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Eschatology Issues LXXI

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Question #1:

Hi Dr. L,

I pray all is well with you. I just received your most recent mailing and in Question #3 or 4, someone asked about the significance of the pomegranates on the Robe of the High Priest. This is what it says in the expositors study bible I have and let me know your thoughts. Much appreciated and God bless.

"The pomegranates beneath the hem of the Robe of the High Priest were made like tassels and represents or signified the "Fruit of the Spirit [Gal 5:22-23] and the bells [tassels] of the gold between the pomegranates represented the "Gifts of the Spirit" [1 Cor 12:7-10]. "

In Christ Jesus our Lord

Response #1:

The bells had a purpose (to announce the priest's presence in the holy place so that he would not die (Ex.28:35), and that doesn't seem to have anything to do with "gifts of the Spirit". The pomegranates were to be of three different colors around the hem and person X does not explain that (if it were different results, we would expect different types of fruit, not different colors).

When it comes to the symbolism of the Law, the things which speak of Christ and His sacrifice are very clear, but I'm always reluctant to assign very specific and detailed direct meanings to every single aspect of all of the extensive accouterments. How does person X know that the pomegranate represent "the fruit of Spirit", exactly? If a pastor wants to say that this reminds him of that, I have no problem, but to say "this represents that" without some parallel or specific reasoning is a mistake, in my view (same goes for the golden bells).

The High Priest is a type of Christ, so everything about his wardrobe would have to do with expressing the glory of Christ. Beyond that I would not wish to go in terms of affirmatively assigning interpretations – applications are fine (i.e., we are reminded of truth ABC).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Thank you and much appreciated for the fast response. It didn't make sense to me as well how the connection to the "fruit of the Spirit" with the pomegranates. I will have to do a study on pomegranates to see if there is a specific reason why the Lord chose this fruit. If you know off hand, that would be perfect.

I pray all is well with you and your family and let me know if you need any prayers.

In Christ Jesus our Lord

Response #2:

I can also say, as mentioned in the prior posting, that since the fruit represents the fruit of paradise – and the bells are bells of warning against offending God – that these two items represent the two choices human beings have to make regarding Christ whom the high priest in turn represents: accepting Him (eating the fruit; cf. communion and "the Bread of Life"), or rejecting Him – and facing the wrath of God as a result. Similar to the choice of the two trees in the garden of Eden: the tree of life (which represent Christ as well; cf. the golden altar of incense, the golden table, and the golden lampstand in the tabernacle at the link) or the tree of knowing good and evil which was expressly forbidden.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hey Bob,

If this is nonsensical, please feel free to say so!

My husband says he saw a UFO when he was in the air force many years ago and with all the current news about them he was wondering if this could be explained in the demonic realm?
I have never seen one and am therefore skeptical but so many reliable people have supposedly seen these UFO’s, there must be some sort of explanation?

Do you have any thoughts on this?

Your friend (albeit a nuisance)

Response #3:

No worries! It's an honest question and one I receive from time to time.

From a Christian perspective, we can say definitively that there are is no extra-terrestrial intelligent life. Other than the angels, human beings are the only creatures created with the image of God. And we also know that the restoration of the universe, completely blacked-out and frozen at some point in the past as a result of the devil's revolt, has only been in the "let there be light!" restoration phase for some six thousand years at this point. The Bible only says that the earth was restored to life-supporting conditions (not other planets), and it was restored for the purpose of creating mankind, God's solution to Satan's rebellion.

So there are no "space aliens". However, that does not mean that there are no UFOs. Clearly, there are. What exactly they are is not possible to say with authority, but I think that your husband has the right idea. It is possible that some unexplained natural phenomena are at the root of some of these mysterious objects, but it does make sense to me that stoking human imagination for his own purposes in this unique way is something one should not put past the devil. The more people look elsewhere than to God, the better for him. Also, we are fast approaching the Tribulation, and it certainly would be helpful for the beast if many people thought he was of other than human origin, especially those who would be reluctant to accept any non-materialistic origin for the "lying signs and wonders" that he and his false prophet will perform.

Fallen angels have to play by the "ground rules" that God has set up. We know these exist, because the quickest way for Satan to "win" would be to destroy all human beings. The weakest demon could probably accomplish that in an afternoon, if he were allowed to do so. The devil had to ask permission to put Job to the test, and asked permission to "sift like wheat" the disciples (Lk.22:31). The intervention of the demons in producing the nephilim before the flood resulted in those responsible being cast into the lightless Abyss (1Pet.3:19-20; 2Pet.2:4-10; Jude 1:5-7), a terrifying prospect for these creatures of light (cf. Lk.8:31). Generally speaking, it seems that demons are not allowed to appear to human beings (even appearances of elect angels in scripture are very rare), and that makes a good deal of sense since we are here to choose our eternal future on the basis of the image of God; such apparitions would only confuse the issue greatly (elect angels only appear to very special believers at very special times). So if some of these UFOs are demonically generated, it is interesting to see that they are not common and not very clear – no doubt deliberately. God probably does not allow that (and I wonder if the demons responsible have not had to pay a stiff price even for these shadowy appearances).

It's also interesting to me that all these reports and sightings date to very recent times. I'm not aware of any such reports prior to WWII. That makes a certain amount of sense as well. It's only after people feel "we" have made some serious technological progress that materialistic imaginations have run so wildly in this "ET" direction. So the devil hasn't chosen to waste precious resources on this until recently when they were likely to receive the press attention they are currently receiving.

Keeping you and yours in my daily prayers.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hi Robert,

Thank you very much for this update and for your work!

I’m now following Bible Academy, intermediate Bible training, but will definitely study this lesson too!

Thanks for keeping us encouraged and in faith!

God bless and have a wonderful day,

Response #4:

My pleasure!

Bible Academy is wonderful!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hello Bob,

Thank you for your updated completion of Peter # 34! Highly detailed and very thorough. Kind of like the Amplified Bible!

It is interesting that you brought up the subject of having a good spiritual Défense, It so happens that I am an avid fan of Chess, a game that requires winning defensive strategy, protecting the King, taking risks, and overcoming obstacles. There are Checks, Pins. Forks, and traps to be avoided. God (white) always makes the first move. We respond to His moves in many different ways. Our position on the chessboard of life may strongly suggest that a certain move is best. However, we are still mostly free to choose each move,

Chess is a legitimate hobby. But in my case, spending too much time on it turns it into worldliness and idolatry. So instead of playing chess right now, I am writing you this letter. I am learning to find more joy in actually seeing the Lord Jesus Christ in a new heaven and new earth than the winning but fleeting feeling of "Checkmate" .

I still have much work to do in keeping a clear conscience before God and Man!. Thru blameless conduct! To live without anything to hide; to walk in the light, doing everything reasonably possible to be at peace with God and Man. I am trusting in the finished work of Christ. Cleansed once for all time (Hebrews 10:14), yet remaining in daily, by moment relationship with Jesus Christ, being made holy.

There is still a part of me that is ashamed to look Jesus in the eye even though I have made considerable progress in overcoming deeply entrenched doubts and fears. I am seeking a radically transformed heart that is willing to suffer a little more than I am used to embrace and share His love. I have to be careful with these kinds of prayer requests: God just might answer them! I look for your reply...

Response #5:

Always good to hear from you, my friend.

On defense, as you also no doubt know, you can't win without offense – at least not in life (not sure about chess). So while it's good to be concerned about rightly arranging our lives et al., without disciplined and consistent spiritual growth we will run the risk of merely whitewashing the outside if we concentrate on defense to the detriment of moving forward in the truth. And while defense may be superior to offense in chess (not sure), it's the other way around in the spiritual life, because without spiritual advance we are not going to be qualified and prepared to mount a good defense either. The "principles of war" are a better parallel, I think, wherein "offense" is supreme, and "security" merely means taking enough care on the defensive side of things so as not to get tragically surprised, but not at the same time overly focusing on security to the detriment of necessary offensive action.

