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Christian Perspectives on Disease and Death

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Question #1:  

Dear Robert,

If my questions becomes an annoyance, please feel free to say so and I will with objection oblige.

In context of Hebrews 9:27; “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” In your study you make reference to both Elijah and Moses’s death. Which here means that Moses will die a second time? You also refer to ‘resuscitation and reviving’. The ‘to die once’ scenario puts Elijah in the category of Hebrews 9:27, as it will be his first death. Moses on the other hand will have died a second time. How can we account for Moses’s

Blessings in Christ,

Response #1: 

It's always a pleasure, my friend.

Hebrews 9:27 states the universal principle of life, one that every human being understands to be true. It is that principle – along with the notion of judgment and the consciousness of sin – which leads those willing to be led to seek eternal life through God's Substitute, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

There are exceptions to most principles:

1) Enoch didn't die physically in the normal sense; but he is in heaven along with all other departed believers, and will be resurrected the same as we all are on the day of Christ's return.

2) Moses and Elijah were also "taken" and their bodies "buried in heaven"; after being resuscitated at the beginning of the Tribulation, they will both later be killed by the beast and then revived and taken into heaven.

3) Lazarus died and was brought back from the dead by our Lord. I assure you that he died again physically.

4) Similar cases: the boys brought back by Elijah and Elisha, with the other individuals our Lord brought back (e.g., the little girl to whom He says, talitha, qum!, the widow of Nain's son, etc.) as well as with the individuals brought back by the apostles (and no doubt there were others not mentioned in scripture).

5) And the entire final echelon of the Church, all believers who are alive when our Lord returns, will be resurrected without ever tasting physical death (although they'll have to suffer through seven years of the Tribulation for the privilege).

In all of these cases, the end is the same: resurrection of the first body into an eternal one. So we can call all of these transitions deaths or we can call them something else; if we call them something else, well, the rules are altered on at least these occasions in their special cases, but the end is the same, namely, an end of physical life in the first body and a new beginning in the resurrection body at the second advent – for those who believe in Jesus Christ only.

But in the history of the world until that day of living resurrection (for believers still alive on earth at Christ's return), we see that the vast majority of the human race fulfilled the principle of Hebrews 9:27 to a tee. A very, very few – though "appointed once to die" died twice; and some not once – but the appointment of the end of physical life is fixed for all, and all will be resurrected in the end, whether unto life or death:

(2) For many who sleep in the dust will awake, some to eternal life, but the others to shame and eternal separation [from God].
Daniel 12:2

"Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation."
John 5:28-29 NKJV

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:  

Hello Brother Bob,

This is Vau’s wife. I just wanted to solicit prayers for Vau as he speaks very highly of you. Vau was told on 4/30 that he has a couple of weeks to live and he is receiving home hospice. We are trusting and believing God for a Miraculous Miracle!

Sincerely In Christ,

Response #2: 

It's good to make your acquaintance, but I wish the circumstances were better.

Vau is a real fighter, that is for sure, and he is an excellent witness for the Lord. His courage and optimism throughout this time in dealing with this difficult disease give glory to God. I have been greatly encouraged by his example, and I know others who follow this ministry have as well.

I have posted this request at Ichthys, and I have also let the "pastor's list" know, so I am sure that there will be some serious prayer's headed to throne of grace on Vau's behalf very soon. Please know that I have been and will continue to keep praying for my dear friend.

From what you've written here, it's clear that Vau has already beaten expectations, and we know that this is from the Lord – for whom nothing is impossible.

Praying with you to move this mountain.

In the mercy, grace and power of Jesus Christ our dear Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #3:  

Hello Brother Bob,

Vau passed this morning. He is now with our Lord. Please continue to lift our family up in prayer.

Response #3: 

I'm deeply sorry to hear this. Vau was a wonderful friend, and I really enjoyed his friendship even though we never met in the flesh. His optimism and enthusiasm for the Lord was contagious, and I never corresponded with him without finding myself lifted up. He will be greatly missed.

When some folks we love pass, we find ourselves wondering if we will ever see them again – or at least regretting that they didn't do more for the Lord. In Vau's case, we know that he will receive a hearty "well done, my good and faithful servant!" from the Lord he loved so much. There is no better legacy of a Christian life well lived than that.

I promise to keep you and your family in my prayers, and I will ask the Ichthys family to do so as well.

Thank you so much for letting me know – that can't have been easy. But there are a number of us who've been praying for Vau and for you and your family, so I really do appreciate it.

In Jesus Christ our dear Savior with whom we shall all be united together forever on that glorious day to come.

Bob L.

Question #4:  

Hello Bob.

