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Question #1:

During the coming days, I will be returning to working full-time at a new job (I am 77 years 'young'). I have planned to complete a short devotional reading of scripture one hour before I have to leave for work. After work, I have planned to spend 1-2 hours to meditate upon my morning's devotional reading. I hope to complete my first Genesis-Revelation readings by this time next year. Using my electronics of phone and tablet, I hope to be able to share my experiences with reading and your website with others that I will be meeting with each day. 'YOU' have provided so much information on your website. I look forward to keeping busy to 'study to show myself approved unto 'GOD' (2 Timothy 2:15).

Respectfully

Response #1:

That's wonderful!

I'm impressed with your grit, my friend.

Keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Evanelia Tahitian mission update

Response #2:

Happy Fourth of July, Mark!

Or is it the fifth already there?

What do you do in Tahiti in lieu of hotdogs?

Very proud of you and Renée and all the great work you’re doing there for the Lord my friend!

In Jesus,

Keeping you guys and your mission in my prayers daily.

Bob L.

Question #3:

Well, it is strange to celebrate abroad.

Food options here: chicken, eggs, pork, raw fish, cooked fish. Bad carbs on the side.

It's really going quite well. We are enjoying our lives here and the ministry is going well. Just this morning I was invited to teach at a small Bible college in Fiji. Thinking about it.

I pray you are well and thriving in the Lord.

Serving Him,

Response #3:

Hey, you can barbecue any of that stuff (maybe not the eggs).

Question #4:

Possibly the eggs also. We do miss Mexican food on occasion.

Response #4:

You're making a lot of bigger sacrifices for the Lord, my friend. I know he honors that.

Keeping you both in my prayers daily.

Question #5:

Hi Bob and family,

I saw on our news tonight further about those QR codes that are everywhere now – I don’t know if it’s the same in the US but this is what is about to happen in Australia very soon.

During COVID-19, pulling out a smartphone and scanning a QR code to enter a venue has been a necessary activity for millions of Australians as well as those in other countries.

If you look at the Australian economy, cash usage is in sharp decline. We see Osko and QR codes playing a key role replacing cash in that space.

QR codes within Australia’s real-time payment system Osko, help to streamline the way small businesses accept payments, and the functionality is available now to those financial institutions that want to provide it to their customers.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia released a report that predicted Australia could become cashless by 2026, based on the trend in Asia revealed in the RBA’s Consumer Payment Methods Survey.

The Australian payments provider announced this week that it is set to roll out a new, QR code-based payments system in the coming months called eftpos QR (or eQR).

Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths, along with Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank, are supporting a new QR payments platform developed by eftpos. For the banks, paying with a QR code will allow them to bring payments into their banking apps, driving customer usage and engagement.

I thought you’d be interested – not far to go now!

Thinking further, from my last email – if it were to happen as the Commonwealth Bank in Australia has predicted – that a complete cashless system, possibly in place by 2026, would further be Satan’s work in the breaking down of society, it will be a very simple step, once people are so used to this technology, to introduce the mark early in the second half, which would then prevent anyone without the mark to be able to access their finances.

I hadn’t thought about it this way – I was always thinking that a cashless system wouldn’t be in place until just before the mark but now I’m not sure. It could be possible, seeing there is but a short time after the beginning to the middle of Tribulation anyway.

And so many will fall for it believing what they are told – “it’s in your best interest”.

What think ye?

As always my good friend,

Response #5:

At the rate things are changing, it isn't beyond the realm of imagination that what will be then is something that is not even yet in existence now. In any case, I don't know of a time in history when there hasn't been a "black market". Also, God has innumerable ways to get us through. Remember Elijah. God fed him via ravens in a safe hide, then moved him someplace else safe when the water ran out, and blessed him and the woman and child he was staying with by means of a jar of flour and cruse of oil that didn't run out. The Lord rained manna down on the children of Israel for forty years – in spite of their unfaithfulness too. And He made five loaves of bread and two fish suffice for five thousand plus with much left over.

Nothing is impossible for the Lord.

"However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
Luke 18:8b NIV

So we don't have to get too exercised about any of this. We can see the disaster coming, but we also have faith that the Lord will keep us safe, right in the eye of the storm, all the way unto His kingdom come, if that is His good pleasure.

The LORD knows the days of the upright,
And their inheritance shall be forever.
They shall not be ashamed in the evil time,
And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
Psalm 37:18-19 NKJV

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
Psalm 37:25 KJV

The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
Proverbs 10:3 NIV

He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil–this is the man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. His bread will be supplied, and water will not fail him.
Isaiah 33:15-16 NIV

Keeping you and your family in my prayers daily,

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Thank you Doc. I have some evidence from the Greek of Revelation that the Mark is a visible mark and not something else. I showed it to someone who thought the Covid shot was the Mark, and it wasn't enough to fully convince them. I know some people just believe what they want, but this is a whole new form! They did say they'll pray about my arguments though.

Doc, it'll be a couple more months until it's been a year since I first found Ichthys. I never told you this, but my dad died shortly before I found your site. I'm scared he went to Hell. He claimed to be a believer, but he acted nothing like one should at all. I'm especially scared because he essentially committed suicide, refusing medical treatment just because of the physical pain dialysis would cause.

Response #6:

Well I'm sorry to hear that. But I will say that most believers who are strong in their faith have their doubts about the status of others who are not so much. When it comes to family members, we also have to keep in mind that the Lord loves us and knows that we love/loved our family members – so that we are right to err on the side of assuming His mercy to us in working these situations out for the good.

Refusing medical treatment is not suicide. Also, suicide, while a terrible thing because it rejects God's will for our lives, is only one (particularly awful) way of doing that. Saul committed suicide, but what he did in rejecting God's will at other times in his life was worse. And Saul is in heaven (in spite of his sketchy record; see the link).

Good job in standing up for the truth about what the mark of the beast really is and really is not, my friend! You see how growing in the Word gives a person confidence and has all manner of other good results – including giving us opportunities to minister to others.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Oh there was one last question as well....

