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Old Testament Interpretation XVI

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Question #1:

Reading your latest email postings on Gen 1:1, it's obvious the young earthers are simple-minded. I think that demons creating or altering ancient land and aquatic life so that there were monsters fits their MO. Since they can indwell creatures and seem to get a thrill out of doing so, my guess is that’s what motivated them to somehow manipulate genes to manufacture such monsters. May have something to do with the lack of angelic physical sensation that possessing an earth critter gives them. That they would do so to engage in violence and death shows just how depraved they are; talk about being truly fallen. They would do the same today to all of us if they were unrestrained. The writer who was upset by what he perceived as mocking would freak out for sure if he encountered Jeremiah or Paul. Continue the good work old friend for it is appreciated, at least by this jarhead. Hard to believe that 40 years ago this year we were on Oki time. Semper Fi to my XO.

Response #1:


Ah Oki. Whenever I'm thinking life is closing in, I remember: It could be worse.

Hope you are doing well. Getting over a nasty flu here. Think my students enjoyed me even less than usual today.

Your pal in Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #2:

I saw that the last posting was on the Genesis Gap and I was reminded of the question that came to me as I was explaining it - and that is the origin of humanoids. I was wondering where did Satan get his "inspiration" from to come up with creatures as similar bodily to us as the humanoids were.

One hypothesis that came to my mind was that perhaps angels, although immaterial, appear in human-like forms throughout the scripture and despite some of these appearances perhaps being made in this shape for the human benefit, it is at least possible that angels would exist in a certain form even before the creation of man (even if this form would not be discernible to us - ultimately they must have means of relating to one another). What I mean here is that although we could say that angels took a human form to appear to men throughout the scripture, it is doubtful, for example, that the cherubim or angels in the third heaven would be without some sort of form and from the scripture we know that this form is at least reminiscent of a human being. I thought that Satan could have drawn from that, but this is only speculation. What is your take on this issue? This is perhaps my main question on the entire subject - I'm a firm believer in the Gap, but I thought that this is the main question that would be difficult to answer.

Response #2:

Personally, I have my doubts about the fossil evidence (see the link). Radio-carbon dating is seriously flawed (it assumes no great flood and changing of the earth's axis, e.g.). Nobody really knows what those small batch bones are. I refuse to take it for granted they are what scientists claim they are. I'm reminded of "Piltdown man", all the rage in the scientific community – until it was proven to be a hoax.

Question #3:

Greetings Dr. Luginbill from the west coast,

I pray that all is well with you and your family. I was just hoping to get some clarification on a few points you make in a few paragraphs in section one in regards to the structure and layout of the 3 heavens. In one paragraph you write "However in verse fourteen of Genesis chapter one, the raqiyah, or firmament, is now the place of the sun, moon and stars. Significantly, the exact Hebrew terminology used in verse fourteen is raqiyah-hasshamyim, "firmament of the heavens". The difference is a substantial one, for it suggest that these shamayim, or "heavens", are in some sense distinct from those referred to earlier...". Are you saying that only "now" or presently the place of the sun, moon and stars is in the the place called raqiyah, or firmament, whereas prior to Genesis 14:1, sometime perhaps after before the flood or before the Fall of Adam the sun, moon and stars were not in the raqiyah but somewhere else or they were in the same locality but not within the raqiyah?

Response #3:

Good to hear from you, my friend! Hope you are doing well out there. Your coast has certainly has its issues in recent months and years. I you and yours are surviving and thriving.

On the raqiyah, I do not mean to say here that the essential structure of the universe changed; it did not. What changed was the provision of a firmament dividing out the waters now "above" (i.e., on the outer edge of) the universe from those above the sky (in biblical terms; see the link "Waters Above"). This is not the easiest set of paragraphs to understand, the way I've written them; but it was also not the easiest section of this study to write. The thing is, the word raqiyah or "firmament" refers both to the sky (the first heavens) and also to the universe at large (the second heaven). The two are similar, as the section explains, because from our earthly point of view – the point of view from which the Bible describes these things – when we look up we see no distinction between the first and second heavens; they appear as one to us. So while it's not wrong to call everything under the third heaven, everything above the earth, the "firmament", these first verses in Genesis do make a distinction between the "atmosphere firmament" and the "universe at large firmament". The latter is in view in the section you quote, the place of the sun and moon etc. But before the seven days, after the judgment on the universe, the whole had been flooded with the tehom, the universal Abyss. This required that God make TWO separators (or really a "two-part" separator, the "firmament" / raqiyah) for life to be restored, one providing atmosphere for earth ("above" which is the moisture that waters the earth), and one that separates the universe at large from the "upper waters" that divide the third heaven from "this world/kosmos". It is within the later that the luminaries exist and are "relit", as it were, at Genesis 1:14 where the light is gathered into these local receptors. Most of these distinctions are lost on casual readers of the Bible – and indeed, even on most theologians (who in far too many cases don't give the Bible sufficient respect in the first place).

Please do feel free to write me back if any of the above is unclear – it is, as I say, a somewhat complicated set of concepts to grasp, especially inasmuch as there are so many unjustified preconceptions about what these verses mean (which would be cleared up if they were merely read carefully).

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Dear Professor

IF you have time, would you mind critiquing my explanation for JWs for when I come upon them again.

I came across them in the town yesterday, without my glasses and they were explaining how 2nd Peter is symbolic in that earthly powers are to be dissolved, and not the physical earth which they say abides forever. They said the earth was NOT destroyed by water, but only the ungodly people, so we are meant to understand that the fire is also only symbolic of the destruction of the ungodly and ungodly powers. NOT the literal destruction of the earth.

My reasoning (without going into too many scriptures), would go along the lines of:

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
(a literal physical creation)

“ and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished”. 2 Peter 3:6

(people perished by literal water, and so did the world, that is, the earth in the state it existed in previously)

“But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” 2 Peter 3:7

(literal fire same as in the first case of literal water). If the water is literal so the fire must be literal also!

10 “ But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!” 2 Peter 3:10 - 12.

All these scriptures are LITERAL. NOT symbolic. Starting with your own admission: literal water, then ALL else that follows is also literal. Water, roar, fire, burned up, dissolved, melt, burn. (Water floods, fire burns)

Symbolism that is not explained in the Bible is fantastic for inventing untold religions and doctrines, but NOT for establishing the truth.

(End of my intended brief reply, based on the scriptures they quoted me, with exception of Genesis 1:1 being added). Want to keep it to point and simple.

