Ichthys Acronym Image
Ichthys home navigation button

Eschatology Issues LXV

Word RTF

Question #1:

Dear Sir,

There has been many "controversial" teachings and arguments about the modern State of Israel that was formed in 1948. On one side, Bible scholars and teachers see it as the fulfillment of God's promises to bring Israel back to their land. They also see it as the beginning of the end time process, the beginning of the end which would lead to the Great Tribulation and the second coming of our Lord Christ Jesus. However, on the other side, there are other Bible teachers and scholars who believe that the formation of the modern State of Israel was the work of the Rothchilds and was at the center of all kinds of evil plot to bring about the world government of the Prince that is to come. They believe that the Church has already replaced physical Israel and they quoted various passages from the old and new Testament to support their claim that God is done with the Old Covenant and Israel. One thing they site is the destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem in 70 AD as the complete destruction of the Old sacrificial system. They also sited the anti-Christian and anti-God practices and policies of the modern State of Israel, such as their continual support of homosexual practices, pride events, etc, as evidence that this modern State of Israel was not founded by God. (I apologize for the long preface of my question)

I guess my question is what do you make of this "argument" about the modern State of Israel and if you can point to me Scriptures and passages regarding the fulfillment of God's promises to Israel and what role Israel would be playing in the end times. Personally, I believe the Bible is clear that God's promises to Abraham is eternal and Israel has been brought back to the land by God and God's promises to Israel will be fulfilled at the end and the entire house of Israel will be saved as in Rom 9. However, I also cannot deny the current state of Israel is still blind to the Gospel and is not the state of the coming Millennium. So perhaps there are some serious misunderstanding on the parts of those teachers that writes off Israel completely since 70 AD.

Thank you for all the detail studies on your website. God has used your work to encourage me and points me back to Him, so thank you for everything.

God bless,

Brother in Christ

Response #1:

Good to make your acquaintance, and thanks for your positive comments – greatly appreciated!

Just in case you haven't navigated there yet, there is a great deal about all this at Ichthys.  The "Coming Tribulation" series is a complete accounting of all biblical teaching about the end times (link), and many particular issues – including the one you ask about here – have been covered in response to readers' questions over the course of many years (link to past postings). 

In terms of the opposition you report here, I have to say that what these two schools of interpretation have in common is that they are both as wrong as wrong could be. It's important to remember when studying the Bible or any theological subject that just because one side is wrong doesn't mean the other isn't wrong as well. "A million angels can dance on the head of a pin!", "No, only one at a time!" – but angels do not dance on heads of pins in fact.

People who teach that "the Church has replaced Israel" haven't read the Bible (apparently); we gentiles are grafted into that olive tree, not the other way around (Rom.11:1ff.). But the same is true of people who teach that the present nation of Israel has replaced the Church: Jewish and gentile BELIEVERS constitute the Church of Jesus Christ, from Adam and Eve onward to the last person saved during the Tribulation.

To wit, just because the modern state of Israel is NOT the fulfillment of the many biblical prophecies about the return of the people of God to the land (and it isn't; for one thing, that return is miraculous, immediate and total, rather than unremarkable, lengthy and partial; see the link), does not mean that God does not have a hand in it – He is in control of all of history, all of which has been foreordained. On the other hand, just because God has allowed or even enabled this to happen, does not mean that we should see the secular state of Israel as anything other than it is, namely, a secular state comprised of unbelievers. It is true that the Jewish people are "beloved for the sake of the patriarchs" (Rom.11:28), and as natural olive branches are capable of being easily grafted back into that blessed tree, but it is also true that at present "hardness in part" is today the norm among "this generation" which our Lord assured us would abide until His return (Rom.11:25; cf. Matt.24:34).

In terms of specific links (as I say, the CT series is the best place to get started, and all the "Eschatology Issues" prior postings deal with this sorts of issues), here are a few you may find helpful – and I'm also happy to receive any other specific questions you might have about this subject:

The Regathering and Purging of Israel

Israelology

Eschatology Issues I

Eschatology Issues XI (see Q/A #14)

Eschatology Issues XIII (see Q/A #6)

Eschatology Issues XVI

Eschatology Issues XVIII (see Q/A #16)

Eschatology Issues XIX (see Q/A #18)

Eschatology Issues XX (see Q/A #20)

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.
p.s., your opening paragraph suggests that you have been exposed to same dangerous antisemitic influences; I would counsel you to stay far, far away from all such individuals and teachings (see the link).

Question #2:

Dear Sir,

Thank you for taking your precious time to answer my questions with lots of references and links. I have been reading the "Coming Tribulation" series and are in the process of reading through your previous emails and questions.

One more related question regarding Israel and the Church. You indicated that all believers from Adam to the last one saved by the end of Tribulation consist of the Church. However, many Biblical types provided the two types of women, one the wife of Jehovah, type of Israel, whom the Messiah was brought out of (for example the woman in Rev 12). The Bible provides many types of the Gentile Bride, such as Rebecca, Rahab, Ruth, etc as the type of the Church. Can you please provide some Scripture support for your assertion that the Church consists of both NT and OT saints? It is my understanding that Israel and the Church are two separate entities and they have different callings in God's eternal plan. For example, John the Baptist refers to himself as the friend of the Bridegroom, rather than the Bride, which is telling and indicating such differences exists between OT and NT saints. And this also leads to another question whether all of the believers of the entire Church is the Bride? But that's beside the point! These questions and discussions can go on without end!

Thank you again for all your work. I think one of the precious thing is that God would use your work to draw people deeper into His word and seek and prayer to have God reveal to us all the wondrous things in His word.

God bless,

Brother in Christ

Response #2:

I assure you that all believers from the beginning to Christ's return constitute Christ's "assembly" or "Church" (as we say in English). For the details and scripture please see the link: "BB 6B: Ecclesiology"

I consider the alternatives, one variant of which you describe here, very spiritually dangerous. Separating Israel and the Church, when Israel is the natural olive into which gentile believers are grafted, leads to many possible pitfalls. For all who want a short version of the above link, I would only ask, "when is Adam resurrected?" and "When is David resurrected?" and "When is Paul resurrected" and "When will WE be resurrected?" The answer, obviously, is "at the same time, when Christ returns" (e.g., 1Cor.15:53-54; 1Thes.4:16-17). That being the case, since we are all one body with Christ at that time, what makes anyone think that there is a vast distinction now? The arguments to suggest that is the case are all the sort of derivative ones found in your paragraph #2; that is, no direct scriptural teaching to that effect. In the Bible, believers are believers.

It is true that the way God has chosen to reveal His truth has been different during different times in His plan, the presentation of the Messiah being different before He came in the flesh versus after for obvious reasons (cf. Heb.1:1-2; 1Pet.1:10-12). This is the issue of "dispensations" as it is commonly called in evangelical theology, but that true concept is often incorrectly understood as well (here's a link on that: "Dispensations, Covenants, Israel and the Church I"). And here is one passage which is difficult to overturn, especially with derivative logic that is not actually backed up by scripture:

"I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd."
John 10:16 NIV

Jews and gentiles, past and present, we are all "Jesus' sheep", the Body of Christ for whom He died, without distinction in Him.

Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Colossians 3:11 NIV

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hello Bob. I pray you are doing well. Have you heard about what people are saying regarding the Mandela effect and the Bible and if so what is your take on the whole situation? I feel like it is just a distraction from Christ however I do not know the Bible well enough yet to know what to think of it. I have spoken with some other Christians and some who have went through seminary school who believe it’s a real thing. They really do feel like the same Bible they have studied for a long time is changing right before their eyes. What are your thoughts?

Response #3:

Hello Friend,

It is certainly true that in these late innings of Laodicea people have gotten sloppier and sloppier about the truth. But just because people are sloppy in their approach to the Bible doesn't mean that the Bible is sloppy. The Bible is the Bible and hasn't changed a bit since it was first inspired by the Holy Spirit. If anything, as time has passed, more and more manuscripts and other pieces of evidence have come to light giving serious students of the Word ever better witnesses to the text to verify that the Bible we have is the Word of God. Of course, this is true in the original languages only. I'm certainly not defending any particular translation, and it is true that political correctness, lack of understanding of the meaning of the truth in the Word, and various other factors have made newly appearing translations often not as good as what they are putatively replacing. That said, pretty much all translations (except for those produced by cults as in the JW's NWT) render the scriptures in such a similar way that any believer reading multiple versions will get the same basic things out of all of them.

Building doctrine on any English translation is always dangerous, but any believer who is more than just out of diapers, so to speak, should understand that serious spiritual growth is not something that can be attained in complete independence in any case. We are a Church, not lone rangers. To grow, believers need to find a good Bible teaching ministry where the Word of God is taught in sufficient depth and truth to provide them the spiritual nutrition they need to do so.

