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Old Testament Interpretation XV

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Question #1:

Thank you for your reply. I was expecting quite a wait as the weekend is another one of your busy times. I am sorry to hear that you are having issues with your health and hip. Hope you were able to recuperate some over the weekend. I am grateful that you give of your time and talents with a kind heart. When I consider your words and work are derived from your search of the Holy Bible, through diligent study (including the languages the scriptures were originally penned in), and seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I feel humbled, more than from any earthy gift or reward. I apologise for my lengthy emails. You need not answer all my questions, and I have read most of your works- except not a lot of your last completed work - as I am rereading The Satanic Rebellion for more understanding.

New subject: our group got to annihilationism. (Imagine, ANOTHER “out”, if the Pre- Trib Rapture does not work for you). Friend quoted some scriptures to do with the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden as proof that only those who are saved, live in eternity. The remainder obliterated. I will text him for the references so that I may look at them. I said from my understanding the lake of fire was a permanent place for unbelievers as well. Revelation indicates this to be so. Of course, I was not able to quote scripture off the top of my head, as he was able to. Impossible, in my mind, to ignore the plain language here in Revelation. (Even for a novice).

His reply: "Genesis 3:22-24. eternal life only by access to the tree of life. In revelation only those saints in heaven have access to the tree of life."

Yes, I agree that only those in the Book of Life have eternal life. However, the beast and false prophet tormented forever in the lake of fire. Non believers also tormented forever. Rev 20:10-15. (End of my reply to him)

Response #1:

I'm always happy to receive your emails, my friend. I gain from hearing your perspective, and I'm always encouraged by your courageous sharing of the gospel. If you were a horse, you'd be one that always to be reined in instead of spurred on (the kind we all prefer – and I'm sure that's true of our Lord as well).

Only believers are saved (link; Jn.3:18). Our salvation does not depend upon eating of the tree of life. That tree in the garden is different from (and has a different purpose from) the one in New Jerusalem (see the link). Eternal life is something we have now as believers, but which is hidden away from sight with the Lord until we are with Him, until we are resurrected. In a nutshell, having a resurrection body of glory (rather than one of infamy as unbelievers will have) is eternal life – for we shall live in that perfect body with our Lord and the Father and all of our brothers and sisters forever. Eating of the tree will be a blessing, not a necessity. Everyone, every human being that is, begins with their names in the book of life. They remain therein until a) they willfully and immutably reject Christ in this life or b) die without accepting Him. Christ died for all, so the plan of God makes salvation possible for all. Salvation is the default position, so to speak, and made available to the point that all are in the book. But the number who are willing to stay there by accepting that gift of eternal life (by accepting the Gift Himself) is depressingly small (or would be depressing if we didn't understand that choice is what "all this" is all about).
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Dear Professor

Thank you for your reply with the links. it is always good to refresh what I have read at your site and am grateful to you. I have not received a reply yet. Revelation 20:10 is very plain language
(I am glad it hasn’t got into that convoluted argument you had to endure from one of your correspondents). Rev 20:14 also seems to my layman understanding to unequivocally equate being cast into the lake of fire AS the second death. Not obliteration, but being tormented forever.

If I can just refer to Mark 13:23 once more;

“But take heed: behold I have foretold you ALL things”

And then in verse 29 “So Ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, KNOW that it is nigh, even at the doors”. KJV

This strikes me as our Lord being full of GRACE. He has FORETOLD us. We only need to watch. So He has seen to it, that we only need to be of little faith. We already have the KNOWLEDGE of future events.

Of course, using that faith to ENDURE to the end.

Your prayers are so much appreciated. [details about troubles with family member omitted]

While we live we have hope. I want him to live and have hope too. A bit close to home, there have been people who have taken their own lives so I pray for him and check on him to help him in his trouble.

Thank you for listening to my concerns.

In our dear Lord Jesus Christ.

Your student

Response #2:

You're welcome.

Yes, people love to concoct their own personal "theologies" based upon what suits their fancies rather than on what scripture actually says. On the specific issue of issue the false doctrine of annihilationism, here is an additional link:

Annihilationism, Universalism, Hell and Judgment

I'm keeping your children and your family in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Greetings Dr. Luginbill and thank you again for sharing your hard work from you two part series of the Satanic Rebellion and the Coming Tribulation. I was just sharing a portion of your work with a friend of mine who lives in southern California. I sent him your exegesis of the 7 Eden's. I do have a question in regards to this part on the third Eden, you write;

b) The Interim Third Heaven: After Satan's rebellion, the universe, naturally and from its original creation a place of light, was "blacked out".(21) We have no way of knowing how long the Lord left Satan and company in fearful anticipation of immediate judgment before restoring the earth and the universe. We can assume, however, that there was still a place where He made His presence known for fellowship with the elect angels. This would most likely be in heaven, given the devastation of planet earth as an initial judgment upon and restraint of Satan's activities (a situation to be described in part 2 of this series). When restoration of the earth does occur (along with the new Eden), we do in fact find the elect angels in God's presence, filled with joy as they observe the event (Job 38:4-7).

Why could Job 38:4-7 not be referring to the original earth as opposed to the restored earth as you suggest?

Response #3:

Good to hear from you, my friend – and thanks for your kind and encouraging words.

As to your question, here is what I read in the Bible:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Genesis 1:1 NKJV

The Hebrew is even more explicit, because the first phrase, bereshith, really means "first off" or "as the very first thing". In other words, God existed before creation (cf. Jn.1:1ff.); then God created the heavens and the earth – in Genesis 1:1. But if that is true – and it surely is – then He had not yet created the angels, because "first" He created the heavens and the earth. Where could the angels, creatures that they are, have even existed before heaven and earth were created in any case?

I have some other things written on the grammar of this passage, but for a believer in the scriptures such as yourself, the above is probably sufficient. Here are the links:

The morning stars in Job 38 (several answers in series here)

What the Hebrew really says in Job 38

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi Bob,

The bible says (Psalm 103:12) that God forgives and "forgets" our sins as far as east is from the west. Or casting it into the sea of forgetfulness. I'm trying to understand that since God is Omniscient, then how can He "forget" about something (e.g., our forgiven sins)? I've heard differing opinions and views on this. Such as He doesn't forget in the sense that we as humans were to understand it. That forget means God never bringing it back to our remembrance as if we never sinned a particular sin. I can't see any other way regarding God forgetting something, especially since He is Omniscient. Can you help me understand and reconcile these seemingly paradox? Thank you in advance!

God Bless,

Response #4:

This is another anthropopathism (see the link). God cannot forget – in fact He cannot "not" have known ahead of time. But couching this language in human terms makes the point very effectively and so is blessed: His forgiveness is ABSOLUTE.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness..
1st John 1:9 NKJV

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hi Bob,

Hope you're doing well. I've been reading Leviticus again and I'm trying to understand more about the death of Nadab and Abihu for offering unauthorized (or strange) fire.

At first I thought it seemed the Lord was quite harsh in taking the lives of these two priests but then because it was early on and the Israelites were still getting to know God did He use this as an example to them? Was the Lord teaching them that these men knew better but they had disregarded the commands of God and there were consequences for doing this. That He is a holy God and they were to honour and obey Him on His terms and not their own. The Lord was showing His love and concern and trying to stop this sort of thing from happening again.