Another issue; at casual reading Peter does appear to say the total destruction happens at the 2nd Advent. (verses 10-11). I take the total destruction to be at the end of the Millennium.

Some say that it is not worth trying to crack hard nuts, though I feel that it is worth it, even for the sake of one who may have their eyes opened (literal spiritual eyes). Another benefit, when I am challenged, is that it encourages me to search the scriptures for my own understanding of these things to be in line with what the Bible actually says. In the above example I feel that even from their OWN reasoning and scriptures they quote; the truth is not what they proselyte here.
(This is becoming a pattern in my observation. Think, mormon seeking validity from Anglican women priest in my previous email)

I have decided not to attend their Easter Sacrament tonight. Even my teacher disencouraged me from doing so with 2John 10-11 (not receive him into your house or give him any greeting). According to the JWs, the “sacrament” is only for the 144,000. The rest of the congregation just pass the trays and then the elders go out to another room to do what? Partake in secret? (__ attended last year and gave that report and said it felt weird)

It is a blessing beyond words to have Ichthys online where the truth is taught from the Bible. Thank you. I pray for the success of your Ministry and for you and your family.

In our dear Lord and Savior

Your student

Response #4:

Excellent job, my friend! It is VERY hard for me to see how Genesis 7:10-24 could be any more specific in relating a worldwide flood which destroyed everyone and everything not in the ark – which was, after all, the purpose of the flood and the purpose of the ark. Any student of mine trying to make a text such as this "symbolic" when everything is clearly spelled out with careful measurements to make sure it is understood in its literalness would be flunked.

Eschatology uses certain terminology, and "the day of the Lord" is one such term frequently misunderstood (see the link); that term often expresses the entirety of the end times wherein our Lord defeats the beast removes the devil, then reigns for a thousand years culminating in the end of history. "One day with the Lord is like a thousand years", after all, a quote from Psalm 90:4 repeated by Peter in this very context (2Pet.3:8). Here is my translation with explanation based on this truth:

(10) For the Day of the Lord will come like a thief, a day in which (i.e., over the course of which) the heavens will depart with a roar, the very elements will ignite and dissolve, and the earth and everything which has been done upon it will be laid bare [for the Lord's inspection]. (11) Since the universe is going to be dissolved in this way, what sort of people ought we to be, [walking] in a sanctified and godly way, (12) eagerly looking forward to the coming of the Day of God (i.e., the day of eternity)? For on that day the heavens will burst into flame and dissolve, and the elements will catch fire and melt. (13) But we are awaiting new heavens and a new earth just as He promised – [a world] where righteousness dwells.
2nd Peter 3:10-13

So you are correct: the new heavens and new earth with New Jerusalem is the place where only "righteousness will dwell" – even during the Millennium, people will still have sin natures (which is made clear enough by the Gog-Magog rebellion at the end of the thousand years, easily stirred up by Satan in spite of perfect government and a thousand years of bliss (Rev.20:7-10; cf. Ps.2:1ff.). "The day" begins at the second advent (though it is foreshadowed by preceding events which are sometimes associated with it), and only terminates with the destruction of the universe and the last judgment, followed by making "all things new" (Rev.21:5).

Thanks for you stalwart defense of the truth, my friend – and for all your good words.

In Jesus Christ who is the Truth.

Bob L.

Question #5:

Dear Professor

Thank you for your reply.

I have accepted your explanation on this topic at first reading and it was good to re-read as it fits perfectly well with my understanding of what scripture plainly states.

I do not think the JWs were denying the LITERAL flooding of the earth. They said that it did not destroy the earth - it only destroyed the people - the earth remains - NOT destroyed. A symbolic destruction of the earth, which they say it means that yes people were destroyed by the flood but NOT the earth. The earth remains.

From there they extrapolate that the fire and dissolving, are the dissolving of earthly governments and rule, and the wicked- the EARTH REMAINS INTACT = NO LITERAL FIRE. The earth remains forever.

My simple reasoning was that if the WATER of the FLOOD were real (literal), then so is the FIRE real (literal). I was trying to keep it simple (especially as I was on the hoof and not having my specs).

To the JWs, the New heavens and New earth means new heavenly and earthly RULE. The physical heavens and earth as they exist at present will remain for eternity.

The FIRE is ONLY SYMBOLIC of the removal of current wicked powers throughout heaven and earth.
Water is real. Fire is not real. (JW interpretations) So to a JW, “heaven and earth will pass away” is SYMBOLIC. “New heaven and new earth is SYMBOLIC for the new rule of Jehovah throughout the universe, and is NOT for a new creation. (JW interpretations)

When confronted by these heresies, and comparing them to the Bible, the truth becomes even more obvious than any symbolic imaginations of religious cults.

I pray for an awakening of many to the truth.

Thank you for your excellent explanation of this topic which I have always believed to be the truth. Nice to have a grounding Ministry such as Ichthys that is built on the Rock.

In Jesus the Rock of Truth.

Your student

Response #5:

Well 'of course' the flood did not vaporize the earth – it was a cataclysmic flood on planet earth, not an end of the universe event. Peter's point is to equate the two only in terms of destroying life as we know it and bringing God's judgment on the ungodly in the process, physical in the first case but eternal in the second case – something any sane person would respond to if accepting the truth of these two events. So of course the second case is more profound. But just because God did not annihilate the universe and cast the guilty into the lake of fire on the occasion of the flood does not mean that's not exactly what He's going to do at history's end. And it is exactly what He's going to do.

Incidentally, the judgment on the original cosmos which flooded the entire universe with the tehom or "great deep" (not merely planet earth), did not annihilate the universe but it did wipe out all life and light therein, requiring the seven days to restore things, especially on earth so that mankind could be created and survive here.

So you are correct and your point about literal water = literal fire is exactly the right one to make. The above merely underscores that, pointing out that things are exactly the opposite of JW reasoning: instead of being less severe the end-times' final destruction is total, both in physical terms (resulting in the new heavens and new earth) and in spiritual terms (not merely physical death but the last judgment and damnation of all who resist and reject Jesus Christ as these people do).

