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Question #1:

I want to ask you a Bible question that I am trying to figure out. I understand and accept that both free will and predestination can co-exist in God's plan (although how it does is beyond my intelligence.) So when God says He loves Jacob and hates Esau and also says that some vessels are made for honour and some for dishonour... Does God choose people because He knows that person will respond favourably to His calling? Some people have tried to make out that it is unfair to people like Esau as though he was designed to fail. I know that this is not true of God. That we are all given a fair chance and free choice and that God wants all people to be saved.

As another example: would you say that God knew the Pharaoh's heart and He merely let it take the route of hardening that it already chose?

I guess I am also trying to understand why God chooses favourites? The fleshly part of me thinks that favouritism is not fair but I know that God is. Does loving Jacob mean loving Jacob more than Esau and hate mean loving Esau less?

I know there are a few questions in this email but the main one is this – Is it because God knows before we are created who will chose Him and so then these are the one He chooses e.g Jacob?
So in knowing a person e.g. Esau or Pharaoh would reject God, God rejected them already knowing their choice?

When it is written that God creates vessels for dishonour it almost sounds as though those vessels have no choice in the matter (yet I know they do.)

If we all have free will (which we clearly do), how does God influence what happens here and maintain His sovereignty?

Someone said that providence is God's hand in our day to day life that doesn't disturb the order of things whereas a miracle does. So is God's sovereignty and plan played out through the softening and hardening of hearts as well as using His angels both elect and fallen to produce situations to react to through the use of our free will?

So for example, God could take two people and preserve their free will choices and one of those people had a heart soft to God and the other had a hardened heart. Those two people are interacting with one another through free will, one with a hard heart and one with a soft one. At the same time we have angels elect and fallen creating situations for these two people to respond to God in either favourably or unfavourable ways? With free will still intact?

In Jesus,

Response #1:

I prefer not to see this issue in terms of traditional theology – which has made such a mess of it.

To put it in simplest terms, God was smart enough to know ahead of time what we would choose and decide at each and every moment. He was also smart enough to construct history so that all interactions of all moral actors are completely taken into account. He did all this in THE perfect plan. There is only ONE plan, mind you. There are no hypothetical alternatives. Change the swerve of one quantum particle at the other end of the universe eons ago, and it's not the same plan. And there is only one plan.

Since the plan is perfect, we can deduce that it had to be the way it is to be perfect. Our God is perfect in every way, so of course the plan and its implementation had to be so as well. And since all that is the case, if He had made anyone differently than He did, then the plan would not be the same, it would not be THE perfect plan, and it never would have come to be. For God not to make persons XYZ because He knew that they would not come to salvation regardless would have meant that He could not have made you and me. So while I am sorry about XYZ – and God is as well – XYZ are responsible for their own decisions AND had every opportunity to be saved. Christ died for them! What else was God supposed to do, besides taking away their free will or not making them in the first place? But those would be massive alterations of the plan and then it would not have been THE plan in any way – and would never have been set in motion by the perfect God who could/would only engineer and carry out the one perfect plan.

God could have skipped it all. He didn't need to create the universe. And it certainly cost Him! Just think of Abraham sacrificing Isaac and how terrible we feel when putting ourselves into his shoes – and of course Abraham didn't have to go through with it. The Father did have to go through with it, and not just putting His Son to physical death but judging the sins of the entire world in Him, judgment for the least one of which was more than all the suffering of the world put together.

So I for one, while sorry about XYZ, recognize they did, in fact, choose. The fact that God knew what they would choose does not change their free will choice, any more than His making you and me and knowing that we would choose for Jesus affected our free will choice. We chose to trust. XYZ chose not to trust. God knew it ahead of time – and if He hadn't, then 1) He would not be the perfect God (which of course He could not fail to be), and 2) He would not have been able to foreordain all of history in a way which not only preserves free will . . . but actually makes it possible: Without the universe, time and space, and the various and sundry things seen and unseen, known and unknown, which make our lives here on earth possible, and without the human spirit with the image of God which gives us the ability to choose, there could be no possibility of free will.

So theologians have got this backwards. The plan of God as it actually is, time and space and the history being played out on the field, is the perfect, ultimate threshing floor wherein the wheat and the chaff are separated and wherein the quality of the wheat is tested and discerned. And the mechanism God has used to accomplish this is the image of God, the free will which all of His moral creatures have been given. This all had to be paid for by the blood of Christ, a fact which shows that the love of God is even more amazing than His inestimable abilities in foreordaining the perfect plan. Because that plan is founded on the Rock of Jesus Christ.

I fully expect that at the last judgment it will be shown conclusively that unbelievers 1) were each actually given the life and life circumstances most conducive to bringing them around to acceptance of Christ – and still they refused; and that 2) were they given countless additional opportunities, they would always choose the same, preferring condemnation to response to the grace of God.

Or as I say elsewhere: "God made us who we choose to be and who we choose to be is who God made us." That is eminently fair – which of course is no surprise since God is righteous and just by nature and could never be unfair in the least regard.

There's much more about all this at the link: BB 4B: Soteriology.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Greetings Dr. Luginbill,

I pray all is well with you this Sunday afternoon. I just had a quick question about where I could find your explication of Acts 1:6-7. I have read your take on this before but I cannot remember which part of your two part series I found it. I have been sharing your material with others but today I listened to a sermon where the preacher used these verses to almost discourage folk from studying eschatology or prophecy especially in regards to attempting to discern the times or epochs. I know when I read your take on these verses and it was very sensible but I forgot to earmark that for future use because I knew I would need it and so here I am.

Thanks in advance,

Response #2:

Great to hear from you!

I've got info on this scattered all over Ichthys. Here's a link to where I discuss it in some detail: "Not for you to know?"

I was just reading this passage the other day, as it happens, and it struck me that since the statement our Lord makes about the "times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority (ESV)" is followed directly by the promise of the Spirit who will empower the disciples to understand the truth, that more people should have picked up on the fact that our Lord is not commending ignorance (since also elsewhere the Spirit is explicitly promised to reveal not hide the truth: Jn.16:13), but disabusing the disciples of the notion that the Kingdom and the 2nd Advent were imminent. Instead: " you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

And here is a footnote I generally include when discussing the passage (see the second part in particular which is about Acts 1:7):

The "unknown day and hour" of Matt.24:36 and Mark 13:32 merely indicates that we may know an event is imminent without knowing the precise day of the year and hour of the day in which it will occur. After all, this comment occurs immediately following the parable of the fig tree where we are told by our Lord in no uncertain terms precisely to pay attention to scripturally significant events and not to ignore what the Bible has to say on these matters (cf. Matt.24:32-35; Mk.13:28-31). Acts 1:7 is often mistranslated "It is not for you to know", but should be rendered "It is not for you to decide the times and the seasons". The Greek verb gignosko commonly has this meaning of "decide" especially when it is in the aorist as it is here. The context strongly supports this revised translation since our Lord immediately adds "which the Father has ordained by His authority". That is to say, Jesus' point is that it is the Father who has decided these matters; they are not to be decided by your wishes. For our Lord's disciples had just very clearly expressed the wish through their question in the preceding verse six for Him to establish the Kingdom immediately. Therefore our Lord's reproof in verse seven is not a commendation of complete ignorance about the Father's timetable, but rather a reminder to them that it is His will in these matters that counts, not theirs; they would have to remain patient, even though from their perspective the time seemed ripe for the commencement of the Messiah's kingdom. We must also take into consideration the fact that this statement was given to the apostles prior to the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost. The Spirit is the agent of inspiration, chronology included, who, as Jesus had already made clear, would be the One to relate to them "the things to come" (Jn.16:13; cf. 2Pet.1:16-21). Since they will later come to understand the "things to come", verse seven must also be understood in conjunction with verse eight: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you . . .", a statement that clearly includes the previously promised further revelation of the Spirit (not excluding information about the end times). This is why, a few short years later, Paul can tell the Thessalonians the exact opposite of Acts 1:7 (that is, as it is generally misconstrued): "concerning the times and the seasons, you have no need that anyone write you, for you know very well . . ." (1Thes.5:1-2).

Hope you are doing well!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Thank you so much for the rapid response.

I was approached by one of the pastors from my church while at the gym and I got a chance to share with him the premise of the six millennial days of man concept and how it was also taught by the likes of St. Irenaeus and yourself. I am constantly reading through your two part series and find it so informative and inspiring because it brings great confidence to my mind and soul of the integrity of the whole council of God. Well that pastor/brother in Christ I spoke with in the gym is the son of the senior pastor and apparently he communicated my conversation to him and as a result he preaches on Acts 1:6-7 as if to discourage any future inquiry into this subject, a subject that is so prolific in the Bible. It just boggles my mind that some folk in the ministry feel threatened when their lack of knowledge of scripture is challenged.

Yes, thanks again Bob, this is exactly what I read of yours somewhere before and it is such a great exegesis by you of this verse that totally corrects the excuse some men use this passage to remain ignorant of, that is, times and epochs.

God bless you brother and thanks again.

Response #3:

My pleasure!

People do get defensive when confronted with the truth, I've noticed.

Kudos to you for sticking up for the truth even so!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Just wanted to ask you a personal question and you don't have to print this. Do you ever get scared thinking about the tribulation? When I first thought of it I seemed pretty confident but the closer it gets to us, to be honest, if I dwell too much on it... I start to have a sinking feeling and panic inside.

I'm just trying to make sure I prepare for it as much as I can spiritually and build on my faith. I know that Jesus will never let us down, in that I am certain. God will be with us and on our side.

Do you personally though feel fear thinking about what lies ahead?

In Jesus,

Response #4:

"Do you personally though feel fear thinking about what lies ahead?"

