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Question #1:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I was reviewing a teaching that I compiled to give a few examples how God's Word is indeed cohesive, that is Old and New Testaments. This morning during the process, another example popped into my mind, so I want to include it in this particular study. But, before I do that, I what to get your opinion and corrections/additions to this article, before I make it permanent. Here is what I wrote this morning:

See Leviticus 16:32-34.

“ 32So the priest who is anointed and ordained to serve as priest in his father’s place shall make atonement: he shall 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. 34Now 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.

Notes on Leviticus 16:32-32, from a foreshadow perspective.

1. Verse 32, “The priest who is anointed”.

While many could be anointed, Jesus is the Meshiach, or the Messiah, the ultimate anointed one. He is our deliverer, and the bridge that empowers all Christians to be empowered to carry on his works. If it weren’t for Jesus’ work, God would not have sent the “helper,” or the holy spirit. Without Jesus, our reach in carrying out God’s work would have been limited.

See Psalm 89:51.
“The taunts with which your enemies, Lord, have mocked, with which they have mocked every step of your anointed one.”

2. Verse 32, “ordained to serve as priest in his father’s place”.

See Hebrews 3:1.
“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.”

3. Verse 32: “shall make atonement”.

See Hebrews 2:17.
“Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation[atonement] for the sins of the people [that is, all mankind].

4. Verse 33: Jesus Christ made atonement for all human beings who accept and live according to His Gospel.

5. Verse 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.”

See Hebrews 10:10.
“By this will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time. The atonement made by Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary, was a permanent act.

As always, when I come up with an idea, I want to share it first with you, to see if I have gone down the right track, or is my understanding gone too far, or making things up that are not correct?

Hope this year for you will be better and more blessed than the previous one. Things in the United States, as you well know, are not getting any better, but in fact, they are deteriorating at a quick pace.

Blessings to you,

Your friend,

Response #1:

Good to hear from you as always, my friend.

The book of Hebrews has a lot to say about this issue (link). Yes indeed, the entire Mosaic Law was a system of shadows looking forward to the reality of the coming of the Messiah. Hebrews also has a lot to say about THE High Priest who is only prefigured by the high priests under the Law who could not be permanent because they were mere men who died (Heb.7:23). The anointing in their case was with oil which symbolized the special anointing of the Spirit which our Lord received and which He has blessedly passed on to us.

[Melchizedek the type of Christ was] without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.
Hebrews 7:3 NKJV

As He also says in another place:
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek”
Hebrews 5:6 NKJV

The eternal nature of our Lord's priesthood is one of the things that makes it unique.

Thanks for your new year's wishes, my friend! Wishing you a good one as well. No matter what transpires "on the ground", we are stocking up treasures in heaven (Matt.6:19-21).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hello Brother Robert

Hope all is well I like to ask you a question pertaining to Shabbat. I know what it means about a day at rest but I like that ask you how or when by who was it started to be practice services in the synagogue was it the Pharisees. It shows in scriptures it was supposed to be a day of rest everyone is to stay home I would greatly appreciate your help thank you and God bless

Response #2:

No doubt Jewish people had means of methods of gathering together in their various settlements from very early times. There were many Jewish communities around the Mediterranean world long before the destruction of Jerusalem in 583 B.C. But the institution of the synagogue as we know it today seems to have arisen after the return from exile later in the sixth century, and after the Maccabean period. Before then, there were no scribes and Pharisees, or the legalism which sprouted up with them. Before the exile, the big problem in Israel was idolatry and ignoring the Law, not the morbid, ritualistic misinterpretation of it that characterized the Jewish people in our Lord's day (Is.29:13; Matt.15:9; Mk.7:7; Col.2:22).

It seems likely to me that this later approach to religion was a reaction to and also a modeling of Greek Hellenistic practices, at least as far as scholarship was concerned. The word "synagogue" is a Greek word, after all, and hyper-scholarship with acute attention to key texts is a phenomenon that started in the library of Alexandria (with Homer), the same place where there was a huge Jewish community and the place where the Hebrew Bible was probably first translated into Greek (i.e., the Septuagint or LXX).

The character of synagogues and their practices does seem to have changed after the destruction of the second temple (70 A.D.), because of course after that there was no temple to go to for the various rites and rituals prescribed by the Law, no communal festivals in Jerusalem, etc.

But in terms of "day of rest", the purpose of the Sabbath was precisely to have time – restful time – to pay attention to the Lord and His truth, His Word. We are blessed today to be able to have a Sabbath rest with Him at all times, and we don't need to limit our attention to Him and His Word to one day of the week only – nor should we.

See the links:

The Sabbath

Should Christians honor Sunday as the new Sabbath?

The Sabbath Rest of Hebrews 4:9-11

Saturday Sabbath?

Is Sabbath Observance Legitimate for Christians?

