn't a believer as a child, I was being drawn towards faith but that bullying pushed me over the edge. I wanted nothing to do with being good or saintly as all it gave me was grief from my peers and set me at odds against the world.

I think God wants me to write about these things, about being bullied and my experiences with depression to help others.

So back to my original question. Could I have been reaching towards God then and Satan could see this and he stymied my reaching by using the girls to bully me? It's not a nice thought, Satan using children like that but I do have to say this Bob, their actions towards me and others could only be described as evil. I shudder to think where these women are spiritually today. Hopefully they have cried out to be saved like I have done. I am hoping that as I have now prayed for their salvation this means that I have forgiven them and move on.

In Jesus,

Response #1:

Sorry for the delay – busy time here, and the ice storm has complicated things as well.

1) I love the first part! It's a nice way of thinking about things, namely, that God is better than any master chess player, and to an infinite degree, knowing the end from the beginning in all things. Of course chess, for all of its complications, is finite (which, I suppose, is the only reason computers can be good at it). Real life is composed of more variables in an individual person's life in thirty seconds – to an incalculable degree. Then when we factor in the entire universe . . . Suffice it to say that it really does boggle the mind to even try to contemplate how massively impressive our God's foreknowledge is – especially considering everything was foreknown so that it could be (and was) foreordained in the perfect plan (Christ, for example, could die for the sins of us all right down to the end of the Millennium unless those sins were known ahead of time). The devil has blotted all this out of own his heart, as all the arrogant have, because, obviously, anyone who really understood anything about God's greatness in an infinitesimal part would have nothing but paralyzing awe for Him.

2) The angels' knowledge is not nearly the same as God's. They are "learning" too from observing us (1Pet.1:12). And like us, they have no independent knowledge of what is coming – except through the Bible. They rejoice whenever there is a victory, for example (Lk.15:7-10).

3) The devil is the most gifted of all creatures that God ever created, so we would be amiss to underestimate his capabilities or those of his agents. But they only know what they see and observe. I am sure that anyone who could secretly observe us for a long period of time could easily draw conclusions about our spiritual state – it's hard to hide either our light or our darkness from other human beings, after all, even when they only see us sporadically. So in answer to your question we know that the evil one and his minions are always on the prowl for victims and targets (1Pet.5:8). But we also know that God is good and cares for us, and that He watches over us (Ps.121:1ff.). He watched over you, my friend, and even though you didn't go in a straight line all you days (that is more the rule than the exception for all eventually positive believers in my experience and observation), you have moved into a wonderful place and are pressing forward courageously! We all have things and people in our past which are hard to forget and forgive – but we need to do so, clearly. We have to remember that it's not about us down here: it's about Jesus Christ. He died for these people who mistreated us too. We don't have to like them. We don't have to like what they did. But we can forgive them and even pray for them . . . and let it go.

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hello again Dr. Luginbill,

I have a One Year Bible and of course every year it starts at Genesis, so I have read these particular scriptures many times. This year it stood out and I want to ask you about the following: Genesis 21: 14 Abraham rises early and gives bread and water to Hagar as he sends him out of the house with Ishmael and in 18 the Lord tells her to lift up the lad 'for I will make him a great nation.'

Genesis 22: 2 "Take now your son, your only son Isaac"
12 Since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.
15 and have not withheld your son, your only son, blessings I will bless you.

My question is does God not consider Ishmael Abraham's son? Is Ishmael leader of the nation of the Arabs or Muslims? Is he not a legitimate son since he was conceived outside God's plan of Abraham and Sarah having a son? Will the Muslims accept and turn to Jesus before His return for salvation? Since God has said three times that Isaac is the only son what does that mean?

Thanks for you help.

Blessings.

Response #2:

As to this question, it is clear that 1) Ishmael is Abraham's son, and 2) he and his descendants have been mightily blessed precisely because of descent from Abraham – just as the Lord promised Abraham.

However, Isaac is the "son of promise", and the word sometimes translated "only" (link) is actually the Hebrew word yachidh which really means something akin to "unique" or "special" (i.e., while it can mean "the only [son]", it has this other connotation which applies even when, in the case we are discussing here, it does not technically mean that alone – since Isaac is yachidh but not Ismael and both are clearly Abraham's biological sons). The word is translated into Greek as monongenes, which is applied to Christ and often translated "only born" – whereas I prefer "uniquely born" (we know that the latter is translating the former because of, e.g., Heb.11:17). As Paul puts things:

For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise.
Galatians 4:22-23 NKJV

So Isaac is born of promise and as a result is THE special son – the only uniquely born son of Abraham – who establishes the line of the Messiah who is special and unique in every way, including in His birth into this world.

As to where the offspring of Ishmael are today, these sorts of questions are almost always impossible to answer, given the great mixing of peoples and nations which has occurred over so many centuries. The best we can say is that no doubt Ishmael's progeny are scattered throughout the inhabitants of the middle east. I don't find any prophetic references in scripture regarding Muslims. But it is true that the southern alliance, the power-bloc against which antichrist will contend and through the conquest of which come to world power, will be constituted from the predominantly Muslim nations of the world (see CT 3B link).

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hi Bob,

I wanted to thank you for your prayers. I'm sorry to say that I checked out the forum, but never really got plugged in. I did check out Mark Perkins as well, and watched quite a few of his videos on their facebook page. I'm not sure that's the route forward for me either though. I've had a habit of looking for Churches in the area, watching a sermon or two online, and fast forwarding to see if they are talking about the Bible. Maybe two out of many have been close including Mark's, but I'm pretty wary.

I've dived pretty hard into apologetics. I did find a guy on youtube named Mike Winger that seems to have some pretty good content. He differs on some things, but is always talking about the Bible. He has a series on Jesus in the Old Testament, and another on fulfilled prophecies that are top notch. Recently he has started some videos on end times stuff, so we'll see where he lands there. I've also discovered an apologetic called "undesigned coincidences." I think this is one of the best ways to defend the Bible. You have to evaluate what it says in order to defend it, so many others that try to defend the Bible without referencing it fall short. One example would be Jesus asking Philip where they can buy fish in John 6:5, In Luke we find out that the feeding of the multitude took place near Bethsaida, and in John 12:21 we find out that Philip was from Bethsaida. Quite the coincidence for the authors to agree without explicitly telling us how those coincide without explicitly drawing our attention to those facts if the Bible was fictional. I think it might also be one of the reasons Jesus asked Philip. Some living scholars, Lydia and Timothy McGrew, have done quite a bit of work compiling some of these that exist in the gospels and Acts. I'm also partially through a book written by John Blunt in the early to mid 1800s that show some "coincidences" that I'm almost surprised anyone was able to find. One was that through several sources we learn that Ahithophel, one of David's counselors, was Bath-sheba's grandfather, and that he conspired against David. It seems then that this may have been his ill-founded motive for conspiring against David. Blunt's work is in the public domain, and I know some scanned pdf's exist online of his work. Even the ones that have been printed are not excellent quality copies, but they are readable.

I'm feeling much better and have been reading the Bible more, but I still have a long way to go. I could still use prayer that I'd be continually rejoicing in the Lord, and that my love for others would grow. I'm concerned that I may be growing in the knowledge of God without bearing fruit if that were possible

Thanks again,

Response #3:

Thanks for the update. Not surprised that you're having a difficult time finding a brick-and-mortar church where they are actually teaching the truth in sufficient quality and quantity to grow. Those are rare indeed in the "late innings" of Laodicea. Mark is transitioning into a working retirement from what I've heard, focusing on evangelism in Tahiti and trying to help his church find a new pastor-teacher.

It is true that there are plenty of details in scripture for anyone interested to purse reading the Bible to be able to see that it is the truth (not sure I'd call them "coincidences"). For a believer, the more you read, the more you find. And the more detailed Bible teaching you listen to, the more you have the opportunity to learn. Here's something from a reader who is also interested in evangelism and apologetics which was posted last Saturday: "If God does know and control all things, how much [more then would He not have] informed us, mere finite beings, of His truths and His plans?" Because it does stand to reason that a perfect God who put us here for a purpose would of course let us know what that purpose was and what we need to do about it. That is why we have the Bible (there's a lot about this sort of approach too in the relatively recently posted BB 7: Bibliology at the link).

As to not doing enough now, as I always say, God uses prepared people. And while there are ways we can prepare for the specific ministries we've been called to perform, the fundamental act of preparation which is the sine qua non of all Christian service is spiritual growth to the point of spiritual maturity. We should never "feel bad" but only "wonderfully good" about any efforts we make towards spiritual growth. Even after attaining the standard of maturity, there will always be room for more growth. Spiritual growth is God's "force multiplier": it makes all we do better. And that makes sense too. For the closer we are walking with Jesus Christ, of course the better job we're going to do for Him.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Yes it did snow for one night. And I was one of the ones that lost power and heat a few days (there were millions apparently). I have been allowed to use Vacation days, so I am very grateful for that. And I just got power and heat at some point this morning. It looks like things are slowly turning back on. There is another warning for today, but am hoping it won't amount to anything. For the first couple of days I just stayed under a lot of covers on the bed, it was so cold. Mentally I know that doesn't sound so rough because I didn't 'do' anything. But it felt hard psychologically. But I did pray a bit and God pulled me through it.

I am glad you are okay. Do you have heat? That was possibly the worst because it is hard to do anything when it is so cold. In ye olden days they would start fires, and you can have warm water that way, but many buildings are not built for that. Lol listen to me tell you that when you know better than me.

I was really happy to see your message. I had been thinking that it might be my time, because all I can do about the cold is bundle up, and if it gets too cold to live, well.