On the one hand, the Tribulation will be a time of the fulfillment of so many prophecies and promises – and the destruction of evil, with evil "eating itself" and finally being devoured by the fiery sword which proceeds directly from our Lord's own mouth – that it is legitimate to adopt the attitude of British paratroopers before Market Garden in being glad not to be "missing the party". On the other hand, we all know what happened in that operation, and no one who has read seriously about those seven dark years to come can really imagine that it will be "fun", or that it will not involve all manner of suffering and sacrifice.

We do have to prepare ourselves mentally, spiritually to make whatever sacrifices we're going to be called upon to make, and to endure whatever suffering we're going to be called upon to endure. But if we are preparing adequately now, as you say, we can be – and must be – absolutely confident in the fact that our Lord is not going to let us down. He is the perfect Shepherd. He will bring us safe through that valley of death-darkness. The worst that could happen to us is martyrdom, and that is actually a compliment to our faith and a guarantee of reward (Rev.2:10).

It is good to ask these questions ahead of time. To the extent that we are afraid of dying, that is a problem. No one wants to die, but believers have a hope that transcends this life and this world. No one wants to be imprisoned or persecuted or tortured, but believers can be confident that whatever such suffering we might have to navigate in the Tribulation that the Lord will be with us – just as He is with us now. All provision has already been made for us in eternity past, and paid for by the blood of Christ.

To the extent that we are upset at contemplating the loss of the present day ease of life, the possessions and/or status we presently possess, our "nice lives" (if that is what we have), to that extent we are not thinking about things the right way. Whatever we "have", we only have because God has given it to us (Job 1:21), and nothing lasts forever (Ps.49:12). We don't last forever, not in these bodies, so the idea of "good times" continuing is a disconnect from the reality of life. Even without death, bad things can happen. Some of us know that from personal experience. But everyone should know it from reading history. There were a lot of Jews in 1930's Europe who had "nice lives". But that changed rapidly. And there were a lot of Germans in 1930's Germany who had "nice lives" which were torn asunder by war (no doubt in large measure as a result of the holocaust), and that happened to very many people around the world, of course. The Tribulation will be like that, but on a grander scale. It will be "interesting times" – the kind you are cursed to have to experience (according to that apocryphal but popular quotation).

But we believers do not need to fear the Tribulation – just as we need not fear anything. Jesus Christ is our life, and we know that His return lies right on the other side of those seven dark years. So, once it begins, we believers have a wonderful "short-timer's calendar" to count on! If the worst that can happen is that we see our Lord sooner than that, through martyrdom, that is in fact a great blessing.

No doubt we have some kinks in our hearts to work out before that day arrives. We really do need to be asking ourselves such questions, and dis-investing from the world and any and all serious attachments to it. Because for those who are loving the world, a little or a lot, the Tribulation is indeed something to be feared, and greatly so.

Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, and said, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."
Job 1:20-21 KJV

We who belong to Jesus Christ have a duty – and a right – to disdain this world, putting our entire hope and faith in love of the One who died for us . . . and who is coming to save us.

And they will say on that day, "Behold! This is our God! We waited in hope for Him to deliver us. This is our Lord. We waited in hope for Him. Let us rejoice and be glad in His deliverance!"
Isaiah 25:9

Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
Isaiah 35:3-4 NIV

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hello Dr.,

In your DropBox you should find the following audio files:

34-A Christian Code of conduct pt.1

34-A Christian Code of conduct pt.2

34-A Christian Code of conduct pt.3


Things are going well here, staying busy at work and on the home-front as well. Hoping for some “normal” quiet time before the next wave of hysteria hits (whatever that may be). Seems there’s no end to the rumblings of “what’s coming next”. I don’t know which is scarier, a government that wants to save me from myself and everyone and everything else in the world or the coming tribulation, both unsettling (and similar), at least we know how it all ends.

Peter #34 is an excellent teaching, thanks for getting it out there. I’ve also been following along with pastor Omo’s “God’s Plan of the Ages”, good stuff as well. I’ve studied several books of the Bible with him in the past and I’ve got to say he really show’s his true “Texan” side in this one, and it’s appreciated here.

How are you Sir? Glad your University hasn't made the vaccination mandatory for you yet, the City hasn’t made it mandatory either, although strongly encouraged. With the advent of permanent vaccination clinics being opened in cities across the country through the Cares Act we’ll have to see what the future holds. ___ mentioned that he was getting vaccinated so I prayed that he wouldn’t experience any of negative side effects that some Doctors say may be possible. Got you in prayer here as well. I’ll be in touch.

All the best,

Rev.22:20

Response #5:

Thanks for the MP3s! Uploaded and tested – and greatly appreciated. I hope to have Peter #35 for you by the end of the summer.

Glad your enjoying our friend Curt's teaching!

U of L policy is in flux after the CDC announcement – which is great news but confusing (and they seem to be doing some back-tracking). Our guv has set June 11th as "return to normal day". I think all the hysteria, as you rightly characterize it, is finally getting dowsed with reality. When this thing disappears – as all such plagues are wont to do after a year and a half or so – it'll be harder and harder to make people believe they're going to die when almost no one is even getting sick anymore.

So I'm fairly confident that the uni will get back to normal too. Our biggest problem is that last year was so dissatisfying to our students generally – with few profs doing what I did, trying to hold the normal line as much as possible – that they've been holding off on registering for fall. My Greek numbers are nowhere – and it would be a personal disaster if they cancelled the class. So prayers are appreciated!

No mandate for getting vaccinated, just "strongly encouraged". I think that is likely to hold the way things are going. So thanks for your prayers on that front too! Good to hear that your employer and the uni there are not going overboard just yet either.

Here's something a good friend just sent me:

I’m glad __ is feeling a bit better, but those vaccinations can have some very undesirable side effects. My __ belongs to the ___ club, and one of the member’s wives developed symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis after her 2nd shot. She has been treated with steroids, and she is better. But what an outcome. . .

Our friend in Australia has a report of a number of deaths of otherwise healthy people after being vaccinated (I believe those are all AstraZeneca cases).

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Dear Prof, how are you doing, what with tumbles and scrapes! Trusting in the Lord you are getting better. Hope you have some relief all round including academically this summer.

I'm actually settling in the new apartment with my daughter in the nations capital regardless of what is going on around us. I'm in relatively good health as the rest of my family. We are looking at what is happening to the country and looking up to God.

There is serious increase in anxiety in the population due to the high level of insecurity almost everywhere in the country. There is so much kidnapping, killing, raping and destruction going on in many parts of the country right now. Our president from the north is of the Fulani extraction. The fulanis are nomadic cow herders who don't really have a home, but they see the opportunity to have one because of the president who is their kinsman. Almost all the important govt positions have been filled with their kinsmen. They are doing little or nothing to stop what is going on. They are the ones funding the boko haram Islamic terrorists (ISIS equivalent). An American intelligence report has it that Isis, Al Qaeda have set their sights on Nigeria, the most populous Black Country in Africa and that our govt is complicit with them. The terrorists have taken over a village about 50km from the capital where we are and planted their flag. They have made quite some incursions into the forests in most parts of the south where I come from and where the rest of my family is right now. A lot of my doctor colleagues have been kidnapped for ransom. Some killed even when ransom is paid. We learnt that most ransom money goes into buying arms. Can you imagine cow herders armed with AK 47 rifles?! The banditry has been bad in the middle belt for some time too.

A lot of people who can afford it are making plans to relocate outside the country, before it gets worse. We are trusting in God to keep, guard and guide us in this situation. Prayers are going on like never before. Covet your prayers too.

From my understanding of Coming Tribulation series, the Antichrist (little horn) will wage war against three horns led by a Mahdi in Egypt who by implication leads probably the whole of Africa in Islamic sovereignty. Whether they will succeed from now is in the Lords hands (Pro 21:1) so we will keep lifting our voices and yielding our hearts to Him. Our battle cry (like someone said) is giving thanks always in all circumstances. 1Cor 10:13 is also good to remember. Psa 91:7&8 has immediate and future application. We need the word of God like never before.

I'm actually rereading CT and it's a great help in these trying times. That classic writing cannot be done away with since it overwhelmingly directs us to the scriptures in perspective of the times now and times to come.

Still working on getting the podcast. Need some things which I hope to get pretty soon by His mercy.

Dear Prof, thanks again for what you have been led to write (ichthys) and for being there too. Many of us are reaping the benefits. May we all meet in the great rapture if not before. The Lord strengthen you to finish your race strongly.

Love in Christ through whom from God, we gain the victory.

Response #6:

Of course I'm appalled to hear about the situation in your country!

I have been and will continue to be praying for you and all of our brothers and sisters there for protection and deliverance from all such things. I don't think anyone could fault a brother or sister for wishing to emigrate from such conditions. As to the Tribulation, however, while I have opined that Babylon may well be a sort of "safe haven" . . . until the very end when it is completely destroyed, that is merely informed speculation on my part. The Tribulation will be terrible everywhere, and there will be no escaping that anywhere entirely. So other than placing a bet on Babylon for the short term, I don't see believers being able to anticipate what is going to happen though changing their geography. The only "sure bet" will be for the Jewish believers who are taken to the safe haven in the desert at the mid-point. But that is for them, not for us gentiles.

The flip side of all this trouble is, of course, that the end is coming quickly. Mara na tha! Our Lord will soon return, and we will be delivered. And if it is our lot to be taken home to heaven before those twelve plus years elapse, that is merely a reward for good behavior, so to speak. In the meantime, for those of us left here, while we of course do not enjoy pressure and suffering of any kind, and certainly not the threat of such things increasing exponentially, that is bound to happen once the Tribulation begins – if not before. So in the face of all such things, while not easy, we all need to count our lives in this world as assets for the Lord to dispose of as He wishes (Rom.12:1; cf. Rom.6:13). After all, we are here for Him and Him alone – and desire more than anything to be pleasing to Him.