Here's my translation and expansion of meaning for the entire context:

(3) Keep this foremost in your mind: in the end times cynics will ridicule [the truth], acting out of their own selfish lusts (4) and saying, "Where is that 'return' He promised? Everything is the same now as it was since the beginning of the world, since the time our forefathers passed on." (5) But it escapes their notice in asserting this, namely, that there were heavens long ago too, and an earth, which was [re-]established (Gen.1:2ff.) out from under water (i.e., the "waters below") and through [the midst of] water (i.e., the "waters above") by the Word of God – (6) [and that it was also] through these two [sets of waters] that the world of that time (i.e., in Noah's day) was deluged by water [from above and below] and destroyed. (7) Now the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire by that same Word (of God), preserved for the day of judgment and the destruction of godless men (i.e., at the end of history). (8) Let not this one fact escape your attention then, beloved, namely that one day is like a thousand years in the Lord's eyes, and a thousand years like one day (i.e., the final "day" will span a millennium). (9) The Lord is not delaying in the fulfillment of His promise (as some think); rather He is exercising patience for your sake, being unwilling for anyone to perish, but desiring all instead to come to repentance. (10) For the Day of the Lord will come like a thief, a day in (i.e., over the course of) which the heavens will depart with a roar (i.e., at the end of the Millennium), the very elements will ignite and dissolve, and the earth and everything which has been done upon it will be laid bare [for the Lord's inspection] (i.e., the last judgment). (11) Since all these things are destined to disintegrate in this way, [consider] what sort of [Christians] we ought to be, [devoted to] holy and godly conduct, (12) as we wait with eager expectation and apprehension the advent of the Day of God (i.e., the 2nd Advent). For on that day (i.e., at the end of it) the heavens will burst into flame and dissolve, and the elements will catch fire and melt. (13) But we are awaiting new heavens and a new earth just as He promised - [a world] where [only] righteousness dwells.
2nd Peter 3:3-13

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #6:

We were discussing the nature of animals and the change in them after the fall. Isaiah 11:6-9 describes how they will behave under Christ’s Millennial reign. Isaiah. 11:9 says “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (NIV) From this verse could we say that the animals have their wild/ferocious natures because they “do not have knowledge of the Lord?” In a way they became cut off from God spiritually in the pattern of Adam and Eve when they became spiritually dead after eating the fruit…which explains their “bondage to decay” and “being subjected to futility” from Romans 8:19-23.

Response #6:

On Isaiah 11:9, in Eden, none of the animals presented any danger to Adam and Eve, but outside of Eden, once the ground was cursed, that is not the case. So I see animal kind as part of the earthly creation that is cursed (the serpent receives a special curse, of course), but with their original innocuous nature restored once this curse removed (there will be no "kill or be killed" necessity for animal kind in the Millennium either: cf. Rom.8:19-22).

Question #7:

Last question! Is it possible that before the flood, the animal population was being contaminated/engineered by the demons and the nephilim? There are a lot of myths that exist about “…the heroes of old, men of renown,” in many cultures and they usually contain fantastical creatures (griffin, centaurs, winged horses, etc). Please correct me if I am wrong: I can’t remember what email response it was from but, I thought I remember you saying that the civilizations existing before the flood could have been even more advanced than our own. Humans today are already starting to manipulate and splice the genes of animals to create genetic hybrids. If the demons were tampering with the genes of the human race, what was stopping them from manipulating the animals as well?

Response #7:

I definitely think that such was the case . . . before the Genesis gap judgment. I don't think so after the flood since there's no indication of it in the scriptures we do have of the period (and Noah is not told to avoid certain polluted species, e.g.). It is true that there were no doubt very advanced civilizations before the flood – scripture tells us a bit about that (Gen.4:17; 4:22), but not necessarily in modern technological terms (Noah built the ark out of wood).

Question #8:

Dear Bob,

You probably have been asked this many times before so I apologize. But, I’ve recently read about the Serpent seed doctrine and it sounds feasible to me since there are many biblical verses to back it up. Do you advocate the serpent seed doctrine? That is, that satan was the father of Cain and that the apple and the serpent are symbolic. That the serpent was actually satan as a man and he had sex with Eve to try to mess up God’s plan. And that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life are really satan and Jesus. Thank you.

Response #8:

Good to make your acquaintance.

I wouldn't call this a "doctrine". Genesis 3:15 tells us that antichrist will be the devil's spawn. And that is all it says in this regard. There is no justification, either from the text of Genesis or from proper canons of biblical interpretation, to proclaim that the trees of life and knowing-good-and-evil are symbols and not trees, or that the fruit of the latter was not actually fruit. If that can be true without anything in the text even suggesting it, then any verse in the Bible can be made to mean anything anyone wants it to mean (you would just need imagination).

Trees are trees and fruit is fruit – unless the Bible specifically tells us that we have to do with a symbol – as at Revelation 12:1ff. where the "red dragon" is later said explicitly to be Satan (in Rev.12:9). There's nothing remotely like that in Genesis chapter three.

As to Cain, the Bible specifically says that Adam is his father (Gen.4:1).

This is very dangerous false teaching, and I would strongly encourage you to find a better source. You are welcome at Ichthys any time, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

How are you? I hope you and your family are doing well! How are you healing and how is the situation going with your contract?

Things have been a little rocky with my family lately, but God is getting us through it all. [details omitted]

Despite all of the struggles I have increased my Bible study time to two hours in the morning instead of one. I am spending an hour in Bible study and an hour in apologetics. I am amazed by how much studying apologetics has strengthened my faith. Before taking this on, I didn’t know there was so much irrationality and inconsistency underlying atheist beliefs which stands in such stark contrast to the consistency and truth of God’s revelation to us. My __ is also really enjoying and looking forward to Bible study each night, reading a couple of chapters (and commentary) a day in the Old Testament and is already into 1 Kings.

Thank you for answering my questions about the animals! I have some additional questions for you this week. I am sorry to be asking you so many in one email, but they are all related.

1. On Genesis 1:28: God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (NIV)

· What was there about the animals for Adam and Eve to rule/dominate in paradise? In its perfection, did God build in some kind of “godly wildness” into the animals for Adam and Eve to attend to? I know this is a post-fall example but could we compare it to when our pets get a little hyper or rambunctious we need to take steps to calm them down (“sit!”). I think what I am trying to ask is that we really have no idea how perfect creatures and nature before the Genesis curse acted/behaved. Just because things were peaceful/perfect doesn’t mean Adam and Eve had nothing to do – God had tasks/work planned for them regarding the animals.

· When God guided Adam to start to name/classify the animals was it more than just Adam learning about them? Being made in God’s image was God going to let Adam and Eve, alongside with Him, continue to change/develop/take care of creation?

· Do the Hebrew words for “subdue” and “dominate” have any other nuance in meaning?