What happens 2026 AD?

I thought nobody could know when Rapture was taking place? Then again, it says nobody knows the day or hour. I guess you could deduce year.

Response #7:

As to "no man knows the day or the hour", you are exactly correct that this doesn't preclude us having a general idea to within a year. That is not merely "clever interpretation" but biblical inasmuch as scripture specifically tells us that "the days will be shortened for the sake of the elect" (Matt.24:22) – meaning that there is a definitive timeline and that it will only be altered by a slight reduction – to within a matter "of days", because "unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved". Given that this scripture is so particular on this point, it would be irresponsible in my view for a good Bible teacher to ignore the prodigious amount of scriptural information about this issue – it's all there in the Bible for a reason, not for us to overlook it.

On 2026, that is the likely year for the beginning of the Tribulation – in my personal interpretation of events, at any rate. Why? Because the plan of God is clearly broken down into seven "millennial days" with the Millennium itself being the last of the seven and being 1,000 years long. We know from the chronological/genealogical information in the Old Testament that the Jewish Age lasted approximately 2,000 years and that there were approximately 2,000 years after Eden until the circumcision of Abraham and the beginning of the Jewish race. That leaves two millennial days unaccounted for – 2,000 more years. Since Christ most likely was crucified and resurrected in 33 A.D. (see the link), that would make the Church Age run until 2033. Subtract seven years and we get the beginning of the Tribulation. As to why the Tribulation does not start after 2033, see the link: the tribulational overlap. In a nutshell, the last seven years of the Jewish Age, Daniel's 70th week (Dan.9:24-27), is the Tribulation but that period is shared in common with the end of the Church Age so that that period sees a reunification of Jews and gentiles in the Body of Christ immediately before our Lord's return and our common resurrection.

Granted, this is an interpretation of the biblical evidence, and I'm always quick to add the assumptions upon which it is based. Here is a snippet on that from SR 5:

The most potentially controversial piece of information developed below, that is, the projected date for the commencement of the Tribulation, is based upon the following suppositions (all of which are treated within the context of this study):

The seven millennial day interpretation is taught in scripture and meant to be understood and applied.

The Church Age will last for two millennial days or 2000 years.

The Church Age commenced following the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

These events took place in 33 A.D.

The Tribulation belongs to both the Church and Jewish Ages and is therefore to be subtracted from the 2000 year total when calculating the start of the Tribulation.

The half hour of silence in heaven at the breaking of the seventh seal (Rev.8:1) signifies a half year grace period that shifts the start point from spring to fall.

Scripture gives no indication of either shortening or lengthening of this time-line, and therefore no such change of schedule is anticipated.

The above points are all presented here as true, and the analysis upon which they are based is set forth below. Clearly, deviation from any of the above will alter the entire scheme. It is also true, as we have already said, that alteration of the schema presented below is certainly within the power and authority of the Almighty. The very end of the Tribulation, for example, will be shortened by some undisclosed amount of time (Mk.13:20). Rather than undermining the theory advanced in this study, however, Mark 13:20 in actuality supports the importance of paying heed to the Bible's chronological information. For if "the days are shortened", then surely this means that there was a definite heavenly timetable in the first place. Secondly, Mark 13:20 indicates that the shortening mentioned is a matter of days, weeks at the most (i.e., not enough to change the general time-line given below). This is certainly in line with the very specific tally of days and months given in Daniel and Revelation (Dan.7:25; 8:14; 12:7; 12:11-12; Rev.11:2-3; 12:6; 12:14; 13:5).

I do believe all of these things are correct, so I do think that the Tribulation is only a few years away at present. All the more reason for all believers to double-down on spiritual preparation. There is no "pre-Trib" rapture (see the link), so that most believers who are alive today will have to endure the Tribulation, and we know that the faith of many will fail – for lack of spiritual strength, lack of truth in the heart and the habit of applying it because of a lackadaisical attitude towards growth before the fact.

Spiritual growth has never been more important.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hello, again Dr. Luginbill,

First I want to thank you for the prayers.

Secondly, I wanted to send to you, a reply from the so-called teaching on the 10 virgins that this person sent to me. Here is my response.

1. We must not make scripture say what it does not say so that it fits with our beliefs or opinion.
2. Matthew 25:1-3. These particular scripture verses make no mention of a "secret rapture"; this parable is all about the fact that believers must be ready always. Read Matthew 25:14.
3. There is no mention whatsoever of a "secret rapture" in God's Word.
4. These verses are speaking strictly about the "Second Coming" and only coming of Jesus to planet earth.
5. If you read Matthew 24:29-31 you will notice that this "Second Coming" happens after the Tribulation, along with the "gathering together" of the believers in the clouds, to meet the LORD in the air and return to earth with Him to celebrate the "Marriage supper of the Lamb" in Jerusalem with all believers. See Isaiah 25:6-9.

Since you believe that I am not telling the truth and the LORD as you say, told you not to open the teachings I sent you, perhaps you will make this same decision on the attached material. I can tell you though, that what I have written you is the true Word of God. I cannot believe that you got sick two times because you believe you were told by the LORD not to touch these teachings. Why would God make you sick? Do you really earnestly believe that God made you sick and told you not to touch these teachings? I am absolutely appalled. I have prayed that God will open your eyes to the truth which I have written. There is an old saying that goes like this: "Don't make scripture say, what it does not say", or what we think it says"

The biblical text might just be more sophisticated than we first imagined, and we might therefore be in danger of using it to support ideas that it never intended to teach, e.g. a "secret rapture".

