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Eschatology Issues XIX

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Question #1:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I've heard differing interpretations on whether the new Earth mentioned in 2 Peter 3:13 and Revelation 21:1 is an entirely new planet, or if it's just the same earth remodeled? Could it be an entirely new earth that could be thousands of times larger than our current one? And I often wonder why God created innumerable amount of planets out there in the universe if we can't access them. Even with our current technology, we will never get to see many other planets that God has created, and they're going to be done away with. What purpose do they serve? And the planets that are inhabitable now, are they like that because of the fall in the garden when the whole creation fell? And the Holy City has the gates opened at all times. Is this to access the rest of the new earth, or to go to other places in the new heavens? or both?

God Bless you and your ministry,

Response #1:

There may be "different interpretations" but the truth of the matter is crystal clear if a person just listens to what Peter actually writes through the Spirit:

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

It's hard to see how the complete destruction of the universe could be put any more emphatically than this so as to avoid incorrect interpretations.

As to the purpose of the wide universe, it was created in perfection – no doubt for the benefit of the angels. But that was not enough for the devil who wanted to rule it. The judgment upon the universe blacked it out and filled it with the cosmic deep; only the six days of re-creation restored light and viability, and only on earth was there a re-creation of (other than angelic) life.

So I fully expect the new heavens and the new earth to be available for our enjoyment in their totality. The Lord ascended to the third heaven in His resurrection body, and I fully expect that we will be able to negotiate the universe in ours much as the angels do. As to the size and glory of the new, it is completely in keeping with everything God does, making what is restored better than what was lost (cf. the example of Job), that these new heavens and earth should be bigger and better in every way.

There are untold wonders ahead – and great enjoyment of them to be had, especially by believers who earn a full reward through diligent spiritual growth, progress and production in the service of Jesus Christ.

In our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

How are you? I hope everything is well with you and your family!

It has been about a month and half since I last emailed you about the symbolism in Daniel Chapter 2. Your last email response to my question about the rock symbolizing Christ's incarnation and defeat of secular world power was very helpful. I am still making my way through Romans and Daniel at a snail's pace, but I think that is what the Holy Spirit is leading me to do. He is guiding me to have patience and to make sure I "chew" my spiritual food before I swallow it.

Recently, many of my friends and loved ones who are Christian are getting sucked into end-times false teaching. I think interest in end times prophecy has really flared up since the Presidential election and the recent developments/changes in our country's politics. I am struggling against giving into my feelings of frustration and worry over my loved ones' spiritual growth and trying not to get sucked into their discussions on politics. I just keep telling them study and to trust in God's Word and to pray to God for guidance. Patience is definitely something that I struggle with. More than anything, I think God is using the lukewarmness of those around me to motivate me to be very persistent, consistent, and diligent in my studies.

I am still working my way through taking notes on Daniel Chapter 2 and have another question. I keep coming back to the legs and feet of that statue!

When it comes to the legs of iron and the feet of iron/clay on the statue in King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, I understand that they represent Rome and Revived Rome (or Rome II as Curt Omo calls it). I am a little confused, though, about which parts represent Rome I and which parts represent Rome II/Revived Rome and how Babylon factors into the symbolism. I am also consulting Unger's Commentary on the Old Testament. Unger sees the two legs as representing Rome I at the time of Christ's ministry. He views the two legs as symbols for the western and eastern divisions of the Empire. But then he views the feet as Revived Rome that will only exist during the Tribulation. So, he puts the 2,000 years of the Church Age occurring near the ankles of the statue, dividing the time of Rome I (the legs) with Rome II (the feet/toes). I do not know much about the history of the Roman Empire, so I am not sure what to think of Unger's view. I think it would be wise to study anything and everything about Rome as we Revived Rome will soon be a reality in the near future.

I know you interpret the legs of the statue differently: that each of the two legs as representing Babylon and Revived Rome. And you have said that Babylon and Revived Rome are not the same. Babylon is America and for the first 3.5 years of the Tribulation we will be controlling Revived Rome (which will constitute Europe and the Middle East) just like the prostitute is "controlling" or thinks she is in control of the beast while she rides it. You also said this in an email response to another reader:

In this passage too we see the beast's kingdom overall represented as bipartite, for there are two legs of "iron" upon which it stands (i.e., Babylon and revived Rome). And as was the case with "Meshech and Tubhal" in Ezekiel 38:2 above, we also see here a second bifurcation that is itself composed of multiple parts: there are two "feet", representing the dual nature of the revived Roman empire over which Babylon rules. (from https://ichthys.com/mail-more-Antichrist.htm)

What is the second bifurcation you are speaking of? Do you see the two legs as representing Babylon and Revived Rome, and then the two feet representing the Northern Alliance and the Southern Alliance?

Am I looking at this correctly and understanding your teaching? As always, thank you SO MUCH for your help!

In Christ's Love,

Response #2:

Good to hear from you. Thanks again, before I forget, for your prayers for my family.

On your question, the second "bipartite" aspect, represented by the two feet which represent the kingdom of the beast, is that between the seven kings and the three kings, or between the European part of revived Rome and the Muslim part, the two of which are not re-united until the conquest of the south by antichrist at the Tribulation's mid-point.

Thanks for your prayers!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hi! Dr. Bob,

I am wondering about the eternal covenant of the Lord with Israel. Will the OT type of worship with all the sacrifices be resumed in the future when the temple is rebuilt?

Thankful as always for your assistance in sound doctrine.

Sincerely in our soon coming Lord Jesus Christ,

Response #3:

Ezekiel in particular delineates that there will be sacrifices in the Millennium (see the link). However, these will act as memorials to what our Lord did on the cross, no longer foreshadowing something not fully understood, but celebrating something everyone will understand in great detail under the teaching of the Messiah King and those who serve Him (cf. Is.11:9).

As to covenants, the "old and new" really are one. God's truth is merely "dispensed" differently in different time periods for a variety of reasons. The "old" was the forerunner of the New, looking forward to the cross; the "new" looks back to the Old, which was fulfilled at the cross. A covenant is an agreement made by God in grace to benefit human beings willing to be so benefited – that is, willing to receive His grace. So the covenant is one of salvation provided by God to us, and that was true also for believers who lived before Christ's spiritual death validated that promise of eternal life for all willing to respond to Him (please see the link).

It always goes back to the cross.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #4:


You can research Jan Markell (Olive Tree Ministries), if you have not heard of her - Does her information fit the current interest in Eschatology?

We read of additional stories of Satan activity in the news.

The Jan Markel email -

Let's consider how Lucifer is demonstrating his cosmic tantrum:

The rise of the Satanic Temple, carefully cloaked in atheism and designed to gut Christianity in the schools and courts of America, now gloats in mainstream media stories. Who could have imagined after school Satan clubs?

Last June 1, several of Europe's leaders attended the dedication of the Gottard Base Tunnel in Switzerland. They viewed six hours of a satanic ceremony televised around the world!

Demon possession headlines show up on a daily basis. Here is one story. Exorcists report they are extremely busy.

Wicca or witchcraft is spreading exponentially. See this story.

Demonic anti-Semitism has skyrocketed. Desecration of graves is common. Jews are removing any outward sign that they are Jews.

UFOs and huge, floating "orbs" are spotted regularly outside the International Space Station. It's become so common, they turn off the cameras until the phenomena stops.

