I hope that you and your family are doing well in what's already been a very active year on the geopolitical front. I continue to keep you in my prayers nightly. I am wondering what you think about the situation in Ukraine and if you believe this could easily degenerate into a much broader war, one that includes the U.S. As a former military officer your opinion on such matters is valuable. I grew up during the latter part of the cold war and it certainly has a much different feeling. Then again, our leaders back then were far more competent and of sound mind. I find myself doing a lot of praying lately, not just for people I know but for many I don't, including our leaders. Thanks very much for your insight and as always, in Jesus Christ,
Re: comparing the current situation with the present and "our leaders
back then were far more competent and of sound mind", that may be
marginally true: a D- is a better grade than an outright F, I suppose –
but neither one is much to brag about.
As to "could [this] easily degenerate into a much broader war, one that includes the U.S."? That is always a possibility because human beings are a great deal more ignorant, emotional and reactive than people generally understand, including in the highest councils of government.
*We do have to remember that God is in control of everything: not a single sparrow drops to earth without that having been predestined in the plan of God. So we really do not need to worry that nuclear war will break out "accidentally"; it could happen, I suppose, but not without that being part of God's grand plan from the beginning. Given how close we are to the Tribulation, how little time is left before the Tribulation, it is difficult to posit the downfall of civilization and its complete recovery in just a few short years sufficient for the events described in those seven years to take place. So I think that VERY unlikely. What I do see as likely is Putin continuing to threaten it. Why wouldn't he? He's already backed the West off a no-fly zone and from giving jets to Ukraine. He sees where we lack resolve and acts accordingly (thanks due to Niall Ferguson for that last observation).
Could the US get involved? Very doubtful at this point, I would say. Our leaders are happy to go on camera and condemn Russia and praise Ukraine, but are doing precious little to hurt the one and help the other – much less than advertised and much less than would be possible if they were really serious about it.
So I expect this to turn out like Chechnya and Syria, and probably a lot quicker than in those two prior cases, with the West backing off even on the rhetoric in a couple of months, once this "special military operation" is over – even if Ukraine is in ashes (which is likely).
I hasten to add that I am NO prophet. Niels Bohr didn't actually say it, but it's a great apocryphal quote: "Prediction is difficult, especially when it involves the future". We moderns have the idea that we are marching boldly towards a future of our own making, but that certainly hasn't been my own life experience. Little has turned out "as I expected" – whether better or worse or just very different. The Greeks had it right. They imagined walking backwards into the future: we see clearly what lies behind, but have no idea what lies ahead, because our back is turned to it.
Any and all Christians who feel apprehensive about current events – and there is certainly just cause for that – really ought to decide to commit to an aggressive course of spiritual growth. If what has happened with Covid and if what is happening now in Ukraine teach us anything, it is that we might well find ourselves "in it" very soon. And when we do, we are going to need all the spiritual preparation we have prudently gained.
As to the Ukrainians, there are believers among them. We should
certainly be praying for their protection and deliverance.
Your friend in Jesus Christ,
I'm trying not to get caught up in the war news now as I think all these
worldly pulls in different directions are spiritually dangerous. In the
Houses of Parliament they had a standing ovation for the Ukrainian
Ambassador which is a rare occasion but it suddenly occurred to me that
the same people would probably applaud the antichrist too.
The news keep showing the Ukrainian President in military fatigues as the underdog and again maybe this is how they will portray antichrist too. Of course this is not to legitimise what Russia is doing but it doesn't look safe to go "all in" in either direction.
Very odd side note. The current Ukrainian President used to be an actor. One of his most famous roles was as the "President of the Ukraine"! Also this show was called "Servant of the People". Thought that interesting as that is a title that could easily be applied to our Lord and Saviour also.
Wonder if this Zelenskyy is a model for the antichrist.
I just looked up the meaning "Zelenskyy" and it means "green". That made me think of "The Green Man" who the pagans honour. It's basically one of many titles for Satan but from a pagan (false) perspective. If you're not convinced..it's interesting that Volodymyr means the following : "ruler of the world", "ruler of peace"/ "famous power", "bright and famous". Also this name could also be written as Vladimir which obviously is Putin's first name. So they both have "ruler of the world" as their first names!! I looked up the name "Putin" and it is actually a Scottish name and can be written as Padyn. This name means "master of their own destiny".
Obviously all this could be something and nothing. It just occurred to me as names in the Bible are really important as they seem to indicate the person's relationship with God or their intended role in the overall divine plan. Seeing as Satan wishes to be like the Most High, he seems to often use imitation. Maybe he names his own just like God names His own. Just a thought.
Like Covid, I think this also will be a trial run for the big one and no doubt setting up various political and military positions now that will then play out later.
I am taking your advice though to stick to my knitting at all times.
In Jesus, The Blessed Hope,
I'm not too much into name etymologies, but you certainly make a good point about people cheering this on. We know for a fact that they'll be cheering on antichrist in no small part because he is seen as a "good war leader".
So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
Revelation 13:4 NKJV
"Like Covid, I think this also will be a trial run for the big one
and no doubt setting up various political and military positions now
that will then play out later." It is certainly true that shuffling
the current social and geo-political order is bound to be opening up the
opportunities necessary for the rise of the beast once the Tribulation
begins, and I think you are correct that we need to be viewing events
from that frame. We can't really know just how each event is going to
shake things out – we don't know who the beast is yet, nor who his seven
lieutenants around revived Rome will be, and it is probably a mistake to
engage in guessing. One might have thought Putin to be on that list, but
at time of writing this seems less likely than just a few weeks ago.
"I am taking your advice though to stick to my knitting at all times." That is the ticket. Being "right" about some prediction based on incomplete information at present won't really bring any particular advantage to us as individual believers once the Tribulation begins. And at that point, it will all become obvious. Now is the opportunity to prepare. We don't have to speculate about the fact of the coming Tribulation – and we won't regret a single thing we did to prepare for it spiritually once it does start.
