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Question #1:

Hi Bob!

Question, these giants were on the earth before the flood, and I read that the lord flooded the earth to eliminate these giants because they contaminated the gene pool except Noah and his family.

Since they were drowned and Noah and his family survived, how did the giants, Nephilim, get back on earth in Joshua and King David's time?

Your old friend

Pray for you daily also my friend

Response #1:

Good to hear from you too!

As to your question, your first postulate is absolutely correct.

Until recently (antichrist and no doubt his ten kings), there haven't been any nephilim on the earth, not since the flood exterminated them – and not since the Lord confined the offending fallen angels in the Abyss, an action which put a stop to any further such angelic-human interaction . . . until allowed in the limited cases mentioned now for the sake of fulfillment of prophecy.

When you say "Joshua", you are probably referring to the false report of the cowardly ten scouts who opposed the good report of Caleb and Joshua:

"And there we saw the nephilim! Sons of Anak – from the nephilim! And [compared to them] we were like grasshoppers in our eyes! And that's just what we were in their eyes too!"
Numbers 13:33

As I say where I discuss this passage (see the link: Q/A #6 in "Genesis Questions"), this is an accurate report . . . of what these cowards and liars said – but it is not confirmed by the two true followers of the Lord, Caleb and Joshua, because the report was in fact not true.

When you say "David", you are probably referring to the mention of Goliath and his brothers in 2nd Samuel 21:22 (1Chron.20:8) as being born of "the giant" (KJV). The Hebrew word here, rapha', refers to a race of people, the Rephaites (or Rephayim) who, while they were notably large compared to other peoples in their day, were entirely human (this is also discussed at the previous link).

Thanks for your prayers, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

"My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children."
(Hoses 4:6)

Are they destroyed because they lack knowledge, because they reject knowledge, or both?

Response #2:

Well, rejection does come next here in the text, so the two are linked in the scripture; and if one rejects the truth they will not have the truth, because the truth is only made one's own in the heart by believing it. So even if someone has heard the truth, if they have rejected it they have no epignosis, no "truth believed" – the only kind that ever does anyone any good.

Question #3:

Dear Teacher

You shared a link where you said that Reuben forfeited his double portion to Judah. I read that link before and when I looked at 1 Chronicles 5:1, this is what I saw:

1 Chronicles 5:1 NASB
[1]Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (for he was the firstborn, but because he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel; so that he is not enrolled in the genealogy according to the birthright.

I think I asked in a later question about this, but isn't the translation correct? Also, how do we interpret Jacob's later adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh to inherit as sons rather than grandchildren in light of that verse?

Thank you so very much for your prayers and for continuing to help me with this race, Sir. I pray for you too, Sir.

Yours in our very dear Lord

Response #3:

The "firstborn rights" in 1st Chronicles 5:1 refers only to the double portion (see the link); it is this that went to Joseph – who became two tribes instead of one as a result. The other blessings of the firstborn (rulership) went to Judah and to Levi (priesthood – which later falls to the Lord as well, even though He is of the tribe of Judah; cf. Heb.7:12-14).

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Exodus 1:5. Does this mean that Joseph and his family were counted among the seventy? Or that because they were already in Egypt they were not? I'm thinking it is the former because of Genesis 46:26-27. Is that correct?

Response #4:

That is my understanding too.

Question #5:

Exodus 1:9. I suppose it is possible that the king was telling the truth but it still surprises me that the Hebrews became the majority in Egypt. Is there much sense in interpreting this verse to say that the king may have been lying because of some fear he had of the Israelites? Interestingly, the fear of an exodus of the Israelites was already evident in verse 10. Why was it important to keep them at this point? They were not yet slaves, were they? That brings a question to mind. God said that they would be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years (Genesis 15:13, Acts 7:6) and that was thirty years after they got into Egypt (Exodus 12:41), so their slavery must have started soon after Joseph. From Genesis 46:34, 47:4,6, it seems to me that it was the situation with the Pharaoh of Joseph's day that eventually became slavery for them. Also, Joseph must have seen the slavery and mistreatment commence if he was 110 when he died. He was about 39 when his father and the rest of their family moved to Egypt. So, maybe this was the Jacob - Laban dynamic on a much larger scale: the Egyptians have a relationship where being associated with the Israelites results in great blessing for them but they find it hard to stomach the greater blessings that come to Israel through whom they themselves are blessed so in envy and jealousy they try to stem the blessings and every failure only makes them more resentful so that what may have started out mild while Joseph still lived eventually became a situation of perhaps irrational fear. The same way that Laban did not want Jacob close to him but wouldn't let him go, the Egyptians fear having the Israelite multitude with them but don't want them to leave either. Is this a reasonable way to understand this passage?

Response #5:

The problem here is the translation: "The people of the children of Israel is plenteous, and they are powerful compared to us". We also have to allow for some hyperbole in the second part; Pharaoh only needs semi-plausibility, being Pharaoh. Nice comments on your part here (hope you are saving this stuff)

Question #6:

Exodus 1:15. Are these midwives who were Hebrew or midwives who took care of Hebrew women?

Response #6:

They are Jewish as well as those they cared for.

Question #7:

Exodus 1:19. I've always felt that these women lied here. I don't think that the context makes it an absolute certainty but it seems to me to suggest it. If that is correct, then what once puzzled me here makes plenty sense now. They lied to save the people of God from unjust persecution. And therefore God blessed them. So, sometimes, for example in situations like this, God would even bless a person for lying. But is it correct to think that they may have been lying?

Response #7:

This is a good example of how our secular appraisal of what is a lie and what is the truth is skewed to our own imperfect natural view of the world. The truth is the Word of God. The truth is Jesus Christ. The truth is what we tell other believers to encourage them, guide them, and edify them. Being factual about what we say to others and avoided deceiving others is also an important aspect of a sanctified walk. However, we are not required to volunteer information that would be harmful to ourselves or to others. Keeping one's mouth shut is a noted biblical virtue mentioned throughout both testaments. But there are times when we may be pressured, sometimes very severely or with such consequences that we have to answer. At such times, we need to consider both the source of the pressure and the consequences of giving a factual answer. If a crazed gunman invades our room and asks "Are there any children here?!", we would not be doing right by telling them that there are indeed some hiding under the bed. This passage you ask about is just such a case. If the midwives had answered truthfully, they would have been executed. Now dying for one's convictions in the Lord is not a bad thing at all. But consider: if the midwives had allowed themselves to be martyred, that would have condemned a generation of Hebrew males to death as well, because without their godly deception nothing would have prevented the destruction of those children. So this was a righteous act, and the sequel, approval by the Lord, makes that very clear. There are a few postings at Ichthys about this, but one caveat here is that we seldom find ourselves in a position where being factually accurate in a response we necessarily must give will result in death to ourselves AND others. So while there are times when we are not only allowed but actually constrained by the truth NOT to give the facts to others straight, these are not common occurrences, and we need to be very careful about going this route. In practical terms in our lives so far (before the Tribulation), most uncomfortable situations of a related type can be addressed simply by holding our peace, because 1) no one is going to die, and 2) we are not under severe pressure to give an answer. This link leads to the others (in Q/A #2).

Question #8:

Exodus 1:22. In the footnote, NASB says that some versions insert "Hebrews". Was it only to the Hebrews that the king gave the law or was it to all his people? I'm thinking that he has come far enough at this point not to care about appearing righteous or just in this matter, so it makes sense that he would have singled out the Hebrews for persecution. Exodus 2:6 appears to agree with me. Is that a reasonable assessment?