Please continue to pray for me. I was scheduled to have a fairly minor surgical procedure requiring an overnight stay. I didn't even take pajamas because I was coming home the next day. Minor turned into major and an 8 day hospital stay and a week in a nursing home type facility because I lived alone and couldn't care for myself. I'm home now and in week 4 of a 6 week recoup. First major surgery in my life and it was so unexpected. My son in Calif is redoing his downstairs bathroom just in case I have to relocate. I'm not expecting that to be needed for many years, but life is full of the unexpected. The Lord was with me through it all and I'm doing very well. Thank you for your prayers and keep them coming.

Response #4: 

What an unexpected turn of events! I am happy to hear that you are on the back side of things now, and I will certainly be praying for our health – and independence as long as possible.

I'm also very encouraged to hear about the resiliency of your faith! This was surely a test, and you passed it with flying colors, trusting the Lord and giving Him the glory. None of us can do any better than that. We can't control our health past a certain rudimentary point, but we can trust the Lord to get us through whatever tests may come – just as you have done.

Proud to be your good friend in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #5:  

[no response to further emails]

Response #5: 

Haven't heard from you in a minute – just checking to make sure you're OK.

One quick question: did you ever get an invite to the "Ichthys Forum" that our friend has put together?

If not, let me know if that's something you'd try and I'll see to it that you get one.

Keeping you in my daily prayers, my friend.

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #6:  

Sorry to inform you like this but Sandra passed away on July 7th 2020.

Response #6: 

Thank you for letting me know.

Question #7:  

Thank you Bob for your kindnesses.

I had a lovely day despite all the uncertainty around me. Today we have heard the sad news that one of my mum's friends (from her art class) has passed on. He had a bad fall that damaged his hip and his heart gave way this morning after only being in hospital a week.

We're all saddened because he was such a rare person. He was very old fashioned, a real gentleman and incredibly softly spoken, refined in manner and habit, quite shy and gentle. It's amazing the influence such a personality has on people. These qualities should not be rare and yet they are. Everyone said he was a gentleman and everyone was touched and affected by his quiet and calm demeanour.

I don't know if he was a believer. I only met him a few times. The last time I saw him was in January. We had a late Christmas party with mum's art class and I was invited as a sometime attendee of the class with mum. I sat next to him and we talked together all afternoon. Despite his age, he had a very active and curious mind and was a very talented artist.

All of this has made me think of two things. Death is unnatural isn't it. There is nothing more natural than life and death is a tearing away of life. It feels obvious to me that it is unnatural. I think profound grief is a sign that this is unnatural. Even Jesus wept at the death of His friend Lazarus. One of the saddest moments in the whole bible. Knowing that our Lord and Saviour wept with grief.

I have read your comments on death being unnatural and I agree. It is a result of the fall. It is amazing how many people think it natural. Some old friends of mine were really shocked when I said that death was unnatural. They said it was "part of the cycle of life" and that "everything has a season and then dies" but they believe everything becomes something else even if that something is just food for the ground or energy returning to the ether.

I think that the shock response of the unnaturalness of death was a foot in the door to see life another way. They have been intrigued enough to ask me to explain again in the future why I think death is unnatural.

It is so violent and such a shock every time it happens no matter how prepared we are for it, every fibre of my being shouts at death that it is unnatural. We have hope though. We will overcome death because of Jesus. Death has no sting for us now, though it is true that death DID have a sting before. If it were natural than why would it sting? Why would it hurt so much?

When I do my gardening I am amazed at the determination of a little seed that falls in the crack beside the planter, despite its neglect, has the will to grow. Every living thing seeks life and avoids death at all cost.

The normalisation of death, the attempt to smooth over its raw edge has done much to push God and the need for salvation away from most minds. Yet, everyone knows their own time will soon come, that no one evades death. That it is inevitable for all and still a harrowing shock in the face of it.

Why wouldn't anyone desperately seek to avoid this end and the hopelessness of facing death without faith. Who wouldn't want to live forever in a place without pain, suffering and death?

I have also been pondering over the influence this man has had on others. Just think of the influence that we can have if we do not lose our saltiness. It is a real motivator to press on and be fruitful whist giving ever more glory to God in the time that has been graciously given us. After all.

Jeremiah 10:23
I know, LORD, that our lives are not our own, that we're not able to direct our paths.

We're not our own as a great price has been paid for us.

In our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,

Response #7: 

I certainly agree with you. No one in their right mind wants to die – especially before having the Christian hope. This is hardwired into us as part of the "eternity in the heart" that God has given all to lead them to Christ if willing to be led (Eccl.3:11). Natural revelation of who God is an important part of this divinely engineered system as well (see the link and cf. Ps.19:1ff.; Rom.1:18-21). Suffice it to say that early on every human being (apart from the mentally impaired) comes to recognize the existence of God and the perfection of His character; when that is coupled with the recognition of our sinfulness – and our mortality – the pieces are all in place for acceptance of the gracious Gift of life, Jesus Christ.