Just watching this documentary about Ukraine. It seems that after the revolution
there, many far right and Neo Nazi groups and militias have developed a
stronghold there. This French documentary was denounced when shown on Polish TV
a few years ago by the Ukrainian Ambassador as being "blasphemous". Odd choice
of words given the fact that this documentary does not reference God even once.
It seems that the Ukraine is not an innocent country after all (but which is?!)
It's scary to see Neo Nazi groups given such a visible platform over there. It just goes to show that revolutions often lead to worse situations that were in place previously. It shows how dark a country can get once it renounces all form of rule. East Europe seems to have really become very dark indeed in the last few decades. Do you know where the worst criminals in the UK come from? Albania. Apparently the drug gangs (like the one next door to our house) are worse now than the Italian Mafia. Do you know what these gangs refer to themselves as? Hellbanians.
Just to say Bob I'm not a Russian bot or troll and I try to keep out of all politics now. Just realising that just as unwarranted military aggression is a terrible thing, being attacked by another country doesn't make the country "good" just because it is an underdog.
Typically I would always side with the underdog but I realise now that we are all utterly sinful and only Jesus Christ can wash us clean.
p.s. In other news, they have pulled the "Russia Today" news channel from our TV sets and we are no longer given access to their channel even on YouTube. That was swift!
I do know Putin claims that the Ukrainians are "Nazis", but I find it strange
that the country as a whole elected a Jewish president if such is the case.
We have fringe elements in this country too, plenty of Communists – holding
political office (even if they shun the name).
"It seems that the Ukraine is not an innocent country after all (but which is?!)" Amen to the part in bold. On the "innocence scale" of one (totally guilty) to ten (totally innocent), I know of few nations I would venture to put higher than 6. Even if we gave Ukraine a 5, Russia could hardly be placed higher than 2 even before this latest horrific escapade; I'm tempted to put Russia at a 1, but that would leave no room for the comparative guiltiness of the likes of North Korea and, even worse, China.
But as bad as nations can be, when antichrist effectively abolishes nationalism, we will find out what real evil is. Nationalism, along with law and order, is God's bulwark against absolute anti-God tyranny, and that is what will obtain in the Tribulation once the beast gains world control.
I think I was looking at the wrong reason for "all this" as surely "all this" is spiritual. So I looked up Israel's involvement with Ukraine and Russia and what do you know..Israel is actually beholden to both countries in a way but more worried about losing Russia's support. However if they side with Russia or stay out of it then they lose US support. So this is actually a lose/lose situation for Israel.
Israel also refused to give Ukraine Iron Dome missile defences
that they desperately wanted so Ukraine will go to the US instead. The problem is that they are made through US/ Israeli collaboration so this could lead to a stalemate situation. Apparently Israel need Russia to defend Israel from Iran via Syria. Also Ukraine is the main supplier of wheat to Israel and so their bread supply has been threatened to be halved if they do not side with Ukraine.
So they can't win! I think "all this" will lead to a worldwide hatred of Israel and the Jewish people.
I said before that "Conspiracy Theorist" types don't need another reason to hate Israel as they already believe the Rothschilds run the whole planet! To be a Conspiracy Theorist is to be an anti-Semite. A huge chunk of the world is already anti Israel and anti Jewish, this may be the push to turn the whole world that way.
Everyone the world over is saying "I stand with Ukraine!"
Well "I stand with" God's chosen people and for Jesus Christ!
Sad to see and disappointing to hear, but it is true that Syria is
an existential issue for Israel, considering how many invasions have
been launched against her from there in the past. So even though Assad
is a beast and supported by a tyrant, they seem to be happier with that
than with a "democratic" Syria . . . which might go Islamist (or be
tolerant of such groups operating on Israel's northern border).
I find greater fault with the powers that be in this country who are eager to pose for the cameras and talk tough, but few of them are willing to do anything serious to help Ukraine: no "no-fly" zone, no jets, no Iron Dome (or other anti-aircraft systems beyond the shoulder-fire variety), half-hearted sanctioning of banks (seven out of 300) and oligarchs (some of Putin's closest buddies are still not being named), and of course no cutting off of oil and gas. And I might add that China is back-stopping Russia so that if we really wanted to get tough we'd have to sanction them too if they don't quit it – and no one seems to want to do that to our friendly genocidal, imperialistic, totalitarian, determined-to-annihilate-us rival.
I'm no prophet, but I'm very dubious about Ukraine's chances, or the chances of the West staying "strong" (or even what passes for the appearance of strong) for more than a few months.
During the Tribulation, Israel's position will be even worse, of course. They will go from being antichrist's "best friend" to the object of his ire, to the target of his desire for their complete destruction, all in the course of seven years. Blessedly, those who respond to the ministry of Moses and Elijah and the 144,000 will be given a safe haven in the desert so as to be able to ride out the second half, the Great Tribulation, in peace and security. Would that the same were true for us gentile Christians! But for those in the state of Israel who have at that point not come around, times will be especially tough, especially during the Armageddon campaign.
Until the seventh seal is broken, there are likely to be a great many twists and turns to the geopolitical situation worldwide. I'm not sanguine about the value of commenting on how they are likely to fall out. As I've repeatedly maintained, things will move so fast during the Tribulation without the Holy Spirit's restraint, that we shouldn't pose any preconditions which "must happen before the Tribulation begins", as these could be met very rapidly once it starts (whatever they might be).
The current geopolitical unpleasantness, coming on the heels of all the societal disruption from the plague (and, in this country, increasing political instability and lawlessness), certainly should be enough to wake Laodicea up! Now is the time to get cracking with spiritual growth while there still IS time – but I personally haven't seen any particular evidence of that yet (quite the contrary).
Maybe partial setting the stage for trib events.
Interesting article! Thanks!