Legalism and Sabbath Observance

Sabbath Observance as Legalism

The Sabbath and the 10 Commandments

Sabbath Questions

Day 7

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3:

I have a big question for you. I have a job working at a restaurant on the weekends rolling silverware and I work almost every Saturday and Sunday I know it says in the Bible to remember the Sabbath Day And Keep it Holy. Will I be going to hell in your opinion for not Keeping the Sabbath Since I Work a lot on the weekends? It was just a question that popped into my mind please get back to me whenever you can so you can give me.

Response #3:

Let me assure you that you have nothing to worry about. Working is honorable – and necessary for any Christian.

As to the Sabbath, that's Saturday, not Sunday: i.e., the seventh, which is what Shabbat means, not the first day of the week.

*Importantly, Sabbath observance is part of the Mosaic Law meant for Israel BEFORE the cross. The fourth commandment is the only one NOT repeated in the New Testament – except that there is a discussion of it in Hebrews chapters 3-4 where Paul makes it clear that we Christians with the Spirit after Pentecost are not to be ritually observing a one day a week Sabbath, but we are instead to be spiritually observing an all-the-time Sabbath rest of peace in the Lord. Few of us are perfect at that! But that is our God-given goal. You can find more at the links (which will lead to others):

Faith rest = the new "Sabbath"

Sabbath day Observance no longer

Faith Rest Sabbath

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi Dr,

What is your thought on Col 2:16 where Paul says let no one condemn you, among other things, on keeping the Sabbath and Revelation’s 12:17, 14:12 and 22:14 that we are to keep the Commandments of God, presumably including the 4th Commandment, Remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy? Also Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5:18.

Have Christians wished away Sabbath keeping? I feel like this must be an important issue for us especially if we are as close to the end as it appears.

Thank you in advance for your insight.
Hope you are well,

Response #4:

The verse you cite, Colossians 2:16, is a good place to start.

(16) So don't let anyone judge you in regard to food or drink, or in the category of festival observances, be it of new moons or Sabbaths. (17) All these things are shadows of what was to come, but the reality has to do with Christ. (18) Let no one gain control over your life, desiring to [enslave you to himself] through a show of false humility and the adoration of angels, basing his approach on what he has [allegedly] seen while puffed up by his own fleshly thoughts, (19) yet not embracing the Head [Christ]. For it is from this Source that the entire body [the Church] is [truly] supplied and instructed through [all] its joints and sinews, and [thus] produces the growth that God has given. (20) If you have died with Christ to these false [pagan] principles [belonging to] this world, why are you letting yourselves be [wrongly] indoctrinated as if your life were of this world? In accordance with the commandments and teaching of [mere] men [these false teachers tell you] (21) "Don't handle! Don't taste! Don't touch!", (22) even though [we know] that all these [are only] things [which] decay with use. (23) Such teachings have a [false] reputation for wisdom, but [only] in concocted religion, [false] humility, and [legalistic] harsh treatment of the body – they have no actual power to neutralize the [sinful] flesh (i.e., the sin nature is not to be controlled by these legalistic approaches).
Colossians 2:16-23

Clearly, keeping all of the festivals and other Jewish rites is now out of bounds according to that verse – and many others in the New Testament. The New Testament is the New Covenant. Things have changed. Jesus has now not only come into the world, but He won the victory of victories at the cross, was resurrected, ascended, seated at the Father's right hand in glory as confirmation of His victory and status as the victorious Messiah, and has sent forth His Spirit so that we might walk in the Spirit which is the only way to fulfill the underlying truth behind the Law (Rom.8:4). Jesus now waits there at the Father's right hand "for your enemies to be made the footstool of your feet" (Ps.110:1) when He returns in glory at the second advent. In the meantime, He is calling out the remainder of His Church, and we are no longer on defense – looking forward to the cross through the shadows of the Law – but on offense, as we push forward in the Spirit, rather than the letter of the Law, through the brilliant light of the truth, in the revealed realities which have dissolved the shadows of the past and revealed "the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ" (2Cor.4:6).

So we no longer sacrifice animals; we no longer celebrate Sukkot; we no longer wear tassels; and we are no longer obliged to rest on Saturday. Indeed, the fourth commandment is the only one not repeated anywhere in the New Testament, and for good reason. Instead of a ritualized one-day-a-week physical rest, we who belong to Jesus Christ have now been called to a permanent, 24/7 spiritual rest, the Sabbatismos for "the people of God" talked about in Hebrews chapter four. This is the peace Jesus left us; this is where we are supposed to be abiding all the time. But that does take reaching spiritual maturity and also a good deal of perseverance in our daily walk with the Lord.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:36-40 NIV

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.
Romans 13:9 NIV

Spiritual reality has overtaken mere shadow ritual following the cross – but how many are willing to embrace the truth and grow up, progress in passing the maturity tests Christ calls us to, and start producing for Him as He desires? That takes true commitment; that is the actual fulfillment of the commands of God, not mere ritual lip-service at which the Pharisees excelled; walking in the Spirit, not the Law, is the only way to please Jesus Christ, win the rewards, the crowns He longs to bestow on us; that is the only way to properly prepare for the soon to come Tribulation.