The arch of Baal is celebrated in many cities. This was a symbol of evil throughout history but now it is honored.

Response #4:

I'm not familiar with this person (I have heard of the ministry).

The first thing to note is that all such sensationalism attracts attention, readers, and donations. For that reason alone it is always best to take such things with at a grain of salt at least. Just because someone says something is true doesn't make it true, even is said person purports to be a Christian (please see the link: "Third Party Reports").

Secondly, while it is very true that the "mystery of lawlessness" which will give rise to antichrist and his movement "is already at work" (2Thes.2:7), that has been true since Paul penned these words in the Spirit in the mid-first century. It certainly must be true that Satan is preparing the ground for what is soon to come – but that has always been the case as well. I think any Christian well-versed in the Word and steeped in good Bible teaching (the latter of which is rare enough these days) cannot help but see a plethora of trends which signal that things cannot go on as they are much longer. That is true without resort to these sorts of "signs" mentioned here.

Also, there is, after all, no more unfulfilled prophecy destined to be fulfilled until the Tribulation actually begins. This means that, other than the trend of lukewarmness in this church era predicted in Revelation chapter three, there are in fact not going to be any concrete, biblically verifiable signals of the Tribulation's approach until it actually arrives. But we certainly suspect that it is close (based upon the likely chronology the Bible shares with us and the trend previously mentioned).

Fixating too much on overtly satanic signs is a big mistake, moreover. That is because antichrist is going to claim not to be of the devil but instead to be Christ Himself. Those who are wary of what they deem satanic as in these examples are likely to be deceived by a wolf in sheep's clothing – which is what the beast will be.

When the Tribulation starts, we will definitely know it:

(1) And when He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. (2) And I saw the seven angels who stood before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. (3) And another angel with a golden censer came and stood by the altar, and much incense was given to him so that he might offer it for the prayers of the saints on the golden altar in front of the throne. (4) And smoke from the incense went up from the hand of the angel before God for the prayers of the saints. (5) Then the angel took the incense holder and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it to the earth. And there occurred thunderous voices(1) and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
Revelation 8:1-5

So keep growing and fighting the fight day by day, my friend! Everything we do to prepare now will only make the chances of our being deceived that much less once the true troubles begin.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Oldest Manuscript has the Number of the Beast as 616?


Response #5:

There are textual variants. If this papyrus dates to the third century, it is old, but that doesn't mean it's "the oldest"; for one thing, it's not really possible to date such documents with that much specificity unless there is a direct link to some historical event as in a letter which refers to some known and datable event.

However, I would note that in this scrap, in the line directly above, we have the string "phi alpha nu" – and that particular string doesn't occur anywhere near Revelation 13:18 – not to mention that if the other letters visible on the line above are taken into consideration (alpha phi alpha nu omicron upsilon), that particular string doesn't occur anywhere in Revelation – or indeed anywhere in the NT. Now we do have to account for spelling variations at this time (itacisms), so I'd have to do some more leg work to affirm that it's actually not part of the Bible, but I certainly wouldn't put any stock into this putative evidence carrying any weight regarding our passage. The number of the beast is "six hundred and sixty six" (not "666" since the Greek system of numbering was different from ours; see the link).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
and the war horse from Jerusalem;

and the battle bow shall be cut off,
and he shall command peace to the nations;
his dominion shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
Zechariah 9:9-10

What does the bolded part refer to?

Response #6:

This is part and parcel of the elimination of warfare during the Millennium in the blessed kingdom of the Messiah. Israel too, along with all the other nations of the world, will have no further need to "learn war", and all the weapons of war will be re-purposed and disappear (Is.2:4; Mic.4:3).

In anticipation of that wonderful time to come.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #7:

"However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
(Luke 18:8)

This seems to be decisive against post-millenialism. When Jesus comes back, faith will be so scant that it will be next-to-impossible to find. On the other hand, post-millennialism teaches that faith will become so abundant and all of humanity will become so holy that Jesus will return to establish a kingdom.

Response #7:

Very nice!

It's sad to say, but for those who hold to that false doctrine, an entire book of the Bible which can't be legitimately read any other way than as non-post-millenialist doesn't seem to be proof enough. The dodge often used is to dismiss Revelation as "symbolic". But since your verse / argument does not come from Revelation – but from the Lord directly – maybe pointing this out may cause some of our misguided brothers and sisters to think again.

In Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #8:

By most "theologically educated" people, the Book of Revelation is seen as either

(1) a historical account of Nero and Vespasian only written with fantasy visuals as a means of boosting morale or

(2) a first-century version of Pilgrim's Progress

and thus appealing to the plain text of the book is next-to-useless, as they're only going to read it with these eye-glasses on. What's interesting is that the people who are "theologically educated" can be remarkably conservative and literal on every other book of the Bible...except for Revelation.

The main reason Post-millenialism exists is because lots of Christians are Hegelians with a conservative Christian slant, and thus believe that history will be moving through "phases" with the Church being the engine of these "phases." This is why one can see a lot of similarities between Rushdoony's view on politics and eschatology and Marxism, because both have a Hegelian foundation.

Response #8:

Yes, this sort of thing happens whenever theory trumps text. Many of these folks may be more "literal" in their interpretation of other books of the Bible – but they don't really pay attention to what these say either, preferring instead their traditional non-biblical denominational theologies to what the scriptures clearly and plainly teach (at least for anyone willing to dig into them in the right way), and merely using scripture "flexibly" to support what they all ready believe.

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Dr. Luginbill:

Thanks you for what you have and are doing. I haven't talked to you for awhile, but I have been using your site. My small group and I were studying Revelation and related other references for about 9 months. I know I learn much from doing it and I did try to inform from the understandings generally that you portray. I mentioned to you before that I occasionally send out information to others via email, maybe just because I'm old and that gives me some freedom. I've been working on a letter that I'm thinking of using below that I believe again is reflective of your and my views. Would you kindly critique it?

Divine Reality

Deception of many Christians may occur by the adopting of one or both of the following understandings regarding the times prophesied to occur prior to Christ’s second coming. One, often perpetrated by religious leaders, is that there needn’t be any special priority given to seeking knowledge or preparation for Christ’s coming or the events leading up to His return; but that we should merely await that day safe in the disregard of knowledge and with a false hope that we may be spared from any potential testing prior to His coming. Secondly, another understanding is that before the time of testing (tribulation) Christians will be taken off the earth by Jesus and thereby not have to be subjected to this time of tribulation. These understandings, I humbly believe, to be misleading at best or worse potentially spiritually deadly as they diminish the need and priority for knowledge that would buttresses the sure faith needed by those who will live during these times that are fast approaching… This lack of knowledge would result therefore in a serious lack of understanding of the nature of God’s plans in bringing about the end of mans time in this age. The tribulation (that will occur before Christ’s coming) will draw many Christians into apostasy due to their ignorance of the nature of Satan’s deceptions. These times will incur very serious testing of one’s faith, since the restraining hand of God’s Spirit will have been dramatically reduced resulting in great freedom being given to Satan in his quest to lure Christians away from their allegiance to Jesus.

Apostasy means the rejection of Christ by one who has been a Christian.

" 2 Thessalonians 2:3 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (the day of the Lord or Christ’s second coming) shall not come, except there come a falling away (apostasy) first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition (son of perdition being “the instead of Christ” or false Christ/Satan).

