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Eschatology Issues XCVIII

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Question #1:

Hello Dr.

I hope and pray that you are OK. It is still winter over there, no? We will soon start planting our food crops over here; the rain season is imminent. Heavy, thick clouds are hovering ominously above. Well, the march of time ...

The harvesting of CHIA and MINT will soon start as well; MINT will be harvested next week and CHIA at the beginning of March. The crop looks very promising. So the economic picture indicates a blessing from our Lord. As always thanks very much for your much needed prayers.

Doc, I am attaching Lesson #33 here. I am aware that you plan to continue this series. I will, of course, strive to work on Lesson #34 when you find the time for it. This work has been of great benefit to me personally on the spiritual growth front. I faced many challenges in the struggle to convey the meaning of the text in my language, which does not match the range of rich vocabulary and expression that English has. But, as always, the Spirit is matchless in His assistance when we sincerely, humbly ask for it in prayer; and I counted on His help throughout.

Well, Doc., I wish you a good week ahead. I pray for you always, sir. And thanks very much for your tremendous work for the Lord that all of us have come to rely on so much for our spiritual growth and sustenance. God bless you!

In Jesus our King,

Response #1:

Good job in finishing this, my friend! Yes, I do plan to continue the Peter series, but only after I finish the Basics series, and the last part, Bibliology, is likely to take a minute. So it may be some time before there's a Peter #34. [note: both series now complete at the links]

I'm very happy to hear that the crops look good! That is definitely an answer to prayer. I've had some good news here too. I got my research funding restored (that does mean that I'll have to be writing this summer, however), and also just got a Classical Studies minor put back into the curriculum. So even though we're at a low point at present in quantity and quality of students, the new regime and these wonderful new developments augur well. So thanks so much for your prayers too, my friend!

Yes, a gloomy rainy winter here. On rainy days like today I practically had to set myself on fire to keep my students awake. I would have done so too, but the matches kept fizzling out. At least the daffodils are coming up, so spring can't be too far off. [Covid was just around the corner]

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hello Professor,

How are you, sir? It has been a while. Me, I am healthy & and soldiering on in my Christian walk. Life is hard, especially so in this drought, but the Lord does give me some relief & refreshment, [very] occasionally! Please, please, keep on praying for me. I was glad to see that prayer request on my behalf on Ichthys. Thank you!

Attached, pse see Peter #35 in Kiswahili.

My prayers are with you always,

Response #2:

I'm doing just fine, my friend!

I'm distressed to hear that the drought continues. Here in Kentucky a large number of people were killed by flooding over the last couple of days, and more rain predicted this weekend. Louisville got wet but no flooding. Wish we could send some of this rain your way!

I do continue to pray for your situation and your alternatives too – and I know of others at Ichthys who have you on their prayer list.

Meanwhile, your good attitude under pressure and your continued service to the Lord in spite of all is a very encouraging witness! We should all do so well with the tests that befall.

Keeping up those prayers – thanks for this latest (posted and checked).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hello Professor,

How are you, sir? Me, I am healthy (thanking the Lord always for that). I have some sad news today. My domain and hosting payments for my website https://sayuni.co.tz are due on the 9th of August. However, due to my current difficulties I am currently unable to pay for this service. I thought to inform you, sir, of this eventuality, you being my mentor. The website will be closed. If it be the will of the Lord I will renew it in future. For now such is the situation. I continue to trust the Lord that He will see me through all these difficulties.

My prayers are always with you, and yours.

In Jesus our coming King,

Response #3:

I'm terribly sorry to hear this!

I had a look at your website. I don't read Kiswahili (Swahili), so I can't say for sure, but I couldn't find any "donate" tab or option on your website.

I would be happy to try to steer Ichthys readers toward your site for donations, but there should be a bilingual label on the tab and English-also explanation on the sub-page for that to work effectively.

While Ichthys doesn't accept donations, I don't see any problem with other ministries doing so, especially when they are genuinely doing the Lord's work – and when it is definitely needful as in this case.

Please let me know about this, my friend.

Keeping you and your situation in my prayers daily.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hello Professor,

Sorry for this late reply. Thank you for your suggestions. I should have put those measures long ago on my website.

I have contacted some finance people concerning how to go about putting the "donate" facility on the website using credit/debit VISA, etc cards. I am currently awaiting for their suggestions. These companies are in Kenya, a neighbouring country. Tanzania has some outdated policies concerning these matters.

I have also discussed with my website domain and hosting contractor; he has told me that actually the website has a few weeks to go until final closure. So there is some time in which to work a solution to this issue. I will continue to update you, sir.

In Jesus our Lord,

Response #4:

No worries. I'm glad to hear this! Your website is a worthy project and one I particularly appreciate. Not everyone in this world speaks English, after all. I dearly wish there were others out there who were willing to make these materials available in other languages. The fact that you are doing this in such a sacrificial way when you barely have enough to subsist yourself makes it all the more glorious.

I would be happy to encourage donations to your site. Please let me know when you've got this up and running.

In Jesus,

Bob L.
p.s., our friend's website, translating Ichthys materials into Kiswahi (Swahili) can be found at the link:  https://sayuni.co.tz

Question #5:

Hi Bob,

I have missed something. I don't understand how David's census was a sin, though Joab apparently did. Can you point me to the scripture that explains that?

Also, David assigned Levites to prophesy with cymbals, harps, singing and psaltries. Was prophecy merely reading scripture or reading with music as in communicating the words of God?

This weeks post (8/6/22) was a comfort. I suspect that will become more your role as the next few years pass by. I pray we'll all be ready when the curtain goes up and the lights go on.

