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Gospel Questions XII

Word RTF

Question #1:

Hi Bob,

Does the word that is often translated as the Jews mean "Judaeans" sometimes? I am looking at this gentleman's opinions:



Response #1:

John sometimes uses the word in the same broad sense in which we use it (e.g., Jn.4:22), but sometimes to mean those of the religious party in Jerusalem (with a varying degree of affiliation; e.g., Jn.11:8). In the second sense, it has no racial overtones.  See the link for more information.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hi Bob again!

Bob what does this verse mean?

But not a hair of your head will perish.
Luke 21:18 NIV

P.S Weather report in Ne where I live, snow tomorrow.

Response #2:

Luke 21:18 is addressing all believers who will find themselves negotiating the Tribulation. It is meant to encourage us, to reassure us, that God's will will be perfectly accomplished according to His plan for us in spite of this worst of all possible times. In this regard it is the opposite side of the coin of what we find in Revelation:

If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God's people.
Revelation 13:10 NIV

In the Revelation passage, encouragement is given to those of us whose lot it will be to martyred for the Lord – not one hair of our head will perish before that time; and to those who are imprisoned that we will be cared for by the Lord in that imprisonment; and to those who are blessed to avoid both fates that we will be protected through all of the horrible things we know are destined to happen during those difficult seven years by special divine protection: not one hair of our head will perish despite the death and destruction that surrounds us. For God is absolutely faithful – regardless of the times.

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
Psalm 95:5-8 NIV

So we have to be ready for anything when the Tribulation begins – just like we have to be ready for anything now, knowing that whatever happens is the will of God and that we are going to be cared for and provided for no matter what our eyes, ears and emotions may tell us (1Thes.5:18). In other words, circumstances are not really different during the Tribulation in terms of the type of things that may happen, merely in their intensity. But intensified evil, violence, threats and general disaster is met by intensified divine provision for those who love God – He is working all things out together for good for them/us: not one hair of your head will perish.

So just as the children of Israel witnessed and no doubt suffered to some extent from the plagues upon the Egyptians, God's special provision kept them safe, brought them safe out of the land, and safe across the sea to freedom. At many times it looked as if they were about to be destroyed, but brought safe across they were: not one hair of their heads perished. This is the heritage of those who fear the Lord.

"No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me."
Isaiah 54:17 NIV

So while it is true that Luke 21:18 will apply to the tribulational martyrs only to the point when they are martyred, that in itself is a great solace: perfect protection until the time of early release from the horrors of the Tribulation in a way that glorifies God to the maximum and guarantees a "well done" from the Lord and rich eternal rewards. Until that time, "not one hair of your head will perish".

Finally, while some have found a contradiction here, it is true after all that every human being who has ever lived so far has eventually perished (hairs and all), but at least the tribulational martyrs have this special protection until the time they are brought home, having met the fate that has always awaited every human being. The spectacular thing about our Lord's promise in Luke 21:18 is that those who have to endure the entire Tribulation will have this protection all the way to the end of this earthly life where it will end without death. For they will be resurrected when our Lord returns. For them (us?) these words will have that special, blessed meaning of protection from harm and death until death is swallowed in life at the second advent of our dear Savior.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hi Dr. Your response to this verse is apropos to my situation and very good analysis of the disciples faith process.

God Bless

Response #3:

 Jesus is the Bread of Life. What we eat only represents His sacrifice for us. He died for us, so we can be sure He will supply all of our other needs as well.

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
Romans 8:32 NKJV

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi Robert,

I have a ? Regarding Mathew 11 NIV; When John the Baptist is in prison and hears about all the deeds Of the Messiah and sends his disciples to ask Jesus. "Are You the One who is to come or should we expect someone else?" Why would he ask this of Jesus when he had already baptized Him in the Jordan and when he saw Jesus coming he had pointed to Jesus in front of others and said, "Look, The Lamb of God"! John also saw the Spirit Of God descend on Jesus like a dove and heard God the Father say "This is My Son whom I am well pleased." So I understand that he already was aware that Jesus was our Messiah so why does John send his disciples to ask this ? No hurry at all with your reply Robert. Hope you had a wonderful and Spirit filled Easter my friend.

God Bless,

Response #4:

Thanks for your nice Easter greeting! Hope yours was blessed.

On your question, here is a response posted about this question:

"How did John come to doubt Jesus?"

I think John's failure here speaks volumes about the difficulties of the life of the believer in the devil's world. Even a man as great as John, of whom our Lord said no one was greater, one who as you remember had been told that Jesus was the Messiah and seen and heard of His miracles, could be depressed by stress, pressure and testing. John had been in prison for several years by the time he sent this message. He, along with all of his contemporaries, was expecting the Messiah to bring in the Kingdom. So what was he doing in prison? A few days, weeks, months perhaps, but after several years John began to doubt. This is the essence of all serious testing of faith: patience needing to be exercised over time. Anyone, almost, can wait for a bit. Only truly dedicated Christian warriors are willing to wait "as long as it takes" – and in my observation, personal experience, and reading of scripture, that is always longer than one imagines will be necessary at the outset. Therefore this sort of test John faced (and failed to some degree at least) is one we need to be ready for and take to heart. When Abraham took matters into his own hands, terrible things happened. When He waited on the Lord, the most wonderful things happened – but not immediately. He had to wait many years for the heir of promise.

