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Question #1:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Well, I always read the Bible before I go to sleep and came across this verse, Luke 4:25. I am wondering if Jesus made this comment as a foreshadow to what will happen in the future, as stated in Revelation 11 with Moses and Elijah. I seem to encounter verses like this almost every day, and find so far that they apply to the future Tribulation. Again, I don't want to try to say something that the Bible does not say; I want to be cautious as to my remarks. So, again I am asking if what Jesus says in Luke 4:25 to what the Tribulation will bring, a world-wide famine?

Thank so much for your help and expertise.

Blessings always to you, and may the LORD bless you and keep you.

Your friend,

Response #1:

In terms of Luke 4:25, it is true that the two witnesses will have these powers:

These [two] have the power to close up the sky so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophecy, and they have power over the waters to turn them to blood and to strike the earth with every [sort of] plague as often as they wish.
Revelation 11:6 NKJV

It is also true that "famine" will be part of the "third horseman's" baneful effects, one of the general trends of the Tribulation:

(5) And when He (i.e., the Lamb) opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come and see!” And I looked, and behold, [there was] a black horse, and the one who was sitting upon it had scales in his hand. (6) And I heard something like a voice in the middle of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of flour for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius [exceptionally high prices since a denarius was a full day's pay or more], and don’t [even] trouble [yourself over] the oil and the wine”.
Revelation 6:5-6

And authority over the fourth [part] of the earth (i.e., antichrist's kingdom) was given to them (i.e., to the four "horsemen" collectively) to kill with sword (war and revolution, the first two horsemen), and famine (the third horseman), and death (the fourth horseman), even at the hands of the beasts of the earth (i.e., antichrist and his false prophet as agents of the four trends).
Revelation 6:8b

So there will be worldwide economic constraint during the Tribulation, economic hardship and, in places and at times, famine as well. Our Lord tells the same thing directly as well:

"And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven."
Luke 21:11 NKJV

In terms of an undifferentiated worldwide famine, however, I think the plural above, the fact the Moses and Elijah are apparently administering these sorts of plagues during the first half of the Tribulation, and also that Babylon is described as living in relative luxury when she is destroyed (cf. Rev.18:1ff.) – only then do all "her plagues will come in one day: death and mourning and famine" (and that is near the end of the Tribulation) – indicate that while there will be a general dearth, there will be significant differentiations by specific time and locality (cf. the trumpet judgments of warning where there is a great deal of disruption and destruction that cannot help but affect food supplies, but these judgments seem to be not uniformly distributed).

The one thing that will be consistent and universal, however, is God's grace and mercy towards those who belong to Him. From the secular point of view it was impossible for the children of Israel not to be affected by the ten plagues that fell upon Egypt but in fact they were affected not at all – because of God's grace and mercy towards them. And it was impossible for them to escape from Egypt when the time came without being destroyed by the vastly superior Egyptian army, pinned against the Red Sea as they were, but in fact they escaped completely without a hair on anyone's head being touched while their adversaries were destroyed root and branch – because of the power and goodness of God.

The exodus is a deliberate paradigm for the Tribulation, a biblical foreshadowing of it (see the links: "Pharaoh as a type of antichrist"; "the Exodus Parallel"; and "the Analogy of the Exodus"). So just as the children of Israel were provided for in every way – including, once they arrived on the other side and before entering the land, with all the food and water they needed – so also we can confidently count on our Lord providing for us, even if it requires miraculous intervention, sending a "Joseph" ahead to make provision for us, raining down manna, sending ravens, causing the cruse of oil and jar of flour not to run out – or whatever means He chooses to use. Our job is to trust Him to do so, no matter what, even though we are not told about those details ahead of time. This correct application is "the patience and the faith of the saints." (Rev.13:10; cf. Rev.14:12).

In famine He shall redeem you from death,
And in war from the power of the sword.
Job 5:20 NKJV

You shall laugh at destruction and famine,
And you shall not be afraid of the beasts of the earth.
Job 5:22 NKJV

Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.
Psalm 33:18-19 NKJV

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 I have not seen the righteous forsaken,
Nor his descendants begging bread.
Psalm 37:25 NKJV

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

They shall neither hunger nor thirst,
Neither heat nor sun shall strike them;
For He who has mercy on them will lead them,
Even by the springs of water He will guide them.
Isaiah 49:10 NKJV

Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:34-39 NKJV

In confident trust of the protection and deliverance we have in Jesus Christ our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

What is your opinion on the following scripture in Revelation 18:4-5?

I heard another voice from heaven, saying, "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; 5 for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities".

Do you think that this verse is foretold in the story of Lot? It seems similar to his experience. When I read what you said about Lot in your teaching of "False teachers, and False teachings" Peter #39, I get the impression that this particular event that Lot endured, and His deliverance from Sodom, is similar to the verse in Revelation 18.

I don't want to believe anything that perhaps is not there, but I am curious. It caught my attention because I remembered the verse in Revelation at the time I was looking at your study.

Thanks for you teachings and your help.

May God continue to bless the ministry He has given you and may He continue to be glorified by your teachings.

Your friend,
P.S. Peter #39 is another excellent study as usual.

Response #2:

It's a good observation, my friend!

I do have this in CT 7:

The Analogy of Lot Escaping from Sodom: In the gospel of Luke, our Lord specifically links the deliverance of Lot from Sodom to the resurrection at His return just before the destruction of Armageddon (Lk.17:28-37). Lot was severely tested during the not inconsiderable time he was there (2Pet.2:5-9), but "righteous Lot" did not lose his faith, and in the end was miraculously delivered from the destruction that befell Sodom.

But your point about being analogous to fleeing Babylon is certainly right on the money. Also, there's this from CT 5:

All the more so then will it be absolutely essential for those who have retained their faith in Jesus Christ to respond to this mandate [i.e., to "flee Babylon"] immediately, for there will be no excuse for non-compliance with this exceptionally clear warning (cf. 2Pet.3:1-13).

(28) Likewise just as it happened in the days of Lot, [people] were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, buying and selling, planting [orchards] and building [homes]. (29) But on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from heaven, and [the judgment] destroyed everyone [who had not left]. (30) It will be the same on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. (31) In that day, who[ever] is on [the roof of] the house, even though his possessions are in the house, let him not come down to collect them, and let the one who is in the field likewise not turn back. (32) Remember Lot's wife! (33) Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses it (i.e., treats it as lost) will preserve it.
Luke 17:28-33

When [people] are saying "Peace!" and "Safety!", at that precise time destruction will fall swiftly upon them, just like labor pains on a pregnant woman (i.e., the tribulational judgments culminating in Armageddon will begin).
1st Thessalonians 5:3

The verses above, while not technically describing this situation, are certainly applicable, with the first passage driving home the lesson that our response at that time must be swift and decisive, with no looking back and no indecision, while the second passage indicates that the need for flight will be completely counter-intuitive.

We may not have angels taking us by the hand and leading us out like Lot did, but we can be sure of the Lord's provision for us and of His help in this escape just as He helps and provides for us in all other necessary things.

One other thing on this: I have made the point previously that Lot was not entirely without fault in his residence in Sodom. The reputation of the place could not have been unknown to him. It was a bad idea to take up residence there in the first place (he seems clearly to have been influenced by his wife and daughters), and certainly after being delivered by his uncle after being taken captive would have been a good time to repent of that bad decision. He did not – but he was a believer (the only one in town), and the Lord graciously got him out of there in time.

We however, were born here. And as I look around the world, its not as if there is some other obvious safe haven, some "truly godly place" which would be welcoming to believers who, like righteous Lot, are having our hearts tortured daily in witnessing all the vile things that are happening. Scripture seems to me to make clear that no such place will offer itself during the Tribulation either (with the exception of the desert refuge for the believing Jews who flee during its midpoint and who are miraculously helped in doing so: Rev.12:1ff.). It may be, as I have also opined, that Babylon itself will be a sort of haven for believers: being antichrist's original base of power, it seems most likely also the last place to receive the negative attention that the beast's destructive policies will bring to bear – but of course in the end it is totally destroyed by him and his minions (Rev.17:15-18).