So keep fighting the good fight, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hi Bob,

I know it's posting day but I wanted to write because I'm SO happy to hear that you're very nearly mask free and pretty much back to normal.

It has been a pleasure to pray with you and for you through what has been such a hard time for everyone. And it's even more of a pleasure to see how the Lord has helped you through. Especially last semester - the toughest one you've ever had in all your years of teaching. Through all of that your confidence in the Lord never wavered and you were / are still faithfully here for us too. Thanks so much for that, Bob. That in itself is another one of my continuing prayers for you answered. That the Lord will give you the strength and the time and the energy to be able to continue in the ministry He has given to you along with everything else you have to do. It can't have been easy but thanks for sticking at it each day and for teaching, encouraging and praying for us all the way through. It means so much.

Men wanted to brand you with a scarlet letter but our Lord was having none of it! I praise Him for taking amazing care of you and for protecting you. It gives me so much encouragement to know that He has done that for me too and will continue to throughout all the tests and trials I have to go through. Our God is SO good to us!

I'm continuing to keep everything in prayer for you.

Romans 8:28

Your friend in Jesus

Response #6:

Thanks so much for this, my friend!

Another crocus today. A frequently patronized grocery store now has this new sign: "Masks recommended"!

It will take a minute for the fever of madness to dissipate, no doubt, but it's coming. I'm so glad this is happening in mid-May with three months to go before we're back in the classroom.

Thanks so much for your kind and encouraging words, my friend! I had the benefit of your prayers, your encouragement, and your courageous example and good attitude throughout. Think what you have been through with all that crazy outfit you have had to endure in your job! I certainly hope the same sort of thing begins to develop even more rapidly over there as well before it starts to get really hot.

God is indeed SO good to us in every way! He has never let us down, not one time. We may be terrified by the darkness and the approaching enemy army, but He has never failed to make a path for us through the sea of trouble . . . and bring us through dry-shod.

In our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hi Bob,

It's my pleasure! And thanks so much for your kind words too.

I think it's very true that it will take a little while before people start to settle down and feel confident again after all of this. More restrictions have been lifted here today and places like pubs, bars and restaurants can serve customers indoors. Museums, cinemas, theatres, sports stadiums, hotels etc. can all reopen. We still have to wear masks though. The government had planned for all restrictions to be lifted on 21st June but they're hesitant now because of the rise in cases here of the Indian variant. So who knows!

I had a busy but good day at work today and I've been wearing my "crazy outfit" again. There's no word yet on any let-up on our get-up! My boss thinks it might be another year before we're allowed to ditch the heavy PPE gear (hope he's wrong!). Oh well - we might all look a lot skinnier after sweating off the pounds in the summer heat! We're still having to do two Covid tests a week as well. Still makes my eyes water shoving that thing up my nose.

Hope your Latin PTL managed to get around to signing up for Greek. It was interesting to hear about the seminary student who's going to be taking upper Greek through the "Metroversity" plan. Do you get many seminary students like that, Bob? I think they would do VERY well to start reading Ichthys too!

Keeping everything in prayer for you.

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #7:

Happy to hear that things may be loosening over there as well. They're telling us here that the variants are handled well by the v-s (who knows what to believe). I think it's pretty depressing that even though you're v-ed you still have to be tested. That makes zero sense. As to "let-up on the get-up" (nice!), and "it might be another year"?! I guess it could be worse. The soon to be irrelevant Dr. F over here has been saying "never" to returning to normal. He'll be the only one holding to that course, I'm guessing.

Did a marathon in the yards today and am plenty achy. Cicadas everywhere! I'm told they're supposed to be gone by mid-July. Wonder if anything will still be alive by then. We planted anyway. It'll be what it'll be. There's too many to pick them off of everything, and netting plants looks awful, while it keeps the birds and butterflies away as well. We'll just have to cope. One more thing!

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

In Jesus,

Question #8:

Hi Bob,

I hope you're not too achy today. I must admit I didn't know what Cicadas were so I did some research. Very interesting! But they must be a real pain for you and the garden. I read about them being very noisy and I listened to a recording of what they sound like. Apparently they are edible and a very good source of protein but I can't somehow see you having a munch on them! They look pretty big too. The next emergence is supposed to be in 2038. The first thing I thought when I read that was that the Lord will be back by then. I can't help thinking like that - it's always the first thing that comes to my mind.


In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #8:

Ended up working on research today and making a library run. Back to the yards tomorrow. Yes, the cicadas are everywhere. Not seeing any damage yet but it's early. They're just coming out of their shells and getting oriented. None of that awful keep-you-up-most-of-the-night noise yet either. But it's coming. Good for you on the time horizon! I think like that too, and deliberately so especially whenever something I see "out there" is really troubling or annoying: none of this is going on too much longer.

You really DO have a lot on your plate right now, my friend! But I know you won't let it swamp you or keep you from putting "first things first". We only get one day at a time, and each day we're one day closer to being with the Lord. If we just do our best for Him day by day, keeping up all of our responsibilities and doing our best to balance them out, we can end each day in confidence and hope of all the glories to come.

No cicadas on the menu here! Lots of other ways to get that protein.

Keeping you and yours in my prayers every day too.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hi Bob,

It's so interesting to read what you wrote about the cicadas. I watched a little video yesterday about them shedding their skins into their adult form and having the wings then to search for a partner. All that noise is the males call to attract a partner and if the female likes what she's hearing she makes a clicking noise by snapping her wings together in response. I wouldn't want that racket keeping me awake all night long either. But I get the picture now - for 17 years they've been waiting for this moment - a little romance in the treetops! Then she lays her eggs and job done. All that excitement is enough to kill them off a few weeks later but mission accomplished and baby cicadas will be underground sucking on the sap of the tree roots for another 17 years (maybe). They have no idea how the cicadas know that 17 years have passed by. God's amazing creation! Did I pass the exam?

Thanks so much for your encouragement, Bob. I had some news today from another member of my family with health problems (it's all gone a bit crazy at the moment). I'm so thankful for prayer. I can't fix it all but I sure can come boldly to the throne of grace and put it all in the Lord's hands. He's big enough to handle far more than I ever can. My prayer life is getting bigger and bigger - not a bad thing at all!

Keeping you and yours and everything in prayer for you. Thanks so much for yours too.

Your friend in Jesus

Response #9:

Flying colors! They are very weird. Here's a hosta, no bugs. There's a hosta – covered with cicadas. They haven't started singing yet, but they are everywhere. Likely to be a noisy beginning to the summer. It has been dry – we've had to water the last few days (might have gotten to the zinnias a little late – the snails are feasting on the seedlings in the front), but I have heard that if it is a dry summer, the cicadas get it over with sooner. We'll see for sure. In any case, it's good for unbelievers to have to focus on natural phenomena like cicadas from time to time. They are amazing little creatures, and there is no way that they and their complex behavior patterns ever originated accidentally . . . through "evolution".

[update: 6/5/21: cicadas are now officially "off the chart" unbearable; near rock-concert decibel level in the afternoons; swarming on everything; stench is now everywhere as well]

Sorry to hear about more health concerns on your watch! I'm keeping you and your family in my prayers daily.

Being a "prayer warrior" is not easy – not to do it right and be consistent. But there are few things more important.

Thanks for your prayers! And for the typo help.

