Ichthys Acronym Image

Home             Site Links

Christology Questions XII

Word RTF

Question #1: 

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Was wondering if you could give me the Greek to English interpretation of this verse of scripture, Luke 22:70. There are a number of different versions, so I would like to know the correct one.

The NASB1995 version says:

"And they all said, Are You the Son of God, then? "And He said to them, "Yes, I am."

The KJV and other versions say:

Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am."

The NKJV says:

Then they all said, “Are You then the Son of God?” So He said to them, “You rightly say that I am.”

The brother is still asking me whether Jesus said: I Am the Son of God". I asked him what the point of his question was, but he did not answer me. This is the same brother who believes that suicide is not a sin against God.

Thanks always for your great input.

Blessings to you,

Your friend,

Response #1: 

They're all defensible but the NKJV does the best job of explaining in its translation what is going on in the Greek. After all, we know more about this passage than is obvious from Luke only:

Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said.
Matthew 26: 64 KJV

And Jesus said, I am.
Mark 14:62a KJV

Thus Jesus said two things: 1) "That is what you have said" and 2) "I am" – Luke combines the two with the Greek conjunction hoti ("that") so it matters whether we punctuate with a period or have no punctuation at all with the former meaning "You have said that.  I am" versus "You have said that I am" (n.b., the Greek original does not contain punctuation).

In all of these cases the most important point is that "I am" in Greek is the translation for YHVH, the tetragrammaton translated LORD in the OT by most versions – so that our Lord is confirming that He is LORD by saying this in this context (see the link).

I admire your patience!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2: 

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I have an observation I have made, and I want to ask you if I am correct in my assumption. In Exodus 3:14 it is stated "God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM", and He said, Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, "I AM" has sent me to you."

I awoke this morning thinking about this phrase, and wondering how it fit in with John 14:6, and Acts 9 when Jesus addresses Saul on the road to Damascus. My thought was, is the I AM used in these verses revealing something. I was thinking about what is said in the scriptures about Jesus referring to Himself as the "I AM".

It is somewhat peculiar I suppose, that He would use this phrase in the above verses, to me anyway. I attempted to find the meaning of "I AM" in Exodus 3:14, and one of the translations said this:

"14And Elohim said to Mosheh, “I am that which I am.”a And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Yisra’ĕl, ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ”

The footnote says: This is not HIS Name, but an explanation that leads up to the revelation of His Name.

I know there are different names for God in the Hebrew "El Ohim" Adonai, Yeshua Yahwah, etc. Seems to me, based on this footnote that the same would also apply to Jesus.

They make it all so complicated by using names like LORD, the angel of the LORD, Jehovah, Adonai, Elohim, etc. I know about the fact that the Jews did not use God's Name, but substituted it with a different Name instead.

Obviously, Saul/Paul did not believe that Jesus was God at the time of his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus and I think that Jesus was actually telling Saul that the One who was speaking to Him was indeed the Almighty God, by using the phrase "I AM", the same with John 14:6 and others.

What are your thoughts?

Appreciate your comments always,

P.S. I also began to think again about most Christians don't know that Jesus did indeed say that He is God. There are numerous Old and New Testament that proves this.

This little phrase "I AM" intrigues me.

May His blessings be upon you always. Ephesians 3:20-21.

Your friend,

Response #2: 

You are absolutely correct that Jesus refers to Himself as the LORD when He says, on many occasions, "I AM" (e.g., Mk.14:26; Jn.8:24; 8:28; 8:58; 9:9; 13:19; 18:5-6; 18:8), but it is impressive that you picked this up from Acts 9:5; 22:8; 26:15 from the English. Because it is true that in all three places where this incident is related, our Lord says, in response to Paul's question, "Ego eimi" – which is the Greek version of "I AM". Now it is also true that in all three cases there is a predicate, "Jesus", so that most versions translate reasonably enough "I am Jesus", but that doesn't bring out the Ego ("I") which is superfluous except to make the point you are noticing (since there is already an "I" on the verb, the -mi suffix, so that generally the independent pronoun would be omitted).

I'm sure you've seen this before (and I've probably sent it to you before), but just in case, here is the note from BB1 Theology where I discuss the Name:

Then God said to Moses, "I shall be who I am. This is what you will tell the sons of Israel: 'I am sent me to you.'" And God also said to Moses, "Thus you will say to the sons of Israel: 'the Lord [the "is": YHVH], the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob sent me to you.' This is My Name forever, and this is how you are to think about me for all generations."
Exodus 3:14-15

Jehovah and Jahweh are the two most well-known English vocalizations of what is often called the "tetragrammaton", i.e. the four consonant name for the Lord explained in these verses. In Hebrew, yhvh, (יהוה) is traditionally vocalized as 'adonai, though it occurs in the Old Testament without vowels. The divine name "Lord", explained in these verses as based on "I am/shall be", can potentially be derived from either the Hebrew verb "to be" or the verb "to become" (the two verbs being very close in the Hebrew). Likewise, the form יהוה is a unique form which appears to be a cross between an imperfect (indicating repeated action irrespective of time as in "I shall be/I am") and an infinitive absolute (summing up the meaning of a verb at one throw: i.e., the very essence of "being/becoming"). Thus it is clear enough from the Hebrew context and verbal forms that "the Name" is a declaration that the Lord is the very definition of being and existence without regard to time or phenomena. Q.E.D.