You have said that because God made you sick, and that is what I understand, you conjectured that it was God who did that because He did not want you to read what I had written. I have never ever heard anything like this in all my 42 years of studying God's Word. God does not work that way. This paper you sent me is concluding that the Parable of the five wise, and five foolish is speaking of a secret rapture, which I do not see in these scriptures. This is what it is really talking about, in one specific verse. Read what the LORD says below:

“Bless our God, O peoples, and make the sound of His praises heard. He has preserved our lives, and has not let our feet stumble. Yes, O God, You tested us, and You refined us as [one] refines silver. You brought us into the [prison] fortress. You set tribulation upon us (lit., "on our loins"). You made men ride over our heads. We went through fire and water. But in spite [of all this] You have brought us forth into [a place of] refreshment (i.e., deliverance).”
Psalm 66:8-12

Please read 1 John 4:1.

I am only writing this response because I fear for your spiritual health.
End of reply.

I would certainly like to get your opinion on the response that I have written. It would bless me.

Thanks again for your prayers.

Blessings to you always,

Your friend,

Response #8:

Good response!

After all, our Lord tells us directly that this parable is about "the kingdom of heaven", which is His millennial kingdom. The wise virgins enter in to be with the Bridegroom. This is clearly not speaking of some secret seven year period before the kingdom begins. In any case, all believers are resurrected, so the foolish virgins can't be believers. Therefore this parable is speaking of apostasy during the Tribulation and the need to remain spiritually alert so as to avoid it (here's a link to where this is covered at Ichthys: The Ten Virgins).

Ironically, this person is headed in that very same "foolish" direction. All who are hoping for a "rapture" are going to be gravely disappointed when it doesn't happen and this will make them doubly vulnerable to falling away during the Tribulation – the very thing this parable warns about.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hi Bob,

First, you nearly knocked me off my seat with your reference to "Casabianca!" I'm deeply impressed. It's been 50 years since I've run into anyone who knew that poem or Felicia Hamons. I also shocked myself just a bit. One of your correspondents used the phrase "C'est bon ça" and I actually remembered what it meant. Maybe as my English goes to pot, I'll remember more of my French?

He also mentioned a twisty strand of laws. I wasn't sure to what he referred but it kicked off another of my sometimes disastrous trains of thought: Mark 3:24 "And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand." I've never seen this nation so divided and I'm a child of the '60s; actually spat on while in uniform. Secession is on some state ballots, including Texas, for '22. I doubt any will actually happen, though it's possible. Many people down here still remember stories passed down of "The War of Northern Aggression" as it's called. However, I see no way this division can heal. It's not a North/South issue this time. Something will have to change fairly soon.

That raises the question, is the US in fact, later day Babylon? Things are moving so fast and we seem to be in full self destruct mode, that I'm beginning to think the Russia/China axis may be the later day Babylon. Probably China if I had to guess. It's idle speculation but it looks to me like the American Empire is crumbling quickly. In a few short years, a "savior" will step in to resolve our conflicts.

I hope all is well up there. Things are very slowly germinating and leafing out so there's hope yet down here.

Yours in our Lord,

Response #9:

First time I heard the Casabianca mention was from a reference by my mentor, Col. Thieme.

I should have paid more attention in French class myself! I did get good enough at reading it to pass my graduate language exam, however.

I wouldn't bet on succession. Just finding out that the Feds would then cease mailing Social Security payments to Texas would probably be enough to deep-six it.

In terms of Babylon and the "savior scenario", however, I think that is indeed the most likely probability, that is, that the US will become mystery Babylon in the Tribulation, and that antichrist will originate here and come to power as the "man on the white horse" (literally: Rev.6:2) riding in to save the day. People are always looking for flawed human saviors even as they refuse to accept THE Savior.

We're likely to find out soon enough!

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Bob,

Good to hear from you.

Wow that's some wind. I'm so sorry to hear about that. Wish we were there we would help you build your fence back. It's seems like there is always something that is an expense or just difficult.

We don't live in a very good environment of either. We watched a drug deal go on just feet away from our camper the other day. Luckily our windows on our camper are dark so no one can see inside. We called the owners of the KOA and at the time they were in California. They called the police and once they arrived the truck that was doing the drug deal had taken off. We had given the plate number to them and come to find out it was a stolen truck. They ended up finding the truck. The guy had ditched it.

It's not a safe place to be here we really want out but nothing has opened up yet. I'm sure it will in the nick of time like it always does.

We did really good in real estate last year. We are 100% debt free. Now we are trying to save something to buy some dirt to put our camper on but it's been really slow for us. We have had only one sale this year. We have hopes that will change in the next few months.

We found a house that is in foreclosure. We are trying to figure a way to buy it. We could fix and flip it and it would give us an a great start.

It's not been easy working with people. We have had some nice people but naughty people just make everything bad and unfortunately I don't have it in me to deal with it. Thank goodness __ can handle naughty people better than I can.

Hope your trip to Michigan will be good. Where are you going in Michigan?

I personally can't wait for Jesus to come back and it can't come soon enough for me. I'm not looking forward to the years of Tribulation but after the past 8 years I sometimes feel I've have already had enough. Not sure after all we have been through I would have the strength to get through what is yet to come. It would be a blessing to have a break for just a bit before the world has bigger changes.

We recently sent someone to your website. We continue to share your stuff. Hoping to help.

Take care,

Response #10:

Thanks so much for the update. I will be praying for you about that house! Sounds like the ideal thing for talented and hardworking people like yourselves. Sure hope you get it.

Also sorry to hear that your business is not more fulfilling. I have to say that academia has gotten a lot harder and a lot less enjoyable over the last 30+ years as well. Don't know if I would have stuck it out had it been this way when I got started. But having a means of making a living is a blessing, amen?

My brother and his extended family all live north of Detroit. I'm going to visit the U Mich library for my research then stop by for a bit to see them.

[here's a pic of one of the leaves of the Chester Beatty papyrus I took while up there; from Romans; dates to the second century A.D.!]:

 

Chester Beatty Papyrus

 

As to "it can't come soon enough for me", amen to that! The tougher things get, the clearer the appeal of that feel-good false doctrine of the "rapture" becomes. But the Lord is getting us through all this now – and He will get us through the Tribulation then as well – if that is His will for us. He gives us a post and a job to do. It's up to us to stick to our post like the boy who stood on the burning deck and continue to do our job no matter what until He takes us home . . . or we see Him return. Mara Na Tha! "O our Lord, return!"