I believe these understandings as stated are dangerous options to rely upon. Unfortunately, I’ve found that these closely mirror the practices and beliefs of many Churches. I have been a fairly involved Lutheran member all my 75+ years and can testify by my own experience that this has been true for me. Perhaps the only reason that I now believe them to be dangerous is that in my very early church years, 15 years old or less, I was exposed to teaching that was, as I now view it, as being more aligned with biblical truth and less inclined to spiritualized or highly metaphorical interpretations. And in the last few years have I’ve begun to try to understand the reasoning behind these understandings that seems to marginalize much of God’s Word regarding the ultimate actions and judgments upon His creation, while at the same time I’ve been trying to purse an understanding of these ultimate actions from something other than the standard Lutheran minimalist interpretations.

This pursuit, has thus far lead me to an understanding that depicts God ordained events and judgments in that period of time just before Christ’s return (the tribulation period) that will require a steadfast faith in the Lord in order to not forsake ones salvation by apostasy.

The snippet below from Dr. Robert Luginbill site ichthys.com, I believe, generally depicts what my belief and logic informs me to be the best truth I know. These teachings are a hard concept to accept because it seems so contrary to standard “feel good” church teaching and to a culture of Christians that have lived in a time where persecution for us is rare.

I. Definition and Overview of the Tribulation

Secular history is, for obvious reasons, generally written about the past. As believers in Jesus Christ, however, we are blessed to have the future history of the earth's final years revealed to us through a select number of God's prophets who have recorded it in the Holy Scriptures for all time… For we live on the threshold of that apocalyptic time, and it behooves all who call Jesus Christ their Lord and Master to be prepared for His imminent return, as well as for the period of severe testing which will precede it…

2. Definition and Terminology: The Tribulation is the cataclysmic seven year period which precedes the 2nd Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ. It comprises the final seven years of the Church Age,(3) and, as its primary name suggests, will be a period of intense judgment and severe trial – judgment from God against the unbelieving world, and persecution for believers at the hands of our adversary the devil and his earthly representative, antichrist. This combination of causes which will make the Tribulation such a terrible time in which to live are widely misunderstood. For while it is certainly true that the Tribulation will see the most intense satanic activity in the history of the world, God is far from uninvolved in the events of those seven years. Indeed, the Tribulation is first and foremost the beginning of the penultimate phase of God's judgment upon the earth and its inhabitants. The fact that Satan (and his minion, antichrist) will be in control of human affairs as never before merely makes the issue all the more clear: in six thousand years of human history, mankind has, by and large, not only failed to choose for God, but has, for the most part, chosen for Satan instead, and this trend will reach its apogee during the Tribulation. The exception to this rule, the assembly of those (i.e., the Church) who have turned away from this world and its present ruler to follow instead God and His Anointed, will be, during the Tribulation, subjected to the most intense persecution in the history of the planet. (4) This is all the more reason for the divine retribution that is part and parcel of tribulational events:

Throughout human history, mankind has by and large chosen to reject God and serve the devil instead. This is a trend which is currently intensifying, and which will reach an extraordinary peak during the Tribulation. For, as in the unique experience of the Pharaoh of the Exodus whose heart God allowed to be hardened beyond human norms (Ex.11:9-10), (5) divine restraint upon the limits of evil will be greatly reduced during these last seven years of the Church Age (2Thes.2:6-8).(6) Let all who consider these things mark well the fact that while many of the horrors of the Tribulation are indeed wrought by Satan and his minion, the Man of Lawlessness (antichrist), even these events could not occur without the Lord having first given His leave. For all history is in His hands, and, in the end, even these excesses of creature evil merely serve to demonstrate His glory by way of contrast (also exactly as in the case of Pharaoh: Ex.9:16). During the final chapter of Satan's rule on earth, God will allow the floodgates of evil to open wide – to the end that the inhabitants of the earth, having already chosen to enthusiastically serve the creature rather than the Creator, might suffer the full consequence of their blasphemous choice (Is.6:10; Jn.12:40; Acts 28:26-27; Rom.1:18-32):

Perhaps this snippet and also my understandings of the times to come are difficult, as stated earlier, but I personally have no reason to minimize what I or what I’ve interjected from others have written. I chose not to minimize since I hope to be proclaiming my best understanding of truth as I know it.

My hope is that the above will serve as a reminder to be ever watchful and wary of Satan’s deceptions for we live in a time of increasing spiritual warfare...and he (Satan) will make his best efforts to deceive those who can thwart his attempts. Therefore, he will make attempts to deceive churches and their leaders and all who proclaim to be Christ followers.

For those who sense they are unsure or separated from belief and faith in Jesus, God’s will/hope is that all should turn to Him: “2 Peter 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us,[j] not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

I believe it is God’s hope that during the time that is now, he still seeks all who come to sense that the hope for ones soul lies only in a relationship with God almighty though Christ Jesus… and that other ideas and or hopes are based upon some deception or another… Seek Him while He can be found.

Response #9:

This is very well done, my friend! I think anyone reading this testimony who was leaning towards realizing they ought to seek more in this regard would find it compelling. Even for those who aren't, sometimes just planting the seed does a service. One never knows just how, when or where the Lord will use these "missiles" He's given us to launch for the good of the Church.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Dr. Luginbill, I hope you're doing well. Many thanks again, for providing this great online repository. I can't imagine how much work you've put into the website. It is easily my favorite theological resource, and free at that.

Thank you.

I was recently asked to takeover a Sunday school class for 11th and 12th graders and during the summers college students. Any advice on you have on working with that age group is much appreciated.

My question on Jeremiah 4:20-26 is what time period is this prophecy detailing? Is Jeremiah warning Israel about the future or is this a declaration of the past, as in during the reign of lucifer and the fallen angels on earth, before the creation of man.

Is there anything specific I can be praying for you about?

Thank you for your time and your work for Lord Jesus Christ.

Your brother in Him,

Response #10:

Wonderful to hear from you, my friend! I hope you and yours are doing well. And thanks much for your encouragement – it's greatly appreciated.

As to Jeremiah 4:20-26, that passage along with the wider context is an example of the "Day of the Lord" Paradigm (see the link), wherein coming contemporary judgment is compared to eschatological judgment, both to give the recipients a frame of reference regarding what the Lord has in store for them in the near term, absent repentance, and also to teach about the final trial of trials, the Tribulation, so that much can be learned in comparing the two situations; so for example Nebuchadnezzar's invasion is a precursor of / parallel to the invasion of antichrist: Jer.4:7; 4:15-16 (see the link: "antichrist's maternal origin"). In other words, this prophecy you ask about applies both to the contemporaneous coming judgment on Judah and also to the troubles in Israel and judgments of the Tribulation, especially those just prior to our Lord's return.

As to prayer, please do remember our friend who has just this day received some horrific news of impending judgment on himself. He is a good Christian man but looks to be in for some very difficult times ahead for himself and his family based on events over a decade old before he was a believer (I think, at least not a positive one then).