As to the "Mandela Effect", here's something I wrote on that a while back:

[Positing a] theory of collective "false memories" could be a way to undermine almost anything. To the extent there is actually anything to it I suspect this has to do with the present sloppiness in all things historical and the present very weak ethos about checking facts (very understandable in a society which is moving away from the written word to an entirely visual interface).

So I'm not sure what your seminary friends are talking about. If they actually learned any Greek or Hebrew (or Aramaic), then they will surely know that the Bible is the Bible – in the original languages in any case.

Here's a link at Ichthys where all of the issues above are covered in great detail: BB 7: Bibliology

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hello Robert, it's been a long time since my last e-mail. I hope you are doing well in these troubled times we are living. If you don't mind, I would like to ask you about the Hebrew word nachash, which is often translated as snake (both in Genesis and when prophesying about Dan). I read that some scholars say that "Nachash" can also be translated as "erected or standing and enlightened being". Is that translation correct?

Hoping and praying you are safe and blessed.

In Christ

Response #4:

Good to hear from you!

I have no idea who these "some scholars" are, but I can tell you that in language study a word means what it means in context, and in terms of dead languages where the corpus is finite, lexicographers and scholars determine the meaning of words primarily on the basis of how they are used. This is sometimes tricky if the word only occurs a few times (or even only once) and/or the contexts are questionable. Such is not the case for nachash. That word occurs 31 times in the Old Testament and always means snake or serpent as is clear from the contexts. So I would say that "is often translated as snake" is really "always" (or some synonymous word like "serpent"). I suspect that the "scholars" you've bumped into are not worthy of the name and are actually individuals who are attempting to make the snake in Genesis 3:1 something other than a snake (I've bumped into that heretical teaching before; please see the link).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Dear Dr Luginbill,

The NT goes on and on to us that we are heirs and have an inheritance. Specifically, what are we the heirs to? What is the inheritance? Is it simply referring to Eternal Life? Is it simply referring to that we will be in the Lord's presence and have physical spot in the New Heavens and New Earth? What is it specifically referencing?

Hope you are well! Please take care,

Response #5:

Just as every Israelite entering the land of promise was given an inheritance therein, so everyone in the Church will have an inheritance in New Jerusalem. The rewards we may earn are over and above this wonderful promise of an equal share in Christ and an eternal home.

(1) Do not let your heart be troubled. You believe in God [the Father] – believe also in Me. (2) There are many rooms in my Father's house. If there were not, I would have told you. For I am going in order to prepare a place for you. (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I shall come again and take you to Myself, so that where I am, you may be also.
John 14:1-3

See the link: "Imperishable inheritance". For rewards: "The judgment and reward of the Church".

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6:

You were a bit unclear what you were referencing by 'promise', did you mean to say that the promise was the entry into Heaven? Because then what you said makes sense.

Response #6:

The fundamental "promise" is eternal life and all that this entails: resurrection, reunion, and reward.

Scripture treats this promise in two ways: 1) it often stresses that what's most important is what we all have in common (cf. the parable of the workers who all receive one denarius: Matt.20:1-16); 2) it also stresses that we are individually rewarded for our efforts (e.g., Heb.11:6: "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." NKJV).

So when we feel we are being pushed backwards we can always comfort ourselves with the knowledge that we will have a place in the New Jerusalem and a resurrection body and be one with all our brothers and sisters forever; and we can also always push ourselves forward with the knowledge that nothing we do for the Lord will fail to receive it's reward (not even something so simple as giving a cup of cold water to a fellow believer: Matt.10:42; cf. Heb.6:10), and that everything we do will be scrutinized by the Lord (1Cor.3:12-15).

Of course, everything we do that really is good and worthy of reward has been "prepared" for us to do ahead of time (Eph.2:10), and is done only in the power of the Spirit without there being then anything for us to boast about (1Cor.4:7; Eph.2:9).

So we believers in Jesus Christ are in a "win / win" situation, anticipating an inheritance that all who believe will get (resurrection body, oneness with the Lord and our brothers and sisters in the Church, and a place in New Jerusalem forever with life eternal), and also wonderful rewards that expand that inheritance in ways we still cannot yet see or appreciate.

"But those that were sown upon the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold."
Mark 4:20 RSV

"And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ "
Luke 19:15-17 NKJV

In anticipation of that glorious day to come in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hi Dr. Luginbill -

I hope that you are doing well. We are good - and slowly moving the needle with our insurance company in order to restore our home post flood.

I wanted to pass along an email I wrote to a friend who is in leadership (teaches women) in a large church in So. Cal. - my old stomping grounds. She is receptive to the discussion after a series of rounds on social media regarding the end times - and differing viewpoints. She is a former theology student - Moody Bible Institute. I am hopeful - and please be praying for her as she starts to explore your Bible teachings (I always route people to Eschatology 2B but emphasis to go back Top-Down once done).

We are all so grateful for you. Thank you!

Slowly pushing the boulder up the hill,,,

Celebrating our Resurrected Savior and Coming King, Jesus Christ -

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Good morning:

Okay, so where do I begin? First and foremost, I subscribed to the false teaching of a pre-tribulation rapture the majority of my life up until about 2010. I had been searching scriptures and attempting to find solid teaching since 2006 on this particular Bible subject matter. My journey that led me on this quest is an absolutely beautiful God story - which I would love to share with you while sitting under the oak trees and attempting to count the stars.

Bottom line; there is no pre-tribulation rapture or even mid-tribulation rapture. It simply is not true, the scriptures do not teach it, the Bible does not include it - man has in error vastly taught this false teaching in seminaries and the "church visible" for many years (it was a false teaching that gained in popularity in the late 1800's onward). Man has in error interpreted passages to mean something that the Bible (at the root) does not teach. The book of Revelation is for us - believers. It is not for those who get "left-behind" to attempt to scramble and decipher one of the most difficult books in the Bible in the most harsh, severe, and challenging times the world has ever known - and with no Bible teachers around, according to the false teaching - plus factoring in the restraining of the Holy Spirit removed. How's that all going to work?!.

Why have so many pastors (and loosely using the word "teachers") given this false teaching "lip service?" I can warrant many guesses; tribulation is not a popular subject, it doesn't make someone "feel" good or even comfortable, it does not bring people into the pews, professors in seminary taught them falsely and they have embraced it whole-heartedly birthing thousands of pastors who teach the same false "story" (which I can certainly understand how this can happen).

In addition, if any one Bible pastor/teacher truly spent the time to dig deep and to find an actual Bible teacher who has spent decades in the original languages and texts - they would be very, very hard pressed to continue to take a stand for a "rapture" (pre-trib, mid-trib) - and not seeing it to mean the 2nd coming of Christ. Yes, I know every argument and passage people throw around to support their beliefs (I was once there too), but it is again where passages are mis-interpreted, taken out of context, altered the meaning to where one feels comfortable with what they choose to believe versus what the Bible actually says and means.

Why do I feel pastors do not look closer into this "false teaching" or allow themselves to be challenged and stretched to seek and find that possibly what they believed to be true is false? Because it's a very, very, very hard pillow to swallow - and, more importantly, they would have to humble themselves to the point of being able to tell their flock, "I got it wrong." Who wants to admit "I am a false teacher" in evangelical Christendom? I had to go through that process. I had to first admit to myself - and then to God - that I got it wrong. I was grieved for days, weeks even, but I was willing to go there. That's the difference, and that's the point.

My question to the Lord during an intimate conversation with Him based on a passage I had been reading in scriptures (back in 2006) was to simply ask Him this one question, and with sincerity of heart; "Lord, have I ever been taught falsely?" My answer in my head was, "Surely, not!" I was wrong - and on many fronts. Humbling! Shook me to my knees. Grieved me to my core. Repented. After the shock and awe (because that is exactly what you will feel) I picked myself up and said, "Okay, I have much to learn!"

I grieve for my brothers and sisters - terribly. On my heart, in my prayers, and I try to crack even a window for anyone of my "church family members" to be willing to at least open to door to pursue the discussion and willing to seek the truth even if they find it's not what they originally thought. It's an uphill battle, a boulder that barely moves, and too many are far too ready to be comfortable in their beliefs - versus be moved to a place of discomfort (because that is what it will feel like when the truth regarding the tribulation is grasped based on what the Bible actually says).

Church is not a high-school of choice where there is an allegiance to the home-team. Church is not a building with members. Church is not about programs and "feel goods." There is the "church visible today" - and then there is the real church which is a worldwide body of believers who have accepted the Lord in faith, become students of the Word of God, work to grow spiritually (past saving faith) - building-up one's faith (reliance, dependence, trust in God and His word in all things no matter the circumstances) - in order to do one thing - grow and grow up others. That's it.