It reminded me of how out of His love for us the Lord still disciplines us today if we are wilfully disobedient to Him. And if we continue He can even remove us from this earth.

I was thinking then about how Christians today could offer 'strange fire' before the Lord. The spiritual disciplines that are all the rage today came to my mind again like contemplative prayer, meditation and other forms of prayer that originate from mystic Roman Catholic monks or mysticism from the East. Prayers where they repeat a word over and over again (mantras) when Matthew 6:7 says: And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

Could this be classed as 'strange or unauthorized fire' Bob? This is disobeying His Word or ignoring it or twisting it and is dishonouring the Lord and approaching Him in a way He detests. Rather than worshipping Him in the way He commands us to and treating Him as holy.

I might have got this completely wrong Bob! Thanks ever so much for your help.

Your friend in Jesus

Response #5:

I think this is an excellent application on your part. If God allowed Himself to be approached however anyone wished to do so, then any religion would save. As it is, Jesus is "the Way" and the only One to life eternal (Jn.14:6). He and He alone is the strait gate and narrow way through which we must enter into life (Matt.7:14). Only through Jesus Christ can we approach the Father, and everything in the Law is meant to represent Jesus and His sacrifice. So when these two did what they did, it was the same thing in essence that Cain did in offering vegetables which spoke of his own works rather than Abel's blood sacrifice which spoke of the cross. "Strange fire" indeed! Anyone who is trying to impress God with their own works, doing things He has not asked for or authorized, is by definition trampling the blood of Christ underfoot (Heb.10:29). Whether judgment comes swiftly (as it did for these two) or delays until the end, the result is the same: rejection of Christ is to be self-selecting and embracing condemnation. If the Father were not absolute on this principle, He would not be just and righteous; in other words, He would not be who HE IS . . . and then no one could be saved through His ineffable sacrifice of His Son which satisfied His righteousness in the case of all who stand on THAT work rather than their own. That is the true meaning of holiness.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your help with this. In the past I've struggled a bit to get through Leviticus with all the regulations and sacrifices. When you think of it as the Lord's desire to have fellowship with His children and live with them then it puts it in a whole different light.

The 'strange fire' story made me think again about how the Lord does want us to approach Him. Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart - These O God, You will not despise. And Romans 12:1,2 and lots more. It's a good thing to remind myself and keep myself in check!

It's been difficult here but I'm sure everything will be alright. Life is never without its challenges but the Lord will look after me.

Thanks again Bob.

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #6:

Hello my friend,

An excellent application here too! Yes, our sacrifices now are spiritual (cf. Rom.12:1-2), but even in the OT that Psalm you quote (Psalm 51:17) makes it clear what has always been most important to the Lord, namely, what is going on in a person's heart. The presumption of Nadab and Abihu's action merely revealed their arrogant and disrespectful attitude toward the Lord and His authority which had been there all along.

A good point about fellowship as well. In the inauguration of Aaron and his sons which directly precedes the "strange fire" incident, a sin, burnt and fellowship offering are commanded: 1) emphasizing our sins being forgiven; 2) emphasizing the sacrifice of Christ in paying for them that they might be forgiven; 3) emphasizing the fellowship we have with Him as a result of His sacrifice and our acceptance of it. But "strange fire" distorts the entire symbolism and thus equates to a trampling of the precious blood of Christ by those who least should do so, the priests who are to represent the people before the Lord. No wonder there was little patience with such effrontery.

I hope you don't get a suitable opportunity TOO soon, but only after you are ready to teethe your way back into it. I'm running / jogging again now, but I'm not ready to do the same distances I used to do . . . yet. That will come (I hope), but I know if I strap on too much too soon it could end up sending me backwards. There is a fine line between not doing enough and doing too much often, but that is the sweet spot we aim for.

Keeping you and your situation in my prayers, my friend – and thanks so much for yours as well!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hi Bob,

I noticed something else in the same chapter. Nadab and Abihu's deaths were as a result of their own rebellious actions. Their hearts were not right with God. Then afterwards Moses was upset with Aaron and his remaining sons for not eating the sin offering as the Lord commanded but chose to let the sacrifice burn up instead. Then Moses was satisfied when he heard Aaron's response and realised he wasn't acting out of rebellion but trying to be obedient to the Lord. He did what he thought would be pleasing to God - he had good intentions even if it wasn't quite the right thing to do. The difference was that his heart was right with God which as you said is what has always been important to the Lord.

It reminds me of when I was getting myself all worked up because I didn't think I was doing the right thing as far as helping my friend. And you reminded me that we try to apply scripture to our lives the best way we can but we'll never do it perfectly. And that there's no point second guessing.

Thinking back now I was wanting to obey the Lord from what the Bible says but acting like if I got it wrong and I hadn't made the perfect choice then I was suddenly going to be consumed by the Lord's fire! I wasn't QUITE thinking that way but you'd have thought it by how worked up I was. It's definitely a heart thing isn't it Bob. As long as our hearts are right with the Lord and we're trying our best to keep learning and growing and progressing then we're pleasing Him.

I've loved what the Lord has taught me this week and all out of just one chapter in the Bible - and Leviticus! A book I usually find hard going. Thanks as well Bob for your help and encouragement.

It's great that you're making some progress and able to run/jog no matter how small it may be at the moment. I definitely know what you mean about finding that sweet spot. If you don't do enough then you don't progress and if you do too much then you end up having a setback, then trying to find out where you're at and starting again from there. I remember reading about the 'envelope of function' which is the same sort of thing as the sweet spot. It's finding out how much load or exercise your joints can cope with and sticking with that for a while (maybe even a couple of months in my case) and then very gradually building it up. It was a delicate balancing act to begin with but once I reached a certain point the healing did start to progress quicker. I had to listen to what my body was telling me. It's so tempting to ignore it and carry on (which I did a few times) but it just prolongs things in the end. I kept a diary of what I did every day and how I felt afterwards. Sometimes I felt ok while I was doing the exercise but then I really felt it the next day and had to adjust it. It's good looking back at the diaries now and seeing how little I could do to begin with and what I can do now. You're in my prayers and with the Lord's help you'll get there in the end.

Thank you for hoping that I don't get a suitable opportunity TOO soon until I'm ready to "teethe" my way back into it.

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #7:

The wealth of the scriptures is beyond calculation – for those who look into them humbly seeking what the Word of God has to say. Another "heart thing".

On "fire", it is very common for believers, especially in the early going or in the process or turning around after a trip to that "far country" away from the Lord to focus on the "fire" side (His perfect justice) and forget about the love side. But the true "fire", as in "hell fire", is reserved for those who reject Him completely, and is not at all meant for those who belong to His Son, bought by Him with His own blood sacrifice on the cross. Whatever our earthly fathers were like, because of the fact of families and fathers we all have a good idea of what a perfect father would be like. He would clearly be someone who dealt fairly and lovingly with all of his children, wanting the best for them in every way, only punishing/disciplining them when they really needed it to keep them from straying into dangerous activities, and never disowning them – unless they completely and unalterably rejected him. And that is what our heavenly Father is like too! He is not looking for reasons to curse us; He is tapping His foot in anticipation of blessing us:

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
Isaiah 30:18

We have absolutely nothing to fear, nothing to worry about, nothing to be concerned about. We are absolutely safe and secure. The enemy is "us", our sin natures along with the world and worldly things we sometimes choose to excess. Of course there is also another enemy who stokes both of these sources of alienation from the Lord, but He who is in us is far more powerful than those unholy three put together. It's all about the truth and our response to the truth of Him who is the very Truth.