At one point, I thought this week's post should have been titled "Gardening I." (I apologize for carrying on the way I did.) But to kick the dead horse, ironically enough, the easiest seeds to save are from the squashes and beans. Old seeds can many times be restored by soaking overnight or up to 24 hours. (Distilled water preferred. Chlorine is detrimental.) Tomato seeds are generally only viable for a year. I haven't tried soaking them. Saving tomato, eggplant and pepper seed is a pain in the neck.

Technology has become one of the major religious denominations. Not only are the scienticians playing god by correcting the Lord's mistakes with plants and animals, a recent headline proclaimed that "scientists" have successfully created an artificial human embryo. I'm sure they plan on correcting us, too. I didn't read the article since I expect little good to come of their collective efforts. And, I can't trust anything I read in the "news" anyway.

Response #5:

As you see, you're not the only one who has an interest in growing things! And we all need to grow . . . personally (and the Bible uses the analogy for our spiritual growth, so . . .). [link]

On the census, Israel was unique, a nation formed by and meant to uniquely serve the Lord. As such, its exact size was up to Him and not something to be precisely known in a way that is no problem for secular nations. David served as king in God's stead. When he ordered a census, he was inviting / initiating a divine inspection of all those counted. When this sort of thing took place in the desert, everyone counted had to pay a redemption price for their lives – or else forfeit their lives (Ex.30:12). That is because this divine census is symbolic of the judgment to come, and without the "coin" of the blood of Christ, there is terminal judgment. So this is in essence what David invited upon Israel, a close divine scrutiny and inspection which no one is really able to bear – without a specific divine mandate to do it and the divinely prescribed means to avoid consequences. For more on this generally see the link: "The census ransom", and for the specific incident: "David's Disastrous Census of Israel".

On prophesying, this word in the context you ask about is indeed from naba', the verb meaning to "prophesy" as a "prophet". The word connotes the "saying forth" of divine truth under the influence of the Spirit. Only those with the gift and office of prophet ever engaged in this activity in the sense of providing new revelation from the Lord. Those who speak in tongues the words of God in the book of Acts are likewise said to be "prophesying" (e.g., Acts 19:6), that is, uttering through the Spirit the glories of God. To us in English, I warrant, these are not the same things exactly, but scripture uses similar and/or identical words for both sets of activities because it is focused on the Word and its proclamation, not the office or the gift or the nature of the revelation.

Haven't heard this disturbing techno-news; I have my doubts; we do know that "science" cannot create a human spirit.

Hope you are doing well, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Thank you so much Bob,

I was just reading about the church I used to be a brief member of (Nazarene Church)...it is a part of the Wesleyan Holiness tradition that teaches total sanctification. I don't believe that we can achieve that here in our fleshly bodies as even Paul (who was one of the greatest believers who ever lived) said he was the "chief of sinners".

It seems to me from Scripture that although we aim for holiness through the Sanctification from the Holy Spirit, we will always fall short in these corruptible bodies. I guess that would mean it will be possible in our glorified bodies. I know you will cover this in greater detail in your series on this subject, once I get around to it!

I was very rattled by my latest bouts. Both that Unitarian business and also about the Moonies. I realise that I need to push on with daily study and learn a lot more from your ministry before I embark on my own. I can make some tentative planning steps but these recent attacks and this wrestling with the heat have rattled me enough and humbled me enough to realise how much I need Jesus and how more I need to grow and mature. It has encouraged me though that I have been stubborn for the truth and refused to compromise even when it would be easier to do so. I appreciated your post on Jacob and his stubbornness that led him to wrestle with a pre-incarnate Christ. I would never compare myself to someone like Jacob of course but it did encourage me knowing that I have been stubborn when it comes to what I believe and trust too.

After "fellowshipping" with Unitarians, I am not so eager to search for other people to fellowship with face to face now. I suddenly appreciate eating my communion bread and drinking wine quietly knowing that the one person in the room (myself) is a real and true believer. My mind is on Christ when I have communion and not on other people. I do sometimes cry that I sit alone week after week but I am strengthened knowing I will be at the bridal feast of the Lamb one day. As much as I yearn for that day I will be surrounded by believers and with Jesus Christ Himself, I am now willing to wait for that glorious day rather than compromise with false brethren.
The Lord has given me peace over this.

I feel very humbled of late Bob. I realise how thick the deception is now and it cannot be overcome with the mind or in our own strength. Satan is just far too cunning, deceptive and intelligent for us humans but we need not worry as long as we trust in Jesus. Nothing to worry about at all!

In Him,
p.s. Have you ever heard of Buchmanism? Or the Oxford Group? Or something called "Moral Rearmament'? Apparently it shares a lot of similarities to the Moonies in scope, influence and teachings. This Buchman fellow seemed to believe that the whole world could be "sanctified" if they only became a Buchmanite and follow his teachings! He conveniently left out salvation through Jesus Christ.

Response #6:

". . . we need not worry as long as we trust in Jesus. Nothing to worry about at all!" Amen to that!

You are a real "wrestler" when it comes to faith! And like many of us who are so, we wrestled like Jacob before we were smitten, and once we finally cried "Uncle!", we have been holding on to the Lord with a wrestling grip thereafter.

It would be nice if everything proceeded in a straight line, but implementing ministry – and getting to the place of being prepared to do so – is often filled with numerous zigzags. We learn plenty as we begin to engage, about the ministry concept, about our target audience, about what works and what doesn't . . . and about ourselves.

Keep plugging away and you'll find the right niche soon enough.