· Also, were both Adam and Eve were given the task of ruling/subduing the animals, not just Adam? That is what Eve was his helpmate for – helping him with this task?

2. On Genesis 2:19-20: Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. (NIV)

· Was God not only showing Adam that none of the other creatures were even remotely like him or could “help him” but that they had their own mates so that he would wonder why he didn’t have one too? But, of course, Eve was much more than just a mate. You said in your study on the creation and fall of man: “But Adam was a human being, the exact same divine mix of body and spirit that each one of us are, so that God did not deem it appropriate merely to supply him with a mate in the manner of animals. Adam is instead allowed to discover his need for companionship through a heuristic process of observation (Gen.2:19-20), with the result that he can appreciate both his own need and God's gracious gift of Eve to him (Gen.2:23).”

· Also on Genesis 20: The verse states that Adam gave names to all of the livestock, birds in the sky and wild animals. Does this mean there was some differentiation between animals – some were created to be more “wild” than others (i.e. the monkey more wild than the cow) or are these classifications of animals more general just so we get an idea of all the different kinds Adam had named – it doesn’t specifically mention fish or swimming creatures, but I am sure God was guiding Adam to give them names, too.

3. On God’s covenant with Noah after the flood:

· Before the flood did humans eat animals? If they did, were they allowed or would this have been considered sin? In Genesis God gave the plants/fruit to Adam and Eve to eat and they did not eat animals before the fall (no death yet), but after the fall God instituted animal sacrifice (the skins He gave Adam and Eve). People were raising/domesticating animals (Able), so humans were using them in some way. Were people only sacrificing animals to God or were they also eating them? Would Able have eaten some of the animal he sacrificed to God like the Israelites did later in time? The clean animals God instructed Noah to take into the ark were meant to be sacrifices to Him, but would God have also allowed Noah’s family to use them for food?

· Why did so much of this covenant have to do with God establishing moral laws for the relationship between humans and animals? Was He reestablishing or reaffirming the same human-animal relationship we had before the flood or was He giving us new commandments? Did it have something to do with the wicked behavior of the nephilim before the flood (in relation to animals and their abuse of them in the same way we suspect Satan had defiled the animals on the earth)? Or was it just because Noah had acted in faith and did God’s will in delivering the animals?

Thank you for answering my questions and praying for my family and me! God is definitely answering them. He is really helping me with my condition. [details omitted] Please let me know if there are any special/urgent prayers I can pray for you, your family or anyone else on the Ichthys prayer list. I have lost a little ground lately in how much I pray, but I am working on being more efficient with my time so I can have more time to pray. I hope you have a great week and, as always, don’t feel like you need to rush in answering my questions or replying!

In Christ’s Love,

Response #9:

Always good to hear from you, my friend!

As to the specifics of Adam's (and Eve's) occupation in the garden of Eden, we are only told that God was letting Adam name all of the animals. So I can't give you specific answers to these first two sets of questions. I can say that since the environment was perfect, there would have been no need to correct or improve anything. I imagine that we are talking about a relationship that mirrored Adam and Eve's – no need for the exercise of authority since no sin and no curse yet existed. I think there is also a parallel here to be seen with the eternal state. We are very much creatures of this world we live in now, and it is hard for us to imagine a world of no effort and no lack and no need for or point in trying to fix or improve anything – i.e., no "progress" or "resistance". It may seem to our limited perspective that there will be "nothing to do" or that things might be "boring". I am confident that nothing is further from the truth – God Himself is amazing beyond our ability to imagine the outer edge of His infinity, and eternity is not long enough to get to know about Him.

But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
1st Corinthians 2:9 NKJV

Analogously, in Eden, there is no indication that Adam and Eve were tired or bored or discontent – or anything but blissfully happy with everything the Lord had given them and was doing for them. The fact that we don't know much about the details doesn't matter because we probably wouldn't be able to appreciate it with our present sin natures in any case. And it took external temptation of the most devious kind to for Eve (then Adam) to even consider anything else (cf. Ps.16:11).

On the Noahic covenant, I think we have to conclude based on Genesis 9:3-6 that animals were not given to be food for mankind before the flood (otherwise there would be no need here both for the permission and also for the prohibition on eating blood; whereas both would have been necessary before the fact if such were permissible). I can't say it was never done before this. After all, the reason for the flood was that "the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Gen.6:5 NKJV). The pre-flood population of the earth had therefore to be wiped completely off the face of the earth, so I wouldn't want to say that this not-yet-permissible action was not done by the evil inhabitants of earth at the time anyway. Why the change? It seems to have to do with the change of physical environment generally on earth after the flood – a much more hostile environment with much shorter life-spans, a rapidly expanding population which would quickly cover the whole earth, bringing a greater necessity for survival and consequent exploitation of animal resources, not to mention more intense encounters with animals in the wild not the case in the relatively benign pre-flood world.

Thanks for the update – and it's nice to hear about your growing spiritual confidence and wisdom. Family relationships are never easy, but you are handling things well. Good for you! I am and will continue to be keeping your family in my prayers.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Thank you for answering my questions about the animals. Everything you said makes sense to me, except that I am still confused about Genesis 1:28 on how to understand what God was commanding Adam and Eve to do in paradise when He said, “…fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Like you said, since no sin or curse yet existed and there was no need to exercise authority, how were they supposed to carry out this command? Do these two words have carry a different meaning or a positive connotation since they are describing relationships in paradise? It doesn’t make sense to use a negative connotation, what we consider “ruling and subduing” in our fallen state. I understand that Adam and Eve lived in harmony with every other living creature, so could “rule and subdue” mean that they were to help God guide/provide for the animals as the two creatures He made in His image in the same way they were to tend and take care of the garden (Genesis 2:15)?

I have a question about 2 Samuel 21. Was King David correctly carrying out God's will in giving Saul's seven sons to the Gibeonites to be executed? Unger thinks that David was acting in the flesh in this action (Deut. 24:16 and Ezekiel Chapter 18) and when I first read that chapter that was my initial reaction, but when David inquired of the Lord about the three year-long famine He said, "It is because of Saul and his house of blood, for he put the Gibeonites to death.” From this statement, especially "house of blood," can we deduce that Saul's sons were guilty of spilling Gibeonite blood, too? Or was their execution just in God's eyes for other unjust murders they committed even if they had no part in slaughtering the Gibeonites?