As to 11/12 and up folks, my advice would be to treat them as if they were adults – because that is what they are in fact.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I often wonder what the earth will be like when Jesus rules during the millenium. Will all the city and buildings remain the same? Or are they going to be replaced with something else? And what about technology such as radio, internet, and other technology? Will they be replaced. I know that God makes all things new after Satan is finally cast into the lake of fire, but before that, will things remain the same with regards to buildings and technology? God Bless,

Response #11:

It's a great question, and one which is difficult to answer. I don't find any indication from scripture that buildings and such will be deliberately destroyed after Christ's return. Of course the destruction during the Tribulation will be massive for a great many reasons. Just how the Kingdom will be administered in terms of technology and the like is not addressed in the Bible – and reasonably so inasmuch as none of the present day technologies you are wondering about weren't even contemplated when the Bible was written (God, of course, knows all things, but it would have been highly inappropriate to put information about such things in writings originally given to people who had no clue what they were).

It does seem to be the case that all of the nations of the world during the Millennium will be required to come to the capital, Jerusalem, to represent their peoples at the festivals and to offer sacrifice (Zech.14:16-19). How that would be possible from a place such New Zealand, for example, using only pre-industrial age technology is hard to see. It might not even be possible to get to Jerusalem from, say Chile, in a year's journey, let alone come three times a year, without some of the transportation technologies we have today.

We will have to wait and see. But we do know that we believers in the Church will share the reign of Christ, so we will be part of His administration during the Millennium (Rom.8:17; 2Tim.2:12; 1Pet. 4:13; Rev.2:26-27; 3:21). And the role we will play individually will be greater or lesser based upon the job we are doing for our Lord here and now in growing, progressing and producing for Him.

" 'Well done, my good servant!' his master replied. 'Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.' "
Luke 19:17 NIV

Yours in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #12:

What does Zechariah 5:5-11 mean?

Response #12:

The woman in the basket in Zechariah 5:5-11 is a prophecy referring to the (at that time future) establishment and enshrinement of evil / wickedness in one concentrated place for the purpose of unleashing it worldwide under unified control from a single, central place, namely, mystery Babylon. This is a necessary precursor to the unleashing of the "mystery of lawlessness" (2Thes.2:7) at the beginning of the Tribulation when the Holy Spirit's restraint is removed. I say "precursor" because the passage (Zech.5:11 specifically) states that a "house" is to be "built" for "her" (evil / wickedness) in mystery Babylon, and it is only when that has been "prepared" that she will be "deposited" there. In other words, there is prior preparation required before the concentration of evil necessary to launch the "mystery of lawlessness" at the hands of the "man of lawlessness" (2Thes.2:3) can be achieved.

I think we can easily see that the requisite means for concentrating and distributing evil / wickedness from a central point is close to fruition, if not already fully "prepared".

Marana Tha!

In Jesus Christ for whose return we patiently wait.

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hi Bob,

Do you see any connection between the increase in racially-motivated attacks after the 2016 election and the tribulational trend of internecine conflict?

Response #13:

It's possible that antichrist will arise from the right, aided by right-wing hysteria; on the other hand, it's equally possible that antichrist will arise from the left, aided by left-wing hysteria. However, world events may turn out to be of more import in this regard than domestic considerations. After all, the beast will style himself "Christ" and define his pseudo-Messiahship in terms of his opposition to "antichrist", the name he will give to the Islamic pseudo-Messiah who will at that time unite all of Islam against the west. Faced with this existential threat, it may be the case that left and right and other internal distinctions will mean little at the moment the beast seizes control.

The tribulational trend towards internal strife represented by the rider on the red horse is a worldwide one, and no doubt encompasses every sort of possible division or fracture within every society (racial, ethnic, religious, geographic, economic, cultural, etc.). Precisely how things will develop here at home is impossible to say before the fact. I will say that the rapidly accelerating political polarization in this country and the fascination by so many misguided souls with anything having to do with politics to a degree unprecedented in our history is surely a sign that the groundwork for the kind of political coup d'etat the beast will likely initiate is already being laid.

But we who believe in Jesus Christ, we who follow Jesus Christ, we who are more concerned with the true spiritual realities which lie behind the things we see and hear, are not going to be deceived by any of these events – we have been forewarned, after all. So whether we perish during the Tribulation as martyrs or survive to see our Lord return, our goal has to be to make sure that He finds us having maintained our faithfulness to Him when we do set eyes upon Him at last.

However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?
Luke 18:8b NIV

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #14:


Still looking for a study - Grace has one we are interested in - see below.

Of interest also ( in other searches) is the emphasis on Daniel and the
The Seventy Weeks – Daniel 9:20-27
Beginning Point in Time: 457 B.C.
Ending Point in Time: Second Coming of Jesus
A number of studies available on this - Do you have one? Or can you recommend one

This one looks interesting - it's a 14 page study

Response #14:

There are many serious errors with this one. The idea that the events of the 69 weeks are still in the future is breathtakingly incorrect, not to mention counter-intuitive: Daniel himself is the one who splits them for us. Also, this prophecy of weeks has nothing to do with chances and second chances. The thesis here seems to be that since this "first chance" was not taken, we are now in a "second chance" mode with a new chronology. In fact, except for the 70th week – which is the Tribulation – the weeks are a prophecy of what would happen for the Jewish people ("for your people": Dan.9:24), and, apart from the seventieth week, has already happened. Finally, trying to bring all this forward into the Church Age is a violation of every rule of prophetic hermeneutics. The Church Age is the mystery age and there are no Old Testament prophecies which directly have to do with anything herein. Salvation has always been the "covenant" plan of God, but with Christ's removing of the shadows, we are under its New Covenant phase with a new High Priest whose installation has prompted a "change of law" so that none of these strictures appealed to in this piece presently apply (Heb.7:12). Getting het up about Jubilee years and Jewish calendar is precisely the sort of thing we are warned not to do (1Tim.1:4; 1:8-11; 6:4; 2Tim.2:14; 2:23; Tit.3:9). The application of prophecy properly recommences only when the Tribulation begins.

This study strikes me as very typical of the false teaching with which our era of Laodicea is awash. It all sounds very erudite, but it is difficult to follow and leaves the reader more confused than when he/she had begun – and no wonder, since this all has very little to do with the truth.

Here are some links to where the subject is discussed – in what I hope is a far more understandable way (whether or not you agree with the conclusions) – at Ichthys:

What are the 69 Weeks in Daniel 9:25?

Coming Tribulation 3B: Antichrist and his Kingdom (see particularly section IV: "IV. Antichrist's Alliance with Israel")

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Question #15:


Thank You

Response #15:

Any time.

Sorry to be negative about this one, but there are many wolves out there with all manner of hidden motives (which usually come down to the desire for money, fame and followers).

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hi Dr,

Thank you for the kind response and encouragement in the Lords Word.

I'm glad to hear you got rid of that troublesome tooth. Also happy to know you have a cat, I've had a few over the years, they can be wonderful pets. The last one we had loved everyone, even the dogs. When he was a kitten he fit in the palm of my hand, he grew to be 35 lbs., not fat, just big! It was sad to see him go, but I'm glad he was mine when he was here. I agree with your opinion that there will most likely be resurrected animals on the new earth, it just makes sense, God loves all His creatures. Have you ever wondered about sea creatures? Since there is no sea on the new earth would it be unreasonable to speculate that there could be an entire planet out there that could be filled marine life? I know we can't know for sure this side of eternity, but it is fun to think about.