Keeping you in my prayers!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Dr Luginbill,

I have a question I think you wont like. [details omitted about bad, questionable, and sexually related language in common parlance in our time]. And in the Song of Solomon, there are a couple of passages that if you took them out, they would be literary porn (Song of Solomon 4:5, 7:3, 7:7 to 7:8). Literally. I guess, my question is, are all the Christians who put on a show of fainting at dirty words wrong? Because if the military and mainstream society uses them, it seems like a stupid show they are putting on. Even a bit narcissistic, because they are acting more pure. Is that wrong?

Response #8:

On "bad language", while I can't say I'm perfect on this, but a good policy for Christians is not to engage in it because we reflect on the Lord in all we do. As far as reacting to others, I've never been a fan of gasping legalistic Christians who are easily offended by just about everything. If you don't like what you are seeing or hearing, you don't have to acknowledge it and many times you can just leave.

As to the Song of Songs, it is very difficult to interpret, but we can say a couple of things: 1) it is allegorical referring symbolically to the Lord and His Bride; and 2) it is beautiful poetry (in the Hebrew), demonstrating the blessings of a godly relationship wherein God made a woman for a man and vice versa.

Apologies for the delay, but Saturdays are posting days.

Hope you have a nice holiday ahead, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hello Dr Bob,

Thank you so much for you explanations. I was really blessed through reading them and I will read them over and over and over again for a better understanding.

When I have any more questions, I will be sure to ask you. Please, say a prayer for me that I have a better understanding of what the Bible says and in the mean time, what is sin? Is it a violation of the ten commandments? Sometimes it gets confusing.

In Christ,

Response #9:

You're most welcome, my friend, and I am keeping you in my prayers for growth and other things as well.

As to your question, "what is sin", in a nutshell, sin is anything that God forbids, anything, that is, which we do not do in faith (Rom.14:23). I will say some more things here, but for the details, I would recommend that you begin by reading the extensive BB 3B Hamartiology: the Biblical Study of Sin (at the link). The ten commandments provide an all encompassing rubric for how a believer who fears God should live, but they are frequently misunderstood (see the link). The first three deal with our sanctified walk in regard to God – how we should think about Him, act towards Him, and speak about Him respectively; commandments 5-10 have to do with how we should comport ourselves in the world in response to the system of authority God has set up to preserve human life and freedom (so that all have a fair chance to be saved), dealing with the sanctity of life, family, property, justice, and freedom generally. The fourth commandment stands in the middle between these two sets, and has to do with the believers peace and rest in the Lord here in the middle of the devil's world. We are not of the nation of Israel (that divinely constituted nation-state does not exist, at present), so there is no longer any physical Sabbath to be observed in the land; rather, we are to rest in the Lord at all times, trusting Him no matter what betides (see the link: "faith rest").

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV

In terms of "what is sin", it is clear from the passage above, a list given by Paul which is NOT meant to be comprehensive but merely to give examples of sin, that sin comprises all manner of activities, things we think things we say, and things we do – anything that violates God's will for our lives in an arrogant way. The anemic "such things" in the NKJV translation is better rendered "things of this sort" and I would expand it to bring out the true meaning thus: "anything else of this sinful sort of thing (in case I missed your particular weakness)". As Paul tells us at Roman 5:13, sin existed before the Mosaic Law was given – only specific sins were often not recognized as sin until the Law specifically forbid them. And there are many things which we know from the New Testament which are sinful but not directly prohibited by the Law. As in the passage above we see a number of actions and patterns of thought and speech for which no one every made an animal sacrifice – but they are "works of the flesh" and definitely sins.

The good news is that Christ died for all of our sins, whether we recognize them as such or not. He paid the entire price for each and every one. When we consider that His death for our least sin, one we no doubt never even noticed, cost Him a price far greater than the entire world – and that He died for ALL of our sins and for ALL of the sins of all of humanity – we have some small idea of the magnitude of His sacrifice for us . . . and just how much we owe Him (everything).

More good news: we have been forgiven everything when we believed and thus redeemed from all of our sins so that we may have eternal life with Him. And if/when we sin after salvation, all such sins are forgiven the moment we confess them to the Lord (e.g., 1Jn.1:9).

There are two wrong approaches to living the Christian life, each of which is very common. The first is to be completely unconcerned about our behavior because we are saved and forgiven. The second is to agonize over things we have done that particularly stoke our guilt, even though we have confessed them and been forgiven. The Christian life is a fight to the finish. We are here for a purpose, to carry out a mission for the Lord. That purpose is spiritual growth, spiritual progress in passing the tests that come to the mature, and production for the Lord in helping others to do likewise through the ministry He gives to us. On the one hand, we can't allow our witness to be sullied and ourselves to be bogged down by divine discipline and natural consequences of sin (especially the more egregious behavior that often results from having no fear of God as in the first false approach above), not if we are going to win the three crowns of reward and please our Lord; on the other hand, we can't be looking backward and ever agonizing about past defeats and failures (there is nothing we can do about them except to confess them), or be making our life all about trying to avoid sin when 1) no one will ever be completely without sin, and 2) the way to get better at warding it off is to keep growing closer to Jesus Christ through His truth. In other words, focusing on defense makes for lousy defense, focusing on offense without neglecting defense is the only way to win this fight.

Keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hey Bob,

This is a short article from the my site found below. It has been adapted from Part 1 of a power-point presentation presented in eight one-hour sessions. The survey is meant to highlight the reading of seven chapters of Genesis a week over seven weeks. I would be blessed by your comment if you've seen something new, or even something you didn't like. The survey has its roots in years--really decades of prayer, study, and meditation on the Old Testament from the perspective of its Hebrew background. I hope to follow this with seven other articles as God wills.

Why do we follow God with a whole heart...because we can trust every single word of His Word for it a part of God.


Response #10:

Nicely done, my friend.

For what it's worth, overviews of this sort do serve a very useful purpose, getting folks to think about what it is they've read or are going to read, and offer an opportunity to salt in tidbits of truth that otherwise a lay-reader would indubitably miss.

On the nephilim, you are absolutely right, of course. It's always good to point out when talking about the Numbers reference that the ones who call these Canaanites "nephilim" are the cowardly ten who are trying to convince the people NOT to enter the land. So they are lying (or panicked into a stupid and wrong conclusion, to put the best spin on it).

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #11:

That makes sense, thanks for the clarification. In regards to the great flood of Noah's day that God "...blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky," (Gen.7:23a), how do you suppose the Nephilim made a comeback upon the earth (Num.13:33)? There are so many folk trying to figure out if the Nephilim reincursion after the flood was through a second episode of angels marrying women or did some Nephilim DNA navigate the flood via one of Noah's sons or there wives perhaps?. It does seem that the reappearance of these hybrids came through the descendents of Ham via Cush then Nimrod who "... began to become a 'gibborim' " (Gen.10:8). Even entire tribes of Nephilim are found in the promises land that are linked back to Canaan such as the Amorites (Gen.10:16) whom Amos says their "...height was like the height of cedars" (Amos 2:9). Being that a cedar tree can grow at least up to 30 feet tall, these were definitely hybrids. If the angels that committed this original crime by abandoning "their proper abode" have been "kept in eternal bonds" are we to assume that there was a second wave of angels after the flood that created these post-flood Nephilim?