A little exhausted after two long yard work days. Should be down to maintenance by the end of the week.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Bob,

I hope you're feeling a little bit better today after your hard work in the yard. Feeling achy isn't too nice but at least it's good exercise and it's satisfying to see things looking tidier. We've had the opposite to you - lots of rain! But I managed to get out there this morning and do a little bit before the rain came again. It's strange how the cicadas seem to have a favourite hosta. I do hope and pray that they have a super quick visit this time around. When I was in our garden I kept imagining them crawling up our trees - I think I've been watching too many videos of them!

I understand what you mean when you say being a "prayer warrior" isn't easy. We're so privileged to be able to spend time with the Lord in prayer and it's a very important part to help us in the good fight that we're in. I think praying for each other is all part of doing for others what we would want them to do for us. (Matt. 7:12). Not that we pray or do anything for each other expecting anything back but we do it out of love and obedience to the Lord and love for each other. It's giving your time and effort and focus in praying for others. And it's ministry. Ministry that we all can and should do and the Lord gives us an added bonus in that we'll be rewarded for it! I'd love to know your thoughts too.

I'm not perfect at this at all and I want to strive to do better. Something else I want to do is to begin to write down all my answers to prayer and the ways I see the Lord working in my life. Even the tiny things are such a blessing. I think it would be so encouraging to look back on and to thank the Lord for again. So that's what I'm going to do.

Back to work tomorrow for me - thanks for all your prayers!

In our dear Lord Jesus

Response #10:

I absolutely do believe and teach that we are rewarded for ALL the things we think and say and do which comport with our mandate to grow, progress and produce – and prayer is certainly an important part of that. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, the totality of our lives down here will be evaluated fully and fairly by our Lord. That should given any believer pause! As Paul says in the discussing the bema, "since we know what it is to fear the Lord . . . " (2Cor.5:11). So you're absolutely correct: we pray because we want answer to prayer; we pray because we will be rewarded for it – and we also pray because it is what we SHOULD be doing. In the end, we are all "worthless servants" who, if we do what is right, are only doing what we ought to be doing anyway – and could always do better (Lk.17:7-10). But it is certainly right and good to motivate ourselves all three ways – and actually problematic to exclude any of these three perspectives.

Great idea to keep track of the victories the Lord gives you! Inevitably we can't remember them all – they are more than the sands of the seashore. And many if not most of them we don't even notice, even if we're really paying attention. After all, our true combat is not with "flesh and blood", but with the unseen forces of the evil one (Eph.6:12). So we just have to keep our heads down and plow forward no matter what, and remembering how the Lord has delivered us in the past – and how He has delivered the believers of the Bible too – is always an important means of comfort used by the Spirit when we are walking close to our Lord.

Some good news from work! U of L has completely dropped its "mask mandate" for all who are v-ed – and is not asking for proof (nor setting up any kind of "v-ion police"). Sure hope the students who are dragging their feet about signing up get the word!

Best wishes for a cool day at work! More yard stuff tomorrow (it always takes longer than anticipated).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #11:

___ was rushed into the hospital on Saturday, only found out today. We have the Indian variant in England now. The worst town for it is Bolton which is next door to where I and my parents live. It's on our doorstep. So things are getting more serious here now rather than less. ___'s whole family has Covid now. ___ (who is only middle aged) has been hospitalised too.

I'm sorry to read about your fall whilst jogging. Please, please, please take very good care of yourself and hope you patch up well very soon!

I also want to add that I still haven't had the v-. God has impressed upon me to wait and I am. The pressure for me though is heightening with family crying around me and said they will keep praying that I will get it. The Indian Variant is big in the news here and very bad and prolific in the nearby town. I have been more tempted of late to have it mainly because I am literally the only person I know in this country that hasn't had it. Only ___ hasn't had it and now he is in hospital.

I still haven't changed my mind about the v-s though so I wouldn't be taking it "in good faith". I will just hold on then and wait for the situation to change and for the Lord to deliver me from this situation. If I did get Covid then I know that God will be with me and whatever happens has already been planned. God wanted me to wait.

When will I know when to stop waiting?

In Jesus,

Response #11:

You're most welcome, my friend . . . as always!

I'm doing much better – doing rather more walking now than jogging. Trying to build some strength and endurance back after minimal distances for the better part of two years because of one thing or another (hard to do this during the school year in normal times; had very little extra time because of Covid last AY).

Don't know what to say about the v-. Things over here seem to be returning to complete normality. If you're nearly the only one not to have gotten v-ed, I have to believe that the thing will be dying out over there pretty soon too. The only way it wouldn't, seems to me, is if some new variant emerges that the v-s don't stop. And if that is the case, well, getting v-ed with the present batch(es) would do little good. I'm not completely averse to it, but I haven't known of anyone dying from Covid personally (except for my elderly colleague's mother), but I have had reports of deaths following v-ion. Admittedly, in all such case, we are talking about people who are double your age.

I'm happy not to have had the v-. I do think it will be a couple of years before we know about potential side effects (translate: before we find out what they might be). Quite frankly, I'm presently in agreement with one fellow I heard opine about this: "I'm much concerned about the v- than I am about Covid".

I do promise to keep your family and friends in my prayers.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Thanks Bob, Yes you've quickened my resolve. There are a lot of question marks still around the v- and after all it isn't a v- at all but experimental gene therapy. Apparently once you've had it put in your body then that is it, it remains there and they are not sure how long. Someone said it's like an operating system that is permanently in your body and the "boosters" are the updates.

It seems to me to be a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I have heard of healthy young people who have died after having it too. Indeed that quote at the end could have been written by me. Covid didn't scare me, it was the human reaction to Covid that scared me and this "v-" scares me too.

Just like Abraham and Sarah we are asked to wait, I have been asked to wait too. I know I can fully trust God's deliverance unlike man's.

It's a shame but the atmosphere here is very different than the one in the States. Here they are acting as though the worst has yet to come! All this negative propaganda is ramping up my family to nag me into taking it. They think I'm a mess because I haven't. Apart from ___, I am the only person in my extended family, friends and neighbours who hasn't had it. They think I've lost my mind!

I am praying that this country is delivered from Covid soon and also the pressure to take the jab. Whether the deliverance will be the ridding of Covid like in the States or the availability of safer drugs such as Ivermectin (we are not allowed it over here.)

This is good practice for the Mark and I imagine the pressure to take that from nearest and dearest will be off the scale compared to this so I am sticking to my resolve over this. I know I will be delivered and when I am I will be very relived that I trusted God over man. __ said that that God worked through people to make the v-. I know that other visitors to your site think the same...I have to say that the pressure has been wearing me down a bit lately and I was starting to doubt a little my decision. ___ said that I will "have no freedom to live or do things" without the v-. Well that is exactly the same threat the Mark of the beast will carry, no Mark- no place in society! So yes this is very good practice for me.

Whatever happens, it will all turn out for the good. They didn't even have v-s thousands of years ago and yet they got through it even when the plagues were all around them because God was with them. God is with us now too!

In Jesus,

Response #12:

"They got through it even when the plagues were all around them because God was with them. God is with us now too!" Amen! I think that's one key point that many non-progressing Christians have failed to process. Sure, if there is a health threat, and if God provides a means, then we have no problem with availing ourselves of that means, knowing full well that He is the One who is protecting us. For those who love the Lord, it doesn't matter if we've been v-ed:

Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.
Leviticus 26:8 NKJV

But for those who are not following Him closely . . .