On tyranny, the Greek experience offers an interesting parallel. There, one would make a distinction between tyranny and despotic monarchy (which I would argue is what we find in Russia). Tyranny started, of course, as an actual office when in the seventh to sixth centuries many Greek city states found themselves in a Malthusian meltdown: success and prosperity coming out of the dark age led to a crisis of overpopulation which colonization (of the entire Mediterranean and Black sea littorals) only partially relieved. So many families had their farms split up into plots too small to sustain a family (because of there being too many sons to inherit), that more and more such were falling into slavery as a result of their debts. Had this gone on without some intervention, in short order not enough free men would have been available to defend the state. The tyrant (by many a name) was a wise man given plenary powers and appointed to "fix it". Solon had that job in Athens. He immediately cancelled all debts and modified the constitution to increase citizen involvement (not yet democracy: Cleisthenes gets credit for that). Solon made the Athenians swear to uphold his new constitution without making changes for ten years unless he agreed . . . then immediately went off into self-imposed exile to make that impossible. Other tyrants (e.g., Cypselus at Corinth, Pheidon of Argos, etc.), were not so quick to relinquish power and handed it down as a hereditary heirloom until the regimes were later deposed. Thucydides in analyzing the later tyranny of Peisistratus and his family at Athens notes that his regime and others like it were far less likely to engage in foreign adventures for fear of risking their hold on power because the Greeks were very much inclined towards freedom – and at Athens this sort of risk-averse tyranny was exactly the opposite of the later democracy which was notoriously and deleteriously (to its own survival) imperialistic. On the other hand, the Persian empire, a despotic monarchy if there ever was one, faced little threat from its own population and so had no problems running over its neighbors . . . unless and until decisively stopped (at Salamis and Plataea). Putin's status-conscious Russia seems to me to be more in the second category than the first since he seems to have no great fear of his own people (and no particular reason for it, having them sufficiently under his thumb: more like ancient Persia than ancient Athens).
Your shrewd observation that an even stronger alignment of Russia and middle-eastern players might be in the works going forward certainly has implications for how things will shape up in the run up to the Tribulation. I have long wondered how the current set of middle-eastern powers might possibly grow into a threat to the rest of the world sufficient to provoke the West to cede power to antichrist's Babylon. Positing Russia as the dynamo behind that evolution certainly has a lot of pluses from the standpoint of feasibility. I always try to be careful to point out that predicting all this ahead of time is fraught with potential for misreading things, especially since the pace of change in geopolitical events during the Tribulation is likely to be unprecedentedly quick, given what we may glean from the biblical accounts (the removal of the Holy Spirit's restraining ministry will contribute to this process exponentially no doubt).
If Russia is destined for this role, that doesn't bode well for Ukraine. Not that anything the West is pretending to be doing (when not hiding under the bed whenever Putin waves the nuclear sword) should be any cause for optimism on their part regardless.
Russia is involved in the ill-conceived Iran nuke deal Obama/Biden are pushing which only limits them for three years; may be basis for Muslim jihad of the south. Agree can’t say what today’s powers will be doing in the trib but it reflects how realistic the Revelation prophecy is - real countries, real people. Putin wants to revive imperial Russia.
Thanks for the reminder. Present connections at this late stage do seem
to make a different alignment less likely. We'll find out soon enough.
You're right: It really is "real" and current events are having the effect of making the reality of what's coming ever more trenchant.
1) Daniel 11:33-34 (NASB) 33 Those who have insight among the people will give understanding to the many; yet they will fall by sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder for many days. 34 Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy.
Why will we receive only a "little help" during the Tribulation. I would think we will need "major help". Does this word have significance?
2) Daniel 12:2 (NASB) 2 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.
Do we have an example of prophetic foreshortening here (1 and 2 resurrection)? I ask because the preceding verse is referring to the Tribulation
3) Romans 2:10-11 (NKJV) to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.
On the face of it, it seems like Paul is contrasting here but we're dealing with the Word so there is always a way: does this really show the dispensation transition from gentile to Jew, and then both will face the same standards at the judgment seat?
4) I was reading some of Unger's Daniel commentary, and his addressing of so called "critics" threw me off, and for the past few days or so has rattled my faith. A piece of my faith was based on fulfilled prophecy as my intellectual basis for the Bible's power. I know in my heart the Bible is God's truth, but sometimes I liked to go back in my mind to all the fulfilled prophecy as a comforter, especially in this anemic school secularism setting. However, these critics argue in a way that is always undermining no matter what. I think this might have been a good occurrence because it exposed my faith (that it was based on something that wasn't pure and childlike like it needs to be). Nevertheless, I'd like to hear about what your systematic thought pattern is when you have to address these cynics who are like parasites to our Rock of faith? I've been trying to block them out but it certainly exposed me. Is it a mistake to have fulfilled prophecy as a part of my faith basis? Or should I keep it to the power of the Spirit working within me and the facts of sin, death, and judgment, and my need for a Savior considering my "total depravity"?
You are in my prayers every day. Please let me know if there are certain specifics right now that I can pray for you as well?
Also, I'd certainly appreciate a prayer for me to get better in my daily rest in our Lord – it's a major weakness of mine and I feel exposed, like my heart is empty, when I'm not resting in Him.
In our Savior and King,
1) On "a little help" in Daniel 11:34, the import of this is that we shouldn't think that we'll
be completely delivered from trouble in this time of great worldwide
trouble, but we will get the essential help we need. It may seem "only a
little" compared to our suffering, but it will be enough.
God is faithful. We need to keep our expectations in check (cf.
2) Yes. This compacts the entire resurrection (living and dead) into one (common in OT prophecy: "prophetic foreshortening"). Now that we have the entire revelation of the NT, we are given to know that the Church will be resurrected at Christ's return.
3) Not sure I'm understanding your question, so feel free to write back: Jews are "beloved" for the sake of Abraham and the patriarchs, but still need to be justified by faith like gentiles do. God has a single standard for all.
4) I think it is the case that for every believer there are "ticks" or "chinks in the armor" where for whatever reason some little thing – little in the whole scheme of the truth – bothers me more than it would ever bother you and vice versa. It's a blessing as you suspect to have these exposed so we can root them out of our hearts and trample them in the dust. Whatever "it" is, God is bigger and stronger and wiser than "it". He knows the answer and the truth and the solution – even if it is not revealed yet to our eyes. All such things are chances to TRUST HIM that it really all does make sense and does fit and is good and right and true – in spite of whatever "it" is being used by the evil one as a wedge against our faith. We learn to trust Jesus Christ more than anything we see or hear or feel – or intellectualize.