So staying put until the right time . . . then high-tailing it when we get the word to go, would seem to me to be what the Bible is telling us to do. And when we do, as you point out, well, we don't want to end up like Lot's wife.

Thanks for your good words as always, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hi Bob, Good to hear from you! Just woke up from a good Sunday nap! After which I had a bowl of cherries ("Rainier" variety)–bumper crop this year! (from a tree we bought from Costco, a few short years ago). I love that scripture you sent (James 5:7-8). Pretty ironic parallel, for me to envision today! It is a fact that we "discuss the "nearness" nearly every day. It will really be a "bowl of cherries" when He comes...really much more glorious than I can ever imagine!...will remember to be "patient and stand firm". I reckon the "marriage supper of the Lamb" will far exceed all our expectations...and that's just a start! In the meantime, before we get that valuable crop, there will no doubt be some navigation problems that only God will bring us through. It's "no secret", of course, I hope you know, I would give you the "code" if you were in a pinch!...even if it might need to be changed per His directive. I'm really only counting on Him regardless, backward and forward. Thanks for helping me crack the "codes" to understand better where we stand in "all this" per your excellent teaching! All the best, Bob! Your friend in Jesus,

Response #3:

Fond memories of cherries here from northern Michigan where we used to go for family vacations when I was a lad. The big red ones and also the Queen Anne's were just coming in when we got ready to head back to Chicago. Really delicious! Tribulation, not so much!

It IS near – and even for those who won't get there, well, we're only ever a heartbeat away from being with the Lord. We're all going to find ourselves before His judgment seat in what will seem the blink of an eye, and nothing can stop or delay it. At that moment, the smallest coin of His good pleasure will be revealed to be of more value than the entire present universe – and infinitely and eternally so. Good perspective to keep in mind when we get a little fatigued running the race.

I know, my friend. Here's hoping that it never comes to such a "pinch".

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi Bob, I remember fond, tasty, food eating memories of my brother and me squirrelling up the gigantic Royal Anne tree in our backyard, way back when (squirrels don't need ladders, but they can climb them, when needed!). Those Queen Anne's were my favorite...better than the "Bing" tree in the side yard. ( Rainier's are similar to Q. A.'s in looks, but I think I like the taste of Q. A.'s better...it's been over 60 yr. since, so maybe my taste buds could be biased, or be slightly out of whack!). One year Mom canned 23 qt. off it, while my brother and I and the robins still had plenty to satisfy us! I heartily agree with you that the smallest coin of His good pleasure will trump everything we can perceive or gain here and now, and truly be of a priceless value, that will never be drained or discharged...unlike the rust, dust, corruption, etc. of this present world (Matt. 6:19-21). The prizes and treasures to be gained will definitely spur us on in the race to the finish line. A "second wind" will be necessary to not faint or become weary, but He will give us that "wind" to sail across. One way or another we'll be glad to overcome and win the race...the victory that overcomes the world - our faith! Thanks for all you are doing to minister His Word to us clearly...It really gives me such peace in an unpeaceful world! Cheerio, Bob! In Jesus,

Response #4:

Good stuff!

Yes, I think the other ones were "Bings" (we just called them "cherries").

No worries on this end about you making it over the line in fine shape, my friend!

Keeping you and your family in my daily prayers.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hi Bob, Beautiful day here - 79 degrees. Just got back in from milling around those trees again. Hard to resist them...the birds are helping themselves too. They'll be gone soon, so that's OK...but not OK for those blankety-blank rabbits that have been carpet-bombing the veggie garden this season. Would have called open-season on them, but my neighbors "love" them and also feed them. What a drag! It would be pretty hard to pull off a stealth assassination on them (the rabbits, not the neighbors!). In the meantime, I built some wire "tents" over the now shrimpy plants, attempting to slow down the onslaught...and it's working somewhat ( I didn't say "uncle"). Next year I might have to build a rabbit fence to get full containment on those rascals. If this endeavor wasn't just a hobby I'd be more upset (was thinking of the different circumstance of that email correspondent who was facing a drought, praying for his much needed rain to come). When things get touchier here (if I'm still here breathing), gardening for me might become more than just a hobby (probably I should start a seed bank in a few years as a stopgap measure, just in case). As far as worries go (wish I were better at this), I will say I try not to let them get the upper-hand (Matt. 6:34). We've all been through a lot, but I know our Lord, as well as friends like you have helped get me through numerous battles, so thanks to both Him and you and those friends! And thanks for those much needed continuing prayers! Praying things are all working out for you as well, Bob. Hoping to enter into life, in fine shape...running a day at a time. That's it for now, Bob. 10-4, Roger, over and out. Your friend in Jesus,

Response #5:

Same temps here . . . if you reverse the two digits.

We love planting orange blossom milkweed for the butterflies, but it has to go in pots or the rabbits take it out quick. We had a big stand of it in the yard a few years back when I noticed it seemed a bit thinned out. Rabbits were "clear cutting" it from the unobserved side outward and left us with only few stalks on the sidewalk path. Timber!

Just out of curiosity on seed banks, how long do seeds last? We've never had as much luck with seeds more than a season old as with the fresh ones. Maybe some things do better with preservation than others.

Amen! The Lord gets us through – often with a little help from our friends. That is why we have each other.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hi Bob, Comic relief can work as good R/x to lighten some of the serious drama we're facing from time to time, no? Right at the beginning of your dispatch, before my eyes moved right, I was "too quickly" getting the "feeling" of...How nice for you to "experience" such a pleasant temp.! But, no, hot tamales, instead, so stay hydrated! Sorry to hear rabbits "exist" in your neck of the woods...they love to dishonestly steal, kill, and destroy, using such stealth (here it's just blatant smash and grab). Well, I'd sure like to see both these types have a "logging accident" or some other mishap (not that I'd ever condone cruelty to animals). I'd hate to be labelled a "conditional" in the "context" misorabbitist (a word?), but I'd put them into the same category as snakes, which I also have a phobia and contempt for, for other reasons which I won't relate here. With rabbits it's more in a behavioral sense, i.e., not that all rabbits are "bad", e.g., little grand-daughter Isabella's pet is cute, cuddly, and not "bad". But, all the same, I don't think I'll be joining PETA any time soon! I do love most animals however (quite a long list really, especially my long-gone almost human intelligence Lab. pooch - "Barney"), so I guess I'm not 100% reprobate (consciously nice to know, I reckon). I'm no expert on seed banks (yet), but I'm learning a few important things to be successful. As a mitigating factor, I wonder if I should start a local chapter of MGGA or BGBB ( I bet you guessed what they stand for). In my Prepper 101 class, so far, in my research, I have found out that humidity and storage are key. Proper storage in a cool, dark, dry, rodent proof place with low humidity (your kitchen pantry cupboard or a "dry" basement would work) and will help them last (for a few years or longer), and result in fairly good % germination rates. To store seeds - paper bags or envelopes are OK, as well as plastic bags or air tight containers. Just be sure your seeds (however you get them) are dry and remain dry to avoid a mold issue. If you do get a mold issue this would give you an "F" in the class, resulting in you trying to find fresh seeds to make the grade later, which could be problematic down the rough trail ahead. Some mentioned storing in the fridge or freezer, but IMO I don't think that would be necessary, even if you have an operating appliance, given the rather short period to keep the storage going on, as well as the potential for a "humidity fail". In the past, I bought seeds in the lawn and garden dept. at Krogers, which are / were of good quality, and also saved some of my own, after harvest from the garden. I will be checking into this further to make sure I'll have the seeds, but this is not a tough 101 class. Gleaning fields around here might be another option to add, after the farmers get their harvest done. (they always leave a residue). As a side note: Found an interesting "curiosity piece on seed longevity (Not sure of its veracity? Maybe a myth? Speculation? Science isn't always true "knowledge", right?!) The gist of the "fun fact story" goes: Several Judean date palm seeds were discovered in the 1960's @ Herod the Great's fortress palace on Masada in Israel. The "claim" is that this is the oldest seed (~2,000yr. old) that has grown into a viable plant (germinated in 2005). Must have been good storage conditions, if true! I like dates, but I doubt they would grow in this neck of the woods. Might have to stick with current climate appropriate fruits and veggies ( I'm not a "climate change" proponent). Next installment for me to investigate is meat (rabbits on the menu, anyone?) , followed by gaining access or production of grain flour, beekeeping, small animal husbandry, and other basics of which "hobbies" I was involved in ~40yr. ago. Leaving all that behind, I really like how "easy" it got to get all the basics, at such a cheap cost, simply by working, earning money, and implementing Econ. 101. (obviously something all govt. seem to severely lack, on purpose, but I won't get into that annoyance either!). We know there's no "fix", and all bets will be off soon (a "days pay" to get one meal, if there are no "shortages", or other confounding variables!). Conclusion: 10-4, Amen, again — to the true premise you relate — of our Lord being the key factor to get us through, along with a little help from our friends! He will supply all of our needs (manna, et al) now, during the storms, and afterwards! So, we'll just "wait on Him!" ( Phil. 4:19; Matt. 6:25-34; Job 38:41; Luke 12:24; 1 Pet. 5:7; and the most important Supply voiced in John 3:16!). Thankful to and for Him for everything — His kingdom come, His will be done, His world without end, Amen! And thank you for all your prayers and encouraging support, Bob. Have a great day! Your friend in Jesus,