Thanks for spreading the truth!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

In 1 Corinthians 3 it uses the metaphors of straw, diamonds etc.. So this is not literal, so can the spiritual structure of our lives which have been built on the foundation with straw so to speak and other combustibles with forgiveness from God and a change in one's life be Replaced? Everyone will have some straw, those who live a life of comfortable Christianity for example. What I'm asking is God dynamic in how he treats those who repent and change to be better Christians?

If we look at the life of the Old Testament King who sacrificed children to Molech he was led into captivity and repented and got his kingdom back. Even though the Bible states he wasn't forgiven in the sense that his descendants would have to deal with the consequences. I find it interesting that God transferred the punishment to people who were rogue later on. If I have remembered the story correctly. That sounds flexible to me. He upholds justice and find a way to relieve him of the personal consequences. That sounds very merciful.

Thanks

Response #11:

God is indeed "very merciful"!

Hebrews chapter twelve gives us the principles of divine discipline (see also this link). God the Father deals with us as His children. His purpose in punishing us for our disobedience is to turn us back to the right path and instruct us as to future behavior (see we don't act like mules who never learn: Ps.32:9), just as we do with our own children (only He does it perfectly). Just as we are not trying to destroy our children or permanently handicap them but instead have only their absolute, future good in mind when we punish them, the same is true for us and our heavenly Father. We don't want our children looking backward; we want them to move forward with confidence – but in a righteous way. That is what the Father wants for us as well.

1st Corinthians chapter three, however, is not talking about discipline. It is talking about the disposition and judgment of our lives as believers at the Judgment Seat of Christ (see the link). We will be rewarded for all the good things we have done – good in our Savior's eyes; but things that were otherwise will be "burned up", disposed of so as to have no further place in our eternity with Him.

"Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward."
Mark 9:41 NIV

Where there is life, there is hope. We have, every day we are alive, an opportunity to "redeem the time" (Eph.5:16; Col.4:5), to make it count for the Lord in doing what He wants us to do: grow spiritually, progress in our Christian lives, passing the tests that come our way, and produce for Him by helping others do likewise. These are the activities which will net "gold, silver and precious stones"; but everything pointless, everything done out of false motives and not in the power of the Spirit, will be burned up. This will not keep us from being saved and will not take away from our rewards, but it does remind us that we are here for a purpose, and that the best approach is to seek to maximize our rewardable efforts – to the glory of Jesus Christ.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #12:

In 1 Cor 3 Paul says two things

1) Those whose works are saved receive a reward
2) Those whose work burns up suffer loss but are saved

Is it possible for a saved person to have all his works burnt up, since Paul seems to hint at that in number 2)

The least minas Jesus spoke if in the parable was 5 minas, rolling over 5 cities. Is there such a thing as less than 5 cities to rule over?

Since God is the one who prepares the works the Christian does in advance, talk about 10 or 5 cities to rule over. And since God is the one who gives the increase, surely what reward the Christian gets was prepared by God in the first place. 10 minas 10 cities 5 minas 5 cities. Haven't they all been rewarded equally and got a complete reward since gave the gift of 5 or 10 minas to begin with?

If we can mess up our rewards, and rewards are involved in salvation, the doesn't the idea that we can mess up our rewards kind of make a mockery of Jesus ability to save wholly, fully and perfectly. If a person gets less than the best, or something missing, how can it be a case of the "..spirit's of just men made perfect" Nothing perfect about getting less than you could have.

Thanks

Response #12:

The way I interpret this is that all believers will receive some reward (because, e.g., "faith without [any] works is dead": Jas.2:17-26), and that undoubtedly all believers will have a fire of some sort, some much bigger than others. Whatever we do in the Spirit that is worthy will be rewarded; whatever is otherwise will be burned up. It's not either or.

The parables of minas and the talents are similar (link): they both teach this same principle but that doesn't mean that there aren't all manner of variations in the actual judgment (where of course the particulars are different in every way from the "furniture" in the parables; see the link for the interpretation of parables).

Yes, God has prepared everything we do (Eph.2:10) . . . but WE still have to "do it". Salvation has been completely provided for by Christ dying for our sins, but, similarly, a person has to actually accept that Gift. It's all about grace on the one hand (God does it); it's all about free will on the other (we have to choose it).

On the last part about "perfect", I don't remember any scripture putting things this way. Being saved is wonderful – the alternative is the lake of fire! We will all have the wondrous "basic package" in eternity (cf. the parable of the workers in the vineyard), and at present we don't know what those add-ons of "gold, silver and precious stones" will be like – because that is impossible to know or understand before actually experiencing the resurrection and eternity. But we can see that these are "very good"; so we ought to strive for them today. Every day is an opportunity to add to our heavenly treasure chest through spiritual growth, progress and production. Worrying about how we messed up yesterday will only cause us to waste today as well.

(12) [It is] not that I have already gotten [what I am striving for], nor that I have already completed [my course]. Rather, I am continuing to pursue [the prize] in hopes of fully acquiring it – [this prize for whose acquisition] I was myself acquired by Christ Jesus. (13) Brethren, I do not consider that I have already acquired it. This one thing only [do I keep in mind]. Forgetting what lies behind me [on the course] and straining towards the [course] ahead, (14) I continue to drive straight for the tape, towards the prize to which God has called us from the beginning [of our race] in Christ Jesus. (15) So as many as are [spiritually] mature, let us have this attitude (i.e., of focusing on our spiritual advance and reward and not getting hung up on what lies behind: vv.13-14), and if in any matter your attitude is off-center, God will reveal that to you (i.e., assuming you are mature and are advancing as you should). (16) But with respect to the progress you have made, keep on advancing in the same way!
Philippians 3:12-16

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Can the Greek words in 1st Thessalonians 4:17, hama syn autois, or "together with them" mean in the same place as in someone being together with them in the same place as well as meaning to accompany them?