Why do I grieve so badly for my brothers and sisters? Because the Bible says that 1/3 of actual believers who are not "solid" with what the Bible actually teaches will apostatize - maybe because they will be absolutely and horribly confused at the onslaught of the tribulation - with no rapture having occurred (which they had been taught by those they "trusted"). They will question everything else they ever believed and will get "caught up" in the lies of the anti-Christ ("Messiah" returned). 1/3 of the true church will apostatize. Staggering!

How easy to justify and say, "Well, those people never really knew him," or "I will just trust God if the tribulation does occur without a rapture. He'll take care of me." While the latter may be true, and especially for someone who has faith so deep that they are committed with the resolve to serve until the end no matter come what may, even martyrdom - boy, will they be at an extreme disadvantage and scrambling to understand "what's coming" or "what's next" or "what am I to do?" Yes, the Bible is for all - but it only means something to the one who believes it. All through-out the NT - a good and gracious God - is teaching his flock, training his flock, shoring us up, reassuring us, giving us our marching orders, encouraging us to prepare - and telling us what is going to happen. One of those things we are to prepare and be equipped for - no matter come what may - is the tribulation.

No, it is not far off - and yes, the Bible actually gives us much information on timelines that has been skipped over, misinterpreted, or simply ignored. God is not a God of confusion - only man can be confused. Man can choose to sit in confusion, man can choose to sit "comfortably" in a false belief, or man can choose to sincerely ask the question, "Have I ever been taught falsely" - and willing to go there even if uncomfortable or ultimately having to admit, "I got it wrong."

Please start with Eschatology 2B (The Study of Last Things). Scroll down on the home page. www.ichthys.com

Please read Dr. Robert Luginbill - Bible professor's Curriculum Vitae (he too, like me, was a Pastor's kid who believed in the "rapture" false teaching until understanding what the Bible actually says).

2B is the easier "overview" versus the exhaustive study 'The Coming Tribulation.'  It took every effort and strength on my part to work my way through the studies on the site (my learning style is different than the norms). I am so thankful that I did and I am so grateful for solid, sound Bible teaching. It's like lapping at water in the dry desert.

I love you, friend - and I miss you. I am praying for you - and I love our conversation and discussions (iron sharpens iron).

Response #7:

Great letter!

Would you mind if I posted it? [permission granted]

You've certainly hit the nail right smack on the head!

I do promise to say a prayer for your friend – and I'm keeping you and your family and house situation in my daily prayers.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hi Bob,

Luke 21:7-13 (NASB) 7 They questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, when therefore will these things happen? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” 8 And He said, “See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not go after them. 9 When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately.”

Things to Come
10 Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, 11 and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. 12 “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. 13 It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony.

From my understanding the Lord outlines the events of the Tribulation’s first half in verses 8-11. However, to start verse 12 He says “before all these things”, and then proceeds to describe an event that will not take place until the start of the Great Tribulation in vv. 12-13. Do you know why the Lord says this to start v. 12?

In Jesus Christ whom we love,

Response #8:

"Before these things", while a defensible translation in the abstract, is not what pro touton means here. I translate the phrase "But, [what is] even more [grievous] than these things (i.e., the events of vv.8-11)", taking "in front of" / pro as a metaphorical use "more important/significant" rather than temporal/spatial. This is very common with prepositions in all languages. In English "about the house" is literal, but "thinking about" is metaphorical, "putting one's thinking around" something. This is sometimes called the pro of preference (cf. Smyth, para. 1694 c.). In English we say "I rank this before that" in terms of significance, and that is what is going on in this passage as well. Translation and note from CT 4:

But, [what is] even more [grievous] than these things (i.e., the disruptions of the Tribulation's first half),(48) they will lay hands upon them (i.e., believers during the Great Persecution), betraying them into [the hands of] their [religious] assemblies and prisons, haling them before kings and governors for the sake of my Name.
Luke 21:12

note 48: The use of the Greek preposition pro in the phrase pro de touton (πρὸ δὲ τούτων) is misunderstood in the versions as being temporal, whereas it should be taken here as preferential in degree rather than in time, that is "more significant" rather than "more recent" (cf. 1Tim.2:1; Jas.5:12; 1Pet.4:8). The point is that for believers the Great Persecution will be much more of a shock to the system than even the horrendous and notable judgments for which the Tribulation is renowned.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hi Bob,

I have two questions to ask you and they are both controversial so please bear with me. I'm not being deliberately controversial, I genuinely want to know your views.

Firstly, do you think the antichrist will be 33 when he first make his appearance or at the culmination of his reign?

It seems as though he will be a inverted counterfeit of Jesus so that would include the age of Jesus during His ministry. Jesus ministry was 3 and a half years and the antichrist rule will be 3 and a half years and the 3 and a half years prior could be seen as "his ministry".
So he seems to attempt to parallel and imitate Jesus.

I know there has been wild theories about Obama and Trump but they are obviously not true. I think it more likely him to be 33 or younger when he appears.

So if Jesus was born at year 0 then the antichrist presumably would be born in the year 2000.

I noticed the other day that there was a "comedy show" on British tv that was about the birth of the antichrist. That episode was shown in 1999. I noticed that 999 is 666 inverted. This may mean nothing at all but then I thought what if that really was his birth year.

All this is speculation but for a while now I wonder about 9/11 and that the twin towers with smoke coming off them looked like birthday candles. There are two of them so I thought maybe it was for his second birthday which is a chilling thought but that would put the birth date to 1999 instead of 2000.

The reason I'm wondering about all this is that we've just been sent a census that we have to fill out. There was also a census here in 2001. There was a census taken when Jesus was born also.

Do you think Jesus was born in September? Is this the feast of trumpets?

Then it could be possible that the antichrist in imitation was born in September too? It isn't too much of a stretch to say September 11 then and then we would known what that was all about.

I hope all this isn't too controversial to ask. The antichrist will have to be Jewish though and a fairly young man. All these ideas about American presidents are just silly distractions.
He will look Jewish and be Jewish. That is the only way that Jewish people will accept him.
I am convinced that he will look like this thousand year image we accept of Jesus that is in all the iconography. Bearded and with longish hair. There was a recent tv show called Messiah that depicted him as such.

I'm afraid this next one is a bit of a bombshell of a controversial question. Do you think the earth is flat?

When I was just leaving the conspiracy theory movement, everyone was talking about flat earth and many said the bible confirms that the earth is flat. As I have never personally left the earth myself, I either have God's Word or man's. I have already ascertained that man is a liar (like the devil) and the Bible says that God cannot lie.

So does the bible confirm that the earth is a ball or refute it? The evidence I have from the bible to refute this has often been seen as metaphor rather than literalism. In the Bible the earth is described as a circle rather than a ball. The earth is described as having four corners and Jesus describes it as His footstool. He also says the earth has pillars as its foundation.

When I look for interpretation then they all say that this is just metaphor. What if it is literal?
Isn't the firmament described as being like molten glass? Then is it not like a dome over our heads? Hebrew cosmology was thought of like this

Response #9:

I wouldn't be surprised if the a/c is youngish now and still will be so when the Tribulation begins. But that is just speculation on my part. I think it will be beyond obvious to believers who are growing in the truth who exactly the beast is by that time. That won't be the problem. The problem will be that nearly EVERYONE else will think he's wonderful and suspect . . . then later come to accept . . . that he is Christ. We positive believers will be the proverbial "skunks at the garden party" for not sharing in the general enthusiasm.

On 1999, I should point out that 666 is an Arabic numeric sort of designation which was non-existent in the west when Revelation was written (χξϛ is the Greek shorthand, meaning six hundred, sixty and six rather than three identical symbols/integers in a row; see the link for discussion).  Also, they didn't have birthday cakes in antiquity, at least not in the sense we do today (not to mention candles on them). Lastly, it's not unlikely that Christ was born in December (no particular day can be established, however; see the link); September would push Luke's language a bit too far in my estimation (i.e., when he says that our Lord was "just about 30" meaning very close to being so when baptized by John in the spring).

On the earth, first, I can assure you that the earth is not flat. If it were, it would be impossible to fly from e.g. Tokyo to Britain – at some point one would fly "off the earth". Second, I believe the Bible does teach this correctly, merely in terms that pre-modern believers could understand (see the links: "Does the Bible Ever Describe the Earth as Being Round?").; and Q/A #13-15 in "Cults and Christianity VII").

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Bob,

Thanks not for laughing! So Sheol is in another dimension rather than inside the (hollow) earth globe? There are still a lot of things that are like a stone in my shoe.

The waters above? Could they not be why the sky is blue above the firmament?
If we are to trust the secular earth globe model then everything the bible refers to would have to be in another dimension rather than directly above or below.

Space, we are told, is infinite and we are careening through at alarming speeds. Where could the waters above and below and firmament be if outside the whole of our solar system and space itself. It is so much easier to picture these things on a closed and fixed system.