Response #8:

This is only for the Hebrews, even though it doesn't say so in the text. It's obvious that such is the case so it doesn't need to be said in Exodus (the LXX puts it in). I have read this in English and Hebrew very many times over the years, and this is the first I've ever noticed the "problem".

Question #9:

Exodus 2:6. This seems to me to suggest that what Jochebed did with Moses was not uncommon. Perhaps other children were saved this way. And given verse 9, perhaps an entire economy had been built up around it. Is it possible that because of the king's edict, God made the Egyptians find it harder to conceive and bear children and perhaps even establish families (cf 1:21) at all so that the Hebrew boys found homes in spite of the king's desires? In addition to the later plagues, that may also help to explain why the Egyptians were so willing to give their worldly goods to the departing Israelites later on. At least some of them may have been adopted children who were leaving and families who shared parentage in this manner. I am not sure that that is a necessary explanation but it seems likely to me. And I wonder if the pampering of this population of adopted kids by their adoptive Egyptian parents did not add to the recalcitrance of the Israelites in the desert. Is it also possible that they explain the "mixed multitude" reference in Exodus 12:38 or must that only refer to the joining to Israel of people of other nationalities in their exodus?

Response #9:

I take the treatment of Moses to be unique, but we don't know what we don't know.

Question #10:

Exodus 2:10. I used to wonder how Moses even knew he was Hebrew until I read (long ago somewhere not Ichthys) an explanation of this verse which said that Hebrew children were weaned very late at about two years of age so that by that time, they had an idea where they came from. Even two years seems too early to me to be able to have a definite knowledge of one's cultural or ethnic identity. Is it possible that this was later? Could Moses have grown into young adulthood with his family before going to live permanently with the Pharaoh's daughter? That may make sense on some level. The hard work of raising a child would have been left for the Hebrew families with the adoptive Egyptian parents taking the children from time to time maybe to familiarize them with their soon-to-be permanent status until they come of age and will not be an embarrassment to their adoptive families. That just comes from my head. Is that even possible? How could Moses have known that he was Hebrew? And where could he have got that tendency to fight for the Hebrews from? Perhaps it just came from being very inquisitive by nature? He after all turned aside to look at the curious burning bush that wouldn't burn up later on. Do you have a thought one way or another, Sir?

Response #10:

We know from the examples of Leah and Rebecca that nurses were dedicated to the child they nursed sometimes even for life. There are parallels for that throughout the ancient world as well. So we don't have to imagine Moses being separated from his mother immediately after being weaned.

Question #11:

Exodus 2:13 - 14. Moses seems to have been a thoughtful and very fair-minded person. It seems as if he tried to work through the dispute between the two Hebrews before acting one way or another and succeeded. That must have fed directly into his administrative duties later on when he led Israel. Also, he seems to have been an able enough fighter to have caused worry for the offender in this case (cf verse 17). Also, the resentment expressed here may also be indicative of a divide between those Hebrew boys adopted by Egyptian families and those who were raised by Hebrew families. But I don't see how that is even a useful insight if it is an insight at all.

Response #11:

As mentioned, I see Moses as unique, but we don't know what we don't know. Stephen tells us the following:

And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.
Acts 7:22 NKJV

Question #12:

Exodus 2:22. Moses was referring to being a Hebrew in Egypt rather than being a stranger in Midian, wasn't he? Or is it good for both? Also, this might suggest that Moses only recently found out that he was a Hebrew, right, Sir?

Response #12:

I take this to mean Midian. Moses knew he was Hebrew, and he also knew God:

For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.
Acts 7:25 NKJV

Question #13:

Exodus 3:1. "West" has "rear" as an alternative reading in the footnote. Could you explain that?

Response #13:

The main point of orientation in Hebrew is eastward – where the Lord will come from (and that is why the temple is oriented eastward). So east can also be front and west rear – and vice versa (here "behind" 'achar could mean "west of").

Question #14:

Exodus 3:1. Was Horeb commonly known then as the mountain of God? Or is this what it came to be known as by Moses at the time?

Response #14:

A good question. When Moses wrote this, he certainly knew it was "the mountain of God" – because that is where the Lord appeared to him in the burning bush. But there is no indication I know of in scripture that this was known by him (or anyone else) before that.

Question #15:

Exodus 3:3. Is this to be understood to be the general attitude of those who are being saved? Do they turn aside to attempt to understand unusual things? I consider that had it not been for a willingness to be surprised and confused and therefore taught, many of us would probably not be saved or not even progress in spiritual growth. It seems to me that my family, for example, is stagnating specifically because of a commonly held and actually verbalized belief that there must never be room for confusion or doubt or question in their beliefs. If things don't make sense, they are fine with either ignoring them or putting some concocted value on them and just letting them be. But if Paul had not been perplexed and at least a little confused by the vision of Jesus Christ which he saw on the road to Damascus, would he have been willing to listen to Ananias later? I think that this is different from what may be called scientific curiosity which is arrogant in itself: it supposes that there must be no ignorance or doubt and therefore it seeks to capture understanding and force conformity upon a world it finds threatening because of its complexity and unyielding nature. But there is a humility that seems to me to be evident in this hunger to understand strange things that seems to be what I see here in Moses. Is that correct?

Response #15:

No doubt Moses was a believer at this point. Indeed, he was forty years in this wilderness drawing closer to the Lord. Seeing something as unusual as this, however, would attract anyone's attention, I think. If you saw a boulder levitating off of the earth – or something equally strange that defied normal physics – no doubt you'd look into it. I don't think that's arrogant; merely normal human curiosity. The epiphany to Paul was unique and left no doubt about what was happening, nor could it be ignored (so a different situation there, I think). But in both cases the Lord made it very clear to the two who received the miraculous appearances that it was He who was speaking to them. I don't think that this is a question of faith. When unbelievers stand before the Lord, they'll know it's Him too – even though in life they rejected Him. The test of faith comes after the epiphany, because only a few people in the history of the world have loved the Lord as much as Moses and Paul did. Once He appeared to them, they did exactly as He would have them do (as far as humanly possible; even great men make mistakes). But most people receiving such a blessing would not respond commensurately. And that explains in part why they don't receive it.

Question #16:

Exodus 3:4. I think you taught me that everyone who really wants the Truth is eventually provided with it but that God does not force it upon anyone. This verse appears to illustrate that. God only spoke to Moses when he took an action to investigate or seek to understand this mystery. Is this a reasonable application? Also, knowing that the burning bush is a type of the sacrifice of Christ, it seems to me that the fact that God spoke from within it is yet another proof that our Lord Jesus Christ is true Deity.

Response #16:

First part: a good application; second part: yes, this is a Christophany as we know from verse 15; and since the Lord is described as YHVH (Ex.3:4), it's impossible to argue that He is not being described both as LORD and as separate from the Father.

Question #17:

Exodus 3:14. The footnote on I AM says, "Related to the Name of God, YHWH, rendered Lord, which is derived from the verb HAYAH, to be." I don't remember where now but I think that you said somewhere that this name sort of means "the IS". Or, at least, that was what I came to understand. So that the word Lord is really saying "The Is", or something like that. I can't really remember how you put it. But I believe that this name signifies the absolute otherness of God from creation. He abides. He always is. He does not change. He drives everything and is driven by nothing. He is absolute and ultimate reality where everything else is mere shadow. That is what it seems to me that the Name says of Him: His utter reliability and invulnerability. Is this right, Sir?