. . . I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; the sound of a shaken leaf shall cause them to flee; they shall flee as though fleeing from a sword, and they shall fall when no one pursues.
Leviticus 26:36 NKJV

We who love the Lord have right – and even a duty – to be "strong and courageous" (Josh.1:7). We make the best decisions we can based upon the information we have in complete trust in the Lord that He will see us through. If we think it best to take the v-, then we have confidence that He will protect us from side-effects et al. If we think it best not to take the v-, then we have confidence that He will protect us from the disease better than the v- – or that if we do get it, it won't harm us overly. The decision is not a spiritual one per se. BUT the decision-making process and the attitude before and after tell us a lot about the spiritual state of the ones making the decision. Anyone who is terrified – of the disease or of the v- – is not seeing this issue through the Lord's eyes.

"This is good practice for the Mark and I imagine the pressure to take that from nearest and dearest will be off the scale compared to this so I am sticking to my resolve over this." Very true. However, I can't imagine myself having anything to do with anyone, no matter how beloved before the fact, who takes the mark of the beast. Casting in one's lot with Satan in that irrevocable way would seem to me personally to be the ultimate red line of breaking fellowship.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:

I'm sorry I wrote what I did about the mark. I don't want to sound harsh on my family's attitude but it does worry me. I guess their attitude is very typical of most people if not the majority. The whole strength in numbers thing.

My family told me they would never have it and I will take them at their word on this. It's sad but they say that they don't have the time to read the bible and that they will rely on me to point out the antichrist when he comes and then they will act accordingly. In the meantime though they do seem to think that my actions will have a vicarious effect on them. When someone needs prayer, they ask me to pray because I am the praying one of the family. It's odd, as though I am the one in the family who seeks out God so they ask me on God related issues. They don't seem
to realise that they can pray themselves and that they will need to have faith themselves to be saved. My faith will only affect my own salvation, it won't effect their own but they seem to think it will.

It seems that just how in the past I was to blame for the family's sins, I am now responsible for the family's salvation. Neither of these two viewpoints are true but they have clung on to both of them to get themselves "off the hook".

The tragedy is that the REAL scapegoat did pay for their sins and that they are now free because of that atonement, they only have to accept that payment made on their behalf. Like you said, they just have to not say "no" to it.

They still prefer the idea though of me "saving them" even though obviously I can do no such thing. I cannot blot out their sins as I am a sinner myself and I cannot carry the faith for them to save them!

I will continue to pray for them though and witness to them as much as I can. I know that things can seem impossible to us but nothing is impossible to God! Amen!

___ going into hospital had made me scared. Now I am determined however to press on. I love Jesus so much that I will fight on and on and on to stay in this race. I am determined to get back to that place I was before, firing on all cylinders, never neglecting my daily bible reading but also studying your site as well as making my videos again. THAT'S where I want to be again. I did it before because I was being emboldened by the Spirit through faith so I can do it again, with Faith.

It's ALL ABOUT FAITH isn't it. I didn't understand what faith meant before. I intellectualised it to be something ineffable but it isn't. It's about trusting Jesus who we can't see at the moment to get us through anything and everything and trusting what He has done for us means that we have nothing to fear anymore!

I am determined to help my family as much as I can to witness the truth to them! I know the best way to do this is like you send good offence as well as defence! I have been so focuses on defending my position that I have been losing progress lately so I need to boldly press on!

In Jesus,

Response #13:

"It seems that just how in the past I was to blame for the family's sins, I am now responsible for the family's salvation." Well, that would seem to be something of an improvement, even if a "left-handed" one. At least they seem to have some inkling that you're walking with God – instead of somehow being a "trouble-magnet". Kudos to you, because of course your good witness has had something to do with that. So keep on course – mountains DO move in the power of God. But often at a glacial pace.

"My family told me they would never have it and I will take them at their word on this." It will be up to us all who love the Lord to be very forceful with those with whom we are in any close contact NOT to do it. Who would say today, "sure, I have no problem getting 666 tattooed on my forehead!" Not many – or we'd see that already. As I've said, of course, we don't know what the mark will look like but it won't look like that. And we don't know exactly what antichrist will look like, but he will be a great deceiver.

Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Revelation 19:20 NKJV

So being marked will not be seen by most who do it as being what it truly is, in spite of good evidence to the contrary. Lackadaisical and lukewarm Christians around the globe will be very vulnerable to the beast's claim that he is Christ, and the miracles and wonders and seemingly "prophecy fulfilling deeds" that he and his henchman the false prophet work will seem to many who are spiritually weak to be the real thing. That is the danger. So keep up the good witness, my friend. It will stand you in good stead when the real testing comes.

"I am determined to get back to that place I was before, firing on all cylinders, never neglecting my daily bible reading but also studying your site as well as making my videos again." Amen and Amen! That is the ticket, my friend! The only way to make this otherwise worthless life amount to anything – and in fact to GREAT things at the judgment seat of Christ.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hi Bob! ...Jarhead,

I appreciate greatly you remembering and sending me the teaching from Peter. One of many messages I (we) need to and had better review and apply over and over Thanks very much!!

I want you to know how vital it has been, it is now, and will always be your words of teaching.
Because of your commitment to your ministry....today and even right now unbelievers are coming to Christ!

Believers are having their hearts changed and being revived! You will be hearing Jesus' words : "Well done good and faithful servant!"

God bless you real good!

Your squid brother forever,

Response #14:

Thanks so much!

I greatly appreciate your kind words, my friend.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I have attempted to develop an interpretation, of the parable of the minas in Luke 19:12-27. I have added in [] what I believe the text means. I did not comment on Verse 23 [], because I am not sure what the meaning of what Jesus is saying. Here is what I have outlined using the brackets.

Luke 19:12-27.
“12He[Jesus] said therefore, “A nobleman[Jesus Christ] went into a far country[the world] to receive for himself a kingdom[a Heavenly one] and then return[to a renewed earth, at His Second Coming]. 13Calling ten of his servants,[bond-servants, which are all believers] he[Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit] gave them ten minas [differing ministerial responsibilities], and said to them, ‘Engage in business[ witnessing to unbelievers, e.g. fulfill the responsibilities I have given you] until I come.[at the Second Coming]’ 14But his citizens[Jews] hated him[Jesus] and sent a delegation[the Pharisees] after him[Jesus], saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’[they rejected the Messiah, just like most of them do now] 15When he returned[at His second coming, see Rev. 19:11-16] having received the kingdom,[see Rev. 11:15-18] he[Jesus] ordered these servants[bond-servants, believers] to whom he[Jesus] had given the money[various responsibilities] to be called to him[Jesus], that he[Jesus] might know[Jesus already knew] what they had gained by doing business[as witnesses for Jesus]. 16The first came before him[Jesus], saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’[I have fulfilled the responsibilities and more, that you gave me] 17And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ 18And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’[ I have fulfilled double the responsibilities you gave me] 19And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ 20Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief;[I did not fulfill even the one responsibility that you gave me] 21for I was afraid of you[knowing I was not going to fulfill what you had given me], because you are a severe man[a righteous judge]. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? 23Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ 24And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina[responsibility] from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ 25And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ 26‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more[responsibilities] will be given, but from the one who has not[fulfilled the one responsibility I gave him], even what he has will be taken away. 27But as for these enemies of mine[all unbelievers], who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’”

Would you please look at this interpretation and make notes on what I have stated, so that I can assure that I have a good translation of this parable? Also, here is something I just thought about that came to my mind on the subject verse.

"Then why did you not put my money[in the way of the one responsibility you had], and having come[at My Second Coming], I would have collected[reaped] the ones who you ministered too any many more].

That's all I can think of.

Thanks again for your great help,

Blessings to you always,

Your friend

Response #15:

Always good to hear from you, my friend.

I treat this parable and its companion parable at the link: The parable of the talents and the minas.