Or so it should be in every case. The fact that it is only so in some few cases tells us all we need to know about the human race. Most people, the good and the bad and the neither here nor there have absolutely no use for God. They have been given free will and have no intention of handing it back in obedience to God in Christ. They would rather anything but. And yet death is terrifying. So God has given them a mechanism whereby they can continue in this world and retain their free will – because understanding that judgment is the inevitable result of resistance is too much for anyone to bear long. And that mechanism is the hardening of the heart (see the link). Unbelievers are able to blot out the truth of life as if it weren't true. That is most vividly and amazingly on display in regard to death – as you are observing. Unbelievers pretend as if 1) what happened to person X is NOT actually going to happen to me – or it is so far in the future to amount to that same thing; and 2) what happened to person X is really not so bad because ____ – fill in the blank with religious, philosophical and/or naturalistic boilerplate lies designed for just such occasions. Satan knows all this quite well, and so his entire world system has been built on the principle that deep down everyone fears death; and so he suggests that only by doing things his way – after they've rejected God's way – is there any hope:

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Hebrews 2:14-15 NKJV

"Why wouldn't anyone desperately seek to avoid this end?" Anyone would – before hardening their hearts against the reality of it. And they hardened their hearts because they didn't want God's solution in Jesus Christ. Accepting Him would mean that they were no longer gods unto themselves (Gen.3:4-5). Most people would rather anything but – anything, that is, except die. So God allows them to persevere in their self-love through the hardening process (see prior link), and the result is that they get to an accommodation (through "science" or religion or philosophy, etc.) they can "live with" – until they die. At that point, they find out just what a terrible mistake they've made, but it's important to note that – given genuine, uncoerced free will, they would make the same decision again, and again, ad infinitum, if given additional chances.

"Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”
Luke 16:27-31 NKJV

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:  

All these pieces are suddenly fitting together for me! It's incredible what you have written as I now see it all together. I see the devil's main modus operandi for the first time! It's all about being back in the garden again.

"And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil"
Gen 3:4-5

It's the EXACT SAME LIE being told back in the garden is being whispered in my friend's ear if not everyone else's ear around me! Ye shall not die and ye shall be as gods. That's the literal main game plan of satan's rebellion and attack on mankind. No change of tack at all. The same old lies but dressed up in modern day spiel.

This is mind blowing revelation. It really is! Thank you for putting it all together and "rightly dividing the word" for me. I will eagerly read your series on the hardening of the heart now. It's amazing how clear it all is. God is not the author of confusion. He makes it all very, very clear to us. When you seek Him, He gives so much back in return doesn't He.

I prayed for wisdom last night. Boy does He deliver!

That passage from Hebrews! Wow!

Thanks again my friend!

In Him,

Response #8: 

Wow yourself!

Well put together, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:  

Dear Professor

Thank you again for your reply, especially since you are so busy.

My wife’s father died yesterday in hospital. Tomorrow my wife is going for a couple of weeks to be with the family over there.

My wife says her father died a believer after departing the Catholic religion, so we can only leave all things in the hands of the One who is just, true and faithful.

As always I greatly appreciate your labors for our lord which is a great blessing to me and those around me, even when they do not actively explore your site. There is some “rubbing off” of your teachings on others - and of the remainder most still are friendly towards me. This is a blessing in and of itself - and we receive even more blessings. I am sure none of these blessings would have come to any of us, other than through your most excellent Ministry.

In our dear lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

One of your many students

Response #9: 

I'm sorry to hear about your father-in-law. When life gets to the point of needing to be artificially sustained, it usually turns out to be a blessing when it ends. My dear mother who died at 96 was absolutely miserable for the last three months or so, and so much so when I saw her last that I stopped praying for her health and began praying for her deliverance – as I know she would have wanted me to do had she been able to communicate (which she was no longer able to do). And, yes, it's not cheap to get to the funeral often. When I was younger, airlines had "bereavement rates", but I found out to my chagrin that such was not the case when it came to having to fly down to Florida at the last minute for her funeral.

On this end, as I've always said, if I were to get run over by a bus, the Lord would have no problem at all replacing me with somebody better. So I watch my step around buses!

Thanks for your encouraging words though in any case, my friend.

Keeping you and your family in my prayers day by day.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:  

Hello Bob,

I hope all is well at your end. I was very sorry to hear about Vau's passing, especially for his family. The good news is that he is now and forever with the Lord and all His faithful saints and angels. We're all one day closer and are eagerly waiting for our rescue/deliverance from this dark world which we are navigating through with God's help (he that endures until the end shall be saved). I met with the doctor yesterday and was informed that the result from the biopsy indicates that I have prostate cancer. Currently I am doing a "crash course" trying to gain enough information to weigh the options to decide how to proceed. I have prayed for God's will and am confident things will work out for good. (Rom. 8:28) I'm already on the prayer list, but would appreciate adding this new issue to it. Thanks for your support and prayers. You friend in Christ,

Response #10: 

I'm sorry to hear this, my friend. I don't know a lot about it, except that I have heard that the PSA test is not always accurate, and that invasive treatments of the past have turned out to be unnecessary and counter-productive in some cases. But as I always say, "I'm not that kind of doctor".