Response #11:

Numbers 13:33 is frequently misinterpreted. Don't feel bad about it – my seminary professor got this one wrong too. He even put it on the final for us to defend his interpretation. I couldn't bring myself to do it so pointed out in excruciating detail why he was wrong. Earned me one of the only A-'s I got there in an otherwise 4.0 career.

Here's the thing. The speakers in the passage are the cowards who talked the people out of doing God's will to go immediately into the land, resulting in 40 years of wandering in the wilderness instead. Caleb and Joshua say nothing about "Nephilim". The other passages you mention don't say anything about "Nephilim" at all. There have been and are today exceptional large individuals (Yao Ming, e.g.); doesn't make them non-human. Besides, the thing about the Nephilim was not size but all manner of "mightiness" which no doubt involved exceptional powers not known today. Links:

Nephilim, Fallen Angels, and Genesis 6 

Giants and Nephilim

The 7 Trumpets, the 7 Kings, Nephilim, Antichrist and Revived Rome.

The Nephilim in Genesis 6

"The Nephilim" (in SR 5)

The Origin and Fate of the "Giants" of Genesis Chapter Six.

Antichrist and the Nephilim

Dinosaurs, the Nephilim, Noah, et al.

Eschatology Issues:  The Nephilim

Doubts about the Nephilim

The only Nephilim we know for certain about after the flood is antichrist who is predicted to be the devil's seed (Gen.3:15; see the link).  It also seems likely that the ten kings of Revelation who support him are also Nephilim (see the link).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Greetings Bob,

OK so the 10 who brought the bad report are the ones who suggest in Numbers 13:33 that "There also we saw the Nephilim". If I understand you correctly these 10 only inflated the nature of these giants as Nephilim because they, the 10, were cowards but if that be the case then why does Moses, the writer of the text add in parentheses (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim)? We know Moses was not a coward and he is writing by inspiration of the Holy Spirit so it appears that the plain reading of the text suggest some Nephilim DNA made through the flood.

One of my former professors at Bible college said a good rule of biblical exegesis is that "when the plain sense of a text makes common sense, seek no other sense", was he wrong?

Response #12:

As to "when the plain sense of a text makes common sense, seek no other sense", that is clearly correct – but people often see that "plain sense" differently.

For example:

1) We know that the nephilim were wiped out in the flood. So why would we think these are nephilim?

2) We know that when Joshua and the Israelites entered the land 40 years later, they didn't encounter any such impossible creatures. So why we would think there really were nephilim present 40 years before?

3) We know that Joshua and Caleb didn't say anything about nephilim or how to fight them; they only assured the people that it was definitely possible to enter the land and defeat the people living there, which would not have been possible if they really were super-human. So why would we assume that Joshua and Caleb were wrong and the ten cowards were right?

4) And we know that the whole purpose of these ten was to dissuade the people from entering into the land – a feat that they accomplished through this spin. So why we would we assume that they were being truthful?

The devil told the Lord, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me" (Matt.4:9 NKJV). Was he telling the Lord the truth? NO! He is the devil. He was lying, as is his wont.

Liars lie. That's what they do. Not seeing that when the scripture is read is missing the "plain sense" of the text entirely.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hello Bob,

Thank you so much for your kind words and for showing concern for my old friend even though he seems to have turned his back on the only living truth which is our freedom from bondage and salvation in Jesus Christ. Every day Bob, I think to myself, how best can I serve my Father in Heaven. Every day I try to die to the self and focus on Christ and walk towards Him.

I am very grateful that God risked the 99 sheep to come back for me. I know that many, many others feel the same way. I will get back to doing my videos soon but in the meantime I have started a twitter account to upload copyright free images with bible verses to spread the Word.

Here is a link https://twitter.com/BibleVersesUK

I wanted to ask you about Genesis. Is it true that we only became omnivores after the flood? I saw a video that suggested that the two animals that were killed in Eden to provide skins for Adam and Eve were atonement for their sins. Do you think this is a correct interpretation? Would this be a foreshadowing of Christ atonement then? This video suggested that death would have been both foreign and alarming to Adam and Eve and that to see animals killed for clothing would have shocked them, especially as Adam had named the animals and were friends with them. Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden so that they couldn't eat of the tree of life as well. I heard another interpretation, that what the serpent said was proven to be a lie, as not only did eating of the fruit mean spiritual death but also physical death. Something about a thousand years being one day to God and that Adam and Eve died just within that thousand year lifespan so the interpretation is that they died within the same day of eating the fruit (in God's terms).

Would you agree that these two animals killed for skins were the first atonement? Some people say that they were provided skins without the death of an animal. It is interesting that this person suggested that Abel killed an animal as an offering because he learned this from Adam because of those other two animals killed. At this point, animals weren't being killed for food but then again, Adam and Eve would know that animals could be killed for clothing (to hide their nakedness and shame)

I'd be interested to know your thoughts on this. I am getting so much from reading the bible! I have many copies now and reading studies around it all the time.

Next week, I am attending a bible study meeting that I'm really looking forward to.

Hope this finds you well.

God bless you Bob.

In our loving Saviour, Jesus Christ,

Response #13:

Always great to hear from you, my friend.

On your question, indeed, the coats of skin did require the slaughter of animals and that is the first animal sacrifice demonstrating that our sin (represented by their knowledge of their nakedness) is covered by the death of a Substitute, the animals' physical blood and death representing Christ's spiritual death in paying for the sins of the world (here is a link on this: "The protoevangelium").

God gives human beings animals for food after the flood (at Gen.9:3); we are only required to abstain from the blood which, in animal sacrifice, is a symbol of Christ's work on the cross.

I'm very encouraged by your positive report, my friend! Keep fighting the good fight. I'm keeping you in my prayers every day.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Behold, My servant will prosper,
He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted.
Isaiah 52:13 NASB

Unger makes a good point on the rendering of יַשְׂכִּיל and I can see from your translation that you interpret the passage similarly:

But His redemptive work sprang out of His sterling and unflinching obedience to the will and purpose of the Lord, so the King James Version and many interpreters translate it, Behold my servant shall deal prudently (yaskil, “act wisely, circumspectly,” as used in Psalms 2:10; 36:3; Amos 5:13 and often in Proverbs 10:5, etc.).

Others render the verb in the sense of “prosper, have success” (as in 1 Samuel 18:15;Jeremiah 10:21; 20:11; 23:4; cf. BDB, p. 968). It seems, however, that the King James Version’s rendering, in taking the whole introductory “Behold, my servant shall deal prudently” as the summary of the basis of the Servant’s exaltation, gives a much fuller and more satisfying basis for the Messiah’s exaltation than merely the words “Behold, My Servant.

Response #14:

My translation: "My Servant will embrace the truth"; I'm not sure why NASB went the way they did with sachal, but I see no justification for it.