I think you have done a fine job explaining the essential points of application. The one thing to discuss is what you ask about in your second email. The person who "hides his talent/mina", is an unbeliever. ALL believers have at least something, however small, to offer to the Lord on the day our judgment (faith without ANY works is dead; and even a cup of cold water offered to a fellow believer receives a reward); only unbelievers have nothing whatsoever to offer.

Here's something from another posting on the parallel verse in Matthew (and here's a link to a similar discussion):

On Matthew 25:30, every actual believer will have something to put before the Lord on that great day of days, no matter how insignificant (a single prayer prayed, for example, or a cup of cold water offered). But the "talent" in this parable represents our free will; those who use it to believe in Christ and respond to Him (as all should) produce a good crop; those who don't use the free will they have been given as those created in the image and likeness of God to respond to Christ but "hide away" their free will, being unwilling to offer it up to the Lord so as to be saved, are lost. The Lord envisions only two general categories in this parable, the saved who respond and are productive (as we all should be) and the lost who are not even willing to believe in the first place – after all, that was by far the biggest category among those to whom He ministered. It is true that there have always been many who allow the world to choke their productivity – but that is not how it should be.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Dear Professor

Thank you for your kind reply. I do hope negotiations on your cooperative are going smoothly. Also hope the cicadas don’t cause you too much grief.

“Duck”, was covered nicely by one of your correspondents when they quoted something like, “If it waddles like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it most likely is a duck.”

“Does anyone smell a Rat?” was a common line used by one of our youngest inspectors in the service.

“Rat”, (this term is unfortunate for the animal) is a more vivid, smelly, disgusting and apt description of Satan’s world system. Being in the “rat race” is awful enough for believers; being “ratted on” by the world; and as we have seen here in a visible church (where does this visible church belong?) “ratting on” another church.

The devil’s strategy of sowing confusion through churches with opposing views/doctrines is designed to weaken faith and foment anger at any true believers. We are aware that he will rapidly work to dissolve that and all “confusion” by proclaiming himself to be the creature to worship. Replacement therapy. A one world(ly) system of worship. [in a sense there mostly is already - just a tidy up required].

“Diversity” worldly doctrine. (Totally unrelated to Gods wonderful intricate creation - the evil one deceitfully implies a connection between creation and his evil worldly system). Where will all the “diversity” of today’s parading puppeteers vanish to? They are now playing diverse instruments which ALL lead to the SAME Satanic orchestra PIT! I wonder how many of the performers even know they are being led to hell.

Media madness. Starkly obvious here our media is daily drumming “diversity” as the answer - we know their master has already chosen who will pay for all this “diversity” along the way and with the ultimate “solution” in his evil mind. . Especially even he doesn’t really believe in “diversity” but is willing to use this catch cry and any others to try to achieve ONE evil system of the worship of himself. The slogan is a tool.

Diversity doctrine is death. Always was. Always will be. A lie from the beginning. Sadly for the “soloists” and orchestras, the devil has no love for those that play from his selected song sheets -regardless of their enthusiasm for hype. In the Rat Race they decry ANY who believe, any who forsake the “diversity” line that is so diverse as to include all, EXCEPT believers.

Matthew 7:13 Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. ESV

Our Lord calls for all to repent and come unto Him. Few do. The devil has the world believing his lies instead of the truth. Many do. “Diversity” is indeed a cover to eliminate the truth altogether.
Ironically for those who swallow the diverse pill to cure their ill, they themselves will worship a satanic creature. The “diverse doctrine” bleating, is chanting a code of hate and then destroying believers who are an inconvenient reminder of the truth that unbelievers have chosen to reject in favour of the lie. They foolishly imagine if the vast majority believe the lie, the lie will become the truth. The rah rah rah phenomenon.

Even those now proudly proclaiming the “diverse doctrine” are really choosing between only two - truth or lie. This will be most starkly evident half way through the Tribulation.Can anyone spot the “great range of diverse choices”. Read

Revelation 13:8 “and ALL who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” ESV

No diversity here at all. Divergence, not diversity! Yes. Just two choices. Diversity IS death!
In truth, diversity has ALWAYS been death. There has ever only been the truth or the lie - no matter how loud or proud the lie or the costume of deceit.

Psalm 73:9 “They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth.” ESV

Revelation 13:6 “It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is those who dwell in heaven.” ESV

Though it may appear to those in Old Testament times and today, and to those in the soon to come Tribulation, that the evil ones prosper, it is only fleeting. A little read on in scripture :

Psalm 73:18 “Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin.” ESV

Revelation 19:20b.“These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.” ESV

Revelation 20:15 “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”ESV

Diversity = Death.

Jesus = Life.

Yes, there ARE choices - TWO.

Thank you for your wonderful Ministry in the truth.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Your student

Response #16:

Doing well here (thanks for asking).

Great analysis of the evil one's machinations on this topic. Marxism is materialistic and materialism is by definition hostile to all that is spiritual, so all the offspring of that abominable ideology are anti-God as well.

Thanks for walking me through the menagerie.

Keep up the good work for Jesus Christ, my friend! You are in my prayers daily.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Dear Professor

Glad to hear you are doing well. Are the cicadas on the wane?

We are indeed on opposite sides of the global weather and global time yet it is wonderful to be united in Christ. I was having the same thoughts as your correspondent who said we are so blessed to have your Ministry in our midst. I too, can hardly believe that one person has managed such a comprehensive teaching of the truth, and I believe the Spirit has directed and aided your obvious dedication.

Your weekend email postings brought back reminders of the Freemason influence in the Mormon church and the evil and silly ceremonies, oaths, covenants and penalties that I participated in, in the mistaken belief these rituals were essential for salvation for all and “exhaltation” for those that obeyed the puppet masters (false Mormon “prophets”).

Technology probably has the effect of keeping you inactive for long periods writing your teachings and answering emails (including mine) so a solar flare event similar to that which blacked out communications in the past might render more exercise time for us both. I wonder how much of our typing technology will still be operating during the Tribulation? Weight loss may accelerate to concern at the other end of the scales. I pray we are all much more spiritually prepared for when communication systems fail or are deliberately curtailed, to isolate and ramp up the pressure, particularly on believers.

The lesson went well on the weekend thanks to your writings, including your scripture references. I did a planned deviation to address two questions from last time that came up and that I had only previously briefly answered.

Q1. If we can not bring ourselves to worship God at all times here, how will we be able to worship Him in the eternities? The questioner was saying that we will be worshipping 24/7 which completely excludes any other activities. They said we should be doing that now. They referred to

Revelation 4:8. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”

Someone else asked about the word “within” referring to the eyes, for which I did not have a good answer. For the remainder, I thought I gave at least a partial explanation.

Q2. Will another satan like character emerge during the eternities requiring us to go through another exhausting process and having to prove our allegiance to the truth all over again?

Again, I thought I did a reasonable explanation of why this would not happen ever again.

I could send you the notes and scriptures I used, though this of course would not include all the verbal explanation. I know you are busy, but if you think it might of any use at all to you?

Unfortunately it was the last meeting with our family from the city for some time as their house lease has not been renewed and they are busy trying to find another rental with adequate space for their work vehicles and equipment.

Update Covid Bits: There are indeed those that have had the Covid jab with no apparent ill effects and those that did not have the jab that had no apparent ill Covid effects.

Stats: If I was to only to take those that I personally know and their families in my vintage or older that have had the Astra Zeneca jab - only 5 people so far:
5 felt sick; 4 seriously sick for a week or more; 1 died.
= 1 in 5 chance of dying and 100% sick rate; 80% seriously sick rate.
My phone rang on Friday asking when I would like to come in for my jab?
A = not for the moment.