Here's a link on all this which will lead to others: "Sabbath rest?"

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hey Dr. Lunginbill,

I know you don’t hear from me often, but I’m still around (77) trying to sail everyday on Mobile Bay (come on down) and first and foremost be a humble servant of our Lord. Wondering if you have read the book “National Sunday Law” A. Jan Marcussen? He is a 7th Day Adventist, but is not preaching their doctrine. I found this to be an interesting book, especially when he was clearly saying we non Adventist aren’t going to Hell. But I do believe Saturday or any day a believer chooses to rest on (some work is required on someone every weekend). Is honoring the Sabbath. Your thoughts (I read the book in a little more than a hour). I have all of you work printed and print any new stuff. We are close on most everything. Knowing our Heavenly Father has called me to be an end time warrior I eagerly await the coming tribulations.
Maranatha & Prayers, your brother in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Response #5:

It's good to hear from you, my friend, and it's good to hear that you are still "this side of the grass" and going strong!

On "rest", as Hebrews chapters three and four make clear (see the link), the fourth commandment, the only one not repeated in the New Testament, is now to be fulfilled by a moment-by-moment continual "faith rest", walking in peace with the Lord through the Spirit, rather than only maintaining a one day a week physical rest. In other words, just as with all of the other shadows of the Law, Sabbath observance has been replaced with a spiritual reality, and a blessed one at that. There is nothing sweeter than walking hand in hand with Jesus Christ, so that it behooves us to keep pursuing spiritual growth to be able to do so more and more consistently. That is our true, new, sabbatismos.

So then there does remain a Sabbath-comparable rest (sabbatismos) for the people of God.
Hebrews 4:9

There's be a lot about all of this in the new Hebrews series (link). If I make it as far as you have, my friend, I should be able to complete it in time.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hello Prof. Bob,

Thank you very much!

I've a growing list of questions to format into a hopefully concise email, but wanted to send off a relatively shorter one. I've been working to find content you have on The Law, Dispensationalism, etc, but wanted to know if you had teaching recommendations for me to better, Scripturally understand (and, Lord willing, believe!) how the Law, especially the civil and ceremonial laws, given to the Israelites doesn't pertain to us. More particularly, how may I have confidence that "era" ended with Christ? (Romans 10:4)

I've grown up in the church, so on the one hand it's "obvious", but I also see how the enemy has some foothold opportunities for creating confusion. Jesus references how we are to "follow His commandments" many times, but what "applies" and doesn't? I've heard arguments on how there are civil, ceremonial, and moral and how the former two have passed but the moral haven't. That said, what does the Word of God tell us on this?

Thank you so very much for this ministry. By the grace of God, I've been working to come out from under some very oppressive, unbiblical ideas and I'm encouraged by Ichthys. It's very scary how destructive and damaging bad Biblical interpretation can be. Praise God for His provision.

PS For context, still working through Bible Basics, and, I believe, I've read up to Peter #35.

Response #6:

It's my pleasure. I hope you make some good friends and have some good fellowship there – and get some good spiritual guidance as well.

On you current set of questions, let me just say that the new series on Hebrews (link) has much to do with all these issues. If you haven't read the paraphrase in the introduction yet (at the link), it will give you a good "toe-hold" on many of these topics.

In a nutshell, from God's point of view, the only one that matters, history, this world and this life are all about Jesus Christ. The Old Covenant was composed of shadows which represented the first advent and the cross, but the New is all about celebrating – and being empowered by – the spiritual reality behind those shadows, those promises, now being completely fulfilled. Jesus has come! More than that, He has won the victory of victories at the cross, has been resurrected, and has entered not a copy of the heavenly throne room but the actual presence of the Father on our behalf! His work has been proclaimed acceptable, He has been glorified and seated at the Father's right hand. And as a result He has won for us the gift of the Holy Spirit through whose empowerment we have the right, the duty, and the obligation to exploit our Master's victory by doing what He wants us to do – which is to grow spiritually, progress in our walk with Him, passing the maturity tests which come our way, and then enter into the vineyard ourselves in helping our brothers and sisters in Christ do likewise.

New things have come! We are a new creation! We are now on the offensive for Jesus Christ, and the gates of hell themselves cannot stop us from accomplishing what He wants us to accomplish . . . if we are willing.