John's testing soon came to an end for he was beheaded soon after this. That was, actually, a blessing. His trouble came to a swift end, and in a way wherein he didn't even have to spend a single night worrying about it. And, having died a martyr's death, his eternal reward will be massively large. He didn't realize it at the time, moreover, but his imprisonment and suffering helped to make possible the two plus years of ministry our Lord conducted before the final "year of opposition" which resulting in His crucifixion – and resurrection. John was "cover" for Jesus; when John was gone, all the attention, pressure and resentment of the religious authorities fell upon our Lord, and there was no way that this could have continued for more than the time it did. Without John to remain the focal point of "what was happening", at least in the view of the religious hierarchy in Jerusalem, much of what is in the gospels would never have been able to take place. God always works things out for good. Sometimes, often times, we don't see the "how" or the "why" when we are in the middle of the fight, but we always have to be careful to have faith in the "that" there is a good reason. We will find it out eventually whether we doubt or whether we have faith. So it is much better to have faith, to trust, to grow in our confidence in the Lord. This is what all the great believers of the past were commended for (e.g., Heb.11:1ff).

And one more point on Luke 7:28 "yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he" – in light of Luke 7:23 ("blessed is he who is not offended because of Me"), our Lord's point is that even if you are the greatest prophet alive, there is no profit in that if you stumble and don't make it across the finish line to the Kingdom: John's behavior was one indicative of stumbling, and our Lord makes it clear here that we are to follow his good example but not his bad one, because even a man as great as John won't make it if he loses faith (which this question indicated was possible); but if you do make it to the Kingdom, even if you are last in line, you are better off than anyone alive who doesn't make it, even if the whole world thinks the world of that other "best person".

Keeping you in my prayers.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hi Bob!

Please explain this verse for me please.

For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.
John 5:26 NIV


Response #5:

Jesus is the Lord of life. As the Son, He has been given the power to give life – just as all judgment has been given to Him by the Father, for example (Jn.5:22). The Father is the authority in the plan of God as it is being administered in time and space. The Son humbly comes into the world to carry out the Father's will, and pursuant to that perfect accomplishment of the plan through His death on the cross, "all things" are handed over to the Son by the Father.

"All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him."
Matthew 11:27 NASB

Hope you had a nice Easter!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6:

On page 95 Thiessen makes what seems a valid point regarding the lack of article before Theos in John 1:1 – he says that it should be explained by the fact that "God" is in the predicate position. What do you think?

Response #6:

Yes, that is clear because logos has the definite article here and theos does not, and that is the way to represent subject / predicate respectively in Greek (rather than word order as in English). So "the Word" was/is "God" is the correct rendering; n.b., the JW’s incorrectly want to place an indefinite article in front of God. They make all manner of claims as to how that is appropriate, but I have pointed out elsewhere that even in their own version they violate their supposed "grammatical rules" on this account in other places: Translating John

Question #7:

What is the meaning of our Lord's response here?

Jesus replied, "Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
Matthew 8:20 NIV

Response #7:

In responding to the man who told Him "I will follow you wherever you go", our Lord was making it clear that this erstwhile follower wanted to serve the KING but not the suffering Servant. So that sacrificing for Him for the wrong reasons would be a pointless affair, and the truth of this response had the effect of sifting out the man's true purpose.

Question #8:

"No one [is] good except God alone." This statement by Jesus raises a fascinating side issue related to the angelic conflict. If no one, no person, no living being is good except God alone, then does this include the elect angels? Were all the angels corrupted in Satan’s fall? Did the elect angels believe in Jesus for their salvation? Are we mirroring exactly what happened in the angelic history? Did the elect angels have to believe something about God in order to become elect? Were all the angels at some point ‘not good’, since no one (no angel) is good except God? There is no Scripture to support the idea that all angels fell, and then some became elect. But we still have no answer to whether or not all the angels are included in Jesus’ statement.

Funny, but my guardian angel isn’t giving me any help on this either.

Response #8:

Hope all is going well with you, my friend.

There certainly had to have been a conflict of a longstanding nature in the eons of time preceding the Genesis gap, and I have speculated (in SR 1: "Satan's Rebellion and Fall from Grace" at the link) that this involved much moral decision-making on the part of all the angels as seen in part from the various ranks they have – from which we may fairly posit meritorious service, and relative meritorious service at that. However, just because Michael, e.g., is an exceptional hero through his actions during this time does not mean that rank and file elect angels who did not make a similar sacrifice are thereby sinful. So it's an interesting question.

To take things a step further, if this statement by our Lord does have universal application, what about our status in resurrection? The new heavens and new earth will be a place where only "righteousness dwells" (2Pet.3:13), which certainly begs the question of how we then would not be "good", having had all our sins washed away and at that point being ultimately sanctified and living in a "nothing but righteousness" world. And what about heaven today? The Father is holy so that "with you the wicked cannot dwell" (Ps.5:4); but we know that all departed saints are now in His presence, dwelling with Him, awaiting the resurrection to come. Aren't they at this point "good"? I don't see how they, absent the corrupt physical body which they have now put aside forever and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, can be "bad".