Next day I learned that the local chief organiser of the jabs had previously had an extremely severe reaction to it . She was told to keep it quiet to avoid alarming the public. My friend says that his friend who is high up in another hospital will resign if she is compelled to have the jab (some sensitive people about - or seen too much?). Perhaps it is just that we are some particularly reactive specimens? Was enough to put me off for now. Since learnt of another person (brother of the one who did have a flu like reaction) who has not had any ill effect. Might be time for me to reconsider the jab - now only a one in six chance of dying among the known abouts! My next door neighbors are scheduled for Wednesday. For their sakes, I am hoping and praying the percentages of the “knowns” keep on improving.

Enjoy your warm weather.

Thank you for ALL you do. Keeping your health and Ministry in my prayers.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior

Your student and friend

Response #17:

I had thought that the cicadas were past their peak, but they are now noisy to the point of producing headaches if you try to spend any time outside in the PM.  Remember how in olden days people would go to sporting events and crowd in together and cheer with no political purpose in mind or expectation of being lectured to?  It's that loud.  However, we haven't noticed any damage yet, so so far so good on that. The zinnias, nasturtiums and other annuals we put in are too small as yet for them to be interesting to the bugs. After some heavy lifting this weekend, we've got the yards pretty much down to "maintenance" status now. We'll wait and see what develops now.

It will be interesting to see what the Tribulation will look like in respect to those of us who not only believe but are actually producing what the Lord desires. I can imagine many scenarios – and my imagination is pretty pedestrian. So it will be "interesting times" for many reasons. I do counsel various and sundry to download the materials on the website. Amazon recently cancelled an entire company (Parler) because they disagreed with their political views – by kicking them off of their cloud. That would be easy enough to do to a small Bible site, even though bills are paid-up. We just can't anticipate what is coming in the details, even though we are blessed to know the important, broad outlines.

Glad to hear that your Bible study class is going well! Hope you'll be able to find an alternative venue soon. As to your two Qs:

1) I would counsel people not to worry about this one, for many reasons. To give just a few, first, we don't really have any idea how wonderful our eternal lives will be because we have no frame of reference for it at present; once resurrected, things will be different – for the good – in all manner of ways. For this reason scripture presents eternity as an absence of the bad things we are experiencing now (we certainly DO have a frame of reference for that), as in no more crying or pain or sorrow etc. But we don't yet understand how "good" the good things will be. Secondly, just because the cherubim are saying "holy, holy, holy" without ceasing, that doesn't actually mean that is all they ever do. After all, even in the book of Revelation they are not doing this at all times: others sing hymns or make statements just in the limited exposure John has been given (and we may be sure that the cherubs as not "talking over" them). Third, the scene in the third heaven is an interim situation; eternity will play out on the new earth in New Jerusalem, not in the third heaven; that is the temporary 'battle HQ" for the angelic conflict now underway. Fourth, there are all manner of wonders in New Jerusalem including the various crops of the tree of life – they have the purpose of delighting us and they can't do that if we never leave the central square to eat of them (and it's also said that the "kings of the earth", friends of the Bride, bring all manner of good things into the city). So there is activity in eternity that is not formal assembly in praise of the Lord. Fifth, that formal assembly will be wonderful in ways no church service ever was. For everyone who found themselves looking at their watch hoping the service would end soon, I guarantee that our eternal worship will delight the hearts of all, as we, the one united Church, all together and without rancor delight in each other and in our worship of the Lord who bought us. Sixth, the way we are now is a poor comparison with what we shall be; and the purpose we have now is not the same as the purpose then; here we are "militant" and meant to fight the fight of faith; worship, true worship of thanking and praising the Lord is part of that, true, but not the main focus which is spiritual growth, progress and production. None of the latter in eternity as the fight will long be over at that point. So, seventh, as with everything else we need to trust the Lord that it will be alright, and not worry about the future; rather we need to take care to do what we are called upon to do today, grateful that today we are one day closer to that eternal future.

1b) My translation: "and [as to] the four living-creatures, each one of them had six wings apiece, laden with eyes roundabout and within" – so this is referring to the wings which have eyes "all around" as we should say, on both sides of the wings.

2) Absolutely NOT. I'm sure that if it were possible to have creatures such as we are in a blissful situation with Him and WITHOUT history, God would have done it that way. After all, we really cannot imagine what a massive price the cross was for God, the Father who sacrificed His Son, for the Son who paid for all of our sins, and for the Spirit who enabled it. As I often say, the smallest part of the cross was more than all the pain and trouble of all humanity through all history, and to an infinite degree. So it had to be done the way it was done. There had to be choice, free will, a decision to be with the Lord . . . or not . . . and it had to paid for. And for those who chose for Him, there had to be a mechanism for sorting out and ranking. History is thus God's perfect threshing floor wherein we who have been given the image of God determine our eternal future and, for those who choose for Him, something of the texture of it. Once that is done, it is (blessedly!) done for all time. Think of Adam and Eve in the garden but without the tree of knowing good and evil and with no devil in existence. Otherwise, Christ would have to die again – and that does not even come into consideration:

Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.
Hebrews 7:27 NIV

He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.
Hebrews 9:12 NIV

Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Hebrews 9:26-28 NIV

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Dear Professor

A little different here. When the plants are small the snails and slugs love them - especially so if you grow them to eat yourselves. First day of winter here and the nasturtiums have already been growing rampantly from a few leftover summer surviving plants and self sown seeds - no planting. Great for the lazy “gardener”. I pick the odd leaf to eat raw for the peppery taste. Lots leftover for the snails.

Thank you for your kind detailed reply on the two questions. I had used some of your scripture references from your writings on the Bride and other places you have written; and also a bit of word search on Tecarta. Your explanation is far more comprehensive than mine was. I may share this.

Clarification. ___ and his family rented their house out here and moved to the city. This means they won’t be attending our meetings for some time. I will carry on having meetings here and hopefully his loyal “students” will want to continue with me. By request I had been teaching the lessons for some months. I am very grateful to him for first inviting me to join with them a few years ago now. It has resulted in __ seeing the RC religion with more clarity. That probably never would have happened coming from a westerner. Reminds somewhat of your teaching of the 144,000 necessarily being Jewish to be effective in their Ministry.

I somewhat feel out of my depth so I rely on your Ministry writings and I am very grateful that you provide such clear scriptural teachings that I can have confidence in.

Sounds like it may be an idea to keep a copy of emails. They also can be easily cancelled in our enlightened digital age. I have thought it will be easy to spot the antichrist and not be taken in, though I am now thinking things will be much more subtly sophisticated in persuasion in the beginning; that perhaps that time will be at least as treacherous as the following direct persecution will be. I am sure files are kept by the evil one.

I am perfectly mind boggled by creation and God’s perfect plan. Apart from not knowing why there isn’t just a solar system and nothing else, or perhaps a galaxy and nothing else which would seem adequate for our sorting out here below, we have a seemingly endless universe of which we do not understand the least part of.

Easy versus Absurdly Difficult (this is really what I struggle to understand, however I do marvel at).

Satan seems to have an easy assignment to “defeat” God.
“It is written ......” Matt.4:4,6,7,10 and many more

He seems to know the scriptures VERY well.

1. Easy tactic number one. Refuse to fight God. (Scriptures unfulfilled - proves God wrong)
Wouldn’t this be a victory for the devil as none of the remaining scriptures would be fulfilled.
This tactic could be used anytime by satan refusing to “co-operate” in the perfect plan. Just one jot or tittle unfulfilled would mean that God would not be God.
Seems a no brainer, easy victory. Lie down and win.

Though what we read is:

Ezekiel 38:4 And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords. (ESV)

How does God accomplish the above scripture (AND EVERY other scripture as well) when it must be KNOWN by the evil one that
“It is written ....”?