In terms of the movement you ask about, I have heard of them. They seem to be like a sort of AA for Christians, or half way between that and a political party. Fixing yourself . . . and the world as well . . . through catch-phrases and legalistic efforts. As you point out, Christ is not actually involved. Why would He be when they are usurping His role and the role of His truth on both levels?

There is no end to these sorts of cults, movements, "churches", is there? But they'll all be marshaled into one big satanic mess by the beast soon enough. At least at that point, there'll be no doubt about where we all stand.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Not to say old people can't do things, or being tired or losing ability means not to do things. I mean some people are disabled from birth. In both cases, you still have to live and do things, just having a beating heart and breathing isn't enough (I have found personally) if you spend your life doing nothing, just in your head. And like I said, it is easier to cope remembering young ones born with difficulties, they live too, so telling myself not to just give up and become a husk. This paragraph was meant to be encouraging, but am not sure if that came out.

Response #7:

That's exactly right. At least people who have such physical challenges as yourself are less likely to fall into the trap that life is meant for enjoyment and will go on forever. Of course it will NOT go on forever, but most people in this world live as if that were the case, right down to the bitter end. And if things are "good" for them, physically and materially, it's very easy to get oneself entirely fixated on this world and ignore the truth.

I'm sure we'll find out on the other side that all manner of things we saw as heartache and disadvantage were part of the perfect plan to lead us to salvation in the first place and something more as well thereafter: a good report and a wonderful reward from our Lord at of the judgment seat of Christ in return for what we may be suffering now in service to Him.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Master,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Dear Dr. Bob

Praise God.

I did not have internet for a week and thankfully got it restored yesterday.

Thank you for the intimation on BB 6B! I will download it to my computer. Great work again! Praise God! I was actually thinking of writing to you last week before I lost internet connectivity due to nonpayment. I will shortly brother.

I hope and believe you are doing well (Health and Work front) as The Lord is with you always. Thank you kindly for your daily prayers, we do count on them a lot! You and the ministry are in our daily prayers as well.

I am yet to see this week's email posting but our friend messaged me on WhatsApp about a quote from Churchill on the post and I guess I gave him some explanation. I am headed to the website now.

We Love You Very Much!

In Christ our All,

Best Regards,

Response #8:

Great to hear from you, my friend!

I hope you've been able to get that resolved. I know that your business depends upon your internet work. I pray for you on that score daily.

Please give my best to your family. Keeping you all in my daily prayers – thanks for yours too!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Thank you very much for your email.

Why you haven't heard from me is because I was silent to gain more understanding. I've been thinking of getting back to you for update about my ministry preparation. But thank God for making you to remember me in your list of friends. Thank you for your prayers and support.

While still preparing, I opened a counselling clinic where I counsel young people, especially in relationship and career matters here, using the principles of God's words.

I hope to keep in touch with you as often as it's necessary.

Thank you for your new theme (The Church) which is one of the current trends bothering many. Between last month and this month I've had two cases of two pastors (in a separate time) attempting to generate argument regarding the issue of denominations. In each case, I quickly dismissed the argument and focus on how to help them dissolve the matter that constituted the counselling session. I couldn't talk much about matters of the church, though I knew they lack understanding in that area. I'm glad that you posted the materials. I will study them and ask questions if necessary.

Yours in Christ,

Response #9:

Thanks for the update, my friend – I hope you find this posting useful for these spiritual battles you are fighting.

Do feel free to write me any time, my friend. I know things have been difficult in your country of late.

Keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

I hope everything is going well. I hope the online teaching has been fairly manageable at Louisville. It definitely has been interesting for UVA, but I've largely gotten a lot more free time as a result. Things are definitely picking up for me as the end of the semester nears, however.

Otherwise, I do have a thing or two on my mind. I definitely feel that I've been tested in one way or another recently even though I'm probably not alone during this time. I'm not sure if this makes sense, but I feel that maybe some of the initial peace from when I was starting out has worn off a bit. I've been feeling that I don't always have the most motivated or enthusiastic mindset to study the Word at times, and so other random things seem to occupy my mind and I start to worry that I'm not focusing enough. I've been praying that I just get that extra boost or bit of encouragement that I can put to studying so that things are more free-flowing, but it's hard. I've definitely been reminding myself that God knows so I really shouldn't be worried, but at the same time, it feels like an odd test if it is because I do want to have a more natural excitement. I definitely feel that I should be converting more of my free time that I have into more study time. Maybe this is just another growing pain that I am facing. Maybe being stuck in my house all the time doesn't help either. I'm curious what you think.

Also, on another note, I wanted to ask you about how I might approach more Old Testament books. I've really primarily been rereading many of the epistles and have mostly done a lot of New Testament reading, so I'm wondering how I should maybe dive into more Old Testament stuff considering I really have not read too much of it. I could just start reading various sections, but maybe there is a more effective way.

Thanks a lot for listening

All the best

In the Lord,

Response #10:

It was the hardest semester ever. Four "synchronous" classes in a row MWF is not something I relish ever doing again.

To take the last first, I read different sections of the OT at the same time. I read the Psalms through and start over, with the Pentateuch and the historical books I go chapter by chapter and start over when I hit the wisdom books, and I do the same thing for wisdom (this results in getting a double hit on the Psalms) and also for the prophets. There are plenty of ways to approach this but that's the way I do it. Over and over.