Thanks again for Ichthys. Your faithfulness to your ministry is a wonderful blessing to me and many others. The same can be said for your friend Pastor Omo. The two ministries are a great complement to each other. I pray God gives you both strength to fight the good fight until the end so you will hear the words " well done good and faithful servant" and receive your full reward.

Until next time, all the best!


Response #16:

Thanks for all your good words and prayers!

I will be keeping you and yours.

As to the eternal future, there is a lot we don't know just yet:

Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him (Is.64:4).
1st Corinthians 2:9 KJV

That lack of present full-knowledge of what is to come is probably just as well. It is a test of our faith and of our ability to apply it to keep our focus on a future we know will be grand but can't experience or even see clearly just yet. Like the great believers of the Old Testament, we can only dimly see at a distance these promises which are yet to be fulfilled and "salute them" (Heb.11:13). The experience and the details will have to wait.

As to maritime creatures, John does say at Revelation 21:1 that "there was no longer any sea" (NIV). However, it is notable that John says (literally in the Greek) THE SEA as opposed to "seas" or "any sea". At this point in Revelation the New Jerusalem is just about to descend from heaven and John's viewpoint heretofore has been the third heaven, with the events taking place on earth having been observed through "the sea" that is before the throne of God. No need for that sea on the new earth once the Father has returned to this (new) world forever.

I know that there are dolphins in the Yangtze river, and we need to remember that the river which flows from the throne through New Jerusalem probably (as I believe and have written it up) is massively large, exiting in twelve major branches through the middle of the twelve gates and going forth to water the entire new earth as was the case in the Eden of Adam and Eve. Also during the Millennium the river will flow from Jerusalem into the Dead and also into the Mediterranean. So we have parallels of large bodies of water in any case, and if there is technically "no [saltwater] sea", that doesn't mean there won't be bodies of water large enough and deep enough for all manner of aquatic life.

Finally, on this point, there will also be a "new heavens", and we have every reason to expect that there will just as many systems and planets as is the case today – that is, a countless number. These are all lifeless at present, but there is no reason for that to be the case in eternity. Of one thing I am positive: while it seems many people, even Christians solid in their faith, are sometimes concerned that eternity will be "less" than this present world, the exact opposite will be the case, and to an infinite degree.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hi Dr.,

Thanks for that explanation on the "sea" I never could have put that together myself. I'm always amazed how the Lord works through your ministry for us folks out here. Your ability to mine through scripture and put all these nuggets of truth together in an understandable fashion is definitely a God given gift and I praise Him for it, and thank you, once again, for your faithfulness. I went to bed last night listening to Pastor Omo teaching the book of Daniel, telling of all of the horrible things that must come, then I woke up to your email telling of some of the wonderful things to come after. I literally was standing in my kitchen with goose bumps at 5:00 this morning while making my coffee thinking about all this. God is amazing, His word is amazing and I can't wait to be with Him and those who love Him.

I've been an amateur ichthyologist since I was a child so the subject of marine life is of interest to me. Questions about Animals and their resurrection seems to be a common one, but I've never heard anything on marine life before, however I've never heard any good teaching on animals before. The question was asked of one of one of my college professors once and the response was "if you need a dog or cat in heaven to be happy, God will give you one". I thought, what a cop-out, I'm no teacher or scholar, but even I know there's got to be more to it than that!

Not that we need a reason, but here's two more to praise our Lord. Yesterday I saw a friend of mine who I recently referred to your ministry. He is a Christian man (over 50 years in the faith) in need of good teaching, 21 years my elder, currently battling cancer and drawing closer to the Lord in the process. He informed me he is listening to your audio files and enjoying them. He is embracing the truth of Gods word and I am extremely thankful for that. I encouraged him to keep reading his bible, praying, learning, believing and trusting God. Also, In my travels on my day job this week I ran into a young Christian family man, turned out we had many things in common, one being frustration with the organized church. I was able to share a great deal of truth from the Word of God with him, he was receptive and seemed hungry for more. I showed him your ministry online and he gladly received it with thanks.

There is a remnant out here who want the truth, it seems they are rare, but they are out there. Praise the Lord for them!

Hope you have an enjoyable and productive weekend.


Response #17:

Thanks for the very encouraging email! I am very proud of your sharing of the truth, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.
p.s., anyone who is already up, studying the Bible and drinking coffee at 5 AM is destined to accomplish whatever he/she has in mind. As a non-morning person, color me awe-struck.

Question #18:

Hello Dr. Bob,

I wish you are well physically as you are spiritually.

I am a pre-tribulation believer. Here are a few things of which I would like to ask your elucidation on. A) and B) I read from Jack Kelly, "Seven Things You Have To Know To Understand End Times Prophecy".

a) the battles of Psalm 83 (the Battle of 2 Chron. 20 doesn't fully meet the requirements of this Psalm having many fewer antagonists), Ezekiel 38-39 (happens between the sequence of Israel's modern secular rebirth Ezek.36-37 and Millennium Ezek.40-48), Isaiah 17 (Because of the language of these verses, many scholars believe that this prophecy was only partially fulfilled when the Assyrians defeated the Arameans and overran their capital, Damascus, in 732 BC) which are going to happen before the rapture. Israel's miraculous victories over their enemies marks the beginning of the fulfillment of Daniel's 70th week and spiritually awaken her to build the third temple - indicators that the church is to be raptured to escape the wrath of God to be poured on the unbelieving inhabitants of the earth. (Rev.3:10; 1 Thess. 5:9)

b) The tribulation being called "Jacob's trouble" the purpose of which is to purify Israel for the Lord, not the church for whom the Savior already suffered an eternity on the cross.

c) The visitors of the marriage supper of the Lamb are the old testament saints. If the church is composed of all the believers in Christ of all the ages then there would be no visitors to mention about.

d) Are the land promises (borders and all, unfulfilled yet) spoken to Abraham in relation to Israel's land dwelling abrogated due to her rejection of the Messiah and transferred instead to the church, which is composed mostly of Gentile believers? Or, are all the promises to Abraham and his descendants contingent on "the faith of Abraham", meaning there is no "abrogation" to speak about?

e) In relation to d) question, Paul says in Ephesians Jews and Gentiles are one in Christ but in Romans 11 he says something about their distinctiveness. I am asking this because Michael Pearl in his book "Eight Kingdoms" presents a reasonable explanation (it appears to me) from verses where they are found that differentiates the "Kingdom of Heaven" from the "Kingdom of God". KH is exclusively Israel and KG exclusively entered in by faith. Though ultimately both will become one, "Father's Kingdom". He believes in pre-trib rapture and interprets the Olivet discourse as Jewish.

I am always grateful for your patient, kind and clear replies. You may have already answered similar questions but I may just have to find my way in your website, my apologies.

In our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Response #18:

Good to hear from you again, and thanks much for your good wishes.

As to your questions (they are all related of course), I feel the need to point out in advance that the pre-Trib position is very problematic, spiritually speaking. I knew many great Christians in earlier days who were pre-Trib – as I myself was – and it didn't seem to hurt their spirituality overly, but it is incorrect and that incorrectness cannot help but overflow into all other areas of truth. I think it's fair to say that until I got that issue straightened out, there were hindrances on my own advance. So I would urge you to have a look at these postings which will lead to more links: "Dangers of the Pre-Trib Rapture False Teaching" and "When is the Rapture?".