Response #6:

The heat here is no joke! But I have friends in England and it is worse for them . . . because they don't have any air conditioning. AC is one of those things without which life doesn't seem worth living. Guess we'll probably have to learn how to cope without that during the Tribulation too. Personally, I very much dislike being uncomfortable. Makes it hard for me to get things done. But I imagine the Tribulation will be a time not so much of getting things done but getting through.

You've stumped me on those acronyms. But I was never too good at them; just always have used them without necessarily being able to fill them out, like EGS – don't really know what the letters stand for, but I do know that it is evil and disastrous.

I did some rabbit hunting with a friend in Indiana when I was much younger. My dad wouldn't have anything to do with it. As a small town pastor he said he'd seen the effects of tularemia and wouldn't have anything to do with rabbit. Also, there's a thing called "rabbit starvation". People have actually died from eating mostly rabbit in the north country during hard winters – an all protein diet gives your body nothing to work with and not enough calories to process that stuff, it seems.

I'd be skeptical about the ancient seeds too. I probably told you about that seminary professor of mine who claimed that on a dig once somebody submitted a sample of leather for testing that came out as from 1600 or so B.C. – but turns out it was a piece of an Arab workman's belt.

Cool and dry. Good for seeds. Good for us. Trying to stay that way here – will do as long as the power doesn't go out!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hi Bob!

How are you doing amidst the flooding there?

Response #7:

Louisville has been mostly unaffected – a lot of rain (a little flooding in the basement) but nothing at all like what has happened (and is still happening) out to east of us in the mountains.

I do appreciate your concern, my friends!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hello Brother Bob.

Was thinking of you the other day, and thought I needed to check in. Hope all is well with you and family. We are doing well here, and ___ has regained her health after open heart surgery in January.

Hope you find the video as interesting as I did. It seems to simply reflect the truth of those important struggles in forming the constitution.

God's love to you Brother

(150) Is God in the Constitution? #Constitution #Truth #Faith #God #America #WallBuilders - YouTube

Response #8:

Thanks for checking in! Things are OK here – most of the heavy flooding hit the eastern part of the state (they sure need our prayers). We did have a ton of rain again last night – don't know about out east of here. Got a little flooding in the basement and a bit of a roof leak, but all addressed. I'm very grateful for the Lord's protection as well!

I'm very happy to hear that __ is recovering well from the surgery, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hi Bob,

I've been thinking about your thoughts on zucchini. I'm still not a zucchini loving convert but I'm trying to learn. My summer squash cup runneth over where nothing else has! Apparently, the Israelites weren't manna converts either and complained. Given your comments in the last post about the Lord taking care of us, it seems to me that what health benefits His choices give us is unknown and we should probably be thankful for what we've been given.

In my case, I'm blessed with an abundance of summer squash – and frankly, I'm getting tired of it – much like the Israelites got tired of manna, but...

I'm trying to learn how to use the blessings I've been given .Your situation may be different. I think the same principle apply, though.

At the bottom of the line, I think we need to accept what the Lord has given us and be thankful. As we degenerate into the Tribulation, I think it's probably important we practice surviving now. What the Lord has given us in each location is most likely relevant to the stresses and challenges of that location.

In any event, my two bits...

Yours in our Lord.

Response #9:

On "we should probably be thankful for what we've been given", Amen! One of the reasons I've never gotten around to planting vegetables has to do with the obligation of eating them thereafter. If I had some plants producing more than a couple of tomatoes a day I don't know what I'd do with them all. I dislike wasting food but there is a limit to how much of it one should eat – and in terms of veggies how much a person like me could eat. So I stick with flowers – there's no end of the enjoyment they provide when they're blooming (and the bees and butterflies love 'em).

As to practicing survival, I am all for prepping . . . spiritually. Not so much materially. A person could practice getting by on a diet of gruel and water, but I'm not sure what that would prove – or what good it might possibly do. If the Lord provides us today with a t-bone steak, why not enjoy it, giving thanks and being grateful? The day may well come when I have to eat squash or nothing else. If it does, I'm pretty sure I'll eat it and be grateful – especially if I'm hungry enough (that condition does wonders for one's appetite and appreciation, no practice necessary). Meanwhile, learning to be close to the Lord is better preparation than anything else. Many of the tests we will face, should we find ourselves in the Tribulation, will require a very strong faith and a very closer relationship with Jesus Christ to be able to pass them with flying colors. And mostly they won't have to do with food or privation.

Same sort of thing goes with stocking up. The Huguenots (and many others in the history of the church), had to leave behind lands and houses stocked with many good things just in the natural order of things – in order to survive and not be put to death for their faith. We too might be forced out of house and home without much warning and thus might not be able to take much more than what we can carry on our backs – in which case a ton of canned beans in the cellar wouldn't do us much good. Or we could amass an arsenal that would make Charlton Heston proud – but what use would it be if our neighbor's son who's just joined the beasts' boy scouts shows up to confiscate them? We're not going to shoot him and his friends, after all, nor any "duly constituted authority" coming later if we politely refuse. So unless we're willing to take matters into our own hands – a course of action which during the Tribulation will be for reasons discussed many times a highly dubious one for any believer – this is also likely a waste of time . . . if the only purpose is "survival".

After all, we are here for Jesus Christ. HE is the One who will determine if we survive and if so how and where. But we also have to accept the very real possibility that we will be in the number of those He chooses to honor Him through martyrdom. And we certainly don't want to let any predisposition based upon material preparations which we don't want to let go of derail His plan for our lives.

I do get that we are not supposed to sit on our hands and do nothing, that we are supposed to make use of the means the Lord gives us, and that there is nothing inherently wrong with taking these measures ahead of time (within reason). But what we do have to guard against strongly is any tendency towards relying on ourselves, on what we have done, and on what we have stockpiled as our security . . . instead of on the Lord. This will be a different calculation for any Christian since not everyone will pass over from trusting Him to the mistake of trusting in self and in things in the same way and at the same point. But it is difficult for me to conceive of anyone going to heroic lengths to amass survival skills and materials and not at the same time damaging their confidence and faith in the Lord at the same time, at least somewhat.

Hope I haven't put you off your squash!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Ah, Bob,

I think you may have misunderstood. By survival skills, I was thinking of Ezekiel 14:13 and the current drought and heat. Also wondering how mustard green pesto would work since I have been blessed with an abundance of that, too, and not much basil.

As I mentioned before, I don't expect to be alive for the start of the Tribulation. Though, the message I received, that my time was short, may have been about the Tribulation and martyrdom. What ever the Lord wills, I'm fine with it. I no longer have dogs in the hunt as they say down here.

I was raised by parents who lived through the depression and WWII and grandparents who lived through both wars and the depression and instilled in me the need to store food for the winter. I still remember long weekends helping my grandmother snap beans to can for the winter. They were particularly enjoyable at Christmas dinner.