This is the stuff of deep spiritual maturity, no doubt – and so much easier to say than to commit to fully in one's heart. That is especially the case in a day and time where most Laodicean believers are frantically bustling about for wealth and worldly security, for pleasures and status and promotion – as if this world were going to continue forever and as if they were never going to have to leave it.  We had hoped that the experience of the pandemic et al. would have turned more to the truth and more believers to get serious to the truth, but from my perspective it seems as if the opposite has happened (except in rare cases; cf. Num.26:63-65).

"As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man."
Matthew 24:37-39 NKJV

I am happy to hear that you are feeling some better! I'm keeping your health and that of your wife in my prayers daily, my friend. Thank you so much for the update and the good report – and thank you SO much for your prayer too!

Things are well here! Much to do, but it is getting done. One day at a time!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

[email about friends and family making a peaceful walk with Christ difficult]

Response #7:

I think you've diagnosed the problem very well. Some people are impossible to be around for extended periods without giving in to this sort of thing (or other bad behaviors). Really, when it comes to some situations, it's better to have as little to do with bad influences, even when we do love them.

But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.
1st Corinthians 5:11 NKJV

Clearly, family are a special case. We can't (and don't want to) completely disassociate in most cases, but we can keep the type of contact where we know there will be problems to a minimum – and be careful to watch ourselves with extra scrutiny whenever we're around those who have a tendency to make us "lose our cool".

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

[omitted]

Response #8:

I think what you say about ___ is correct. Clearly, if we subjugate ourselves to others in the way they prefer they may be inclined to "sing our praises". That is something FAR different from the "witness of the life". The true Christian witness of life may not be reacted to in the way we would wish, but always it is in the way God wills:

I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate . . .
1st Timothy 6:13 NKJV

No one ever gave a better witness than our Lord . . . but they crucified Him. We certainly all hope for a better response than that, but response is the hands of the responder, and we all have our own free will.

In terms of tactics, I don't think it's possible to be someone else other than the person we actually are, nor do I think it's wise to try, nor do I find any biblical commands for us to alter our personalities. What we ARE supposed to do is on the one hand refrain from sin (controlling the tongue is certainly key in that regard in our relationships with problematic people who can easily "get our goat"); and on the other hand express in a godly way, when opportunity offers, the reason for the hope that is in us, the hope of eternal life and reward that puts a smile on our faces even when things are not going well (1Pet.3:15). But if we are not in control of ourselves, and if we are always "down in the dumps" whenever things go a little haywire (which is almost a daily occurrence in my experience), then we aren't going to be projecting the best witness for Jesus Christ. As with all things in the Christian life, this is impossible to correct "from the outside in". Yes we do need to watch ourselves, but ultimately only continued spiritual growth will bring meaningful and lasting change. If we really are walking joyously with Jesus Christ, that will shine through, even when we are not at our best. But if we are not, we won't be able to pretend as much, not for very long anyway.

I think you are on a good course, my friend. Keep on moving forward with your sights fixed on Zion, and trust the Lord to take care of the day to day.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

[omitted]

Response #9:

We had such good news here in the states today – and I'm guessing it will be the same over there soon enough. The disease is evaporating rapidly – as all pandemics eventually do and at about the same time they usually do (two seasons usually being enough to make the population immune). So our CDC flipped yesterday and declared victory! I'm celebrating V-M day! No more masks! No more "reduced capacity and social distancing"! It will take a minute before this sinks in, especially to those who allowed themselves to be terrified and also to the curmudgeons who are happier with this sort of insanity going on. But the fact is that hardly anyone over here is dying of Covid any more, few hospitalized, cases and positivity rates all headed way down. And it's only mid-May! By the time summer arrives in full, I expect that even the reluctant ones will be forced by reality to accept the facts. And all "this" will be gone.

So don't worry! The world will have to find a new cause / problem to obsess about. You're not going to die of Covid and your family is not going to die from being vaccinated. The problems with Covid and the vaccine were both highly overrated. Covid was a bad disease (but relatively few healthy young people died of it exclusively); the vaccines seem to be problematic (but the percentage of people who so far have been seriously harmed by them even after all this time is small, even if much higher than with vaccines of the past).

This has been a good test. Don't get down on yourself because you've had one bad day. We all have bad days. As I always advise people, "never quit on a bad day".

Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5b NASB

I feel this particular night ending and the dawn coming up. And I am shouting for joy!  God is good!  Praise the Lord!

Keeping you and your family in my prayers daily.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

I really do hope and pray that it is over Bob. It really wears a person down.

Thank you what you said. I will put that in my back pocket to "never quit on a bad day". Thank you so much for your continual support. I need to focus more on what I read in the Word than what I see on the news. We love and serve an incredibly powerful and loving God who will never leave us or forsake us!

Whatever we come up against, He will always be there and carry us through. He will comfort us when we are sad or frightened and ease our pain. I know that with God beside me, I WILL get through this and the Tribulation besides not because of my strength but HIS!

In Jesus,

Response #10:

"I know that with God beside me, I WILL get through this and the Tribulation besides not because of my strength but HIS!" Amen and Amen! That is the spirit . . . and the Spirit! What we can see and hear is merely a small reflection of what is really going on in the invisible conflict swirling around us. And our God has made all provision for our every need. There is no trouble, even with a capital "T", that He has not foreseen and provided for in eternity past. It's hard sometimes to be confident of deliverance when our backs are to the sea and the Egyptian army is bearing down on us. But we who do trust in Him have every right to say with Moses, "Do not be afraid! Stand firm and watch the deliverance of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today." If we don't shake ourselves and proclaim this at first, we can surely do so when we see the cloud and the fire separate us from our enemies and when we see the wind start to move the waters. We don't have to wait until we are safe on the other side and our enemies drowned to appreciate Him and what He is doing for us. We know Him and what He is doing. And that should be sufficient for us to rejoice and praise Him for it even before deliverance is visibly in hand.

Thanks for standing firm in faith!

In Jesus our absolutely faithful Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Dear Teacher

It was not my plan to go silent again, but apparently, there was a squall waiting just around the corner. I'm happy enough to be able to be replying now and also sending along a new installment I've been working on for a bit now.

I'm very grateful for all the good news from your own end as well. I'm very sorry for the injuries you suffered running. I have been praying for your full recovery. How are the work things coming?

I love the mention of planting (and I also dread it, LOL). The place I'm looking at renting for the next 12 months provides us a similar opportunity. It was absolutely miraculous to find a bungalow in a compound by itself. But it does require a bit of work (not that it is so bad, considering our realities here in Nigeria, but there are some things about the place that are plenty inconvenient) and with the space around the house, we will very likely become gardeners and pet keepers too.

I'm not absolutely certain that we will take the place though. It depends on how much we will be allowed to change the structure on the inside to make it more accommodating for us. But the rent for the place makes it a bit of a steal even by Nigerian standards. Of course, the cost of the adjustments we will have to make does sort of make up for the apparent cheapness of the rent.

[omitted] Apart from these two things, the tests came out alright. I seem to be pretty healthy all around. I'm very grateful for that.

I've taken up working out now as a way of keeping healthy. It also helps me feel considerably more energetic and willing to get to work on all kinds of things. The downside is that it does consume quite a bit of energy itself and time too. I have been observing things and working on making adjustments to allow me to meet my daily objectives, especially including my ministry work.

Once the house is sorted out, my next priority is the marriage proceedings. I'll keep working on the immigration thing in the meantime, but it will only take priority after we get married. I am praying that my country does not degenerate into another Syria or Somalia in the meantime. Thankfully, a lot of the noise to that effect appears to have died down--or else, I just don't hear them anymore for some reason. The rise in crime is pretty bad and troublesome, but I have lived in Nigeria all my life and the crime is pretty commonplace. It's the possibility of a complete failure of the state that I'm wary of.

How are things __ and her family? Have you heard from them again recently?

Grateful for the privilege of keeping you and yours and your ministry in my prayers, Sir.

Your student in Jesus Christ

Response #11:

Good to hear from you!

Thanks for the detailed update. Good to hear also that your health is OK even if not perfect. I'm pretty much recovered from my latest "adventure". Still have a sore right shoulder and strained right thigh, but nothing significant enough to keep me from exercise or yard work. I think it's great that you are building the former into your daily routine. It does take some getting used to – and getting RE-used to when you're forced to the sidelines for an extended period of time (as has happened to me on more than one occasion).

Our French search ended before making a hire because the college cut our funding. I'm beginning my summer research, but I'm also grateful for prayer on the enrollment numbers for the fall. Mine are low in Greek and also upper Latin, and I know of several students who just haven't gotten around to it yet. There is a lot of "wait and see" here because of the fiasco of last year. U of L has ended its mask-mandate and claims a return to normality next fall, but since most of my students had all remote instruction except for my classes, they are understandably reluctant to sign up (and pay up) before they know for sure.

Working in the yards before it gets too hot for the next little bit. Then I do hope to see ___ as things are now finally opening up.

Great file! How did you want me to organize that on your page at Ichthys?

I'm keeping you and yours in my daily prayers and will be praying for all the details to work out soon and well.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Dear Teacher

I thank our God for your recovery.