As to "most Christians don't know that Jesus did indeed say that He is God", that is indeed sad, since He says it dozens of times in many different ways – and of course it is said about Him throughout scripture. But then "most Christians" don't bother to read their Bibles, let alone spend any time listening to or reading good Bible teaching. This is the era of Laodicea, after all.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3: 

Hello Professor,

I had a question that my wife asked that I'm not sure how to answer. We are studying BB1 Theology, and we are doing the last segment, the Trinity in the Old Testament. As it relates to Christophanies, her question is, why if Jesus is God and is the co-equal, co-eternal, con-substantial member of the Trinity were people allowed to see him and still live? Obviously, these are pre-incarnate appearances of Him, and so would not be in his incarnate form. However, I am not sure how to answer that one! Help?

Yours in Christ Jesus

Response #3: 

You're probably thinking of this passage:

Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
Exodus 33:18-23 NIV

Notice that Moses is told that he WILL see part of the glory of God, but that no one can see God's full glory and live, namely, His "face".

God doesn't have a "face" in the human sense since God is spirit. But before the incarnation God did represent Himself in human form, so that we might learn about Him and fellowship with Him. Sinful people that we are, that fellowship has been limited after the expulsion from Eden but will be fully restored in New Jerusalem (Rev.22:4).

They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
Revelation 22:4 NIV

So I take "face" as in "face to face" as in the close fellowship of a man talking to his friend (cf. Ex.33:11). We cannot see the extra-material glory of God since we are of this creation. That is true of course even of the angels. So we are dependent upon how God chooses to reveal Himself to us.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
2nd Corinthians 4:6 NIV

What we do have, as this passage reminds us, is access to the truth, the written Word which is the direct reflection of the living Word, the Son of God our Savior, Jesus Christ – whose face we will behold in glory for all eternity.

Praise God for the hope of seeing our dear Lord face to face very soon!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4: 

[omitted discussion on reading fiction for relaxation]

But anyway it really is true that none of these so called gods have anything on Him (in terms of goodness or power). And I do feel like He spoils us with that: He is so forbearing and does provide for all and did give us the Bible and doesn't just change like the wind.

*I say modern idea because at one point Eros said love is about how something makes you feel. Which is what I think many modern people (including Christians) do indeed think. But this is an example of them having nothing on His goodness. Because His love is so much better than just that.

Response #4: 

"But this is an example of them having nothing on His goodness. Because His love is so much better than just that." Amen! So everything else suffers by comparison – for us who have that blessed point of comparison because we belong to Him.

Everything down here that is not directly related to the fight we are in is in some respects pointless. In eternity, we're not going to be disadvantaged by, e.g., not having watched 1,000 more football games or not having read 1,000 more novels or not having gone to the beach 1,000 more times.

On the other hand, human beings do need some R&R. Christians are given time. How we use it is up to us. Those who get married obligate a huge amount of any spare time right off the bat. Having to work for a living eats up time and energy. We have to sleep. We have to eat.

Carving out time for the Lord is where the real battle is fought.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5: 

Dear Bob:

Do you think that the role of Judas Iscariot was essential for the plan of God?

That if he refused to betray Jesus another "Judas Iscariot" has to be found to fulfill that role?

And if Judas didn't kill himself. Could he have gotten forgiveness from Jesus?

Response #5: 

The important thing to remember about the plan of God is that there is only one – one perfect plan. Everything that actually happened or happens in this short stretch of time (short by God's standards) is part of that actual plan. There aren't actually any hypotheticals. The one plan that is playing out, ordained by God in eternity past (for want of a better name for it) is the only plan there is. And it is perfect. It perfectly took into account the free will of every creature created with the image of God. And the result is perfect: salvation and eternal reward for all who respond the way we should; self-selection for condemnation for all who would never in a million hypotheticals submit to God in their heart of hearts.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6: 

Dear Bob:

So even if Judas didn't choose to betray Jesus. God's plan wouldn't be derailed in any way?

It's a bit unsettling that it looks like its inevitable. That this one man had to be lost in the perfect plan of God. As he didn't have free will in the end.

Its hard for a mortal for me to understand because I know that my choices make a lot of difference and due to others being human beings as well they themselves also have agency.

And that our actions have repercussions that our modern world would call "The Butterfly effect"

But then again if such a thing were to occur then the prophecy wouldn't have predicted events to have occurred that way..

Such is the sovereignty of God.

And without God there are many scenarios of dystopian realities occurring.

Response #6: 

It's not the easiest thing to explain. Judas had free will, just like we all do. If I were going to engage in hypotheticals, I would say that if he were going to decide not to betray the Lord, then someone else would have "gotten the job" of being "Judas". Goodness knows there are billions of 'good' candidates for that in the world even today!

But in fact, the plan is / was / will be the plan, the only one.

The fact that God is SO wise (for want of a better word) that He knew before hand exactly how the plan He was going to decree would turn out in every single respect – and that He took everything into account to 'factor in' all free will decisions – does not make our will any less free. In fact, without Him doing what He did there could have been no creation and no free will at all – because we wouldn't exist or have a place to use that free will if we did. We decided; He knew what we would decide; that doesn't determine our decisions – all philosophical speculation and argumentation notwithstanding.