But going backwards to those shadows which spoke of His coming the first time is saying, in effect, that He never actually came. Or it's like saying that what He did wasn't good enough. It's such terrible blasphemy. Paul wrote Hebrews when he learned that those in Jerusalem for whom he cared were teetering on the brink of losing their faith entirely precisely through going back to the Law. Because going back the to the Law which Christ has fulfilled entirely is entirely turning one's back on Christ. And yet, that is where much of the church-visible is today, to one degree or another. Since even a little leaven leavens the whole lump, even those who are least compromised by legalism are still compromised. Better to be like Paul who proclaimed "We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you" (Galatians 2:5 NIV).

Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
Romans 3:31 NIV

What commands to avoid sin and be sanctified can the Law fulfill in us? None at all. Through the Law we merely become aware of our sinfulness (Rom.3:20). No one can be justified by the Law – only through faith (Gal.2:16). Love fulfills the Law (Rom.13:8-9). Love of the Lord and one's fellow believers is what the Law is all about in its true essence, and its requirements have now been fulfilled once and for all at the cross for those who know Jesus Christ come in the flesh, crucified for our sin, risen and glorified (Matt.22:36-40). If we really want to be obedient, if we really want to pursue sanctification (as well we should), there is only one way to do that effectively and without hypocrisy, namely, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit – who could only be given us once Christ was glorified (Jn.7:39).

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
2nd Corinthians 3:5-6 NIV

(16) But I tell you, walk in the Spirit and you will not carry out what the flesh lusts for. (17) For what the flesh lusts for is contrary to the Spirit's will, and the Spirit is opposed to what the flesh lusts for. Since these are diametrically opposed to each other in this way, what you are doing is not what you yourself choose. (18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. (19) The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; (20) idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; (21) drunkenness, orgies – and whatever is similar to all these things. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. (22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, uprightness, faith, (23) humility, self-control. Against such things, there is no Law. (24) Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its weaknesses and its lusts. (25) If we live because of the Spirit, let us also walk by means of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:16-25

But defense is only the beginning. To truly glorify Jesus, we need to be moving forward for Him, growing, progressing, producing, in hopes of eternal life and eternal reward . . . and NOT moving backward (which is what returning to the now defunct Law most definitely is doing).

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Colossians 2:16-17 NIV

In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
Hebrews 8:13 NKJV

As I say, much, much more to come on all this as the series on Hebrews rolls out (see now in Hebrew chapter one: Legalism). Until then, here are a few links for you:

The time of transition (in BB 6B)

Dispensations, Covenants, Israel and the Church I

Dispensations, Covenants, Israel and the Church II

The so-called mid-Acts dispensational debate

The Trinity and Messianic Legalism II

Apologetics, Legalism, Cults and Philosophy

The Law, Legalism, and Rome

Judaism and Legalism in the church-visible

The Trinity and Messianic Legalism

Believers in the World III: Prosperity Gospel, Tithing, Cults and Legalism

Legalism, Past and Present II

Legalism, Past and Present

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism IV: Unclean and Impure?

The Apostles, the Jerusalem Council, and Legalism then and now.

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism III

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism II

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism.

Combating Legalism VI

Combating Legalism V

Combating Legalism IV

Combating Legalism III

Combating Legalism II

Combating Legalism I

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hi Dr.

I pray all is well with you. Let me know if you need any specific prayers. I have a question as it relates to transition in the book of Romans. Why did the topic shift to discussing Israel in Romans 9-11? This seems like a break in his thought but I know it is not. Was there a debate in the church from the Jewish converts that they are superior than the gentile converts because of their lineage? I just need better grasp on why the abrupt transition in topics in these 3 chapters. It seems out of place, which I know it is not.

Thanks for your input and help.

In Christ Jesus our Lord

Response #7:

I think that it is evident throughout Romans that part of Paul's purpose is to minister to both gentile AND Jewish believers, and to calm the waters between the two groups.

Having finished his disquisition on salvation in chapters 1-8 (which is more focused on gentile issues), chapters 9-11 about Jewish believers are an important prelude to the second half of the epistle which is focused on how we all should live as Christians, now that we ARE saved and educated about that salvation. Gentiles needed to understand better the Jewish perspective, and the Jewish members of the church needed to be reminded of the true meaning of what it is to be Jewish in God's eyes rather than in terms of tradition.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hi Dr Luginbill,

Okay so, I am on the Hamartiology part of the Bible Basics series. And the question I have from reading the recent part I was on meshes well with what I was just asking about the law.

1) On this verse:
In Romans 2:14: "...for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves..."

Is he saying the Mosaic law?

2) In Romans 7:6 "But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter." Gentiles were never under the Mosaic law. They couldn't have been because the agriculture does not work the same in other parts of the world for the festivals, as one example. How have we died to a law we were never under?

The present Jews seem to think gentiles have a sort of divine law from Noah (not to eat blood and that kind of thing), the "Noahide laws." Is this what Paul is referencing?

The way I had it framed in my mind earlier was to make sense of this. If there were an Eternal law (for lack of better term) that would be what the gentiles should live up to (not to murder, not to steal, etc), and the Mosaic law was one expression of it to a set people at a set time and place, these verses made sense, I thought.