Response #10:

On Genesis 1:28, it's difficult for us living in this cursed world and struggling with bodies of sin to imagine the situation in Eden. Indeed, it's difficult for us living in a world where constant effort is needed to survive and where people think in terms of "progress" to get their minds around a world where there was no need and no necessity of any kind. I think this is one of the reasons why some people imagine that heaven (New Jerusalem) might be boring since there is nothing that "has to be done or else" and nothing needing to be achieved. This is contrary to our whole experience here and now. But I have faith that heaven (eternity) will be wonderful beyond our wildest dreams. We just don't know how as of yet.

The hypothetical of what an expanding human race might have looked like absent sin in Eden is one I try not to get to exercised about – because it is only hypothetical. God knew what was going to happen and put it into the perfect plan. If we were to ask Him about this in eternity, He would be able to tell us how there would have been plenty of enjoyable occupation for Adam and Eve and their posterity, and how the animal kingdom worked into that – perfectly. And no doubt in heaven we won't have to ask because we will be living a true parallel – only much more blessed.

When Solomon had everything and used his wisdom and resources "to accomplish things", he found that it was nothing but vanity and pointlessness (Eccl.2:4ff.). But that is because of the world we are in and who and what we are in this world. We don't live forever, so anything we do and accomplish is, in the end, totally pointless – and yet we are motivated by our sinful natures to strive for earthly prizes anyway (Eccl.4:4). Christ makes that all different for we believers, of course, because we are running to win an imperishable crown (1Cor.9:25); even though the world thinks we are crazy, that is really the only way to redeem our time down here (Eph.5:16; Col.4:5). But for Adam and Eve, what they might have done would have been lasting as they would have continued to live on hypothetically forever (without sin); and whatever we are going to "do" in eternity will likewise be forever (and sinless) since we will be forever. We will have to wait a little longer to get the specifics, but I have no doubt that "the things which God has prepared" for us are wonderful beyond imagination (1Cor.2:9; cf. Ps.16:11).

On the execution of the descendants of Saul, it seems clear to me from the context that David was carrying out what he thought to be God's will in order to have the plague removed. Would things have worked out if David had refused? We'll never know. But he was king and he was acting in a judicial capacity here; he made a decision, and it's hard for me to fault him for this decision, even though I might not have had the stomach for it myself (and in that case the plague might not have been lifted). A couple of things we can say: 1) God is just, even if we sometimes don't at first see the ins and outs of His perfect justice (we have faith that this is so); 2) David was a man of considerable wisdom (he did make mistakes, but these are few and far between, and generally recorded in scripture as such, which is not the case here); 3) if Saul had not done what he had done against God's will, none of this would have happened; 4) if Saul had not turned against the Lord as willfully as he did in other respects, none of this would have happened; 5) the one individual in the house of Saul of whom we know who was a believer was spared; 6) therefore Saul's line was not wiped out utterly, even though he certainly did much to make such an outcome possible and understandable; 7) if any of those executed were believers, they are saved; if any of them were unbelievers, they are not – irrespective of the fate that befell them. Compared to the widespread injustice and unjust death of our own times and of the last century in particular, this incident at least was brought on by divine impetus and adjudicated by a man who was close to God's own heart. If it had not been the will of God (e.g., if this had been something horrific in God's sight), it is not impossible to suppose that He might have let David know (e.g, through Nathan), that this was not the proper way to proceed – for the Lord certainly did know that this was what the Gibeonites would request.

Question #11:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you for answering me so fast last week. I have been praying that your contract gets approved and for God to help you and your family heal from the cold/flu. I, too, cannot wait until it starts to get warmer. I like the snow but I am anxious to start running outside instead of on the track at the gym.

The Lord is definitely giving me experiences with different types of unbelief in the people that I cross paths with and who come into my life. I was thinking about this the other night while walking. We are born cut off from God. In all of the unbelievers I have met and spoken with about their faith, that deadness to God is so apparent in everything they do/say and how they think, its almost palpable. I can even see it in unbelievers who I think are searching for God and suffering in their unbelief. The dots just don’t connect for them and the their doubts are overwhelming. I know this is not an excuse for me not to work at my evangelism ministry or learn effective apologetics, but it truly is the Holy Spirit who makes the Gospel known to someone in their heart. Without Him I might as well be speaking another language to unbelievers when I give them the Gospel. I feel like I am trying to describe color to a blind person. They are never going to understand it without that intervention from the Holy Spirit.

For the past month I have been using the time I usually spend studying God’s Word in delving into apologetics. I know for sure that my ministry is evangelism (and eventually teaching to women and children – especially teen age girls). I have pages and pages of notes I have been taking for the past few years studying your topical studies and Curt’s verse-by-verse studies and I love God’s Word, but I have been “gnawing at the bit” and praying to God about how to prepare to share the Gospel effectively and how to chip away at the lies and hardness of heart in people I encounter. Knowing God’s Word (my spiritual growth) is of the utmost importance, but now I am being guided to contrast the truth believed in my heart with the web of ungodly systems of thought that rule this world. That involves actually studying the lies themselves.

I have a lot of experience with the new age teachings and atheism as defined by Ayn Rand (Objectivism), but not so much with materialistic atheism. I may go back and read some things by Ayn Rand because she was good at exposing the inconsistencies of the beliefs of material atheists of which she rejected. The book I am studying now by Dr. Greg Bahnsen is very helpful and I have started taking notes on his 1985 debate with atheist Dr. Gordon Stein, observing how he actually defended his faith against Stein using the principals/method taught in his book.

I don’t expect to turn the heart of many atheists (anything is possible for God), but I think the Holy Spirit is guiding me to witness on college campuses (possibly through Eric Chabot’s organization) and secular/atheistic thought dominates there. As with the teaching, I think I will be witnessing to a lot of teenagers and young adults who are being exposed to atheistic reasoning, but may not yet be completely hardened. Also, these ideas (moral relativism, macro evolution, etc.) are also accepted by many lukewarm Christians and are working to undermine the faith in believers, because they have permeated every aspect of our culture.

There is so much to defend against! I feel like I have to constantly diverge from my studies to pursue rabbit trails and make notes for myself to come back to a certain subject later. I know I will never be able to cover everything, but I need to identify the main lies, the ones that are doing the most damage and the ones that are coming up the most in my conversations.

I really need to balance my time and energy because spending time studying all these systems of unbelief almost always leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. I need to make sure I stay rooted in God’s Word and take a break from the apologetics research to continue my own personal Bible study.