Response #13:

Both, depending on the rest of the sentence.

These are adverbial phrases (an adverb hama and a prepositional phrase syn autois used adverbially); in all such cases, it is the verb they modify which determines such things. In the context of 1st Thessalonians 4:17 the verb is "caught up / lifted up" so as to be together with them as we "meet the Lord in the air".

So the meaning in Greek is the same as in most English translations: living believers on earth will be resurrected and rise up "together with" so as to be "together with" those who are resurrected immediately before.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #14:

[omitted]

Satan lied to the fallen angels about what his ultimate aim is. He would not have shared with them his "I will" statements would he. If he told them that he wanted the throne for himself but him only, they never would've gone for it. I wonder if he offered to share rulership with them? The whole possession of flesh thing would've been one of the "benefits package" that he threw together as part of the deal. Do you think this is the case or do you think shared leadership was never promised? Addiction to possession clearly has been successful and they are obviously hooked on it like any other drug addiction. Do you think possession was the main sell or part of a bigger false promise? Maybe Satan convinced them that possession was becoming as God? Like deceiving Eve that knowledge meant godhood.

I think "addiction" is a huge part of Satan's strategic plan. He must have noticed the fallen angels' need to keep going back for more. Maybe he himself held back from it at first especially seeing the effects it can have in that it can be disorientating. He would not want to be enthralled himself by something that would stymie his own carefully orchestrated plans. When he encouraged them to do it, I wonder if he held back himself? If he saw the dependency that developed from it maybe he decided that he would only do it when possession furthered his plan?

We can see that he actually does possess key players in the Bible. I suspect he is only interested in possession of key players which will further his main aim, his main "addiction" as it were. It seems as though the other fallen angels aren't as picky in that even pigs will do. This reminds me of alcoholics who are so far gone that they have no more dignity over their choice of tipple.
I don't think Satan has allowed this addiction to get the better of him. Being intoxicated clouds judgement. The stakes are too high for Satan to get high on his own supply. Drug lords never take drugs as they see the effects of their own product. They have to keep a clear head to stay ahead in the game. Satan will know this by now.

Satan used exactly the same strategy on humans. He promises them shared leadership (you are gods) whilst simultaneously getting them high on a panoply of addictive substances. Power and money can act like a drug on a person's mind.

The New Age teaches that "we are god". This is the lie given to Adam and Eve and maybe the exact same lie given to the fallen angels. I suspect further (and all this is conjecture) that the antichrist will say that we are all god and that we will all share the throne of rulership together. Maybe the mark will be a mark of self godhood when really it is a branding to show ownership by Satan.

With the abomination of desolation, the antichrist will declare himself as God. Will all the people and fallen angels both realise they have been deceived at that moment? The Antichrist on the throne will be the ultimate attempt at realising Satan's original plan. I realise that he is happy to throw under the bus any and all who stand in his way and that all those (angels and humans alike) who have fallen for his deception will realise that he never intended to share the throne with anyone but always wanted it just for himself.

Having said that though, the Bible is clear that they DO worship the antichrist so self worship couldn't be a part of this. Could it? I guess I wondered how he will convince atheists to worship him but maybe fear, coupled with being worn down and those lying signs and wonders will be enough. Do you think the "you are gods" will be part of the antichrist religion?

I guess we will just have to wait and see.

In Him,

Response #14:

On the first email, no worries about not posting. Of course I knew that you would have to work on just what your ministry would "look like". If you've found some negatives, that is a good thing because part of that is realizing what you DON'T want it to be and finding out early on what doesn't work as well as what does.

I would be happy to have you use, employ, simplify etc. whatever parts of Ichthys would be helpful to you in implementing this ministry. That is at least in part what it is for.

I just got finished writing another correspondent struggling with ministry implementation that it occurs to me that many positive believers are grappling with this same problem, namely, of finding what works and finding people willing to be helped in a godly way.

It seems to me that part of the problem is of course the rapidly accelerating spiritual degeneration in the last days of Laodicea. But another reason may be that with the Tribulation so close, the Lord wants us to concentrate on our own spiritual growth and preparation first and foremost. That way, when that difficult time does begin, we will be all the more ready to help people who may finally be awakened out of their spiritual lethargy by the "tribulation of those days". So my advice would be to take it slow so as to do it right. Going off "half-cocked" is never the best approach in any endeavor.

On your second email, of course there is much we cannot yet know about what the satanic religion of the Tribulation will look like until we see it develop in real time. I have written up everything I have been able to glean about it at various places in the CT series mostly but recently consolidated most of that information in Peter #39: "False Teachers and False Teaching in the Tribulation" (see the link).

It's a good point you make about addiction. And we do see that on the rise today as well. What is addiction anyway except a chronic, habitual, unhealthy over-reliance on things that are not good but actually the opposite? Nothing is worse for a person than getting involved in things that are forbidden by God and hostile to Him. So I wouldn't be surprised if your speculation about the demons, and about possession and addiction in the Tribulation has some value. I would only add that from what I have discovered, it will be a question of an "all of the above" strategy, the "666" ways to "salvation" (link). Antichrist's tribulational religion will be notable not for what it includes (nearly everything, including a place for narcissists and atheists and all other -ists and -isms) but for what it does NOT include, namely, any actual truth about Jesus Christ.

Keep up your good walk with the Lord, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hi Bob,

[omitted]

I appreciate you mentioning how ___ and ___ had to set very strict boundaries with their alcoholic ___. It helped to remind me that I need to be very careful to continue to do the same. I'm very grateful for your prayers about this too.

I don't really feel that I'm where I thought I'd be by now as far as my spiritual gifts or ministry go. In the early days I thought I was heading in a certain direction with that but I know it's not the case now. But then again, I've had a lot going on and so I guess even the little things I can do all count as well. That all sounds a bit vague but it's something I've been thinking a lot about just recently. I'm not lacking in zeal but things don't seem to turn out the way you think they're going to. Anyway, I'll keep walking with the Lord day by day.