List updated and uploaded (personal list to).

Thanks for the encouraging email in spite of having to cope with this, my friend!

Praying for wisdom and a good result.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:  

Hi Bob,

Thanks for updating me on the prayer list. You are correct about the PSA testing and the invasive treatment technique (open radical prostatectomy surgery). Dr. has informed me of a much safer, less invasive technique using the Da'Vinci robotic-guided laparoscopic machine. This is one of my options, considering the tumor grade group. Anyway, I will be also be conferring with my primary care Dr. to get his "take" on the situation (safety in a multitude of counselors). Ultimately I know God is in control, and this is so comforting! Hope you are well. Praying for you and the others on the list for God's will to be done. Your friend in Jesus,

Response #11: 

You are clearly all over this, so I'm confident that you are listening closely to the Lord and that He will work this out for good.

I don't know how people manage without having Him to rely on (I couldn't do it).

I'll be keeping you in my prayers, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:  

Thank you for asking. Thanks to the Lord I'm doing well. In terms of health, God is giving me all that I need to serve Him and recently has even been granting relief from some more bothersome symptoms for which I am very grateful. Family is the same - all given over to the lie except my father. Two victories for Satan just in the past couple of months - my uncle and my grandmother both died to be condemned to the lake of fire. My uncle did not respond to my father's evangelism last year and didn't want anything to do with God. He died suddenly of heart attack. My grandmother, in what I will always remember as a one of the greatest miracles I've ever seen, did respond to the truth two years ago, you may recall me mentioning this to you. I believe she was saved for a very short time, literally days. She then returned to the lie and never came back to Christ despite constant efforts from my father. He connected me with her in the last conversation when she was still conscious (the cancer from which she died was progressing quickly and the last few weeks she had no contact with the outside world), but she loved the lie too much and even on the deathbed wanted nothing to do with the truth.

Response #12: 

I am very sad to hear about your uncle and grandmother. Everyone has to make their own choices in this life, and every one of them is so important.

One thing I know: you did everything you possibly could, so there is some comfort in that.

Keeping you and the rest of your family too in my prayers every day.

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #13:  

Hello Brother Bob

Can you help me with any information on cremation and the resurrected body, and what happens to the soul at death? I know the "human spirit" returns to God who gave it.

I always feel a little guilty asking questions, and never asking how you are. I pray you are well and your ministries for the Lord are doing well also. I hope you know how people like me really need, and appreciate your spiritual wisdom and help.

Blessings on your day

Your brother in Christ

Response #13: 

I'm doing fairly well – thanks for asking. Health is pretty good and many of the challenges on the home front and on the job front have been resolved for the good. Settling into what I hope then will be a peaceful fall semester [9/5/19] (there is a bit more work and business to attend to than I had anticipated). Hope you are doing well too!

On cremation, while we can debate the signals it sends, there is no question but that this procedure doesn't have any eternal effects. There are believers who in combat are vaporized by explosions – that won't keep them from being resurrected (see the link).

On "the soul", there is no "third something (tertium quid)"; all human beings consist of a body and a spirit from the point of birth – and always will thereafter, whether or not they become believers (of course the eternal destiny is QUITE different). The English word "soul" represents Hebrew and Greek words in the Bible which are synonyms for "person" and also "heart"; so, biblically speaking, a "soul" is a person, and also often the inner-person, his/her "heart" as we would say (so I don't know of anywhere in the Bible where either the word "person" or "heart" can't be substituted in English and yield a better meaning). I do recognize that in our culture the way people USE the word "soul" is quite different – as if it were a ghost or a "thing" that exists apart from body and spirit. But that is not the Bible (see the link).

When believers die, the spirit does indeed return to God – and that means to the third heaven (since Christ's victory and ascension); between that point and the resurrection, the spirits of the deceased are "housed" in an interim body (see the link).

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:  

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

I've been keeping you in my prayers. I was hoping you could continue to pray for my mom. We found out that she has cirrhosis of the liver (not caused from alcohol consumption). Her health has been steadily declining for the past couple years. Most recently, she's been back in the hospital for pneumonia which she's since recovered from, but now she is still inflicted with some sort of lung infection that they can't identify.

A few months back, we took her to the hospital for pancreatitis. The doctors decided that the best path for her was to get her gallbladder removed, but they said that the surgery would be more risky for her because of the state of her liver.

Since that surgery, she has been in constant pain. She was always the person to be there for me and to be strong for me, and now to see her in so much pain and suffering is breaking my heart. She told me that she no longer wants to live if she has to spend the rest of her life in pain.

My family haven't been keeping me up to date on how my mom is doing, because I'm currently in __ for training. They all want me to focus on my training. I'm happy to be away from my previous company because of how they treated me, which I believe I talked to you about.
For the first time in what feels like forever, I have hope for my future. But the thought that I might have to spend it without my mom makes it bittersweet. I don't know why she is suffering so much. I need strength to keep trusting in the Lord no matter what.