Here are some links:

Judas Iscariot

More on Judas

Judas and the Betrayal of Christ

Was Judas saved?  And the so-called "gospel of Judas"

Judas and the plot to kill Jesus

Judas as a type of antichrist

The Manner of Judas' Death

Why didn't the others realize Judas was a traitor?

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7: 

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Just wanted to give you a quick update about my Bible study group. I think I told you previously that my group of five that I led through your eschatology study expanded to nine, which I then lead through Hamartiology. I was reluctant about the size, but all went well, and we just finished the study. The group loved it, and they were amazed how little they understood about sin and all its particulars! Praises to the Lord here!!

The group wanted to continue, so we will begin Theology-The study of God this Sunday! Praises for their desire for the truth of God's word, and prayers much appreciated (and needed!) Thanks again for all you amazing work and how your articulate the truth so well in your study's!

I do have a question that came to mind in my Bible reading today. I was reading about the Passover in Matthew Chapter 26. I was using my Scofield study Bible (NIV), and he had a marginal reference about forgiveness that reflected back to John Chapter 13 where Jesus washed the disciple's feet. (Imagine my surprise, he got something kinda right!)

Now as an aside, I was raised in a church that did foot washing services, never really understood the point even then, and the Church that my wife and I attend still do them, minus our attendance! I was excited when I finally found in your studies and emails that Jesus was illustrating forgiveness, our salvation bath, experiential forgiveness, etc. not some pointless ritual exercise that proves nothing!

Anyway, I read at the beginning of John Chapter 13, that the devil had already prompted Judas to betray Jesus, and Matthew 26, Luke 22 and Mark 14 has him going to the Chief Priest and agree to betray him for 30 pieces of silver prior to the Passover meal. I also read in John 13 that he leaves the group after he had dipped the bread, after the foot washing illustration by Jesus.

My question is, do you think that Jesus washed Judas feet along with the other disciples? I know the bible only talks about Peter specifically, and the others in general. The reason I ask this question is, as it relates to the study of Hamartiology we just finished, and that unbelief is the only unforgiveable sin. If Judas was never really a believer and had his salvation bath, how could Christ forgive him experientally? Or do you think he was a believer and had become apostate at some point? Or did Jesus maybe just wash all the disciple's feet as an illustration? Not that any of this matters in the grand scheme of things, I was just curious on your thoughts?

Anyway, hope you have a great day and wonderful weekend! No hurry in reply!

Yours in Christ Jesus our precious Lord and Savior!

Response #7: 

Great news about your Bible study! Well done, my friend! That's very encouraging, I must say.

As to your question, it's a great observation. Yes, of course Jesus must have washed Judas' feet as well. If He had not, that would surely have alerted the other eleven to the fact that something was wrong, but later they have no idea that Judas is the betrayer . . . until the deed is done.

Judas was never a believer. Christ picked him because the Spirit led Him to do so. It was necessary for the fulfillment of the prophecies and also for the plan of God for salvation for there to be a Judas. But we have no indication that he ever actually believed; just the opposite, e.g.:

[Judas] did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
John 12:6 NIV

The above indicates a longstanding pattern, and we know that money was the issue in the betrayal. This is not remotely "believer activity" – far less betraying Jesus Christ! As our Lord Himself said,

"Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!"
John 6:70 NIV

Here are some links:

Judas Iscariot

More on Judas

Judas and the Betrayal of Christ

Was Judas saved?  And the so-called "gospel of Judas"

Judas and the plot to kill Jesus

Judas as a type of antichrist

The Manner of Judas' Death

Why didn't the others realize Judas was a traitor?

Keep up the good work for Jesus Christ, my friend! And thanks for the great report.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #8:  

Hello Bob,

Matthew 26:48-49 (NASB)
48 Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him.” 49 Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.

Question: Why does Judas even need to kiss the one he is going to betray? I would think that he could simply point Jesus out especially since most of the Jewish leaders had already seen Him. Is this an indication of his sick perversity – that he wants to kiss whom he is going to betray?

In our Lord,

Response #8: 

I don't think we need to worry to much about the finer points of Judas' mind-set; given that He betrayed the Lord, this detail and its motivation is the least of his problems.

I suppose one could point out that in the dark and in a confused situation where there were multiple people who all looked pretty much alike in the torchlight, this would be a way of making sure that they 'got the right one'. It does serve to highlight the load that this betrayal must have placed on our Lord, since He had been nothing but good to this man – and was about to die for his sins (to no particular avail in his individual case).

One more indication that none of us could have possibly endured what our Lord endured even getting TO the point of the darkness on the cross, let alone once it fell.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9: 

Dear Bob:

If Judas didn't hang himself after betraying Jesus but stuck around like Peter. And showed his face again seeking Jesus' forgiveness would he have remained condemned?

No doubt if it was to happen, Prophecy would have been different.

Pretty sad that he was lost. Even though he deserved everything coming to him.

Yours in Christ

Response #9: 

To be honest, I'm not much on "ifs". There are no "ifs" in the plan of God. The plan of God is absolutely perfect and all-comprehensive. It has taken into account and decreed every human free-will action. If the tiniest thing were to be changed – the smallest "if" admitted – it would be a different plan. But there is no other plan. Only the one we are taking part in right now.