Response #17:

Nicely put; He is the essence of existence; here's the link to this at Ichthys.

Question #18:

Exodus 4:4. It seems to me that this is also an illustration not to become reckless even when we have the power of God on our side. The staff became a real snake and I think it would have been very reckless indeed to try to pick it up by the head unless God expressly told Moses to. Granted that he was afraid enough to run from what used to be his staff, I think that it was more than just to accommodate his very human fear that the Lord told Moses to pick it up by the tail. During the Tribulation, when our Lord strikes the earth with all sorts of plagues, I think that we should not presume then to be untouchable by them if we act recklessly, for example, deciding to fetch and drink embittered water or water that has been turned to blood without His say-so because we presume that we shall not be harmed by the Lord's judgments since we are His. This is another way in which #1 - Do Take Shelter From The Storm - http://ichthys.com/Tribulation-Part7.htm#II._A_Tribulational_Code_of_Conduct and Isaiah 26:20-21, the driving text of that point, comes very much alive to me. Is this a legitimate way to
apply this Scripture, Sir?

Response #18:

I agree that prudence in all things (secular and spiritual) is always the best default position – as long as it is not a cloak for cowardice. These are judgment calls that have to be made on a case by case basis with the help of the Spirit.

Question #19:

Exodus 4:14. How did Moses know that the Lord had become angry? In what the Lord said subsequently, I don't find much to decide that He had become angry. And He did not do anything or was not recorded to have done something to Moses as a result of His Anger.

Response #19:

We're not told that Moses realized at the time that the Lord was angry (this is, of course, an anthropopathism); but since any representation of Him being angry is for our benefit, I would imagine that in His words and tone He let that be known. Tone can often carry a great deal of meaning.

Question #20:

Exodus 4:21 was the reason I was much exercised about hardness of heart in some email exchanges a while ago. I wondered how or why God would harden a human heart if He wants everyone to be saved. My understanding now is that what He did was reawaken Pharaoh's free will after Pharaoh continuously hardened his own heart with increasing judgment until he knew that he could no longer oppose God and lost his ability to resist Him. I think that just reawakening it - which I think involves giving the human subject the ability to choose to ignore prior discipline - is what makes it possible for Pharaoh to go on resisting God which is what he wants to do anyway. And it seems to me that that is what everyone who hardens their heart does. If a free will has been negated by overwhelming discipline, reawakening it may be what God refers to here as His hardening the heart of the person involved because then the person is given the ability to inure themselves to prior discipline. But said ability can also be used to repent, so it does not mean that God makes a man persist in disobedience. That is entirely the man's choice. Is this a reasonable way now to put this?

Response #20:

Without God's assistance, Pharaoh could never have resisted the way he did. He wanted to resist – and so he was allowed to follow his free will without the hindrance of being cowed and overawed by the majesty of God. Being flesh and blood, our circumstances do affect our decision making. If we are tired and fatigued and injured and depressed, we are likely not to exhibit the same degree of courage we might if we were well rested and feeling fine (cf. crack military units which become degraded by being too long in combat). If the Lord appeared to any unbeliever in glory (shielding him/her from being destroyed), said person would not be able to help falling down before Him in worship. But if the pressure were removed, they would revert to rejecting Him. Pharaoh is given special help to do what he wants to do in spite of seeing the amazing power of the Lord.

Question #21:

Exodus 5:  This chapter puts me in mind of the Christian walk. When we start looking to move forward and progress either in spiritual growth or ministry, that is, pretty much becoming more effective for the Lord, then our Enemy does his best to make our earthly walk a more difficult affair for us. It seems to me as if that has dissolved a problem I have right now but I am not altogether certain. My determination to make spiritual progress has lately come under more fire than I expected from quarters I did not expect either. I've never had a good time with my hosts since I came here four years ago. Lately, it seemed to me to get more unbearable and yesterday I began to react to it in a way I have never done. It was affecting me more than it ever has and I think it is precisely because I have changed over the past nine months, eight of which I have been away from here. I learned that I should not subject myself to unpleasant situations or persecution out of a false sense of humility or something. But I also need to adjust to accommodate reacting to unpleasant situations such as this in a harmless manner if I can actually do so. I think that that is the gist of "be harmless as doves but shrewd as serpents". I think I have some idea how I should proceed now in order to guard this progress that the Lord has so graciously given to me. I will continue to pray and trust the Lord to deliver me but I believe now that there may be a way that I can reduce the abuse that I have been suffering here without harming my hosts to whom I still owe gratitude for free room and board even if it has been very grudgingly given all this time.

Response #21:

This is a fine application on your part; you are an honorable Christian man.

Question #22:

Exodus 5:22 - 23. It seems to me like we are getting a glimpse into Moses's own spiritual progress at the time. Am I wrong to think that this prayer is indicative of "small faith"? That this was part of Moses's learning curve?

Response #22:

Given Hebrews 11:23-27 and the Lord's choice of him, I think we need to see this passage in light of the incredible pressure he was under. Few of us, regardless of the level of spiritual maturity we have reached, would have been likely to do better in my view. Evaluating a situation in comfort and at a far remove is another thing from actually experiencing it – and this had been going on for Moses for some time.

Question #23:

Exodus 6:3. It seems to me that the Lord is making the point that with the fathers, He was establishing His superiority to the gods that those around them preferred or something like that but now He is presenting Himself as the Only True God. I think that that is a very weak interpretation. But I do wonder why He did not reveal Himself to them by that Name and why it is important enough for Him to make this difference known to Moses and through him to us.

Response #23:

I would translate, "but my Name YHVH was not explained to them (i.e., "made fully known to"; cf. NIV). But He did explain the Name to Moses (Ex.3:14).

Question #24:

Exodus 6:9. Seems to me to offer a bit of a parallel to the Great Apostasy. Or at least an explanation of apostasy in general. Satan's play often works very well with the pains of this life driving many to despondency so that they get impatient with God. I am very grateful that I caught the development in my own self today. I was not angry with God but I was beginning to seek a quick way to get out of my current living situation and the more I thought of it the less attention I was giving to my spiritual priorities and concerns. If I continued down that path, I am quite sure that not only would I have ended up not even finishing my daily routine of Bible-reading and prayer today, I would have lost this system I very recently built around my spiritual priorities and consequently at least some of my zeal. If it went on even longer, apostasy beckons because any disappointment in my frantic efforts to escape the unpleasantness might only make me less and less positive toward God and more and more negative toward Him in time.

Response #24:

It's an excellent observation and application.

Question #25:

Exodus 6:12. Moses again on his learning curve?

Response #25:

See answer above at Ex.6:9. In both cases, this is not the behavior we would have liked to see / hear about. But we all have feet of clay. Moses was one of the greatest – but not perfect. My main point on these passages is that we too might be found somewhat deficient if caught between two million rebels and an authoritarian tyrant who wanted to kill us – with the situation and stress going on for some considerable time.

Question #26:

Exodus 6:20. This Amram is the verse 18 Amram, Kohath's son?

Response #26:

It would seem so. Generations were much longer then, especially in the line of faith; Moses and Aaron both lived to be well over a hundred. See Q/A #19 at the link.