In Him,

Response #14: 

It's good to hear from you – although I'm sorry to hear about your mom's condition. I've updated the prayer request on Ichthys to focus on her condition, and I will continue to keep her – and you – in my own prayers day by day. Thank you so much for yours too, by the way.

I'm happy to hear that you have entered in on a reasonable course of employment and have escaped the exploitation of your previous job and employers. I don't know too much about the airline business, but everything I have seen and heard suggest to me that it is highly professional – so that you should get a "good shake" as you do your job with diligence as I know for certain you will.

Nothing is impossible for the Lord.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies.
Psalm 103:2-4

The Holy Spirit within you is more than able to provide you with all the strength you need to keep trusting the Lord. Keep growing through the truth – the source of your access to that strength – and He will help you do so.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:  

Hello Bob,

Hope you are well and that things are progressing as planned with your course schedules.
We" live in interesting times”considering the political situation worldwide don’t we!!

There isn’t a question here, I just wanted to share something with you. An elderly Indian acquaintance of mine (98) passed away recently and I visited the family to offer my condolences. They are wonderful people and I gather are Hindu in their beliefs although we have never discussed the subject. The daughter was in a shocking state. Entirely bereft and inconsolable and as I walked away I was thinking of that passage in Thessalonians about not grieving like those who have no hope and then I thought about what a really good and kind person she was and I briefly in my mind questioned how she could be denied heaven if she died without Christ?

Then the reality dawned on me that no matter how “good” we are, we can never aspire to the Holiness and goodness of a God who cannot look on sin without judging it except we approach His throne through the blood of Christ. Of course I intellectually have known all this for many years but it really hit home yesterday and I was so humbled by this personal revelation.

I also realise that God in His infinite wisdom and mercy can save a sinner as that person takes his last breath and I guess we’ll see many people in heaven one day that we thought would not be there but the main truth that really hit home was that when my daughter passed away, although we were terribly sad and indeed still are, we KNOW where she is and we know that we will be reunited one day but more importantly we are so comforted to know that she is forever with her Lord, safe and entirely at peace.

What a comfort to know we never have to worry about her or our saved loved ones who have gone ahead.

Just wanted to share this with you.

Go well Bob,

Response #15: 

Yes, thanks so much for sharing this with me!

I'm encouraged by your excellent spiritual assessment of things – and even more so with the way your faith in the Lord is helping you to cope with your own loss.

Indeed, we will all rise together on that great day and worship Him together forever in New Jerusalem.

Keeping you and your family in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:  

Hello my friend Bob,

Its me bothering you again with a somewhat strange request but I trust your discernment and advice. My brother, who lives in South Africa, is 75 and not saved. I have been praying for him over the years but more urgently the past few weeks. Any previous attempts on my part to present the gospel message to him have always met with either no interest or outright antagonism.

He had a minor stroke yesterday and was hospitalised but is doing ok. I see it as a wakeup call for him and want to take advantage of the opportunity to write to him again but I’m not sure how best to approach this. He is highly intelligent and a really nice person but somehow I think the time for treading lightly around him has passed.

According to the doctor his likelihood of having a severe stroke are very high as he has significant co-morbidity issues so I feel that I really need to intervene with something a bit harsher than “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” stuff , as a matter of urgency.

However, on the other hand I do know that only the Holy Spirit can convict him so should I just keep on praying and not intervene?

The thought of him spending eternity in hell weighs heavily on me but I am also cognisant of the fact that I could put him off for good. Conversely , if he is of the elect then he will be saved no matter what I do.

I know you are not a counselor and I apologise for interrupting your busy schedule with this.

Thanks Bob,

Response #16: 

I'm sorry to hear about your brother. I think it is the rare positive Christian who doesn't have loved ones about whose salvation we are concerned.

We do know that the plan of God is perfect, and that everyone ordained to be part of the Bride of Christ will be saved, even if at the last minute. In my estimation, there's been plenty of that over the centuries. Some people just need to be right at the brink before commitment.

We also know that the Lord loves us, and that, knowing everything from eternity past as He does, He also knows how much those near and dear mean to us, and how much concern we have for those not saved (or whose salvation is not clearly known to us). He has placed everything in the plan perfectly, and we can be sure that these things too have their purpose, so we are right to have confidence that He hears our prayers in matters such as this – having heard them before He made the world.

We can also take comfort in the fact that we have in good conscience shared the truth with those we love and have been good witnesses to it and to the Lord who is the truth. So we have no regrets (even if we do have grief).

I have knowledge of more than one last minute conversion, and I will also say that we cannot be sure in the case of some who we know were aware of the truth that they did not finally embrace the truth in the end.