Are the pillars then just romantic language? If I put together everything that is said about earth; stationary, cornered, a circle, standing on pillars with Sheol beneath and the firmament above us like a dome or vault.. If I put these all together I can really see a footstool! And isn't earth God's footstool! He could mean it literally! You can't rest your feet on a speeding ball.

There are verses that say we are fixed and stationary.

1 Chron 16:30b
The world stands firm never to be moved.

This is quite different from NASA saying we are travelling at 1.3 million miles per hour!

Being on a plane rather than a plane(t) would also solve the problem of Satan showing all the kingdoms from a high mountain and also help every eye to see Jesus when He returns. Of course as I said before, Jesus seeing all the kingdoms and everyone seeing Jesus could be supernatural or it could be literal.

I saw that someone said something that made me think. He said "How could the Tower of Babel be a threat if it was sticking off a spinning planet in space that was nowhere near God at all (as He is safely in another dimension). If it came close to a domed ceiling (like molten glass) that of course is another matter. Then of course you have Jacob's ladder which again would have to be links to other dimensions completely outside the system rather than just from a literal "above".

It just doesn't seem to me to be like God to put His children on a runaway train. If I had a child and had a choice to put that child in a cot within my loving gaze (footstool) or in a sports car with the hand break off down an infinite hill, I know which one I'd choose and be surprised if God chose the latter. It just isn't His character at all unless the endless dizzy spinning is a result of the fall.. It doesn't seem like what I have come to know about God at all.

I have no problem with the world lying about EVERYTHING, even our home. When I say I don't have a problem, I mean it wouldn't surprise me.

Copernicus and Galileo could've made a mistake/ lied. NASA could be hiding things. These things are not beyond the realms of possibility. They already convinced everyone we came from apes and if you try telling someone we came from an original pair, (made from dust and a rib) they already look at you as though you have two heads.

Why lie about everything else but be truthful here? All the technology we have and there is still not a photo of us from space that isn't a photoshopped composite? I find myself really scratching my head here.

Why can it not be exactly like the bible says it is and "all men are liars?"
It would make sense that Satan would lie about what we are sitting on in fact that would be one of the most important lies of all! I realise that some may say that getting people to doubt the globe is a "satanic lie".
It's a pretty lousy one if it is bringing people to Jesus and the Bible.

Maybe the whole flat earth thing is part of a bigger end time deception (or used as such). It just seems as though you have to do gymnastics to put the bible descriptions into a spinning globe in infinite space rather than a stationary plane.

Speaking of planes. If you look at flight paths, they are very screwy for a globe model. Also a plane probably should have its nose mostly down to keep up with the curvature and yet it flies mostly horizontally (which should logically overshoot the globe.)

Maybe the earth is far more vaster than we have been led to believe with greater amount of sea around us and an ice wall (Antarctica) around that makes the boundaries mentioned in Job which also makes the earth like "clay under a seal".

In Jesus,

Response #10:

No worries, my friend.

I really don't think the earth is flat. The Bible does use phenomenonological language – as we all do (the sun doesn't actual "rise" or "set" after all) – and also poetic and metaphorical language (pillars are man-made architectural devices but we don't see anything like that in the world God actually created and we're not supposed to take that poetic description literally). But as in the link I shared with you, what the Bible has to say is actually consistent with a round rather than a flat earth. How could the sky be a "vault" if the sky were flat, and how could the sky not be flat if the earth were flat?

I certainly don't subscribe without a quibble to all of the other cosmological principles that science adheres to (there is no actual evolution; there was no "big bang"; and I don't know if the universe is actually expanding or contracting or if it is stationary – and honestly I don't much care). We believers are given in scripture all we need to know for our faith and practice. But "flat earth" is not something I see the Bible affirmatively teaching – not at all. And I also don't see any single element of the truth which would be affected in any way by accepting such a teaching (or rejecting it, for that matter).

Along with the convex/concave appearance of the sky from which even the ancients rightly posited a globular form for the earth, I do think my airplane example is a good one (one of very many that may be adduced). If you are flying to Japan or India or from India to Japan and vice versa, well, it IS POSSIBLE to do that – but if the earth were flat, it would be impossible to do that . . . because at some point you would reach "the end"; you would not "go round in a circle" . . . if the earth were flat and not circular. I honestly don't see any way around that one.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Dear Bob,

I read Peter lesson #34 when you posted it as an email replacement, and believe you me I NEEDED IT. There is so much lying, bearing of false witness, misinformation, and just plain evil going on that Peter #34 will be a FREQUENT re-read along with Psalm #37! My husband and I have cut way back on TV news but there are still times when I find myself yelling at the television...and my husband kiddingly reminds me to “take my chill pill”.

All is well with us here. Even though we are both in our seventies, we are holding off on getting the vaccine. Would prefer the Johnson & Johnson one shot if things become mandatory. Talked to __ on the phone for the first time two weeks ago. It was wonderful!! She has the same phone personality as revealed in her emails. She had heat during the “storm”, but lost her water. Everything back to normal for a while now.

Bob, there is just no way to thank you enough for Ichthys. It/you are my church and my spiritual “lifeline”. Keeping you and yours in prayer. Especially asking the Lord to protect you from harm...of ALL types.

Your friend and student in Christ,

P.S. Loved Bibliology too!

Response #11:

Thanks so much for the encouraging update – and your good words!

I've so far passed over my opportunity to get the shot – to the dismay of some who love and care about me. I do know a number of folks now who've been dosed, and no ill effects . . . after the first 24 hours. However, I do know a number of people who have had a very hard time after their first dose, and I just heard a microbiologist of standing suggest that getting the vaccine if one has been infected and recovered is "bad medicine" and possibly dangerous. As I might have mentioned, I suspect I had a mild case of the bug the December before it gained notoriety. We'll see how it plays out going forward. The virus seems to be burning itself out in any case, even without the vaccine, so I'm not sure it'll really be necessary to keep on with this – but as you imply it might just be mandatory down the road. After all, they went to all this expense and have got all this extra vaccine laying about so . . .

Good news about ___. I have been in contact with ___ and he seems to be doing well. Sure wish there was a way for him to get released early. It really is ridiculous that he is "inside" and all those knuckleheads in Portland have never seen the inside of a jail cell. Maybe I need a "chill pill" too! We'll have to keep him in our prayers.

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hello Bob -- again,

Psalm 139:15 Is this verse poetic hyperbole or is there more to it?

In Jesus,

Response #12:

The "lower parts of the earth" in Psalm 139:15 (which is what I assume you're asking about here) is usually a reference to Hades (cf. Ps.63:10; Is.44:23; Eph.4:9). Comparing the womb to Hades is metaphorical – both being dark and unseen places – but also significant for those who want to claim that there is "life in the womb", because that is not at all a comparison one would make if thinking about things in that way. The comparison seems to be physical birth (coming out of darkness and into the light) being analogous to re-birth (coming out of the kingdom of darkness and into the light of the truth) and also to resurrection (coming out of the darkness of physical death and into the light of life eternal).

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hi Bob, My daughter just sent me this (Here is some Dr talking about ivermectin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URwVc-SKQSw&feature=youtu.be). I'm weighing options on how to proceed with this situation. Hope you are having a good week. Mine, not so good yet. Septic blocked at inlet, sewer backup to floor ( 2 toilets, 1 shower, 1 bathtub ) Tank pumped, now I get to pull 2 toilets and change the wax rings. It's a dirt job, but someone has to do it ( i.e. me ). I'll be glad when this is behind me! Never a dull moment! It will sure be great when we get delivered by our Lord from all our present troubles. Take care, Bob! Your friend in Jesus,

Response #13:

Great link!

My good friend had the vaccine the other day (Pfizer) and was knocked out for two days. I really can't afford that at the moment. This semester has been THE most difficult in my career, and I've not been able to skip a beat. I'll be glad when this one is finally in the books, but a lot of unfinished business between now and then. By the time things calm down in May, the bug may have "bugged out" so that I don't need to worry about it. As this video you shared makes abundantly clear, if you have a doc who will actually be willing to treat you, Covid is not nearly so big a threat.

Sorry about your home repair troubles! But at least you can handle it. I'd have to have a whole team of plumbers here for a week.

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

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Thanks for those prayers, praying for you also that all the bugs in life will get knocked out, resulting in some smooth sailing for a while. We'll surely be thanking God for His providence and care as we navigate through our present troubles! Hang in there, Bob, and I'll be trying the same! In Jesus,

Response #14:

Thanks!

Question #15:

Hello Bob,

I hope this finds you well. I've realised that I've lost about a month worth of spiritual growth lately and have been getting really down.