Then along came the panic of March '21 when the grocery stores were cleaned out and the Great Texas Freeze of '21 when I couldn't get even there, so now, I still have backup toilet paper and dish soap. I don't trust that the grocery will always have what I need or want. Nothing I've backed up would get me through the Tribulation.

Having said that, I think equating zucchini fritters (not bad, BTW) to gruel and water is a bit of a stretch, but I get your point.

Trusting in our Lord,

Response #10:

Zucchini fritters sound pretty good! I'd be willing to give cardboard a try if it were breaded and deep fried.

I have some stocks for those sorts of eventualities as well – but nothing that would last seven months, let alone seven years. It's the proportion and the purpose of heart that I was addressing.

Also, I know that with you I'm "preaching to the choir" – but you gave me an opportunity to preach! So I took advantage. Some people DO need to hear this.

Yes, my mother grew up on a farm and they did well food-wise during the depression. This is an experience I'm happy to hear about but not eager to repeat myself. We will all have to wait to see what the Lord has in store. We never know. I had thought I had seen that one of my seminary professors had passed on some time back – but I found out today that he is 94 and still teaching!

We have to live life for the Lord like today will be our last – and recognize that it may be His will for us to stick around until He returns – or be martyred once the Tribulation begins:

[After being told by the Lord about his eventual martyrdom], Peter, seeing [John], said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
John 21:21-22 NKJV

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hi Bob,

Zucchini fritters aren't bad. Still not my favorite. I'm about to dig into Jewish latkes for breakfast with eggs.

I think what I have in store would be enough to weather a few months but not much longer. The Lord has taken care of me so far, I don't see why I should doubt now. In fact, I shared that with my neighbor just today. My whole hot button, is accept with gratitude what the Lord has given and learn from His choices. (Which given the difficult times down here means zucchini fritters – and fried zucchini. zucchini gratin, zucchini soup and...) You get the idea. Though, from what I'm hearing, it's difficult most everywhere.

My grandparents got through the depression reasonably well. My parents, not quite so well but reasonably OK. They were young. One of the accounts that continually runs through my mind is that of the Israelites and their grousing about the lack of onions and garlic during the Exodus. (I know I've rhapsodized about this before. Sorry). I would sorely miss them too, but the lesson seems to me to be clearly, "be thankful for what you're given." And we truly, in our infinite wisdom, don't know what unknown health benefits He provides.

I don't mind you using my sometimes foolish questions and comments to preach. I think many Christians need to hear it. Your preaching has helped me so why not others? If my confusion and stumbling helps others, God be praised. Their troubles have helped me.

I pray all is well with you and yours and Sharon and Michael are healing well.

In our Lord and provider,

Response #11:

I've passed on to my niece that she's getting prayer support.

Gratitude and trusting God no matter what – can't go wrong with that mind-set!

Maybe I should plant some Zucchini. I did spend about three hours in the hot sun today pulling up grape vines, mostly. They're having a banner year. We've had sufficient rain and it has been hot and sunny. One set was already up nearly to the roof before being noticed.

We trust in God! All others pay cash.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

"We trust in God! All others pay cash." Amen. Of the two, cash is losing value.

Zucchini is just something I've learned to like and does well here. Better you should enjoy what you have and does well up there. If grapes, then jellies and jams. mustardo, pies, chicken salad, pasta, wine and, yes, even fritters. (Is the Lord nudging you? Sadly, my grapes and blackberries are struggling to survive in the heat and drought. However, whatever we have that the Lord has given us, we should learn to use and find ways to enjoy and stop grousing about what we don't have. I do have basil and my wild arugula is going wild. (!) Wild arugula pesto, though is a bit strong. I need to find ways to make that work. I still haven't worked up the courage to try mustard green pesto but I have some ideas.

Sharon and Michael will stay in my prayers until you tell me they have started their next child or have recovered from the last. I saw what miscarriage did to my late daughter and her husband, and I think I have an inkling of what that means.

In our Lord Jesus,

Response #12:

Praise the Lord that the treasures we're stocking up in heaven are not losing value! It's also a great blessing to consider that there is no cash in heaven – nor any debt!

The only things I dislike more than squash is Brussels sprouts . . . and arugula. Makes sense that these would be what would thrive in any victory garden I would plant too. I hasten to add that I can and have (and occasionally do) eat all this stuff – but I'd rather have a hamburger and fries.

Prayers greatly appreciated, my friend. My niece texted me that they are "feeling [those prayers]" – so thank you!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hello Dr.,

In your DropBox you should find audio files for Peter #41.

Things are going well here, busy at work, busy around the house and looking forward to getting this hot and humid summer in the rearview. After the application/interview process for those two jobs it’s nice to have things settled. The good thing about staying with my current employer is that even though the pay is low and the environment is dysfunctional I do earn a lot of time off, and I intend to use it. One of the other two inspectors I work with retired two months ago and I’ve been training the new guy for the last month, so far, so good, just hope he works out.

How are you Sir? It must feel good to have the Peter series finished after all those years of hard work. As for me I’m “keeping my eyes on the prize” and “looking forward to what comes next”. Got you and yours in prayer here daily. I’ll be in touch.

Rev. 22:20

All the best,

Response #13:

Well you know what they say, "no good deed goes unpunished". So it seems that your present employer imposes a "loyalty penalty" just like at U of L – people willing to move, move up; people willing to stay go nowhere salary-wise. But I have to say, from everything you've shared with me, it seems to me like you made the right decision (for what that's worth). And the Lord always provides. The manna keeps coming, the sandals hold out, and the Egyptians all somehow drown before they catch up to us. So we are grateful and careful not to complain (too much).

Thanks for the MP3s for Peter #41! Uploaded and tested – they sound great.

It might be a minute before I have anything else for you. It'll take me a while to transition to something new, what with basic research and groundwork, you know. It was indeed nice to finally finish this series . . . to have all of them finished. I feel now that it wouldn't be the end of the world if that bus finally caught up with me at this point.

Doing well here. I managed to finish my research article with a little time to spare. While that is being edited, I can catch up on home maintenance and cleaning and yard work which has fallen a bit behind. Part of that is on account of all the rain we've had. Scarcely had a sunny, dry morning for quite a spell. Good for the trees, not so much for our neighbors out east. Have you had any trouble with all this rain? The systems all head in that general direction.

Thanks for those prayers my friend. I still don't know about the fall, how things will work out with enrollment, but I'm grateful for the prayers! Keeping you guys in mine as well.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hi Bob,

I never asked for it in prayer but I often though about it, and now this blessing has arrived. My conclusion is that the Holy Spirit conveyed my desire to God and I was given what I need. This has been a disappointing gardening year, But I've been blessed with enough to enjoy. I consider this year a learning experience – in more ways than one.

The other interesting lesson, I believe from the Spirit, was hosting my grandkid's dog while they visited their other grand parents. She, the dog, always wanted me to walk with her, so we routinely made a grand circuit around the property. Probably walking about a mile in total. I didn't suffer from the walking but the message came to me that I needed to walk regularly. So I continue those roughly mile walks in the morning while it's still cool and feel much better for it.

Conspiracy theories: I can't help but notice that the covid hysteria and subsequent panics have had a uniform effect of reducing population. From the original "outbreak" to the lock-downs, masks, "vaccines" (which are actually gene therapy that's killed more people than the original disease) abortion hysteria, destruction of food processing facilities and livestock and shortages because of our short-sighted reaction the Putin's invasion of the Ukraine, the result is all negative.

Is it a conspiracy? Probably, but I doubt it makes any difference. It is disturbingly close to what the Lord described in Matthew 24. I do believe that we are in the beginning of sorrows.

How is your Greek enrollment going? Keeping you and yours in prayer.

In our Lord,

Response #14:

The blessings of the Lord truly are amazing, often flowing in in all manner of unexpected and unanticipated ways we would never have imagined.

Good to hear that you're getting regular exercise. In my observation and experience, that really is an important aspect of good health.

I haven't checked up on the enrollments in a bit – we're in a period where students are not able to register, if memory serves, but that block will lift starting by the week of August 15th at least, I believe, and then we'll see "what's what". I'll let you know – meanwhile, thanks awfully for those prayers on this issue of concern, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hi Dr,

I was really struggling to find some good biblically commentary and it is really hard to find good one you can trust. I like book studies and read notes at the same time.