Judas did what he did because he chose to do it. Ultimately, just like Satan, most human beings have no real use for God:

Yet they say to God, "Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways."
Job 21:14 NIV (cf. Job 22:17)

Yes, they would love to be in eternity – doing what they wish with no need to regard the Lord or His ways, with no inclination to thank or praise Him, with no respect for Him whatsoever if not coerced to show respect. This is the way the evil are – and most human beings (and one third of angels) are evil. That is true even if they seem nice, and even if they masquerade as angels of light (2Cor.11:14). That was true of Judas; that is true of Satan; that is true of most of the people in the world today, regardless of what a waste it is that they are going to be lost. And it really IS a horrible waste: because Christ died for all of their sins too. And that shows more clearly than anything that there is only one perfect plan of God, because if anyone who is not saved could have been saved they would have been saved – because Jesus paid the ultimate penalty in dying for their sins that they might be.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10: 

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

According to what I understand from the verse below, no one took Jesus' life, that is no lone killed Him.

John 10:17-18.
" 17Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

However, the following verse says:

Mark 10:33-34.
" 33Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: 34And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again."

These two phrases in the above scriptures don't seem to be translated correctly or ?

John 10:18 says "No man taketh it from me[that is His life].
Mark 10:34 Jesus says "and shall kill Him" speaking of Himself.

Matthew 27:50 says: "And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit".

Help Help.

I don't understand.

Thanks always for your help in these matters.

Blessings to you,

Your friend,

Response #10: 

You are absolutely correct that our Lord died physically by giving up His spirit of His own accord.

However, in the Mark passage, He was talking with His disciples who, at that time, surely wouldn't have understood if He had said to them that He would be crucified and then, after having been judged in the darkness for the sins of the world, give up His spirit on the cross. So He told them what they could understand.

In the history of the ancient world I've never heard of a case where someone was crucified and had not been "killed" as a result. So the intention was to kill Him – and the result was His physical death, albeit it not in the way that the world expected (or that the disciples at this moment would have understood).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #11: 

Hello Bob,

You said that "the tree of life in the Garden is a picture of our Lord who died on Calvary's tree to give us life". Then you cited Romans 11:11-24 as evidence.

I'm doing a study on Old Testament typology right now and would like some more clarity on this.

In our Savior and coming King,

Response #11: 

Jesus "bore our sins in His body on the tree [of the cross]" and opened back up for us the way into paradise. If Adam and Eve had been able to keep eating of that tree, they would have "lived forever" (Gen.3:22); but we do have the right to eat of it (communion representing our eating) and we will live forever with Jesus Christ.

I'll give you the links (do feel free to write back if you have specific questions):

The Menorah and the Tree of Life

The Golden Lampstand

The Tree of Life in New Jerusalem (in CT 6)

The Tree of Life in the Garden (in SR 3)

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #12: 

Hi Bob,

I've been reading over Christology again where it teaches about kenosis and how it is "essentially a set of "ground rules" wherein Jesus voluntarily refrained from using His deity to help His humanity during the first advent in accordance with the Father's will".

Our Lord in His humanity still had to learn truth and grow spiritually the same way we do, He had to go through the normal trials, temptations and obligations that we have in our lives, only the suffering and abuse He went through was far worse than we will ever go through. He still had to prepare for His ministry including the hardest thing He would ever go through when he went to the cross and died for our sins in our place. He had no unfair advantage in anything (due to kenosis) and unlike us He was perfect in everything. He wasted no time, He was committed to spiritual growth every day and made it His top priority. He was completely dedicated to doing the Father's will.

So it got me thinking that if it was necessary for our Lord Jesus to do this then there is no reason for us to think that we don't need to do the same. It's necessary for us to learn, believe and apply the Word to our lives, to grow spiritually, to pass the tests that come our way in preparation for helping others to do the same using the spiritual gifts we have been given. But also in preparation for the Tribulation the hardest thing that we will ever go through in our lives. This will be nowhere near the suffering our Lord went through in dying for us on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven and we could have eternal life with Him. We can't even comprehend exactly what He went through for us or the deep love He has for us. So our Lord deserves nothing less than for us to love Him with all our heart and soul and mind. (Matt.22:37) To give our all for Him even if that means we are one of those to lose our lives - to be martyred for His glory. We are here to please and to glorify Him.

We need the Lord and we can't do anything apart from Him. (John 15:5) We need to draw closer to Him day by day through prayer and studying the Word. (James 4:8, Psalm 145:18) We need to have a deep, personal relationship with Him to the point where He is more real to us than anything we can see or hear or touch in this world. Our Lord will never leave us or forsake us (Deut. 31:6) and He will give us the strength to come through whatever we have to face.

I have the strength to endure all things in the One who empowers me to do so.
Philippians 4:13

Our Lord Jesus is our perfect example in everything and we have the confident hope and expectation that we too will soon be resurrected and be with Him for eternity.

Thanks for your wonderful teaching, Bob. We've spoken a lot about spiritual growth and the Tribulation and I wanted to share with you what has been in my heart today.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Saviour

Response #12: 

That's really wonderful!

Indeed, our Lord is our example in all things.