Long, hard, tiring day at work today but the weekend is here. Wishing you a good one!

In Jesus

Response #15:

Glad you made it to the weekend, my friend!

If a person has a serious medical concern, it is prudent to have it checked out.

Yes, boundaries are critical in any such or similar situation – they are hard to set and harder to maintain but we are always happier when we do. If in our situation peace with the Lord is impossible, then we need to make an adjustment.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
John 14:27 NIV

God has called us to live in peace.
1st Corinthians 7:15b NIV

I have to say, in terms of ministry, I'm finding that your situation is not at all unique; in fact, it seems to be the rule at the moment instead of the exception. Just about all Ichthys correspondents I can think of who have expressed an interest in ministering have been bumping into the same sorts of issues, namely, identifying gifts, figuring out the right approach that the Lord is calling them to personally, and, critically, discovering legitimate venues and opportunities to minister. The same goes for Ichthys, by the way. Less and less people are accessing the site and the downward trend is continuing (this may have something to do with the way Google is tracking "structured data"; I'm beginning to attempt to address that, but its a time-intensive fix and that's one thing I don't have in abundance). I like to think that Ichthys is better than ever in terms of what's offered – at least there are less typos (thanks to your help), and it's very close to being fully "built out" in terms of completing the original design (working on the last lap of that as we speak: Peter #41).

There may be reasons for this. The first and most obvious reason is that any ministry needs willing people to minister to, and the decline in spirituality in Laodicea is accelerating by the day, so there is increasing less demand. The second possible reason is also important to say: perhaps we who are growing and preparing and engaging in ministry with an appetite for more need the extra time and "band width" to prepare ourselves . . . for the Tribulation. That preparation is no doubt needful not only for our own spiritual safety therein, but also for getting us ready to help others who may then finally see their need for that help once those most difficult seven years commence.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #16:

[omitted]

Response #16:

I won't be publishing your email, of course.

You really have had a rough ride. I have a number of correspondents who have been victims of serious abuse in the past. You are certainly on my list for prayer in coping with this and "turning the page". That is pretty hard to do, however, if after all this time you are still in contact with – not to mention closer proximity with – the perpetrators. That is also not uncommon. But I would seriously recommend against ever staying under the same roof with any of them.

"Maybe the Tribulation will be a walk in the park for me". Well, at least you know what trouble and pressure are and that is what thlibo / thlipsis, "tribulation", means in Greek. You've had your share. Learning how to cope now will certainly be an advantage then – but part of that is dealing with things aright: if we have a godly means of escape, that is surely something to consider at the very least:

You have not suffered any testing beyond normal human [experience]. And God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tested beyond your capacity, but, along with the test, He will grant you the way out, so that you can bear up under it.
1st Corinthians 10:13

Nota bene: "beyond your capacity" . . . and that includes during the last seven years.  So we don't need to be paralyzed by fear of the Tribulation. God will get us through it just like He has brought us through everything in our lives right up to this moment. We just need to double down on trusting Him – and preparing by growing closer to Him in the truth.

"And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
Luke 18:17-18 NIV

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Yes Bob,

Keep cool and in the shade. Did you get your air con fixed? I seem to remember you had to replace a few units at the same time. Money pits aren't they houses and flats!

I was reading the email from a brother/sister in Christ who was living in a camper and saying how they thought about not living in a house. Given how close to the tribulation we are, it could be said that the less we have materially the spiritually safer it will be for us going forward. Of course either way (scarcity or abundance) can be spiritually testing but either way it is the Lord that truly matters and our treasures above with Him that no one can touch or steal.

Paul said he experienced both. To be honest I fear the prosperity test more. When I have little or am tested greatly then I know I am completely reliant on Him but prosperity can lead many astray from this reliance. You may be shocked to know that I have said the odd prayer here and there that I won't have prosperity and that I have a simple life. Of course the life I already have would seem prosperous for many! Maybe the truth is I have never known true want or scarcity so far.

People who have abundance then will find the tribulation difficult. The problem is that without the mark then we will have no more part of society. To lose place in the financial world is immediately linked to the social one. I think it better to be grateful for what we have but trust the Lord solely whether our situations worsen or even improve. I long for the kingdom to come but am trying to make use of what time I have in service.

Someone else emailed you about losing work over the vaccine. As you know I haven't had it either or Covid for that matter. I do agree with you though that the enemy has his hands all over the anti-Vaxx movement just as he no doubt spearheaded the global Vaxx movement also. Like you said, he always hedges his bets and plays both sides.

Please tell this brother/sister that the anti-Vaxx movement is heavily yoked with the conspiracy theory movement which in turn is yoked to the New Age movement which is basically Gnosticism repackaged. Gnosticism seems to be the Bible inverted in that Satan and the fallen angels are the "good guys" living in the highest heavens called the "Pleroma" and they make out that the true God is something called the "Demiurge". Basically it is calling evil good and good evil. Satan paints himself as the saviour of mankind by passing the torch of "gnosis" to us, to"help us". It would be hilarious hypocrisy but so, so many people have already bought into it. There's a guy in the UK called David Icke (big time anti-vaxxer) and he pushes the dreck that all the elites are reptiles and the Pleroma is good and the Demiurge is bad. Obviously Satan and his followers do have a fascination with reptiles but he has basically accused God of what he does himself (classic "projection" manipulation where someone accuses you of what THEY are actually doing!!)

Also worthy of note is that the Conspiracy Theory movement operates EXACTLY like a cult does. I am beginning to think that all of society under Satan operates like smaller cults within larger cults. I see the same machinations in businesses, families, churches and government alike. The only freedom for all of it is to be found in Jesus Christ.
Just thought that this may be useful to you and our brethren.