So I think that we are within our rights to conclude that our Lord was, as a human being on the earth, speaking to human beings on the earth. In that regard, the statement that no one is good except God (Matt.19:17; Mk.10:18; Lk.18:19) would be entirely understandable because no human being can be truly good . . . except of course our Lord Jesus. And that was entirely the point. This ruler our Lord was addressing along with the legalistic generation he represented might be willing to acknowledge our Lord as a teacher (as this man did: "good teacher": Matt.19:16; Mk.10:17; Lk.18:18), but certainly not as God. Our Lord with brilliant irony demonstrates in just a few words that the logic of calling Him "good" – which was correct – had to mean that He was also God – which of course He was and is.

If interested, there is more about this set of passages in the series of Q & A at the link: "Why did Jesus object to being called 'good' ?".

P.s., you've only got one guardian angel? He must be working overtime.

You pal in Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hello Dr Luginbill, I pray you are well. Thanks for your latest website updates.

Sorry, one more question I'd like to ask. Mark 13:32, states that not even the son knows the day or the hour? How does Jesus not know the end time?

Thanks as always

Response #9:

Hello Friend,

Thanks for your prayers! As to your question on "the day and the hour" in Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32, first it should be noted that our Lord does not say He doesn't know the chronology of the end times. After all, our Lord has, just prior to this statement, given the disciples and us a very precise run down of what will happen just before His return, and, more than that, has also told us to watch for these events so that we will not be deceived (the example of the fig tree: Matt.24:32-33). Therefore it would be wrong to conclude, "oh well, no one can know so don't worry about it" – that would be the exact opposite of the lesson that the fig tree warning is meant to convey.

For these reasons we have to take "not knowing the day or the hour" quite literally: we're talking about the precise day and hour of the second advent, not the year or even the month. Why did our Lord at that point not know this fact? This is another example of our Lord's kenosis (see the link), that is, His voluntary subordination of His human nature to the Plan of God in order to save mankind from our sins (Phil.2:6-8). In order for His life to be genuinely human so that He could be a flawless sacrifice, it was required that His deity not give help to His humanity in any way that would essentially make His human experience easier than ours (in fact it was harder than ours in ways we can as yet only dimly appreciate). So while in His deity Christ is omniscient – and in fact of course knew every detail of human history before it even began along with the Father and the Spirit – for the brief period of the first advent His humanity was not privy to everything His deity always has been (see the previous link for the details on all this). After the resurrection, there is now no further "walling off", so to speak, of His humanity from His deity.

Here is another link on "day and hour".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has done everything for us,

Bob L.

Question #10:

And so you read in John 19:34 one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear. That was sin. It is a sin to run the spear into the side of the Son of God. But it fulfills holy Scripture. J. Piper

I'm going to ask the most controversial question in all of 20th century history: how can it be sin when he was just following orders?

Response #10:

Most people sin before they have breakfast, and the smallest one of these no doubt not even noticed sins was sufficient for condemnation eternal damnation – had not our Lord died for it.

So you make a good point but the statement by Piper is bizarre – or maybe better put "sermonesque" (which is why I never liked sermons). This is not quite "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" land, but it's close. Our Lord had already accomplished His mission in dying for all human sins when this event took place and was at that point beyond the pain and trouble of Calvary's darkness and His spiritual death for us. Also, this was a necessary event to demonstrate our Lord's genuine humanity (as John makes clear in loc. and in 1st John). So whether it was sin or not is a controversy without consequence – unless someone takes it seriously.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hello again Doc,

I have another observation and a question for you. This is concerning the burial cloth that the body of Jesus was wrapped in, Linen. In Leviticus Chapter 16, we are given the details of the Priests garments for service:

"3"This is how Aaron is to enter the Most Holy Place: He must first bring a young bull for a sin offeringa and a ram for a burnt offering. 4He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bathe himself with water before he puts them on. 5From the Israelite community he is to take two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering."

"32"So the priest who is anointed and ordained to serve as priest in his father’s place shall make atonement: he shall thus put on the linen garments, the holy garments, 33and make atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tent of meeting and for the altar. He shall also make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. 34"Now you shall have this as a permanent statute, to make atonement for the sons of Israel for all their sins once every year." And just as the LORD had commanded Moses, so he did.

The "linen garments" are sacred garments. Were all the Jews buried with or wrapped in Linen? Notice verse 32 to 34. Here is my observation on these verses:

"So the priest who is anointed and ordained to serve as priest in his father's place: Jesus came in place of his Father, did He not. He shall thus put on the linen garments, the holy garments and make atonement for ...... Verse 34 "Now you shall have this as a permanent statue".

The atonement that Jesus made is permanent ... The garments that Jesus was wrapped in were holy garments. Did He not ascend into Heaven, to take His blood there to sprinkle on the Ark of the Covenant which was in the Holy Place?