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
1st Peter 2:21 NIV

And you are absolutely right about the importance of being close to Him when the Tribulation begins. To the extent that we are still dependent upon and engaged with this world, we will have troubles as a result; but to the extent that we have considered ourselves crucified to this world (Gal.6:14; cf. Rom.6:3-14) and are seeing Him with us through the eyes of faith (Ps.16:8; 1Pet.1:8-9; Heb.11:27; 12:2), to that extent the fight will be winnable, and we will be able to endure it all with peace, no matter what we are going to have to suffer. That is the sort of thinking, however, that only mature believers who have prepared themselves will be easily able to apply. So failure to prepare now will indeed be a disadvantage then. All the more reason why "pre-Trib" is such a dangerous false doctrine: it may "feel good" now, but it will put us in bad shape then – sort of like sleeping in and foregoing exercise day after day for months, and THEN having to take a USMC PFT test. Not the best approach (of course, they've changed it since I was in, but still)!

I've got no worries about you! Keep fighting the good fight for Jesus Christ!

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #13: 

Thank you Bob! And thanks for all of the verses you wrote for me. I enjoyed reading through all of them today.

Thanks for sharing the article about how the invasion has disrupted relations between Ukrainian and Russian evangelicals. It was shocking to see how the pressures can make people react like that. Is this an example Bob, where their "patriotism" and imprecatory prayers have dragged them into being too engaged with this world rather than being crucified to it - just as you wrote in your last email to me? As you said, it's good for us to take these things into consideration because there will be a time for us in the Tribulation when the pressure really IS on and things really ARE right on our own doorstep.

We don't belong in this world, we're strangers to it just sojourning through. Our true home is waiting for us in the New Jerusalem with our Lord who we love more than anyone or anything else. That's where our focus needs to remain. (Hebrews 11:13-16).

I'm so thankful for the Lord's protection of you and yours (in those recent tornadoes)!

In Jesus

Response #13: 

I do think you're right about that. I love my country too – even though I believe it is going to morph into mystery Babylon just as soon as the Tribulation begins. So I understand both sticking up for it when others think it is doing wrong and also being very much anti- anyone who wants to take it down. But I have learned from scripture that while a certain amount of that is just what a believer should be/do because he/she is a believer, I also know that getting too far "over one's skis" on either of those natural tendencies is a mistake as well. We followers of Christ know that our kingdom is the one which is coming and NOT the one down here (wherever we live), and that should guide all of our actions. So the more we keep ourselves – and our emotions – out of politics, foreign and domestic, the happier we shall be and also the less likely to get too deeply sucked into actions or movements which are not of God at all. As mentioned often, this temptation is going to reach its peak during the first half of the Tribulation. So it's good to start seeing things clearly here and now.

"We don't belong in this world, we're strangers to it just sojourning through. Our true home is waiting for us in the New Jerusalem with our Lord who we love more than anyone or anything else. That's where our focus needs to remain. (Hebrews 11:13-16)" – Amen and Amen!

Keeping you in my prayers.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #14: 

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Just wondering if you had stand-alone teaching on the subject of Theodicy? Please let me know if you do, and the Website reference. Thanks so much.

One other question that is bugging me. Why did not the translators of the Bible in different versions such as the NASB, make the writing more clear? There is one that my wife ran into this morning while doing our Bible study.

It is in Luke 16 verse 16, where it says: "and everyone is "forcing" his way into it, referring to the Kingdom of God."

Looked this phrase up in Strong's concordance and... oh well, no help at all. We finally figured it out by using the German translation and some commentaries that I am careful to reference from time to time. Again, why make it so difficult for the average person to understand?

Thanks once again for your super help.

Blessings to you always,

Your friend,

Response #14: 

As this is not an apologetics ministry, I don't have anything on Theodicy per se, but I often make the point that people blaming God is always foolish, considering what the Father did in judging His Son in our place. The cross is the best "theodicy" I know of. Plus the Bible has a whole book on this: the book of Job. Free will is also a big part of that, and I cover that throughout Ichthys (you might check what I've written on this score in regard to salvation in BB 4B: "The sacrifice of Christ proof-positive of God's goodwill towards all").

As to Luke 16:16 and translators, one thing a good translator has to do first off is to establish the text. The phrase in KJV, "and every man presseth into it", is not a part of the Bible but is instead a late addition (it's not found in the original of Sinaiticus nor in uncial G for example). The addition seems to be a clumsy attempt to harmonize it with a similar passage in Matthew where the same verb, biazomai, "to use violence" is employed.  The passages, however, are making different points (note that in the second one, the double brackets indicate the false interpolation wherein it is obvious that the verse makes much more sense without it:

Since the days of John the baptist until this present time, the Kingdom of God has been under violent attack, and violent men (biastai) are laying hands upon it (biazomai).
Matthew 11:12

The law and the prophets were until John: since that time (i.e., "since" and not "until" John) the kingdom of God is preached . . . [[and every man presseth (biazomai) into it]].
Luke 16:16 KJV

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15: 

Hi Bob,

In response to a question about Isaiah 6:7 you said,

"This is the burning fire into which Jesus went to have our sins seared away in His body during the three hours of darkness on Calvary's cross."

Can you point me to an Ichthys link that describes the mechanics of how this worked – I can't wrap my head around it.