Question #15:

Just as many were astonished at you, My people,
So His appearance was marred more than any man
And His form more than the sons of men.
Isaiah 52:14 NASB

Another good point by Unger which also exposes the wrong addition in the NASB:

His humiliation was as deep as His exaltation was high. Many were astonished (smm, “awestruck, appalled, emotionally desolated”) at you (NASB), thrown into a benumbed and stupefied state of mind, the second person “you” (MT) evidently by a dramatic enallage referring to the Servant-Messiah, but most critics amending it to “Him” (third person singular).

But the New American Standard Bible refers it to My people, rendering it, “Just as many were astonished at you, My people.” The reference is clearly singular to our Lord and not collective to “God’s people”.

Response #15:

Correct. Israel is the Servant in many places in Isaiah, but even there the reference is to Christ as the quintessential Son. In this context, we would have to read this whole wonderful passage as a metaphor for the suffering of the Jewish people and take the Messiah out of it altogether for the mistaken rendering/interpretation to work here (heaven forbid!).

Question #16:

That's what I thought as well, that's why I was somewhat surprised by the addition of the NASB. Having re-read the verse now, I think I know what they may have meant - to compare the Messiah to the suffering of God's people - "As many were appalled at you (my people - i.e., as many were appalled at the calamities that I allowed to fall upon you)" - "So His appearance was marred more than any man and His form more than the sons of men". Do you think that we could take this verse in such a way?

Response #16:

 It's defensible from a purely linguistic point of view if one reads עָלֶיךָ (I am reading עָלָיו, which is supported by some of the MT mss, the LXX, and the Samaritan Pentateuch). In terms of meaning, there is no reason why looking at things from Isaiah's day or from the Messiah's day, "many" should have been appalled at Israel. Isaiah's time predates the Babylonian exile, and the Messiah's day is long after the fact. My translation:

(13) Behold, My Servant will embrace the truth. He will arise on high, be lifted up, and be greatly exalted, (14) to a proportional degree that many had [previously] been appalled at Him. For His appearance had been marred beyond human [likeness], and His form more than [that of any] other man.
Isaiah 52:13-14

Question #17:

What is your take on the words “So His appearance was marred more than any man And His form more than the sons of men”?

Just as many were astonished at you, My people,
So His appearance was marred more than any man
And His form more than the sons of men.
Isaiah 52:14 NASB

Do you agree with Unger on this:

This part of the verse is a parenthetical statement explaining why many were astonished at the Servant. So marred (“disfigured,” pointed in the Hebrew as hofal, a passive participle, or read as a noun) was the disfigurement of His visage (“His appearance,” NASB, with special reference to His face), more than any man (min, in a comparative sense or min, “from a human being,” in a negative sense), and his form (to’aro, His “physical body in general”) more than the sons of men, meaning because of this brutal physical violence perpetrated upon Him by His angry persecutors.  In other words, His disfigurement was inhuman; He no longer looked like a man. That meaning is better than C. C. Torrey’s conclusion that the meaning is simply comparative - “more than any other and his visage than the children of men” (Second Isaiah). The inhumanity of Christ’s physical treatment is more rationally defended than its uniqueness as far as severity is concerned, for many other human beings have been abused physically in a crueller sense.

Do you agree that these words apply only to the pre-cross physical suffering and do not include also our Lord’s agony on the cross? This is perhaps the key point that will allow to decide whether the verse is to be understood as Unger proposes (i.e., physical sense, our Lord no longer looking human through the beating) or comparatively (our Lord’s suffering on the cross being greater than anything else any human being has ever experienced).

Response #17:

Yes, this is a prophecy of the physical abuse that our Lord suffered in being tortured and crucified. It is symbolic of course of what He was soon to do in the darkness for us – but those watching could not see that; it was veiled in darkness deliberately.

Question #18:

Ok, understood and I see what you meant by מַרְאֶה and תֹּאַר referring to the physical suffering. So how would you take the מִן here - as saying that our Lord was disfigured "more than any man" and "more than the sons of men" in the sense of suffering more than they, or, as Unger proposes, in the sense of our Lord being disfigured "from looking like a man/sons of men" in the sense of His suffering being inhumane.

Response #18:

I'm not even sure what the "inhumane" thing would mean . . . except that our Lord suffered something no one else ever suffered. However, while that might be (and is) true, it would apply to the person Himself, and not to His appearance – which is the subject here.

Question #19:

NIV SB: on Isaiah 52:14 'appalled at him'. When they saw Christ's suffering on the cross. Cf. the reaction to the ruined city of Tyre (Eze 27:35). disfigured. A term used of a "blemished animal," which should not be offered to the Lord (Mal 1:14). Cf. the disgraceful treatment of the servant (see 50:6 and note).

Do you agree that “appalled at Him” refers to the cross? What is disfigured referring to? Since according to the note this term is used of a “blemished animal”, could it refer to our Lord being made “sin” for us? Keil and Delitzsch make no reference to the cross when explaining this verse, but rather just to the appearance of our Lord.

Response #19:

It is the truth that He suffered in the darkness more than the suffering of all humanity put together in dying for the single least sin of the human race – and He died for them all. So great is the disproportion of grace compared to all that is. However, this verse is referring to the physical abuse He endured. I don't see how מַרְאֶה and תֹּאַר can be interpreted any other way (except by ignoring their presence and meaning). It is good to remember that His suffering before and on the cross prior to the darkness is given to us to give us some small idea of what it would take for Him to die in the darkness for the sins of the world.

Question #20:

Understood. Do you think that the term maschith suggests - "disfigured. A term used of a "blemished animal," which should not be offered to the Lord (Mal 1:14)"?

Response #20:

I don't like the word since it implies in English a minor defect. On the one hand, our Lord had no defects (which would disqualify an animal from being sacrificed), and on the other hand there was nothing about His physical suffering which was minor (quite the opposite).

Question #21:

Isaiah 52:15 (NASB)
15 Thus He will sprinkle many nations,
Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him;
For what had not been told them they will see,
And what they had not heard they will understand.

NIV SB: 52:15 sprinkle many nations. With the sprinkling of cleansing (see Lev 14:7; Nu 8:7; 19:18–19) and/or of consecration (see Ex 29:21; Lev 8:11, 30). But see NIV text note. kings will shut their mouths. In astonishment at the suffering and exaltation of the servant (see 49:6–7 and notes). Cf. Job 21:5. For what … understand. Quoted in Ro 15:21. Even though they have not heard the prophetic word, kings will understand the mission of the servant when they see his humiliation and exaltation (contrast 6:9–10).

What does Isaiah mean by “He will sprinkle many nations”? In what sense is “sprinkle” meant here? Do you agree that it's a direct reference to the sprinkling of cleansing? Keil and Delitzsch interpret differently:

And accordingly we follow the majority of the commentators in adopting the rendering exsilire faciet. The fact that whole nations are the object, and not merely individuals, proves nothing to the contrary, as Habakkuk 3:6 clearly shows. The reference is to their leaping up in amazement (lxx θαυμάσονται); and the verb denotes less an external than an internal movement. They will tremble with astonishment within themselves (cf., Jeremiah 33:9), being electrified, as it were, by the surprising change that has taken place in the servant of Jehovah.

Unger is against this interpretation and on good grounds.