I can't tell you whether or not to talk to your brother about the Lord again now – though I don't see anything at all problematic about that, I do understand how people can be. What I can tell you is that you have done your "job", and that the Spirit always does His, perfectly of course.

I also promise to pray for your brother to finally come to the truth (and I have put a prayer request up on Ichthys for him).

Your friend in Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #17:  


I am sorry to message you only when I need help or an advice. Thank you for the comfort you have provided to me every time. I am so heartbroken at this moment as my father passed away unexpectedly in his sleep 2 days ago and the funeral is tomorrow. I am so afraid and so angry at myself for not bringing him close to God so he can repent and be saved and follow Christ. I do not know where his soul is at this moment and I feel an unbearable guilt knowing I could never forgive myself for losing so many opportunities when I could talk to him about Christ. I am afraid of what will happen to his soul as he was not a believer. He was a good man but had many frustrations and bottled sorrow inside. I miss him so much and would like so much to see him in Christ's presence. I cannot sleep at this point thinking about him and where he is. I am not sure what I can do for him at this moment or if praying helps. I have never felt such a deep sorrow in my heart. I feel I've lost a part of me and nothing is the same. I know that God is good and I hope He will keep him in His presence.

You have been such a great friend though we haven't met.

Thank you,

Response #17: 

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, my friend. Losing someone close and cherished is never easy. It's a blessing that he did not suffer but went in his sleep. So did my dad. My mother, on the other hand, hand a very long and very difficult "journey out" – and I would prefer the former for anyone I loved or cared about (myself included).

As to your dad's eternal status, since you are a believer, it must be the case that he knew the issue of the gospel. That being so, we can't rule anything out. Sometimes people hold the truth at bay, then believe at the last minute. I don't want to offer any false hopes, because I certainly do not know, but given the sudden and peaceful end, it could be that he accepted the Lord and was immediately taken home. I have seen that before.

One thing I can certainly tell you is that you are not to beat yourself up about your role. Your dad's salvation like that of us all comes when we personally believe. No one can make us believe; no one can persuade us to believe. We have to want to believe. So we can give people the truth, but if they do not accept it, giving it to them a hundred times is not going to change who they are inside. Over-evangelizing close friends and family can often have exactly the reverse of the desired effect, causing them to harden their hearts on account of our "annoying" insistence. Better to give those who have been witnessed to sufficiently in a verbal way the "witness of the life", so that from the change and transformation of our conduct, they are led to reconsider their previous decision. I have seen that too.

God the Holy Spirit is the real Evangelist in chief. Whenever the truth about Jesus is told, He is the One who makes that truth clear in the heart of the unbeliever in question. And if an unbeliever rejects the Holy Spirit – God talking to them directly in their heart of hearts, how do we think that we can do any better through human persuasion?

You did your job as unto the Lord. And it was wisdom not to belabor the issue, witnessing to the truth instead by demonstrating through you life and conduct the power of the truth. As I say, it may be that in his last days, hours, moments, he did come around, confronting with the reality of things coming to an end. I have seen that too. If so, your prudence in the way you acted towards him, in love and consideration and without strident insistence when there was serious resistance, then you handled it just right in fact.

We will find out everything on the other side, and I am certain that all of us are in for some surprises, people we never dreamed were saved being there, and people we thought we were sure of not being there. The one thing we can say about that now is that wherever anyone ends up it will be where they in their heart of hearts were determined to go – and nothing would have changed that, not a thousand lifetimes of chances to change from bad to good or from good to bad. That is the wisdom and the wonder and power of God the Father and His perfect plan in Jesus Christ our Lord.

In our dear Savior Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #18:  

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your kind words. Today was the funeral. It was very hard to say goodbye and my distress does not come from missing my dad, but from not knowing. Not knowing what happens to him or where he is now. He did not go to church and wasn't a believer and I don't know what happens to his soul.

I will leave with this insecurity probably until I die, and that is what hurts me. I am sorry I am trying to seek answers that probably nobody has but Christ alone.

Response #18: 

I don't doubt that this was hard, but I'm relieved to hear that the Lord got you through it. Stick close to Him. He is able to comfort you in this loss. It's often the days and weeks and months afterwards when the grief is the worst, but I know that our dear Savior loves you and is ready and able to give you the comfort and encouragement you need, so keep leaning on Him.

You are absolutely right about the fact that there are questions whose "answers . . . probably nobody has but Christ alone". But He does have those answers, perfect answers – and we can absolutely trust Him that when we see Him face to face, all of our tears will be wiped away (Rev.7:17; 21:4).

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:  

Dear Bob:

What I noticed among all non-infectious diseases is that they seem to parallel nature of sin as in "missing the mark". From the less severe refractive errors that need glasses for correction to blindness. From slightly damaged hearing to deafness. No to mention other bodily deficiencies. Perhaps they also are the result of the fall? And is part of the corruption that Paul talks about?