On staying fresh, when times get tough, first, don't let one day's drop off become a trend. Every day is a new day. Every day will have it's victories and defeats. We do the best we can day by day, and we don't let yesterday dictate how we feel today. Emotions will follow if we are diligent in listening to the Spirit and aggressive in embracing what is really important to us, but there will be ups and downs because we are not perfect. The Spirit does not force us so none of this is automatic: we have to "deploy the joy" ourselves, and if we're just not feeling it today (difficult to do when we are sick or have had some bad or distressing news, e.g.), we do the best we can to stay engaged and plodding forward, maintaining our Sabbath rest of peace with every step, holding onto the hope of glory that anchors us to the wonders which cannot be stopped from coming in their time, living for that joy to come even if we are having enough struggle holding onto peace today. This all comes with time and consistency for those who are dedicated to daily spiritual growth.

There is an old saying: "Rome wasn't built in a day" (Latin: Tantae molis erat Romanum condere gentem: "Of such a great load/effort it was to found the Roman race"). Similarly, we don't get to spiritual maturity over night. We have to train ourselves to do what we need to do "in season and out of season" as Paul tells Timothy. If we are consistent, this will get easier over time – but it will never be unopposed by the world, the flesh, and the devil.

So be encouraged! You are fighting the fight. THAT is what counts.

Do feel free to write me any time.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hello Bob,

I hope you are keeping well and still able to teach.

I'm in lockdown with my parents and this morning talked about salvation through Jesus Christ only. At first I thought that they believed in universalism but instead they believe that "good" people (independent of their beliefs) go to heaven and "bad" people don't.

When I tried to find out what they mean by good and bad: the good is the kind and generous atheist neighbour next door and the bad is a mass murderer. So it all about works and earning salvation. I don't even understand how Jesus' atoning sacrifice figures in all this. It seems as though they believe in a hierarchy of wrong doing. Mass murderers are unforgivable where as unrepentant "good" atheists have already earned their way in.

Is this a secular view of heaven? It's as though God's standards are the same as the judiciary system/ correctional institutions on earth. We arrest and punish mass murderers but not liars, gossips and idolators. So heaven is like escaping jail. The obvious criminals don't get a look in but the average sinner passes the test by being jovial and community minded.

The problem is that they think sin is no big deal and just being human and what comes naturally. They recognise only what the police recognise as wrongdoing i.e criminality.

This view would mean that as long as a person was guilty in man's eyes then he would be guilty in God's too even if he believed in Jesus.

In my parent's view, WE are the arbiters and judges of right and wrong, NOT God. We get to choose who is saved or not saved. If we love them, they are saved. If we are angry at what they did, they are not saved!

So this view would mean that there is no mercy for the criminal and no atoning sacrifice needed for the pillar of the community.

I don't even know where to begin disputing this. It doesn't help that whenever I quote scripture, my dad uses the verse about having the faith of a child as an excuse for scriptural ignorance.

At the moment I fear that it is doing more harm than good. I realise that a big part of this is the unwillingness to see themselves as sinners who will one day be judged.

They are very stubborn about their views and my visible frustration on these matters only makes matters worse. I fear that they believe in another Gospel, another Christ. I have even told them that I fear they may be deceived by the antichrist as the religious establishment (Vatican) are likely to push the antichrist. This has not gone down well at all.

I realise now what you have already said. Praying for them and growing spiritually myself is the best way forward for all of us. I can't save them and it is wrong to try. Only Jesus can save them.

I realise that I need to let go at times and let God get on with His work. I must decrease and He will increase. He will show me the right time to witness and it is like you said, the right word and the right time does more good than bible thumping and constant evangelising to a stiff necked audience.

It's more about reflecting His glory in my thoughts, words and deeds and letting His light shine through me. I know that the only good work that is done by me is from God.

Just in addition to what I've already said, my being on fire for God is making people uncomfortable. They say I'm a zealot and a proselytiser. All it is, is I'm passionate for God. I have a very deep love for Him and the truth of Jesus Christ. I am asked again and again to change the subject and am even derided for private study of the Word. It is seen as a waste of time and that I should be pursuing something of the world which will make me successful.

The more spiritual growth I gain, the less I am liked. They like that I am helpful and can be selfless and loving but they see my battle against sin as something reproachful to themselves. They reject that side of me. The side that fights against worldliness, vanity and things that are unseemly. I have been called puritanical as a reproach. Am I being tested?

Thanks again Bob

Response #11:

We are all being tested to one degree all the time. Life is one big test. Life is God's way of separating the wheat from the chaff, and also His way of determining the intrinsic quality of every grain of wheat. So every good decision you make is of value, eternal value. Don't let what other people think or say get you down. There is only One Person's opinion that matters: that of our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You know what He wants from you: spiritual growth, progress and production. And you are responding! It's just that in the midst of this fight it's hard some times to keep our perspective and to keep our hope firmly anchored in heaven. Don't worry about what other people think. THEY should be worried about what the Lord thinks (Matt.10:28; Lk.12:5).

They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
1st Peter 4:4-5 NIV

People come to accommodations with this world in order to get through and not have to confront the truth. They imagine that they don't need a Savior, that sin is not a problem. They imagine that they will live forever. And they imagine that they aren't going to be judged. But we know that all must stand before the Lord, and that no one is good enough whether by omission of sin or commission of human good to avoid condemnation – absent faith in Christ.

God is Holy. Does anyone really in their wildest dreams imagine that they are pure and blameless and absolutely so, sufficient to stand before Him on their own merits? Everyone knows deep down that they are far from perfect. How can a perfect God accept them? Only through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ, only for those who choose to stand on His work and not on their own. So sin is not really the issue in the way that most people suspect. Are you perfect? No? Then you have a problem, because that means that you have sinned, and of course you will die, and indeed you will have to stand before the Lord; but if you have rejected Him in this life, what can you expect? Did you do "good"? It's an abomination in His eyes because you did what you did in the power of the sinful flesh and not in the power of the Spirit. You did it for yourself, not for Him. Did you not do "bad" to a great degree in YOUR estimation of such things? His ways are not your ways. He judges by a perfect standard. One sin would be enough to cast anyone into hell, even something that doesn't even seem sinful to you. But the good news is that Christ has died for ALL sin! So sin is not the issue at all! The issue is, did you embrace the Son so as to stand on His work and not on your own?