Thank you Jesus!,

Response #15: 

We have limited information – for a reason. On the one hand, we can't really understand what it was like for the Lord to bear and be judged for even one single sin; on the other hand, this is the most important thing in all of history to an infinite degree, so that appreciating it has been left for only those who really want to follow Him closely.

The analogy in the quote is from the sacrifices of the Law which represent Him, sacrifices which were burned up completely on the altar (fire always represents judgment).

Here's the best link for the a full discussion: in BB 4A: "The Spiritual Death of Christ".

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #16: 

Hi Bob,

How are we supposed to think about Jesus in our faith-rest? When I think of Him it’s always lower than it should be. He is infinite and perfect, yet my imagination always comes up with something distorted (too low of His glory than what I know it is). In addition, if I think about Him as a Man then that also feels icky because that puts Him on the same level as humankind because imagining a man always has some kind of equalizing factor which also feels wrong. Basically I’m wondering how does one properly visualize God Himself? How do we think about Him and His glory in a humble way. To make this even harder, when I think of Jesus’ glorified state in Revelation 3 then I think of the verse that we will “be like Him” and that is not a humbling thought either. Basically I would like to know how to approach visualizing Jesus in a way that attains humility on our end while also keeping Jesus and His glory in the highest place in our minds at the same time.

Thank you.

In our Lord,

Response #16: 

Getting to the point of seeing / understanding just how small we are is a mark of spiritual maturity. That you are thinking about the issue is a great sign. Human beings that we are, living in bodies infested with sin, even when we know very much better we tend to imagine ourselves as immense – though we are infinitesimally tiny. We don't occupy 1% of the volume of the room we are in at present, a tiny space on a tiny planet in a massive universe that is nothing in comparison to God. And yet our Lord became one with us to save us and to make us His own.

When it comes to this issue and related ones, the Bible is deliberately short of visual details. For example, we are told to set our minds on "the things above" (Col.3:1-2), but even with the descriptions we are given of heaven and New Jerusalem in Revelation, "visualization" is difficult for those, like myself, whose imagination is not very good – and it's no doubt dangerous to "go beyond what is written" in thinking about these things in any case (1Cor.4:6).

So while we have what we have, we have far less than we would like on this score. But there are good reasons for that, but in our visual culture it cuts across the grain of what we are used to. Jesus Christ is the truth. If we have "seen Him", we have seen the Father (Jn.14:9); similarly, if we have seen / heard the truth, we have seen / heard Him. So the solution, as with all things in the Christian life, is the continued pursuit of spiritual growth, and of application of our hearts to the truth and its principles in our daily walk one step at a time. Christ can only "dwell in our hearts" . . . through faith (Eph.3:16-17).

Some links:

Seeing Christ with the eyes of faith

Transforming our thinking

You have God – the Holy Spirit – within you to aid you in being "occupied with Christ" in a godly and humble way. Listen to Him and He will guide you into the right path always (cf. Ps.119).

In Jesus Christ who humbled Himself to the point of death – spiritual death in the darkness on the cross – to save us from all of our sins.

Bob L.

Question #17: 

Hi Dr L,

This past ICHTHYS post: "After all, we must never forget that it is NOT the physical death of our Lord which saves us."

Doesn't 1 Corinthians 15:3 say his death was for our sins. I mean I even looked at the Greek and it seems to say that to me in the Greek too.


Okay back on the original topic (and saying that, it feels kinda wrong to talk about such trivial things right after such an important topic), this is such a common understanding to my knowledge in most denominations. And such a large thing to get wrong. When I read that, I went and tried to find any verse that says His death saves us and it was quite a feeling not finding any (so far) except that one. Please let me know when you have time.

Response #17: 

Apologies for the delay. I post on Saturdays so I don't get to emails.

Did Christ die for us? Indeed! That is an essential part of the gospel. What people get wrong is that they think this means His physical death. But what saves us is His death for our sins, His spiritual death, being judged while hanging on the cross during those three hours of darkness for all of our sins. What that entailed cannot really be fully understood this side of heaven, but suffice it to say that all the pain suffered in the history of the world doubtless would not equal what He suffered in dying for a single sin – and He died for ALL our sins. The best link for this at Ichthys is in BB 4A: Christology, "The Spiritual Death of Christ".

Question #18:  

I don't think it inherently and necessarily follows that since his body wasn't burned then it wasn't his physical death for our sins too. If the language could be symbolic for his spiritual death I don't see what it couldn't also be symbolic for the physical death.

I do see the statement stated twice that salvation was accomplished before he gave up His spirit but the ones I see on that page don't necessarily show that.

Many times in the Bible future things would be described as having already happened, so I don't know that we can for-certain use the 'it is done' as the proof.

The line 'why have You forsaken Me?' could mean that it had begun, but I don't see why that points for certain to when exactly it was finished being accomplished, just that it either started or was just about to start.

And the repetitions of how He had to bear our sins in His body, also seem to point to the necessity of the physical death (or at the very least physical torture, for lack of a better tern) as part of salvation, and not just spiritual.

It may also be possible that as He was bleeding to death, at that last moments of bleeding He gave up His spirit with those words. But even if not, I don't see why that necessarily and inherently means his physical death was not part of our salvation buying.

I meant to say I don't see the proofs for that statement. I mean in everyday situations you will hear people say that something is done when it may not be to the absolute end/finish, but it is almost there.