A) As to Psalm 83 and 2nd Chronicles 20, while many Old Testament passages do have dual application according to the "Day of the Lord paradigm" (see the link), that is, the use by prophets of the eschatological period of judgment as a point of comparison for near term historical judgments, I don't find anything in either of these two passages that is not outright historical, so I don't think they have any bearing on this issue one way or another.

As to Ezekiel chapters 38-39 and the comment, "happens between the sequence of Israel's modern secular rebirth Ezek.36-37 and Millennium Ezek.40-48", I would say the following:

1) Ezekiel 36-37 is clearly millennial: the Lord is the One who will restore all of Israel in the Millennium (Ezek.36:36; whereas today we see only a partial restoration accomplished by human devices), and there aren't any festivals taking place now because there is as yet no temple (Ezek.36:38); and David will not rule over Israel again until the Millennium (Ezek.37:24).

2) There is no unfulfilled prophecy in scripture between the close of the canon and the commencement of the Tribulation. That is to say, we are in the midst of the mystery age, the Church Age, which is not readily apparent in most Old Testament prophecy (though its existence can be found once it is known and looked for, e.g., in the Jewish ceremonial calendar; and in the Seven Millennial Days; see the links). Most Old Testament prophecy "foreshortens" eschatology, presenting the two advents as nearly one, followed by all the end times events (see the link: "prophetic foreshortening"). Since the two thousand years of the Church are essential hidden from view in the Old Testament, it stands to reason that there would be no prophecy about any events within it – and that is the case. The one seeming exception to this hard and fast rule are the trends of the Church Age represented by the seven churches of Revelation (see the link); but these are trends, as stated, not actual prophecies of specific events. The first event prophesied in scripture which has not yet occurred is the commencement of the Tribulation. So whenever one hears about, for example, "the prophetic importance of 1948" or attempts to link up the secular state of Israel with biblical prophecy before the Tribulation begins, let me tell you that there is absolutely no basis in the Bible for doing so. Such things spring from the imagination alone (and poor exegesis of commentators who wish to make it so).

As to Isaiah 17, again, the prophecies of the nations throughout the Prophets refer generally to the end of the Tribulation and the destruction of their power at Armageddon, and that is the case here, along with various promises related to Israel's restoration in the Millennium. So when I read "Because of the language of these verses, many scholars believe that this prophecy was only partially fulfilled when the Assyrians defeated the Arameans and overran their capital, Damascus, in 732 BC", I would say that this chapter is only tangentially referring to historical events and is mainly prophetic. It is another example of the "Day of the Lord paradigm" wherein the prophet encourages contemporary believers in the face of external threats with the comfort that in the end the Lord will defeat all of Israel's enemies completely and restore her to fullness and peace – on that great day to come. "That day" (Is.17:7) hasn't happened yet and will not happen until the Lord appears in glory at the second advent. Until then, "this generation" of hardness (Rom.11:25; and see the link) is the rule within the Jewish people. Not sure what any of that has to do with a supposed pre-Tribulation rapture. Scripture is very clear that the resurrection occurs at the parousia or (only) return of Christ (cf. Matt.24:3; 24:27; 24:37-39; 1Cor.15:23; 1Thes.2:19; 5:23; Jas.5:7; 2Pet.1:16, 3:4 & 12; 1Jn.2:28), that is, His second advent: there is only one "return/coming", and that has to be the second advent because there is a second advent and only one second coming . . . and that is what "advent" means: "coming".

As to "Israel's miraculous victories over their enemies marks the beginning of the fulfillment of Daniel's 70th week and spiritually awaken her to build the third temple - indicators that the church is to be raptured to escape the wrath of God to be poured on the unbelieving inhabitants of the earth. (Rev.3:10; 1 Thess. 5:9)", there is a lot to "unpack" here:

1) Here is what I read about the last part of the seventy weeks:

And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate.
Daniel 9:26-27 NKJV

Nothing here about "Israel's miraculous victories over their enemies" – in fact I don't find any prophecy about that anywhere in scripture. In the Bible, it is the Lord who will bring about the great victory of Armageddon. Before that, as it says above, "desolations are determined". In other words, the military successes the secular state of Israel have enjoyed are nowhere prophesied in the Bible. There is not the slightest trace in scripture of anything to suggest them. Q.E.D.: there is no prophecy in scripture which applies to the events of the Church Age in which we now find ourselves. All prophecy yet to be fulfilled relates to the Tribulation, the Millennium and the eternal state, that is, to the end times.

As to "spiritually awaken her to build the third temple", there will be a spiritual revival in Israel which occasions the rebuilding of the temple, but that will be an actual temple of God built in a godly way. There is no way that unbelievers can accomplish anything of the sort, no matter that they may be the most devout, traditional, religious Jews. If they are unbelievers, no such effort could possibly be acceptable to the Lord. In fact, it is Moses and Elijah, the two witnesses, who will be physically revived to direct this effort of rebuilding, as well as directing the revival among (many but not nearly all) Jews worldwide carried out through the efforts of the 144,000. All of this happens only once the Tribulation has begun (the events just mentioned taking place during its first half). So again, these are tribulational events. And in any case, I don't see a direct connection with the resurrection here, regardless of when a person wants to believe it will occur.

As to "to escape the wrath of God to be poured on the unbelieving inhabitants of the earth. (Rev.3:10; 1 Thess. 5:9)", these two passages are talking about two different things:

1) Revelation 3:10 is addressed to the Church era of Philadelphia. That era lasted from approximately 1522 to 1882 and is now long past. So however one wants to take Revelation 3:10, "keep you from the hour of testing", that promise has already been fulfilled. We are in the era of Laodicea, the era of lukewarmness – and I would hope that this salient characteristic of the present day church-visible would be undeniably obvious to any serious believer in Christ.

2) 1st Thessalonians 5:9: we believers are most definitely not "appointed for wrath". But that has nothing to do with any supposed resurrection before the Tribulation. Wrath is divine judgment, and believers do not fall under such judgment, neither in time nor in eternity. That does not mean that believers do not experience trouble or testing or trials or tribulations in this life – even martyrdom. Indeed we do. It also does not mean that believers are going to be spared going through the Tribulation. It does mean that believers, if/when we suffer, will not be suffering at God's hands – and that is a tremendous blessing and comfort. Just as the exodus generation was oppressed by Pharaoh so we may be oppressed by his anti-type the beast. But just as Israel was protected by the judgments that fell upon him and upon Egypt as a result, so we may be confident that the judgments we read about in Revelation, both the trumpet judgments of warning and the bowl judgments of retribution, are not meant for us but for our enemies. We may suffer, but not because of God's judgments on the unbelieving world.

No doubt believers who read about the end times are keen to avoid the unpleasantness. I do understand that. But that is not a valid reason for misinterpreting scripture through wishful thinking. And it does beg the question of why there is so much information about the end times and the Tribulation in particular in scripture if no one who reads the Bible from the standpoint of believing in Christ would ever need to know that information at all.