All these things are written on the hearts of all, opened up when the truth is proclaimed. But the world generally chooses to reject them – to reject Christ as their Lord. And that is what is really going on in human hearts. People who say such things as you report have decided to re-write the truth to suit themselves, to determine for themselves what is true and what is not, to dictate to God how He must see things and what He must do. That is insanity. That is hardness of heart. That is what the devil did and always does. This is why God has given us all free will too. He doesn't force anyone to humbly accept that we need Jesus absolutely and to bend our knee to Him in grateful acceptance of the eternal life He has bought for us on the cross. But for those who spit in the Father's face, what can they expect on the other side? They wanted to be "boss" and so they will continue to be master's of their own image of God . . . in the lake of fire forever.

I certainly hope and pray that such will not be the case for your family, my friend. One never knows precisely what is going on in another person's heart. But I do know this: God has given you to them and He is using your witness to give them a chance. There is no doubt a reason for that since nothing in the plan of God is an accident.

Keep letting your light shine, my friend!

In Jesus Christ who is our Light eternal.

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hi Bob,

Your translation of Revelation 6:5-6 has troubled me. My understanding, up until last Sunday, was "keep your hands off the oil and wine." Your translation can be read as, "Don't worry about the oil and wine." Or, it can be read as "Forget about getting oil and wine." (My understanding.) Clarify, please. Was I thinking correctly?


I pray all is well up there. Any news on enrollment?

In Jesus,

Response #12:

"Forget about getting oil and wine" is exactly what it means. Seems to me that is what "don’t [even] trouble [yourself over] the oil and the wine" means as well. That is pretty clear from the context where the wages of a skilled workman working all week long would suffice for only a little over a gallon of flour – with nothing left over for anything else including shelter or clothing. So of course anyone without special resources would not even be able to consider buying oil or wine.

Literally, the Greek says "do not harm" them. I translated the way I did to try and keep as close to the Greek original as possible (your suggestion is a little more idiomatic, but fine).

Next week is the week when it all hits the fan, so to speak, so do please keep up the prayers (they are greatly appreciated!). One other concern: I got "elected" to the onerous personnel committee . . . again . . . and no one is volunteering to be chair of the thing. I don't believe I have the bandwidth to do that . . . again . . . so prayers for relief on that front are appreciated as well.

Hope you are doing well, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hi Bob,

Thankfully, I didn't misunderstand, again. "Don't trouble yourself" could be taken two ways. My demon is taking things literally. If skilled workmen won't be able to feed their families, I'm in deep, since I've been gainfully unemployed in retirement for the past 13 or so years. Though, I have to admit, the Lord has taken care of me. I've not suffered. But I'm not sure I have any relevant skills left.

I didn't mean to be critical. I just didn't understand.

I'm so sorry about the bureaucratic nonsense. You will, as will yours. always stay in my prayers. I pray your enrollment is sufficient and you are blessed with intelligent and inquisitive students. (And the administration leaves you alone:)

I'm doing reasonably well. Thanks for asking. I still do a little over a mile per day at roughly 3 miles per hour over uneven ground. Enough to raise the heart rate and respiration. It's hard to tell if it's getting easier. I have avoided rattlesnakes for the time being. So that's a plus.

Stay well and safe.

In our Lord,

Response #13:

That's a good long walk over broken ground! Excellent for your health, no doubt. You do probably have to get out early in these temps (although they have moderated a bit here in L-ville of late).

In terms of what things will look like in the Tribulation, the seals give overall trends. There will be famines – in places at times. The third seal tells us that things will be grim in terms of food shortages, but it won't be exactly the same set of prices for everyone everywhere at all times. Babylon seems to do nicely (cf. Rev.18:1ff.), at least her rich and privileged. It certainly won't be pretty, but, as mentioned, this is a trend of dearth not a blanket price list that will apply universally.

Thanks for the prayers. Next week will tell the tale. Got a weekly memo from our chair today lauding a new transfer student with whom I've been in contact for several years for "coming to U of L to study Greek" and other languages. She got that from the university's news feed, so it would be a bit embarrassing for them to cancel Greek now, it seems to me.

Keeping you in my prayers too, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hi Bob,

I couldn’t help relating to #17 (8/6/22), he is definitely not alone in this, we ALL fall and we ALL WILL.

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?

I’m sure he might understand – it’s simply human nature, which is ‘part and parcel’ of what we are, and we have to try our best to overcome it and keep it under control by remembering the rewards. It’s only when we’ve momentarily lost sight of what we hold dear, or if we’ve neglected to repair our armour from previous battles and Satan quickly sees a weakness. That is, as soon as we recognise the first line of our defence system has been compromised by whatever, stamp on it!

And like those in Nehemiah, we all have to repair our wall from time to time.

The part “but I keep wanting them” is what we have to address. It’s only when you don’t stamp on it that it grows and gets out of hand.

It’s like a set of scales – if you pile good things on one side and keep doing it, the bad things will diminish on the other side and won’t amount to much.

Perhaps if you get time you might forward this to him.

As always dear Bob,

Response #14:

Well said on your part, my friend!

I hope you and yours are doing well.

How goes the new thrust of your ministry effort?

Keeping you in my prayers daily.