Response #21:

K&D are "off the wall" here entirely. Of course nazah means "to sprinkle" not to "jump" or "cause to jump", and the reference is clearly to the salvation of the gentiles that would come from the Messiah's sacrifice, frequently enough mentioned in the OT (as James points out in Acts). These nations are not watching the cross so they can't be startled by it in the first place. You can make nearly any Hebrew word means other than what it means by appealing to similar sounding roots in other Semitic languages (it's a flawed method).

Question #22:

What specifically do the words “For what had not been told them they will see, And what they had not heard they will understand” refer to? Is it to do with our Lord’s exaltation following His crucifixion? Or is it rather a reference to His Second Advent, when all His enemies will be defeated and His glory revealed?

Unger takes this verse as applying to the millennial rulers astonished at our Lord’s exaltation following His second advent - “so overwhelming will be the impression of the Servant lifted so high from such a low depth of ignominy”.

I’m still not sure what specifically do the words “or what had not been told them they will see, And what they had not heard they will understand” refer to – conversion at the point of Christ’s coming?

Response #22:

It's a prophecy of the gospel which in times past was not available worldwide:

In the past, he let all nations go their own way.
Acts 14:16 NIV

In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
Acts 17:30 NIV

Question #23:

Dear Teacher

That is very good news indeed. I have been praying for your full recovery. Did you find today to be the beginning you hoped for?

I was told to check back on Friday but I asked to be given time to check back since I would be traveling. The official I was speaking to offered me his phone number to check with him to know when I can return to continue the process. Yes, my fiancée and her family are fine. Thank you very very much, Sir, for continuing to pray for them. It means very much indeed to me. We have been seeing each other everyday since I got here. I will be leaving for my hometown again on Wednesday evening.

I meant to ask you about this:

[11]Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.
[12]God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.
[13]Then God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.
Genesis 6:11-13 NASB

It occurred to me that the filling of the earth with violence and the corruption of all flesh may have had to do with genetic manipulation again just like what happened with the production of the Nephilim. That is, just as the Nephilim were already result of genetic manipulation by the rebellious angels, they in turn carried on the business of corrupting the genes of animals that existed at the time. Might this have been the case?

Also, is it reasonable to say that Noah and his family were the only pure humans left on earth? Or were they just the only ones who were not only pure humans but also feared the Lord? By my calculation Lamech died in the year of the Flood, so either believers who were resisting participating in the infiltration of the Nephilim and their activities were getting killed (which seems to me to explain the violence) until only Noah and his immediate family were left or else there were other pure humans who simply did not care either for the Nephilim or for God. What can you tell me about this, Sir?

Your student in the Lord

Response #23:

Thanks for the update. Mostly good stuff! I'll be keeping the bureaucratic battle in my prayers until you've won it (cf. Lk.18:4-5).

On the question, I think when it says that Noah was "perfect in his generations" it is talking about his truly human status, and the way it's put indicates to me that his family is, if not the absolute last truly human family, certainly part of an ever shrinking minority. As to sinfulness, well, human beings have proved throughout history that they have no problem excelling in this area, even without such genetic contamination. There was evil of the first order involved in allowing the contamination in the first place as well. But you do make a good point that it was no doubt accelerated by this process. The reason for the flood, however, is clearly not only to wipe out evil but also to prevent the elimination of the true human line – otherwise there could be no Messiah.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hello--I hope you are well. I have a question--I seem to remember hour telling me that both Joshua and Yeshuah are shortened versions of Yehoshua. And mean basically the same thing "God saves." Well, a Christian mystic on CARM has this to say about these forms:


"SHU Egyptian theology; a god of the air. Compare the prince of the air. - Budge's hieroglyph Dictionary. The Masoretes, Jewish biblical scholars of the Middle Ages, replaced the vowel signs that had appeared above or beneath the consonants of YHWH with the vowel signs of Adonai or of Elohim. Thus the artificial name Jehovah (YeHoWaH) came into being.” - Brittanica. but let us go further... Jewish historian Josephus, who lived in 1ad said the tetragrammaton was made of vowels. [YHWH] is IEUE! . Josephus writes: “A mitre also of fine linen encompassed his head, which was tied by a blue ribbon, about which there was another golden crown, in which was engraven the sacred name [of Yahweh]; it consists of four vowels,” Wars of the Jews, Book 5 ieue is the pronunciation, as four vowels, which indeed ancient hebrew uses, just as today you see txt and know that it means text and has a vowel e present. If you look at interlinear texts, the same ieue as phonetic expression is used when referring to God. IEUE - means 'he secures breathing' - the breath of LIFE! LIFE. SHU on the other hand has the typical Harsh Egyptian consonants... which were overlaid to the tetragrammaton. Giving us the egyptian form - from which comes yeshua via various transformations. HORRIBLE and not scripture. Having an entirely different meaning and being of canaanite origin." Many can criticize that i refer to egyptian terms. Well, in fact, scholars do research those terms since the place names in scripture such as memphis and others are Egyptian."


I know how the word Jehovah came about. But the bit about shu and the Egyptian sounds nutty to me. I looked up the etymology for both Yeshua and Joshua and both sources say they come from Yehoshua. So, I told this lady that none of us has stated that Yeshua means God. Yeshua is a name. She said both Yeshua and Joshua are different etymologically, and that Joshua is correct, but Yeshua is not. Something about the "J" and "y" sounds changing. Eve said she doesn't do etymology as I do...apparently she thinks she is correct and everyone else is wrong. She seems to think that using Yeshua for Jesus is some new New Age Egyptian Yeshua cult! Yet, haven't Messianic Jews used Yeshua for Jesus, for centuries?

I have no patience with mysticism, Christian or otherwise. What they write is too esoteric, and almost unintelligible to anyone except themselves, and, if you ask me, robs us of the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thanks for your help. God bless and Happy New Year!

Response #24:

Well now there is an English word that sounds identical: "shoe". So I guess, based on this methodology, that we are all wearing Egyptian gods on our feet.

Hebrew has nothing whatsoever to do with Egyptian, and the names are NOT of Egyptian origin.

You could prove absolutely anything you wanted to with this methodology. It really doesn't even deserve a hearing.

On Josephus, note that he says nothing whatsoever about Egyptian. So whatever in the world he thought he meant has nothing to do with this "argument". Josephus was "out to lunch" on 99% of the things he wrote about the Bible. He was not above making things up because they were interesting and pleased his Roman audience. He is a wildly overestimated "source".

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hello--Well I think it is ridiculous, too. As ridiculous as that Messianic years ago, on CARM, who claimed that "Jesus" meant "son of Zeus" because he had read it in some book...I told him what you wrote about that, and he eventually backed off. I doubt this person will, though. Christian mystics are a pain.

Just one clarification, though...both Yeshua and Joshua are correct and derive from Yehoshua, correct? That is what I found out, looking online.

Thanks again.

Response #25:

I remember that one too! Some people will believe just about anything.

There are two separate spellings of the name Joshua in the Bible, but that is not unprecedented, in scripture or today (e.g., Robert and Bob and Rob and Robbie, etc.). Both forms come from YAH (the Lord) and YASHA' (to save).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I have been studying the subject of Godly Wisdom and have several questions.