Question #27:

Exodus 7:11. Sir, what can we know about sorcery exactly? What do the Scriptures say? It is part of my culture here that people can be cursed by others with the power of Satan. If life is not going too well with people including most Christians in Nigeria, there is a thriving "deliverance" economy that they are very quick indeed to turn to break curses and expel demons and whatnot. Exactly how does sorcery work? While I believe firmly that believers cannot be touched by curses or be possessed in any form by demons and that all discomfort a believer can face is divine discipline or a test of faith or both, I do wonder exactly what, if anything, we need to know about sorcery such as what this verse says. If Satan is allowed to and is able to perform "wonders" such as this and to do divination (Acts 16:16), exactly what can or should we attribute to him and what should we not? Is it sufficient to say that despite his obvious control of this world, he is subject to God's Eternal and Universal Sovereignty so that all that matters is that he can only do what God deliberately permits him to do?

Response #27:

I think you have said this well. Scripture says little about the subject (what little there is to be gleaned I have put in SR 4, section V, "Satan's Tactical Methodology"). The fact of the Bible's silence on the specifics of "how it is done" and "what it might be able to do" speaks volumes about the believer's need to let all this go and trust the Lord that nothing can harm him/her without the Lord's express approval (which would only be given in terms of extreme testing as in the case of Job for all who are genuinely walking with Him).

"For there is no sorcery against Jacob,
Nor any divination against Israel."
Numbers 23:23a NKJV

Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest.
Proverbs 26:2 NIV

Question #28:

Exodus 7:22. How were they able to replicate this miracle? Should we assume that there was water untouched by the plague and which was not in Goshen?

Response #28:

Probably from water taken out of makeshift wells (Ex.7:24).

Question #29:

Exodus 8:9. What does Moses mean by "the honor is yours"? The footnote gives an alternative reading of "glory over me". What does that mean?

Response #29:

The idiom means something more like "Do me the favor of . . ."; Moses gives Pharaoh the right to set the time to magnify the impact of the miracle.

Question #30:

Exodus 8:22 - 23. Why does the Lord make a difference only at this point but not prior? It was why until I began to study Ichthys, I assumed that Goshen suffered all the preceding plagues. It does make sense that God would have made a difference from the beginning. But why are we only hearing Him say it at this point?

Response #30:

Clearly, the Lord has been making such a distinction all along, but it suited the Spirit not to tell us this until this point. Analogously, when we read about all of the troubles of the Tribulation, we should not assume that God doesn't care for His children and that we will be subject to the judgments just like unbelievers will, just because it doesn't say we won't (and I'm confident that to a spiritually significant degree we won't).

Question #31:

Exodus 12:3, 6. Why is the lamb picked out on Day 10 but killed on Day 14? What is the lesson in there? And the feast only begins on Day 14 and lasts till Day 21?

Response #31:

I can't say that there's anything of symbolic importance in the day's numbering.

Question #32:

Exodus 12:7. Why do you refer to this in terms of the cross? Could it possibly have looked like a cross to them then or do you say that because the doorposts and the lintel can be made to form a cross?

Response #32:

The blood on the top middle of the lintel corresponds to the top of the cross' vertical member; the blood on the two doorposts corresponds to the tips of the cross' horizontal member. The cross itself cannot be visually seen but it clearly there – to all with eyes of faith.

Question #33:

Exodus 12:11. Can this be applied to how we should be as Christians? Once we receive Christ, we ought to be just like the Hebrews, ready and set to get on the high road to Zion. That is, we ought to receive Christ with a sense of urgency and a readiness to leave the world. And we should be even more so in the Tribulation. Is this meaningful?

Response #33:

A wonderful application!

Question #34:

Exodus 12:16. Is it possible that these two days symbolize the first and last Church Ages, the first the calling out of the Church including the Gentiles and the seventh, the resurrection of the whole Church to assemble with Christ?

Response #34:

The feast of unleavened bread represents the Jewish age; see the link.

Question #35:

Exodus 19:23. Moses is right? Why does God give him this command again and insist on his obedience?

Response #35:

Important things need to be repeated. If someone placed a minefield in my neighborhood, I would be thankful for multiple warning signs.

Question #36:

Exodus 20:24 - 25. An altar of earth suggests to me that this is a symbol of the humanity of our Lord and Savior. An altar of uncut stones suggests the same to me in the sense that there is no human effort involved in our salvation. Are these correct understandings of what the Lord was signifying here?

Response #36:

Very nice.

Question #37:

Exodus 20:26. Can you this, Sir? Could it have something to do with the fact that our walk with God is very personal and our sins are between Him and us with no third party involved?

Response #37:

The reason for it is explained at the end of the verse (men in this day and age did not wear pants as most of us do in the west today). Symbolism is important when it comes to the dignity of the Lord and our need to reverence that.

Question #38:

Psalm 37:25 - 26. What does David mean here?

Response #38:

The righteous are always provided for and blessed by the Lord – in spite of what in the moment the eyes, ears and feelings may suggest. In the end, we see this was true; in THE end, all will know it was true.

Question #39:

Psalm 41:1. This is the "helpless" from a spiritual point of view, right, Sir? That is, those who probably need the Truth or are facing spiritual difficulty? Or should we read it from a material perspective?

Response #39:

The verse is primarily talking about "the poor" in terms of material need, but does not exclude people who are downtrodden for whatever reason. Also "considering" them does not necessarily mean "giving them money"; it may entail being concerned for the factors that lead to their condition and ministering to them in other ways: kindness, encouragement, prayer, other means of help, etc.

Question #40:

Psalm 41:10 - 12. In light of verse 9 and the fact that we depend on God for vengeance, should we assume that this is Christ Himself speaking rather than David?

Response #40:

This seems to me to be David speaking. With all such things in Psalms, we need to remember that David (e.g.) is speaking in the Spirit, and that any "repayment" would thus be godly and with God as the true Agent even if David was to be used. In terms of application, we will all be part of the Lord's "repayment" of the forces of evil after resurrection at the battle of Armageddon.

Question #41:

Psalm 47: This psalm seems to me to be about the Millennium. The mention of subduing the nations is why I think it doesn't refer to the Eternal State. If I am correct, then this is a very explicit identification of the Lord Jesus Christ as Deity because this psalm is describing what the Messiah does after His victory at Armageddon and the other judgments of the Second Advent. Am I right, Sir?

Response #41:

I believe so. From CT 1:

Psalm 47: the millennial coronation of the Messiah [His victory is a certainty, so our deliverance is assured]

Question #42:

Psalm 48:4 - 7. This seems to me to be a reference to Armageddon. Verse 7 also seems to me to be a reference to the other judgments associated with the Second Advent. Therefore, the whole psalm must be speaking of the Millennium and it is our Lord Jesus Christ here again being identified as God. Is that correct, Sir?

Response #42:

I believe so. From CT 1:

Psalm 48: the millennial capital of the Messiah [we will be safe and secure with God our guide forever]

Question #43:

Psalm 49:14. What does "the upright shall rule over them in the morning mean"? Is this a reference to the Millennium and the sharing of Christ's rule over the nations by the Church?

Response #43:

Yes, and specifically to the resurrection when we will rule with Christ while they remain in the grave awaiting judgment.