Yes indeed, exercise takes plenty of getting used to, and the great miracle for me is that I have been able to carry on with it. I have tried several times to take up this routine, but I couldn't keep it up until now. I'm just so grateful that all manner of things, including this, have been shaping up. Last night in our Zoom meeting, I was musing aloud how amazing it is that I have tried to get different things right so many times until I sort of despaired of them, then one day I suddenly find myself doing them well and comfortably too. I have gone to the gym even when I have been feeling slightly ill. When I found that I had misunderstood the offer of the gym owner and needed to essentially create my own training program, I still did the research and went to the gym. In the past, it would have been too much of an added burden to keep going.

I'm not sure what exactly has changed, but I'm happy for it, and I'm trying to stay vigilant to keep moving forward no matter what is happening around or to me. I wonder if it is just the miraculous provisions that I have been experiencing for a year now that has grown my confidence and made me more courageous and energetic about life. I certainly think that the way that the Lord stood up for me throughout the matter of the burial and the miraculous job I got mere days after the burial changed me in a significant way. The way I put it last night was that it made me a lot braver about life: I know that I can get out and engage with life knowing that the Lord has my back if I am walking with Him as I should. I've always known that, but it's as if I only just got to learn it through the past several months.

I'm very happy that you no longer have to deal with the encumbrance of face masks. I'm also praying for the enrollment issues that you are facing, Sir. I am confident of the Lord's deliverance as we have witnessed several times over the years now in your behalf.

[omitted]

I'm far more comfortable with my writing now, so I have much greater confidence that I will have my website up and running by the end of the coming week. I don't know how soon I will get my next job, but I hope that it will be in time for me to have an income that will help my plans for getting married.

About the organization, I thought that you might break Bible Basics up into multiple parts with the first 9 postings constituting Part I and these new ones constituting Part II and so on.

I can't tell you just how grateful I am for your prayers, Sir. I can only imagine just how much I owe to them. I'm very grateful, Sir, and we will continue to pray for you, Sir.

Your student in Jesus Christ

Response #12:

"I'm not sure what exactly has changed" – I think you have been growing in the truth, my friend, gaining confidence in the Lord and your relationship with Him. That is an important area of growth where we will never "arrive" this side of heaven. We all need to continue with that, but it is a great encouragement when we see that growth and that relationship and that closeness increasing.

But with respect to the progress you have made, keep on advancing in the same way!
Philippians 3:16

Good news about the writing too. I'm very encouraged to see you keeping at the most important thing even when there is so much going on in your life.

Happy to hear that you have found a nice place too!

You're certainly welcome for the prayers – and I am equally thankful and grateful for yours as well, my friend. None of us has any power down here on earth. We are much more subject to events than we have any idea – or would be, except that the Lord is with us. So petitions to Him from other believers are most precious.

Files posted – keep up the good work for Jesus Christ!

In our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Dear Teacher

I'm very greatly encouraged by your assessment, Sir. Thank you very much. I consider myself very greatly blessed that I have been allowed to notice this great work of God in me. More and more, I think that I understand Paul's statement that it is not he who lives but Christ who lives in him. Every time I see a positive development in myself, I can easily see how it has nothing to do with my own effort. I keep failing at doing the right thing. When I start doing it, I realize that it isn't because of clever strategizing or great willpower. I can see that it is the Lord working out His will in me. I'm deeply grateful for that. It is scary to imagine being left to figure it out all by myself.

Once I have established the rhythms of my career and my home, it seems to me to just follow that I will be able to step things up in my ministry. It is on this basis that I expect to launch my ministry website maybe toward the end of the year or next year. We'll see. But I'm happy to just keep writing up studies for now.

Your student in Jesus Christ

Response #13:

It's exciting times, my friend!

I'll be praying for everything to go smoothly for you two.

Hope it all went well today.

Keeping you and your families in my daily prayers.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Thank you Dr. Luginbill.

I completed the previous lesson on Peter also. You and Curtis Omo are my teachers and I'm grateful the Lord lead me to you both.

I pray for you regularly,

Take care,

Response #14:

Thank you!  And thanks for those prayers!

Question #15:

Hi Bob,

I seem to be at a certain point now in my walk that at the same time as realising that Jesus is my all, I am having a hard time being around others.

I can love people and pray for them but I am at that point that I physically can't do small talk anymore. I feel exhausted by the superficiality of this world and I feel more and more unable to play a role that is acceptable to others.

I think of all my non-believing friends and to be honest I have avoided them. Since this Covid pandemic they all seemed to have "doubled down" on their previous positions. The worldly ones, more worldly. The conspiracy ones, the Catholic ones, the New Age ones and sadly even the ones now into "witchcraft" have all become ever more firmly entrenched into their respective positions.

I feel like I can't fellowship anymore with them because there is no "fellowship". I don't wish them ill, I love them and pray for them and hope for their best. I just feel as though I haven't anything to say anymore. I can't tell them the truth as they don't want to know and I have lost most of my interest in things of this world.

The closer I grow towards God, the more alienated I feel from those around me. Is this a typical thing to go through as a Christian? I just feel like I prefer to pass my time without talking much these days and just getting on with the things of my life.

On one hand I yearn for fellowship with people who lives are truly centred around Jesus but when I am around unbelievers or Laodicean types, I prefer just to wander off on my own or just staying silent.

Just wondering if you have ever experienced this yourself or heard from others' experiences of this.

In Jesus,

Response #15:

In my experience and observation it's not uncommon for the Lord to give us a period of respite from "the noise and the churn" when we get to a certain point of finally getting serious for Him and for His truth. After all, the world IS crazy and IS pursuing after all manner of crazy things which are not in any way "of God".

For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
1st John 2:16-17 NKJV

However, none of us wants to be a hermit. We all want fellowship. But being unwilling to compromise on that score by pursuing unhealthy "fellowship" is passing an important test. Ultimately, our fellowship with the Lord is the fellowship that counts, and drawing closer to Him will inevitably push us away from things (and people) which are problematic and not nearly as important as spending time with Him.

I do pray for you on this score daily, my friend. And I'm confident it will come in the Lord's good timing – as all things do for those who wait on Him.

Perhaps this respite is also positive in giving you the time, space and energy to see to your ___ plans – and for spiritual growth of course.

Keeping you in my prayers daily.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Freemasonry is Satanism in disguise. It is a religion hidden within a fraternity and that religion is Satanic to the core.

I watched a testimony from an ex-Mason who has become a Christian. This ex- Freemason describes it as that the degrees of "light" that masons are exposed to are actually degrees of darkness but they teach that darkness IS the light. They refer to it as "darkness visible". (Indeed there is a book on freemasonry with this title). It's only when an initiate realises this and accepts it as true that they can "ascend" beyond the 32nd degree. If a person is still holding on any notion of morality at this point they will not go any higher. The 33rd degree is honorary and only available to those who accept that darkness is light. It is the 33rd degree for two reasons 1) because it is the age our dear Lord was crucified 2) 33 is a third and represents the number of angels who rebelled under Satan.

Once a person accepts that darkness is light and light is darkness, they then go through a process of what can only be described as "demonisation". This is for want of a better expression but it is an inversion of the Christian walk of Sanctification. If Sanctification is what a Christian pursues to become more conformed to the image of Christ, the Freemason walk is pursuant in conforming to the "god" of freemasonry which is Lucifer/Satan. It's hard to get your head around this but they declare evil as being innocence and destruction as an act of creation. That is why so much "double speak" is flooding into our society. In the book "1984" Orwell writes "war is peace". This double speak will probably be commonplace around the antichrist because this is their religion, everything is flipped on its head to render words meaningless. (I've noticed this happening especially with young people that their slang always is a contradiction of meaning. The words "bad", "wicked" and more recently "sick" have been popularised to mean "good". Orwell was a Freemason and despised Christianity by the way. I think his dystopian character "Big Brother" actually is a mockery of Jesus being our big brother in heaven speaking in our favour to our Father).

Their "salvation" is about being unshackled from Christian morality. They believe that the more they sin, the "freer" they are from the tyranny they believe morality puts over them. They go out of their way to break all the commandments and yes they kill too. They believe that salvation comes when they are no longer afraid of anything, that being free from fear of judgement (both human and divine) is liberation.

It's true that Freemasonry is deadly even in the first degree as it is an initiation into satanism whether the initiate knows it or not. They deliberately keep people on the lower levels blind to the reality and use the cloak of philanthropy to dupe outsiders.

I now realise that the Tribulation will be a lot worse than I thought it will be. I realise that the removal of the Holy Spirit restraint will unleash an unprecedented worldwide embracing of all that is evil. Indeed the Freemasons have already had a head-start on that. It doesn't feel good to know that everyone in positions of power are already initiated into freemasonic satanism but I guess I shouldn't be amazed at this as I know the whole world will love the beast.

What this has done is galvanised my position of seeking spiritual growth. That I want to be as spiritually prepared as possible for the tribulation as much as I can be. Everything else will be in Jesus' hands and I know already that He will win this easily but it is whether I finish with my faith or not is what I am now very concerned about.

God has positioned me where I feel very alienated from all around me and I realise that I can't go to conspiracy theory or theorists for "fellowship" either. He wants me to completely rely on Him for this season so that's what I'll do. I'll keep my head down and quiet while I concentrate on my goals for work and spiritual growth. Thank you for your continued fellowship, teaching and friendship.

In Jesus,

Response #16:

I think it's great that you're not feeling to the need to pursue these different avenues of satanic attack. We know very well what they are. If we are not personally involved in an apologetic ministry trying to rescue others from their clutches, there really isn't a need to go into great detail.

On Masons in particular, I wouldn't be too worried about it. There are, as you know, a rather large number of "illuminati" type organizations which might have a claim on a worldwide conspiracy for evil. The thing is, however, Satan already has one of those, and everything that is not of the truth is involved in one way or another, even if people who don't know anything about scripture can't see it. I call it "Satan's World System", and there is an entire installment of the SR series devoted to it (at the link).