Response #18: 

I read this in scripture:

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
Matthew 27:50 NKJV

And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.
Mark 15:37 NKJV

And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ ” Having said this, He breathed His last.
Luke 23:46 NKJV

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
John 19:30 NKJV

So all four gospels are in agreement that our Lord voluntarily gave His physical life – after "it was finished". Therefore it was His spiritual death wherein He died for the sins of the world, being judged for them during the three hours of darkness, that saved us, not His expulsion of His spirit after He had already procured salvation for us all. That was "finished" and then He departed.

Again, the best place for the details is at this link: "The Spiritual Death of Christ".

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #19: 

After He said it was finished. You are simply giving the statement that that was also when it was finished. But many times the Bible talks of things happening and being done before they actually happened. And esp since, with the view of the physical death as being part, along with the spiritual death, of what gives us salvation, that the words seem to come directly before physical death-it just seems even more likely. Someone on the last step/doing the last step, could very well say it was finished and then did right after did finish it in absolute terms.

Response #19: 

It's an important doctrine to get right.

When Christ said that He had completed our salvation ("It is finished"; Greek: tetelstai, cf. Ps.22:31), He wasn't referring to the imminent exhaling of His breath – which He could have done easily enough before the three hours of darkness if that is all there was to it. In fact, He suffered fiery judgment for every sin in three hours of darkness that preceded this.

He made Him who had no [personal] experience of sinning [to be] sin (i.e., a sin offering) for us, so that we might have (lit., “become”) God's righteousness in Him.
2nd Corinthians 5:21

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, in order that we might die to sins and live to righteousness. By His wound you are healed.
1st Peter 2:24

His bearing our sins in His body and being judged for us is what saves us. That is what "being made sin for us" means, not merely exhaling His spirit.

It really would help to read the link.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #20: 

The question at hand is if the physical death was part of the sacrifice He made to save us from our sins (directly part of why we are saved), along with the spiritual death. Here is where I am at:

The one verse that seems to bear the closest relation to the whole question without logical jumps was that He said it was finished right before He died physically and after He died spiritually. As I mentioned before: we humans ourselves use the concept of saying something is done right at the end of the act even if it isn't technically completely finished yet (e.g. the example I have previously of being in a fight and saying 'it is over" as one deals the finishing blow.

But the way this logic sets it up (assuming both the spiritual and physical deaths are the principal/salient things that saves us) makes it half finished before He says that line and half after. So it doesn't fit the example of the last part of the act (i.e., say something is done at 50% vs 95%). I suppose one could argue that He was physically dying the whole time, and He said that right at the finish of dying, but the truth is that you're not dead until you are dead (I mean just look at the way we can save lives of people right at the point and bring them back). Even if you are on the way there, the actual dying part is its own thing I think.

Response #20: 

You wrote: "The question at hand is if the physical death was part of the sacrifice He made to save us from our sins (directly part of why we are saved), along with the spiritual death." That is indeed the question, specifically, your parenthetical remark: "directly part of why we are saved".

I suppose one could say that everything about our Lord has to do with salvation. For example, His virgin birth: had He not been born a human being, and one without a sin nature at that, we could not have been saved.

However, scripture does have a technical term for Christ's work on the cross in dying for our sins: "the blood of Christ" (e.g., 1Cor.10:16; Eph.2:13; Heb.9:14):

(18) For you know that it was not with perishable things [like] silver or gold that you were ransomed from the futile manner of life passed down to you by your ancestors, (19) but [you were redeemed] with precious blood, like that of a lamb without spot or blemish, [that is, by the blood] of Christ.
1st Peter 1:18-19

This passage and the passages referenced (and others as well) make it very clear that it is "the blood of Christ" which saves us.

In RC theology, that "blood" is literal blood. However, as our conversation about this has already made clear, Christ exhaled His spirit so as to give up His physical life. He most assuredly did not bleed to death (cf. Jn.19:34 which proves His blood was still in His body after death).

So the question is, if the blood of Christ is not His literal blood, then what is it? The answer is that this is a metaphor for His spiritual death whereby He took away the sins of the world. In the Levitical sacrifices, a lamb is slaughtered and its blood represents what saves us, blood covering our sins – someone else' blood, Christ's "blood", not His literal blood, but Him standing judgment for our sins. The lamb represents Christ; its blood represents His spiritual death for us as it "covers" the sins on which it is poured out.

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, in order that we might die to sins and live to righteousness. By His wound you are healed.
1st Peter 2:24

Christ's body was most definitely involved: our sins could not have been "placed upon Him" unless He had a human body to bear them. Paul describes it this way:

He made Him who had no [personal] experience of sinning [to be] sin (i.e., a sin offering) for us, so that we might have God's righteousness in Him.
2nd Corinthians 5:21

That is to say, Christ stood in as our Substitute, being judged for every one of our sins which He literally "bore" and was judged for. This He did in the three hours of darkness on Calvary.

For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of the heifer sprinkled upon the unclean render a person holy in respect to bodily cleansing, how much more will the blood of Christ, who offered Himself (i.e., His body; cf. 1Pet.3:18) without defect to God through the eternal Spirit, cleanse our conscience from dead works so that we may serve the living God?
Hebrews 9:14

As this passage makes clear, Christ's spiritual death for us, His spiritual death on our behalf, was a supernatural process wherein He did offer His body – to bear our sins and have them judged in Him.