B) "Jacob's trouble" (Jer.30:7) does refer to the Tribulation. But the statement "the purpose of which is to purify Israel for the Lord, not the church for whom the Savior already suffered an eternity on the cross" is entirely confused. I know of no passage in scripture which states that the purpose of the Tribulation is to purify anyone. The Tribulation tests the unbelieving world and demonstrates that a world ruled by Satan and his protégé is the worst possible place – while also demonstrating that human beings left to their own devices will prefer to reject God even under conditions of such extreme judgment and suffering (Rev.9:20-21; 16:9-11).  The purification of Israel takes place in the desert after the regathering of all surviving Jews following the second advent (see the link; cf. Zech.13:1). Incidentally, the Tribulation is the time when Israel (under Moses and Elijah and the 144,000) begins to reassert her authority in the Church, and so it is a joint time shared by both the Church Age and Israel, constituting the last seven years of the Jewish Age, Daniel's seventieth week (see the link), as well as the last seven years of the Church Age.

C) "The visitors of the marriage supper of the Lamb are the old testament saints". That is dangerously wrong. The friends of the Bride are the millennial believers. In scripture, we find three echelons of the resurrection at 1st Corinthians 15:23-24: 1) Christ; 2) the Church ("those who are His at His coming" = the second advent), and 3) "the end" (the sheep of 'sheep and goats' fame who are the friends of the Bride). If the guests were "Old Testament Saints", do we assume that the great Jewish believers of the past have to wait out the Millennium until they are resurrected – while the Messiah reigns in millennial Jerusalem? We know from 1st Thessalonians 4:16 that "the dead in Christ rise first" – is not Moses "in Christ"? Is not David? How then will David rule over Israel during the Millennium unless he too is first resurrected? We know from Hebrews chapter eleven that the great believers of the past are all one with us – how would they not be part of Christ's Bride as well? Simply put, there is no biblical basis for making the sort of hard and fast distinction between Israel and the Church that many make – and it is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to the truth in many areas of doctrine. We gentiles are grafted into Israel (Rom.11), but we are all one in Christ as His assembly (cf. Acts 7:38), the "Israel of God" (Gal.6:16). Please see the link: "The Church (in SR 5)".  And for the "friends of the Bride", the millennial believers and their resurrection, see the link.

D) Israel will be regathered at the second advent and there will be a reassigning of the land as detailed in Ezekiel.

E) There is one body, one Church, and all believers from Adam and Eve to the last person saved in the Tribulation belong to Christ's assembly. The "kingdom of heaven" and "kingdom of God" are one and the same (as a comparison of these terms as found in the different gospels easily shows). The "kingdom of the Father", however, does refer to the eternal state (Matt.13:41), whereas the other "kingdom" is Christ's millennial one (see the link).

I hope this is helpful to you! These are very important issues, and all the more so as the time grows ever closer. Do feel free to write me back about any of the above.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Dr. Luginbill,

I was hoping you could help clear something up for me. Recently, I have been looking into the issue of hell, and whether or not it is eternal punishment or if there is eventually annihilation in store for those who reject our Lord.

In looking at the Greek, I came across John 8:52-52 and John 10:28 and noticed that αιων isn't translated there. Is ου με being combined with it to create the word "never", or is it possible that the verses could mean something along the lines of "...if anyone keeps my My word, he will [by no means] see death [forever]."?

At first blush that doesn't make a lot of sense, but considering there are two deaths, and it is destined for all to experience the first, then I can see why He would tell people they wouldn't see/taste/experience death forever, just temporarily until they are raised and glorified in Him.

Thanks for your ministry! God bless,

Response #19:

Thanks for your kind words.

As to your question, the issues here are 1) the English idiom being different from Greek and Hebrew, and 2) the earthly perspective being different from the heavenly one.

In the same passage you mention, John chapter eight, our Lord also says, "Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad" (Jn.8:56 NIV). This response drove the Pharisees to distraction. But we know that it is true. Why? Because "death" is not what it appears to be to those walking on the earth. Everyone "dies" but yet no one really "dies" in the sense of the impression that physical reality gives us. It "seems" that death is an end, but we know it is not. That is true for believers and unbelievers both. When/if we believers "die", our spirit goes into the presence of God in the third heaven, and it isn't even "disembodied" then, receiving an interim shell until the resurrection (see the link). Unbelievers similarly are not asleep or disembodied after death but reside in Torments awaiting the judgment. So the first death is not at all what it seems, even though we use the word "death" to describe it. And just as "eternal life" will be so very much more than "merely" being alive forever, the same is true of the second "death". Just as the first death did not mean loss of consciousness or disembodiment or annihilation, the same will be true for unbelievers in the second "death". It is not "life" because there is no blessing whatsoever as unbelievers find themselves utterly bereft of any contact with God (whereas here and now He sends his blessings upon us all: Matt.5:45). If the second death were annihilation, then it would be unlike the first death for believers and unbelievers both. But scripture tells us that unbelievers will be tormented "forever".

That brings me to the question of idiom. The Greek word aion means "age" (among other things), and the Bible frequently uses the phrase eis ton aiona (or similar) to mean "forever". That brings us back to our Lord's comment that seems "at first blush", as you put it, to promise something that the world can clearly see isn't true. But our Lord was, as we might well expect, looking at things from the heavenly point of view. As soon as we "die" physically, we will be experiencing a better "life" than anything we have known in this first, physical body. That is why to depart and be with Christ is "better by far" (Phil.1:23). The same is not true of unbelievers. Once they die physically, they will never know blessing again, so that it would be incorrect to say that they are "alive" after departing this world, even though they are conscious and still extent. They are "dead", and are awaiting the "second death" which will be even worse but won't spell the end of "existence" – if we can call an eternity in the lake of fire that.

Do feel free to write back about any of the above.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #20:


Thanks for your response!

I guess my only follow up question is, are you satisfied with the translation in the NASB, for instance, of the verses in question? Is αιων part of "never" in those verses?

I definitely see what you are saying about Christ referring to the actual death. We can almost call our first death a shadow of the second. Separation from the body being a shadow of separation from the one who gives us life.

Thanks again!

Response #20:

You're very welcome.

As to NASB "never" for ou me . . . eis ton aiona, this phrase in Greek literally means: "definitely not . . . to the age['s end]". While the literal translation or some approximation thereof is more emphatic (and our Lord's words are quite emphatic – which is part of making His point), semantically the difference is not great. In any case, I quickly checked all of the other major English versions for both verses (Jn.8:52 and Jn.10:28) and they all have "never". So if we find fault, it wouldn't be NASB uniquely at fault.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #21:

I am trying to reconcile how the scripture references cited ( Ex.28:17-21; 39:10-14) match with the chart that you put together portraying the positioning of the gemstones on the breast plate? I have put a small table together to explain myself more clearly. Am I missing something here? Is my translation wrong?

Also, are there any scripture references which support the allotting of the gemstones on the breastplate to the respective tribes in accordance to their position in the encampment?

Could you also please clarify how you concluded that Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin are ascribed Chrysoprase, Jacinth, and Amethyst respectively? I understand the Ephraim was blessed ahead of his brother, Manasseh and so leads this tribe. How was it decided that Manasseh is ahead of Benjamin? Is it because Benjamin was the youngest and Joseph, being older, his sons (Ephraim and Manasseh) therefore precede Benjamin?

Response #21:

I think if you will read the link at section in CT 6 where this is all broken down in more detail it will be helpful in sorting these things out. In terms of the the gates, there is an error in the text of Revelation 21 regarding the order (Aleph preserves enough of the true reading to reconstruct the correct original but translators have missed this). The order of the gates parallels exactly the encampment order of the tribes in Sinai (and the reasons for this are further explained at the link above).