I do have a question about Romans 8:18-24a (your translation from Question #7 of your email Q/A The Seven Edens and the Eden of Adam and Eve:

“For I do not consider these present hardships in any way comparable to the glory destined to be revealed for us [at the 2nd Advent]. For all creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God. For the created world is now subject to futility - not of its own choosing, but because of Him who subjected it [as a consequence of Adam's sin] - but not without hope. For [at the 2nd Advent] the created world will be liberated from its enslavement to decay at the glorious liberation of the sons of God (i.e. our resurrection). For we know that the whole creation has been experiencing intense pain and agony right up until this present time. And not only the created world, but we too who have received the Holy Spirit as a foretaste [of the good things to come] agonize within ourselves as we eagerly await our adoption, that is, the redemption of our body (i.e. resurrection). This is the hope with which we were saved.”

One part of question #7 was this: “I've always been lead to believe that the animals in Eden were all herbivores and ate plants, then Adam sinned and they became carnivorous like now. However, does scripture indicate that sin entered only into mankind and the animals were like they are today even back then? Did the food chain exist in the garden or outside the garden wherever the animals were? Or did Adam's sin somehow change and affect the animals as well?”

Paul teaches that the animals did not “fall” like Adam and Eve. It’s not that Adam’s sin affected them too, but God subjected the animals and all of creation to futility as a consequence of Adam’s sin. My questions are…

1) What does Paul mean by “futility” here?

I just want to be sure: I think he is talking about the fact that they have to suffer and die; most of them living brutal lives in nature (“enslavement to decay,” ”intense pain and agony.”). He also compares the futility of their lives with the futility we still have to put up with as believers living our lives out in our dying bodies and suffering here on earth. Everything we see happening in nature (the ecosystems, food chains, animals eating other animals) is completely pointless/aimless because it eventually ends in death. But this Greek word is also used to describe the thinking of unbelievers. Could Paul also be describing the mental state of the animals as having been changed by God? We know from Isaiah 11:6-9 that the antagonism between species and between humans and animals will be eradicated, but is it possible that the nature/abilities of the animals themselves will be enhanced/restored in some way during Christ’s Millennial rule? You said (I think in a past email response) that in the Garden of Eden when the serpent spoke to Eve she was not surprised that it could speak, so there is a possibility that the nature of the animals was really different before sin entered the world. Could it be that they were more intelligent/sentient then they are now? I know they do not have free will like humans and never will, but it will be amazing to see how everything changes when Christ returns.

My corresponding question is this:

2) Why did God subject them to futility? What does this accomplish and how does He use this to further His plan?

God definitely changed their natures in some way and their relationship with one another and man. Was this change a necessity in punishing Adam (Genesis 3:17-19)? Did God create an antagonistic relationship between the animals and future humans to correspond with the antagonistic relationship between the ground/plants from which Adam was to now struggle with for his food? Or did God have to make the animals more “brutish” so they could live in a world that would now be controlled/influenced by the sin and wickedness of man? Humans horribly abuse animals all of the time, but it would be so much worse for them if they were docile or if they were more intelligent than they are.

The relevance of this question will definitely be helpful when talking to unbelievers. It is surprising how often unbelievers will bring up examples in nature and ask questions involving animals and pets when talking to me about God and my faith. This may be the Holy Spirit using natural revelation to help guide them to Christ and it gives me an opportunity to witness about God’s character reflected through His created order. It also gives me an opportunity to convey to them the hope of what life will be like once the Genesis curse is removed.

As always, no rush in writing back! I am going to have a lot on my plate this week in studying for the Fire Fighter exam. I hope you have a good week and I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers.

In Christ’s Love,

Response #11:

Always great to hear from you.

Thanks for this wonderful insight on the unbelieving mindset and the process of evangelism. You've done some great work, based on what I read here. This sort of ministry is not something I personally could ever do (certainly not well), but it is clearly important, and I can see how a person who was actually prepared both with the truth and a detailed understanding of the major lies abroad would have a wonderful toolbox to help others. You are right that it takes the Spirit – but that is true of all Christian ministries (certainly this one). So keep up the good work. Getting the balance right is a never-ending struggle, one whose parameters change as we change and our lives and their textures change. So keep putting "first things first", and then divvy up what's left of time and energy for the rest.

On your questions, I think they are impossible to disaggregate. I see the wildness and mortality of animals as part of the Genesis curse. After all, when the curse is removed, in the Millennium, this harmful nature (and doubtless also the mortality) is removed (e.g., Is.11:6-9). What precisely this will entail (as in being able to converse with them), we can only speculate about. But the passage just cited promises amazing changes. Making the world a hostile environment for mankind was both a just and necessary consequence of the fall, and animal wildness was an essential part of that (even though not specifically mentioned in Genesis chapter three but verified as you note at Rom.8:18-24). Mortality of all physical life clearly had to follow the fall, and that is what futility in the Romans passage means. The "futility" is ματαιοτης / mataiotes, the same "vanity" that we find throughout Ecclesiastes (this is the Greek word used to translate הֶבֶל / hebhel in the Hebrew). Separated from God and with death just around the corner, there is nothing human beings can do that is not pointless – and the same is true for animals. Of course, this is all turned upside down for human beings if and when they turn to Jesus Christ. Analogously, since animals do not have the free will choice of determining their eternal destiny, I have argued that they will "be there" automatically. So creation at large, and also the animal kingdom, and of course we ourselves "groan" now, but look forward to the time when the present trouble passes away, in resurrection for us, and in the removal of the Genesis curse from all creation and for all creation when the Messiah reigns.

I would be circumspect about getting too deep into this with unbelievers, however. I have used this approach when it was appropriate and promising, but I think it's wise to quickly turn the issue back to the person who needs saving: "So your dog will likely be in heaven – but how about you? What think ye of Christ?" (As I said, I'm not very good at all this.)

Keeping you and your career efforts and your family in my prayers day by day, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Asked about Genesis 3:16. The phrase "your desire will be for your husband" or "you will desire your husband" is rendered differently in the NLT and the NET.

Then he said to the woman, "I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you."
Genesis 3:16 NLT

To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your labor pains; with pain you will give birth to children. You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you."
Genesis 3:16 NET

I looked at the meaning of tsuqah and BDB explains it as meaning "longing" and doesn't mention anything about control, which would mean that both NLT and NET got it wrong.