Just deviate a bit. Don’t do it!

God makes it so difficult for Himself in having to do everything perfectly to the utmost degree (numbering hairs on heads now seems an easy thing for God); whereas if Satan could just accomplish a single thing, even a minuscule hair deviation from scripture he would claim to have destroyed God’s truth. While typing this, I am mindful of the MOST difficult thing God has already accomplished in the sacrifice of his own Son to gain the victory.

It seems that all that Satan would have to do, even now, is lay down arms for awhile so as to disprove God’s word. Everything God sacrificed would have been in vain.

Speaking of hair’s breadth; we have come to a hair’s breath of nuclear annihilation - the fake simulated though completely real looking nuclear attack by one nuclear armed country on another nuclear armed country, the commander defying protocol by NOT pressing the Red button to retaliate, realising everyone in the world would soon be dead anyway if attacking country had already launched. Some that we know about and many that we probably don’t. Satan has enough madmen to entice to destroy the world with nuclear weapons if he prefers the victory to come with maximum impact, yet miraculously we have not been destroyed. That is just one way history could be altered. So many easy outs for Satan to proclaim victory for evil. Yet God is TIED to HIS WRITTEN word.

Numbering hairs, perfect timing, accounting for free will choice for EVERYONE in a sea of humanity under an impossible magnitude of conditions. The mind boggles. And all the evil one has to do is have a little rest to thwart the whole perfect plan.

Life is not fair. The price God paid is unimaginable. Still I struggle to comprehend the impossible continuing to play out in history. Though

Matthew 19:26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

I am astounded at the awesomeness of God. My mind still boggles trying to appreciate His love and might and power. The helplessness of each of us humans as the spiritual battle rages (another of all things God has, and continues to, factor in perfectly). My brain now is strained so need to finish here.

I hope you enjoy your break and gardening (keep it easy even there).

Take your time with any reply; I am just marvelling at the truly incredulous plan and just need to rest in faith of His ability to accomplish ALL His purposes (even using the weak to confound the wise). His wonders are overwhelming to think upon. That everything is still going to plan and we are still here should give us confidence that our God has it all under control.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord.

Your student and friend

Response #18:

Thanks for the update and clarifications. Interesting point about people of similar culture getting on the wave-length of compatriots in a way outsiders cannot. A good reason why traditional missionary activity is superior to the "mission holiday" approach: actually moving to the mission field and spending the years necessary to assimilate enough to communicate would seem to be a necessary first step – if communicating the truth at great sacrifice as opposed to merely feeling good about oneself is the actual objective.

On the plan, I think the problem is the way we think about things – and are conditioned to think about things because of the way we are. We are subject to time and space, so we really can't even imagine God's complete independence of both.

So could Satan just stop participating? If he were going to make that choice, God would have known about it in eternity past before He foreordained everything. The Bible is thus not a straitjacket upon God's actions – because God never reacts. He doesn't have to. He's already anticipated everything – and ordained it (otherwise it couldn't happen in the first place).

It's also a mistake to think of the devil as a rational actor. If he were really operating on a fundamentally reasonable plane, he would never have revolted in the first place – because it is the height of folly to imagine that God could be defeated. And nobody should have known that better than the arch-cherub himself. But arrogance destroys reason, and the greater the arrogance, the greater the irrationality – and there has never been a greater act of arrogance than Satan's conspiracy against God.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Dear Bob,

This may be a poorly framed thesis but I'll do my best. The question really is, "Does this make sense? Is it reasonable?" I'm not an history buff so I may have some of this fouled up. It is recorded that Israel sinned and was conquered by Assyria. Judah sinned and was conquered by Babylon. Rome sinned and was over run by barbarians when Caesar crossed the Rubicon which, if I remember correctly started the downhill slide of Rome. Later Rome was conquered by the Goths and Visigoths which functionally ended the Roman empire until the pope of Rome assumed the mantle. (A number of interesting questions with that whole episode.)

US military adventures are much like Rome's though Rome's motive probably wasn't drugs as the US. The great military adventures since WWII has all been in drug producing regions. I witnessed the activity during the Vietnam adventure. (Long story and rant about that.)

Later, it was the Dutch, the French, English and Germans. Now, we and the western world are in the midst of our second invasion of "barbarians" with open borders aided and abetted by a government that has dishonored their oaths of office.

Along those lines, it seems the seat of Satan was centered in Tyre, then Athens, then Pergamum and later in the rest of the centers of power. Lastly in Washington. The cycle never seems will end until our "final solution" comes.

I've been thinking about the identity of end times Babylon and it appears less likely it will be the US because, given current events, I believe the US is finished. I don't see how it can survive the perversion, vulgarity, corruption and flooding of invading aliens. Should I expect any outcome other than what has been consistent throughout history? When we fall, I expect China, Russia, Canada, Mexico and the EU will feed on our carcass. Much like what is now Italy was with the collapse of Rome. Or, could our fall actually BE the destruction of later day Babylon? There will certainly be great wailing in financial centers like NY, London, etc., when we go down the tubes. The good news to me is that the remnants of Israel and Judah seem to have gotten along just fine after the diasporas. Will we be among them?

While I realize that judging the future by today's events can be a fools errand, I don't see how the US can escape the inexorable cycle of history. A real revival doesn't seem possible (although miracles happen as I can attest,) though I see no possibility it will happen here. People don't seem to care.

Am I spinning off the rails here or is this a reasonable understanding of history and it's application today? I apologize for this rambling and probably incoherent email. My epiphany is recent and I may not entirely understand. Your help is appreciated.

BTW, you give me too much credit. I'm not a farmer. I'm a rather pathetic gardener. I hope you're getting your locust problem under control. The grasshoppers and cabbage worms are my current problem. The solution is probably to plant enough to feed everyone.

Yours in our Lord and Savior,

Response #19:

Always good to hear from you, my friend!

If the Tribulation were not on our doorstep, I'd be inclined to agree with the decline hypothesis – although I'm not sure we're as far along on that path as you suggest. When Rome hit her peak at the end of the Punic wars, she immediately began her decline . . . in a series of internal struggles that only ended with advent of the empire some two centuries later. And thereafter it was four centuries or so before the rot became so extreme that she collapsed (in the west). More likely than a collapse, it seems to me, would be societal disintegration and some sort of non-democratic reformation after a nasty struggle for supremacy. That's the historical parallel in Rome and many other places as well; which side would win, only God knows, but I wouldn't be betting against the one with most of the guns.

However, there isn't much time left for the above. Unless there is a significant delay, for reasons I don't find in scripture (but of course God is in control of the time-line), it would seem that there isn't sufficient time for Babylon to slide very much farther down the hill. But she will be destroyed, of course, in the Tribulation's final days. So if I were betting, it would be on a dramatic resurgence (even if that seems very improbable from our present perspective).

One last thing to keep in mind as well: Israel (the north) and Judah (the south) were nations ordained by God. So they were different and the way God comported Himself towards them was different as well, holding them to a much higher standard since they were all supposed to be believers. No such supposition for any other nations before or since. Some although Christians have a tendency to see gentile nations through the same lens, Rome was never a "Christian nation" nor is the USA (there is no such thing, in fact). All other nations apart from Israel have always been subject to the same "laws of divine establishment" (as my old pastor used to call them), that is, the ground rules that God has established for any people or nation for peace and prosperity for following the basic truths of law and order – vs. discipline and catastrophe for opposing them (see the link in SR4: "Law and nationalism as a restrainers of satanic influence").

Anyone who has a farm and grows things like you do is, in my opinion, worthy of the title.