And another thing is the strange notion like in deaf culture as if disabilities were a good thing. And that treating such is "genocide". I marvel at the sinfulness of man and his inversion of value.

Response #19: 

Disease is a result of the fall, and it does represent sin symbolically as our Lord made clear (Matt.9:2-8).

During the Millennium, the curse will be removed from the earth, and that will result in little to no physical death or disease, but people will still be people – as evidenced by the fact that at the end of the 1,000 years, after a millennium of nothing but blessing, the world revolt and attempt to overthrow Jesus Christ once the devil is released (Rev.20:7-9).

As to cultural reactions to these things, well, the lie is omnipresent – as one should expect in the devil's world of darkness. Blessedly, we are looking forward to a perfect body in a perfect light-filled universe where only righteousness dwells.

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”
Revelation 21:5a NKJV

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #20:  

Dear Teacher

Thank you for your last email. It was an encouragement to me. I have been quite tired, especially since I went for my normal speedwalk routine on Wednesday. I was faint for days after that. Our friend the dr. advised me to leave off exercising for now after that.

I'm happy to hear that you have been okay. Was this last week any better for you? I have been praying for you as often as I have actually prayed at all.

I've been wanting to compile some Q&As and send to you, but I haven't felt up to it. I hope to do so this week.

In light of Genesis 9:24, can we consider Genesis 5:32 a birth-order list? Is there any problem of translation there?

I'll try to write more later.

Your student in Jesus Christ

Response #20: 

I wondered about that! We have an old joke here. Patient: "Dr., It hurts when I do this!"; Dr.: "Well don't do that!" Stopping things that hurt or seem unhealthy until one gets over whatever is ailing one is a good standard rule. I remember in college I overdid things and got an irritated Achilles tendon. My dad arranged for me to see a specialist who was a member of our church. He gave me a very interested talk about how the tendon works and how the sheath is like the shaft of a feather, etc. Bottom line advice: stop running until it stops hurting. Which I did. Worked out fine. The only time I ever had this rule backfire was when something started bothering my right shoulder about five or so years ago. I stopped using it. After about six months when it was no better, I went to an orthopedist and found out that my shoulder had "frozen" due to lack of use. It took about two months of VERY painful physical therapy where they twisted it every which way it didn't want to go until they loosened it up. Never again . . . with the shoulder. Otherwise, good rule. Get better. Then you can address exercise. Seems wise to me – but as I always say, I'm not "that kind" of Dr.

Take your time on production, my friend. When a person is ill, anything done positively is a victory, but the danger is overdoing things and getting set back even further. It's a delicate balance. Best to err on the side of caution when you really don't know what all is the problem.

On Genesis 5:32 vs. Gen.9:24, no, the former is not a birth order list (in my opinion, it's likely that Shem and Japheth were fraternal twins).

Keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:  

Dear Teacher

I think I have good news. I found a peer-reviewed article in an online medical journal that answered my questions about my ill health to some appreciable degree. I was really concerned that I may not be as sick as I am. I couldn't be sure just how much of the delay we are experiencing comes from my failure to work as hard as I can and how much comes from my conditions beyond my control. So this finding was a major relief. I also confirmed that it is a disabling disease. I wondered how much of my tiredness came from being sick. I had not realized that I should be avoiding exercise until the incident I told you in my last email. I did stop exercising, but then I still walk long distances, then I wouldn't understand why I was so tired. So, now, I'm being far more lenient toward myself. I mean to take transport wherever I can and just avoid walking a lot, if I can.

I found someone who seemed promising. For now, __ appears to actually be reading the works on the website, but I'm still watching to see how __ turns out. For now, ___ is asking a lot of good questions and responding well to my prodding and correction, although has so far preferred to only talk to me on the forum, rather than on email.

I'm happy that I am able to write this much to you today. And thank you very much for the answer you gave me in your last email.

How have you been, Sir?

Your student in Jesus Christ

Response #21: 

I'm happy to hear that you are getting closer to figuring out what the problem may be, my friend. Clearly, this is not an easy thing or situation. In this you are very much fighting the same sort of fight our good friend is fighting. I would always rather have something the medicos can understand (like a broken leg) than something they can't quite figure out. So getting close on this front is a good thing. I will be keeping the problem in my prayers.

As to work, everyone gets ill from time to time, and when we do we are going to miss work – if we are wise. I dearly hate cancelling classes, but last winter I was so sick for about a week that I had to do so for the first time in over twenty years. Could I have gone in anyway? No doubt. But I wouldn't have been much of a teacher, would have risked making my students ill, and could well have made things much worse so as to miss even more days of teaching going forward. There is a time to be prudent. I am glad to hear that our friends understand this – and I am sure their sentiments are genuine.