In Jesus,

Bob L.
p.s., I believe correspondent is reading the postings; if so, he'll see your encouraging remarks here.

Question #15:

Hi Bob,

All doing OK this side of the pond, thank you for asking.


I’ve made some changes to the strait gate article and also to most of the others, which automatically updates on your computer, or on anyone’s computer who has saved them. If, when you get time – I understand how busy you are, so please, only when you get time.

I’ve included the link to make it quicker and easier for you to access and I’m hoping you will look at it again – if there are some things that you think I’m being too direct and I am happy to change accordingly.

I’ve understood what you said in our last email about not being too ‘heavy handed’ – I don’t think I have, and given the attitude of most people everywhere these days – perhaps I could have been harder but I realise that will only drive people away when you want them to stay and hopefully, learn something.

I remember you saying a while ago that ichthys readership has diminished, and so have mine on Hubpages – but that is to be expected now and I hope that might change as people begin to realise the closer it gets, without Jesus in their life there is simply no hope.

Hubpages is under new ownership and I don’t think comments are allowed any more on articles, which is OK, I don’t care whether people comment or not, I’m only concerned that they read them. At least I can access that information in Google Analytics, which I think is more important.

It may be that in time when the anti-Christ comes to power he will ban or take down any and all Christian articles, and if that happens unbelievers will have nothing for guidance.

Know that your prayers are reciprocated Bob and I pray that yours and my articles will continue to have free course in the world.

As always dear Bob,

Response #15:

Thanks for the updates – and even more for the prayers!

I'm happy to hear that you are doing well (3Jn.1:2).

No comments is a blessing! The only place these show up at Ichthys is on the email response page . . . after I've vetted and edited them.

We are thrilled to be able to help one single person, so we can't let the numbers get us down. For me, they may be a measure of "other things" – such as unexpected HTML shifts or changes in Google analytics, e.g., which I might not otherwise catch. But I do think also that enthusiasm for the Word is down. This is late day Laodicea, after all.

Keeping you in my prayers too, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #16:

On "enthusiasm for the Word is down. This is late day Laodicea, after all."

Can’t help but agree with you Bob, really wish it wasn’t so. We can only hope when it arrives, it will shake quite a few out of apathy, which may be the only silver lining in this dark cloud that is now on this side of the horizon and approaching fast.

I often lay awake at night and thinking what more can I do, which I’m sure you do too.

At my age, (78 now – I think it was 2014 when I first found Ichthys) I don’t get out much these days except for the usual doctors visits but when it happens, I’m always looking and listening for the bleating of a lost sheep – in the hope that He will bring one across my path as I am constantly thinking how society has degenerated, even over the last few years.

Perhaps when people realise Tribulation really has begun it may change for some . . .

‘If only’ people would realise there is so much to gain and come to Jesus while there is still time.

‘Oh If they only knew’.

Again as always my friend,

Response #16:

If it were just a matter of knowledge . . . but as Paul says of Israel . . .

But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for
“Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.”
Romans 10:18 ESV

And earlier about all unbelievers:

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Romans 1:20-21 ESV

They know – or knew, and have chosen to blot that knowledge out of their hearts.

It is amazing, I know. But it had to be possible for people to do so if "this" was going to be about free will, the image of God we're given, and making our own un-coerced choices down here.

There's plenty about all of the above in BB 4B: Soteriology (at the link).

You have seen a great deal in your time, my friend! Stick around a few more years and you're likely to see a whole lot more.

Keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hi Bob,

Those verses in Romans say it all don’t they?

And I like how your ESV puts it better than both the KJV that I have and the 1599 Geneva Bible that I have online.

It’s amazing how different Bibles have a slightly different slant on things that gives another perception that one may have glossed over before in other versions.

I’d like to put those verses somewhere in one of my articles so that others may think on them.

In thinking about that, and I know others have asked before what Bible should they read for better understanding, now that I’ve compared those verses with the two that I have, should I consider getting another?

You’re right in saying I’ve seen a lot in my time, mostly not all that good I can assure you – I would definitely liken myself to the prodigal, and ashamedly, I can relate to every verse. How often do we read or hear of so many losing their lives under tragic circumstances and looking back over my own life I can tell you Bob, there have been many occasions where I have escaped certain death that wasn’t in my own power and I’ve often wondered – what was the reason. And, looking back, all those incidents happened before I truly turned my life over to God.

Do you remember the story I told you of Arthur Stace, the Eternity man? I’m sure every time I saw that word, written perfectly in yellow chalk, it had an effect on me then that I didn’t realise until later in life. That word kept appearing in my subconscious for quite some time after seeing it. He died in 1967 aged 87 and he wrote that single word sermon for well over 30 years and it is estimated he wrote it over half a million times. I am humbled by his efforts. The last time I saw it was in 1964 when I was 20 and it was on the footpath right outside where I worked as a printer in Sydney and was probably one of the last times he wrote it.

Salvation and the path to receive it is the only thing that matters to me now and I hope He will allow me to ‘stick around’ a little longer to help others through the storm. That is my petition.

As always my friend,

Response #17:

God's grace really is amazing, isn't it? And the plan absolutely perfect – for each one of us individually.

I'm very encouraged by your good attitude, my friend. If we can help a single person to Christ or a single Christian get through with faith intact, that is a blessing for all eternity (and part of our reward as well).

As to Bible versions, they all have their strengths and weaknesses . . . and not in the same passages. So I always counsel Christians to read various versions when they have questions about the passage they are reading. In Greek and Hebrew, of course, one gets a "different impression" than is true of any English version.