Resting in the Lord is so important indeed. In fact our entire life here on this enemy planet is really merely a very short "Sabbath day journey" wherein we are not obligated to pay any serious attention to all the noise and all the "churn". We have a right to turn our backs on all the lusts on the one hand and the fears on the other, to give ourselves over to the Spirit's guidance, to let Him lead us into the perfect path of the plan God has for us, and rainbow bridge that leads over all this sea of trouble right into His glorious presence.
Thanks for your prayers, my friend! They are helpful, needful and very much appreciated. Keeping you in mine daily as well for all things.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Good morning to you! My search on eternal security brought me to this
place and I must say I was thoroughly saturated, learnt a lot and have
been instructed as the case is. I'm particularly impressed with
something I saw here, that you allow the scriptures to lead you and it
is a fact that this is missing in our world today.
Thanks for the good work you're doing. Bless you!
My Question is why has the body of Christ not been able to agree on issues as this, about Eternal security because teachings like eternal security allows Believers to loose their guard!
Thanks for your prompt response!
Good to make your acquaintance – and thank you so much for your
What you say is very true. Along with "institutional security" (i.e., teaching that one is "safe" by virtue of belonging to a certain church or confession) and "tribulational security" (i.e., teaching that some "rapture" is going to obviate the very real possibility that those alive today will soon have to endure the Tribulation), "positional security" (i.e., "once saved, always saved . . . no matter what!) is a very dangerous false doctrine capable of tripping up believers who buy into it (see Peter #27 for a consideration of all three false doctrines).
As to the "why?", it is, as one of my friends calls it, a "comfort doctrine" – it makes people "feel good" not to have to worry about how they behave . . . at all. Also, there is a certain amount of the momentum of tradition behind it by now in the evangelical world. But I think the reason why it originated in the first place was as a reaction to the equally pernicious and countervailing false doctrine which I like to call "pins and needles salvation", that is, the idea that one small (or large) slip up and salvation is lost. This is also not true at all! Salvation is not directly affected by sin, only indirectly. Apostasy, the loss of salvation, is the complete loss of faith through a total turning away from Christ. It is true that becoming involved in gross sin does weaken faith, but the mechanism of loss of salvation is the opposite of gaining salvation, namely, the loss of the faith in Christ which resulted in being saved in the first place. So when I see and hear wayward Christians thinking they've lost their salvation because they have stumbled (sometimes badly), I can at least understand the original motivation on behalf of those who cooked up the OSAS point of view – wanting to tell these people, "NO, you haven't lost your salvation" (which is true) and then wrongly adding "because it is IMPOSSIBLE to lose your salvation UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES" (which is most decidedly NOT true: lose or abandon your faith in Christ and you no longer belong to Christ, and only believers are saved, e.g., Jn.3:18). More about all this at the link: Apostasy and the Sin unto Death (in BB 3B).
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I came across your website where people were asking about your belief in eternal
security. I was raised in a Freewill Baptist Church where hell was hot, and I
hear a lot more about hell than I did about Jesus loving us and working to keep
us. I am also a 50 year old elementary school administrator that suffers from a
form of OCD called scrupulosity. I don't understand it, and there has to be a
purpose for me having it, but it does make it difficult to be joyful when your
brain gets hung up on something religious. I don't believe in eternal security,
but I was raised as if I am hanging over hell. One sin and you don't
repent...Hell is your eternal destination. One sin that you think is not a sin
and Hell is your eternal home. I love the Lord and pray that God will open up my
heart to more and more of him. I know God uses me in my ministry at school, but
sometimes this brain will not shut off and it keeps me from His joy. I don't
want to live life carefree and drift into sin, but I would like to be able to
relax about my salvation. I can get legalistic in a hurry thinking about this,
but I don't believe that is the way Christ would have us live either. I don't
want to be guilty of having sin in my life and convincing myself it is not sin,
so I doubt everything. What if I have misread that scripture and it doesn't mean
what I think it does, etc., etc.
Any help you could give to this tired mind would be greatly appreciated. I do love the Lord and want more than anything to spend eternity with him, but I was raised with a fear of going to hell and if you could really get saved 1,464 times, I probably tried. Is it possible to live with assurance as long as you are clinging to Him and He is your only hope of salvation.
Good to make your acquaintance.
First, please address all future emails to the address above (email@example.com), as I keep my work and ministry separate.
As to your question, it is typical of many Christian groups to go overboard on one side or the other of various doctrinal issues, oversimplifying and causing problems as a result – as for example Calvinists and Arminians: both sides often have part of the picture but are lacking a critical component (yes everything is foreordained; yes we have free will; no these two in fact do not conflict, exactly the opposite). The same thing is true on this issue as well: yes, we are secure in Christ; yes, we can apostatize; no, the two are in fact not in conflict.
The truth lies between "once saved, always saved" on the one hand, and what I like to call "pins and needles salvation" on the other. On the one hand, it is clearly not the case that Christians can do whatever they like in this life with impunity without damaging and, eventually, putting their faith to death; but it is also not the case that we can lose our salvation on account of some sin. Everyone sins; the only ones who feel they do not sin are those who have redefined what the Bible actually says about sin to exclude things they have problems with, limiting "sin" to things they have no problems staying away from. Since much sin is committed in the heart, it is difficult for me to see how even the most advanced believer walking ever so closely with Christ, could go a single day without any sin whatsoever – unless he/she were in a coma. Moreover – and more to the point – Jesus Christ has already died for all of our sins. So no one is condemned for sinning – not even unbelievers. People go to hell on account of not being believers in Jesus Christ (Jn.3:18).