1. Why In Proverbs chapters 1-8 does Solomon refer to Wisdom using the feminine, or so it has been translated.

2. Is he not taking about "Godly Wisdom" the same as Paul in 1 Corinthians?
Chapter 1, and James 1:5?

3. Why does the translation use the 'past tense was" in John 1 verse 1, or so it seems to me. "In the beginning was... the Word was...with God, and the Word was... was God.
Is there not a better word that could have been used, and what does it mean in the Greek?

I gather that because I don't know Greek nor do I understand how they think.

But in English, it is a bit confusing, especially when the "past" tense is used. Even the word translated in English as "beginning" when someone does not know that it really means, "before all else"?

It may sound that I am getting to "nit picky", but that is my nature, I want to know. I do know what it means in both of these instances, I just want to know how to explain the apparent problem in the choice of the English words for the Greek.

By His grace and Mercy we have been saved and are being saved.

To Him be all the glory, honor and praise.

Your friend,

Response #26:

1/2) Both the Greek word and Hebrews word(s) for "wisdom" are feminine; in Proverbs, however, Solomon is using the poetic technique of personifying wisdom, that is, referring to the concept as if it were a person, "Wisdom", and because the word is feminine he uses she/her to describe Wisdom. Even though wisdom (sophia) is feminine in Greek too, Paul is not writing poetry and doesn't portray wisdom as a person who speaks in an allegory, but he uses wisdom as a concept so "it" in translations is appropriate; many Greek words which to us are neuter have either masculine or feminine gender in Greek and Hebrew too.

3) The verb in these cases is past tense (the imperfect of the verb "to be"). John starts the gospel with the phrase en arche which is the Greek equivalent of the first phrase in the Hebrew Bible bereshith. These are often translated "in the beginning", but there is no "the" present in either case – so you are correct that "before all else" is a better way to put it. Because, really what this means is "first", because in speaking about creation, God always "was" just as He "is" and ever "will be". But from the standpoint of creation, we can only look at things chronologically, because that is how He made us. Time is a great gift because it is the environment in which we make choices – the greatest of all being to accept the Gift of Christ. From our point of view, no matter where we are on the spectrum of the seven thousand years given to humanity, the initiation of creation was "back there" in time. But as these two phrases indicate, the reference is to before time even began, because time is part of the creation.

Hope this is helpful to you, my friend!

Best wishes for your Bible class this weekend.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,,

This helps a lot. It clarifies things that I should have already known if I would have given it a little more thought.

Hopefully next week, I will begin a Bible class on the Book of the Gospel of John with two Catholic ladies, one who lives next door and her friend. I have had Catholic's in the past in Bible study. Most are wanting to learn. They told me that they have no Bible Studies in the church they attend. One even remarked, you will probably think I am really dumb because she said has no Bible knowledge at all. Her friend is also eager to learn.

Thanks for thinking about that. I know you are always praying for me, as I do for you.

How are things at the University?

Hope you are doing well and are extremely blessed.

God is always faithful.

Your friend,

Response #27:

Glad to hear it, my friend.

Also, great news about the Bible study. Having folks who want to learn is a blessing not to be underestimated. No doubt the Lord is leading them to you because you are "willing and able" to teach.

Classes went well today. I'm still having some issues as after effects of the flu/cold with my system; hip is pretty much the same (but hard to tell since I've not been able to test it with much serious exercise for the better part of a month), but I'm feeling a lot better today.

Thanks for your prayers! Keeping you and your in mine every day as well.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #28:

The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old.
Proverbs 8:22 NKJV

How should we translate “created”, “possessed”?

Response #28:

This is a poem wherein Wisdom is personified. Wisdom is a quality, not a person; poetry takes the liberty of personification for emphasis.

Question #29:

Ok, so as a quality that is divine, I take it you would translate verse 22 as "possessed" rather than "created"? The reason I'm asking is that the commentators are split whether this verse refers to pre-incarnate Christ (those who take it as existing from eternity) or not (those who see it as created and Jehovah Witnesses who reject our Lord's divinity).

Response #29:

This passage is taking a quality and portraying it as a person. It's an allegory. It's like if I were to write a poem about Wickedness and how he/she behaves. There is no person "Wickedness", but the characteristics I would describe in the poem would give readers an idea of what wickedness as a concept is (if that were my goal and I were a good poet, e.g.). God is all-wise and always has been. Wisdom is a quality of His deity which has been obvious from His initial creation of the world. That is what "The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old" means.

Question #30:

Since the problem of Solomon’s idolatry has really bothered me, I thought I would also attach my questions on 1 Kings 11.

1 Kings 11:4-8 (NASB)
4 For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites. 6 Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord fully, as David his father had done. 7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon. 8 Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.

Was Solomon saved if he engaged in idolatry?

Response #30:

Solomon most definitely did engage in the trappings of idolatry to please his wives. He began in humility and ended in the sort of arrogance that is hard for very rich, powerful, famous and successful people to avoid. Since Solomon was all that and in spades and had everything his heart could even possibly imagine, allowing it to turn somewhat hard against the truth was inevitable – absent a diligent daily attempt to stick close to the Lord via His truth. Solomon seems to have had a foot in both camps, as we say, "swearing by the Lord but also by Molech" (2Ki.17:41). He dealt with the Lord in a crooked, half-hearted way, and the Lord repaid him by dealing with him in a subtle way (Ps.18:26), not taking the kingdom from him but taking most of it away from his son.

Question #31:

So do you think he is with the Lord or did he become apostate? I think if we read what chapter 11 says and didn't know it was Solomon, we would be certain that this person did leave the Lord and apostatise, but since it's Solomon, it seems harder to accept.

Response #31:

I obviously can't be dogmatic about it, but I'm fairly certain that Solomon is in heaven. What his behavior in his latter days did to diminish his reward is hard to say (it's clear that he wasn't adding to his treasury of eternal blessing while involved in these compromising activities), and he certainly did flirt with apostasy (or the sin unto death), and clearly incurred divine displeasure and divine discipline. There are plenty of Christians today who compromise with the world – but who are probably still believers. It's a dangerous attitude, policy and stance, but it is very common. Also, there are different kinds of people in this world and different kinds of Christians. Some are consistently bad; some consistently good; some start bad and end up good; some start good and end up bad. Category one is the most common; category two the rarest; category three – well, that's you and I; since our experience is absolutely the opposite of category four, of course we can't understand how anyone could be like that – but many people are (Saul is another king who did the same thing, even worse, but we know he is in heaven because of Samuel's testimony: " tomorrow you and your sons will be with me": 1Sam.28:19 NKJV). So relapse does not mean loss of salvation even a person risks it, nor necessarily total loss of reward (though that is put at risk as well since apostasy means the loss of everything: 2Jn.1:8):

But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor o love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
Hebrews 6:9-10 NKJV

Question #32:

1 Kings 11:13 (NASB)
13 However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”

Why is it that God's treatment of Solomon was a result David's faithfulness?

Response #32:

Solomon was not just Solomon; he was the head of the nation, the son of David, and in the line of Christ. For these reasons he is treated differently than a "normal" Israelite would have been. The tribe is Judah; Benjamin was closely associated with Judah and remained a part of the southern kingdom even when it was called "Judah" (cf. Deut.33:12).