Again, appreciate your thoughts. I studied this a number of years ago, and it has always fascinated me. What do you think of my comments?

May you be abundantly blessed for your service given in His name and for His glory.

Response #11:

It is interesting – and worth pointing out. However, linen, while an upper-end commodity, was common enough in daily use and not restricted by the Law to use for the priests (as for example the specially made anointing oil was):

Now a certain young man followed Him, having a linen cloth thrown around his naked body. And the young men laid hold of him, and he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked.
Mark 14:51-52

There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.
Luke 16:19

Merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble;
Revelation 18:12 NKJV

So I would be reluctant to draw any doctrinal conclusions from these similarities you mention.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hello Robert,

Can you please clarify this passage please.

I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
John 8:24

Is Jesus saying that He is God or that he is the Messiah?

Many thanks

Response #12:

Good to hear from you. The phrase "I am He" (Greek ego eimi = simply "I am") is a clear reference to the tetragrammaton (YHVH), for that is it's essential meaning. Also, at the end of this chapter, John chapter eight, our Lord concludes His discussion with the pronouncement, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM" (Jn.8:58 NKJV). I think the NKJV has the translation right, because the reaction of His interlocutors upon hearing this is to pick up stones so as to put Him to death for blasphemy.

In answer to your question then, if a person believed that the Messiah was not God, that person would be failing to understand the Old Testament scriptures which speak about Him. So I think our Lord uses "I AM" because it makes it clear that He is the Messiah . . . and of course God as well as man . . . but does so in a way that a person who did not want to believe would be able to understand the phrase as he or she chose to – akin to giving much of His truth in parables which believers understood but unbelievers only heard as interesting stories. After all, they don't set to stoning Him when hearing "I AM" for the first time here, but only after He says that He "was" (i.e., "I AM") before Abraham was born – and that could only be true of God. Here's a link where this is discussed further: The meaning of Jesus' words, "I am" in John 8:58

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hello Robert,

I am so fortunate to have you as my guide. Someone who preaches against the Trinity criticised my comment about what Jesus said "If you do not believe I AM HE you will die in your sins" he said Jesus was saying that he was the Messiah and not God. I just wanted to get your thoughts on this, which are exactly the same as mine. Also when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus He also used the I am He and they all fell backwards. I have to wonder why people who seem to follow the bible and say they are Christians why on earth they do not understand it when the scripture is full of evidence of a Trinity even though the word Trinity is not in the bible, they seem to be nice decent people yet lacking in understanding of the contents.

Many thanks

P.S. I am sure I will be back with more questions.

Response #13:

 You're most welcome, and thank you so much for your kind words.

I think you have it exactly right and your parallel is a perfect one. When people say the sorts of things this false teacher says, they only prove that they are just as hardened against the truth as the "this generation" who opposed our Lord and which still resists the truth in every way. I don't think it's a matter of "not understanding" as much as it is of refusing to accept the truth and preferring one's own truth (from whatever motivation – and there are many). Anyone who is truly seeking will find that the Lord always answers when someone knocks. Anyone who is not may give the outward appearance of being Christian and sanctified, but so did the Pharisees, white-washed tombs within which were only rot and decay.

The closer we get to the end, the more we can expect this sort of thing to intensify.

Do feel free to write any time, my friend!

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hi Robert,

You certainly are a ' one stop shop' for all the information on any bible matter. I was born in 1948 when Israel became a nation in their own land again, I think the bible said that my generation who was born then would see the end times. Hope this is true. I was thinking about the question I asked about Jesus giving the Holy Spirit to the apostles and thought that people who deny Jesus as God would say that God gave Him all this power, but afterwards I realised that Jesus did not deny what Thomas said. There are men out there who I see disputing the Trinity with people with less knowledge and brag about being experts in Hebrew and Greek, this is why I always ask you certain things.

Thanks once again for all the info you sent to me.

Have a great weekend.

Response #14:

Thanks for this. I did have a good weekend – albeit a busy one (sorry for the delay).

Yes, exciting times ahead no doubt (but we should probably be careful what we wish for in this regard). And, yes, there are plenty of self-styled experts out there most of whom know enough Greek or Hebrew just to be dangerous and to sound as if they are uncovering "deep things" to the ears of those who don't know any better (2Tim.4:3). Seems that in such cases it's often a matter of not only poor teaching but of out and out false teaching. But that's another sign of the times:

The Spirit explicitly says that in the end times certain men will rebel from the faith, giving their allegiance [instead] to deceitful spirits and demonic doctrines. With their own consciences seared away and speaking with the hypocrisy of men [who peddle] lies, they will [instruct their victims] to refrain from marriage, and to keep away from certain foods . . .
1st Timothy 4:1-3a

Do feel free to write any time!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

I have a question? Reading Mark's Gospel concerning the baptism of Jesus, and His going into the wilderness, I noticed something: In his gospel, in Chapter 1 verse 12 specifically states that (Immediately) the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness.

" 9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; 11and a voice came out of the heavens: "You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased."

12Immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. 13And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him."

In John's Gospel Chapter 1 is says:

" 32John testified saying, "I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 33"I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ 34"I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God."