Others have written me about the Masons before (here's one link). For one thing, there are various "rites" and they have differences. All of the rituals really are appalling, and it beats me how any normal person would want to or even be willing to engage in such awful proceedings. But I have known people in my life who were/are Masons and they do not have horns. I also don't have any evidence of them receiving or giving any particular undue influence to other Masons in the way that secret societies are supposed to do. Others have had different experiences, I understand. But I think one finds about the same level of such conspiratorial efforts in the Mormon and RC churches – both of which organizations are far more intrusive into the lives and belief systems of those foolish enough to have anything to do with them. And, again, these are only a few examples of "the system" which is all headquartered in hell, so to speak. When the Tribulation begins, we will see very soon the amalgamation of all such religions and cults and secret organizations under the single head of antichrist's "church" – including most of the "Christian" church-visible. The main job at present of all such groups is merely preparing their members for that day.

When I was a boy scout, I got "tapped out" into the Order of the Arrow, a semi-secret (not very secret) society within the BSA. Recently I read someone making a convincing case for most of its rituals being masonic derived. But I can tell you that at 13/14 I certainly didn't see or hear anything terribly off-putting. When the whole camp was around the campfire, the leader in an Indian headdress walked around the circle and stopped in front of me and "tapped me out" (slamming his hand down on my shoulder very hard three times). I then began my "ordeal" which consisted of sleeping out under the stars that night with no food, being required to be absolutely silent the next day until the ordeal ended (I got tricked into speaking when I "said grace" for the cornflakes and boiled egg that constituted breakfast and lunch, my only offense that resulted in cutting and knotting the twine of the pine cone I wore to signify my status), and doing a day's hard labor (we built some kind of fence). After that, there was some kind of "banquet" in the evening which was forgettable – except that the person who whispered the "secret word" into my ear didn't do it very loud, and I never got it (you can find it on the internet). There are a bunch of boiler-plate "doctrines" that have to do with OA (you can find them on the internet too), but I never heard anything about that. In the next year or so I went to one other "banquet" which was also forgettable (they did give me a hard time for not knowing the "secret word"), but then I entered high school and got interested in other things and had no more time for BSA (ROTC replaced it and took up all my spare time, being on the drill team and other things).

The point of all that is just to say that most people in most such organizations don't pay any particular attention to the rituals or their purported "deep meanings" even if there are some – any more than most putative Christians in old line denominations know anything about their church's doctrines! Some people do, especially, I suppose, those who "rise in the ranks". But those people are the exception, not the rule. To be honest, while some of the awful stuff that is in one of those Masonic rites ought to make any believers quake in his boots – and run for the hills – my impression of it and other such groups is that they are more boys clubs than anything else. Getting involved in Marxist-leaning politics or joining the JWs would be exponentially worse, in my humble opinion.

There are all manner of lies and systems of lies out there in the devil's world, and everyone gravitates towards one or the other – when the truth is rejected. So, as always, the solution is salvation in Jesus Christ and spiritual growth . . . and lots of it.

Keeping you and yours in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hi Bob,

Indeed the lower levels of freemasonry (porch masons as they seem to be called) are ran like fraternities with charity affiliations.

I think that the comparison with Boy Scouts ends there though. Why any Christian would endure being led into a room half naked, blindfolded and with a noose round their neck is beyond me. Even in the first degree of these porch masons' rituals (what all would-be masons have to go through). All initiates have to say that they are in darkness and wish to be brought into the light.

It's heartbreaking for me to think of Christians saying this to a room full of people, that they "are in darkness". At the very least it is a terrible witness to a roomful of unbelievers, at worse it shows spiritual immaturity if not extremely weak faith towards Jesus Christ. After all Jesus Christ IS THE light of the whole world.

Obviously you then have the problem of the whole oath taking thing (which are all blood curdling). Jesus tells us to swear not at all!

Why anyone would think that they should go into a hidden room, blindfolded in secrecy to find degrees of "light" is perverse to the extreme. No surprising at all then that the light they seek is actually pitch darkness.

Jesus said that light has no fellowship with darkness. What fellowship then does secrecy have with truth? Jesus said that He has kept nothing from us. Freemasons admit that they keep the degrees below them "in the dark". Isn't omission of the truth just another way of saying lies?

What place should secrecy have in a Christian's life? We had a saying as children "whispers, whispers tell lies".

I keep getting told by Masons that it isn't a secret society but a society full of secrets. What use would a Christian have of secrecy unless escaping persecution? Indeed is the secrecy of Masons to evade persecution or exposure? I always thought that when people act secretively it was because they had something to hide. People only hide things when they fear other's judgement and persecution. They also hide things when they know what they are doing is wrong in some way, whether ethically or legally wrong.

Jesus says that lights shouldn't be under bushels. We are told in Thessalonians that we are the children of light and the day, that we are not of the night or the darkness. Freemasons ARE of the night and the darkness though. Indeed they meet at night, in secrecy and in darkness (blindfolded).

So it's easy to purport that no true believer would stay in freemasonry very long. They would either leave the lodge at the point they realise its incompatibility with their faith or struggle with keeping both and maybe apostatise. It would be impossible for any mature believers to stay in the lodge.

I've looked through your other postings on the Masons and the websites linked. There seems to be a palpable hatred and mistrust of Christianity within the brotherhood itself witnessed by believers who have since left.

Most low level Masons are deceived by the very organisation that they seek "light" and "brotherhood" from! Some brothers! As this is the case, that it is only by climbing up the Masonic ladder that the degrees of "light" or "truth" about freemasonry be revealed, I'll leave the last words to the experts on Freemasonry. It doesn't seem logical to ask a neophyte what freemasonry is all about as they would obviously be clueless especially within an organisation that not only keeps things from them but outright lies to them at every step.

Instead, here's a quote from Sovereign Grand Commander Albert Pike, respected figurehead of freemasonry who actually organised modern day freemasonry and wrote the initiations and rituals to the Scottish Rite.

Apparently Freemasons in England were outraged to know that French masons said the only god is humanity. Albert Pike, to smooth over antagonism over atheism brought forth his Luciferian doctrine.

This quote comes from Occult Theocracy by Edith Miller. In it Albert Pike talks about how the doctrine of Lucifer worship is to be presented to the higher degrees but kept from the lower degrees and the public.

"That which we must say to the crowd is - We worship a God, but it is the God that one adores without superstition."

"To you, Sovereign Grand Inspectors General [of the 33rd degree], we say the Brethren of the 32nd, 31st, and 30th degrees - The Masonic religion should be by all of us initiates of the high degrees, maintained in the purity of the Luciferian doctrine....

Thus, the doctrine of Satanism is a heresy; and the true and pure philosophic religion is the belief in Lucifer, the equal of Adonay; but Lucifer, God of Light and God of Good, is struggling for humanity against Adonay, the God of Darkness and Evil."

All Freemasons have to go through the Blue degrees before they can follow Pike's Scottish Rite. These three degrees ARE Scottish rite. This is the Rite that most ordinary folk go into. So you have to do three Scottish Rite degrees before you go on if you wish to do the "Christian flavoured" York Rite. I don't know much about this Rite or what connection Pike has to the York Rite but not the best of bed fellows is it!

He also goes on to say this in his book Morals and Dogma

"Lucifer, the Light-Bearer! Strange and mysterious name to give to the Spirit of Darkness! Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! Is it he who bears the light, and with its splendors intolerable blinds feeble, sensual or selfish Souls? Doubt it not!"

So it doesn't make a scrap of difference that the low levels think they are playing Boy Scouts if the man who wrote the rituals that they happily spout from their own mouths say it's Luciferian. You go to the captain of the ship to find out what direction the ship is going in, not the man in the deck chair along for the ride. Do we talk to the organ grinder or the monkey who dances to his tune?

Yes indeed low level masons ARE dancing to Pike's tune no matter what semantic or mental gymnastics they perform to avoid culpability once they are no longer in ignorance.
It's like you say that knowledge of sin is one thing but then justification of sin is even worse. Once people know, then they have little to hide behind--not even a fig leaf! Obstinate membership to such places once the facts are made certain can only lead to deterioration of faith if not worse.

Here's another respected Freemason talking about freemasonry (He also was a Rosicrucian.) This is Manly Palmer Hall from his book "The Fellow Craft: The Lost Keys of Freemasonry"

When the Mason learns that the key to the warrior on the block is the proper application of the dynamo of living power, he has learned the mystery of his Craft. The seething energies of Lucifer are in his hands and before he may step onward and upward, he must prove his ability to properly apply energy (emphasis added).

For me, there are far too many high ranking and respected Freemasons that say that the light, power, energy and "god" of freemasonry is lucifer.
I have no reason to doubt them. If it walks like a luciferian, talks like a luciferian, quacks like a luciferian etc.

In Jesus, The ONLY true light in this world,

Response #17:

I think you may have misunderstood me, my friend. I certainly didn't mean to seem to be defending Masonry, if that was your impression.

As suggested, I know little enough about it – enough to know that I personally would not want anything to do with it and certainly would advise any believer who asked me about it to stay away from it. I was just making the point that people do things before they are saved, or when they are young, or before they get serious about the Lord and the truth, that they would never do as an advancing believer in Jesus Christ. We all make mistakes. So I wouldn't separate fellowship from a Christian who was a lapsed Mason. I would consider the fact that he dumped it an indication of spiritual growth. Also, as mentioned, in the little I have been told about it, it seems that not all of the rites are the same in different sub-groupings. Again, this is not a defense. For those who want to be involved in apologetics, knowing more details would probably be necessary; for the rest of us, it's just another one of those bizarre religions or secret societies we don't want or need to have anything to do with.