If that is true, why are there so many passages which warn believers that their conduct has eternal consequences? First, because we ought to be striving to be good representatives of our Lord and Master so as to earn a good eternal reward here in this life – the three crowns and all rights and privileges pertaining thereto. Second, because if we are not pushing forward, odds are we are sliding backwards (however slowly). And since only believers are saved, the danger is that if we give ourselves over to a life of sin, our faith in Jesus Christ will gradually erode. Sin has a tendency to harden the heart, especially when it is neither confessed nor repented of. It's hard to look Jesus in the face when we are willfully doing what we know displeases Him. The pattern, therefore, is that of the prodigal son going away to a "far country". He came back – but some do not. Not that I believe the prodigal lost his salvation. No. But if we stay in the far country too long, one of two things will likely happen: either we will continue to disgrace our Savior to such a degree that we will be removed from this life (the sin unto death), or we will eventually come to have no respect for Him at all, no faith, no faithfulness, no trust, no belief. In other words, there is a category of believer whose faith shrivels under the heat and pressure of this life. As our Lord explained it, "they believe for a while, but in time of testing, they apostatize" (Lk.8:13). Apostasy is possible. In fact, in the soon to come Tribulation, one third of the church will fall away. So while sin is an issue in apostasy, not wanting to suffer reproach for the sake of Jesus Christ (as in, e.g., not being able to buy or sell during the Tribulation without taking the mark of the beast) or other disappointments are also even more frequently causes for falling away from faith in Christ.
All of this has been written up many times at Ichthys. Here are a couple of links, the first few of which will lead to others:
Faith, Forgiveness, Salvation III
Faith, Forgiveness, Salvation II
Faith, Forgiveness, Salvation I
Apostasy and the Sin unto Death (in BB 3B)
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Are there any books out there that you would recommend that give a balanced approach to justification by faith. As you said, so many seem to take a hard line approach to one side or the other concerning salvation by faith, salvation by works, OSAS, no security at all, etc. Thanks for answering my last email. I really appreciate it.
I really don't know of many books at all which effectively cover theological
topics in a non-theological way. On the particular question, systematic
theologies don't necessarily even take up such issues in the way regular
Christians need to be taught to understand them. Also, if you do consult such
works, they have a point of view. L.S. Chafer's Systematic Theology vol. 2
pp.273-8 has a treatment of justification which is interesting to read (but I
wouldn't sign off on everything there; he was OSAS, for one thing).
I should also say that in terms of justification, being considered righteous by God on account of our faith in Jesus Christ (cf. Gen.15:6; Rom.4:1ff; Galatians chapters 2-3), that this doctrine doesn't change in my opinion whether a person is OSAS, "pins and needles", or has the correct view of saved-as-long-as-belief-endures (at least it shouldn't). Justification speaks of our salvation's basis as being faith-based alone – that is how we receive God's righteousness: He considers us thus because we have put our faith in Christ who died for our sins.
Here is the main Ichthys link on justification: Justification (in BB 4A).
For the correct view of "imputation", a related issue, see the link.
In Jesus Christ our dear Savior.
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
Well, I now have in the group of 8 that I have been teaching, the so-called leader as she says the coordinator of the Bible Study going around me to one of the attendees who is supposed to be a Pastor/teacher, but I have found that not to be so. Anyway, the person that asked me if I would teach the group of 6 Filipinos a Bible study, has gone to the so-called Pastor/Teacher, asking him questions about what I am teaching instead of bringing it to the group. This is the same Pastor/Teacher that responded to his "OSAS" theory to me; I sent you that email some time ago. Well, the coordinator has done it again now for the second time, gone around me.
The comments were on your teaching on the "Image and Likeness of God". I asked everyone if they had any questions, and no one responded. I ask if they all agreed to the teaching and they said yes. But, the coordinator, as I said goes around me again; I guess she does not trust me, or does not understand the teachings and says nothing in the group. I think I will need to pray and ask God what He wants me to do, continue, and confront the individual(s), or stop the Bible Study.
There is another believer that I periodically talk with that asked me a question. This was the question; Do you believe that Jesus could have sinned? I responded yes, but then I began to recall from Scripture something that immediately changed my quick answer from yes absolutely no. See John 4:34; John 6:38.
Yes, Jesus had free will but as these scriptures depict, He totally surrendered His free will to God the Father. I also remembered what you wrote in one of your studies:
"In addition to preserving the perfection of His body, our Lord was also required to demonstrate and preserve the perfection of His human spirit as well, and that required complete integrity in the exercise of His human free will from the moment of physical birth to the moment of physical death."
I don't mind these questions, but when someone goes to another person to get
there opinion and answer, that does trouble me. [omitted]
I have adequately responded from what you taught and told her and him that you are looking at one scripture verse instead of the whole Bible. Frustrating, trying to compete with another teacher? who does not know very much, as he has been taught just like I was, until I found your Website and began to really learn the scriptures which I have been doing with you for over 7 years now?
Please pray for me that I make the decision God want me to make. Whether to continue or drop out of the group, as their teacher.
I cannot thank the LORD enough and never will be able too, and I thank God for helping me to find His servant, Dr. Robert D. Luginbill, who has blessed me tremendously.
Blessings to you forever,
It is a common thing for people with "credentials" in the church-visible to NOT teach anyone anything (of value, at least), but to bristle when others do. Consider:
But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”
Luke 13:14 NKJV
So you're in good company! In fact the best possible!
There is a reason why in all actual churches, however constituted (and what is a Bible study where the truth is being taught but a church – a real one, in God's eyes), that there will be one teaching elder who sets the tone and holds the doctrinal line. If others oppose him, it will lead to no good, only confusion.
It reminds me of the old military saw, "Lead, follow, or get the ___ out of the way!!!" Similarly with this fellow: he's unwilling to teach the truth (he clearly doesn't know much); he's unwilling to let you teach it either – so he should move out of the way. Until he does so, it puts you in a difficult position. And this verse also applies:
“Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”
Luke 11:52 NIV
If there are people who are interested in being taught, there's nothing
more blessed than that! If you can't do it in a space where this fellow
has some sort of authority, my advice would be to find another space.