However, Verse 43 says "The next day He purposed to go to Galilee".

So, we have Mark's rendering that says: "Jesus went immediately into the wilderness" and yet John's rendering that says: "The next day he purposed to go Galilee.

Can you please explain this for me. Thanks again Dr. Luginbill for your thoughts. I am still studying the "Christology the study of Jesus Christ" and it is fascinating to me. I plan on studying it again, because it has so much material in it, hard to absorb on the first reading.

Bless you my brother, as we wait in joyful hope of His return, getting prepared.

Response #15:

The adverb eythys (translated questionably as "immediately" above) is widely known among Greek readers to be Mark's favorite adverb. He uses it so often and with such flexibility that it would be a mistake to build too much into it. Often the word means only "next in the sequence" with no expectation about how long a time-lag there was between the two events. So "immediately" is not the best translation here. In other words, English translations may give false indications of what's actually happening in the Greek.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #16:


What is the most accurate understanding of the verbs here:

John 3:18
He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

I see that the first "believes not" is present active, and the "believed not" is the perfect active.

It seems as if the Greek means more like "disbelieves", and "disbelieved" instead of "not believes" or "not believed". There is a subtle difference, but I think an important one to note.

Your expertise is appreciated as always.

In Christ,

Response #16:

Always good to hear from you, my friend. Here is how I translate the verse:

The one who believes in Him is not being judged, but the one who does not believe has already been judged on the grounds that he has not put his faith in the Name (i.e., the Person) of God's only Son.
John 3:18

In terms of the Greek tenses, you are correct. In terms of the nuance, however, "disbelieve" would be apisteuo, whereas what we have here is ou pisteuo. The perfect in the first instance, which I translate "does not believe" is expressive of a present state – that of being an unbeliever. Judgment already lies on the backs of all unbelievers, as this passage affirms – but it is changed to mercy if and when the person should repent of their lack of faith and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. I would be reluctant to use "disbelieve" because 1) that's not exactly what the Greek says, and the distinction is pretty much parallel in Greek and English, and also because 2) that would seem to limit this verse to those who have heard and rejected the gospel, whereas it seems very clear to me that this is describing the universal state of things: believers are saved; unbelievers are not saved. Of course, as long as we are in this life, things can change. Unbelievers – even some perhaps who originally rejected the gospel – can change their mind and accept Christ; and, sobering to contemplate, believers can sometimes fall away entirely and stop believing altogether (cf. Rom.11:22). If they do, they are no longer "those in a state of belief" or "one who is believing" but are now in the place of "the one who does not believe".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #17:

"I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor."
(John 4:36)

Who are the "others" mentioned?

Response #17:

This refers to John the baptist and the entire generation ahead of him along with all of the prophets who "prepared the ground" by teaching the truth – in the same way today that an evangelist who leads someone to Christ might not realize that said person may have been exposed to the truth many times and in many ways before finally coming around to accepting it, with all of the "ground breaking experiences" which preceded salvation playing a role. One application from this is that we should never be discouraged when our efforts for the Lord don't seem to paying any visible dividends: He knows all things and is using all things for the good in every way. Our job is to keep doing the right thing regardless of what we see, hear or feel.

In Jesus our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hi Bob,

A question on Matthew 24:20 "And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath."; Why would the Lord emphasize Sabbath observance in this far-distant future where the Sabbath is no longer of importance? This is, presumably, addressed to an audience of Jewish members of the Church who responded to the two witnesses.


Response #18:

Here's what I write about this passage in CT 4:

Once the abominable idol of antichrist becomes visible in the temple court, believers remaining inside the city must flee without delay. At that point, the necessity for departing immediately and with deliberate speed will be so urgent that even the briefest delay – only to retrieve one's coat or a few essential items – may result in being caught in the beast's net. Further, this emergency departure will be a "one day only" affair, for those involved are told to pray that that day of flight might not be one of inclement weather (which would hinder their movement) nor a Sabbath (where their movements would be obvious). For all who have remained in the city up until this point, strict obedience to our Lord's command to depart without any further hesitation will be absolutely essential in order to avoid being swept up in the persecution the dragon and his antichrist intend. Only swift response will ensure that those believers who have stayed on in Jerusalem will be able to escape safely into the desert now.

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hi Bob,

Degrees of Punishment in Hell?

"The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows."
(Luke 12:47-48)

How should this be interpreted?


Response #19:

I think it's pretty straightforward: the more we are given by the Lord, the greater the responsibility we bear. That is why James says "Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly" (Jas.3:1 NIV). The principle applies to us all in regard to whatever gifts and resources we have. That is also why our Lord said of the widow who contributed the "least coin" that " this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others" because "They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty" (Mk.12:43-44).