Could you please help me a bit more on this?


Response #8:

1) The "law" in Romans 2:14-16 is not just the Law of Moses but standards of behavior which anyone would consider righteous. Paul is showing the Jewish believers in Rome that their idea of superiority – and therefore of salvation – through the Law of Moses is illogical because there are plenty of non-Jews in the world who act in a decent way without that Law. He is not saying they are saved; he is saying that God knows the intents of every heart and that all this will be revealed in the end.

2) Paul had two audiences in Rome, Jews and gentiles, with the gentiles having the problems of intolerance of Jewish customs and skewing toward a lack of sanctification, and with some of the Jewish believers being still reliant on the Law and disdaining gentiles who were not (and thus influencing some of them to try and "keep the Law"). So this is not a historical analysis on Paul's part but a true statement of the present facts at Rome wherein "if the shoe fits, wear it": all believers are free from the Law, you and I as well, regardless of how we may sometimes feel about it when we read scripture and regardless of whether or not some in our ambit are pressuring us to follow the Law or suggesting that we should.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed you from the Law of sin and death (i.e., the Mosaic Law).
Romans 8:2

There's a lot of talk about "Noahide" laws nowadays (most of it not at all scriptural), but I doubt Paul ever gave this issue a thought (I don't find any evidence of such a notion being present here or anywhere else in the New Testament).

I don't think your "take" is wrong per se. My old mentor Col. Thieme called this sort of natural law, the law of right and wrong with which God infused the human conscience and which He empowers in all nations to one degree or another, "the laws of divine establishment". What I have to say about this can be found in SR 4 in the section "Law and nationalism as restrainers of satanic influence" at the link.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hi Dr L,

1) He seems to go back and forth. In Romans 2:12 he seems to specifically mean the Mosaic law, but in other verses the more general universal standards you mentioned. Am I reading right?

2) What does "perish without the law" mean? I mean as opposed to other perishing.

3) If I am reading right, this is not just the Mosaic law, but the universal basic human standards too right? Like in Rom.3:19-20.

Thank you for helping me.

Response #9:

1) Paul does use Law and related terms to express general divine standards as well as the Mosaic Law in particular, but for him that is not necessarily any contradiction since these general divine standards are also embodied in the Law of Moses (for a discussion, see the link: stoicheia).

2) "with and without the Law" means the end result of death without belief is condemnation regardless of whether or not the person in question was trying to "keep the Law".

3) This is speaking of the Law of Moses whose purpose, as Paul affirms many times (e.g., Rom.3:20), was to convict of sin – not to save through following it but to lead to salvation through demonstrating the need for that salvation.

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Rom 3:19-20 NKJV

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #10:

I am having a hard time telling when Paul means the law in the sense of the gentiles' conscience (with or without the Mosaic law at the same time) vs just the Mosaic law.

3a) On number 3, why would the whole world be guilty of not obeying the law of Moses, if this is the Mosaic Law. that it is speaking of. Or does it mean both? Or does it mean that (there already being the implication that gentiles either don't have the law/basic morality (for those who sear their conscience) or if they do they are guilty of breaking that too), and so he moves to directly speak of the Mosaic law-that those under it are guilty. The conclusion then being the whole world as guilty (because he first took care of the category of the gentiles before and by implication (as guilty), and all that is left is the Jews, so he can then say 'the whole world.'

3b) But then it says through the law we become conscious of sin, I am guessing that for the gentile part in mind he means the conscience lets them know they are doing wrong/sinning?

Response #10:

As to "I am having a hard time telling when Paul means the law in the sense of the gentiles' conscience (with or without the Mosaic law at the same time) vs just the Mosaic law", that is not surprising. But I'm not sure it makes much of a difference at all in the interpretation of any of the verses in question. Paul was deliberately ambiguous about this under the inspiration of the Spirit (so we know that this was a valid approach), no doubt in order to cast a wider net. He was writing to a mixed congregation and could not very well write one letter to the Jewish believers and another to the gentiles. In fact, it would have probably taken four letters if he parsed everything out since there were effectively four groups in Rome: 1) gentiles who "got" grace; 2) gentiles who were being influence into Jewish practices and legalism by legalistic Jews (in the manner of the Galatians); 3) Jews who "got" grace; 4) Jews who were influencing gentiles into Jewish practices and legalism.

On #3a, I don't think this is a question that can be answered in the abstract (that would be "committing theology", something I studiously try to avoid). If you give me a specific verse I'd be happy to talk about that.

On #3b, That's right. I think this means exactly what it says: if one reads the Law of Moses it becomes painfully obvious – for anyone being objective – that living an entirely sinless life is impossible, and that conviction was the underlying purpose of the Law: the Law is the "tutor" who leads us to salvation (Gal.3:24).