I have a relative who is relentlessly bombarding me with emails, phone calls and DVDs about conspiracies. I think the enemy is using him to throw me off my walk and my faith has been suffering because of it. I think the enemy has noticed that I not only want to grow in faith and closer to Jesus that I also want to produce fruit too through ministry. I think the enemy is going in hard against me. Remember you said I was almost running the walk at one point? Well I have had terrible flak of late.

I said before I would go cold turkey over the conspiracies and I did. The problem is that this relative tries to lure me back. I'm ashamed to say that these conspiracies have an almost addictive quality. I think that they are designed to be seductive by the enemy, just like occultism and the new age is. Almost like a siren's call to woo us to crash our ships against the rocks but this siren wants to end my progress and production and eventually to take my faith.

I am getting back though by listening to my audio bible. It is helping me to get back. I realise how dangerous it can be to not be in the Word everyday. The enemy loves it when we don't find the time or make excuses or are drawn back into the things of the world (the weeds).

He is the person whose friend tried to get me to speak in tongues that really threw me for a while. I have to say that I was probably naive to think I was mature enough to evangelise to him to believing in Jesus. All he has done is none stop evangelising me back towards conspiracy.
I've noticed how he hooks me in. He says a lot of things that doesn't interest me at all but it almost seems as when he finds out what is my drug of choice then that is what he focuses on. He has become like a drug dealer to me! Should I just cut ties completely?

I will get back on my feet again and walk on. It will be difficult as I have lost time, bearings, confidence and the worst of all, I've lost some of my faith. It was getting so strong before and so the enemy has just used one weapon after another on me. I realise that bible study and growth is just an essential part of my day as food and drink if not more so. I've really suffered lately but I realise that it is because my faith is so precious that they enemy wants it so badly. I will get back to where I was before, I am determined and despite my losing my footing and a bit of my faith, I do love Jesus Christ more than anything in this world.

I know I have to show Him my faith by trusting in Him even when attacks have hurt my faith and I have lost ground. Amen!

P.s it looks like your theory of the antichrist's religious system is gaining weight by the day!

Have you noticed that everything that is ugly, destructive and evil is promoted whilst at the same time there is a strange puritanical rejection of saying the wrong thing and thinking the wrong thing.

It seems as though everyone is just "doing what they want" what ever that might be, but if you criticise them or say the wrong word about an ever changing array of subjects, you are "cancelled".

All the more reason to keep our eyes down in our bible and keeping our sights on our prize, Jesus Christ.

In Jesus,

Response #15:

Don't be too hard on yourself, my friend. You're righting the ship – and that is what counts. It is good to remember, however, that whenever we get off track, we always pay a price; whereas, whenever we are walking closely with the Lord and "hitting on all cylinders", we always feel much better about everything. Not that it's about "feeling", but an easy and peaceful joy in the Lord is much preferable to having to fight our way up that same hill again. Still, we all have a certain amount of that . . . because none of us is perfect.

It's good to learn exactly where our main weaknesses and vulnerabilities lie. That way, when we are tempted for the 142nd time perhaps we will see it coming! And after the 298th time of seeing it coming, perhaps we will think twice about succumbing!

The Christian life is a learning experience. But retraining ourselves is not just a matter of information. It's a matter of true priorities, will-power, and finally getting around to putting the Lord first in all things. Praise God for His great patience with us all!

And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
Exodus 34:6-7 NIV

Thanks also for the positive comments. Being correct about how terrible things will become, however, isn't exactly the stuff of joy. But it's better to know than not to know (Eccl.2:14).

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hello Professor,

Hope your are having a great week! I am writing to ask for your help. I am leading a small group (5) through your eschatology series (bible basics) and I am using your larger coming tribulation to provide additional details and explanations. I am currently struggling with the "Great Apostasy", specifically the 1/3 number and how you came up with that. Now on a basic level I understand the concept. Matthew 25:1-13 leaves out the Martyrs, so if we have two half's and we include another group (the Martyrs), that leaves us with three equally divided in thirds. Is that right? What exactly does Zech. 13:8-9 mean? Who are the 2/3 that shall be cut off, and who is the other third?

Also, I kind of understand the dual application of Rev 12:4, but how do we know that because Daniel 8:10 talks about host of heaven (I assume that means earthly believers, who because of their faith have positional and eternal sanctification) and than are cast down because of apostasy (lose that sanctification)) (is that right?) that we should assume that is what Rev. 12:4 also means?

I hope these questions make sense. I just completed leading the group through your Peter Series and it went well, although I may have learned more leading it then they did! By the way all of us were raised Pre-Tribbers and although I always had reservation about that teaching, it was you work on eschatology that absolutely convinced me that their is no scriptural support for that belief, and I believe my class is listening! (they are really open minded, so praise the Lord for opening the door for me. I was quite surprised that after Peter#27, three false doctrine's that they wanted to do eschatology!)

Anyway, thanks for all your wonderful work and resources! I pray for you daily! Looking forward to that great day when I get to meet you and tell Jesus why your probably the reason I'm their!

Have a Great Day!

In our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Response #16:

"But when the Son of Man returns, will He find faith [still existing] on the earth?"
Luke 18:8b

The verse above is sufficient to demonstrate – as if there were necessary given everything else the Bible has to say about the Tribulation – that surviving it with faith intact will be no easy lift. After all, Revelation is replete with warnings about the need for staying faithful, e.g.:

(9) And yet a third angel followed them, saying in a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives [his] mark upon his forehead or upon his hand, (10) he himself will also drink from the wine of God's wrath which has been mixed undiluted in the cup of His anger. And [that person] will be tormented in fire and sulfur before angels, [and] saints,(58) and before the Lamb. (11) And the smoke of their torment will go up forever and ever, and they have no rest day or night, those who worship the beast and his image and whoever takes the mark of his name." (12) [But] the saints have perseverance, [even] those who in this way (i.e., by refusing the mark and worship of the beast) keep God's commandments and [retain] their faith in Jesus. (13) And I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on so that they may rest from their labors", says the Spirit. "For their deeds follow with them."
Revelation 14:9-13

Furthermore, the other passages and discussion in loc. (CT 3A: "The Great Apostasy") do make it abundantly clear, I hope, that a great many will fall away from the faith (this is a possibility at all times, after all; see the link: in Peter #27: "Three False Doctrines" under "Positional Security").

So I assume this has to do with the precise number, that is, the "one third". If so then, the first thing I would ask is that people not get put off by the interpretation of passages about the number. People tend to get over-excited about such things, and that is always problematic in terms of the Bible since the cultures and individuals who produced the Bible in the Spirit don't think about numbers the same way we do in our "modern" world.

The second thing to point out is that sometimes quibbles about insignificant particularities (i.e., it's a BIG number even if it weren't literally 1/3) often mask deeper disagreements. The Tribulation IS coming. It will be VERY difficult. Being a believer will NOT guarantee successful navigation of those terrible times. And MANY will apostatize. Only those who are prepared – or become so very quickly once the "balloon goes up" – are likely to make it through so as to be able to give our Lord the answer He desires to the question in the verse first quoted above as to whether ANY faith will be found on earth when He returns: "YES! My faith did not flag under the pressures!" That really is the important point, and I dare say the entire reason for this ministry in the first place and a great portion of my personal motivation in working on it for so many years, namely, to help my brothers and sisters in Christ get ready for the most difficult time in all of history (whether it's one third or less . . . or even more falling away).

"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."
Matthew 24:21 NKJV

Even for many of us who have escaped (or never been subject to in the first place) that other terrible false doctrine (Pet.27) of assuming that we'll be "raptured" to safety before it all begins, there are no doubt some residual "ticks" of not taking this issue as seriously as we should. So if someone were really not able to accept the 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 breakdown (which I affirm here that I completely believe to be what the Bible teaches), I would counsel them seriously not to let something like that throw them off of a good course of diligent preparation. After all, we DO know that many will be martyred (e.g., Rev.13:10); and we DO know that many will fall away (2Thes.2:3-4; 1Tim.4:1; cf. Dan.11:33-35; Zech.13:8-9); and we DO know that hanging in there with faith will be doubly difficult – and that would be true even if the numbers of those who fall away were not exactly one third or much less (or even greater):

"Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown."
Revelation 3:11 NKJV

As to the method used, I think you have it just right: the main passages are Matthew 25:1-13 (where we see two of the thirds, not the third martyred), and Revelation 12:4 (which, while it does have a double application to angels, is put where it is in the context of the persecution of the newly saved Jews at the conclusion of which the devil goes off to "make war on the rest of [the Woman's] offspring – leading to martyrdom for some and apostasy on the part of others).

(10) "And at that time many will fall away (i.e., will apostatize) and will betray each other and will hate each other, (11) and many false prophets will arise and will deceive many. (12) Now because of the increase of lawlessness [at that time], the love of the many will cool. (13) But he who endures until the end, this [is the one who] will be saved."
Matthew 24:3-13

The internecine strife described by our Lord above (and prophesied elsewhere in scripture as well) stems from former believers casting in their lot with antichrist (i.e., apostates).