I also certainly agree with you about secrecy. Christians do not cast their pearls before swine, but neither do we make any secret of the fact that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Master, our all in all. And we are happy to tell anyone about all of the "mysteries" of the Truth – if they are genuinely interested.

Hope you are feeling better!

Keeping you and yours in my prayers daily.

In Jesus Christ who is indeed the only Light, the way, the truth and the life.

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hello Bob,

Yes I was rather under the impression that either you were defending it or downplaying the harms associated with it. Very relived to know you weren't!

I have had some personal experience with it. ___ were refused promotion because they wouldn't become Masons. They both were incredibly hard working and well loved in their respective jobs but they hit the ceiling of their career as soon as they refused the masons.

___ was also treated differently when realised he wasn't a mason. As he shook hands in a normal way, they said "Oh! You're not one of us!"

I can't speak of the effects freemasonry has on American life and society but I can on what it has done over here.

Over here it is used as a sort of nepotism, chums network or cronyism. I base this opinion on a varied amount of different testimonies from different people over the years. You can get a leg up your career purely by being a member. If you're not a member then you can also expect doors to close in your face.

[personal experience on this score omitted]

It reminds me of what Peter wrote "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you"

I felt like that at the time. It was surreal. It definitely had a supernatural leg up so to speak. Satan was certainly at work when I was going through all that! God used that situation to wake me up out of my spiritual slumber.

Personally I have only had very bad experiences of Masons and their fraternity. It seems that their "brotherhood" only extends to its own members and that they show only contempt to the "Cowans" on the outside. Their claims of bettering men and society is just a load of B.S. At least that is the case in the U.K.

I think that "brood of vipers" would be a better description of their practices over here. We are told that a bad tree produces rotten fruit. I have only ever seen rotten fruit fall off the Freemasonic tree.

What is even more alarming is how infested the church visible now is with masonry. Judging by the (hand) signs of recognition they all have to do, most of the Christendom hierarchy are all marching to the devil's drum. Of course maturing believers won't be fooled but baby believers might. You know from my experience as a relatively new Christian, I have felt at times as though surrounded by ravening wolves and they were all in sheep's clothing.

Of course people who leave are forgiven by our Lord and I'm sure that many believers in the future will leave too but they will only do so if it is made clear that it is NOT in any way, shape or form compatible with our faith in Jesus. We can't afford for one moment to "go easy" or play softball with this organisation. It is a real cancer in our midst. It's main weapon being its secrecy. It's gains are won stealthily and we know this is satan's preferred way of working.

Thank the Lord I am in a true brotherhood and sisterhood now! One that doesn't require handshakes or secret passwords, doesn't discriminate or "black ball" people. One that doesn't promote secretly and privately benefits the few for selfish means. One that is not based on cronyism and telling lies. One that doesn't have creepy rituals and blood curdling oaths.

In the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, the only society I want to be a part of (and that is no secret!)

Response #18:

Understood. You've had some bad experiences. But as we've established, while others meant you ill, the Lord worked things out together for good, using your disaffection with the world to lead you to Him – just like He did the same for me to bring me back to Him. In any case, we believers who are doing what the Lord told us, denying ourselves, picking up our crosses, and following Him, are of the number who look forward and not backward (Phil.3:13).

I didn't realize that Masonism was such a problem in the UK in terms of shutting out the uninitiated and advantaging those who belong. I've never seen any evidence of that over here, but a correspondent in Australia likewise reported similar goings-on. Perhaps this is more of a UK / Commonwealth phenomenon. Here in the states, it's more a question of being advantaged or frozen out on account of politics – and there is no secret about it, only the prudent secrecy of wise individuals who do not wear their political opinions on their sleeves . . . or T-shirts or car bumpers. Personally, I don't appreciate or have any truck with nepotism or favoritism or prejudice of any sort, regardless of the basis. Jesus Christ died for us all and He wants all to be saved. Our job as positive believers in Him is to take personal responsibility for our spiritual growth so as to be "salt" for every group of which we are a part, and to help others through the ministries we've been given. The other stuff is best kept at arms-length. This is sometimes difficult, true, but important, and will be crucial in the dark times to come.

Of David. Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.
Psalm 37:1-9 NIV

Keeping you and your family and friends in my daily prayers.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

"mRNA Vaccine Carries Serious Risk of Prion-Associated Spongiform Encephalopathy/Dementia"

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/05/no_author/warning-pfizers-experimental-emergency-use-authorized-mrna-vaccine-carries-serious-risk-of-prion-associated-spongiform-encephalopathy-dementia/

His conclusion is similar to mine. Link to the article and cites is at the end. It appears that the kill rate of the new "vaccines" according to VAERS is higher than ALL vaccines' combined injuries and kills from 1996 to 2016. Unlike covid, the mRNA versions seem to mostly affect the young and women of child bearing age.

In Jesus,

Response #19:

It shouldn't really be unanticipated that putting out a therapy that's never been tried before (calling it a "vaccine" doesn't make it one) and not tested on primates and not given the benefit of toxicology studies or human trials that have gone the distance with follow-ups on possible after-effects might just produce some "unintended consequences". I have heard the "more than all others combined" stat elsewhere – and that is based upon the incomplete and no doubt selective info that has managed to get out the door.

I heard the other day that Pfizer is planning to ask FDA to take their vaccine out of the "emergency authorization" category and approve it fully. If that happens, I don't think it will be long before employers, possibly also U of L, make the thing mandatory for employees.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Hi Bob,

If I remember right, the Nuremberg Code outlaws experimental medical treatments without informed consent. I know of no one who got the jab, who was informed of the risks.

I'm still in Isaiah and thinking much more about the conditions he warned against. It seems the evil and perversion today are worse than then, but then I realize scripture only tells us what we need to know. I can only speculate. I also suspect there is more to understand about Matthew 6:34 as it applies to today than I've understood so far.

In our Lord,

Response #20:

I'm busy celebrating V-M day! Even our dem guv has had to declare an end to the nonsense (not until a month out, however). This is the end! But they did a lot of psychological damage. Even after the CDC announcement yesterday I saw a number of young people out walking outside on this beautiful May day with masks on (!?). But reality is catching up as I knew it would. The disease is frittering itself away as they always do, vaccines or no vaccines.

Praise the Lord!

Bob L.

Question #21:

Hi Bob,

Good news! I hear from friends Ohio is doing the same. Don't know about Indiana. While Texas ended mandates earlier, many stores here still require masks, probably to avoid lawsuits. A growing number of people ignore that. Mr. Fauci claims this will be a annual exercise. That will be interesting to watch.

I've learned much watching people's reactions during this whole episode. Thanks for the update.

In our Lord,

Response #21:

"A growing number of people ignore that" – as I'm hoping / counting on will be the case here and everywhere else. Once it is made clear that the emperor is naked, even the most traumatized people eventually come to see that (eventually). I expect that we will be hearing less and less about Dr. F as time goes by (unless he is indicted for his role in sponsoring the Chinese lab that produced the virus in the first place).

But I agree – it will be "interesting to watch". As has been the case hitherto (for all of us who managed to maintain at least some sense of humor and biblical perspective). Anyone who thought it would be difficult for the beast to convince the world of something untrue and turn it inside out in no time has now been officially disabused of that skepticism.

I'm still hoping for respite in the brief time remaining – but also praying that we don't become complacent, just because the pressure is coming off now. Rightly processed, all that has happened is really a clarion call to spend more time and effort on spiritual preparation, not less.

One neighbor has put netting around two recently planted trees . . . and the bottom of the netting is plastered with cicada shells in the hundreds. Guess that will be the next plague in these parts.

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Hi Bob,

In scanning headlines, it appears that Mr. Fauci has already been kicked to the curb. Instead of his daily pontification, there's only been silence. Or at least so the headlines read. It's about time for the nonsense to stop. It's been changing on what seems to be a daily basis. I doubt, Mr. Fauci and cabal will be indicted. Too many have made a great deal of money during this covid hysteria.

I think you're right about preparation. Expect the best but prepare for the worst as I was always told. To that, should be added. "Expect the unexpected." I certainly hope there's a respite before it starts. Here lately, I've had a continuing sense of dread and I've received no clear direction. It could be circumstances. In the past few weeks, a window motor on my car died, the oven died, the drier died and the water heater gave up the ghost. I'm hoping I'm out of shoes to drop.

Like a number of your correspondents, scripture has taken on a new dimension for me. Comparing scripture with current events has increased my understanding of both and not always happily so. I'm still in Isaiah; going more slowly and considering more carefully. Every time I open the Bible, I learn something new. Comparing NIV with KJV has also proven helpful. Particularly where the translation choices differ.

Also, as a side note, in the headlines recently, I read that the Marine Corp has introduced diversity training. I didn't know the Marines were worried about that. I had a friend, a Marine, who was on the rifle team and thought he was going to Hickam for a match. Instead, they kept on going until they dumped them out in Camron Bay. His squad walked into a VC booby trap; nails and broken glass from a welded pipe. It took him a little over two years to get out of the hospital. I suppose next, they'll put women in combat roles to increase "diversity."

Sorry about the plague. The netting sounds like a good but limited idea. There's always next year for a garden. Those cicada shells can be composted so some benefit can be derived from this plague.

Thank you for your prayers. They are much appreciated. I keep you and yours in mine as well.

Yours in our Lord,

Response #22:

In my personal life-experience, it never turns out the way I expect – so there's not much point in expecting . . . except to expect that the Lord will bring us through. That always DOES happen – just often not in the time or way we might have expected.