I think it better if we keep on, keeping on with our spiritual growth and getting better passing tests with faith, being grateful for what we have and trusting Him when we haven't, keep pushing on into our ministries, bearing fruit for others to witness Jesus in us and keeping out of all the hustle and bustle around us. Also knowing we have nothing to fear, that even death has lost its sting. Then we should be more than conquerors shouldn't we?! We already have eternal life and Jesus by our sides no matter how hot the fiery furnaces seem! If even death cannot conquer us.. What do we have to fear, doubt or complain about? NOTHING! It truly is all joy then isn't it!

Today I released the butterflies we reared. They are safe with the Lord now! Whether here or if they are in the kingdom to come. It's all in His loving hands isn't it!!

In Him,

Response #17:

Thanks, yes, these two really are "salt of the earth" types. They have been through so much in the past decade or so since I have known them that it would curl you hair! As __ said to me, "I almost think I could make it through the Tribulation since all this has been nearly that bad!" Amusing but in their case not far from the mark. They have been tested continually and severely – and come out with faith stronger and with a good attitude to boot!

Thanks also for your insight into this particular conspiracy movement. There is a cottage industry of that sort of thing over here. It seems as if in this country it's more of a matter of conspiracy types ABC clustered against conspiracy types XYZ than any sort of politics that would have been considered "normal" in the past. Not much room left over here for moderation, middle of the road, or even grounding in reality and civil discourse. Not too encouraging looking forward – except for believers who expect this sort of thing before our Lord returns (Mara na tha!).

The Spirit explicitly says that in the end times certain men will rebel from the faith, giving their allegiance [instead] to deceitful spirits and demonic doctrines.
1st Timothy 4:1

"It truly is all joy then isn't it!" Indeed it is – for everyone who has truly adopted and stands fast on the wonderful perspective of your last paragraph.

Nothing but wonders to come – while all this trouble will be over soon enough (even if sometimes it doesn't feel that way).

(37) For yet a little while, how short, how short [the wait], and He who is coming shall come, nor will He delay. (38) "Then shall my righteous one by faith live because of his faith, but if he shrinks back, My heart takes no pleasure in him (Hab.2:3-4)."
Hebrews 10:37-38

Our job in facing any trouble is to see to the other side of it, being confident of the Lord's deliverance of us from it regardless of how things seem. If there is THIS side of the Red Sea, well then, God being good and loving us like He does, then there is also THAT side of the Red Sea – and it is to THAT side that we need to be looking . . . especially during the Tribulation.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I remember you saying that when the Tribulation starts, God or the devil per the Beast will unleash the "spirits of apostasy", which will make it near impossible to not fall away, even if you're a strong believer, like it's just there to make the Tribulation harder on believers. Honestly if it's going to be THAT bad in there, I'll gladly see to it I'm no longer alive when it starts. I know you may think that's a ludicrous measure, bit to me it's the only reasonable one.

Update on my last email, just remembered 2 thirds of believers will actually make it through the Tribulation with faith intact...somehow.

Still, if it's going to the be worst time in history, and I've never even been in true pain in life (never been in poverty or war), I'm most definitely bailing out before it starts...sorry Doc, I just couldn't handle such incomprehensible spiritual and emotional agony for 7 years straight. If I'm a coward, so be it. Honestly, expecting someone like me to go through that . . .

Response #18:

The only way to get through the Tribulation will be by taking it one day at a time, keeping focused on the inevitable tomorrow of our Lord's glorious return.

Why don't you start practicing now at taking things one day at a time? Anyone can handle one day. Few people can handle seven years all at once. All of us will have to learn how to do that well to be able to cope with what's coming – and it's also the best way to live the Christian life right now. As our Lord told us . . .

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Matthew 6:34 NIV

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Good to see you still providing bread for the flock, with instruction and exhortation, though denying the pre trib. rapture is considered heresy by most evangelicals in Americas it seems today. As if we are somehow better than the 1st century believers, rather than needing the great tribulation, and which cannot happen anyway until 2 Ths. 2 is fulfilled.

I only read part of your lengthy epistle, but I would say that while "be aware of this, that in the last days there will be difficult times" will refer to the tribulation which you said it does, yet it also has partial fulfillment before that time.

Meanwhile thru his proxy servants then in his lust for power and glory, the devil is increasingly perverting what God has ordained, which God allows as judgment, to make manifest who is on the Lord's side. May we persevere in working to be fully manifest as being so.

Response #19:

Things certainly are difficult enough now, it's true!

Nothing like what we'll have to slog through then, however, I'm sorry to say.

"yet it also has partial fulfillment before that time."

In terms of trends (not specific fulfillment of prophecy), I would agree:

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work – it is only the Restrainer [who keeps things in check, and will] until He moves out of the way.
2nd Thessalonians 2:7

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.
1st John 2:8 NKJV

Thanks for the good words!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Hi Bob again,

Would you say the Book of Job is a snapshot of what the Tribulation has in store for us? Job lost everything and I have a feeling that we will go through the same trial (if God feels we are up to it). Will the mark of the beast mean confiscation of what we already own? I suspect it will.

You know that I am looking to start up a business. At the same time I try not to be too invested in material things as it is a snare. I feel spiritually safer with only a little and I don't seek more. I know that whatever I build today in this world will fall one day and I have to be able to let go of everything that ties me to this world once the "balloon goes up".

At the end of the book of Job, Job is given back all he lost but to a much greater degree than before! Praise the Lord! Then that will be true for us too! All that we will lose here will be given back a hundredfold!

Yesterday I realised something that made me weep with joy! Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son and he was willing to do it with faith as he knew what seemed the impossible, that God would return his son to him. In the end Abraham didn't need to sacrifice his son but God has sacrificed His own son for us! No one knows suffering and sacrifice like God does! Abraham was willing to lose his only son just as God has actually done so. Now Abraham has countless children from all over the world throughout history! We are all his children! Isn't that wonderful!! Abraham's faith has given him innumerable children! He has been rewarded a hundredfold! Amen!!

Thank you for your patience, fellowship and teaching my friend.

In Jesus,

Response #20:

Thanks for this wonderful email, my friend!

As to your question, Job's experience really is an important one for any believer to learn from deeply, whether said believer is destined to face the Tribulation or not – because we all face personal tribulation in this life.