They are saying it is a once in over a century of time weather thing.

I don't understand how such a wide-scale disaster could happen over a single night of a little snow. I have seen mountains of snow in Oklahoma, and this was only a little snow. Texas is an energy titan and an economic one, but so many millions are out of heat and power and water for days, and still going? (I have heat and power now, and bottled coffee and a little bit of food for a few days, so hopefully things will be better by then). I just find this a bit astounding. We have so many resources, and have for a long time. I just don't get it.

Thank you for your prayers. Now that I am out of the danger, I think I will start an emergency kit for myself with a power generator. I have never lived somewhere with so many weather emergencies.

Response #4:

Thrilled to hear you are OK and "out of the woods", my friend! God is good!

Long, cold difficult day here – just getting to emails. Yes, heat at home. The uni finally went back to on-campus instruction (although I didn't see but one other faculty member down there all day and very few students who weren't mine). The majority of mine checked in virtually. Still a lot of ice in spite of a week of scrapping it up.

Who knows what will happen going forward in the short run. We know that in the mid-run things will be terrible – but wonderful in the blessed long run. Some preparation is always prudent, but the best preparation is always spiritual.

Still no word from our friend Curtis Omo of Bible Academy in Houston since he emailed "No electricity Trying to stay warm".

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hello Bob!

I'm fine. Thank you for asking. Apparently there are rolling blackouts state wide. (A good argument for, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" So much for "green" energy.) So far, my prayers have been answered in that the power has stayed on, groceries have held up and except for some icing in the HVAC compressor, I've suffered only minor inconvenience. 2 above this morning which, surprisingly enough, this old bod handled reasonably well. Seasonal weather returns, the forecasters say, this weekend. I've probably lost most if not all of what I had planted. C'est la guerre. I'll just start over.

My poor old Basset hound was totally flummoxed by the snow and ice. He'd never seen it before and couldn't keep his feet under him. I had to rescue him a couple of times until he finally got the hang of it.

If chipping ice and teaching remotely is the worst we suffer, we're truly blessed.

Ruok? Is that Hebrew?

Thank you for your prayers. They are much appreciated. You and yours are in my prayers daily.

In our Lord Jesus,

Response #5:

Glad to hear it!

Rolling blackouts in the dead of winter. A good argument for a wood burning stove, I guess. What is really needed is one that can burn solar panels in a pinch.

R = are

U = you

OK?

But it does sound like Hebrew, doesn't it?

"If chipping ice and teaching remotely is the worst we suffer, we're truly blessed." Amen!

Something tells me it is going to get worse . . . and then a LOT worse.

Thanks for those prayers! Keeping you in mine as well.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hi Bob,

Sometimes I'm incredibly slow on the draw. RUOK blew right past me. This past week has added poignancy to the Lord's warning, "pray your flight is not in winter." This old bod wouldn't stand up well in that. Sadly, you're right about things worsening. As days go by I begin to understand more fully what we'll face. Weather, I think, is only one small part of it.

Stay warm and safe.

In our Lord,

Response #6:

No problem, my friend! One has either heard this one or not (I think people who text a lot are more attuned to these abbreviations).

No worries about "flight in winter" as the Greek actually says "inclement weather" – because we know when the flight will happen, right at the mid-point of the Tribulation, sometime in the spring. Same thing for the flight from Babylon – only three years later.

NEVER liked being cold, myself. Heat doesn't bother me much, except to be an annoyance, but cold is the worst. Plenty cold here in L-ville at the moment! Ice from over a week ago still sticking around. We're told of a thaw early next week, so just hunkering down and hanging in. The uni did go back to in-person today after just about a week out, but I didn't see but one of my colleagues down there (from a different dept. too).

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend – hope some of your plants survived.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hi Bob,

I've just noticed the special prayer request on Ichthys and wanted you to know that I've been aware of the terrible weather conditions you've been having and I've been praying for you and Curtis and your families all this week and will continue to and for all our brothers and sisters as well.

[omitted]

I've had to work more days this week as well to cover for a member of staff who has been off sick. Long and very hard days too and I'm back in tomorrow. Hope you have been coping okay with teaching from home - I have been praying about this for you too.

Please stay safe and well and warm.
Keeping you all in my prayers. In Jesus

Response #7:

Just heard from Curt that power was restored yesterday afternoon – so thanks for your prayers!

Still cold and icy here. Haven't been able to get but some of the ice off of the walkways. Supposed to warm up Sunday. The uni went back live and in person yesterday, but I had more students "virtually" than in the flesh. It's a three ring circus, as I must have mentioned, trying to teach to the ones who are there and keep up with comments and questions on the computer too. Found out today that the cameras can be zoomed in . . . but not by "users". The IT person I spoke to said he'd pass along the request to see if those in charge "would be willing" to do this. Great.

I'm actually encouraged by your conclusion. It's important at such times to back the emotion out of it as much as possible. It's just a fact that there are bad relationships in life to which the only and the inevitable solution is complete separation. As in a marriage where one party wants out and just keeps putting unbearable demands on the other party until that even someone with the patience of Job would crack. We have to accept that, not allow it to destroy our peace in walking with the Lord, and move one when the time comes. If we have done all we can to be upstanding Christians in the process, then there is no need for excessive remorse. We always have regrets when things go sour, but that is part of life, after all. Perfect relationships only exist on the other side – and down here with our Lord Jesus (where all imperfection is on OUR side).

Tough, long day ahead tomorrow. Sorry to hear it's the same on your side of the pond! We'll both be happy to see the weekend arrive.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hi Bob,

In Psalm 58:1, the KJV reads: "Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O CONGREGATION? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?" Yet the NIV reads: "Do you RULERS indeed speak justly? Do you judge people with equity?" In consulting Strong's, their definition of the Hebrew word highlighted was also murky. I can't reconcile those two terms. Congregation, other than a group of people doesn't equal rulers. How should I understand it? I understand the two versions quite differently.

It appears that many of your correspondents are getting more skeptical of the magic injection which I think is appropriate. If you consider that the flu, pneumonia and even much TB have been magically cured but COVID has taken their place, it should make people wonder. There was a paper by a professor of economics and statistics in the Johns Hopkins newsletter that showed the increase in COVID deaths corresponded to a decrease in the flu, pneumonia and TB. Total deaths hadn't changed from previous years. It was almost immediately retracted so "people would not draw the wrong conclusions." I checked CDC mortality tables myself. Sure enough! She was right.

https://web.archive.org/web/20201126163323/https://www.jhunewsletter.com/article/2020/11/a-closer-look-at-u-s-deaths-due-to-covid-19

The Gesundheitsfurhers can't seem to get their stories straight and change them on what seems a daily basis. Now, we're being told to wear TWO masks and medical practitioners say masks cause more problems than they solve. We're told the gene "therapy" called a vaccine and Moderna calls it "their operating system" is safe and effective yet it's killed more people than conventional vaccines and our gesundheitsfurhers tells that after getting the jab, things won't change. Why accept the jab?

I've lived through approximately seven previous "pandemics" all of which pooped out except for small groups. None of them frightened us sufficiently. Now comes the magic COVID whose symptoms coincidentally parallel dietary deficiencies. Baribari seems to be most prominent which is a vitamin B1 deficiency.

https://www.healthline.com/health/beriberi

Then there's vitamin D deficiency affecting our darker skinned folks and vitamin C, zinc, etc., deficiencies affecting all our immune systems making us even more susceptible to seasonal flu.

It's my belief that the purpose of a thing is what it does. Not what they claim it is. Satan's original lie, "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." What this COVID thing has done is to destroy lives, businesses and economies and trained us all to accept the dictates of government apparat to accept whatever we're told. All have one thing in common: the COVID hysteria is man made, climate change may because of geoengineering which is man made, dietary deficiencies and the associated immune disorders are man made due to manufacturing efficiencies which have made us all susceptible to disease. This is now worldwide. Bob, I think we're in training for the Tribulation and for that, we should be truly thankful.

Thinking of end times Babylon, do you think it's possible that it will be China? The US seems to have completely sold out to China and the Yuan is taking the place of the US dollar as reserve currency. American hegemony seems to be waning. (Which may be a good thing though I don't think our fuhrers will willingly let that go.)

On another note, the grid seems to be fully up down here in spite of the bureaucratic bumbling though there are still some pockets without power and clean water. Surprisingly, early indications suggests that I may not have lost all in the garden. We had a couple of nights in the low single digits -- certainly not why I came to Texas-- so that by itself is a miracle. The snow offered the needed protection. It proved to me that the Lord takes care of his creation. The robins, which gather down here in the winter made it through, doves are still hooting, rabbits and deer still roam around for food. Scripture says that the evidence of God is plain in the eyes of his creation. That is absolutely true. The more I live here and watch, the more obvious it becomes.

Sorry for the rambling...

I hope and pray all is well with you and yours.

In our Lord and protector,

Response #8:

Hebrew has few vowels as represented in the orthography of the original text. The vowels (the vast majority of them) were added later (by the Masoretes ca. 8th cent. A.D.). Because of the way Hebrew works, it is possible to process it without most vowels (that's the way Modern Hebrew is written too, in the newspapers, e.g.), but sometimes, in the Bible, where the context doesn't make it all that clear, different things are possible. For example, if English were written without vowels, we could in most cases look at PT and figure it was "put" or "pot" or "pit" or "pat", based on the context . . . but what if it were "pate"? That is the situation here: אֵלֶם / 'elem most likely is from 'el (same root as the word for God) and means "strong ones" and therefore "rulers" – which fits the context. The other possibility is that it come from the root meaning "to bind", one which most often speaks of a binding of the tongue (so as to be "mute" or "silent"). I'm not positive where KJV got "congregation" from, but my best guess would be that the translator(s) thought the root had to do with a group of people "bound together".