And [the little horn] (i.e., antichrist as a type and representative of the devil) magnified himself against the host of heaven (i.e., the family of God, men and angels both), and he cast down to the earth some of the host (i.e., antichrist seducing believers into apostasy) and some of the stars (i.e., Satan having seduced angels into rebellion) and he trampled them underfoot (i.e., their rebellion or apostasy in association with evil leading to their subsequent destruction; cf. Dan.7:7; 7:19; Rev.11:2). He even magnified himself against the Prince of the host (i.e., Christ). The daily sacrifice was abolished by him, and the holy place (i.e., the inner court) was desecrated. And along with the daily sacrifice, the host (i.e., believers) fell into his power on account of [the] rebellion (i.e., the Great Apostasy, with persecution advanced through the help of apostates; cf. v.13). And he threw truth to the ground, and was successful in whatever he did.
Daniel 8:10-12

Revelation 12:4 is clearly meant to parallel this passage. In both cases the forces of evil are casting the forces of God "down to the earth". What does that mean? It means debasement, loss of heavenly status for former believers (and also in a literal sense for the fallen angels being cast out of actual heaven during the Tribulation's second half).

As to Zechariah 13:8-9, while this verse does offer a parallel and a support for the numbers breaking down roughly along these same lines, the specifics actually have to do with contemporaneous Israel where only a third would survive the coming round of divine discipline and even that third, the remnant, was to be refined as in a furnace. That really does speak to the Great Tribulation where the third which makes it to the end is greatly tested (cf. Dan.11:33-35; 12:10). So we are talking about the same "one third" (prophetically) but the other "two thirds" lumped together are different in Zechariah from what will occur in the Tribulation.

". . . although I may have learned more leading it then they did!" Amen! That is always every teacher's experience (every GOOD teacher, that is).

Thanks so much for your encouraging and positive words, my friend! They are greatly appreciated. Hope this is helpful – do feel free to write back.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Dear Professor

Thank you for your latest Peter # 34 addition. Timely, as myself and a few close to me have been and are experiencing quite difficult challenges in the area of relationships at work. Your latest addition certainly gives guidance and challenges us to improve in this and other areas of our lives.

Meanwhile my friend has asked me how do angels eat if they do not possess a physical body? Do they temporarily take on a human form to enable them to eat? He quoted Genesis 18 and 19.
I have looked up quite a few of the ‘angel’ listings in your Subject Index and the couple in your ‘Translations’ yet I do not have a definitive answer for him; if indeed there is one.

Quite flat strap here with everything at the moment so will make this short. No hurry with your reply as I am surer you are flat out too. My flat out in comparison would be more akin to the colloquial “flat out like a lizard drinking”. (Lizards I take it drink very little). Though right now I have to dash and see about some repairs as a overseas worker is taking up residence in our old house tomorrow.

Thank you continually for your excellent Ministry. I am amazed at what you achieve.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior.

Your student and friend.

Response #17:

Angels do a great many things that cannot be understood if we think of them as being spirits only in the sense of not having any physical dimension. Clearly, they are "spirits"; but also just as clearly they have some sort of "celestial body" which is neither physically corporeal like our present or coming resurrection bodies nor completely without context and substance, even if that context and substance is not something discernible by science. After all, they are bound by time and space and have a definite and recognizable form. They interact in the world all the time and can become visible (ground rules permitting). They are capable of destroying physical things (when ordered or allowed, Sodom in the prior example, Job's family and possessions in the later). They engage in combat with each other. They can lift people up by the hair (Ezek.8:3). The fallen angels engendered the nephilim. One could go on (here's a link). So angels CAN eat (as our Lord eats in His resurrection body); but it seems that they do not NEED to eat (nor, I surmise, will we in eternity – although we shall).

Things are "flat out" here too! But though the road is rocky, the "pogo sticks" are pretty good.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Dear Professor

‘Eat’ was what I heard verbally when speaking to him on the phone; his email actually asked “how do they stand out”, which I interpreted as “are able to be seen”. Hope my answer was somewhere in the ballpark.

[start answer]
By “stand out” I suppose you mean that people were able to see them? Demonstrates that angels can be seen if God allows it, and they occupy a certain volume of space similar to us. They do not need to eat but seems they can choose to do so when they are permitted to. Seen by and struck Peter. Acts 12:7 God sets the ground rules. When angels disobey they are punished. 1 Peter 3:19-20
[End answer].

Turns out one of the drivers I share the bus shed with is an elder in the Jehovah’s Witness. We had a bit of a chat today. I had also been inviting him (even before I knew he was JW) to the coffee mornings.

Thank you for your answer. Read and will read more of your links.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior.

Your student

Response #18:

OK, thanks – that did seem a little weird.

Your analysis of the "ground rules" is spot on.

Best wishes with the JW – that is a tough nut. Few people go there (or stay there) if there is anything not hardened down. Be careful with those pearls.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Dear Professor

it is usually only in passing that I speak with my colleagues when and if we coincide at the shed to collect our buses. I had thought he may have been JW from some previous remarks he has made such as “no human solutions to man’s problems”.

Yesterday I thought the direct question might be best. “Are you a Jehovah’s Witness?” Followed by “are you an elder?” Yes to both. I am not expecting that everyone will “see the light” and I try to keep in mind the pearls. I told him I have had contrary conversations with JW’s on my doorstep and that I have had some “conversations” (me preaching) to a city colleague of his where his colleague might rather me keep quiet than disturb the “peace” (within him of the correctness of JW doctrine). None of the issues I mentioned shut down the conversation with this elder - such as a literal new heavens and earth. Perhaps he is biding his time and place with me. No time like the present as we are never sure there will be another time.

He talked about religions being of Satan to which I responded that the majority will follow the antichrist. He agreed with religions = satan lead, but obviously the penny did not drop for him that this might also include the JWs as a natural phenomenon. [I agree with your assessment that initially antichrist will deceive most as his father the devil is the practitioner of clever deceit]. Even now he is the pied piper to the world.

There was a moment when we looked into each other’s eyes that I felt real unease. Might be nothing, though I have not felt it with other JW’s. Elders are the foundation of their religion so perhaps this man is one of their solid authorities. Got me wanting to ask if he counted himself as one of “the 144,000”. He is authorised to perform marriages.

On the subject of angels; they are visible with our spiritual eyes (which are closed in lieu of our fleshy eyes). Alisha knew this.

Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:17) ESV.

Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face. (Numbers 22:31) ESV.

Because even a donkey can see an angel, we will likewise be able to see spiritual beings when our time comes. And the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand. ..... (Numbers 22:23) ESV

[omitted]

The scriptures above attest to the reality of life beyond what we see and when our eyes are opened we too shall see what is now for the most part unseen.

Thank you for the solid teaching from the scriptures. I am most grateful to you for your diligence in your Ministry.

Your student in Christ Jesus.

Response #19:

I appreciate your bold witnessing for the Word and for our Lord! That is a better default than timidity and reluctance . . . for certain.

I agree with your assessment that anyone in the upper ranks of an organization such as this is usually long past entertaining doubt or having a scintilla of openness to the truth.

There are "strange" and sometimes "wonderful" things that happen – or are alleged to have happened – in this world that are beyond our ken. My policy on that is to allow other believers in Jesus Christ their personal experiences without judgment or comment (unless they are something that leads dangerously in a bad direction), but also make it a point not to "build doctrine" from experience (mine or anyone else's); for we know for a fact that there is much deception out there – a trend which is prophesied to intensify greatly once the Tribulation begins.

Indeed, if we could "see" the invisible conflict swirling around us, that would be most illuminating. But I, for one, am very grateful that we cannot (for a number of reasons). As it is, we have to rely on the Lord purely through faith – and that is a very good thing. I believe our Lord's comments to the returning 72 makes plain what our general attitude and approach should be:

Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
Luke 10:17-20 NKJV

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Hi Bob,

I just finished "Eschatology Issues LXIII" and wanted to comment before doing my yoga of weeding and prepping the spring garden. (I loved #19, BTW. He sounds like a man after my own heart:) His comments and your reply prompted this response.

The Church of Scientism is much like organized churchianity; you can find any opinion or approach that suits your preconceived notions. When it comes to Sars-2, there appears to be two political parties -- those who believe in and promote the boogieman and those who deny the boogieman and don't believe in it. We can call them Neoboogies and Nonboogies. Practicing physicians seem to be in the later party. Unlike other corona viruses, we're told this one is mutating rapidly and getting more virulent, where before, virus mutations went in the opposite direction. Now Ebola and Zika are trotted out to keep us frightened and in line. Psalm 58 continually runs through my mind.