Then I remembered what bought me to spiritual growth and go back to that well.

Will start on your Peter Series and there are other Basic series that I didn't have a chance to study.

Keeping you in my prayers and can't wait to see what series you will start on, my gut, something from the Old Testament. Or is it my wish...lol

In Christ our Lord

Response #15:

Good commentaries are indeed hard to find. In fact, commentaries that are of any use whatsoever are hard to find (and of those that are, most were written before WWII).

If it's any consolation, I'm re-reading the Basic Series right now myself!

As to "what's next", that'll be a surprise (I'm holding off mentioning it until I get some headway).

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

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Doc, you say not to blame God for the bad things in the World, that He is in no way responsible for them...but how do you not when it was He who literally planned all these things to happen, part of a plan for the greater good in the end or not? I know there's a good purpose for these things in the end, so that everyone can truly exercise free will, but i can't help but feel bitter towards God for letting it happen at all...How do I fix this? I know He has only pure intentions, and being omniscient, He knows exactly what to do...but that's not enough for me it seems. I feel like I've actually come very close to completely renouncing God many times because of all this, only being brought back remembering what kind of monstrous "good" and "righteousness" might be without His standard of them (Not just talking about pagan standards, also the completely rabid and mad idea of "tolerance" and "love" in the political Left these days).

Response #16:

You need to adopt the eternity perspective and lose the here-and-now perspective.

What good would it do if everything were wonderful, blessings everywhere for all . . . but then people ended up going to hell anyway for refusing to come to Jesus Christ? Wouldn't it be better to have a little suffering here and now – to turn them around – and not be lost forever? Don't you think God knows what is best for everyone, for their eternal good? Of course He does! And what difference does it make in the end if a person suffers in this short life or not? Mind you, I personally don't like being uncomfortable in any way, let alone seriously suffering, but at least I have "eyes in my head" (Eccl.2:14) and understand that all this is dust, all temporary, all of no meaning whatsoever – except as it has eternal repercussions. And so I persevere, as we all should do, putting my hope NOT in this world and the things of this world but in all that is to come by the grace and love of God. God IS love (1Jn.4:8), and He did everything for all these people you're worried about – He sent Jesus to die for them. If they can't be bothered to accept Him and His work on the cross, how is that God's fault? He has in fact arranged their lives to give them the maximum incentive to do so – and "bad things" (in the world's faulty vision) are part of that incentive, coaxing them to look elsewhere for help. We don't see it sometimes? We are not God – and we have no idea how great and wise and loving He is.

But in terms of "bad things / good things", in a few short years, after our Lord's return, there will be a thousand years of only "good things", just like many people want (and just as many are dancing to the devil's tune to try and bring about without God – impossible). And you know what? After 1000 years of blessing the likes of which the world has never seen, as close to the garden of Eden as sinful man could possibly endure, most people will reject their perfect King and try to overthrow Him by force (Rev.20:7-10). So much for giving people "good things", protecting them from bad ones, and expecting them to be appreciative and respond correctly.

God knows what He is doing. Our job is to trust Him that this is so – because it definitely IS so.

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called
1st Timothy 6:11-12a NKJV

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Well said! I don't know why I keep falling for this bitterness. I try to hate evil but it ends up backfiring. I know I've sent messages saying I've realized how pointless the things of this world are, but I keep wanting them. How do I adopt this eternal perspective? Is it just looking at the spiritual matter of these things objectively? Is there more to it?

Response #17:

I remember when I first got to OCS many years ago. We didn't even have our uniforms yet but our new company commander got us together and was explaining his plan and theory of getting us into top shape for running (of which there was to be plenty). One of the new candidates asked him what he might do about getting pains in the side while running. The CO's short, immediate answer: "sit-ups". Everyone laughed . . . but not the CO. We understood then that we were not in Kansas anymore.

Sometimes the simple answers are hard to hear – and even harder to respond to. How to adopt the eternal perspective? At the risk of repeating myself, "spiritual growth" is the answer = the spiritual equivalent of sit-ups.

The more time we log in the Bible, in prayer . . . and especially in Bible study, the more it will help and dispose us to "thinking about the things above" – which is a biblical mandate, by the way (Col.3:1-4).

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
Matthew 6:33 NKJV

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #18:


I've managed to calm down from my panic and confusion (which the enemy happily exploited) and now am understanding things clearly again--


Response #18:

It's OK to have moments – we all have them. A strong, mature Christian knows how to rally him/herself . . . just like you did! Being a tad bit rattled is no crime. Most of the great believers of the Bible had massive meltdowns at one point or another. None of us is perfect, after all. But as we grow we get better about coping with attacks. So think of this as a victory, not a defeat. The further down the road you get, the quicker you'll be able to recover from unexpected shots like this.

In terms of works, a 'work' is anything we do or say or think, so indeed passing tests is something that redounds to your eternal account. James says exactly that about Abraham and Rahab.

Keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Thank you so much Bob!

It was so scary, it was such a fierce attack that I felt I was actually losing my marbles and I couldn't focus on anything I had learnt and it was swirling round my head and I couldn't hold on to anything. So and just thought to myself "what means the absolute most to me?" and then I thought "Jesus and my salvation" and soon as I thought that, I focused on Jesus again and everything then fell back into place and focus again and I could see everything clearly again and knew what my faith and walk was all about. I guess I had been focusing too much on myself rather than Jesus and that was the main part of the problem. Getting too het up about what I was doing rather than resting in what He has already done!

Again, your words were so comforting. I really felt I was losing everything for a moment!

In Him,

Response #19:

You're most welcome.

It is VERY easy to get distracted down here on planet earth. We ought to keep the cross firmly in our mind's eye at all times, but the distractions whiz around us hot and heavy, and they can often be almost impossible to completely ignore. Mature believers take pains to stay on the path and remind themselves of what is really important whenever the distractions start to get out of control or cause us to lose control – just as you did!

Keep up the good work for Jesus Christ, my friend. There's nothing more important in this life than spiritual growth, progress and production for Him and His Church.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #20:


I greatly enjoy reading your books and bible studies. I love the biblical detail you put into difficult subjects. I have a question stemming from this question I’ve copied below.

Based on your answer below. What about children who die young? I personally agree with you that life here is our opportunity to look up from our sinful and broken selves towards Jesus for salvation, and that God ordains our life’s uniquely for us to make this choice as He calls and seeks after us in hope that we seek Him in return. But I struggle with the thought of children who die young. How does their story align with this if they don’t get the chance to choose? Does God know that an early death is the best opportunity for them to be saved because of His grace, and so allows it to happen? If so, why wouldn’t He make it where more people died young so that they too can have salvation? Or does He allow this because He already knows those children would chose to follow Him if given a longer life and allows them to die young in a way that might glorify Him by possibly allowing others to look to Him through the tragedy?

Question #22:

You wrote: ' And God has preordained history, and in doing so He made us as we wanted to be and put us in precisely the right place at precisely the right time. I would venture to speculate that the reason why you are where you are right now and not in Mongolia in the 15th century B.C. is precisely because God knew very well that you would respond to Him and be hungry for His Word after you did.'

Am I correct to understand that you believe we somehow influence how we will be before we are even born? I always thought that our salvation is only decided during our here on earth.

Response #22:

Indeed I agree, however I do not see these two things as mutually exclusive. God knows how we will decide. If a person would not decide for Him and faith in Jesus Christ no matter if that person was given to be born right next door to Jesus and live throughout the time of His earthly ministry, surely God is not obligated to place that person in such a circumstance. In my estimation of these things, it will be revealed in eternity that every single person was given just the right life-circumstances to maximize the chance that he/she would respond to the Lord. How that might be so is dependent upon all manner of things invisible to us now (as the heart of each person is cloaked from our view), but if we accept a loving and merciful God who gave His Son up to death for all and who wants all to be saved, it seems that this must be true. All this is developed in BB 4B: Soteriology.

Looking forward to your response!


Response #20:

Good to make your acquaintance – and thanks for your kind words.