I wonder if the change of climate, the change of living situation, and general disruption of your life in moving north didn't aggravate this. I have certainly found that a great deal of change always puts a load on the system, and that if the load is too great, it will "come out" in whatever weak spot a person may have (generally the lungs for me). So please do get plenty of rest. I hope between your doctors there and your research and our good friend the dr.'s input you will get the guidance you need to do what you need to do to get healthy. And of course we have to remember that it is really the Lord who heals us (Ex.15:26; Ps.103:3).

Everything has a purpose. Everything is part of the plan. If we are doing our level-best to stay away from all things negative on the one hand, and to persevere in spiritual growth, progress and production on the other, then we may be absolutely sure that whatever is happening to us is meant "for good" in the end – even if it seems and feels quite the opposite at the time. I have seen this many times.

So please take care of yourself, my friend. Happy to hear that you are making more spiritual contacts as well. The Lord has a fruitful ministry for you I am sure. So be pleased to persevere.

Keeping you and both your families in my daily prayers.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #22:  

Concerning your prayers for me: "If there be here any hidden Catholics, let them pray for me but the prayers of heretics I will not have." - St. John Ogilvie

Christianity really is a new religion from Catholicism. Christianity is a false faith, and its name leaves the "christ" it follows unspecified. There is a high probability that I am sick with a 100% fatal incurable inoperable disease. The current presentation is mainly anxiety, confusion, uncontrollable pacing, and insomnia. The end stage will have me completely unable to write or speak, so I must speak while God gives me the ability to.

I do not judge you for believing what you do. I hope that God "winks at" your heresy and "cuts you some slack" and "bends the rules a little.

Regarding death and judgment: I'm as afraid of death as you are of tonight's supper!

Response #22: 

I am pleased to be considered heretical by any and all who do not place simple faith in Jesus Christ, His perfect person and His work on the cross in dying for our sins, above all else – including above all so-called saints, other idols and humanly concocted rules.

"And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."
Mark 7:7 NKJV

I will agree with you about one thing, namely, that following Jesus Christ in the biblical way and RC-ism have nothing in common in fact. A corpse and a living human being may look a lot alike, especially if the corpse is carefully prepared by a funeral home, but the difference is of course profound, literally, a life and death one – and so is following a works religion rather than being born again, born from above. The latter results in eternal life; the former leads to the lake of fire.

You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
Galatians 5:4 NKJV

Keeping you in my prayers even so.

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 NIV

In Jesus in whom alone there is life eternal,

Bob L.

Question #23:  

Hello Brother Bob

Hope your New Year is going well and you are in good health.

I have been honored to give a eulogy for a Best Friend of 44 years. He had confided that he was ready for the Lord to take him home. Please review the paged below to make sure the theory is correct You already know how I value your wisdom. This is page 2 or the summary

All Glory to the One who created us for His Purpose
Your Brother in Christ

So who is ___ To Me?

He is a true friend, and was there for me when I needed him, for the passed 44 years.

Some times he would just show up, and we would have coffee and talk

He made Spiritual things a priority, and it shaped his life, and Faith.

He allowed us to see how trusting Jesus sustains you through the tough times

The last time we visited him in the hospital he may have sensed the end was near, because he said “if this is all life offers here, I'm ready for the Lord to take me home”. Our prayer with him that night was that in our selfishness, we prayed for healing, but in reality we prayed “Lord that your will would be done”.

Another time on vacation at he and I decided to rent a boat and go fishing. We found a spot and dropped the anchor over the side. The huge pile of rope began to dwindle, and like a Laurel and Hardy comedy, with a smirk on his face he says “Well that wasn't too smart”. We both got the message. Make sure your anchor is tied to the right place. His anchor in life has been tied to Jesus, and the anchor HOLDS.

I hope that I described his life well enough so that you too can see how his Faith carried him through. He chose the narrow road to follow Jesus. Not because he had to, but because he wanted to. He was not perfect, but his choices in life drew him into a closer relationship with Jesus.

I have a friend who reminds me frequently that this life is about living through relationships. I'm very thankful for the long relationship he and I were blessed to enjoy!

I hope you noticed I have not mentioned him as Was. You see he still is! He walked through the valley of the shadow of Death, but because his life is hidden in Christ, death has no victory. His citizenship is not here; he is a citizen of heaven, as a child of the Living Eternal God.

When things just don't make sense concerning someone's passing, I read Isaiah 51:1

The righteous perish,
and no one takes it to heart;
the devout are taken away,
and no one understands
that the righteous are taken away
to be spared from evil

I will miss my brother in Christ.

One Fine Day We will meet again

Response #23: 

This is wonderful!

Hope you're the one to do MY eulogy (if I get run over by that bus anytime soon).

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #24:  

Thanks for your kind comment, but please don't let that bus thing happen. I was concerned about the statement that he still 'is"

Hope things are going well in all you do!

Response #24: 

Absolutely he still "is"!

"But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him."
Luke 20:37-38 NKJV

We are ALL counting on still being – and still being "us" – on the other side. And so we shall be, forever. But even better in the interim and much more so in the resurrection.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.


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