Thanks for the Covid info! It does seem as if the thing is dying out. Saw an interesting spot on the telly last night where two docs in the field were challenging the status quo and suggesting that even without the vaccines we are getting close to "herd immunity" because just by being infected (and not symptomatic or particularly sick) one builds up an immunity. Wonder how the clamor to be vaccinated will fare if the infection rates keep dropping? The powers that be have proven that they can stoke up the fear anyway – along with the punishment for non-conformity. So the emperor may have to walk around naked for a spell before people acknowledge his lack of clothing.

Vitamin B1 huh? Who knew that barbeque pork ribs were a health food?

I hear you on the China thing. On the other hand, five and a half years is the blink of an eye. So many things we don't know – so that speculation is somewhat fruitless (if enjoyable). We can be grateful, however, for the very many things we ARE given to us to know about that difficult time to come . . . and for the Lord giving us a spirit of seeking Him so as to be as prepared as we can be, no matter how the specifics work out.

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.
Psalm 33:18-20 NIV

Good news about your plantings!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hello Dr.,

In your DropBox you should find the following audio files [links]:

Transmission of the Bible pt.2 the Present form of the Bible

Transmission of the Bible pt.3 Canon of Scripture

We’re doing fine here in the new normal. My employer recently announced that they are considering positions for equity representatives within departments to ensure action for change. Liberty University has already started their own version of the same type program...oh boy!
Nothing like driving backwards and blindfolded! It’s amazing to watch “educated” people so easily embrace all this. Let’s not forget we are approaching the one year anniversary of “two weeks to flatten the curve”. Mr. G. once said “ if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”. Works every time since the beginning of time. However, I’m sticking with John 8:32.

How are you Sir? From the tone of your email replies it sounds like your getting along ok. Got you in prayer here.

All the best,

Rev.22:20

Response #9:

Thanks as always for your great help with this, my friend! Uploaded and testing fine and dandy.

It has been a long two weeks, that's for certain!

Distressing news about Liberty. You would think that they might be able to get something right. I'm scratching my head over that one. But I don't think it's about education or even intelligence. It's about willingness to accept lies over truth – and do so enthusiastically in order to signal one's virtue and thereby avoid scrutiny of oneself. Why are so many child molesters and otherwise criminally involved persons attracted to the now uniformity ideology? Because it's sympatico with their foulness. In part. But more because by being virtue-signalers with those "on the right side of history" they can much more easily get away with whatever they want. On the other side, wearing red shoe-laced can get you "cancelled".

So accepting these lies is not just about being deceived. It's also about throwing in one's lot with evil and the evil one for all manner of personally gratifying reasons (the one discussed above being just one of many; self-righteousness seems to "feel good" to many who are of this world).

Getting along here, even though things are challenging at work (the tech that DOES work they seem to always be changing so that it doesn't; the tech that doesn't work they are reluctant to change so that it does).

Keeping you guys in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hello Dr. Luginbill -

I am currently without a working computer but wanted to update you on our status here in Texas: Below is a post I made on social media to keep my family members current on our news. We appreciate prayers. Bottom line - pipes burst in two places inside the walls in our home while we were taking a nap last Monday with an ice storm outside. Our entire house was flooded when we awoke and got off the bed and stepped into a couple of inches of icy water. This was on the heels of being without electricity- no heat, no cooking, no water, no lights, etc.

POST
So here’s the low-down:

-Been melting snow in our oven whenever electricity rolls on so that we have some water to work with.

- That is until we blew out the glass door of our oven. A cold meets hot thing. Note: I used “we” to make it a team effort - when it reality it was a one-man show. His words, “Well, it looks like you’ll be getting that new oven.” My words, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.”

- Sponge baths, boiling snow, scrambling to make a meal at the first sign of electricity (no matter how brief the amount of time is that we have), lots of socks, blankets and snuggling.

- My superhero worked valiantly for 5 hours straight to pail, broom and bail out water through-out our entire house. Overwhelming!! I don’t know of anyone else who would have attempted this - yet had we waited for help, we’d still be waiting.

- We also didn’t know that this was just his trial run preparing him to rescue an 85 yr old senior who lives near us by herself who experienced pipes bursting and flooding similar to us 24 hours after us (albeit confined to her garage- thank the Lord!)

- Yes, we now have bubbled hardwood floors, warped baseboards, lower base of kitchen/bath cabinets, wet drywall, plus pipes that all need to be redone. Some furniture, artwork to be replaced.

- The flood destroyed my work laptop - which is much like Oz to command central - but grateful to have some back up options until up and running smoothly again. I had laid it on the floor to charge while we took our nap. Thanking God, though, that we weren’t electrocuted when we stepped off the deck of our ship/ bed and into the icy waters. It was such a shock alone!

- Interestingly, the day before the storms hit I had stocked up really well on groceries, etc. I was suppose to go later in the week but felt prompted to go that day. We had no idea vehicles would be trapped by ice from that day forward. Thank you, God!

- We can’t drive anywhere - and no one can drive to us. This means we won’t have any professionals coming to the house until this all passes, roads clear - and we are seen in order of priority. Based on our flooding and entire damage - we have been deemed a priority.

- Somehow the Pioneer dresses from Target seem oddly appropriate right about now.

- We keep each other laughing (I.e I’m surprised when he hands me the remote and tells me that I can pick a show for us to watch - and not recognizing that he is laughing at me because I am clicking away while the power is out).

Long-story short; this too shall pass, we are fine, and God is good.

We are praying for those who truly are struggling or suffering during this crazy weather and these uncertain times. Our hearts are with you and our hands and doors are open.

This too shall pass.

———

We finally had the pipes fixed and water restored last night. Electricity is now fully restored too. We are now on a long waiting list for insurance company, SERV PRO crews, etc. We will be pressed with out of pocket on some items such as a computer since our company is an online infrastructure - and we cannot wait until insurance issues funds.

We will keep you updated - and we appreciate the prayers So grateful for the worldwide body of believers at Ichthys that we can count on to pray. Thank you; Dr. Luginbill.

In Christ our Lord and Savior,

Response #10:

Wow! You really went through it!

I'm very pleased to hear that things are coming back around to normal (I do understand that there's a long way to go yet), but most of all pleased to hear of your wonderfully positive Christian attitude during all of this! It really does take faith and an eternal perspective to weather such trials with such evident grace. Well done you!

When I was getting my second degree in Champaign-Urbana after the USMC, I had bought an old trailer in a most definitely "other side of the tracks" mobile home park (thinking I'd be there not only for undergrad but grad school too – before I decided to go to seminary before doing that). One Christmas break I went off to Michigan to see my family for the holidays. When I came back, there were icicles hanging from my front steps. Turns out there had been a power interruption and that had turned off my heater. The pilot light on the stove stayed on for some reason, and the water pipe running behind it froze up from both sides at once, bursting it open in the middle, right behind the stove. My neighbors alerted the park management when they saw water flowing out my front door! This was quite something to come home to. I got a Salamander space heater and blew hot air under the trailer until everything was melted and the plumbers didn't have too much trouble finding or fixing the burst pipe. But as soon as it began warming up, the carpet started smelling something awful. That turned out to be the most expensive (and annoying) part of the whole deal. About the only good thing, I suppose, was that it didn't happen to everyone at once, so I had no waiting to do before getting the help I needed.

Now I turn off the water if I do anywhere for an extended period of time (horse gone, but barn locked up good).

I'll be keeping you in my prayers on this, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.
p.s., I put up a special prayer request for you – let me know if you want the wording changed in any way.

Question #11:

Thank you so much for adding us to the prayer list. We appreciate it!

Ugh - what a shocker that greeted you when you arrived home. That's horrible! You painted a very clear picture - and it wasn't pretty at all. One of our rooms already has a musty smell developing though we have no carpet in the house. I can't imagine as the weather starts to heat up what that may bring. I was hopeful that my prayers had been answered and that this freeze we experienced killed off every snake and scorpion in the entire state of Texas forever and ever. ;) The two holes in our house have me sleeping with one eye open. Trusting the Lord to protect us there too.

Thank you for your encouraging words - and I thought a lot this past week about the trials we will be facing in a few short years with the Tribulation. This is nothing considering - yet through the last few weeks the Lord really gave us a sense of peace and calm during the storm. Learning to keep my anchor planted firmly in him.

So thankful for you and our Ichthys community. I told our friend awhile back that I can always "recognize" his voice in email posts - and I am learning to identify others who have been faithful over the years too. It is so comforting to know we have one another this side of eternity - and what a great round-table fellowship we'll have on the other side too. Can't wait - and it brings tears to just imagine that day.

Hoping and praying that you have thawed out on your end too.

In our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ -

Response #11:

Well it's far enough back that I can laugh about it now – hoping and praying that your compound disaster gets that far back in the rear-view mirror very quickly! And the fact that you have a sense of humor about it now speaks volumes about your spiritual solidity – an inspiration to me and others for when we face less trying tests and are tempted to lose our tempers or get discouraged.

I'm pleased to hear that your are receiving encouragement from the postings! I know that your input has always had a positive effect on readers too (myself including)!