This is not an accident. That it's worldwide unlike previous plandemics is a concern. My belief is that this is all engineered and that it resembles the French and Russian revolution is no coincidence. I believe Satan is behind it today and then. It's a foreshadow of tomorrow. Being a pessimistic curmudgeon, I don't think things will improve for 12 or so years. So it's good for us to move on to more advanced training. I could rhapsodize on this at length, but I've bothered you enough with my notions on this.

It occurs to me that if the Lord establishes governments, we must have seriously fouled up for Him to give us this one. As I've mentioned before, AI can create lifelike images of people that can't be distinguished from real human beings. They're using it in movies/porn today. I expect it to be a major factor in the Tribulation. It's idle speculation, but I wonder if that's not what we're seeing from the White House.

I suppose my only question today is this. There appears to be a discrepancy between what David wished on his enemies and what Christ said in the sermon on the mount. Would I be wrong taking Psalm 40:4 to heart:

"Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies." That seems to describe government?

Spring is springing down here. Early trees have started to leaf out. The mesquites haven't leafed, yet, which is the mark of last freezing temperatures. I'm finding more plants have survived. Figs and pomegranates won't show signs of life, if they do, until after the mesquites leaf. Weeds are growing in glorious exuberance of ecstasy and early season seeds I recently planted are germinating. Unfortunately, the fire ants survived quite well and invading most everything. I'm convinced Texas is one gigantic fire ant mound. But that's another rant...

Otherwise, all is well here. I hope and pray all is well with you and yours. Your tech issues, as I read them, seem like a recurring case of mental shingles. There's a reason for that, I suspect. I hope it all resolves.

Yours in our Lord,

Response #20:

Thanks for the update – and for your good comments as always.

People often get exercised about David's "imprecatory Psalms", but I've come to love them. We do wish the best for all and love all (not personally but wanting them to be saved), but we also have a right to be joyous about God's justice leveled on His enemies who are persecuting us (e.g., 2Thes.1:3-10). These principles are not contradictory but actually complementary: we fulfill God's mandates by putting our enemies and all resolution into the Lord's hands instead of taking vengeance (or trying to) ourselves. That is what David actually did (refusing, e.g., to harm Saul, even when it was in his power to do so).

Things are OK now on the tech front at work (mostly). Busy weekend (shortened by an hour at that) and busy week ahead.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Dear Bob,

I hope that all is well with you.

I’ve been talking to ___’s Pastor who is Seventh Day Adventist and have been debating the ‘State of the Dead’ with him.

I’ve shared a number of the readings from your website with him but he is going through a process to explain some other readings from the Bible first with me which he is using to defend his position of Soul-Sleep:

One specific scripture is from Acts 2:34 – “For David did not ascend into the heavens”. He made the point that David was a Holy person but in this reading, he points out that David did not ascend into the heavens. So if was saved/Holy, why did he not go to heaven?

The other scripture is from Job 14:21:
21 His sons come to honor, and he does not know it;
They are brought low, and he does not perceive it.

If we are conscious in our ‘interim state’, then how does this fit in with Job 14:21? I’d appreciate your thoughts on these 2 readings in the context of ‘soul-sleep’.

With blessings in Christ.

Response #21:

Good to hear from you.

On your question, for the first passage, Acts 2:34, no one "ascended to heaven" before our Lord did. Our Lord tells us that Abraham and Lazarus were in paradise below the earth with a "great gulf fixed" between them and the unbelievers in torments (and the conversation between them and the rich man certainly shows they were NOT asleep). Only after Christ ascended to the third heaven were departed believers brought to the third heaven. Here's a link on that.

As to Job 14:21, all this verse says is that unbelievers in torments below the earth (they are still there and will remain there until the last judgment) are not directly aware of what is happening on earth above. That certainly does make sense. Besides, the thrust of the verse is that a man who has died and gone to hell cares about his own trouble and torment there, not about what is happening on the earth above.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Thanks Bob, your feedback is always valuable and appreciated.

If I may ask, is it therefore fair to argue that Saints have passed to heaven with Christ and that they are able to hear our prayers and intercede with Christ on our behalf? As you know, many Orthodox Christians, like me, and Catholics have been taught to also approach the Saints to pray to our Lord and God and intercede on our behalf. This does not mean that we can't pray to Christ directly but just as we ask our loved ones to pray for us, the same happens with the Saints? They, like believers, are part of the Body of Christ.

Yours in Christ,

Response #22:

Life down here on earth is all about free will. But free will choice – to believe or not and to act on that belief or not – is restricted to this life in this body on this planet. Once we pass to the next life, there is no more intervention or need or opportunity for it by those on the other side. This is essentially what the rich man asks Abraham to do – and Abraham says it's impossible. In terms of observation, however, the "heavenly sea" in Revelation is essentially a viewing port for what is happening on earth (cf. the vision of the martyrs being oppressed in Revelation 15:2). Since the conflict taking place here is THE matter of interest, it would be odd to assume that departed believers – in heaven – cannot view what's going on (they have that privilege but departed unbelievers do not). But in terms of intervention, they have had their opportunity. All the more reason for those us still here to make the most of the one we now have!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Dear Professor

Thank you for your answer. I have always taken the scriptures to read that both those taken care of in the “wilderness” (those that escape from Judaea at the mid-point of the Tribulation) and also those few believers scattered over the earth who are remaining at the Second Advent are caught up to meet our Lord in the air. The two men in the field being in the second mentioned group. Matthew 24:40.

I have no doubt the Tribulation will be much worse than we might imagine - in any event it is MUCH easier to read the account than to see and live through it. Daniel who saw this time in vision was “...appalled by the vision and did not understand it”. Daniel 8:27. He suffered a terrible affect from seeing the vision (worse than a terrible nightmare ). Living then, will be living the nightmare. Hence you could imagine if our Lord had no assignment out in the field for us, that one and many might choose a “vacation” to Judea or Idumea around or before the time of antichrist’s “victory festivities”. (Covid vaccination certificate might need to be current).

I notice my NIV Bible footnotes attribute Daniel 8:23-25 as referring to Antiochus IV deceitfully rising to the Seleucid throne. However this does not seem to fit in with the end times which seems to be the main purpose of the book of Daniel and Daniel 8:26 where he is told to seal up the vision for it concerns the DISTANT future - and nothing was more distant from a history point of view than the Tribulation. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 also has that man of lawlessness yet in the future from Paul’s day.

Because he works in aged care __ has had his first jab (he got the Pfiser - most of us will be offered the Astra Zeneca). No doubt he wouldn’t mind a bit of company to the Holy land and a passport to safety for the duration of the Great Tribulation until the rapture at our Lord’s appearance. I know this may not be our purpose here, or might not even be a possibility - I state it because I know how terrible this time will be - from reading the scriptures, your writings and from Daniel’s reaction to the vision. Also Jesus’ statement in Luke 18:8. Perhaps from verse 1 and especially verse 7.

I really appreciate your Ministry and was grateful to your correspondent for last weekend’s Q5 (Eschatology Issues LXIV). Striked me that similar images of Jesus were portrayed in the Mormon church. They would claim to know as Joseph Smith had a “vision of the Father and the Son” which you can see in their literature and even his “earthly image” that they print they say is pretty much how he looks. “Amazing” how close a resemblance to popular art the “revealed” image by the Mormon church of Jesus is. [All those religions in favour have ALREADY said “aye”].

I can see how that all religions could be seconded by the antichrist - they have the image in their minds already. It was good you put in the ‘Marion’ link as I went to its 49 pages and got some more eye opening information on the Catholic “visions”. Even though I had downloaded it quite awhile ago I hadn’t read it until it came up in context in your latest email postings. We need to be spiritually alert for the satanic signs and tricks which no doubt will be much more convincing than anything we have ever seen or heard before. I am sure the false signs will be much more spectacular and convincing than the Fatima “visions”. Touted as the real thing, the next level to impress not just Catholics, but the whole world.

Did I mention that your latest Peter instalment #34 is a bit of a challenge, so I have obviously got a distance to travel. Weather is up and down a lot - hot, cool, almost cold, then hot again. Quite cool today. Not complaining, just saying. The eastern states have copped flooding on top of the bushfires so in the west we are faring rather well in comparison - some folk over there having their houses washed away or destroyed by water.

__ got back from South Australia after putting their house on the market over there. SA hasn’t been flooded and normally the other eastern states take all the water out of the river for agriculture before it reaches SA. The authorities put him through the covid hoops and wanted to know what he was doing over there (his previous home state). Complimentary, (sorry compulsory) proboscis probe included. He reckons the long stick didn’t find any brain cells at the back of his skull so they let him in. Slipped my mind to ask him if they were then sad to see him leave the state again.