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
I am still studying your teaching on Hamartiology and read the scriptures you mentioned in Ezekiel chapter 18.
The LORD himself speaking to the prophet directly refutes the doctrine of OSAS and the RCC's teaching that the sin of Adam passes down to his progeny.
It is apparent to me that they have not read nor studied the Old Testament, which includes those denominations like Baptists who believe in OSAS.
But, I know that they will come up with some explanation so as not to agree with what God says in His Word, and most likely they are not even familiar with the scriptures in Ezekiel.
They will reject any proof in a heartbeat that their own doctrine is wrong.
Just thought I would let you know what I have discovered, and I knew it before, but never gave it this conclusion.
Your teachings are a very great help, and this is by far does not even scratch the surface of what I have learned from them.
Thank you again, and again, for being the servant of Jesus Christ, our LORD and Savior.
Blessings to you always,
P.S. So much for denominational doctrine. What a mess, it is sad indeed.
Good to hear from you, my friend. Hope you and your wife and family are
"But, I know that they will come up with some explanation so as not to agree with what God says in His Word." Sad but true – and also illustrative of what is going on here and what is one of the main impediments to spiritual and doctrinal progress in mainline evangelicaldom: they have their doctrine; they only need to find ways to defend it. They don't need to read the Bible or worry about things in the Bible that don't agree with their doctrine, because they dogmatically believe that what they already believe is 100% correct. It's almost an RC mindset. But if they bothered to read scripture and actually listen to it, they would be challenged every day – as all of us who read scripture with an open heart are. We seek the truth, and the truth is in the Bible. If and when the Bible seems to dispute what we believe/teach, we take pains to find out the full truth. That has been the process of this ministry since the beginning. It's too bad more Christians don't read their Bibles AND pay attention to what they are reading. If they did, they would be motivated to find something better than the lukewarm places they are attending. But one of the main reasons those places are lukewarm is because the people who attend there are as well. So it's a vicious circle. I prefer the virtuous cycle.
That's what I want to be then, to be strong by the Spirit! I realise that I am being thoroughly tested now while the wood is green so to be ready for when it is dry. Also
If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in a peaceful land, how will you do in the thickets of the Jordan?
Slowly but surely I am being prised away from my grip on this world and this life and realising that very soon this world just like our back fence will be smashed to smithereens.
If we go through these things under the Spirit's restraining ministry, then what will happen when the ministry is removed and everyone, human and fallen angel alike will do as they please?
I shudder at the thought but I am now in a place whereby I see my own utter futility and vulnerability. I see my complete dependence on our Lord for everything, large or small. That if it wasn't for our Lord, I would be dead in a New York minute. So I don't want to complain about drug dealers or storms or bed bugs but to see this as our Lord's blessing to show me that this is all falling apart and on the eve of total destruction and that only He can restore it and make it better than it ever was. That He is readying me for the ultimate spiritual battle which will be the Great Tribulation! So as Paul says then
2 Cor 12:9
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me
So I will boast in my weakness so that the power of Christ rests on me so none of my flesh will glorify itself in His sight. Amen!!
Only the Lord can see us through. That is true whether it registers with us or not. The Tribulation is no more difficult for Him than "good times". He can provide for us no matter what. The better we learn that lesson before hand, the better we will be able to handle what comes next.
Keeping you in my prayers,
In your DropBox you should find the audio files for Peter #37.
As always, great teaching! Really enjoyed this myself and thanks for all you do!
Not much new to report here. Finally finished my remodeling project on the house, I estimated 5 years of weekends and vacations to get it done and that’s where I ended up, 5 years. Of course the Lord helped me out every step of the way and I’m thankful for that, without His help it never would of turned out as it did. Still got a basement leak that’s needs to be addressed this spring and repair to the basement floor from the water damage, but that wasn’t in the original scope of work, so I’m calling it a job done.
Work and life in general are somewhat dysfunctional given the nature of people and events these days, but I’m doing fine in the midst of it. The peace of the Lord is a real thing and to be much appreciated, it’s a shame more don’t experience it. Most people I know are ate up with the narrative being spun by a world full of lies, hoping for a return to pre-covid life. While I would welcome a return I don’t see it happening. I believe what we are seeing is the beginning of the man-made troubles that you teach about in the Coming Tribulation series. Not the opening of the seven seals, but precursors to those and the advent of AC. It seems necessary to finish the conditioning of the world population to accept such dramatic change, also, as you have pointed out it’s good for a “tune up” on the Church.
How are you Sir? Judging from the tone of more recent postings it sounds as you are plugging along ok. Just curious, are you planning on a teaching for 2nd Peter or any other Books of the Bible? I’ve got you in prayer here daily. I’ll be in touch.
All the best,
Thanks! Nicely done, as always, my friend. Files uploaded and tested
just fine. These MP3's are really helpful to so many readers. In the
most recent update of the "top tens", three of the ten as measured by my
website were MP3s. So people are
listening – which they couldn't do without your help, my friend!
Congrats on finishing your five year project! That is really something (and the appreciation comes from someone who's had a few long term projects). I'm sure your better half appreciates it too.
Yes, things are a mess, and I don't expect the Millennium to roll in . . . until AFTER the Tribulation. So we'll just have to keep coping. But for believers who really are looking to eternity, this is a lot easier to do. I'm very pleased to hear that you are abiding in peace, my friend. That is a sign of deep maturity – and something we are commanded to do, the NT version of the OT commandment #4. It's easy to let ourselves get upset by all manner of things, but the more we can hold onto the big picture, seeing how short all this really is, and how ultimately unimportant everything besides Jesus Christ, His truth and His Church really are the happier we will be, and the more bountifully rewarded on that glorious day to come.
I'm doing pretty well. Having just replaced the entire HVAC system, stove and hot water heater, feeling pretty poor, but the replacements are improvements and the old ones all REALLY went bust, so what are you going to do? I'm grateful that the Lord worked it out so they could be replaced and everything is working fine at the moment. After all, just a little southwest of here, there are a great many people who no longer have homes or anything else after those wicked tornadoes. We count our blessings.