First, let me affirm that I am solidly convinced that those who die before reaching accountability are automatically saved. The same goes for those who by reason of mental impairment are unable to have a genuine chance to accept the truth. Here are some other links you may not have bumped into:

Children who die young

What will our relationship in heaven be with children who died young?

Infant Salvation

Why Doesn't God Prevent All Children from Dying?

Your question, the "why God?" question, could easily be modified to all manner of things that happen in the world. Why does God allow war? Why does He allow suffering? Why did He allow Paul, John and Peter to die when they did when they might have contributed so much more had they been around longer? Why aren't there more books to the Bible? Why aren't more of my questions answered in the Bible? Why aren't there any prophets today who might give the answers to specific questions we have? One could go on.

A couple of general observations about this and similar such questions: 1) I don't know of any believer who doesn't have such questions, not just generally, but about all manner of things that have and are happening in our own lives; but 2) as we grow in the truth, grow spiritually, grow closer to Jesus Christ, we learn that a) God is perfect and His plan is perfect; so b) everything that happens is perfect and perfectly planned – and could not happen any other way and still be perfect because there is only ONE perfect plan, the one that has been foreordained and is now playing out before our eyes.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1st Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

This is a hard teaching for the immature, but as we grow we begin to see that even when things seem like they are "going south" for us, after the fact we come to realize that God "knew what He was doing" when XYZ happened, even though we may have had our doubts at the time. As we grow, we come to have the perspective that "God KNOWS what He is doing", even when things which are adverse are happening. When the Egyptian army caught up with the Israelites at the Red Sea, most of the people (if not ALL of the people) failed this test and panicked. Only Moses stood strong in the Lord, realizing that if this were happening, the Lord surely had a reason for it – as in fact He surely did, namely, to demonstrate through His annihilation of Pharaoh and his hordes His complete power and love and care for Israel. On the OTHER SIDE of the Red Sea, the people rejoiced. But how much better to rejoice on THIS SIDE when the pressure is still on, trusting the Lord that He has His reasons, that He loves us, and that therefore He certainly must be working "all things out for good for us who love Him" (Rom.8:28).

When we cleave to the perspective above, all such questions become easier. We can say, knowing the goodness, mercy, and loving character of our dear Lord – died for each and every one of our sins, after all – that He has never ever been unfair, not one single time. So if someone dies young and inopportunely, that is only the way it looks to the world. Perhaps said person would have lost faith in what was going to happen next. Remember too that we are all placed in this world in just the right place and at just the right time. If someone were unwilling to believe in Jesus Christ, no matter what (the typical unbelieving heart), then placing them in some pagan country in centuries past seems fair enough in retrospect – and God certainly knows each heart better than it knows itself. If someone were going to believe, but not be interested in doing anything in this life with that salvation thereafter, then taking them home early and before they were accountable seems fair enough, whether now or in centuries past in some strange land. I am a man of very limited imagination, yet I can imagine many reasons why any of these possibilities and eventualities might have been "the best thing" – and we can be sure that there are countless more. But what we know without having to imagine is that in the one and only perfect plan, the best thing was done for everyone. And only those determined to resist the grace of God no matter what (the vast majority of the human race, sadly), are allowed their free will choice to have an eternity without Him.

So this is a question of faith. We can entertain possibilities of the answer to this and other "whys?" But the important thing to understand is that God's "because . . ." is good and right and wonderful, even if we don't have the words to fill in the blank.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

How are you, dear friend? How is your exercise (saw that one a couple of ICHTHYS questions)?

I have a practical question that isn't exactly Bible related. I grew up with a violent 'father' and was very cowardly. And I see that there just violent people in life we see day to day, Here is my questions: with a violent man, if you can't get away, I have found that if you defend yourself physically, you have to be brutal to the point where they are dead or disabled or they will come back at you later (as they can't just accept a beating). As a man (and someone with lots of life experience and knowledge), can you help me to understand a violent man's thinking so I know how to react when I am trapped with one? I can't bear to be cowardly again, but the only thing I know is to be absolutely brutal back, unless you think something else would work better with their mindset?

Response #21:

Getting over a little incipient cold/flu here, but other than that things are going pretty well. Hope you are well too!

On your question, we believers are not cowards (2Tim.1:7). We know that the Lord is the One who protects us. He always has, and He always will. God helping us, we will never find ourselves in any such situations. But we don't need to worry and agonize over "possibilities". In fact, that is exactly what we should avoid doing. We have a RIGHT and a duty as believers in Jesus Christ who trust our Lord and Master more than anything to rely on Him to help us through whatever comes. If we face some violent attack, He will protect us, He will deliver us, and if it His will for us to have a role in the deliverance, then He will empower us and supply us with what we need to get through it. That is a fact. Taking it to heart and applying it in the boldness of absolute faith is what spiritual growth and maturity is all about.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #22:

I do ruminate too much. [omitted]

Response #22:

You're fine. My point is only that believers don't have to get hung up on nasty hypotheticals because the Lord is our Shepherd and He will bring us through all manner of things that are beyond our realistic ability to predict or provide for ahead of time. Like He told us:

"So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today."
Matthew 6:34 NLT

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hi Bob!

It is a near miracle that I can get through one day, especially when the adversary is constantly on the prowl. My job at my employer are eliminating 5 co-workers due to lack of work available. It is by the Grace of God and His Divine Providence alone that I happened to have the most seniority, so I have nothing to worry about. My concerns in life is never about me, but those whom I love dearly (i.e., "friends, family members, and others I care about"). There are some people who are trying to accuse me before my boss and supervisor at my job, by somehow accessing my computer, and deliberately making mistakes in the work sent out to us.

Even my phone calls are also being monitored by those who hate the Gospel, and they are doing whatever means necessary to prevent me from spreading the Good News, especially to my parents. I also had to change my passwords many times in order to prevent the enemies of the Gospel from causing further damage. I appreciate you keeping me in your prayers, and for all the precious Truths of Sacred/Holy Scripture you have shared with me.

God Bless,

Response #23:

I'm sorry to hear that things continue to be problematic for you on the job, but thanks for your great testimony telling how the Lord has been delivering you in spite of everything. He is good!

I promise to keep praying for you, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Dear Professor

Thank you for your prayers about the fires and for myself and family. Your prayers have born fruit on all counts. I continue to pray for you and your family and Ministry. You are the life line of many of us out here in the world. Thank you.

Somehow I came again to reading your email True Orthodoxy and False Creeds, Q1. Your response somewhat describes my situation (and perhaps many of your readers too). I imagine many of your readers did not see everything as taught at Ichthys as their understanding, but like myself came to accept your teachings as you thoroughly explain the scriptures by the scriptures. I physically fellowship with those of sometimes somewhat different views. By following your encouragement to keep reading the scriptures I find that like in your own experience the truth becomes evident (as opposed to doctrines of religious denominations or even cults). Having you as my Bible teacher is the greatest blessing.

Rather than prepare for a tit for tat “discussion” with the JW freight manager for the next time we meet (which I feel would be a waste of my time), I just continue to read from your website, particularly BB 6B and if the Spirit enlightens my understanding on any point, I write those scriptures down. That same Spirit can also witness the truth through the scriptures to the JW.

There are other “spirits” which also appear as angels of light and sadly influence people through their emotions. A Mormon I spoke to recently said she was having doubts about Mormonism, though she had to admit she felt “something special” while in the temple, and also when the “prophet” spoke. Emotions are powerful tools of cults such as Mormons who routinely use cleverly designed emotion stirring programs such as monthly Fast and Testimony meetings, “hymns”, and temple ceremonies for “worthy” members only. The BIG one they use is commanding members to listen to the living “prophet” and “apostles” , rather than dead ones. (Can see the antichrist might also use this line). At conferences this emotionalism is “cleverly” utilised in stirring hymns such as “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet” (more particularly the CURRENT “prophet”). In all this hyper enthusiasm the cults teachings are emotionally reinforced, without even the need to mention them. The MUSIC and HYMNS evoke feelings that CONFIRM all previously taught lies. From the hymns at church (particularly those accompanied by music) to the raucous chants at Mardi Gras, emotionalism rules. A great reminder for us all to be wary of emotions that music stirs in us.