While sick (brain tired to read) I did watch some Youtube of Living Waters (Ray Comfort), Cross Examined (Frank Turek) and John Lennox. They have some good things though I find your writings much more satisfying and your explanations of such things as the creation, the flood (especially your accompanying explanation of the Nephilim in the scheme) , and the “whyfore” of the scriptures are more convincing and detailed. Frank has some good explanations though admitting to not knowing about things he does not know too much about.

There is a couple that I found quite good, if you have time to look at : The first is just 3 1/2 minutes: Where Did God come from? - Best answer. 1.4 million views - 4 years ago. ghitamoldovan The second is a bit longer: Creationist Stumps Evolutionary Professor with ONE question! (Living Waters).

Thank you for all your Ministry work and for the contributions of fellow believers that certainly strengthens and adds to our knowledge. I pray all the adaptations you have had to make at U of L will just about be done and you can get back to a bit more normality like we enjoy over here - at least limited normality. Still is a case of you don’t have to be ____ BUT ....... (not sure if it is PC to say anymore after the “after midnight” safety comment of the Australian defence chief got him a blast of rage from the mobbers and media). Even our top brass are hounded to heel to Political Cillyness, so I am careful not to spell the word with an ‘S”. Can’t be too careful! Oops again! That phrase definitely would not go down well with PC people.

There is no doubt the world is rapidly going down the gurgler. Though I heard a voice of calm reason on the “race issue” on the ABC radio show Counterpoint yesterday. Don’t know how much longer they will permit calming voices (“dissenters” from the world’s satanic storyline) to continue in ANY form. Will see if she keeps her job after that choice of academic excellence on her program. The devil’s lot are ratcheting up the PCers rage on almost all fronts. Their “answer” for multiple issues is compulsory “education” for all students on these issues (China? Are we?) Our taxes fund all this antichrist teaching in our schools, universities and work places. They want everyone barking from the same dog pound and everyone singing from the same hymn book to the same idols.

Keeping you and your Ministry in my prayers.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior.

Your student and friend

Response #23:

Thanks for the update, and for your good observations as always.

Apologies for the brief response. I've been in "dental emergency mode" since Friday afternoon when half of one of my lower molars (on the only side that still chews) sheered off. I was blessed to find an emergency dental place that saw me after queuing up at dawn and Saturday and by that afternoon I had a temp filling – but was wiped out by the procedure and the novocaine in particular had a telling effect (did manage the posting, as you know). Sunday I recovered enough to do Monday but today I had to go back for the crown prep – and it was twice as bad as Saturday and lasted twice as long as they ground my old tooth down to nothing and had trouble getting the temp crown on. So I have just now finished grading my exam #2 set for three classes and almost finished prepping classes.

Good to have this almost behind me . . . if I can muddle through tomorrow and Thursday . . . only one more trip to the dental dungeon for a while (God helping me!).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hello sir,

I saw the new posting and I will be reading it soon after I complete the "John Questions". Thanks for letting me know about it.

Things are ok now after a couple of months of very rough time. My mother suddenly fell ill after her blood sugar went very high and got infected with a terrible fungal infection and also suffered from Maxillary Sinusitis. Doctors initially suspected that it was cancer but the tests found no malignancy. We never new she had diabetes. She underwent a laproscopic surgery to clear the infection. The infection has not completely gone though and her right eye doesn't open anymore and she has lost vision in that eye. Doctors say that the infection might reoccur if her blood sugar doesn't remain normal. By the Lord's grace we found financial help.

I just found out that even I am diabetic. Well, that explains why I was always tired. I think I had it for several years without knowing it. I always thought it was a rich man's disease lol. Just trying to loose some weight and being careful of what I eat. I haven't started medication for it yet.

Lord has been kind to me through all of this, He gave me strength and courage even before He sent help.

I have been praying for you and all those on the "special prayer request" list and will continue to pray.

Nice to hear from you Sir.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Response #24:

I'm very sorry to hear about your and your mom's health troubles, my friend! I will definitely be keeping all this in my prayers (I've updated your request at Ichthys).

Things here are continuing to be troubled by Covid, politics, and Covid politics. I'm doing OK (some dental problems but nothing like what you and your mom are dealing with).

Haven't heard a lot from ___ lately – hope you two are continuing to be in touch. Last I heard he'd found a good job, so that is a blessing.

I've been teaching in the classroom but also streaming my classes and recording them. It's been a difficult semester with all manner of additional admin duties to keep up with this crazy new way to teach with things going in multiple directions at once. I'll be glad when it's over, but have committee responsibilities now continuing into the summer. Grateful to the Lord to have a job, however.

Take care of yourself, my friend. It's not easy to keep weight under control – I know that well from personal experience!

You're in my prayers every day, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hello Sir,

Just messaged ___ on whatsapp. He doesn't speak much these days. He says he is writing a fictional novel on the tribulation and they are also expecting a sixth baby(due in October). I think he has a hectic life and doesn't get much time for anything else. I will keep praying for him.

I have lost a few kilos in the past one month. I hope to continue that. early dinner(before sunset) and and not having anything for at least 16 hours till next day is helping. I would eat just about anything and whenever I wanted. With the Lord's help I have quickly made these adjustments. also a BAMS Dr. is helping me with all this.

You take care of your health. Dental problems do get irritating. oil pulling helps a lot to keep teeth healthy also massaging with a mixture of mustard oil salt and turmeric helps.

I will continue to pray for you. I have been reading your email postings and I am aware of the difficulties you are facing at the work front because of COVID-19. Lord will get you through everything.

Thanks again for reaching out.

In Jesus,

Response #25:

Thanks for the update on our friend. I can't imagine having six kids! I'm sure his life is hectic and then some! I do keep him on my list.

Good for you that you've been able to lose a good deal of weight, my friend! I'm hoping to get to that too once summer starts (though my semester got a bit elongated this week as I signed onto a search committee – in order to make things a bit more palatable in the fall through keeping me off of another committee). The left knee is tolerating some light jogging without getting too achy, so I'm hoping that as the weather gets better and I have more time I'll be able to increase the amount of calories I'm burning. That hindrance, and the fact that I'm not getting quite as much physical activity at school because of Covid (75% of face to face teaching and kept off of campus Tues./Thurs. in my case) has made losing that much harder and gaining that much easier.

Thanks for the advice too, my friend!

Keeping you and your family in my daily prayers.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:

On a completely different theme (though all still related to the end times we are now living in):

Q. Mark 13:20 And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. ESV

Q1. Does this mean that even those who fled into the mountains from the abomination that makes desolate, would perish if the time was not shortened? Rev. 12:4

Or does it only refer to the relatively few people (including the elect) remaining alive on the rest of the earth?

Response #26:

Sorry I neglected to answer this question. I'm usually averse to reading too much into our Lord's counter-factual arguments or playing them out "as if" they weren't the case. These are given only to help us realize things that are true. So as in the case where "if the miracles done here were done in Tyre" etc., the point is that THIS place is so hard in heart that it makes gentile locations look good. And in this case, it merely means that everything would be "up the spout" but for the timely and actually before-time intervention of the Lord – leading us to see just how terrible things will be at Tribulation's end.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #27:

I've been reading Jeremiah this week. It's been pretty amazing reading it over the past few days. I feel like I can really relate to him at the moment. His anguish at the people of Judah for their disobedience to the Lord's will and them not listening to his warnings and even being persecuted. Yet despite his anguish he fulfilled his ministry and remained faithful to the Word of God. He's a great example to me.

Response #27:

As one professor pointed out to me one time, Isaiah volunteered, but not Jeremiah. He also had it very rough, with plenty of people trying to kill him for telling them the truth, and no one ever believing him (aside from the remnant, such as it may have been, too small in any case to deliver the country from destruction).

The "Jeremiah experience" is one that many of us are likely to have in the not so distant future, so paying attention there will no doubt be very beneficial. Easier to read now than to cope with on that future day. Or as Revelation says, "sweet in the mouth but bitter in the stomach".

Question #28:

Hi Bob,

I think you're right about the "Jeremiah experience"!

What's most important for me right now is to continue to grow and prepare spiritually especially so I'm able to endure the Tribulation. And if things don't change pretty quickly I already know those lukewarm family and friends who are going to need my help too when that time comes. It's going to be the toughest thing I've ever had to go through in my life but if the Lord has placed me there then I have full confidence in Him to help me through.

Jeremiah 17:7-8
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.

Jeremiah 1:19
They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you, says the LORD, to deliver you.

Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

How has your week been, Bob? I hope you get to have some rest soon and I hope tooth #30 is still hanging on in there! Not too long now till Derby day! I can't believe how quick that has come around again.

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #28:

Thanks for all your good efforts, my friend.

Just got news today that my crown is in. The temp crown is already loose, so . . .

We will all be "Jeremiahs" when the Tribulation begins, all of us who love the Word now – but at least we have each other! Praise the Lord for that!

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

 

Ichthys Home