Question #44:

Psalm 48:14. "And their form shall be for Sheol to consume, so that they have no habitation." Does this mean that in Torments, whatever the interim body unbelievers have, it is destroyed there so that they become disembodied spirits? Or does it just mean that they will have no rest?

Response #44:

I prefer NIV's translation: "Their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions." Meaning just what it says: bodily decay in spite of the status and luxury they had in life; we will have more than they could have imagined in the resurrection and New Jerusalem, even if we have almost nothing now.

Question #45:

Psalm 50: Could this psalm be speaking of the judgment of regathered Israel in the desert before taking them into the Promised Land in the Millennium?

Response #45:

Yes. From CT 1

Psalm 50: the millennial purging
[the Lord will separate the wicked and the righteous, so what sort ought we to be?]

Question #46:

Psalm 51:6. I used to think that the first half of this verse meant that God wanted us to be honest with Him especially when we sin but I think now that it is saying that what matters to God is how we treasure His Truth in our hearts. The second half appears to me to agree. Am I right, Sir?

Response #46:


Question #47:

Verses 16 - 17. This is an indication that even in OT times, true believers in the Lord knew that the rituals were not the point, rather that the point was that we are sinners in desperate need of God's mercy.

Response #47:


Question #48:

Verses 18 - 19. Is this a reference to the Millennium? I'm not sure that I can guess at the connection unless it means that it is during the Millennium that the rituals will be most pleasing and meaningful to the Lord. Is that what David is saying?

Response #48:

It may have an eschatological application. I think David is asking for blessings upon the city and people of God in his time.

Question #49:

Psalm 53:  The Psalm reads to me like a prophecy about the Tribulation and the Great Persecution. But I don't understand verse 5. Who is the Lord speaking to there? Whose bones did He scatter? Who was encamped against? Who put these people whom God rejected to shame?

Response #49:

David's life is a deliberate paradigm of believers being delivered from tribulation and thus also the Tribulation. From CT 1:

Psalm 53: the fool who denies God as a type of antichrist and oppressor
[the ruthless will come to know the fear of God at Messiah's return]

Question #50:

Psalm 55: This whole psalm speaks of the betrayal of believers by their apostate brethren during the Great Persecution, does it not?

Response #50:

Yes indeed. From CT 1:

Psalm 55: a prayer for deliverance from betrayal at the hands of friends [though those we love betray us, God will judge the deceitful and save us].

Question #51:

Psalm 56: Does this one speak of the Great Persecution too? My feeling is that the Holy Spirit enabled David to capture the right attitude we ought to have at that time. Am I right?

Response #51:

Yes indeed. From CT 1:

Psalm 56: a prayer for deliverance from allies of convenience [God is our deliverance from unbelievers who surround and would betray us].

Question #52:

Psalm 59:11. What does this mean? Verse 13 sounds like what God will do during the Tribulation and at the Second Advent. How do the two go together?

Response #52:

I don't see this as directly eschatological, but that is a fine application.

Question #53:

Psalm 60:8. What does it mean?

Response #53:

God will destroy and debase Israel's enemy. NIV's translation is helpful:  "Moab is my washbasin, on Edom I toss my sandal; over Philistia I shout in triumph."

Question #54:

Does Psalm 59 speak of the Tribulation and the deliverance anticipated at the Second Advent?

Response #54:

I believe it does. The nations in the previous question above are representative of the world coalition assembled against Israel at Armageddon.

Question #55:

Psalm 65:11. Should it be "You have crowned the year with Your bounty" or "You have crowned the year of your bounty"? The first makes more sense to me in the context but the footnote says that literally, the word is "of". Why is that?

Response #55:

Hebrew "of" is usually the construct state (as it is here), and this is used with much greater flexibility and much more often than the English preposition "of". It serves to connect two things. The "your" technically goes with "bounty", but it also more loosely modifies the entire construct of the two nouns. So to the extent that there really is any difference between the two, I have no problem with the first translation.

Question #56:

Am I right that Psalm 65 is describing the Millennium?

Response #56:

While it may occasion us to think of the Millennium, it is a reference to the fact that all of our good things come from the Lord.

Question #57:

Psalm 66:3. This speaks of the vast majority of humanity during the Millennium who obey the Lord but only do so because He "rules them with a rod of iron" and "dashes them in pieces like a clay pot", doesn't it?

Response #57:

It certainly will be the case during the Millennium. God is ruling the world now too, of course, through the perfect plan which defeats all of the evil one's only apparent "tactical successes".

Question #58:

Psalm 66 too is a psalm of praise in the Millennium, am I right, sir?

Response #58:

Not just for the Millennium.

Question #59:

Isaiah 38:21. This suggests that even when the Lord will do a miracle, He may require that we do something perhaps utterly mundane. Is this a correct appreciation of this verse?

Response #59:

We have faith in God's working everything out. He is "doing it" whatever the good that is being done is, and that is true whether or not to the eyes of the world it looks like a "miracle"; and even if He is working in a to-the-world's-eyes miraculous way, that does not relieve us of the responsibility of doing the things that have been put into our power to do. The Lord made the widow's jar of oil and jar of flour last miraculously, but she still had to cook.

Question #60:

Isaiah 38:22. Given that God had already given Hezekiah a sign that he would indeed recover, I don't understand this question. And it seems that the story was truncated here without anything said further about Hezekiah's request here. Why is that?

Response #60:

Verse twenty-two responds to verse seven; translate, "Hezekiah had asked . . ."

Question #61:

Isaiah 39:1 - 7. Was it therefore wrong of Hezekiah to do as he did? Or was it just imprudent? Also, is it for this act or was it for Judah's unfaithfulness or a combination of both that God gave them over to Babylon?

Response #61:

It seems hard to argue that it was not imprudent or that it did not contribute to eventual Babylonian designs on Judah. And a king is responsible for all he does as ruler of the country and protector of its safety.

Question #62:

Isaiah 39:8. What does this say of Hezekiah?

Response #62:

This seems reflective of H's view generally. On the one hand it is good not to be concerned with things that are outside of our control (believers should stay away from politics, e.g.); but on the other hand a king who is unconcerned with the future fate of his kingdom (as the prior incident you asked about also suggests), doesn't seem much of a king.

Question #63:

Isaiah 40:2. For "warfare", NASB has "hard service" in the footnote. How should we read that?

Response #63:

Hebrew has "warfare". NASB may be nodding to KJV but I believe KJV meant "service" in the sense of military service.

Question #64:

Isaiah 40:2. This "double for her sins" refers to divine discipline, does it not, Sir?

Response #64:

This is speaking of the blessings to come (as is everything else in the context). Compare:

So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
Joel 2:25a NKJV

Return to the stronghold,
You prisoners of hope.
Even today I declare
That I will restore double to you.
Zechariah 9:12 NKJV

Question #65:

Isaiah 40:31. NASB has "sprout wings" in the footnote for "mount up with wings". Should I go on and imagine that this place teaches that we too will sprout wings in the Resurrection?

Response #65:

There's no sprouting in the Hebrew, and this is poetic diction not a literal description. Our Lord has already been resurrected and He does not have wings (nor did He need them to ascend to heaven).

Question #66:

Isaiah 43:27 - 28. Please explain this bit to me.

Response #66:

The "first father" was Abraham, and "your spokesman" would include all famous prophets who were not perfect (e.g., Moses who struck the Rock the second time, Elijah who ran from Jezebel, David who murdered Uriah, and Jeremiah: Jer.15:19). Israel had tendency to rely on their bloodline and heritage and to feel that because of this they were safe, but as John the baptist said, "from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham" (Matt.3:9 NASB).