Here is the latest place I've commented on some of the main English translations:  "The Translations" (in BB7); and here is more succinct take in "Read your Bible" (at the links).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Thanks Bob,

I'm having a little break from ministry prep. I have a little groundwork I have started on paper but I am now knuckling down on spiritual growth and studying your ministry. I have my daily study plan up and running again.

I am also witnessing to people and ministering when I can. I have even been witnessing to ___! They are scared Bob they really are. And who wouldn't be? The world is collapsing around us now, practically in free fall so setting everything up for the Tribulation.

I have been emphatic though. We have NOTHING to fear as the Lord is with us (if we choose Him)!

I have noticed that a lot of YouTube ministries are giving people advice about false teaching such as Dominionism but they are failing to point them towards good teaching! So whenever I can I am trying to send people your way and to Pastor Omo's ministry where they will be safe. I guess that is a little like shepherding is it not?

It is worrying as many of these Christians are starting to panic and are asking these ministries what to do during the Tribulation as they don't know. The people who run these ministries ignore these believers who are clearly distressed and only sometimes throw the odd Bible verse at them and usually out of context. It truly is shocking.

They are failing to minister to the sheep by not shepherding them towards a trustworthy pastor teacher ministry! That means the sheep will not be fed!

When I can I have been saying that our blueprint and deployment is the same as it was 2000 years ago. That we are in a battle in enemy territory and we are to carry out our duties by following our leader Jesus Christ. That it is not a battle of the flesh so we need spiritual weapons such as the Word and prayer. I have also told them how vital spiritual growth is that only when you begin to grow, then you are tested. That maturity comes through passing tests and continual growth and when you really trust God and the Word more than what your eyes can see and then truly rest in the Lord from moment to moment. I then put a link to your ministry. Please let me know how I can improve this pitch.

It is sad to see Christians who know what is false but don't know what is true. Like we said earlier my friend, ministries that point out error are important but nowhere near as important as your own ministry Bob. If there were a lot more ministries like yours then we wouldn't need to have ministries exposing error!

Didn't God tell us though that He would create a famine but not for bread. So the reason there is so little teaching happening is because most do not want it! They don't want bread they want chewing gum, so chewing gum is what they get, by the truckload!

My type of ministry cannot exist in a vacuum so it will be hand in hand with your own. It is a sign of the times that my type of ministry would be needed at all. If you have the full counsel of God then you don't need to know exact details about those 666 ways of satanic "salvation" to know that they are dead wrong. We all need Jesus (and then we also have the Father), the Word, the Holy Spirit and a ministry like your own. We also need to have faith and put in practice what we learn in faith and hold onto it as it is more precious than rubies.

I even tried to witness to a Hebrew Roots person. It was tough as they vehemently believe we are still under the law. I was surprised at how ready I was to refute this, that I remembered which Scripture to use and also I stayed calm and wasn't angry and had genuine love for them even though they called me a blasphemer just for saying the Law is the "law of sin and death" and cannot save anyone. I felt very strong in my faith and not angry. After giving them the truth I moved on and prayed for them. In the past I would stay in the flesh and be angry but I didn't this time. I tried my best to witness in love. I am hoping this is a turning point in my walk, to witness in love and not in anger or rivalry!

I feel red hot again in my faith Bob! Some of the skirmishes laid me a bit low but after reading the Word again and studying your ministry I am completely revived and strengthened by His love for me.

In Jesus,

Response #18:

I'm glad you're determined to put first things first.

Thanks for sending some folks my way – I think your "pitch" is excellent! You can't improve on the truth. Indeed, one of the biggest failings of evangelical revival / crusade ministries is, as far as I can see, the failure to point converts to the next important step. However, given that most of these ministries have in the past and remain today legalistic and spiritually infantile, it's not a great surprise.

It's wonderful to see you recovering your spiritual confidence and momentum, my friend! Please be careful to keep your own growth a priority – no doubt that has a great deal to do with getting you back into the fight.

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.
p.s., if any of those "rooters" are Jewish, Moses and Elijah may have to straighten them out (won't be long now!).

Question #19:

Hi Bob,

Just a couple of typos.

I'm going to push on now with CT and try to put more study time into it each day.

Gearing myself up for work tomorrow - it's supposed to be 87 F. I'll be drinking gallons of water - might get an ice cream at lunch time from the little shop opposite us too!

Keep cool!

In Jesus

Response #19:

I'm grateful for your sharp eye, my friend!

Do stay cool yourself. Today I did yard work and built a large, heavy planter (6 by 1 by 1 out of one inch boards) for planting poppies this coming fall (the seeds have to go in before the winter as you may know). It was dreadfully hot and I lost a lot moisture. Ended up getting cramps in my feet once I got home (electrolyte loss, no doubt). Lots of hidden rocks and shoals with this heat.

Found out today that the main route to school is going to close five days before the term starts. Some sort of bridge repair. What a mess that will be! It's on the only main artery between the Highlands and U of L. Already working on alternate routes, but that will add an extra load at the wrong time.

I did finish my research article and I'm only a couple of days away from having things on the home front properly battened down. I also need to put in some work on class prep – so it's a fight to the finish this summer, which is to say, to the beginning.

Proud of you that in spite of all you're determined to keep "first things first". That is the way to a good reward.