Yes, we're not out of the woods yet, but things are being dragged in the right direction by reality. When the thing disappears for all practical purposes, it'll be pretty hard to get the half of the country that still has not gone completely insane to keep believing we're all about to die.

And things could be worse! So easy to shut down a third of the country's fuel supply. The electric grid is even more vulnerable – and everything mostly runs on electricity now. I don't think the Tribulation is going to be much fun. But we better get ready, spiritually speaking in the main, whether we get a respite or not.

We had "Hum-rel" sessions even when I was in. Zumwalt introduced it at first to "help" navy personnel "understand" Turkish people and societal differences, then expanded it service wide. Best summed up by a sailor I saw interviewed when asked about the training: "I don't feel any differently about [other people] now; but now I know why I don't like them".

Thanks for your story about that Marine. No free plane tickets for me!

Working in the yard today – and it is swarming with cicadas! So they are coming – and are here. I understand they should be gone by mid-July . . . if there's anything left.

Thanks for those prayers too!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Am I correct in remembering that you explained that the term "Jews" is used in the gospels to refer to the ruling class, aka government workers as opposed to all residents of Judah and Benjamin? Paul seems to confirm that. If so, John 8:44 seems most appropriate today.

I have read in different places that the scienticians are working on a vaccine to mute or remove the "God" gene, which apparently they've located, (or believe they have,) in order to make people less resistant to "established science." Whether true or not is an open question and I wonder if John 8:44 also applies here, too. The "news," such as it is, seems to be completely unreliable.

A very enlightening explanation of the Lord's three days in hell in "Eschatology Issues LXIX" #32. I never understood it that way, but it makes perfect sense! Thank you.

Sorry to hear about your concrete surfing exercise. I'm glad your injuries are healing well. I've read that hot peppers will provide an endorphin rush similar to exercise. It could be true since hot peppers are addictive. For me, it's much safer than jogging though I still walk quite a bit.

Yours in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Response #23:

Yes, it is true that at certain points in the gospel of John the "Judeans" are the "rulers of Judeah".

Good luck to those researchers! Of course there is no "luck" – but there is also no way to remove free will and the desire for the hole in our hearts to be filled, the one that can only be filled by Him, since that is a function of the human spirit, the real "us" which they deny exists. Good luck indeed!

Hot peppers in lieu of jogging – hah! There have been days . . .

In any case, I'm doing very well now. I'm still not jogging much – more walking rather. I still have to take care not to push the knee or the psi-joint too far. And I have gotten well out of shape after the better part of three years only being able to exercise in spots. But I am working on ramping it up this summer and plan to continue, Lord willing and the body allowing.

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hi Bob,

I have wondered if the scienticians were the ones with the god gene passed down from the fall. But that's another discussion.

My jogging days are over. I do walk the 1/2 mile round trip to the mailbox and to take the garbage down. Everything here is spread out so I do a lot of walking.

Thanks for your prayers, They're much appreciated. You and yours are in mine daily.

Yours in our Lord,

Response #24:

Thanks!

"Scienticians" is good.  We could call them "scientologists", but that's already taken.

I'll bet you put in a LOT of "steps" just in your day to day routine.

Farmers really don't need to exercise the way us city slickers do.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Dear Professor

Had a quick look at cicadas.info What some people see in them:

Description: The mass emergence started two days ago. Yesterday and today I have seen hundreds of them crawling everywhere. Tonight at dusk I spent some quality time with them as they all marched towards the Willow Oak tree. They were raining down from the tree as the molt. A beautiful event.

Description: I have cicada's emerging from their shells and dozens of empty shells all over my trees in the front yards. Gross and cool at the same time. No bussing noise yet.

I hope they do not come anywhere near your garden.

I did manage to finish reading your email postings after completing the shed work schedule mid afternoon. Just rereading them and looking up word meanings on some. Thank you to you and all your correspondents for their experiences and insights.

This morning I heard on the bus radio that The Baptist Church in Albany is having speakers who have formerly identified themselves as LGBTQ will travel from Perth to speak at their church this Thursday of their experiences in accepting Jesus as their Savior and their decision to forsake their former lifestyle.

Was a bit of balanced debate on the radio for awhile. After coffee and while giving Magnet a lift home I found that the radio station was replaying the interview and the academic “experts” weighed in and outrightly condemned the church and those that accepted Jesus, saying it would inflict irrevocable damage on many vulnerable LGBTQ people and that other states we’re legislating to outlaw conversion therapy and the sooner it was also banned by law in Western Australia, the better for everyone.

However, to spoil the expert’s “good” story with the facts, the original interview did not mention any “conversion therapy”, nor did the pastor know of any such therapy, he was just willing to listen to their stories of how they had accepted Jesus.

The “experts” were not the least bit interested in listening to the “diverse” views of those born again, strange as that may seem, as the experts otherwise promote diverse life styles and choices - but NOT this particular one. Do they care for ALL people, or just for their own prejudices? After all these Christians were LGBTQ just a moment ago and have now somehow turned “evil” in this “expert’s” eyes. They are the same people as before but their decision of who to follow now earns them condemnation and derision.

(In my struggles to get a grip on the English language I learnt such things as “i” after “e” except after “c” and a few more excepts there be). However, the new world religion has only one except - the truth.

The academic “experts” have already decided for the rest of us that converting to Jesus is “evil” because they “know” much better than everyone else because they say so and no one should have the freedom to even hint or suggest a different viewpoint from their viewpoint because even if they are wrong they are right. (But they are never wrong - even when they are).

There is no allowance for an alternate doctrine nor any allowance for any “dissension” for anyone. What!

Getting close to making it completely illegal to mention Jesus, no matter what the setting, as it might “inadvertently adversely affect someone somewhere somehow sometime.” The ban, they demand, is “best.” (For ALL). Just a short step (or breath) from outlawing faith in Jesus altogether! They reason that the mere mention of His name might offend. Even if you are not listening! Can’t argue with “logic” like that! Mind you he said this in a most(ly) calm, though not quite as lamb-like as the kind motherly voice of the covid vaccine promoter of no compulsion to have the vaccine, but mandatory to have the vaccine instead.

Revelation 13:11 “Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon.” ESV

The two voices I heard on radio, especially the kind motherly voice reminded me of a meek lamb; the picture conjured in my mind was one of kindness. Only by disregarding her sweet tones, her robes of pleasantness, and actually listening to her words could you detect the dragon.

2Cor.11:14 “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” ESV

I recall from your writings that the difference between the angels is in their decision of who to follow - God or Satan. So the devil and his angels can appear as an angel of light. We need to discern whether what anyone is saying is in accord with the Word of God. Does it agree to what Jesus has told us (ALL things so that we will know). Tone, emotions are great weapons of mass deception - especially when the only agenda permitted is the worldly one repeated constantly on every theatrical stage on earth.

We seem so near the time of zero tolerance for true believers.

The kindly mother and the academic expert remind me of the multitude of prototype performers the devil has parading and pouting on the stage before he unveils his magical show stopper actor at Rev. 13:11.

Check the word and compare to what is dribbled out (when viewed from the divine perspective) by Satan’s world system. The world accepts anything, as long as it is not the truth. Satan wants to imprison his captives forever.

The truth sets us free.

John 8:31-32 “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Doesn’t it sound absurd to us that the only way of salvation is the only way (in this country at least) being opposed by the world.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him,”I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” ESV

Thank you for your Ministry in the truth.

Keeping you in my prayers.

In Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.

Your student

Response #25:

I've about given up even flicking the darned bugs off of my favorite plants – since they're back in force in about an hour. Somebody said the cycle is only ten days in warm, dry weather, but we're running up on that already with no end in sight – and they still seem to be coming out of the ground. So it will be a while. At least I haven't noticed any serious damage to our plants or trees . . . yet.

Interesting update about clamping down on free speech. Canada seems to be going the same way. In spite of all the outrageousness abroad here in the states, nobody could get away with that yet . . . officially. Instead they're "cancelling" people with whom they disagree. But that is easy enough to avoid if one avoids social media – and there is a building backlash against it now in any case.

But what you report is a sign of the times to be reckoned with. Interesting times ahead indeed – and not too far off now. But the Lord returns on the other side of the darkness, and that will be WELL worth it.

Glad to hear things are going well "down on the farm"!

Keeping you and yours in my prayers daily as always.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Dear Professor

Thank goodness for your positive perspective. Indeed our Lord will make the wait very much more than worthwhile.

Today the Anglican Church pastor got on the radio and said that the Baptist event should not go ahead. She said the meeting would be damaging to LGBTQI+. ( my take is that there is no need to attend if you do not want to - more of my thinking has been “R or D” to follow. Expired now and need to recharge for the cold morning bus run tomorrow). The church visible is hardly united at all - then again much of the church visible is not even the church at all.

I apologise for this brief email. My next instalment that I had wanted to write to you was “Rat or Duck?” Rat, I believe to be far more accurate, though I do note you post to be suitable for viewing at the NYT. Rat, is referring to the worldly system at large, so is definitely not an indictment of any small minority group or any group at all -rather it is the putrid doctrine of “the liar from the beginning”. Exposing the lie to full glare of the light is what our dear Lord Jesus will do at His Second Advent. I just wanted to share how totally dishonest the worldly system portrays and parades itself on stage, artificially lit up by its own pride. What a whack of performers there be prancing and strutting about, and the clever pullers of strings in the shadows beyond the curtains. What a load of front liners and such vast range of back drops! What a performance!

We look forward to the final curtain.

In Jesus our only salvation.

Your student

Response #26:

Thanks for the emails and links!

I'm missing the "rat vs. duck" reference. I do hate rats (and Marxist ideology and all lies and liars) . . . basically anything to do with the devil (that might be a bit unfair to rats, not sure at all about ducks).