Question #67:

Isaiah 49:24 - 25. "The righteous" is in the footnote for an alternative reading to "the tyrant". Which is correct?

Response #67:

Because of the wide-ranging nature of the evidence, this is one place where I am inclined to go against the Hebrew Masoretic text and read 'aritz ("fierce" better than "tyrant" which is translating the same word) rather than tsadiq ("righteous"): 1) the context, especially the very next verse, argues for it; and 2) the witnesses: the Septuagint, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Vulgate, and the Dead Sea scrolls all are clearly reading 'aritz and not tsadiq. I rather suspect that there may be some alternative MT readings which validate this as well, but at present an easily accessed (and not exorbitantly priced) critical text of the MT which has extensive ms. collations in the ap. crit. is not yet available. The error is no doubt due to a scribe confusing the three letters which, in older script, do all look similar to their counterparts (i.e., ayin to tsade, resh to daleth, and tsade to qoph), and the fact that both words have a long "I" (hireq) before the final consonant means that a sleepy scribe looking at an indistinct ms. could easily substitute the far more common word for the somewhat more rare one.

Question #68:

Isaiah 50: This chapter is all Christ speaking, right, Sir? He is speaking mostly in his humanity? And He is talking of Armageddon and The Millennium, is He not, Sir?

Response #68:

Yes indeed!

Question #69:

Isaiah 51:  This prophecy seems to me to be spoken to Israel of the Tribulation. There is both discipline and comfort for her in it. Am I right, Sir?

Response #69:

Yes. From CT 1:

Isaiah 11: the Messiah and His millennial reign; the return to the land

Question #70:

Isaiah 52:1 - 10 is about the deliverance of Israel at Armageddon and her subsequent turnaround to be the most blessed nation on earth, is it not, Sir?

Response #70:

Yes. From CT 1

Isaiah 52: the good news of incipient victory [based upon] Messiah sacrificing Himself for the nation.

Question #71:

Isaiah 52:11 - 12 is the prophecy about fleeing Tribulational Babylon, right, Sir?

Response #71:

Rather, this has to do with Israel being regathered into the land after the Messiah's return

Question #72:

Isaiah 52:13 - 15. Here I know that it is the Lord Jesus Christ of Whom Isaiah is speaking. But what does verse 15 mean? Does the sprinkling refer to His sacrifice for all people everywhere throughout history? Is that what kings will come to appreciate about him and shut their mouths? And when is this speaking of? The Second Advent? That is my guess but is it correct?

Response #72:

Correct on all counts. This is the universal atonement of the cross; and the reality of Him being appreciated by the quondam rulers of the world once He returns in glory. Hallelujah for that glorious day!

Question #73:

Isaiah 54: This prophecy is about Israel in the Millennium, right, Sir? Verse 15 seems to me to speak of the attack (and its failure) of Gog and Magog at the end of the Millennium.

Response #73:

Indeed. Following the suffering of the Messiah in the previous chapter, as I state in CT 1, Isaiah 54 describes the restoration and glorification of Israel under Messiah's rule. Verses 15-17 do foreshadow the Gog-Magog rebellion (and of course are also applicable now and during the Tribulation).

Question #74:

Isaiah 56:1 - 3. This is a warning about the Second Advent, isn't it? And all talk of preserving justice, profaning the Sabbath, keeps his hand from evil etc is symbolic in nature, isn't it?

Response #74:

Isaiah 56 is eschatological. The first half is a prediction of the blessings to come to the nations under the Messiah's rule, especially of those who turn to the Lord, doing what is right in His eyes.

Question #75:

Isaiah 56:4 - 5. Could this be speaking of the 144 000 of the Tribulation?

Response #75:

It's a very nice application, in any case. For those who put the Lord first, having Him as Lord is better than having a large family. That is more remarkable in the time of writing since we know that progeny was even more important and longed for in antiquity than even today (cf. the example of Abraham for whom this issue was of prime concern).

Question #76:

Isaiah 56:9 - 12. This bit I am not sure of. My feeling is that it is about the Tribulation and the hardened unbelievers and apostates who refuse to heed all of the warning judgments of that time. Is this correct too, Sir?

Response #76:

Yes – see answer above.

Question #77:

Isaiah 60: Is this chapter about the Eternal State?

Response #77:

The Millennium. From CT 1:

Isaiah 60: the glories of the Kingdom [following contrition and deliverance]: in Messiah, God is with us.

Question #78:

Isaiah 65:25. Why does the serpent still eat dust in the Millennium? Is this not the times of restoration? Or is there a deeper meaning here?

Response #78:

The serpent will eat dust instead of striking and killing, so this is along the same lines as the descriptions of the other dangerous animals who will not be so during the Millennium.

Question #79:

Isaiah 66 is also about the Tribulation, Second Advent and Millennium, isn't it?

Response #79:

Yes, from verse five onward.

Question #80:

Isaiah 66:19. Who does the Lord mean here, the survivors or the sons of Israel?

Response #80:

This refers to the fact that only some non-believing Jews will survive the Tribulation, and of these not all will enter the land. Those who do are the "escapees".

Question #81:

This chapter is prophetical foreshortening compressing both the Millennium and the Eternal State into one vision, right, sir?

Response #81:

Yes! Prophetic foreshortening (see the link).

Question #82:

Dear Teacher

I've been wanting to ask about this...

How do we know for sure that the Bible reckons the year as a 360-day period? I don't know anywhere in the Bible that actually states that. Does it come from extrabiblical historical sources or still-existing ancient Jewish tradition?

"...according to the prophetic-year scale of 12 thirty day months per year consistently used in scripture..."


Your student in our dear Lord

Response #82:

Twelve months constitute a year -- twelve lunar months. It is the same in all ancient world calendars, because the moon can be seen and its cycles are regular (though more complicated than probably was understood in, e.g., ancient Israel). All ancient world calendars practiced intercalation, that is the addition of an extra month every five or six years or so to keep the monthly calendar tracking with the solar year. So it's a question of months (as in the quote), not of days.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #83:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I hope that you had a good work week and weekend. Mine is going much better than last week. Thank you, again, for emailing me back last week and reassuring me.

I will most definitely keep our friend in my prayers for guidance, protection.

I am doing much better this week. Last week I went to a sports nutritionist here and she gave me some guidance about my diet. I am going to trust in her, especially because she is a runner herself - a lot of the running groups and clinics here consult with her. She persuaded me to run the half marathon instead of the full.

Your timing in posting “The Battlefield Within II: Combating anger, fear, blaming God, blaming others…” was perfect. Question # 14 from one of your readers and your response was almost a mirror image of the place I was at last week:

"The trouble I had with looking back was figuring out where I may have been in error so that I will do better. But that tends to result in a great deal of discouragement and even anger against God because I find it easy to accuse Him of misleading me actively or of allowing me to be misled when my heart was set on following Him. I know that in fact He does not but then I keep worrying that I may make the same sort of mistake as before if I keep pressing on so zealously. Still, how can I stop? The cost here often feels too much but the alternative is unthinkable. Still I wish I had perfect knowledge so that I never sin."