This is one reason why we should never be upset or discouraged if we don't have what we think we need to have to do what we would like to do for the Lord: He knows very well all of our circumstances and takes all of them into account in evaluating us. This is also why we should be careful not to worry about comparing ourselves to others and their performance (1Cor.4:3; 2Cor.10:12), because, even if we could evaluate theirs and ours correctly, we don't really know in detail what they have been given and we may be under or over-estimating what we have been given. We are all soldiers in the same unit and we all have a job to do. We will be rewarded well if we do well; if we are slack in doing what we should be doing, that will result in discipline from the Lord to get us back on the right track in this life, and loss of reward in the next if we don't do so (the wood, hay and stubble of 1Cor.3:12-15). So if we have been given the responsibility of a ministry by the Lord, we had better to a good job; if we never get to the point of being responsible, we are less culpable in this life (but that also limits our rewards going forward).

As to the preceding verses:

"But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers."
Luke 12:45-46

It's important to understand that our Lord is giving the two extremes in His discourse in order to cover all eventualities. In this life few "servants" do everything exactly right (that is what we should be striving for), and few "servants" completely and deliberately despise their Master to the degree evident in the passage above. The perfect servant would be the most highly rewarded in eternity (not being perfect doesn't mean we can't or won't earn wonderful rewards); the completely imperfect servant has nothing to show for his life here: he is (or has reverted to being) an unbeliever. That is what our Lord means when He says "appoint him his portion with the unbelievers". If a person falls away from Christ into apostasy, failing to be a believer any longer and then using his position in the Church to abuse the followers of the Savior he has now denied, he will be loss all reward, obviously, because he will not have a place in eternity (the only other possibility is for some pastor / Christian leader behaving equally scurrilously but yet not abandoning faith being taken out by the "sin unto death", losing reward but not salvation).

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Dear Bob,

Thank you so much for your reply. You have no idea how much you settled some nagging doubts. One of the perils of speaking only English is dependence on translators. I never fully understood "agape" as there always appeared to be a difference between "love your neighbor," "love the brethren" and "love all men." I worried about that difference because there are many people I don't like and don't want to be around. I have always treated them with courtesy and basic respect. But I would prefer to avoid them altogether.

The centurions, in Paul's case did seem decent. If the history I read was accurate, that was uncommon. I'm not sure, though, that "accurate" and "history" belong in the same sentence.

If I may piggy-back another question about the Sabbath Jesus mentions in Matthew 24 (again English version) where he says about the flight from Jerusalem, pray it's not "on the sabbath day..." That tells me that the Sabbath day is still active. You said in CT (4, I believe) that it was so they wouldn't be noticed. Am I correct in understanding that those holding the Sabbath are unbelievers? Else why would they not be fleeing, too? Is there anything more to His warning?


Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #20:

You are most welcome, my friend – glad to be able to be of service.

The Roman soldiers in scripture all seem to have in common that they act in a highly professional way. There was an ethos within the legions – as there is a "culture" in any organization – of being highly professional; and of course it was backed up by the most severe discipline when not followed precisely. So for example when the centurion reports to the (military) tribune in Acts 23:18 he states the facts simply and precisely; and when the tribune reports via letter to Felix the governor he states the facts simply and precisely – precise and efficient wording in military communications being an absolute necessity since confusion of any sort can result in great loss of life in battle (n.b., the Greek sentence in Acts 23:27 ends with "rescued him"; that starts a new sentence: "having learned that he was a Roman citizen" – many translations get this wrong and make it seem as if the tribune is being self-serving; not the case). This did not mean that the Roman soldier was a man of high morals. Even today while we honor our military and respect them as belonging to one of the few institutions left where there is still a good measure of professionalism and honor in their culture, we do recognize that they are not necessarily boy scouts in their personal lives. So when the Roman soldiers abused our Lord, that was totally within their normal behavior – but they didn't violate any of their orders or normal procedures in doing so.

Yes, history is an art more than science. It's not perfect, but it is informative on many levels when done correctly, and there is much of value to be gleaned from that discipline. One does need to reserve a measure of critical judgment in this field as with any information received of which we do not have first hand knowledge, however.

On the question of "not on the Sabbath", I do get this question from time to time. The Sabbath is "observed" in Israel today. Even though that nation is one of the most secular on earth, and most of its citizens are not what you would call "religious" at all, for political reasons (i.e., a sizeable enough number of extremely religious people who are very politically active), there are many Sabbath restrictions (for example, all of the elevators are set to stop automatically at every floor so that no buttons will have to be pushed). In such a circumstance, a large number of people in transit on a normal stay-at-home day off would attract a good deal of attention when it is not the norm – much less so on another day of the week. I don't think that this sort of legalistic and religious observance is likely to come to an end during the Tribulation – it may even get worse (hard to tell). The restoration ministry of Moses and Elijah will no doubt embrace every aspect of the Law (in a true spiritual way as well as fulfilling the letter), but we know well enough from our Lord's example that if something is truly needful to do – as in healing the sick – then the fact that it is the Sabbath should not dissuade us from doing it.

These individuals are being told directly by our Lord to flee – so we cannot imagine that they will be prohibited from fleeing on account of some scruples about the Sabbath. A direct command from our Lord certainly trumps everything else, including a misinterpretation of the Law. So this is a practical problem our Lord is telling them to pray about, not a religious one; and that fits with "not during a storm" – which would also be a practical hindrance to flight.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Chuck Missler also presents an interesting view that the meaning of "on the third day" in John 2:1 is that it was Tuesday, which, in Jewish culture, is a day of double blessing based on the fact that during the re-creation of the world God twice says that "it was good" on Tuesday, without saying it on Monday. As a result, Jewish weddings normally take place on Tuesdays. Have you heard about such an interpretation?