Hence your admonition to read and reread scripture is the only way our prayers can be answered in finding and following the truth. Remember it is the still small voice in our quiet contemplation of scripture that teaches truth.

Perhaps also I recall your remarks of how the great enthusiasm of the crowd at Jesus entrance into Jerusalem quickly and easily transferred to charged emotionalism to crucify their king. Pomp, ceremony, traditions, and even a zeal for God is totally misplaced without true knowledge. And used for evil purposes. Romans 10:2.

The banging of tin cans and all sorts of noisey bands is not conducive to the learning and knowing the truth. A great lesson from the above is to NOT follow the noise, even the quiet noise of internal emotionalism (pre programmed into many of us from a history of Hollywood, music, feel good teachings, religion, media news, ad infinitum). Throw into the mix the guilt feelings from the fact we possess a sin nature, makes us extremely vulnerable to false teachings of every sort. And acting on them!

In my daily uphill trek your Ministry is a constant encouragement to me to continue to learn, believe, apply, and help others to do the same.

The true Bible teacher leads to true understanding of the Bible. I thank you for your devotion to the truth. Your kindness is warmly appreciated by His sheep who need feeding. Ezekiel 34:10. John 21:17.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior

Your student

Response #24:

What an excellent description of this phenomenon, my friend. Anyone easily influenced by the charismatics (or like groups) would find it salutary to read. Looking forward to posting it sooner rather than later!

Your encouragement is always appreciated, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hope the recruiting event went well today. I'm sure you must be tired tonight.

[omitted about mandatory socializing on the job]

How are the enrollments going? I'm still praying.

Hope you have a nice weekend even if it's a busy one.

Keeping you in my prayers - always very grateful for yours too!

In Jesus

Response #25:

Sorry to hear about the mandatory party, a "command performance" we used to call it in the military. You'll get through it – just make sure you schedule in some down-time for "de-tox" afterwards (I find it is always necessary after such things).

On this end, the event went very well. Both of my students showed. They got me about two dozen names / email addresses. Whether this will translate into "bodies in seats", we'll have to wait and see. As I probably mentioned, this is orientation for new students and they have contact with us AFTER they've registered for classes. Still, people can change their minds – and their schedules – very easily. As to where things are at the moment, to be honest, I've avoided looking at the numbers for a couple of weeks. I've done everything I can on my end, and I'm leaving this in the Lord's hands. Whatever the numbers are, that's what they are; if they cancel some classes on me – and I'm praying that they won't – I'll know that the Lord has my back anyway and I'll cope with it. One way or another, He works it all out for good. As long as we know we are being responsible in what we do and doing what He wants and not doing what He doesn't want, we have a right to relax and trust Him whatever may betide – in fact, that is what we are supposed to do.  And if we have any trouble at all settling down, well, that is what prayer is for.

"You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."
John 14:14 NIV

Good to hear that you got through the week and survived having to shut things down on your own! You really are a valuable asset. I'm surprised they don't appreciate you more. People are very strange at times, aren't they? Every once in a while we have a tendency to forget that this is – temporarily – the devil's world. "Little things" like this have a way of reminding us, and the right reaction is to trust the Lord and remember that we are not "of" this world, only "in it" for a very short time. Meanwhile, we know who is looking after us.

"I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth."
John 17:15-17 NKJV

So keep focusing on the truth!

In my prayers.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Thanks Bob,

I feel I need to go back to basics again 1) start formally planning my life forward. 2) finding a balance between spiritual and material commitments on a day to day basis and stick to it 3) allow myself downtime every day which is neither one of my commitments (I've been really bad at this to the point of almost being legalistic over having legitimate pleasures and hobbies. I think neglecting these has led me to this point again of feeling burnout)

You talked about cruising speed, well I seem to go like a rocket and then crash and then do all those flips and then take ages to get going again. I'm also REALLY hard on myself. I know there is a danger when slipping into "self congratulatory mode" but I've gone too far in the opposite direction. I have worked furiously without a break for a long time and not even sure I've been boxing clever over it.

I look back to see how much I have been fighting and it has been a long time. When I first became a Christian, I had a very short honeymoon period of peacefulness but as soon as I showed a dedication towards learning the truth, the fight was on. Before I finally decided to stick with you and your ministry I was beset on all sides by such a glut of false teaching. It was a real battle to figure out what was true and what was false.

I was that Smorgasbordian Christian you often refer to, weighing each brick to see if it was chalk or not. That went on for quite a while until I realised that I would never learn anything that way.
It was uncanny but obviously to be expected but as soon as I settled into your ministry seriously, it was literally the day or day after that the tests began. In fact that first one was a real show stopper and I was literally putting into practice what I had learned from your Peter series almost days after reading it. It was very strange even though Peter tells us not to think it so. It was almost as though one minute I was reading a book on trench warfare and then found myself stationed at the Somme days later. I'll never forget the shock of that, realising how really real this spiritual battle truly is. The Bible suddenly became more relevant to my day to day life than a newspaper ever was. I was young in faith then so I had to learn this.

Looking back briefly, I went from battling against false teaching to huge testing very quickly.
I'm glad of this experience now but it has been fatiguing and I tried to keep the momentum up from that moment on but that has led me to burnout more than once. I need to slow down a while now to find what is workable and profitable for me going forward. I guess the looming threat of the Tribulation has upped my ante somewhat but I have felt recently that it has been about speed and intensity for a long time with me rather than quality and really knowing what our Lord wants of me. I have been zealous, on fire and gung ho but maybe I have been fighting unnecessary fights and spent too long charging forward with spear aloft in the wrong direction.

This is something I have always struggled with. My upbringing has made me always doubt my output and performance. This has led to a "boom and bust" working style that is not sustainable even over short periods of time. I need to slow right down and learn not to panic or sweat the small stuff and know that the Lord is Lord and trust Him rather than struggle hyper-vigilantly myself.

Many thanks again for your patience with me my friend (you can publish this one if you think this may help others).

In Jesus,

Response #26:

Sounds like a good plan to me.

It's not unusual for human beings to yo-yo between extremes. Growing spiritually reduces that gyration over time . . . if we start making a habit out of applying more and more what we have learned and believed. It can take time. Between self-congratulation and self-loathing there is a calm, professional space where we embrace the peace that is ours in Jesus Christ, looking forward to the joy to come in the sure and certain hope that we are one day closer to the glory today.

In terms of spiritual growth, however, there is no limit to what we can achieve – if we are willing – so we don't need to take THAT "slow". What we need to do is learn not to fear the world and not to chase it either. The devil is good at that "push / pull". He pushes but we don't have to allow ourselves to be moved; he pulls, but we don't have to accept the attraction (whatever it is). We have to learn not to take the world seriously, even as we learn to take the Lord and the truth in absolute seriousness.

What is the worst thing that could happen to a person? Death? But for us who believe, "to live is Jesus Christ, and to die is gain" (Phil.1:21). No one likes suffering; personally, I don't even like to be uncomfortable. But really the only thing we believers need to know is what our Lord wants us to do (and say and think), and then go on and do it. If we really are of that mind and following through on it, then whatever comes our way, we need not fear it or worry about it or get upset with it . . . or even feel it . . . too deeply (no one is in perfect control of their emotions, after all). This is a war; we are the soldiers; the enemy is trying to destroy us; but we have a perfect Commander, and as long as we are following His orders, we have absolutely no worries – in spite of what our eyes and ears and emotions and anxious thoughts may tell us. We have a right – a duty – to trust Him with all of our might and mind and strength and soul, just as we love Him and have put our entire hope in Him.

No one gets this right all at once; and no one practices it perfectly even after logging a good deal of time in spiritual maturity. But this is the basic mind-set we ought to have. And we'll have a good deal more peace and tranquility once we do accept it and make a habit of embracing it.

A good link on this: in SR 4: "Strangers in the Devil's Realm".