The way God has structured the universe and the human heart, it is certainly also true that anyone taking an objective look at themselves even without the Law will recognize (from this universal natural law to which, as you notice, the conscience responds, at least initially until the heart is deliberately hardened; link) that they are sinners and in need of some answer to the problem of sin and death and judgment (that is natural revelation; link).

An untold number of pastors and "scholars" over the years have tried to understand all of the ins and outs of Romans without, in my view, figuring it all out successfully (as is evident reading their books). One of the reasons for that is not taking into account Paul's purpose and audience (see above and prior email). I think you evidence a very good and deep understanding of the truth of these things.

So please do keep reading Ichthys. Only pastor-teachers are responsible to dig these things out for themselves – everyone else gets to be a "consumer". So enjoy!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hi Bob,

Another picayune question: In the KJV, Daniel asks for "pulse" but NIV translates that as vegetables, Is it legumes or vegetables in general? That it's singular in the KJV suggest the general category of vegetables is the meaning. Do we know one way or the other? How do you translate it?

I'm wondering what I should learn from that... In practice, I generally eat just vegetables most of the week but the "King's" meats a couple of days. I don't grow livestock but I do grow vegetables, so there's a certain amount of bias there:)

It's seed starting time down here! We're in the 70s for a few days. Average date of last frost is 3/14. I hope that holds true. The mesquites haven't leafed yet, which is the most reliable sign of the end of winter. But butterflies are out and those infernal harlequin bugs are already on my collards. [Expletive deleted.]

In Jesus,

Response #11:

Things really do get started a lot earlier in Texas. It's beautiful up here . . . but we all know about March (at least in these regions, anything can happen, especially before St. Paddy's day).

On "pulse", the word in Daniel is a hapax legomenon, meaning it occurs only here in the Bible (actually twice but in the same context); the root has to do with sowing seeds so it does seem that this means "non-meat", "sown stuff", but that is about all we can say.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hello Bob!

So far, rosemary and arugula are blooming here. Butterflies are feeding on them. Collards are leafing but the harlequin bugs have already come out and found them. (Paying for past sins?) In general, what happens here in spring is about five to six weeks ahead of your area

Thanks for the clarification of "pulse." Vegetables in general made more sense to me and, in many ways, makes more sense today. What little I understand of ancient ways, elite diets were meat focused and the meats were generally not that fresh. "Fine" flour was sifted of all bran and germ so it was sifted of most vitamins and nutrients -- consequently promoting poor health and disease. To be fair, what I know of medieval diets or think I know of medieval diets, may not apply to the diet typical of the elite in Daniel's time but it doesn't seem to be that different today and fits with Daniel's request.

Thank you for your prayers. You and yours, my friend, are in my prayers daily.

In our Lord,

Response #12:

Butterflies already. Wow! We plant for the little fellows (zinnias, nasturtiums, fennel, milk weed, various other flowers and LOTS of butterfly bushes), but we usually don't see a ton of them until late summer.

As to diets, I stick with Paul:

For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving. 1Timothy 4:4 KJV

And Peter's instructions:

And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.”
Acts 10:13-15 NKJV

And with our Lord of course:

“Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)
Mark 7:18-19 NIV

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hi Bob,

Another translation question. I came to a screeching halt in my periodic cover to cover pass in the KJV on Numbers 28:7 when I read that "strong wine" was to be poured on the altar for a drink offering. A little confusing because the only way to preserve grape juice is to ferment so I assume it was undiluted. I checked NIV and it rendered the same as "fermented wine" which is an oxymoron.

I know the Methodists believe that wine was actually grape juice which is what they use in their communion services. Or at least used to. However, for Noah to have passed out from his wine tells me it was indeed fermented, so the NIV translation makes little sense to me. A repetitive redundancy?

What is the actual meaning -- or which one is closest?

In Jesus,

Response #13:

The most common Hebrew word for wine is yayin, and you can see from this that western languages picked up the word (e.g., Latin vinum, Greek oinos) from middle eastern viticulture. However, at Numbers 28:7 we have not yayin but shekar, which means "strong drink". They didn't have what we call "hard liquor" in the ancient world, of course, because that requires distilling and that process was not invented until much later. They did have beer (Egyptian) and other fruit wines, all of which could be considered "strong drink".

However, they did also have what is called in Hebrew tiyrosh, usually translated "new wine" (English "must"). This was the first gleanings from the winepress, unfiltered and un-aged. With no refrigeration, fermentation happened pretty quickly, so this also gained an alcoholic content (think "hard apple cider" if one leaves it too long), but not to the level of the semi-refined and aged product we and they call "wine".

My guess is that shekar is used here to make sure that it is understood that "full wine" as opposed to "new wine" is to be used – as befits a sacrifice to the Lord.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hi Bob,

I'm glad I asked. Thank you. I was about to get off in the weeds again. The French have a new wine called Beaujolais nouveau that's eagerly awaited and gone pretty quickly.