Response #21:

Here's what I find in the previous chapter:

The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, "Follow Me."
John 1:43 NKJV

It actually says "on the following day" (dative) in precisely the same way that John 2:1 says "on the third day"; so this seems rather to be John giving us the sequence of this important first week of our Lord's earthly ministry (as he does also for passion week). As to the supposed tradition, I was not aware of it. I'm not sure of its provenance or the authority of it. Even if we were to find it in the Talmud or the Mishnah, there is no basis for postulating that this is what John had in mind because of the above.

Question #22:

The leaven of the Pharisees is hypocrisy. The leven of the Sadducees is the lust for power.

Mainline churches are Sadducaical: accepting whatever is expedient for power politics, and in today's climate that usually amounts to social justice and providing for the general welfare. Fundamentalist churches are Pharisaical, ran by hypocrites who pose to be holy but are really murderers.

The latter say that if they were around when Jesus was they wouldn't have murdered him, thereby testifying that they are the spiritual descendants of those who murdered him. (Matt. 23:31)

Response #22:

All such generalizations are suspect, but with that said, given the dearth of truth being taught in churches these days I suppose it's a comparison with some value – although I'm not sure I'd exonerate either completely from the main weakness of the other.

As to the last paragraph, it really boils down to individuals. Many in Christian churches and putatively Christian "churches" today are not, of course, even believers, and many more will fall from the faith to join the beast's religion during the Tribulation. At that point, it won't be righteous Zechariah they are trying to kill but those of us who refuse to join with them in their folly. The Great Apostasy leads directly into the Great Persecution. But some will stand fast in faith, and changes that occur during the Tribulation are likely to be the catalyst that sets them on the right path. It is possible that there will be much work to do for Jesus Christ for those who have prepared themselves to do it.

In Jesus Christ for whom we are ready to give our lives is so wills the Will of God.

Bob L.

Question #23:

In John 5:6, what was Jesus trying to demonstrate by asking the man if he wants to get well? Are there some people who deep down do not want to get well?

Response #23:

 Our Lord asks this question not because He doesn't know that everyone wants to be healed – obviously, this man was going to great lengths to get healed; nor should we imagine that our Lord did not already know what was in this man's heart. This question is asked to begin a dialogue with the man that will reveal his previous thinking and his lack of faith. He is (wrongly) convinced that only by being put into the pool at the critical time can he be healed; whereas believers should know that God heals (Ex.15:26; Ps.103:3). Our Lord, after bringing all this out, heals him, then finds him later (the lack of interest on this fellow's part is telling), and warns him to "sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee" (Jn.5:14 KJV). This is the only time our Lord every said anything like this to anyone (that I can think of) after healing them. To me it seems that the man was not a believer; and instead of gratitude for what our Lord did for him, the man then goes and informs "the Jews" – meaning the religious, unbelieving crowd living in Jerusalem – the result of which is their persecution of our Lord. Since it is clear that our Lord knew that this was going to happen, I think this was a deliberate provocation to make the issue of the truth vs. the hypocritical legalism of the religious crowd crystal clear. And what better way to do this than to heal an ungrateful unbeliever who would nevertheless demonstrate in his informing on Jesus for healing him on the Sabbath that indeed Jesus had healed him – which only God could do.

Incidentally, disease is sometimes caused by sin and is always a biblical metaphor for sin; just as God heals from disease, so God is the only One who can heal from sin. So in asking the question you ask about, the "sub-text" of our Lord's question, as they say in literary circles, really was "do you want to be saved". The lack of a direct answer by the man shows his subtle thinking and reflects his unwillingness to be saved the only way a person can be saved, through faith in Christ; he adhered to the religious line, just as he was only willing to be healed the "works way". Jesus healed him physically in spite of his wrong-thinking, but He does not violate our free will so as to heal us spiritually unless we are willing to accept the greatest gift, namely His sacrifice on our behalf in dying for our sins.

Question #24:

Dr. Bob,

Love you as a brother in Christ. Just one protest. Jesus Blood was never spilled for us but poured from His Love for us to wash away our sins. Spill something is an accident. Christ death was a Love Offering poured for us. Please take this interpretation in love it is from my heart. Always reading you. A warrior waiting for our gathering.

Response #24:

Good to hear from you.

I do understand that many people only use the word "spill" in the context of an accident. But that is not the only way the word is used in English, especially traditionally. Context determines the meaning, and blood is seldom spilled accidentally; it is almost always deliberate. When this verb is used with this object, it means to kill someone/something else (the most ancient meaning of the word from Old English; cf. Ezek.21:32 HCSB); when it is used of oneself, that is, one's own blood, it means and conveys very vividly the meaning of a sacrifice – which is what Christ's death on the cross for us truly was.