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

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Some Were Neighbors

When it comes to the ever-increasing words and actions of anti-Semitism throughout the world, my concern isn't so much focused on the world as it is on the "Professing Church." For those who call themselves Christian, they need to settle this issue now in their own, individual hearts, before the time.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that it will be said of many of the perpetrators, "Some were Christians." How do I know? "For whatever was written in earlier times (Scripturally and historically) was written for our instruction."

Therein lies the long violent and bloody history of the Church's role in contributing to the persecution of the Jews from the Early Church Fathers to the Reformers to the Holocaust to the present and future. Ultimately, it's not how we begin but how we end that we carry with us into eternity...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsRgMO6ZRn0&fbclid=IwAR24OhPCYVL7ALRUZv61AeasunaxabaJwP8K6FyutFg0wvuRGExYnTVC12U

Response #12:

I do have to quibble slightly with you here on your use of the word "Church" (capitalized).

I make a strong distinction in my teaching between the "church-visible", that is, the organizational groups which call themselves "Christian", and the actual Church of Jesus Christ (link). The latter is composed of born-again believers only; the former is composed of all manner of traditional "Christians", people who identify themselves as such or who belong to one of these groups, very many of whom (perhaps today the majority of whom) do not have a saved relationship with Jesus Christ. Institutional/traditional-only "Christians" might have no problem doing all manner of ugly and evil things; born again believers, while not perfect, can only become involved in anti-Semitic activities if they are very spiritually immature and confused and headed the wrong way – towards apostasy or the sin unto death. The Lord may allow unbelievers to oppress His people, but in my observation and experience His tolerance for such horrific behavior where it comes to those who truly do belong to Him is VERY low – so that if they ever do go down that dark road, they're usually not around long enough to do any damage (sin unto death) . . . unless they apostatize (abandon faith and deny Christ entirely).

During the Tribulation, many believers will apostatize (the Great Apostasy), and are prophesied to hand over to anti-christ all manner of former fellow believers, gentiles as well as Jews.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Bob,

I fully recognize that a valid case can be made between genuine Christians as the Bible defines it as opposed to merely Professing Christians, along the lines of "Not everyone who calls me Lord will be saved." But, I do believe that the issue of the Jew (Israel) will be A, if not, THE "smoke out" issue, separating the sheep from the goats on an individual level as to separating the genuine from merely the professing. Without going into a more detailed elaboration, many of the Early Church Fathers, and later on some of the Reformers, Martin Luther being perhaps the most prominent, became virulent anti-Semites. It's not the immature and unstable who have done the most damage in promoting anti-Semitism, but the "Great Men of the Faith."

This is why I raise this issue now as something of an alarm, hopefully to some extent, something of a preventative medicine approach to the admonition of "Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching." Luther, for example, began well but did not end well when it came to his attitude towards the Jews. His infamous little book, "On the Jews and Their Lies" pretty well says it all. Of the three Germans Hitler admired most, Luther was one of them. Some legacy! I won't discuss just now as to the terrible influence he had upon Nazi Germany 400 years later and how his writings were used in support anti-Semitism, and ultimately leading to the unequaled tragedy of the Holocaust.

Sadly, and tragically, much of the roots and influence of anti-Semitism has emanated from some of the most eminent pillars of the faith, and yes, even what we would view as the Evangelical Church, of which, I encounter evidence of anti-Semitism on somewhat of a regular basis. While there are a few obvious anti-Semites among Evangelicals---Yes! Evangelicals, but there are many more simmering under the surface that will emerge when that wicked "perfect storm" materializes in the not too distant future. We need to be exhorted to guard our hearts now as with paying close attention to ourselves and to our teaching lest we go the way of Martin Luther and others "reputed to be pillars of the faith.
Well, I'll shut it down here as you might have gotten my drift by now....

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

Response #13:

I think the Luther example makes my point. Luther begat Lutheranism, and while he and his writings figure heavily in secular histories of the Reformation, the revival of Christ's Church was carried out in the hearts of individual believers, even though that cannot be seen and chronicled by historians. How many of the "church fathers" or the early reformers or the people who joined their organizations were actually believers – or how dedicated those who were such actually were to Jesus Christ – we'll have to wait to the other side to find out. But my point is that people tend to look at the church visible and assume that it is one with the Church actual – and nothing could be further from the truth.

I have no doubt that anti-Semitism – along with all manner of other foul tendencies and other dangerous heresies – are to be found in the traditional church. But that church is not THE Church, and the overlap between the two has perhaps never been so slight as is the case today.

Believers who continue to participate in the traditional church, the church visible, any sort of organized, denominational "Christianity", are, for the most part, making a big mistake – assuming they are genuinely interested in pursuing the spiritual growth, progress and true production our Lord asks of us believers. Because this is the era of Laodicea, and its characteristic lukewarmness (of the sort in which traditional "churchianity" is awash) cannot lead anywhere positive. I won't say that latent (or even rising) anti-Semitism is the least of the church-visible's problems (because it is certainly a huge problem wherever it exists), but it is only one of very many problems, any one of which is capable of vitiating the faith and wasting the life of any and all who make the mistake of continuing in it.

From the onset of the Tribulation, antichrist will come to co-opt all of the world's religions, the church-visible which the world calls "Christianity" first and foremost (Anti-christ, after all, will portray himself as being Christ). Genuine believers who make the mistake of putting their loyalty to their organization or "church" before their loyalty to the Lord will thus be swept up into the Great Apostasy. Failure to see through this greatest of all charades will mean the death of faith for many of the present-day lukewarm who trust their "church" more than they do the truth.

So the reason I'm insisting on not falling into the trap of failing to see the distinction between the church-visible and the true Church of Jesus Christ is that not only are the two definitely not the same but even more importantly failing to see that difference will lead many to perdition in time soon to come. After all, the phenomenon you are fighting is institutional, having to do with tendencies within organized "Christianity", some of which go back centuries. The solution here, to my lights, is not to counsel Christians within to "fix things" – things NEVER get fixed from within (which is why the Lord brought about the Reformation).

If you are flying in a six engine aircraft and notice that all six engines are on fire, the solution is not to convince the passengers to do something about engine #1 (as if they could and as if that would matter when all six are ablaze). The solution is to bail out.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Bob,

I believe you are misinterpreting where I'm coming from and where I'm going, and if in fact that's the case, I accept full responsibility for any misunderstanding. But, it is certainly possible that you may understand me quite well and that any disagreement on your part is based upon complete understanding. In no way am I as prolific a writer as yourself but if you were more familiar with my teaching and writings over the years I think you might see that to some degree you are "preaching to the choir." I am an "outside the camp" guy, partly by choice and partly due to pastors keeping me at arm's length, generally, for the wrong reasons. I'm not going to go into some elaborate apologetic at this point, but let me just say this, and in this I am fully convinced and make no apologies for: The issue of Israel (the Jew) is the issue of the Church and of the nations. God's purposes in light of the big picture is Israel-centric.

Of course, there is a distinction between the Institutional-Professing Church and the true and living Body of Christ and I believe that the issue of Israel will be the ultimate factor that reveals the sheep from the goats on an individual level. And, all a watchman can do is present what He has been given by the Lord, leaving the results between the hearers and God. He is no salesman trying to meet some quota. After all, it's God who gives the increase. Man can neither take the credit nor the blame if he is faithful to what god has called him to do and to say. Well, enough bloviating on my part.......

Response #14:

You're a good man, Fred!

I appreciate what you are doing – and I know the Lord does . . . which is what really counts.

Indeed, there's a reason why the gates of New Jerusalem – which is "the Bride" (her ultimate habitation) – are named for the twelve tribes of Israel.

Keep up the great work you're doing for our Lord!

In our dear Savior Jesus Christ, the Lion of tribe of Judah,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hi Bob,

Thanks for the info. This is one occasion where I think the NIV probably got it right because it seems to fit the rest of the Psalm better than "congregation." Though, now, with the "cancel culture," both actually work though I could never have seen that before. I now heartily endorse your recommendation to check multiple Bible versions. It's also amazing that Psalm 58 so accurately portrays conditions today, regardless of which version you read. Thank you for your explanation.

One more kick on the COVID issue: An old-time antiviral at least in the early part of the last century was lysine and/or lysine rich foods. It's good for colds -- also another corona virus. Lysine is a component of fish, poultry and buckwheat. Don't know about chicken but fish, particularly smaller fish like sardines and mackerel also supply vitamin D. Most COVID sufferers that were tested, tested vitamin D deficient.

My son-in-law likes to spatchcock a chicken (reputedly as protein dense as red meat) to barbecue. Also a delightful pasta sauce can be made with olive oil, garlic and sardines. Sicilians use fresh sardines and toasted bread crumbs. I typically skip the bread crumbs though they're nice and since I can't get fresh sardines, I generally put in a dab of tomato paste to tame the canned fish taste. Also, onions and garlic which are good for what ails you are also high in B1.

I do think barbecued ribs are healthy. In fact, whole foods prepared fresh is the key. Not always possible for everyone, but I think it's very important. Mac & Cheese from scratch, for example, takes no more time to prepare and is so much better than the blue box stuff but with no emulsifiers, preservatives and other assorted chemicals most of which tend to suppress the immune system. As Hippocrates is alleged to have said, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” The Lord has provided everything we need even though He told us we would have to work for it (and, by extension, cook it.) It's all there if we just take advantage of it and not grasp at Genesis 3:5.

(Here, my sermon ends.)

In our Lord,

Response #15:

I do like buckwheat honey and sardines. Like I said, all along I've been subsisting on a super diet when everyone else thought it was unhealthy, it seems.