Question #33:

1 Kings 11:22 (NASB)
22 Then Pharaoh said to him, “But what have you lacked with me, that behold, you are seeking to go to your own country?” And he answered, “Nothing; nevertheless you must surely let me go.”

NIV SB: 11:22 What have you lacked here …? Because Egypt had by this time established relatively good relations with Israel (see note on 3:1), the pharaoh was reluctant to see Hadad return to Edom and provoke trouble with Solomon.

This is an interesting observation – would you agree that the good relationship established between Israel and Egypt through Solomon's marriage was the reason for Pharaoh's reluctance to let Hadad go?

Response #33:

I suppose it is possible. The Pharaoh seems to have genuinely valued him and his advice. Sometimes commentators wish to inject Realpolitik into all instances of foreign relations mentioned in the Bible and elsewhere too. Individual relationships do not explain everything (pace Herodotus), but they do count for something, and so are also not to be ignored as a false narratives, especially when the one we are dealing with is in the Bible.

Question #34:

1 Kings 11:41 (NASB)
41 Now the rest of the acts of Solomon and whatever he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?

What is the book of acts of Solomon?

Response #34:

This would seem to be a (non-inspired) book which no longer exists, along the lines of the book of Jasher.

Question #35:

How about Solomon's conversion - do you think we can draw the conclusion from Ecclesiastes that Solomon did discover the vanity of things he turned to and came back to God before his death?

Response #35:

Very possibly so, especially given the lament on old age in Ecclesiastes chapter 12.

Question #36:

Hi Dr L,

I have a question about Leah, Jacob's other wife. Most of the takes that I read on her was about her bad hand, being the unloved one. But, as someone who has a serious disability myself, I don't see it like that. Really, what was the likelihood a man would marry her (someone with a visible problem)? She is not out anything. I hate to say it, but unless she found someone who also had a disability (and even then, there's no surety he wouldn't have gone for a 'normal' girl), she I think likely would have ended up alone, childless, and unwanted with nothing. But this way, yes it was painful, but she got sons out of it. And when she was older, she was the only wife. And when she was really old, it wasn't abnormal (given that we tend to lose sight/hearing/etc as we age). At least that is what I think. She only got in because he was kind of tricked into it. But marriages of a transactional sort can end up romantic, and are not inherently sinful. Anyway. Not just sons but the firstborn and the next several, and the tribe and Levi and Judah (thinking of the Lord of course). Not saying it mustn't have hurt to be unwanted by her husband. But it would also have hurt to have been alone in old age with no children or legacy, and with a father who exploits and doesn't treat you with love either.

Response #36:

I do think it's true that these biblical narratives have a great deal to teach us if we stop to think about all of the ins and outs of them. A very good point that for all the heartache, Leah was blessed by the Lord. A good lesson for us all. Very often when we are feeling neglected and abandoned and abused, we are also forgetting the great blessings that the Lord has poured out upon us . . . as well as forgetting that dying for the least one of our sins is a blessing worth the entire world – and Jesus died for every single one of them. No matter what we suffer here in this world, five minutes in the next one will blot out every pain and wipe away every tear. And whatever happens here, the plan is perfect. Our Lord is working everything out for us for good – whether we choose to see that or not.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #37:

Good afternoon Bob,

So onto to question for you. Can you explain to me what Proverbs 3:5 means?

Yesterday was my Birthday and my mom emails me saying she would have loved to bring me my Bday present but she couldn't due to not wanting to drive on bad roads. She said she was able to find someone to drop it off at the feed store for me to pick up there. So I did..... I brought the package home and opened it. I was really surprised to find a hat in there that said Relax God is in control. Proverbs 3:5 and then on the side it said I love Jesus. I was completely shocked. I didn't know what to think. I had a million things going through my head. First of all I thought well this was nice thought but I don't wear things like this. I never in my life have. Then I thought well nothing wrong with a Bible verse but I'm seriously really uncomfortable wearing this. Then I thought, I don't need to advertise that I love Jesus, he knows. I don't need to advertise that God is in control, he's got this! So I sat there pondering. I thought well that was a nice message. I've heard this many times though. I still can't see how she thought this was something I'd wear as I've never been one to wear anything that made a statement. I then thought ....gosh I just can't wear this what am I going to do with it? I sat there looking at it and then decided to look up the scripture. I knew it had to do with God was in Control but what was the rest of it. What was said before and after. I googled it. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I remember the part from when I was little sitting in church where it says "lean not into thine own understanding" I was like oh my goodness, my brain was all of the sudden going back to a time I thought I completely forgotten. The people in that godless 'church' were teaching us kids that since our own human reasoning can't be relied upon we must rely on them and that they are the authority. Joseph Smith was the one to follow. He was the one who knows and follows the will of God. Human reasoning shouldn't be trusted and so God has sent Joseph Smith. We aren't to rely on our own understanding. ( Big red flags of Occult practices)

I see how the devil has spun this scripture. The Mormons use it to support their agenda. At this point I had my mind going in completely different direction. I knew this was something they knew I wouldn't wear, it didn't add up.

Response #37:

On Proverbs 3:5 et al., I was thinking about this and you when I did the weekly posting last night and wrote:

Yes, this is one of those verses that people like to quote "at you" instead of "for you" (especially if you are doing something THEY don't like). I have observed in my life that oft quoted verses are almost always misunderstood and misapplied . . . and sometimes not in the Bible at all (such as "Father forgive them for they know not what they do" and "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone" – both interpolations which are NOT part of scripture.

I know plenty of people who use this verse like a club to say that you shouldn't bother with trying to learn what the Bible actually means. In fact, of course, the verse means the precise opposite! It means that instead of trying to figure things out by means of human wisdom, we need to rely on the Lord. Since He is at present not appearing to us and speaking to us personally, the way to do that is to learn as much about the Bible as we possibly can and learn how to listen to the Spirit's promptings which come through the truth we have believed. I've something written about this verse and these principles in BB 6A at the link: "The process of discernment".

I'm with you. I don't believe in wearing T-shirts with, e.g., "John 3:16" on them. If other Christians want to do that kind of thing, I leave that between them and the Lord. But I've always disliked anything "gimmicky", even when I was pretty far from the Lord. Back in the mid '70s there was a billboard campaign that proclaimed "I found it!" and had a telephone number to call. The brother of the girl I was dating at the time – a solid Roman Catholic – called the number and found out that it was an evangelical gimmick to get people on the phone and "witness to them". He couldn't get them off the phone quickly enough. I lost touch with that bunch many year ago (praise God); they were all very nice people, but had no interest in being saved. No gimmick is going to change that. When we deliberately call attention to ourselves by wearing or displaying Christian symbols, what are we doing? It reminds me of the Pharisees praying loud in public and blowing trumpets when they gave money (like millionaires who hold press conferences today when they do so – and somehow deserving people with needs never seem to be the beneficiaries). I've no doubt mentioned before the very savvy comment of my favorite Hebrew professor in seminary who remarked that it seemed to him that every time he got cut off in traffic on the freeway it was by a car with a fish bumper sticker. Too true. Most Christians today are lukewarm and immature and really have no business calling attention to themselves as models of Christianity. In all such things, it's always so much better to let the Lord do that – if and when He deems us worthy of it.

So once again, your spiritual common sense is top notch!

I do wish you a VERY happy birthday, though, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.


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