So it's not as if His body was uninvolved. Far from it. And it's not as if the "normal" physical suffering He endured was nothing – no one else could have stood the punishment He took and have lived to do what He did for us. But it is also true that the blood of Christ, the sacrifice He made for us, had to do with something even more important – and even more painful (beyond what we can even imagine). This is what saves us, Jesus being subjected to the judgment for the sins of the world, something only the brutal death of animal sacrifice can come close to representing for us by way of analogy.

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:13 NKJV

And they sang a new song, saying, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain and have purchased with your blood for our God [men] from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made them into a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will rule upon the earth!”
Revelation 5:9-10

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21: 

I am honestly uncertain on that because He didn't bleed to death that it isn't His literal blood. Why couldn't it be His literal blood anyway? I am also not certain we can say for sure that He didn't bleed to death. Is it possible that He was bleeding to death, and at the last breath exhaled His spirit kind of thing? Also I almost feel kind of callous talking about His death like that. I don't mean to. I am not sure how to speak and ask questions about this with the correct gravity and respect.

Response #21: 

"Why couldn't it be His literal blood anyway?"

How would that be? The only way I can see that is if we have a "holy grail" and all the other RC nonsense.

The analogy of the lamb is where the analogy of the blood comes from. Jesus is not literally a lamb. Jesus did not have His throat cut. Jesus' body was not burned up. Jesus did not die from loss of blood as the lamb does. And a lamb cannot actually bear sins – only Christ could do that.

"Is it possible that He was bleeding to death. . ."

Scripture never tells us that He was bleeding at all. And His blood was all in His body after death (Jn.19:34).

Christ's dying for our sins is an amazing thing. It was only possible through the agency of the Spirit (Heb.9:14). What He suffered for us is beyond understanding. But it was much more than merely giving up His physical life. He was "made sin for us" and "bore our sins" in His body on the cross.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #22: 

Hi Dr L,

I don't know anything about this 'holy grail' thing, but you seem to be dismissing it anyway.

It seems clear to me that open wounds from being scourged, the thorns on the head, and hanging on nails would make one bleed. And that you can bleed to death while still having blood in the body after death.

I am not denying that His spiritual death was a principal part. What I am stuck on is whether His physical death was/was not a direct principal part of the saving (in addition to the spiritual). I am sorry if I am frustrating you, I really am just trying to understand.

But I think the answer to help me understand may be in that us dying physically is not considered payment for our sins. Without Him we do have to pay for our sins, and based on His generous and not-cruel nature, and that His actions and words seem to say that we can't just get new sinless bodies after we die, maybe we conclude that our physical death is not enough/or not it at all/not related at all in regards to paying for sins. The people who were brought back into their original sinful bodies and died again I think illustrates this. Because that would just be repeating the payment/punishment if that is what it was. And it isn't like partial payment because you can't make partial payment on what is an infinite amount (eternity) for us and a different, uh degree, for lack of better word (spiritual). So that thinking is applied to His physical death as well, I suppose it follows that His physical death was not related to payment for sin (at least not directly).

Response #22: 

The physical suffering of our Lord was intense, no doubt, and it did involve blood, though certainly nowhere enough to bleed to death (that idea is disproved by John 19:34, and John uses that fact as a proof also of Christ's humanity at 1Jn.5:7-8).

But you are correct: physical suffering of the normal human type does not remit sin, nor does physical death – we all die physically (Heb.9:27), after all, but only believers are saved (Jn.3:18):

And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission [of sins].
Hebrews 9:22 NKJV

But why should blood remit sins? Again, this is an analogy wherein the blood of the lamb represents the intensity of the spiritual death Christ suffered to take away the sins of the world (cf. 1Pet.1:19: "like that of a lamb without spot or blemish").

As I have said more than once, dying spiritually for the least human sin was more painful for our Lord than all human suffering throughout all of history put together – and He died for all sins.

So I am loathe to say anything that would diminish in any way the great sacrifice our Lord made for us all.

But I will concede that His physical suffering before He exhaled His spirit does play a role: anyone who reads of His ordeal will have to admit, being honest with themselves, that what Christ suffered before He died for the sins of the world in the three hours of darkness (i.e., His spiritual death, the "blood of Christ") was more than they could ever take. Therefore His physical suffering gives us a small – very small – idea of just how difficult dying for the sins of the world thereafter was going to be.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #23: 

Us talking about His death, I have found I am unable to think about it after our last message. But I was realizing this morning that at least now I don't care who gets offended when someone brings Him up, I mean to say I don't care about that offended person's feelings. It is an insult and narcissism even if you weren't thinking about His death and were only thinking of His position as God. I feel confrontational about it, I mean at the person pulling the 'I'm offended' card and trying to guilt or shame believers.

Response #23: 

Good for you!

I also should have mentioned in our discussion that the communion ritual informs this discussion as well. The bread represents Christ's body – which is His person – while the wine represents His blood – which is His work on the cross (see the link). Clearly in both cases, bread and wine, body and blood, we have to do with symbolism since we don't eat His actual body nor drink His actual blood. That is obvious (to all but religions like the RCs).

In Jesus,

Bob L.



Ichthys Home