In terms of food as cure, as you know the medical theory of the ancients was all about balancing the bodily humors – blood, phlegm, bile and black bile – and we get English words from characteristics thought to stem from an overabundance of these: sanguine, phlegmatic, bilious and melancholy respectively. So the Hippocratic corpus is mostly about means to balance these humors, and as a result there are lots or recipes for soups (which act to promote the discharge of certain of these humors in all imaginable ways). But I wouldn't advise going to that font of knowledge to concoct a new bean soup recipe, for example, since generally speaking there is a lot that cannot be known regarding ancient terms for any sort of plant and the words used to translate the terms today (even when they seem to be synonymous, that often turns out not to be the case; cf. the gemstones of the Bible vs. modern names derived therefrom).

And here I thought a spatchcock was something used to drain water out of a boat (kidding).

Stay safe and healthy out there on the prairie, my friend. Hope your crops come up in spite of the freeze.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Ha! Bob, you amaze me. I didn't know Hippocrates had bean recipes. The Romans had a rotten (fermented) fish sauce they apparently traded all over the Mediterranean called Garum. Today, Red Boat Fish Sauce from Vietnam comes the closest to what the Romans sold, as far as I can tell. It's actually a nice condiment and something I use occasionally to enhance many dishes. It's made (mostly? and only?) from sardines. Don't discount ancient ways.

Curiously, I've been experimenting with beans trying to get the reasonable gut and mouth satisfaction of beef. Not that I'm anti-beef, but prices are going up astronomically -- and I understand why. Lately bean burgers have been one of my hot buttons but they take some time and prep, so not useful for everyone. They're good, though, and not the same thing as "veggie burgers" in the grocery.

I also didn't know you knew so much about ancient medicine! You're right. The way they classified diseases is different though very similar to Classical Chinese Medicine. Culpeper, 17th century, used the zodiac to classify diseases, though his recommendations are reasonably accurate and he wasn't wrong. And, truthfully, I have ill humors and catarrhs with allergies so Culpeper is one of my consults.:)

I won't rhapsodize, but my belief is, the Lord gave us green herbs and trees to be our food and medicine. I think we should pay attention. From what I've learned from trial and error and much experimentation is that it's absolutely true. I know things may have changed after the flood, but I have seen no indication the "green herbs and trees" have been relegated to "hippy" status. While I'm still an omnivore, I wonder if the Lord's accession in allowing us to eat meat is another test?

Not everyone has the time or resources to track down all this. (Now that I'm gainfully unemployed, I do! At least for some of this.) I think, more appropriately, is to believe the Bible and take Scienticians with a grain of salt. (Genesis 3:5) As an aside, given onion's health benefits, particularly in this COVID hysteria, I can understand why the Isreaelites were upset. (That, I think, was before Manna came along.) Listen to what your body needs and feed it.

Stay will, safe and healthy.

Yours in our Lord Jesus,

Response #16:

Just things you pick up in this discipline. Beef prices are still very high here – but not as bad as they were at the height of the pandemic. Still remember my mother being shocked one day long ago about "39’ a lb. hamburger!" – so I guess it's all a matter of perspective on that.

Thanks for the good advice. My mom was a nutritionist by trade and always served and ate balanced meals. She had strong bones all the way to the end of her 96 years.

But if you ever catch me eating a veggie burger you will KNOW the Tribulation has begun.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hi Bob,

Not sure what advice I gave you, but you're welcome. It appears things may have come through the freeze much better than expected. The girls (my bees) came through well though with some losses and dandelions are blooming so they're out foraging. There is some indication that the freeze was government induced over this "green" energy nonsense though I haven't confirmed that. At this point, it makes no difference. The damage is done or not as the case may be.

In Jesus,

Response #17:

Good news!

Things are melting in Louisville too – beautiful day today (so even MORE of my students stayed away).

Covid numbers are dropping through the floor. Maybe this bug has run its course. It'll be interesting to see how long "they" can keep things in lockdowns once the sheeple are no longer mostly all terrified.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hello Dr Luginbill

It's been a while since I've talked to you, hope you are doing well I've been okay....

I think I have a few simple questions for you at least they'd be simple for you but not for me.
I attend churches in a culture where pretrib rapture is taught and believed and obviously I don't presently hold that position and so I've been digging into or trying to dig into the data supporting when the rapture occurs.

A few days ago when I was googling Satan's wrath I ran across a article that purports a pre wrath rapture. It purports to indicate that this pre-wrath rapture occurs just before God's wrath or the day of the Lord. Is the idea of a pre-wrath rapture valid in your opinion? Secondly when does the day of the Lord or God's wrath begin?

Is it your position that the rapture occurs simultaneously with the second coming?

I hope these questions aren't much bother to you I'm sure you'll just give me a link that will answer the questions and I appreciate any help you can give to an old Finlander.

Thank you so much, your friend

Response #18:

It's always a pleasure to hear from you, my friend!

I've heard of this supposed "pre-wrath rapture" before (a new variation of the "mid-Tribulation rapture"). It's nonsense, of course. Three biggest problems:

1) We know from plenty of scriptures that the Church is resurrected WHEN the Lord returns, not before:

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
1st Thessalonians 4:16-17 NKJV

2) "Wrath" is never directed towards believers (e.g., Col.3:6; 1Thes.1:10). The Israelites weren't removed from Egypt while the wrath of God was being leveled on the Egyptians in ten distinct plagues – they were protected from all harm (as the wrath was not directed towards them).

3) The entire Tribulation is the time of the Lord's wrath – against those who oppose Him and persecute His people (e.g., Is.13:13; Dan.11:36; Zeph.1:15). So that is why the last seven plagues of the bowls are said to "complete" the wrath of God – which has been evident throughout the seven years (Rev.15:1).

Here are some links to where this is discussed at Ichthys.

Wrath

Pre-wrath rapture?

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Good day, Bob. I know you are super busy on "posting day", so sorry for any interruptions and don't feel any need to respond at all. I feel like I'm being a real pesky fly! While reading the news online, I found myself confirming my usual cynical skepticism for the religion of science. The "theater of the absurd" is on today, and the show will no doubt run continuously from here on out. (I'll try to miss as much as possible!) That "luminary" Dr. Fauci, reported that family members ( the vaccinated ones) can "very likely" hug safely. This sounds like pretty good science does it not ? He sure talks like an absolute genius! But then I got to wondering, I have NOT been vaccinated yet ,and have been hugging my wife since this trouble all started, and I have not dropped dead yet! I suppose I am living recklessly and need to reconsider the dire situation. This Fauci is a real class-act, somewhere between useless and hopeless! Maybe it's time for him to get his head examined, or perhaps check in to the "nuthouse"! Maybe I should be more charitable,.. but I'm finding my "con"-fidence level not climbing much lately. It's "very likely"not ever going to. I'm getting pretty tired of their absurd slogan, "follow the science, folks"! And watching, on the "tube", all those folks getting those shots, with a needle long enough to vaccinate an elephant, is not helping matters for me one iota! I think ,even though they sent me a notice of eligibility, I will defer for now. I still may get it but am of a mind to cautiously wait for a while to see how things develop. Hope you are having a great day, and I am eagerly awaiting to check in on today's email posts. Your friend in Jesus, the One we are confidently waiting for,

Response #19:

Rates are down in KY, and I think most places too. Heard that we may be close to having this thing peter out – since so many people have been exposed now (and have built up immunity, even if they didn't realize they were doing it). That's inconvenient for the powers that be, it seems. Just like the situation in Texas: the grid fails because wind turbines won't work when they ice up and solar panels won't work when covered with snow, but what gets the blame in the media: global warming (?!). While I will allow that the stupidity quotient "out there" is pretty high, there are limits to gullibility.

Like our Aussie friend always says, "you don't have to be crazy to live here – but it helps".

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Hi Bob, I got a good chuckle out of this, and I when I told my wife she came up with " I have to act this way to stay sane", so I guess we are all in agreement here. No limit to the nonsense coming out of all quarters from these "blind" guides. I also heard herd immunity is on the near horizon. I sure hope this happens, even though it might cause a "glut" surplus on the supply of the " silver bullet" stocks they have been "warp speeding" our way. Oh, well, even the best laid plans sometimes go awry! We will just have to wait and see what they try to solve next......I have a hunch it won't be what we would want to sign up for. Utopia......sounds great, coming into their "brave new world". I think I made a mistake on the final score. It should have read: God's Home Team 100----The Adversaries (visiting team) "minus"100. Zero was obviously incorrect, I should have proofread better.( sorry for any confusion). Have a good night Bob! Your friend in Jesus,

Response #20:

I'm such a good proofreader I missed the problem (still scratching my head).

I'm hoping that the virus dissolves (in effect) before they get around to having so much vaccine with nothing to do with it that they try to coerce people into getting it (saw one "expert" last night suggesting that next fall even those who've gotten two shots will probably be needing another!). Right now, with everyone clamoring for it, that's not the problem. Our Provost said that it wouldn't be made mandatory for U of L employees because "it's experimental" – Amen to that! We'll have to see if that changes because I'm pretty sure the "because" won't change – unless you consider several hundred million Americans and countless others around the world getting vaccinated without proper prior testing and toxicology an "experiment".