Response #12:

I was not aware of these two very "weird" translations of this verse; they are clearly wrong. The word in question means that women, outside of Eden and because of their relative weakness and need for a spouse will "desire a husband", even though, as I have observed, women can be argued to have a tougher time of it in marriage – if they carry out their duties in the biblical way. So without this "desire" imparted by God, women would probably never have wanted to get married. Here is a link to where this is discussed at Ichthys: "Your desire shall be for your husband".

Question #13:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Concerning the subject Rephaim: I understand that these originated when Angels left their first estate, looked at the daughters of men and came to earth and took these women and produced the subject beings.

I have a questions: Since the earth ; all but 8 people survived, the rest of the people perished in the flood.

Were the Rephaim the descendants of the Nephilim, if so, how did the seed of these Rephaim get passed on, since there were only three women left who could have carried the gene. One of them, I'm thinking Ham's wife carried the gene? Not really sure if my thinking cap is on straight or not.

Thanks again,

Reviewing your study containing Repentance. Excellent as usual.

Blessings to you,

Your friend,

Response #13:

The nephilim were, by definition, a polluted strain of partial human beings resulting from the angelic infiltration of Genesis chapter six.

These were all destroyed by the flood and not a trace remained. So, no, the Rephaim are not descendants of the nephilim (I've heard this false teaching before out there in the ether); the Rephaim were a race of people who were abnormally large, relatively speaking. This happens, after all. Vikings were larger than normal western Europeans in their day, and pygmies are smaller than normal. But all are 100% human. The name means "sons of Rapha", who was an apparently large specimen taken to be their ancestor.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Lot is interesting, because he is still considered righteous even though being in that environment must have made it difficult for him to be so; and I don't see any hint that he was sinning by living there. You might say it was a lifestyle full of impurity, but not full of sinning (beyond the amount we all sin). Or that is my take right now on it.

One more thing on Lot: it is interesting that he tarried isn't it? What if the angels had not basically forced him to leave, would he have been burned up with the city? I suppose this is barely making it, and if so, not what we would want to emulate. I was reading the link you sent about believers who have been preparing being more likely to be alert and make the right choice. I would think tarrying is the wrong one. So, even though he is considered righteous, it seems he was right on the edge possibly compromised due to living in Sodom. The whole being careful of what affects us thing. Not sinning, but teetering on the edge towards spiritual catastrophe (living in Sodom not sinful, but unwise and too much negative affecting) maybe. A little more and maybe that would have been it for him.

This portion you wrote on the site is really good.

Response #14:

Lot certainly suffers by comparison with Abraham. None of us is perfect, and Abraham's example would be very difficult for any of us to match (even though he was not perfect either), but Lot chose for himself the valley wherein lay Sodom (as Abraham no doubt suspected he might), and then eventually gave up sojourning to be city-dweller. That is more than just symbolic. It's an example of choosing to embrace the world instead of walking through it in a way that declares you are only sojourning in it – "in it" not "of it" (Jn.15:19; cf. Heb.11:8-10). I also rather suspect that his wife and daughters were instrumental in pressuring dad to do something he would have rather not done. But after living there a while, yes, he was reluctant to leave, seeing his happiness and security – and good relations with his family – as bound up in that place . . . when in fact the Lord is our only true happiness and our only true security. Lot was "righteous" – which means he was a believer. How great a believer he was, only the Lord knows (but we will all find out about all of us at the judgment seat of Christ). And we all, from time to time, do some of what Lot did. The world is very attractive, and the lies it tells about needing worldly security are very persuasive. But as we grow in the Lord, these distinctions get easier to make. It's not about where we are or even so much what we choose in terms of truly non-important decisions; rather it's the fundamental attitude we have towards Jesus Christ and His truth and His Church that lies behind all that which really matters.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

In this morning's Bible Study with my wife, we don't attend any church, but rather have our own, we are studying the Gospel of John and currently on Chapter 3.

We have a question on Verse 3 which says:

"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness[found in Num. 21-6-9], even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life". As I noted above this is quoted in Numbers.

We need some clarification on how these two verses correlate with each other, that is if they do. It appears to me to be an analogy comparing those who looked at the bronze serpent were healed, and those who look to[believe] in Jesus are saved from their sins. Comparing the Verse in John to the Verse in Numbers sort of give the impression that Jesus was trying to explain to John that, the same way those who looked to the Bronze Serpent were healed, so those who looked to{believe] in Jesus are also healed{spiritually speaking] of their sins.

What my wife and I don't understand is why did God tells Moses to make a fiery serpent, when in Verse 6, God sends fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many died.

What is the significance of the fiery serpent, and is the comparison I provided correct in my assumption.

I also noticed in Numbers 21:14 that it mentions "the Book of the Wars of the Lord". What is this book?

Thanks so much for your help on these questions and your clarification.

To Him Who was, and Who is, and Who is to come be glory always.

Your friend,

Response #15:

Your interpretation is "right on the money"! Why a fiery serpent? The serpent is the origin of human sinfulness, so a symbol itself of sin; and our Lord "bore our sins in His body on the tree" (1Pet.2:24).

As to "the Book of the Wars of the Lord", this was a non-canonical book which has not survived. Similarly in Classics we know of many ancient works which have not come down to us except, as in this case, through fragments quoted in other works which do survive. This is not, in this case, a terrible loss since, as mentioned, it was not an inspired book – but the Spirit saw fit to include this small part in the Bible.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:


You are the best source of biblical information that I am aware therefore would like to give you this query.

Normally when we think of the Red Sea (the Gulf Suez) as the location where the Israelites escaped from Egypt. What confuses me is that in several passages in the Old Testament they refer to the Gulf of Aqaba as the "Red Sea".

First, please read Jeremiah 49:20 - 22. In verse 21 only two versions (Good News Translation and Net Bible) refer to this body of water as the Gulf of Aqaba. All others have it as the Red Sea and several of the reputable Bible map makers refer to both bodies of water as the Red Sea.

Second, Deuteronomy 2:1 in most translations have a "Red Sea" which most likely is the Gulf of Aqaba. Only the Good News Translation reads the "Gulf of Aqaba".

Critics of the Bible have serious questions about biblical accuracy and this might be one scripture to look at closely. I consider myself a devout Christian and try to take the Bible literally in all scripture references.

Ellicots commentary for Deu:1:1 is interesting but is above my intellectual and spiritual level to comprehend!

Can you shed some light on this question?

Yours in Christ,

Response #16:

Good to hear from you, my friend.