I keep praying for God to help me balance my time and energy. Do you know more about the Greek words for time “kairos?” I found some articles online but I am not sure if I can trust what they say. The authors make a big deal about the difference between the meaning of “chronos” and “kairos.” His timing more than anything and remember that He controls time.

And speaking of God’s timing…I have a question about the Seventy Sevens from Daniel chapter 9, especially the division of time between the 7 weeks and 62 weeks of sevens. I have read your explanation of the Hebrew verb “shuwb” meaning to “desist” instead of “restore” and that the 2 blocks of time correspond to two different decrees, but I am confused about a “missing week” based on the dates you gave for those decrees.

So far, this is my understanding of your teaching on this:

1. 485 B.C. (decree to DESIST) – 443 B.C. (decree to rebuild) = 42/49 years (6/7 WEEKS OF SEVENS)
2. 485 B.C. (decree to desist) – 2 B.C (Christ’s birth) = 483 years (7 years or 1 WEEK OF SEVENS short of 70)
3. 2 B.C. – 33 A.D. (Christ’s life and ministry) = conjunction of the ages, not part of the clock
4. 33 A.D. – 2026 A.D. = Church Age, also not part of Israel’s time clock
5. 2026 A.D. – 2033 = 7 years (The Tribulation), the last WEEK OF SEVEN

I am confused about the period between the decree to desist and the decree to build. It is only 42 years, not 49 (6 weeks of sevens, not 7 weeks of sevens). At first I thought you were counting that last week as the Tribulation but then that would still make the time clock one week short. Also, are your calculations in solar years or lunar years? I’ve been reading Unger’s commentary and Curt Omo’s teaching and I think they are using lunar years, but they split the time differently.

In Christ's Love,

Response #83:

Thanks for the update, my friend. I am very pleased to hear that you are getting some professional guidance about your training. For someone taking things to such a level, that has got to be important (especially since things weren't working that well before).

I appreciate your prayers for our. I trust the Lord to work it out; we can pray for that. He is the perfect example of someone who would be a wonderful teaching pastor deserving of support, but when he'll be ready to take that on (and what opportunities for such a thing might develop) only the Lord knows. In the meantime, I am sure that he is being tested and hardened up for what's ahead.

Half a Marathon sounds good to me! I only ran that far one time in my life, and it wasn't a race situation – though I did it very fast (for me) because I was late for class at Quantico (a LONG time ago). As I was coming in on the last leg another runner pulled up beside me, a student at the FBI Academy, and asked if I did this often, then took off ahead of me without any seeming effort. I realized then it was better to stick to shorter distances.

On kairos and chronos, they are close to being synonyms, and specific differences people try to draw between them often do not hold water. Every context is different. The former, kairos, often refers to a critical or specific time – an opportunity or crisis – whereas the latter, chronos, is almost always generic (but kairos can be as well).

On the 70 weeks, the "missing" week is explained by the fact that it took seven additional years for the rebuilding after the decree to rebuild the city in 443 (see Nehemiah's first six chapters). Daniel 9:25 only mentions the decree in regard to cessation, not rebuilding (that's not clear from many English translations); the seven weeks ends with the effective rebuilding and not with the second decree. The decree of Artaxerxes in Ezra chapter seven came seven years or one week before that rebuilding was effected and is not itself a part of prophecy; it merely helps us to date the seven weeks, giving us a point close to the end wherein we see where events stood seven years out from the end of this seven week or forty-nine year period.

I don't find any biblical significance in lunar years as opposed to solar years. I can't think of anywhere in scripture where literal years don't mean solar years. Even the eschatological references to "42 months" are meant to be understood as half of the Tribulation (see the link; this is true also of the equivalent 1,260 days in Rev.12:6).

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #84:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you for writing me back last week and your words of encouragement. And thank you for praying for my friends. We corresponded this week. When someone is going through something difficult, I think, sometimes the best thing we can do is to help get their mind off of the pain/suffering for awhile.

I am feeling a lot better since responding to the doctor's advice.

I will continue to keep your requests for friends and family in my prayers. I can understand his fear of getting entangled in a business or job that compromises faith and morals. I will pray for him to find a job that is right for him, to find his path and not to doubt his abilities. I can sympathize with him, too. Many “millennials,” are struggling with not being able to start families right after college. But, I notice that even my friends who have good jobs and marriages struggle with doubt, too. Successful but always stressed out. Business is very competitive. Good money but long hours and no ability to trust anyone. It is like swimming with sharks everyday. Many struggle with loneliness like most of us who are single. My friends who are happily married and have kids love their families but feel criticized for everything they didn’t “achieve” because they had kids. I am noticing that no matter how successful or blessed we are the Devil, working through the culture, finds a way to make all of us feel inadequate and anxious…which leads to coveting. I am always trying to pay attention to how the culture is distorting my perception about myself. If the devil was able to convince Eve that she needed something even though her life was perfect and she was being perfectly cared for by God, he can do it with us. I pray to God often asking Him to keep adjusting my “eyesight” when I examine my life so I can see it from His perspective and I will pray for this for your relative as well.

Thank you for answering my question about “kairos.” A lot of gross sin can be committed in just one moment of weakness. I think this issue of timing will play a big part in our testing during the Tribulation – one moment of weakness could cause us to give in and take the mark of the beast. The ultimate message I think I am getting from God right now is to use every single moment we have to prepare spiritually when we still have the time.

And thank you for answering my question about the 7 and 62 weeks. Your answer makes sense to me in regards to the 7 weeks, but I want to make sure I understand the part about the 62 weeks. I was thinking that the 2nd decree to rebuild had to begin exactly 49 years after the 1st decree to desist, but there is some overlap of time there. I think you are saying that the 7 weeks corresponds to the 1st decree to desist from rebuilding, but the start of the 62 weeks does not correspond with any kind of decree even though there was one in 443 B.C. by Artaxerxes. It was just Gabriel’s way of telling Daniel that the building would be “stalled” for 7 sevens (49 years) but that it would start up again. So, do the 62 weeks start at the completion of the temple and the walls of Jerusalem, in 436 B.C.? And the reason Gabriel gave the prophecy in this way, breaking up the time between the 7 and 62 weeks was to show that one week was not yet accounted for (the Tribulation).

And you said that all of the literal time periods in Revelation and Daniel should be measured in solar years. Were the Israelites using lunar years or did they adopt solar years during their time in Babylon? Or, because the prophecies affect the entire world (in the future), God gave the timing to us in solar years?

Also, I was wondering if you have any suggestions on how to integrate learning Biblical Hebrew with studying the Bible in English. Right now I am working my way through my Biblical Hebrew textbook and doing the exercises. Each chapter builds upon the previous, adding more vocabulary and grammar. In my Old Testament Bible study I am deep in Daniel and Proverbs, so I thought I would just study the Hebrew for those books at the same time. Ideally I would like to read/translate whatever verse(s) I study that day in Hebrew to make sure I know/understand the grammar and verb conjugation. Also, I thought it would be helpful to keep a list of key vocabulary words for each chapter. I am also trying to listen to and pronounce the Hebrew out loud as much as I can – I remember reading your advice to another believer that it is important to do this for any language (modern or ancient) because language is processed by our brains through our ears.

I hope you have a good week and will continue to keep you in my prayers!

In Christ’s Love,

Response #84:

I'm thrilled to hear that you are getting healthier now and no longer running yourself down (that is an answer to prayer).