Thanks for your prayers too! You and yours are in mine daily.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #20:

I’d like to thank you for your ministry and for your time invested into all the information online. I am simply a stay at home mom raising three teenage boys. I’ve been following your teachings on scripture for about 5 years. It has convicted me of my need to mature, to rely on scripture and my responsibility to speak about what I learn to others. In addition, learning about sin unto death vs apostasy has given my mother great comfort as she wrestles with my brother’s death due to alcoholism. Thank you for your concern to help people grow in the knowledge of our Lord. Thank you for magnifying all the privileges in repentance and knowing Christ. I am in awe that He did the perfect walk because He knew we couldn’t do it on our own! Thank you for recommending Bible Academy.  I pray for your ministry and your personal encouragement. I’m convinced you have gone through much suffering to be able to write with the academic knowledge yet show such love and concern for others.

Praying 2 Thessalonians 3:1 over your ministry.

In Christ—

Response #20:

Thank you!

Great to make your acquaintance, and let me say how grateful I am for your kind and encouraging words.

I guess a lot of us are "stay-at-home" at the moment! I'll not be back down to our campus until this "thing" is over and will be teaching remotely at least for the next three weeks – and wouldn't be surprised if that lasts to the end of the semester. Never done this before, so it should be interesting.

I also VERY much appreciate your prayers – they mean a great deal.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Good evening Professor

Just a quick message to say congratulations on completing the Peter series. I haven't read the final installment yet but this feels monumental to me and surely even more to yourself. I'm still in awe of the introduction to this part at #39 I believe. What fantastic work. You certainly are are running a great race and we are blessed for being partakers of such diligence.

Thank you sir!

In Him

Response #21:

Thank you!

Keeping you and your family in my prayers daily, my friend – hope your son is doing well. I pray for your Bible study group as well.

Good words appreciated!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Hi Bob and family,

With Tribulation being so close now and the things that are happening in the world right now, is just a precursor to the main event, which we know will only escalate as the day draws near – sadly so many are asleep and completely unaware of what is coming in such a short time. And most just thinking it is what it is, not even realising that in the time that is left, it’s not going to be ‘business as usual’ and then all of a sudden HERE IT IS. I’m sure, as you are too, that from now on things are going to escalate that so many won’t even know Tribulation has begun, being blind to it and thinking this is the norm.

Because of that, I’ve decided to be more forceful – perhaps I should say more direct in trying to get more to know what is coming and I’ve updated all my articles accordingly and as such, they are updated at the same time in ichthys.

I think the time has come to awaken people out of sleep.

Another quick question if I may,

Regarding 1ST Thessalonians 4: 16, 17 – and the dead in Christ [their spirit] shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: In verse 17, is it our spirit, [which is the life within us and remains alive] that is risen apart from our body, or is it the body as well? It would seem to me that it would only be our spirit that is risen, the same as departed believers – where we will all be gathered together to receive an interim body together. Could it be possible the body might instantly decay leaving no trace?

Hoping you are well my friend and praying more will find ichthys.

As always,

Response #22:

I think your plan is a fine one. That is the kind of "woke" we really need. Just how to do that, however, is something you'll have to figure out as you write. It's important always to strike just the correct tone for the audience one is trying to reach.

On the passage you ask about, 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18, it says very explicitly "rise", and this word, Greek anistemi in verses 16-17, is the same as the one speaking of Jesus' resurrection in verse 14. So "rise" means "be resurrected". That is consistent with the usage throughout the NT where this subject comes up. So this passage is a description of the bodily resurrection which occurs when Jesus returns (i.e., His parousia, v.15), that is, at the Second Advent.

You can read what I've written about this at the following link: "The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride: Revelation 19:6-10".

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Doc, I want to believe everything the Bible says, it just seems that with the way you preach it, it doesn't sometimes line up with what I clearly see. You're not going to accuse me of actually knowing and not wanting to believe, are you? I know God is truly Good and Just and all that, but how do I believe what His Word says even when it seems to contradict reality? I've been trying to force myself to believe it even if it contradicts my senses, but that just feels so forced to me, like I'm forcing myself into cognitive dissonance...If it means serving He who died to redeem me, even after all I've done, especially if it means eternal paradise, I'm all in...how do I overcome this doubt though, even if it turns out to be rational?

Response #23:

As to "it just seems that with the way you preach it, it [the Bible?] doesn't sometimes line up with what I clearly see". What you really mean is that the way you feel about things and the way you view the world does not line up with what the Bible says, right?

Plenty of people don't like what the Bible says. So they either ignore the Bible or change what it says in their hearts. Neither path leads to spiritual growth. Both paths lead to perdition.

Do not add to His words,
Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
Proverbs 30:6 NKJV

If you really have a gripe with any teaching of this ministry, I'm happy to defend it. If you don't want to believe the truth of what is being taught because it is uncomfortable, don't blame that on the Bible.

You have the image of God. You can use it for good or for ill. It is a struggle to do what is right for sure, but the end thereof is nothing but blessing. The other path leads only to cursing.

There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.
Proverbs 14:12 NKJV

As to overcoming doubt, doubt is lack of faith. Faith is like a muscle. It has to be built up just like any other muscle. This is like you asking me how you can lift 400 lbs. dead weight. The answer is, "only by building up to that through daily exercise and nutrition".

How do you get faith capable of moving mountains? NOT by failing to believe easy things. You determine to trust God and the truth no matter what and commit yourself to walking with Jesus Christ no matter what. If you do, over time, your faith will grow, even though it starts out small.

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”
Matthew 13:31-32 NKJV

So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you."
Luke 17:6 NKJV

So this is not "magic"; this takes reasonable, hard work in the Spirit – but that work of faith will be rewarded.

“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful (i.e., applied / exercised / live by your faith) over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’"
Matthew 25:21 NKJV

So endeavor to persevere. If you do, the right way, all of these things will work out for the good because God always works them out for the good for those who truly love Him (Rom.8:28).

In Jesus,

Bob L.



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