Job was, obviously, the extreme case. Apart from our Lord, few believers have suffered more. We learn plenty from seeing his resolute faith in spite of all his troubles. I think if we also realized that this experience was spread out in time longer than may be apparent from a casual reading, we'd be even more impressed by his faithfulness and endurance.

Trusting the Lord to deliver us when things go wrong is never easy. The evil one knows where to hit us to make us uncomfortable, and few of us like to be uncomfortable. But the world is an uncomfortable place. Blessedly, we have the comfort of the Holy Spirit (2Cor.1:3-7), and we SHOULD have some help in that regard from our fellow believers in Christ (although in this Laodicean age believers are falling down here as in every other aspect of ministry).

The eternal perspective is definitely the key to getting through any sort of trouble, anything that threatens us, our lives, our possessions, our living, our family, our health. These are all notable pressure points wherein we can be robbed of our peace – if we are not very careful to hold onto it, hold onto the Lord's hand and let Him bring us through the dark valley (Ps.23:4). We need to remember that this is just one day wherein we are feeling pain and pressure, and it could very well be our last day. Only God knows that. And our last day, whether it is removal from this life in the normal way, or whether we live to see the resurrection with our own eyes before we are taken up, is always a blessing . . . for believers. Being with Christ is "better by far" (Phil.1:23). Whatever trouble we have "today", it won't be around "tomorrow", not in that eternal tomorrow which is coming and which nothing and no one can prevent from coming. Letting ourselves get over-focused on the here and now is something all believers have to fight off daily. The more we focus on scripture, on the truth we've learned from it, on our Lord – with whom we should be walking closely – and on the blessings of eternity, the easier it will be to hold onto our peace and even have a bit of joy in spite of the worst pressures the evil one can bring to bear.

That is apparently what Job was able to do . . . until his friends tripped him up, at least. Job's feat is even more impressive when we consider that he did not know the mechanics of the devil's interventions against believers; he did not know that he was being paid a wonderful compliment by the Lord for being the great believer he was, being given a golden opportunity to manifest just how great his faith was – which he did (to a point). We have read the book of Job and thus have the advantage on him. We know that whatever happens is being completely OK'd and monitored by the Lord Himself – and in fact is written in the divine decrees, with Him "working everything together for good for those who love Him" (Rom.8:28). But this "knowledge" only becomes useful if we fully and truly believe it and diligently apply it: it only benefits us if we actually pull it out and use it when we find ourselves under the gun. That is not easy to do, we know, but we get better at this as we grow in Christ – or at least we should.

And all of this is preparation for the Tribulation (and for any greater personal tribulation we are going to have to go through before that begins).

One advantage I can see to the Tribulation is that we know how long it is. Seven years is a long time, but it is not forever. We will no doubt be "checking off the months" as soon as it starts.

Another advantage is that we will not be alone in this trial. When Peter says about the devil, "Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings" (1Pet.5:9 NIV), during the Tribulation our brothers and sisters throughout the world will not just be enduring the same "kind" of suffering we are, but the exact same "package" of persecution we will have to endure. So instead of potentially feeling we are on an island with our troubles today (at least with the unique situations we may be dealing with which no one but us can really understand even if they have some idea and are praying for us), during the Tribulation to a large extent all of us will be in the same boat – which ought to make for greater solidarity among those who have prepared well at least.

Another advantage is that all of the judgments that happen during the Tribulation are directed at unbelievers, not at us. And we can thus expect to find ourselves in a like position to the children of Israel in Egypt. Pharaoh was indeed a type of antichrist and he afflicted the Israelites as the beast will afflict us – but they were spared from the effects all of God's judgments against him and his nation, and we should be confident of the same – and take comfort in that when it happens.

Another advantage is that scripture shows over and over again how great troubles and pressures are always attended by great intervention, special care and miraculous deliverances from the Lord. Think about Daniel in the lion's den, about his three friends in the fire furnace, about Joseph in prison – and any or all of the great believers of the Bible who were wonderfully provided for and delivered when they were brought into serious tribulation – and brought through safe and sound by the Lord, having used that experience to demonstrate their wonderful faith. We have that opportunity and we have a right to have that same confidence in the Lord.

So another advantage is that the Tribulation will be a time of wonderful spiritual opportunity. Great testing results in greater blessing – if the tests are passed, just as you wonderfully recall and relate in regard to Abraham. And the same is true of Job who received so much more than he ever had before. Our reward will be eternal, of course, but that is much better than anything temporal because it is forever and because it comes with no heartaches at all.

As to "Will the mark of the beast mean confiscation of what we already own?", it is important to remember that a third of Christians will survive the Tribulation and see the second advent with our own eyes. That could not happen if all believers were killed. In addition to the one third will who fall away, one third will be martyred, but that will come about through the pressures of and the judicial murder instituted by antichrist's religious establishment, not from starvation and privation, e.g. But the other third will survive to be resurrected at the Lord's return. So however things work out, I don't expect any believers to starve to death or to die of exposure. God will provide for us. It may indeed be our lot to witness for Him through the ultimate sacrifice – but that is an advantage too, a double one, because on the one hand it guarantees a marvelous reward, and on the other hand it will mean we won't have to endure the entire Tribulation (missing a good deal of the end and the end is the worst part, the Great Tribulation).

So we cheer Job, but realize we wouldn't have done anywhere near as well as he did - - not without his example and his book, at any rate. But we do not need to fear the Tribulation. God has everything in His hands. Jesus Christ will lead us through this trouble, Good Shepherd that He is, providing for us at every turn, leading us through the valley of death-darkness, and bringing us safe through to the "table prepared for us", to blessings unimaginable in His Kingdom shortly to come (link).

A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Psalm 23:1-6 KJV

Keep on fighting your good fight, my friend! That is the way to prepare and to build up your treasures in heaven even now, no matter what comes latter. We only get one day at a time, and we have to redeem them just that way: one day at a time.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

 

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