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Hi Bob, Well I'm glad ,so far, they haven't "twisted " your arm to become part of the "clinical trial"! It's raining" cats and dogs "here, but not to worry, I'm inside. I do recall spending decades working outside to "get things done" while working in the construction trade under these tough conditions. Thank God today I am able to "pick my battles" in this regard. I remember "laughing" at those wimpy carpenters who pilgrimed/migrated up here from California to W. Wash. and finding themselves not "cutting it" in these conditions. I was (being quite selfish) hoping them to go back home, and leave us "natives"in peace. Thankfully I "lightened" up a bit in that regard. Probably, if they would have assimilated better ( when in Rome, do as the Romans do) then maybe I would have had a somewhat better "feeling". I know you can't stop "progress"....but . Today I was mulling over a couple things, one being that "intel. briefing" you sent my way about "hiding for a while......" (Is. 26:20). Probably time for me to review your C.T. section on "Code of Conduct" to keep my "certification" current. I realize there are a lot of "unknowns" coming "down the pike", so we must definitely stay alert as we move ahead with the "intel" we have been given by our dear Lord, our Commander in Chief. I'm 100% confident that we'll achieve the "mission" as long as we keep taking up our "crosses" and following Him! That old song ,,,,", through it all I've learned to trust in Jesus."... Thank you so much for all your prayers ( always needful, especially with what is going on now). Keeping you in prayer as well. Your friend in Jesus,

Response #21:

I definitely agree. It will be possible to survive – if that is what we are called to do – or endure martyrdom while giving a good witness, if so wills the WILL of God. But the better prepared we are ahead of time, the better it will go.

There are some signs that the "all this" unpleasantness of the last year may finally be on the cusp of being melted away. Praise the Lord if so! And if so, we all need to make use of the respite, not to fall back into sloth or complacency (if that was our former mind-set), but to make a point not to forget what's happened, how it felt, how we responded or reacted, and use what time is left to be ready for the tougher trial ahead.

The Lord gave the Israelites one of the greatest and most spectacular victories in history at the Red Sea – and that in spite of the fact that just before He did so, they were saying to Moses . . .

“Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
Exodus 14:11b-12 NIV

When they were delivered, they praised the Lord to the heights of heaven (Ex.15:1ff)! And then, THREE DAYS LATER:

Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”
Exodus 15:22-24 NIV

When and if relief comes, may we remember longer than three days . . . and draw the proper conclusion that the Lord is faithful and WILL protect and provide and deliver, come what may.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Hi Bob, It's a pretty day out here...sunny, no wind, temp. now rising above 32 degrees F. Hope L-ville is straightening up in that regard, after that nasty spell that hit you. It's definitely " climate change", isn't it? Two wk. ago here it was snowing, followed by "cats & dogs" rain, and now this. How can we "save the planet" from all this? Hmmm. Thanks for checking in with me about preparing ahead of time, and drawing the proper conclusions for what is going to occur down the trail (another pc. of the puzzle of the big picture). That scenario of the Israelite "Red Sea" experience is a very close parallel to keep in mind. I don't ever want to become like an ungrateful Israelite, by refusing to trust God at all times to protect, provide, and deliver us from "all this". And that 3 day"short term memory" should give us all pause! Whether it's death before, death during, or survival, He is working all things out for our good, and this is a great consolation (Rom. 8:28), knowing this is God's Will for us! I do want to report that my health condition is somewhat better for the last couple days, so I have been thanking God, and thank you too for your prayers on my behalf! I'm very grateful because the draining pain from it, for nearly 4 mo., was getting to me. And now a little respite..... I never take anything for granted in this dept.! So praise God, again and again! And thanks again for your one-on-one remote learning tutorials, from ~ 2400 mi. away.( some use of technology, that is used for "good")! Have a good day, Bob! You friend in Jesus,

Response #22:

That is EXCELLENT news, my friend! We'll keep praying too.

Yes, a gorgeous day here – kept even more of my students away, it seems, than the bad weather did! Just like climate change is a reason for all weather, whatever the weather, any change in the weather is a good excuse to "cut class". I'm afraid making these lectures available remotely and recording them has contributed to the trend. There is a type of student who tells him/herself that they'll "watch it later" . . . but those good intentions are hard to carry through on when facing 20-40 hours of Greek or Latin recordings at the end of the semester! Aw well, did I mention I'm grateful to have a job! Video frame was the same today in spite of pestering IT and sending them screen shots of what I've got now, what the problem is exactly, and what I need to have happen. We'll give them until next Tuesday [issue now resolved via help from a former Classics student of mine].

Wherever we are and whatever we're doing, life is always filled with these "little foxes" that can ruin our vineyards . . . if we let them. But if we are keeping the Lord in our hearts first and foremost, they're all opportunities to trust Him and focus in on the bigger picture (speaking of focus). Looking forward to all the glories on the other side! We won't be thinking of our present problems then – they won't even come to mind.

Keeping you and yours in my prayers daily,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hi Bob,

You were right - the weekend flew by! I had a very busy one with lots more DIY in the house. I didn't get a chance to do any weights but I was moving furniture around a lot on Saturday so I reckon that was just as good! And I had another busy but very good day at work today.

I hope the ice has melted a bit for you now. How did your day go today? Is the camera zooming in close enough now in the auditorium?

I'm working my way through Isaiah at the moment. I listened to Curt's survey of Isaiah lesson and it was great - so helpful.

I loved your "rowing" response (#25) from this week's emails. I could relate to what you wrote and it was very encouraging to me - thanks! I'm happy that I kept on "rowing" through my trials!

It seems like I'm entering a new stage in my walk with the Lord. It could be all part of my spiritual growth. There's change - a shift forward happening but I'm not sure what it means yet. The Spirit is encouraging me to focus more and to keep quietly praying and studying and seeking the Lord. I feel His presence so close to me and His peace and comfort. That's the best way I can explain it right now. I've felt this for a few weeks now even with all the tests and trials recently. I think a move into some kind of preparation for something - He will show me. I'm not sure if this will make any sense to you.

Keeping you and yours in my prayers and I'm always very grateful for yours too!

Your friend in Jesus

Response #23:

Unfortunately, the picture in the auditorium is so poor and so wide a focus that no one can see what I'm writing on the board – which is where I conduct at least half of all classes. The students do have a GREAT view of the ventilation duct in front of the camera, however. I'll trying belling the cat tomorrow [fixed now - thanks for the prayers!].

Good to hear you got some profitable DIY work done at home over the weekend. I got enough done to survive a difficult Monday (we'll see how the rest of the week goes). Melting here, but still patches of wet ice all around so one has to be on the alert. Two days in a row someone has parked in my space at work (annoying not just for the inconvenience but because of the massively expensive price I have to pay for it). Also, they changed the BlackBoard interface system without telling anyone so that the way I'm accustomed to share a website with people watching from home has now been made impossible. Had some "fun" moments trying to find a work-around in the middle of a class today – did find one, but it wasted lots of time. Monday.

It makes good sense to me for you to focus on what's really important and give that your all. Life is cluttered enough that if we don't do it that way, we find that most important thing – our relationship with the Lord – drifting away. Or as our Lord put it, we find the weeds growing up and choking it. You have my prayers on this.

Your friend in Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hi Bob,

I'm so sorry to hear about the continuing challenges you are having at work. Yesterday sounded like very hard work for you. I do promise to keep all of this in my prayers for you.

I'm still battling on as well with all the madness swirling around me. Our PM announced yesterday plans for a gradual easing of restrictions in England. His "road-map" out of lockdown starts with all schools and colleges opening again on 8th March. Their aim is to have all restrictions lifted by 21st June. We'll see - I won't hold my breath - depends how the virus behaves itself I think.

Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement too. There are so many possible distractions in this life and I've avoided a few of those just recently. Things that are of no real benefit to anyone and could eat up quality time that could be spent with the Lord. All is good when we stay close to Him.

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #24:

Well we'll keep praying. There has actually been a lot of optimism starting to bubble up from beneath the surface of the government lockdowns here in the states as the rates are dropping, and a number of people with good credentials are predicting that we've passed the crisis point and are on the brink of herd immunity in the next few months. One crocus of spring here in Louisville: the restaurant at the end of the street which, after 35 years, had gone out of business on account of Covid has announced that in fact they've decided to reopen!

Maybe we will have a few years of peace and normality ahead . . . until things get REALLY abnormal. We would all be well-advised to do what you're doing and make good use of that time to get prepared.

Snow and ice melting away here on a balmy, sunny day in KY!

Keeping you and yours in my prayers daily, my friend – and thanks so much for yours!

In Jesus,

Question #25:

Hi Bob,

Thanks for your lovely email - a little glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. It's so comforting to know that we have our Lord who is THE Light with us and leading us by the hand through the dark times. And yes, there are even darker times ahead so I'm determined to use the time we have now to focus more intently on the Lord and get my head and heart in prayer and Bible study in preparation for those tough times.

It would be so easy to happily settle back into life as normal after this pandemic and become complacent, but time goes by so fast and the Tribulation will be here before we know it. So I'm going to keep pressing forward and watch out for those distractions and be very firm and disciplined in pushing them out of the way - no matter where they're coming from - including self-made distractions. I think this is so important for all of us. I think we have to make use of our time wisely and in doing what we know the Lord REALLY wants us to do and not just what we might THINK He wants us to do or what we want to do ourselves which could include all sorts of things. He has blessed us so much with all your teaching especially on the Coming Tribulation and we need to take full advantage of that. It's going to be a horrendous time and we all need to be ready. We have absolutely nothing to fear because the Lord will be right there with us but we do need to do our bit as well.

Although we're not out of this pandemic yet, I've learnt some very valuable lessons through it already and they'll come in very handy later on. I'm so far from perfect! But with the Lord by my side I keep on going and I keep on "rowing". That's what I have burning in my heart right now, Bob!

I looked ahead at the weather forecast for Louisville and I remember now seeing a big yellow sun for yesterday. I knew you'd be okay and that would be an ice melting day - thank you Lord! Great news about the restaurant down the street. Is that your favourite one that you told me about? I sent __ a text to say the gyms are reopening on the 12th April. She said, "I'm so excited!"