Good men, men who love tranquility, who desire to abide by the laws, and enjoy their benefits, who would gladly spill their blood in the defense of their country.
Abraham Lincoln

Peace, above all things, is to be desired, but blood must sometimes be spilled to obtain it on equable and lasting terms.
Andrew Jackson

It's when we start working together that the real healing takes place; it's when we start spilling our sweat, and not our blood.
David Hume

Wade into them, spill their blood or they will spill yours.
General George S. Patton

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior who shed His blood for in sacrifice for us,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

This morning something I had never thought about came to mind. I began thinking about John Chapter 1, and something seemed very odd to me. Here are the verses I was thinking about.

The Scriptures (ISR 1998)
1In the beginningwas the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim. 2He was in the beginning with Elohim.

It seemed to me that these verses were not the best translation from the Greek to English. Now I know that when we attempt to translate something from one language to another, sometimes things are lost in translation, that is, what did the original language intend to convey. I found this to be true with German to English because my wife is from Germany, and I know something about German, I can speak and read conversational German. Here is an instance where when we try to translate a poem or saying in German that rhymes, it makes perfect sense, but when translated from German to English the meaning and intent is lost and does not make sense. I have also noticed that when documents are sometimes translated they are not translated literally word for word. That is how it seems to me and here is the reason: The translator uses these words: beginning and was. When at first glance we look at these two words, I think of beginning as (something or someone who did not always exist, but now does, and the word was, implies in English the (past tense), in other words, He once was not, but now He is. I understand the meaning of these verses, but don't understand why the translators failed to use words to convey the real meaning to someone who does not know Greek. I know what they mean because I studied these verses many times.

Here is what I found:

1510 eimν (the basic Greek verb which expresses being, i.e. "to be") – am, is. 1510 (eimν), and its counterparts, (properly) convey "straight-forward" being (existence, i.e. without explicit limits).

This reminds me of the translation you note in one of your teachings on the Pre-Adamic age when it says in Verse 2 of Genesis 1:

2And the earth came to be formless and empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of Elohim was moving on the face of the waters. This version ISR translation, does not translate the word was, but came to be, just as you said in your teaching.

I suppose many Christians have never considered the word usage and really thought about it, and don't have an Interlinear Greek to English translation to look at or they are not aware that such a things exists. So, my question is a big Why? did they translate these words as they should be? What is your opinion, and maybe I am too picky, but that is the way I am and have always been, I want to know why. The more I study your material, things that you have previously stated come to mind when I am looking at other studies. These mis-translation as I would call them, really upset me at times. Why not use (came to be) instead of was, and (before all time began) instead of beginning? But, sad to say that not everyone (very few) I would imagine have the advantage of your material to study. To God be the glory great things He has done through you.

Thanks for your input.

Your friend

Response #25:

Translation is both an art and a science. Translating scripture where every nuance is important is even more of a challenge especially when the things that make a good translator are not necessarily the things that make a good theologian and vice versa, but one needs to know both the true theology and the depths of the language to "get it right".

Here is my rendering of this passage:

(1) The Word [Jesus Christ] existed at the very beginning, and there was reciprocity between the Word and God [the Father]. And the Word was God. (2) This One both existed and enjoyed reciprocity with God from the very beginning. (3) Everything came into being through Him, and without Him, nothing has come into being which has in fact come into being. (4) In Him was life, and this life was the light of men.
John 1:1-4

Do look this over and feel free to write me back about this. For commentary, please also see the link: "What does "the Word was with God" mean in John 1:1-2?".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Hello again Doc,

I would say that your translation is much clearer than the KJV and others portray. My only question which still remains from my email is the word "beginning", which can be very mis-leading. As I said in my previous mail, would it not be better translated "before all time began" or perhaps "in the ages past".

What do you think?

Blessings to you,

Your friend,

Response #26:

I think if you will read the link you will see that the problem is that almost all translators misunderstand that John is directly translating the first phrase in Genesis chapter one, and that what these two phrases, Greek and Hebrew respectively, have in common is that there is no "the" there. That is very significant in both languages. Now translating "in beginning" is clearly not something that works in English, and I'm not sure how to reflect this significant point without modifying the language so much that worse damage is done. I try to bring this out by translating Genesis 1:1's bereshith as "before all else" and John 1:1 as "at the very beginning". The reason for the difference is that in Genesis the act of creation is in view (so "before all else" makes it clear that this is the commencement of creation but not of God who has no beginning), while in John we have a description of how things were "from the very start", meaning, in eternity past even before Christ created the world (which comes at John 1:3). It's difficult to bring these points out without commentary, that is, without teaching; translations which lend themselves to seeing the truth and which avoid contradicting or forestalling it, are clearly better than those which lead to error. What all this goes to show, in my opinion, is that no English translation will ever be perfect. Even if one could be produced, the way the language is understood and processed has changed dramatically even within my own lifetime. This all just goes to show that no one should think about teaching the Word of God beyond a certain basic and obvious level without a deep understanding of the original languages.

I hope this answers your question, but if you still have aspects of this question you'd like to discuss, please do feel free to write back. Here are some other links to chew on as well:

Genesis and John

Ex nihilo

Short explanation of John 1:1

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

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