The university just announced that we are NOT going remote next week when classes start, so that is a huge relief. We do still have to wear masks, even though "the science" is clear that omicron is airborne and not stopped by cloth masks – and even though 91% of the university community has been vaccinated. But I don't have to keep mine on when I teach, so for me it's not terrible.
On the ministry side, I'm already at work on 2nd Peter [part 1 already posted at the link]. Its "only" three chapters, but they are longish and contain issues that will take some time and space to do justice to, so it may take a few years to get through the whole book. After that, I have some ideas, but haven't committed to anything just yet.
Keeping you guys in my prayers, my friend – and thanks again for all your good work and help.
In Jesus our dear Savior,
In your DropBox you should find the following audio files for Peter #38.
Things are going well here. After finishing up the work on the house I’ve spent some time straightening up my basement and tool shed and touching up paint where needed, it’s good to have everything back in it’s place (almost). Now if I need something I should be able to find it without a hunting expedition. Nothing new to report here except for a personal bout with E.Coli (that was new!) never did that before, hope to never do it again.
I really enjoyed the beginning of the 2nd Peter series and am looking forward to the rest, one of my favorites. I’ve been reading Leviticus this past week along with Mark and It’s amazing to me the amount of instruction that God gave Moses and Israel during their trek through the desert. Blows my mind how easily they could slip into backsliding after everything God brought them through during the Exodus and revealed to them during their trip to the Promised land. Our natural sin nature...wow, scary!
How are you Sir? I do hope you and yours are doing well. I’ve got you in prayer here every day long before the sun comes up, better than vitamins and coffee! I’ll be in touch.
All the best,
That was pretty quick! It'll be a while longer before you have the next one to
deal with. That next chapter (2Pet.2) is more involved for a number of reasons,
and will take me at least a couple more months to produce. These are VERY good,
by the way. You're doing a nice job teaching Ryan. Thanks!
Glad to hear that you've got things fixed up to your liking. Being able to "find things" is no small matter! Also happy to hear that you've recovered from that disease. Never had that one. Not anxious to add it to my list either!
The ability of people to reject, repress, and trample the truth really is shocking – or I guess it would be if I hadn't been witnessing it all of my life. I do have to confess that when it comes from people close by who should know better, it still does have the capacity to rattle me a bit – but more like a minor tremor now with more disappointment than anything else. We'll all have to get better at that one.
Do not trust a neighbor; put no confidence in a friend. Even with the woman who lies in your embrace guard the words of your lips. For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies are the members of his own household.
Micah 7:5-6 NIV
It's nice to know that at least there are a few who are so steadfast as to be
worthy of trust no matter what – like you are, my friend.
Thanks for those prayers! They are needful. Lots of incoming flak lately from all quarters, but it's mostly bouncing off of this beat up old battle-wagon – no doubt thanks to prayers like yours – and of course because of God's grace.
Keeping you guys in mine daily.
Thanks again for posting the emails this week. They're always very interesting and helpful to read. I learnt from you a long time ago that God places our spirit within us at birth. In relation to Luke 1:44 you wrote that fetuses do not experience joy but they do react biologically (kicks etc.) to their mother's experiences. ___ told me today that if something makes her jump then the baby reacts and moves or kicks too. If she's hungry the baby moves more. She said, "I'm not sure if it's because he can hear my belly rumbling!" If she's had a busy day at work when she finally sits down in the evening the baby is still moving around a lot for about an hour. If she's had a calmer day then the baby is quieter too. So it's just little things she's experiencing right now that confirm what you have written.
You made me smile when you mentioned your colleagues "erudite and articulate whining!" Any more news on the situation today? As you say, it could be an "interesting" week ahead but I've got you in my prayers as always.
Take care, Bob.
Thanks for the encouragement and for the help, my friend.
Thanks for the insight on babies too! This is also what I have heard – obviously never directly experienced! Not being a "birthing person" myself (as we are supposed to say in PC speak these days).
The emails have been flying fast and furious at work, a petition is being circulated, colleagues are encouraging each other to do what they think best (i.e., go remote), irrespective of university mandate, and some are even calling for a sick out. Should be great fun tomorrow! Everyone IS getting sick, I should mention. Felt better myself, but that's probably just psychosomatic. As the old joke goes, "Beethoven is dead, Mozart is dead, and I myself am not feeling too well either".
Hope you have a good week ahead too!
A "birthing person" - I hadn't heard of that one before. Honestly Bob, this world gets more ridiculous and terrible as the days go by.
How did today go? I know that omicron is hitting you hard in Louisville. I hope you're feeling okay.
Keeping you and your family in my prayers.
Even though faculty were very upset not to be able to go remote, the students
seemed to be happy to be back. I had a very good showing and a very good first
day – so thank you so much for those prayers! I think I was only missing one
person per class in all four classes, and in each of the four I had all of my
active students return, as well as one in each from years and semesters past.
All in all, much better than I hoped for!
Sounds like you're facing similar challenges over there. Just when you think, "it can't possibly get any worse" . . .
Keeping you and your family in my prayers too, my friend.
This is a tough one. I have to say that you are handling it very well.
I'll bet if you think back, this would have been much more difficult to
cope with five years ago or so before you committed to spiritual
It's no big deal for U of L to make the paper here – they have to have something to print. But I was surprised at how quickly the gossip made it over to the CJ and got into print. Despite all this, the administration is posturing as if nothing has happened (which I suppose it hasn't, just a lot of bluster from my colleagues). Guess this cooks up the 1% raise that our recently departed president had promised before she jumped ship over Christmas. Not that such would make much of a dent with inflation running at 7%. But at this rate, in a few years we'll be working for free.
Please take care of yourself. Your confidence in the Lord is a true witness. Make sure you don't overextend your own strength, physical and emotional -- quite easy to do under circumstances like this.
You are a real inspiration!