One really has to tiptoe in Australia. I wouldn't be surprised at similar push-back over here for sponsoring such an event, especially if social media gets a hold of it. But at least the pastor in question wouldn't be in any great danger of being hauled off to jail . . . not just yet, anyway. Those wars are still being fought out here in the states. Sounds like they're long lost down under.

Not really surprising to see one "Christian" church jump on another. That will be a theme of the Tribulation's early days too, I'm guessing, as anyone who opposes antichrist will be thought deserving of censure in the extreme, and the church-visible will mostly all rush to his standard early on.

Hope you and your old bus can negotiate the cold OK, my friend!

Plenty warm here. Having to get up earlier than usual to get out before it's heat-stroke conditions. I have been settling into a much longer work-out. Hope this is the summer I finally get this weight under control. Of course the knee et al. will have to cooperate. So far so good – thanks for the prayers!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Thank you, Bob!

I'll take a look.

I'm currently reading John Calvin's biography. I'll have to restrain myself from calling this "Luginbill's Geneva" :)

Regards,

Response #27:

Hah!

Thanks!

My people actually came from Bern, the German rather than the French speaking area of Switzerland. But my dad was a Presbyterian minister and my brother almost became "John Calvin L." (mom thought that was a bit much, however).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #28:

Thank you Dr. Bob.

I was just thinking about contacting you. Funny how that works. I've been reading through and pondering the Revelations series. From this series I have come to a more profound understanding of God in his aspect as Judge and of Justice and Holiness. He is certainly King of Kings and Lord of Lords, not simply a Loving Father, which he also is.

Thank you,

Response #28:

Thanks!

Your encouraging words are much appreciated.

Write any time.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #29:

Dr. Luginbill,

Thanks for the notification. I am working my way through the Peter series right now - I'm on Lesson #32 at this time. I have to tell you that I love the Ichthys site and have been through much of it once and several parts twice. I have a million questions but I know you are busy and don't want to bother you with questions that I will probably find the answer to as I study the site in greater depth. I do have to ask this one thing, though - and I hope it's not too personal and just nosy of me.

You seem to have such a complete understanding of scripture and I frequently find myself surprised and in awe at how much sense it makes the way you explain things, and it makes me wonder why I couldn't see it before and why have I never heard it explained in such a way before. Did you research and prepare this huge volume of material all on your own or do you have a group of people that you work and consult with? You have stated "Spiritual growth is, ideally, a collective effort which is mutually reinforcing." You seem to have such a grasp of the big picture as well as most all of the details that make up the big picture and I have to wonder if you still find yourself discovering some new and thrilling insights? Something that makes you excited again and thankful for God revealing that new insight? If so, who do you share that with? Do those new insights ever make you go back and modify the materials you have already published?

I am about your age, and I and my wife were members of an independent Baptist church for some years. Long story short - I found our pastor telling a number of "little white lies" and when I approached him about it he accused me of trying to take over his job (which had never entered my mind and God had certainly not called me to be a pastor). One thing led to another and my wife and I were labeled troublemakers and asked to leave the church. That was in some thirty years ago and we haven't darkened the doors of an organized church group since. We were stunned at how quickly some of our "best friends" turned vicious toward us and though we thought our hearts were right with God, we found ourselves outside and almost no fellowship. We learned how to lean on God and each other and had to find a different way to grow spiritually. It wasn't easy just groping around and we wondered if we were often "out in the weeds".

I found the Ichthys website during my search and have been enthralled ever since. Again, we even had doubts about Ichthys because we were steeped in OSAS and a pre-millennial rapture. We thought these teachings couldn't be right. But the more we studied the more sense it made and now we are sure we are on the right path. Doc, we can't thank you enough for your hard work and dedication. You will most certainly be the recipient of many rewards in eternity because of helping so many people grow spiritually. We will continue to find spiritual illumination on Ichthys and be better prepared for the coming dark days ahead. Thank you for helping us find peace as we think on things above. I have many more questions and much more to say but I know you have much to do so maybe I'll share more later - a little at a time. Thank you again. We love and pray for you. Is there anything specific we could pray for on your behalf? from Montana

p.s.: Dr. Luginbill, I woke up in the middle of the night with the realization that while relating our Baptist experience I inadvertently said "pre-millennial rapture" instead of "pre-tribulational rapture". I feel so silly, and regret even relaying that whole experience to you. The past cannot be changed and these days we now thank God for getting us away from those false teachings. We unfortunately didn't understand that at the time and as immature Christians we kept searching our hearts and asking why. It seemed we were treading water for a long time, not questioning our salvation because we loved the Lord but not knowing how to move forward. God led us to Ichthys and we finally have some direction for our lives. Thank you seems so insufficient, but thank you.

Response #29:

No worries – I've made that "pre-what?" mistake myself as well! The terminology is easily confused.

I think your experience is completely understandable and most revealing. If it is not typical of believers generally in this Laodicean era, that is only because not very many are determined to find the truth as you were and are. But there are a great many believers who have found Ichthys whose stories are very reminiscent of what you've written here. A lot of them are posted on the "previous posting list" at Ichthys (there's a lot to dig through there, however, going back many years now).

As to your question, it's one I get from time to time in various formulations. First, I never make any bones about the great debt I owe to Col. Thieme and his Berachah Church ministry (nor do I ever fail to affirm that there is much at Ichthys with which he would have fervently disagreed). I also have gained much from my experience at Talbot Seminary – and from the friendship and Bible discussions I had over my two years there with my cohort of "Berachah buddies" whom I still count as my friends today. And of course my dad, a Presbyterian minister, was formative for me in many ways.

When it comes to specifics, once the Lord got my attention (a somewhat long and painful-to-remember process), I adopted the plan of becoming as academically prepared as I could reasonably be, and when I settled down to actually teach the Bible, to let the Bible do the teaching. I have mostly avoided theologizing, that is, creating systems which then generate teaching from the system itself. Col. Thieme's system taught me a lot, but I departed from it whenever the Bible and the Spirit led me elsewhere. It's not pride talking when I say that this is Jesus Christ's ministry and that the Holy Spirit is the One who has done the heavy-lifting. When I read back over these studies, I myself don't know how they ever happened – and despair of the thought of writing them again. Basically, I sat myself down in the chair and kept at it day by day and the Spirit did the rest – I contributed a lot of typos, a great deal of impenetrable and infelicitous language, and some errors (which I hope have mostly now been corrected – always grateful for editorial help!).

This is the way I see it, in any case. There are plenty of people who disagree with the teachings. In fact, it's fair to say that there isn't anything at all "new" here that isn't opposed by some person or group. But when I read over these materials (which I try to do in a systematic way), I grow from them too . . . a fact which lets me know that it wasn't so much me doing the producing of these materials as it was the One who wanted them produced.

Thanks again for all your good words, my friend! Please do feel free to write any time.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #30:

I take this opportunity to ask you for a clarification, on the Second Letter of Peter 2 Pt 2.10 -11, in the version of the Catholic Bible CEI 2008 which literally indicates:

(in Italian)
10 ......Temerari, arroganti, non temono d’insultare “gli esseri gloriosi decaduti”, 11mentre gli angeli, a loro superiori per forza e potenza, non portano davanti al Signore alcun giudizio offensivo contro di loro.12

(translation into English)
10 ...... Reckless, arrogant, they are not afraid to insult “the glorious fallen beings”, 11 while the angels, superior to them in strength and power, do not bring before the Lord no offensive judgment against them.12

Could you please give me your brief comment on these verses and their interpretation based on the original Greek version?

More recent version, instead, are oriented towards “the manifestation of the glory”.

Best Regards,

Thank you.

Response #30:

My pleasure, my friend!

As to your question, the Greek word here is doxa in the plural, so "glories" is a fairly literal translation; but in terms of interpretation I believe that your Italian translation is exactly correct: this is a criticism of Gnostics who thought to cast spells, in effect, against fallen angels.  Here's a link to where I explain this in some detail.

Incidentally, just a reminder that there also weekly email questions and answers posted every Sunday morning at Ichthys.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #31:

Hi Bob,

I just wanted to give you a quick update on our neighbor situation. Unfortunately, he didn’t move. I really thought he was on the way out. He has been uncharacteristically quiet save for Mother’s Day evening and one other evening where he was plastered and loud. I still feel like this volcano will blow at any time. I’m having a hard time finding a lawyer who will help me with this. One said the rental agency can kick him out because he harassed us and it has nothing to do with the COVID moratorium but can’t take the case because he is overloaded. He referred me to his assistant who also said they could kick him out but he can’t take the case because he actually rents from the same rental agency. I talked with a lady lawyer today who said the rental agency can’t kick him out because of COVID. She told me to renew my anti harassment order as soon as I’m able to and then do something to set him off so he can violate the order! She also talked about counseling because I’m letting the guy get under my skin. So, I will continue to look and keep my guard up in the meantime.

Thank you for your continued prayers. Today (Friday) is one year from the harassment incident. I’m on edge because of the holiday weekend and not knowing what might happen. Please say an extra prayer if you would for our safety but also peace.

I hope you and yours are still doing well. I’m sure you’re just about ready to wrap up another school year. They are going to let our high school seniors have an in-person graduation this year. I know they’re all looking forward to it.

In Him,

Response #31:

Thanks for the update.

You never know what sort of "super test" the Lord will bring as a sort of spiritual maturity "graduation ceremony", but in my experience they are usually of some length, requiring trusting Him over a longish period of time.

I'm very pleased to see that you are in the process of passing this difficult test – and I will say some extra prayers for you this weekend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.
 

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