Thanks for your insight into the millennial dilemma. It explains a lot about the economy and the society generally and is more widespread than many people seem to realize. When I tell my students that a few year from now the most popular political party will be the "forgive all student loans party", I get a lot of knowing smiles.

Yes, life is about choices and trade-offs. These are very important decisions that affect the rest of our lives and also say a great deal about what it is we really value, how good our spiritual common sense is, and how much we trust the Lord. There is no one-size fits all answer to any of these difficult issues, but I can tell you for certain that the Lord honors your sacrifices for Him. In the end, what is more valuable that His good pleasure with us?

On time, it is true that "one mistake" can be a very big deal, but it depends on the mistake – because the nature of the mistake and the mistake itself are functions of where we are at spiritually when we make it, and also often of where we are heading and how intent we are in heading in that wrong direction. Lot's wife was not a wonderful, righteous believer who just made an impulsively bad decision; rather, her action confirmed that she was not a believer at all and had no respect for the Lord, not even for a dire warning coming from Him and given for her own good. For believers, even great ones can make terribly bad impulsive decisions which have awful consequences (e.g., Moses striking the rock, Elijah running away, David committing adultery with Bathsheba), but if these are out of character we can see that the grace and the mercy of God finds a way not to make such things "the final chapter", even as there is also no getting around a stiff and lasting dose of divine discipline for such temerity. I think we've ALL probably experienced something like that, even if on a much smaller level (i.e., we are not as great as these three and our failures are likely analogously less egregious even if unquestionably wrong).

On the weeks, the key point is that Daniel 9:25 doesn't mention the second decree (many English translations get this wrong); the time runs from the decree to stop rebuilding until the actually rebuilding is completed – the decree which recommences the rebuilding was given seven years before the stop point, but that second decree is not directly mentioned in the prophecy.

On time keeping, the Israelites and all ancient peoples of whom I have any knowledge all employed solar years, never "lunar years" (so I don't know if such a thing even technically exists). Only the Jews had weeks, but they and everyone else told time by the cycle of the moon: you didn't need a calendar to know where you were in the month; you just looked up at the sky at night. Lunar months and solar years do get out of sequence (at roughly five and a quarter days per year); this was addressed in all ancient cultures by the occasional addition of an extra month (an "intercalary month") to put the calendar back in sync with the seasons about once every six years (i.e., "leap months" instead of adding a day every four or so years).

On Hebrew, I would recommend reading Genesis in Hebrew. It does have some book-peculiar vocabulary and forms, but that is true of the entire Old Testament. But Daniel is very difficult prose as a first attempt, and Proverbs is poetic with a host of poetic terms and unique vocabulary that would be really frustrating for someone who's not read a lot of Hebrew before. Whatever you decide to do, by all means keep working the aural dimension. Here's a good site for that: Hebrew Audio Bible.

Keeping you and your friends and your family in my prayers.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #85:

The more I read this story the more I see David and Solomon in the wrong.

1. Shimei does something because someone he knew, loved and was related to is now dead. He mistakenly blames David because he is misinformed.
2. David forgives him and vows not to kill him as long as he lives.
3. Shimei pays him back with undying loyalty and when his son Absalom leads a rebellion he does not join him.
4. At his deathbed, David still holds a grudge despite Shimei's undying loyalty and then asks Solomon to kill him. Solomon promises that he'll be dead.
5. Solomon then makes a stipulation that he can live as long as he lives within Jerusalem. Honest plea bargain? Not quite.
6. But remember: Solomon promised to his father that he's going to have Shimei dead no matter what. So he puts him in a situation where he has to leave and probably couldn't have his sons go out for him and Shimei is put to death.

This isn't really a story of forgiveness. David, for some reason, never really forgives him. Is this compatible with the Lord's prayer? "Forgive us in exactly the same way we forgive others." The Lord forgave us for what was inexcusable and completely unjustified (sin), but we're going to hold grudges against someone for something inexcusable and completely unjustified? Then the Lord should hold a grudge against us. "You know, there are just some things one can't forget!"

Response #85:

By all means forgive everyone everything! This has nothing to do with you and I or the Lord's complete forgiveness of us. Remember: He has already died for our sins. The cross was the hard part for the Father and the Son (beyond what we can imagine); all forgiveness after turning to Him is based on the cross.

I think we have to make a distinction between how you or I should or would act / react as individual Christians who are "nobody" on the one hand, and someone who is head of nation-state, appointed by the Lord Himself, and responsible for the coming succession on the other. Shimei's actions were not just unkind but were a direct and despicable attack on the Lord's anointed. Short of taking a shot at the head of state, I don't think that there is anything equivalent today because God is not directly ordaining world rulers. But David was the Lord's direct representative. He had been temporarily deposed by Absalom, and in recognition of his own guilt in the matter no doubt, David was putting things in the Lord's hands to restore him while not taking matters into his own hands. So Shimei was a test for David, and he passed the test perfectly. In terms of what he later says to Solomon, this was also necessary because completely letting the matter pass would be a sign of weakness to all of the new king's enemies (please see the link to this string of Q/As: "Adonijah's odd request"). David does not order Shimei to be executed but he does help Solomon address the problem and Solomon does so perfectly. The fact that Shimei signed his own death warrant – literally – merely underscores that he had no respect for any of the Lord's representatives – and thus none for the Lord either.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #86:

"Then the king sent for Shimei and said to him, 'Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and live there, but do not go anywhere else. The day you leave and cross the Kidron Valley, you can be sure you will die; your blood will be on your own head.'"
(1 Kings 2:42)

This kind of test is not really possible for humans to pass...unless they take the Odysseus option and deliberately cripple themselves so as to make the bad choice HARD or better yet IMPOSSIBLE. If I were in Shimei's shoes I would have asked Solomon to put a sword against my spine so as to make it paraplegic and therefore impossible for me to leave the city without the aide of others. Maybe Solomon would have even rewarded me for my wisdom.

Response #86:

I disagree. It's been over a year since I've left Louisville, and the three times I have gone out of town in the years prior it was out of necessity (weddings and funerals). If Shimei were guilty of manslaughter he would have had to flee AWAY from home to a city of refuge and stay there until the death of the high priest (who seems at this point to have been much younger than he was). Jerusalem was the capital, after all, and the temple was there; this was the place everyone came for the festivals. No doubt there were many who seldom if ever left. I consider this a very light burden – but it made it possible for Shimei to show his disrespect.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #87:

Hi Bob,

Shimei said bad words to David, but David forgave him. Later, however,

"And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the Lord, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword. Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood."—
1 Kings 2:8, 9

If we view David as a type of Christ, I am scared that Jesus Christ will not forgive me of my sins.


Response #87:

I think you are on the wrong track about David. As mentioned, the state is not supposed to be forgiving; we as individuals are supposed to be forgiving. If you are wearing a black robe, you are not supposed to show mercy to the guilty anymore than you are supposed to wrongly burden the innocent. State justice has to be impartial. David's actions are only understandable as being taken in his capacity as absolute head of state. As individuals, we are supposed to forgive. So there may be, depending on our positions, a difference between how we deal with people in our jobs and personal forgiveness. If I have a student who disappears and doesn't take the last exam, I will try to contact him/her, but if he/she doesn't respond, he/she will get an incomplete. Doesn't mean I'm holding a grudge or that I have negative attitudes towards him/her – it's just what "must be done" administratively.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

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