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Thanks Bob,

It's hard for us humans to grasp spiritual truths isn't it? Nicodemus struggled to understand and even the Apostles did too. When Jesus said "living water" and "meat to eat that you don't know of", we can understand the spiritual reality of these statements of truth from our Lord. In those days the concept of 'Spirituality" was unheard of. Even unbelievers have some inkling of what it might mean nowadays though this has been through Satan's counterfeits that he has been busy manufacturing since the reality of Jesus' atonement and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit hit home for him. He wasn't expecting that at all and now has to be busy making spiritual counterfeits so that modern man knows of spirituality more from the counterfeit than from the living reality of it's true meaning. Christianity is the only and true form of Spirituality isn't it. Satan makes all of the poor fake duplicates.

Satan relies on highly emotional experiences as he doesn't have the Holy Spirit to empower or authenticate his 'ministry'.

The reason I say this is that although I am still peering through the glass darkly, I am now experiencing that perfect peace that the Lord gives that defies all human understanding. It is supernatural and spiritual and has no material explanation for it. It isn't that dramatic emotional ecstasy that the Charismatics and the Monastics become hooked on, that's the counterfeit. It is a great comforter and I understand why the Holy Spirit is referred to by this title. It doesn't make sense to feel such a steady calm and enduring comfort in all this chaotic clamour and churn that the world continuously produces.

I know that faith is active and not passive but it seems that the active part of it is relying on and resting in the Lord's actions (His works) not our own. This seems paradoxical, active faith means resting in the Lord. If I feel like I am "labouring" then it is usually because I am in the flesh not the Spirit. Jesus makes it clear that His yoke is easy. Jesus has already done all the hard and heavy work hasn't He.

I guess I am at that point in my walk where I am seriously considering what faith actually is. It has to be active of course but not from the type of activity that the world understands as that is of the flesh. As I said earlier. Active faith is resting in the Lord and trusting in His provision, deliverance and promises. This is not an idle state this faith rest and needs to be spiritually pursued (on top of all the materially effort we need to put into our lives in this world.)

I know that I will learn more about this in time in your ministry! I seem to be experiencing spiritual truths of the Christian walk before I have studied about it in any depth yet. Yes I understand why you refer to it as professionalism and that is a perfect fit. Maybe I am starting to mature a little!

That would be wonderful if that were the case!

In Him,

Response #27:

I'm very happy to hear that you are finding your spiritual bearings.

You are right: it is a dangerous world out there in ways that were never the case before – at least not to the same extent and in exactly the same ways. That aspect of present day circumstances does explain how things will go so wrong so quickly once the Holy Spirit withdraws restraint and the Tribulation begins. People are already primed for it, and there is already plenty of satanic infrastructure in place. At the moment, most of these pseudo-spiritual organizations, movements, fads and trends are disconnected, even working at cross-purposes. Just wait until they are all under one umbrella and working in unison for a common goal! The world is about to get mighty uncomfortable for anyone who sees things in the correct, godly way. I guess we just have to take a relaxed view and look at it as being blessed to have "eyes in our head" (Eccl.2:14). And I suppose it would even be entertaining to watch it all like a movie from the balcony. But for those of us who will be down here on center stage on earth experiencing it, "entertaining" is no doubt the wrong word.

But it won't be boring.

I'm grateful for the preparation the Lord is giving us all, even if it sometimes painful.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #28:

Hello Professor Luginbill,

I was on reddit. [omitted] But in the future, what do you think about the idea of mentioning or not mentioning the Lord in conversations like that? I want to give Him credit but not do a casting pearls before swine thing.

There is also an Ancient Greek reddit, and there was a question about what Laodicea meant, and I posted what you put on ICHTHYS about that (just a line or two).

1) There was a comment, though, that said: "The concept that the 7 churches represent different ages, didn’t exist until the 1800’s. No Christian anywhere on the world believed that prior to about the 1830’s. No ancient Christian refers to this belief, so the premise of the question itself is flawed"

Is that right?

2) Could I also get your idea on one more comment: "Firstly, δίκη in a classical sense has a range of meanings. It's a philosophical word, so it can mean really anything within the vast realm of justice. It is most commonly associated with justice enacted through the courts in the classical period, perhaps influenced by its use by Socrates/Plato. Crito especially has interesting things to say about how the legal system and morals clash (namely, it's always better to follow the laws). This sort of view tends to be consistent through the classical works that I've read, but it's safe to say not every Ancient Greek necessarily agreed with Socrates."


Response #28:

This series of emails is a veritable primer about why Christians would be better off staying off of social media. It rarely leads to anything good and can often lead to bad things – upsetting us at the very least when we have been called to peace in Christ. Not saying it's "wrong"; but if eating some spicy dish gives me such indigestion I can't sleep, perhaps I should avoid said spicy dish in the future, e.g.

As to letting people know you belong to Jesus Christ and are grateful to Him for all He's done for you, there is a time and place for that. If someone has an apologetics ministry, for example, and is on social media for the express purpose of "showing the flag" for the Lord, that will be something said person will want to be doing – but said person will be ready for the blow-back and gifted and prepared to deal with it. Yes, we do want to share the Lord. But as you mention, He also told us this:

Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
Matthew 7:6 NKJV

If you find yourself in a kennel or a pig sty, that is probably not the best place to display your pearls. These are judgment calls, matters of application to be made in following the Spirit, but if you're "in the wrong place" in the first place, then no guidance is needed. Get out of that "wrong place".

Apropos of this is the last email you sent me. I can guarantee you that you will be able to find, out there in social media land, individuals who will disagree with, find fault with, and attempt to disprove absolutely every teaching you can find at Ichthys. You could post any sentence I've written (and I've written . . . I don't even know how many), and you could easily find a naysayer – even if I'd written that the grass is green and the sky is blue. But who are these people? What credentials do they have? What history of proven reliability in truth and conduct with you do they have? And who are they really working for? The Lord? I seriously doubt it.

On the first objection, I have posted detailed defenses of this interpretation of the seven churches at multiple places at Ichthys (e.g., "What church era are we in"; "the Seven Church Eras"; and the main entry at CT 2A). In the last link mentioned, it is demonstrated that John's own language in Revelation tells us very clearly that the eras are future from his time of writing and thus have to represent the Church Age to come. Church history also, as far as it can be known (i.e., it is a secular discipline focused on the church-visible when the real "history" is being written in the hearts of actual believers like you and me), supports the interpretation very persuasively. There may be legitimate questions or criticisms which could be leveled at this interpretation, but this person's are not.

"The concept that the 7 churches represent different ages, didn’t exist until the 1800’s. No Christian anywhere on the world believed that prior to about the 1830’s. No ancient Christian refers to this belief, so the premise of the question itself is flawed"

What an amazing statement. I have studied church history at (and before) seminary and ever since. I've never met anyone who claimed that he/she knew what ALL Christians one to two thousand years ago believed. It's hard enough to know what other Christians today "believe", since that takes place in the heart. Anyone with any basic knowledge of "church history" also knows that the first three centuries or so are represented "in history" by a very small number of documents, most of which, like Eusebius, are also written after the fact. So in the first place, there is no way this person can know what he/she says is true. The best I can say for her/him is that HE or SHE is not aware of this . . . which is not the same thing at all.

But the main point is that we are here to search for the truth. That is the purpose of Ichthys, namely, to present all the truth of the Bible. It may not be possible to fully achieve that goal in a thousand years, but that is no reason not to keep at it – and certainly failing to do so because one is not aware that others in the past did so would be beyond foolish. I guarantee you that your correspondent did not go to Ichthys and consider these teachings objectively but instead did a knee-jerk reaction to what you said. So why should we listen to him/her at all?

As to the second "observation", it's not entirely incorrect (it overlooks the important history of the word dike in the archaic period and its democratic connotations in being opposed to themis, the older aristocratic notion of right and wrong . . . determined by the "better people"), but that's also neither here nor there. I.e., it doesn't refute (possibly because it can't) the basic point that Laodicea is the era where "the people" decide what is right and wrong (that is the underlying etymology of the word) – having stopped for the most part listening to God. That is the essence of lukewarmness, after all, and if that doesn't reflect the essence of what is going on with most Christians and Christian groups today, I don't know what else would.

And for what it is worth, I think you have a far better self-knowledge and self-control – through attention to the truth – than any of these individuals you might ask about it on that platform.

I do wish you a good weekend – off of social media (LOL)!

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.


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