Yours in our Lord,

Response #14:

When you say "gone pretty quickly", do you mean selling out of stock – or just as soon as anyone samples it (lol).

Never been much on wine myself. Doesn't agree with me either. But everyone in the ancient world drank it (you were an odd duck indeed if you didn't). However, they almost always mixed it with water. It acted as a bacterial disinfectant which was healthy (cf. 1Tim.5:23), because the water quality in those days was generally very poor.

Here's a link which will lead to more:

Are Christians forbidden from drinking alcohol?

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #15:

I have learned a lot about how to make do with what you have by learning about Italian cooking. I don't really do Italian cooking per se. I cook in something of the Italianate style. Pasta, to me, is an alternative to bread that doesn't mold or spoil. This came in today on one of the RSS feeds I check occasionally:

"The word pasticcio apparently has origins in the kitchens of ancient Rome and comes from the Latin ‘pasticium’. Pasticium used together with ‘laganum’ or laganon’ referred to sheets of dough stuffed with meat and cooked in the oven. Food historians believe this was the ancestor of today’s lasagna."

True or not, I don't know. It seems to go along with what you told me earlier about Roman pasta.

I should also add that garum, rotten fish, is actually quite good as a seasoning. I have to admire the first one who had courage enough to try it -- or was desperate enough to try it. Red Boat Fish Sauce, made in Vietnam is just fermented fish and water. As near as I can tell, made exactly as was Roman garum. Easier to use and wider applications than anchovies but about the same effect..

I'm still curious about the unleavened bread of the Israelites. since I see no way they could eat "unleavened" bread. Unless it means no added leaven - aka sourdough. Yeast is a natural part of grains as it is of grapes. Matzo/Matza, eaten today at Jewish passover (cracker, really) is interesting. Apparently they have to mix it and get it in the oven in 18 minutes or less to avoid yeast growth. Fortunately I have no worries about that -- or a dog in the hunt as they say down here.

If you don't care about pasta, please ignore this. The above paragraph is what sparked my interest and about the only thing relevant in the piece otherwise.


In Jesus,

Response #15:

Very interesting!

I know about garum. While modern Italian cooking is wonderful, the Romans weren't at all known for any particular culinary prowess. There is actually a surviving ancient cookbook in Latin by a fellow named Apicius (here's a link); looking over these recipes suggest to me that even the cooking in England today is better than the best of ancient Rome.

On yeast, I have no reason to believe that present day matzos are much different from what they had at the time. The yeast prohibition is literal, but it's important to remember that, like blood, it's symbolic. The symbolism is what is really important. Just as blood represents life and so must not be eaten (although it's probably technically impossible to have zero molecules of blood in meat), so also yeast is prohibited because it represents impurity and sin (even if 100% of all yeast spores can never be eliminated).

Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed [for us already].
1st Corinthians 5:7 NIV

Got some tortellini in the fridge as we speak – maybe I'll have it for supper.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #16:

When I read the OT, I get an idea of what love is. Or at least what it looks like in certain situations. Really, I mean, much of it I don't think is easily concluded just from nature (what it means to love God or love other people). Shoot the idea of loving a law (God's law) I certainly think many many people would not inherently think that is something to do. Like me. but I read about such a thing in the Psalms and my feelings change.

And I think there is this idea that you have to learn what love (or even goodness) actually entails in Jonah when the Lord says that the people there did not even know their right hand from their left. And the Mosaic law is a chunk of the OT. So it is like I have a book that details examples of what love looks like and am then told that I am in trouble if I learn from a certain chunk of it what love can look like and then try to emulate because that part is 'fulfilled.'

Did that make sense?

And have a good weekend!

Response #16:

Here is what Paul says:

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
Romans 15:4 NIV

And as our Lord said,

"Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”
Matthew 13:52 NKJV

So of course we love to read and learn from the OT. When "Law" is mentioned in the NT (and usually when I use the word too), it refers mainly to the commands in the Pentateuch which were unique to and specific for Israel, dietary regulations, tabernacle regulations, various laws having to do with the specific outward holiness that marked Israel out as God's special nation. These were symbolic and their symbols have been fulfilled by the cross, so that while we can learn from them – if we "use/interpret" the Law correctly (1Tim.1:8) – we are not to go back to the shadows of the Law in following its rituals now that Christ has fulfilled it – as if we are saved that way instead of by faith in Christ. For that would be like saying He died for nothing.

I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!
Galatians 2:21 NIV

Hope you get some well-deserved rest this weekend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Happy Resurrection Day, Robert Luginbill!

I pray you're well.

It was a weekend of two seders, and now church this AM.


Response #17:

Hope it all went well and hope you and yours are doing well!

Thanks for thinking of me – and thanks for the prayers!