What all of the passages in the OT mentioning the Red Sea have in common is that this is translating the Hebrew phrase yam suph, or "sea of reeds" (Deut.1:1 is an exception in that the word "sea" is missing, but that is what is being referred to in any case). So the question from a historical point of view is not "what might the term yam suph refer to if anything goes" (the theory of translation behind the "Gulf of Aqaba" renderings and also weird anti-Bible theories about marsh lands and such), but really "how was this phrase actually used so that we can figure out what body of water is being referred to". When one adopts the latter, correct methodology, it will be discovered easily enough that this refers to what today we call the Red Sea. Now the Gulf of Aqaba is part of the Red Sea, so I wouldn't want to say that this translation is definitely wrong in terms of geography each and every time it may be employed, but it is an interpretation; and there is a school of thought out there (a wrong one) which assumes that the Israelites fled from Pharaoh across the Gulf of Aqaba (they did not: their path took them across what is called today the Gulf of Suez). Since the phrase yam suph always refers to "the Red Sea" without designating what part of the Red Sea, "Red Sea" is the better translation in my view. There are a lot more ins and outs about the geography of the exodus and the forty years of wandering than may first meet the eye. For one thing, modern assumptions about the locations of ancient localities are often very wrong. Here are some links to where you can find the details at Ichthys:

Yam Suph is the Red Sea

Why "beside the sea" in Exodus 14:2 means the Red Sea

The route of the Israelites in crossing the Rea Sea

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Good afternoon,

What do you think is going on in 2 King 13:18?


Response #17:

It is an interesting passage. One thing I think we can say is that the tepid way in which Jehoash responded to Elisha's command is reflective of his overall lack of faith and lack of enthusiasm for the Lord and His truth, even for a wonderful prophecy such as the one he received. No doubt God worked it out that way to demonstrate as much.

Wishing you a happy 4th, my friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #18:

I was wondering, do you think Jephthah's daughter would have been sinning to say no to her father? Not to say no to God, just the father. I mean if my parent's tried to bind my whole life to a certain path, I'd say no, they are not God.

Response #18:

It's a good question, but I'm not sure there is any helpful answer – because 1) to the extent that we really understand what happened, it happened because of a Jewish man making a vow under the Law of Moses (and that is not our situation today), and 2) it's not clear to me that Jephthah's application would not have been correct even under the Law, regardless of how "what happened" is understood. Judges is a historical book – like the book of Acts. It tells us what actually happened without commenting on the right and wrong of it most of the time. In other words, we can't take it to either proscriptive or prescriptive. And on top of that we do know that a great many things which are recorded in the book of Judges were examples of "every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Jdg.21:25 KJV; cf. Jdg.17:6).

So while it is an interesting question, since the events related are several steps away from the Word of God and also how things stand today, I'd be worried that a definitive answer would do more harm than good (you can see what I've written before on this at the link). Today, every Christian is responsible to the Lord for his/her choices. Parents have a great deal of control over their children up until their maturity – and it is clear that scripture expects children to obey their parents (Eph.6:1; Col.3:20), which is different from suffering abuse, let me add (cf. Eph.6:4; Col.3:21). But in our culture that control is far less than was the case in the ancient world.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

In 1 Chronicles 10, the scripture states in Verses 4 & 5 says:

" 4Then said Saul to his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. So Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. 5And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise on the sword, and died. 6So Saul died, and his three sons, and all his house died together.

But, in Verses 13& 14 it says:

13So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it; 14And inquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.

I don't think this is a contradiction, but perhaps a mis-translation.

Or, maybe there is some other explanation of these verses that I am not seeing nor aware of.

Can you clarify for me.

You are always a great help.

Thanks again,
To Him who paid the price we could never pay,
To Him be Glory and Honor, etc.

Your friend,

Response #19:

The second passage merely means that the Lord brought about the circumstances that resulted in Saul's death. He could easily have given Israel victory or seen to it that Saul was not wounded or otherwise escaped, but this was the end of the road destined for a man who departed from the Lord (though he is saved: 1Sam.28:19).

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Dr, Luginbull,

I was thinking about the difference between when the Israelites complained about not having meat vs when God said to David that if David had asked for more God would have given it. I suppose the difference is their attitude towards God. That it was asking from a heart that didn't believe or like Him at all. But David did believe and loved God. So it would have been different from him. In the NT it says not to complain like them. I suppose this doesn't mean we can never ask God for more than basic necessities, just to do it in faith and love, and accepting of whatever the answer is.

Response #20:

The Israelites of the exodus generation showed by their complaining that they didn't trust the Lord and were not grateful to Him for what He had done in the past (1Cor.10:1-11; Heb.3:8-19 - Heb.4:1-8). If they weren't unbelievers, they gave a very good impression of it. David is one of the greatest believers ever. Yet he let his lust get the better of him and in doing so failed to remember everything he knew and believed about the Lord – as we all do whenever we allow ourselves to fall into sin. The Israelites were deprived of water for a VERY brief time to test them and demonstrate whether they were willing to trust the Lord and wait on Him or not (Ex.15:25; 16:4). David had no need whatsoever on this score (being married to multiple wives); the Lord's rebuke – which you reference here – is meant to make it clear that if there WERE a need (which there was not), He certainly would have supplied it.

Yes, it is a frequently noted phenomenon among believers that the Spirit will use what we know of scripture to inform and encourage us. That is also true – and even more importantly true – of the truth we have believed and committed to our hearts by faith (so as to become epignosis rather than mere "knowledge"). Hence the importance of spiritual growth.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Hi Bob,

I was thinking - of all the things you could say about David and of all the Psalms you could pick out, for some reason when I read this verse just recently it really got me.

I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan,
You have been very pleasant to me;
Your love to me was wonderful,
Surpassing the love of women.
(2 Samuel 1:26)

I think it's his words, Bob. They are so simple but so lovely. He wasn't afraid of openly showing his emotions and his genuine love for his friend.

He seemed to feel things deeply and have a deep, intimate relationship with God. He was so wholehearted and enthusiastic towards the Lord. I know he made his mistakes and he suffered for it, but he's just open and real and genuine. He's just himself and I absolutely love that. I can see why God called him, "a man after my own heart."

I really like him!

Your friend in Jesus

Response #21:

We can learn a lot indeed from David. He didn't have the permanent indwelling of the Spirit as we all do today, he didn't have the New Testament (or all of the Old), he didn't have many of the opportunities to learn the truth that we have today – but he made the most of what he had to walk with the Lord in joy at all times. Something, of course, we all should do a better job with.

Working in the yards here this week, so no jogging today – but plenty of exercise.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

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