Depending completely on the Lord, recognizing that "WE" cannot do it, so trusting instead in Him to do it, and being at peace with the situation, in spite of the pressure, is exactly how we should all be handling the pressures, problems and crises of this life.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2nd Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV
I do hope and pray for all to go well, and also that this situation will
contribute to opening up to the truth.
U of L is a challenging gig, and so most of these high-powered administrators we've hired over the years have used it as a stepping stone. They typically demand great effort up front with promises of reward, then leave before they get around to part two.
Thanks for your prayers too, my friend.
Interesting reaction. One would think that people who have this false
opinion of "what's next" (i.e., "nothing") would be all the more
determined to avoid it. However, I have noticed in some and have seen
this in historical figures as well, a great ability to harden the heart
against the reality of death, living as if in fact there were no death,
and persisting in that false "belief" right to the end. Sort of like
someone skydiving without a parachute who believes they aren't actually
going to hit bottom . . . until it's too late. I'm continuing to pray
about this. "There's no peace or hope for anyone without the Lord."
That's right – and it's a blessing whenever the Lord rips away the false
bravado. That's the only way often for a moment of clarity to enter into
a person's heart. That was certainly true of me!
"I think this is going to be one of the hardest things I've gone through yet." No doubt. And the waiting just makes it that much worse. But your attitude of trust is a glory to the Lord and an encouragement to me and all who see it. He will show you the rainbow of deliverance on the other side of this test. He has done so for me and for all who love Him.
"But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays."
Malachi 4:2a NIV
It could be worse. Religions, Roman Catholicism in particular, give
their adherents an excuse to stay hardened, telling them, in effect,
that they have an insurance policy. At least those who in principle
accept that the end is the end – even if they are wrong about what that
means and what comes next – don't have that same shield against the
Please take care of yourself. Working so much and with all the stress you are under . . .
Everyone here is getting omicron. I think it's just a matter of time. Better to get it while in good health so as not to be overly affected.
Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.
It was OK – hope your work went alright as well. We just have to get through
Friday now. Very cold here, but the ice and snow storm they were predicting
failed to materialize.
"Or maybe that's just wishful thinking!" In your case, it probably is! Being longer in the tooth, I have better prospects on that score [of being with the Lord sooner rather than later]. But of course we'll all have to cope with what the Lord has planned for us. It doesn't have to be "fun", but it can be doable and with peace, if we are determined to rest in faith in Him.
The world really is "nuts", however, more so, it seems to me, than was true when I was young. I think anyone jumping forward from, say, fifty years ago to today would be incredulous to see how far down things have slid. But we may have a bit more sliding to do until things are completely ripe for the Tribulation. Believers keep their ears to the ground but their eyes on the Lord. He will take care of us, no matter what.
For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
2nd Chronicles 16:9a
No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save.
But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.
We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you.
Psalm 33:16-22 NIV
The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry;
but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to blot out their name from the earth.
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.
Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
The LORD will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.
Psalm 34:15-22 NIV
In "Fighting the Fight XV" You quote Ecclesiastes 5:8 from the CSB. That came as something as a shock because it seems to describe all levels of our society today. It was, though, a different understanding than what I've had from NIV and KJV (which I'm now using for my periodic cover-to-cover pass.) KJV and NIV are nearly identical. The CSB strikes me as substantially different. The CSB seems to describe a "protect each other" condition where KJV and NIV seem to speak more of a hierarchy. Should I understand from your quoting of that verse from the CSB that you consider that a more accurate translation?
This week's email post was difficult to get through. I feel badly for those folks' angst. Sometimes I feel a little sheepish that I have been so richly blessed. There have been plenty of trials in my life, too many and pointless to relate, but I'm warm, safe and have plenty to eat. How could I complain? Time is so short, I just hope to enjoy what I've been given.
I pray all is well with you and yours up there in the cold.
Yours in Jesus Christ,
The Hebrew has only shomer al which means, equally, to watch over or protect.
If you see oppression of the poor and perversion of justice and righteousness in the province, don’t be astonished at the situation, because one official protects another official, and higher officials protect them.
CSB is clearly right in ferreting out the proper meaning of just who is being protected; the other translations are at odds with the theme of lack of justice being put forward, along with the vanity of striving for riches.
Resist [the devil], steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
1st Peter 5:9 NKJV
As this verse demonstrates, all believers come in for "flak". But it is
different from one believer to the next. There are many reasons for
that. On the one hand, the devil is unlikely to waste effort putting a
believer to the test in an area of known strength. On the other hand,
the Lord is not going to allow any of us to be tested beyond what we
personally can actually bear (1Cor.10:13). But we all come in for
testing. And during the Tribulation, it's going to be severe for all.
Only the type and texture will be different. But we can be sure that the
Lord will see us through it, the same way He has brought us – and our
brothers and sisters – through all the testing we're having to endure
here and now.
Keeping you in my prayers, my friend!
Thanks for the explanation. I need to pay more attention to your choice of translation and those verses in KJV & NIV that seem out of context. In this case, the bad translation was close enough that I accepted it and read on. Without knowing Hebrew or Greek, I have no way of telling the good from the bad without an email to you. The Ecclesiastes 5:8 translation in both my versions were, as we used to say in the old days, "close enough for jazz." I trust the Spirit, with your help, will shepherd me through.
Interesting point about customized torment. I never considered that. Thank you. It does make sense, though not more comfortable. Of course, I have my Achilles heels and he seems to get to them easily and often enough. I think most people think of Satan as the obnoxious neighbor down the street instead of the powerful malevolent spirit he is. Probably also part of Satan's plan.
Thank you for your prayers. You and yours are in mine daily.
In our Lord,
Re: "I think most people think of Satan as the obnoxious neighbor down the street instead of the powerful malevolent spirit he is.": Best policy is not to think of him at all. We can't see him, and we never know for sure whether problem XYZ is demonic in origin, allowed testing, or just part of the natural scrum of living in this world. And the precise source doesn't matter either, because we have to approach all "problems" the same way, namely, try to deal with them in peace, trusting the Lord to get us through, confident of His faithful deliverance in all things.