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hi Bob,

I sent along the invitation. I'm still free most evenings, even though work is more busy now than normal. Things are going good so far. Only thing meriting prayer is probably that long drive back home.

Hope you and yours had a pleasant Easter. I've never been a sentimental one when it comes to specific days, and I confess that I was perhaps more amused than I should have been about the amount of horror that was voiced about me traveling for work on Palm Sunday and then being away for Easter. One would think I'd sacrificed puppies upon an altar or something.

Easter t'was a productive day though. __ and I got up early to be able to chat with __, who is 14 hours ahead of us, I worked with my colleague to get stuff ready for our Teams next week, and then I spent a nice block of time working on ministry stuff, which has been harder to do during the week on this trip.

In Him,

Response #18:


If you are able to get to your responsibilities to the Lord even when T.A.D., that is a victory in and of itself. Well done!

I don't put much stock in "special days" either, especially when they are not even in the Bible as "festivals" to be observed by us now that we are freed from the Law.

"Everyone who believes is justified through [Jesus Christ] from everything that you could not be justified from through the law of Moses."
Acts 13:39 CSB

We celebrate our Lord, His death for us and His resurrection every day – if we are doing this right, in my view.

Keeping you in prayer for a safe return.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #19:

On the Golden Rule, you mentioned in ICHTHYS about it being "NOT doing things to others one would not wish to be done to oneself," but when I looked at the Greek for Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31, and it is a positive on both (do unto others as you would have them do to you, not don't do what you would have done to you). What am I missing?

As I read ICHTHYS I think I am slowly understanding things better. I have in my mind, during all those verses about the law leading to life, that there is the Mosaic law, and the eternal law (for lack of better term), and that the Mosaic law had laws that were only to a certain people for a certain time period, but that it also had at least part of the eternal law. When I say eternal law, I just mean things that would have gone for everyone everywhere (like not to worship idols) (vs laws just for the Jews during that time period-like the specific codified tithing they had or the extra allowance for divorce). And for them to follow the Mosaic law is obedience to the Lord (which He rewards for). So when all those verses talk about how the law leads to life, it is probably both of those things (but only the Mosaic law when it was used by the right people during the time period it was active, because that is how the Lord commanded it). The Mosaic law and "eternal law" (for lack of a better term) would be broken by everyone and so could never be used to attain salvation (but that is a whole other thing). So whether a gentile living on the other side of the planet, or a Jew in Israel, even if both were striving to live according to what the Lord commanded as closely as possible, would look to Him for salvation.

a) Do you think I am understanding it correctly now?

b) The other issue I am trying to understand is: was it a sin for Cain to kill Abel before the Lord had set down the consequences (Genesis 9:6)? Or from "things strangled" or any number of others of the 'eternal law' (for lack of a better term) before it was literally told to gentiles (because we would be talking gentiles here).? I am thinking it must have been, because if gentiles could not sin, why would we be commanded to repent from sins (if they were not sins) by Jonah and Paul (for example)?

Response #19:

It depends upon how you interpret the verb poieo (Greek, "do/make"). I would prefer to understand it as "treat you" because "do for you" makes it sound as if this is talking exclusively about positive actions we may take ("do TO you", an equally and actually more likely use of the dative, is less prone to misinterpretation).

When you stop to think about it, when it comes to interactions with people we know, people with whom we're only marginally acquainted, and especially people we don't know at all – the most likely situation – for the most part we just want our privacy and our property respected: we want to be left alone and not interfered with. So that is how we should treat others as well. This is not to say that this rule is never going to include doing something positive to others, but our Lord does say that "the Law" is summed up by this rule – and the Law, when it comes to interactions with others, is 99% "DON'T do this or that to someone else".

"Law", torah, means "teaching", and the "teaching" we are talking about here is the truth. The Law of Moses was designed for the Israelites as a people/nation. It did embody God's greater truths, but taught these through symbols and shadows which have now been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Just because something is not delineated as a crime does not make it OK; just because something is not delineated as a sin does not mean it is not a sin. That is the meaning of Romans 5:12-14 (link to expanded translation and discussion).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #20:

I was worried I had given you a lot/too much and you just bam bam bam respond so fast and in detail to all of it. Anyway thank you!

Response #20:

I guess you caught me on a good day!

One thing I did forget to add about the golden rule. Where believers are concerned, our primary positive "do for/to others" is the proper functioning of our spiritual gifts et al. Because of the historical dysfunction of the church visible. most are unable to think of this "do unto others" in any other way than physical charity (which may or may not be needed or even wanted). But when we pray for other believers, we're certainly doing what they would have us do, likewise if we are encouraging them, likewise if we are benefiting them in whatever way our spiritual gifts and the Spirit empower us to do.

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 5:13-14 NIV


The Golden Rule I

The Golden Rule II

So thanks for your prayers and encouragement, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.


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