___'s brother tested positive for covid. He caught it off one of his co-workers whose symptoms were just diarrhea. So he spent his 53rd birthday in lockdown and in quarantine with his wife. He had no symptoms whatsoever and went back to work today. And here's ___ who eats a very healthy diet, is much younger and fitter and she had a really rough time when she had it. This virus is so weird!

Oh well - a good day at work today and back in tomorrow. Looks like I have a few extra hours coming my way for a while - and just after I had said to you that I could do with another day. Our God is so good!

Thanks so much for your prayers. Keeping them going for you too!

Your friend in Jesus

Response #25:

Happy to hear from you, my friend! Yes, the sun was out today! And the students were away! But I taught any way.

Amen! This is exactly my thinking as well. It will be interesting to see how much zeal for the Lord and for doing what you are intent on doing surfaces once things calm down and level off – that does seem to be coming (no matter how much the powers that be are loath to give up their emergency powers and the spotlight they've been hogging for a year now). It's just a natural human tendency to appreciate deliverance immediately after getting through something difficult . . . but then forget that entire mindset very soon thereafter [Ichthys traffic stats are down to their lowest rates in decades]. As I often point out, the Israelites praised the Lord for the deliverance at the Red Sea very genuinely and enthusiastically . . . and were grumbling about lack of water only three days later (Ex.15)!

One of the common experiences my comrades had at OCS was a complete lack of time so that one was always rushing to get even the essentials done ASAP. Afterwards, "oh the time we have NOW!" was a familiar refrain. But I must confess that it wasn't long before I was wasting plenty of it. It's hard to keep up a high level of enthusiasm for a long period. That's one of the reasons I always preach consistency: take on things you can handle and be faithful to them day in and day out; add to this if you can, but don't set unrealistic standards for yourself that few mortals could ever stick to – because the result is often "crash and burn" and then doing less than you would have been doing if you were consistent and realistic.

We all admire those exceptional individuals who actual DO use the time and energy and talent they've been given to press on near 100% nearly all the time (as far as we can see, at any rate). Mostly I think of athletes or celebrities or other cultural icons who have done so, and all of these, it should be pointed out, have motivated themselves to do so by means of the sizeable temporal rewards they win in so doing. We have to use that reward motivation too. A bit harder for us, perhaps, since we can't actually see those rewards just yet. Like the heroes of Hebrews chapter eleven, we're "saluting them from afar". But there is a blessing in that too. The fact that it's harder to do what we know we should for that very reason makes it also a perfect divider between the lukewarm and those who really do love the Lord, between those who have but a little faith and those who pursue the building up of their faith with gusto . . . and consistency. In that there is great reward.

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Hi Bob,

Thanks so much as always for taking the time to write this - it's so good and helpful. Y

I tend to be a bit hard on myself sometimes and think I'm not doing enough and that tendency can lead to setting unrealistic standards for myself. But I am improving and you're teaching on consistency is something that I've always remembered. For some reason it always reminds me of the story of the hare and the tortoise where the moral of the story is "slow and steady wins the race". I'd rather be in the tortoise team!

I hope you had a good day today. My day at work was . . . stressful! But it's all done now and I'm happy to have tomorrow off.

Keeping you in my prayers!

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #26:

You're certainly very welcome, my friend. Good to hear that you had the day off. I ended up not getting to all the things on the list today and also spending a couple of hours on work when I thought I was all caught up. This present way of teaching has a lot of loose ends. I'm getting better at anticipating them and knocking them out more quickly, but it's still a work in progress and a moving target as well. They're saying that by mid-summer there will be enough vaccine for everyone in the country to have been dosed, so I honestly don't see any reason why we can't go back to normal business at U of L.

A great many profs and some students now seem to prefer not coming to campus, that I think that is going to get very old on the student side of things, even for that minority who are now preferring it, once there is no danger and campus life rebounds. Anyway, that's what I'm hoping. Since it seems that on the professorial side "stay at home" slots will be the ones at a premium, I think it won't be any issue for me to be teaching on campus only. What I hope also, however, is that 1) we can get rid of this mandate to have at least 25% of the class not traditionally in the classroom, and 2) the need for streaming classes. It's nice to know how to do it and to be able to do it in a pinch, but I don't see this as my long-term teaching future (I hope). [update: U of L has announced "normal semester" for the fall! thanks for your prayers!!]

Only one class tomorrow, office hours, printing up materials and exams, then a mandatory Covid test, then a faculty assembly – then the weekend.

Get some rest, my friend! I'll try to follow suit tomorrow after everything is over.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Hi Bob,

I hope you managed to get everything done today and survived.

I've noted down all the points you made about work and I'll be praying with you for these too.

I had a nice day off today and a good rest. It was a lovely day - the sun was shining and the daffodils and crocuses in the garden look lovely. Hope you get some rest over the weekend too, Bob.

Keeping you and your family in my prayers and thanks for yours too!

Your friend in Jesus

Response #27:

Wow! Daffodils and crocuses already! We are actually experiencing spring-like weather here in Louisville this week as well – but we know it's weeks too early for us to trust that. In fact, it's always dangerous to plant anything here "before Derby" – which is the first Saturday in May – because it's not uncommon to get a hard frost late in April. But April usually is a delightful month. First two weeks in March are generally nasty. That looks impossible gazing outside and looking at the forecast, but if history is any guide, we're not out of it just yet.

Glad to hear you had a good day and a nice rest! It was a long one here, but I got through it OK. My Covid test technician today was more of a Torquemada type than any I'd had before. Thought this one would never end! But I seem to have survived. Only one more – I hope forever. I'll need to get one more in March, but in April I won't be going in past the middle of the month (remote for the last leg), and that's still in the testing window. About halfway through with the semester here already (by the middle of next week, actually). We have our reduced spring break next Thursday/Friday – or as one of my students dubbed it today our "spring intermission". For me it means I get an hour off (no class next Friday), but it's actually better than that since for one thing I don't have to prepare the electronic assignments for that day since it's a freebie.

Thanks for your diligence in prayer, my friend! I'm keeping you and your family in mine as well.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #28:

Hi Bob,

I loved the emails posted again today and the Spirit has been speaking to me as I've been reading. It's amazing how He can teach one so much even after reading just a few words.

I've been thinking about how this life is full of choices. There are choices that affect our salvation and many more that don't. The Lord is interested in every single detail of our lives including the choices we make. And we should look to Him for help in making those choices.

I think very often it might not make much difference at all which choice we make. It could turn out that either choice is fine but what the Lord is really looking for is that in every step of the decision making process we are handling it in a godly way - in a way that is pleasing to Him. Seeking Him, trusting Him, having love and understanding for those who choose differently and going to Him in prayer if we have any concerns for others and for ourselves and leaving it in His hands with peace in our hearts.

So it's not always the decision that we make or the choice that is important - it's that in the process of making any decision be it easy or difficult we should be going about it in a way that is pleasing to Him. Because if we are then we have nothing to worry about. That's what is important and I believe what our Lord is looking for in us.

If our hearts are open and we are allowing the Spirit to lead us and teach us in any situation that comes our way then this is where we can grow spiritually. And an added bonus is that we are storing up treasure in heaven - this is where we will receive our reward.

Yes - we've got daffs and crocuses in the garden! The thing is we didn't plant any of these ourselves. The previous owner of our house loved his garden and planted them and they just keep coming up every year. The weather this weekend has been beautiful. The sun has been shining and I went for a walk today with __ down the country lanes. There's daffodils and crocuses everywhere and I spotted some snowdrops as well.

I'm so glad you've got a break coming up soon. I pray the weather will be beautiful for you too. It makes you feel so much better when the sun is shining!

I'm feeling happy and healthy and peaceful!

Your friend in Jesus

Response #28:

Not a lot of sunshine today! We've gotten several inches of rain, very heavy last night. Basement taking on a bit of water (not unusual) so the dehumidifier is running full blast down there (with a garbage can in the kitchen catching the water leaking from the roof). I'm very grateful that the temp is way up, not cold at all. If it were just below freezing we'd have gotten two feet of snow! As it is, we're closing in on spring. Never known us to have sub-freezing temps for any length of time or any snow or ice after St. Paddy's day when the little ice cream and lunch shop on the route to work opens up. Still too early to plant (because we have had frosts in late April often enough), but time for a sigh of relief at that point. Early March often brings a real nasty snap in the weather. Nothing out there on the forecast yet, but . . .

Thanks for the vote of confidence! Indeed, we're down here to make choices. The more we choose for the Lord, the better it goes (in fact, even if sometimes that's not clear to worldly eyes) . . . and the happier we'll be about it all when we stand before our dear Savior on that great day to come.

Keeping you and yours in my prayers daily, my friend – and as always thanks so much for yours.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #29:

Hi Bob,

Well, after the lovely weekend we had with people wearing shorts and t-shirts, I woke up this morning and it was foggy and REALLY cold! Today people are wearing coats, hats, scarves and gloves! You gotta enjoy the sun while it's here! Hope your basement is drying out - dehumidifiers are a great invention. I love the sound of your little ice cream and lunch shop. We've got a little ice cream and sweet shop directly opposite where we work. In the summer we occasionally take a trip over at lunch time to grab one of their delicious ice creams. Hang on in there - April will be here before you know it.

Thanks for your prayers for my family and my friend too. I'm hoping that one day they will choose more for the Lord too. I have to admit that it can get tiring praying for them when you see no change. But of course that's where we have to keep going and hold on to our faith for them. Which I know I will.