The names of the gemstones all do match up. However, that is far from obvious from English translations. That is because of 1) the error mentioned above in sorting out the pattern of the gates in Revelation, 2) the fact that most of the English names for the gemstones have come from the Latin Vulgate which in turn came from the Greek Septuagint which got it wrong in regard to many of these stones' names in Hebrew (not uncommon for the LXX to be wrong), 3) the further complication that in Revelation we have Greek names for gemstones, some of which accidently are the same as the incorrect namings of other stones from the LXX – which makes it appear in a number of instances that we have a match whereas what we have in many of these cases it is actually a false match, 4) finally, the fact that both the Hebrew and Greek names while appearing to be the same as some English names are actually mis-indentified in the tradition so that, for example Hebrew-name-X is "clearly" our English X in terms of similarity of name, but in fact the Hebrew word X does not refer to the stone represented by the English X.

This is a long way of saying that while I'm happy to discuss the particulars – and I do understand how it seems at first glance that there is neither rhyme nor reason for the associations – everything does match perfectly. It took me a long time and a lot of effort to sort this all out, but I believe after you've studied the section in CT 6 in some depth, comparing it to this section, it will be easier to show you what is meant in any given association, in case you have further questions.

Question #22:

Dear Bob,

I have a question that has arrived, during tribulation will God's Holy Spirit be present??

My understanding is the Holy Spirit will be drawn from here.

Thank you,

Response #22:

Always a pleasure to hear from you.

He will not be withdrawn (He is omnipresent and He will remain indwelling us who are believers), but the Spirit's restraining ministry will come to an end during the Tribulation. That will result in the "empowering of error" (aka "strong delusion") for a much quicker pace in the devolution of things once the Tribulation begins (2Thess.2:6-12). Links:

The empowerment of error

The Restrainer

The Spirit's restraining ministry

Do feel free to write back about any of this!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Thank you for the quick reply.

I understand that we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit; but what about those who are left behind who are not filled with His spirit?

Those of us in Christ will be raptured, correct?


Response #23:

All believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit from the point of salvation (Rom.8:9b).

The Tribulation won't change anything regarding believers – except that it will be a time of incredible pressure wherein one third of those who now believe will turn apostate and follow the beast and another third martyred for Christ.

The "rapture" is a term usually employed by those who erroneously believe that the Church will be resurrected before the Tribulation begins. That is not in the Bible, however. The Church is resurrected when Christ returns, and we all know when He returns: the second advent at the end of the Tribulation. Here are some links on that (feel free to write me back):

When is the Rapture?


The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory

No Rapture

Three False Doctrines that Threaten Faith

Misplaced Faith in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Worldwide Earthquake

Hello Professor, how are you doing? I hope blessed as always. I have been curious about something. During the worldwide earthquake of the Tribulation do you think the entire electricity grid will be completely wiped away?

Response #24:

Good to hear from you, my friend!

As far as earthquakes go, there are actually a number of eschatological temblors, four of which will occur at various junctures in the Tribulation, beginning it, marking the Great Tribulation's start, preceding Armageddon and coincident with the 2nd Advent (see the link: "The Earthquake"). They grow in intensity but from the nature of your question I assume you are referring to the one before Armageddon (Rev.16:18-20). This will occur when there is very little time left (a few months) before our Lord's return. Since the Tribulation and more particularly the Great Tribulation will have mostly run its course by this point, lack of electricity is likely to be the least of the problems faced by those alive on earth at this time. I am sure that all of the social, economic and environmental dislocations caused by the beast and God's judgments on him and his will produce all manner of inconveniences (only some of them spelled out or hinted at in scripture), and I would be shocked to find out that serious or even fatal disruption to all of the world's infrastructure wasn't part of that.

Just how all these things will play out we will have to wait to see, but your question reveals that there are a good many details that scripture leaves out. What we do know is that God is completely faithful, and that if we do find ourselves in the Tribulation, He will provide absolutely everything we need – including electricity when and if we need it.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year and I was treated with radiation therapy which lasted for 9 consecutive weeks that ended on January 4, 2017. Long Before that I was already suffering from insomnia. It takes a long time for me to go to sleep and it is only in the wee hours of the morning that I get a few hours of sleep. I am now 81 years. I apply Biblical principles to put me to sleep but to no avail, viz:

1. I confess my sins to God in thoughts, in words and in deeds (1John 1:9).
2. Submit yourself to God, resist the devil (insomnia) and he will flee away from you (James 4:7).
3. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:4-5).
4. You are of God little children and you have overcome them because greater is He that is in you than he (devil) that is in the world (1John 4:4).
5. I both lay me down in peace and sleep, for you alone oh Lord can make me dwell in safety (Psalm 4:8).

I even hear recorded Bible healing verses by Pastor Kenneth Copeland in You Tube with the intention to put me to sleep. I know that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this world against evil spirits in high places. I pray to the Father, Lord supplant my ways with your ways, my thoughts with your thoughts, my feelings with your feelings, my attitude with your attitude. What shall I do? Shall I just be content that I am still alive by God's grace, and affirm, "I therefore glory in my infirmities that the power of God may rest upon me." Is it because I am now 81 years old or make use of the night hours to read your postings in the internet and hear you MP3 recordings. I need you advice and your prayers for me.

Response #25:

It's been a while, my friend. I'm glad to hear from you, but sad to learn of your troubles. It's a blessing that you have survived the cancer – I'm sorry to hear about the insomnia, however.

I've updated your email address and promise to keep you in my prayers for this condition. I've also added a request for you on the Ichthys prayer list.

As to your condition, I don't have any special insight. Medical trouble of one kind or another is a test and a trial that besets many believers – I would imagine insomnia to be particularly tough. As with all such things, we know that God is capable of healing us immediately and with no effort whatsoever (Ps.103:3; cf. Ex.15:26) – and we know that He answers our prayers (1Jn.5:14). So if we have put the matter to Him in prayer and have yet to receive relief, we can be sure that there is a very good divine purpose for the delay. Hanging in and hanging on in faith in difficult circumstances (whatever the test may be) is what builds muscle on faith and prepares us for future testing to come (Jas.1:2-4). So please don't stop praying (persistence in prayer is important), and remember that your deliverance is going to arrive right on schedule. We can't see it but we believe it. That is what faith is all about (Heb.11:1-2).

Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, "In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. "There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ' Give me legal protection from my opponent.' For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, 'Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.'" And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? "I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?"
Luke 18:1-8 NASB

The last verse here is particularly important to note. I recognize that you are not a young man, but in my estimation of things, the Lord will be returning in a mere sixteen years or so from now. This would make you about my mother's age when she passed, should it be the Lord's will for you to endure until the end. If it is, this difficult trial you are now undergoing is likely to be – in relative terms – easier than what you (and we all) will have to face once the last of those seven years, the Tribulation, begin. It's always easier for someone to give advice who is not enduring the particular test in question than it is for the person who is suffering to bear up under it. But I am endeavoring to see things from this point of view in my own troubles, and it does seem to me that the more we are willing to train ourselves to respond in the correct way now, the better we will be prepared to face what is coming . . . and to help others do the same.

But we still want this trial to end for you (so I'll be keeping you in prayers to that effect).

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.


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