Guess what I did today? Something I hadn't really planned on doing. I remembered that __ and a couple of others meet up every week and that the recordings are on YouTube. They are working from BB 6A - Peripateology. So I listened for a while and it was great - so interesting and I was learning as I was listening too. I found myself nodding and saying yes out loud in agreement to what they were saying. And at one point I couldn't believe it - they were saying the same things that I was talking to you about only last week. I was surprised - maybe I'm not so far behind as I thought! Although I do still have a very long way to go. There's about 40 recordings on there now but I'd like to try to find the time to listen to more if I can fit it all in with everything else I'm doing in my own studies.

It was strange. Strange but lovely to hear others talking and thinking the way I do and loving the Word the way I do. It was strange because I'm not used to it as I'm surrounded by unbelievers and lukewarmers. But the bond between us as brothers and sisters in Christ who love the truth is so strong and undeniable and I don't even know these people personally. You would never get that in the physical - it is without a doubt spiritual - THE Spirit. Without a doubt because we are all one in Christ, we are in Him and He is in us. It's beautiful and I thank our Lord for this.

I hope the dreaded Monday went okay for you!

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #29:

A bit of a chilly morning here as well, but the rain is past. It came down again last night and my kitchen started an ominous drip drip drip. It's the back dormer. Never was flashed properly. I'll have to try and do something about that once it drys out a bit (though I fear that my days of climbing about on the roof are numbered).

Great news about zooming! Are you signed up for the forum? I think it's essentially the same group of folks, more or less, on each (that's not live, but still).

Monday went very well! I was just starting my second class when an old student of mine came in the room and asked to look at the computer – he works for our IT section now and had seen an email I sent about yet another problem with the hyflex gear – a big blue banner appearing over the board. He fixed that lickety-split - and then after about five minutes on the phone with the tech who had the "ap" on his computer was able to have the camera zoomed in perfectly! So now my students can see the board! I did a little dance (which made everyone laugh – and I can certainly understand why). Then he went over and had the one in my other classroom fixed as well! This is a big relief, because now I don't have to worry about doing things at the board being completely or nearly lost on those watching from home. So all in all a pretty good day!

Lots on the agenda for my hour off later this week, but for now the job is getting through to Wednesday afternoon.

I am keeping your family in my prayers, my friend. Thanks for yours too -- prayers answered about the cameras for sure!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #30:

Hi Bob,

So sorry to hear about your leaky dormer. We've experienced the "ominous drip drip drip" in the past as well and it makes your heart sink. I don't like the thought of you climbing on the roof. I wonder if there's someone who could recommend a good roofer for you. Just want you to be safe.

Great news about the camera zooming in now! A real answer to prayer. Something less for you to have to think about. I'd have done a little dance myself! At least you gave them a laugh - a break from all the gloominess right now.

Just tomorrow to go and then do you have a couple of days off? I hope you enjoy your time off. I managed to get some holiday this week and I'm only in on Friday.

Keeping you in my prayers!

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.
Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say on the LORD!
(Psalm 27:13-14)

Your friend in Jesus

Response #30:

Had another look today and it's actually not clear exactly where the leak is. I'm guessing that all the ice we had pried open a few shingles – but that's not to be seen from the outside. So I'm reluctant to flash the whole dormer. When I moved in here many years ago, the place had just had a new roof put on . . . but the dormer was leaking from the get-go, in spite of the new flashing. So it's one of those things you just have to deal with when you have a very old house. I could have a whole new roof put on and I'd be willing to bet "dollars to donuts" that the thing would still leak. Everything looks pretty sturdy from the inside (where I'd spent a lot of money after moving in having the support beams around the dormer sistered), so I'll just have to keep an eye on it (have a few other ideas too, but won't be climbing on the roof any time soon, not without some more "reliable intelligence" on the problem).

I think my students are ready for a break too! But in terms of my classes, they don't come on Fridays anyway (not for four out of five), and more and more of them are not coming any time (some are attending virtually; some tell me they are watching the recordings; guess we'll see when exam #2 rolls up).

LOTS to do over my short break! I may be ready to get back to work by next Monday . . . for a break. But some of it will be fun. Having lunch with my previous colleague of 19 years on Thursday to catch up.

Just noticed that the daffodils here are up now too (no blossoms yet). Won't be long now!

Thanks for those prayers, my friend! Keeping them up on my end as well.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #31:

Thank you my dear brother in Christ. Even if I don't stick my head out, I always think of you and have you in my prayers. These last two years have been super trying, going through serious trials and tribulations, but I have seen that hand of the Lord coming to my rescue in mysterious ways. I hope that you're taking good care of yourself, and that your health is fine. Officially I haven't caught the virus, but unofficially I think I did, in November/December 2019…I took antibiotics, red onion and green lime tea, homemade of course, and survived. Had serious shortness of breath issues at night while sleeping, but nothing grave.

Bob, where are we now in eschatological terms? Do you really think we will have to go through the full Tribulation? I find it hard to believe any would survive the technological prowess of the AntiChrist…

Receive my warmest regards and may our good Lord strengthen us in these perilous days!!!

Your truly,

Response #31:

Glad to hear that have been surviving "all this" my friend!

I have heard theories about some cataclysmic event that reduces the world back to pre-industrial revolution technology – so that the horses in Revelation, e.g., are actual horses. But I doubt it. Technology can be scary, but it's only as good as the people who are deploying it. In the US, the NSA has long been monitoring and crunching all electronic communications – but they still don't seem to be able to prevent terror plots or attacks, despite the massive intrusion into civil liberties. Besides, we have to remember that nothing is impossible for the Lord. If He wants us to survive until the end, we will survive until the end . . . if we stay faithful (Lk.18:8). So we may be absolutely sure that the Lord will keep up His end; we just have to be determined to keep up ours. And if it is our lot to die a martyrs death in glorification of our Lord, 1) He will give us the grace (and the words) to get through it; 2) said death will guarantee reward; and 3) we won't have endure ALL the way to the end in that case.

The Tribulation will be an opportunity for believers who are prepared to help others who are not and thus add to our heavenly "treasure chests". It will also be glorious to see our Lord dealing in judgment with those who oppose Him (all of the 21 named judgments as well as the others that Moses and Elijah will unleash are aimed not at us but at the supporters of the beast) – but we will have to have a solid stance of spiritual maturity to appreciate this, not being overly concerned for the trouble and loss we will doubtless experience ourselves: if the Lord preserves our lives long enough to see Him return, we need to be satisfied with that (cf. Is.45:2-5).

Thanks for all your good wishes and prayers, my friend! Keeping you in mine day by day as well.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #32:

Just a quick note Bob,

I try to send your way any pieces of the puzzle that gives me an "aha" moment that may help your ministry...

That whole Charismatic thing. I know that you've seen the Kundalini Warning video that shows that they are dealing with a counterfeit of the Holy Spirit. The men who pass on this counterfeit are called "Shaktipats". They often refer to this as a "transmission" or "transference". The call the antichrist Maitreya or The Christ or The Teacher. I saw a poster today about this stuff (because we are now saturated with the new age, yoga and meditation etc). The poster talked about Yoga and mantras and transmission and Shaktipat but the most shocking thing is that they called this spirit "The Comforter!"

So there you have it! Clear as day confirmation that this is the counterfeit of the Holy Spirit that will accompany the antichrist. Ecumenism and anything Eastern mysticism is evil to the core. I know you already knew this but I just thought I would tell you that they actually believe this Kundalini/ Serpent spirit is The Comforter!

The new age will play a huge part in the end times deception. It is the ecumenical glue to hold all religions together. Apparently these New Agers know that the "ascended masters" they contact are fallen angels, get this, it doesn't matter to them because they think good is bad and bad is good. They've swallowed the lie and they believe the serpent! Their Maitreya/ teacher/ Christ apparently will talk to everyone in their own language and we will hear this talking in our own minds like a broadcast. I don't know if this will happen but something else to be vigilant about.
Apparently the one world religion will be like Baha'i Faith, whatever that is?!

You can't buy a plant pot from my local supermarket on it these days without Buddha's head on it! This stuff is everywhere! Just as prolific and unwanted as chewing gum on the pavement!

In Jesus,

Response #32:

I think we all would be well advised to stay away from anyone called "Shaky-pants"!

Yes indeed, I do believe that we're already seeing the "validation" of everything and any group / idea / preference . . . that is not Christian or related to the Bible.

What is really sad, and a bit dangerous to boot, is the fact that, in this country at least, the few "cultural warriors" out there confronting all the degeneration are in fact not a whole lot better. While the ones intent on tearing down and homogenizing lies while excluding all truth don't accept any of the ten commandments – I call them "zero for 10-ers" – those few out there on soap boxes opposing them generally don't have any heart for the most important ones, namely, the first four (with #1-3 being all about loving and revering the Lord, and #4 being about resting in Him and His truth – things only believers can really do) – I call these types "five to 10-ers".

It is sad to see everything being torn down and taken apart, but of course all that was necessary in preparation for the seven years soon to come. We don't have to like it, but we are wise not to let ourselves get too upset by it. Instead, developing a thick skin towards the degeneration proceeding apace all around us will give us a valuable asset during those most difficult of days. Believers who love the Lord are wise to understand and properly appreciate what's happening (as you are doing), while at the same time always keeping in mind that the Lord "has this". The plan is perfect and is working out perfectly. If we try to stand up in the surf and fight the wave we are going to be driven under. Better to be keeping our heads above the wave and ride it in, all the way to the beach.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

 

 

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