Keeping you in my daily prayers, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Hello Bob,

I hope you're right. You certainly know more about it than I do, (The Punic Wars were a long time before the crossing of the Rubicon if I remember right. I always wanted to read Gibbons but never worked up the steam.) I do think you're right that societal disintegration will come first -- it's already happening. Texas secession is on the '22 ballot from what I hear. Oregon has 5-7 counties ready to join Idaho. Civil War II I suspect is on the horizon. California and New York refugees are driving up land prices and property taxes here and creating a great deal of hostility. We are no longer a united congress of states.

While Israel and Judah were special, the Lord used Assyria, Babylon, et. al., to carry out His purpose. Today, like Tyre and Nineveh, to quote Shakespeare, heard no more. Will that be our destiny? Perhaps we carried out His purpose in destroying Germany and Japan. Is it our turn? Is there any incentive for the Lord to wait to clean out the corruption here?

Bob, I have no earthly idea what's coming near term. I'm only trying to make sense (if that's possible) out of what we're seeing today. No matter how you draw and quarter it, it doesn't look good. On your link to SR4, I try to show respect for everyone as appropriate. I don't see anything in scripture that says I must actually respect authorities -- only show them respect and obey. Truth told, I don't respect the "authorities" and I have no real choice but to obey. I take a certain amount of sad satisfaction in Revelation 21:8.

Thank you by the way for your compliment. I wish I had the smarts to be a farmer but I'm only a mediocre gardener who keeps trying. I only wish I had the gardening skills I thought I had before I moved out here. Life has a way of smacking you down.

I hope your locust problem is waning. The locusts/cicadas are edible as some have urged, if that floats your boat. As did John the Baptist, though the wild honey will come at a price:) Not my cup of tea; my food choices have become somewhat parochial. I did munch on bee larvae back in the old days; not hateful but bland. It may be a viable option when the show starts as will rattlesnake and possum. (Rattlesnake and alligator aren't actually that bad, though somewhat stringy. It's a deep south thing:)

I pray all is well with you and yours up there in greater metropolitan Louisville and your enrollment numbers reach the required threshold. I read the headline that Princeton has removed the requirements of Greek and Latin for their classics degrees. It seems to me like part of the Marxist agenda. Remove the requirements and student's must rely on translations which could be spun in any way. Such is the world in which we live.

Yours in our Lord and Savior,

Response #20:

Didn't know that about Princeton. It's not a very helpful development for any of their students who want to go on in Classics. In grad school, it's ALL about the languages.

Eat cicadas? Are you trying to make your bean-burgers look more appetizing by comparison?

I could do without a civil war, personally speaking. I prefer peace and quiet. But we have to accept whatever the Lord brings our way. We do know that He will protect us and help us whatever may betide, so we don't have to worry about anything – as long as we are not unduly invested in this temporary world and ephemeral visible reality.

Tyre is still there, as was Nineveh (before ISIS, anyway), and Germany and Japan are not doing too badly either. Whatever happens to the US remains to be seen.

On biblical responsibilities for obedience to constituted authority, there is a lot on that, all the ins and outs, in the latest Peter posting (#34 link), if you haven't gotten around to that one yet. Note that we're never told we have to TRUST them. As the old TX convenience store sign says, "In God we trust – all others pay cash".

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Hello Bob,

Actually no. I thought the notion of bean burgers was off the table. The bug dining experience is promoted by the people who want to protect the earth from deadly cow flatulence. Goats and sheep are apparently OK though. I heard from a cousin in Cincinnati that they're being plagued by the cicadas, too, and they are no more appreciated there than in Louisville. It's going around.

I try not to get too exercised (I love that expression) over current events. I can't and won't try to do anything about it anyway. I do occasionally get a little depressed; the "news," such as it is, is crude and vulgar. Violence is increasing at a rate I've not seen in my lifetime. I don't know how you can stand to watch television. I threw mine out when I heard, "Ask your doctor if [*] is right for you" too many times.

I do trust the Lord and our time of testing will be here soon. I know of no scripture, though, that says it'll be easy.

I haven't delved into the Peter series yet. I need to do that. Thanks for the nudge.

Just so you don't think I'm a total crackpot:)


Yours in our Lord,

Response #21:

I value your opinions and input, my friend!

Good to know there legitimate medical reasons for not eating cicadas (I'm waiting for someone to do a similar study on veggie burgers).  After smelling them rot this week I'm even less inclined.

TV is annoying, and I have considered pulling the plug or at least "cutting the cord" on a number of occasions. I certainly don't use it enough to justify what I pay for it. I find watching the crawl with the thing muted is a nice background for having supper, however.

No TV in New Jerusalem!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Hi Bob,

Touché! There is also a good culinary reason for not eating the bugs -- an absolutely horrible mouth feel and I know of no sauce or grilling technique that would make that better.

But since you mentioned it, there are two classes of product that are called "veggie" burgers -- the mass produced, soy based GMO cruft like Morning Star and Impossible Burgers. (A prescient name if I use that word correctly.) None of these qualifies as food. I call it phude. I won't eat it. Then you have fritters that run the gamut from latkes (good stuff, a version of hash browns ) to [shudder] bean fritters or "burgers" as I mistakenly wrote. In truth, almost any vegetable can be frittered. I used to be a died-in-the-wool zucchini hater but after growing my own heirloom variety, Costata Romanesca, even they are good frittered. (Also good pickled and dried.)

Still, I think cicadas are best composted. If nothing else, mow over them and let the mower do the work. That's what I would do in any case. Pity poor Noah who had to bring them along on the arc. It's amazing the doves and chickens didn't eat them.

There will be many things we won't have in New Jerusalem and, Bob, I'm looking forward to it if I don't screw up between now and then. Politicians will be just one.

I pray all is well with you and yours and your scrapes and bruises from concrete surfing are healing well. Try to avoid that in the future. I took a tumble during the Great Texas Freeze of '21 and I'm still paying the price. A pointed reminder that I'm no longer in my 20s.

Yours in Jesus,

Response #22:

I do like potato pancakes! In Michigan's UP they have a big potato festival every spring and you can get all manner of them fried up fresh (great with sour cream and fruit preserves).

". . . if I don't screw up between now and then." You'll be fine, my friend. We do have to persevere, but that is just what we are doing. The Tribulation will be difficult, but the method is the same: hang on and wait for the Lord.

Doing fine here (although the cicadas are swarming worse than ever and starting to stink worse than ever –one has gotten into my car's ventilation system and screams whenever I turn on the air).

Praying for you and your health.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hello Professor Bob, I found your website eight months ago and have done a lot of reading and studying, especially the Peter series on spiritual growth which has been a tremendous help. I think I have read all you have written on apostasy. In the question section you stated you know of no biblical example of an apostate coming back to their faith. Am I correct to assume in your life you have never known one who came back? I was a believer for fifty years, became an apostate for four and a half years and came back to my faith. Yes I was unquestionably a true believer, beyond any doubt. My path to unbelief was complicated, involving many facets in my long marriage and my lack of teaching on suffering and trials. I have been back in my faith in Jesus Christ for four years. During this time I have read and listened to online many, many pastors, teachers who I discerned we're most likely believers and the only ones who openly admit and understand one can most certainly come back from apostasy are those who are Charismatic. For a brief time I was counseled by a Charismatic pastor's wife and she had total understanding of this spiritual phenomenon. An apostate can come back it happened to me. I would appreciate your response on this subject which seems taboo in Christianity, concerning coming back to one's faith. I no longer visit churches in an attempt to find the one for me in light of the Laodicean age. I know of no other believers in my area, therefore you are my only source of true solid teaching. Your sister in Jesus Christ.

Response #23:

Good to make your acquaintance – and thanks so much for your positive words about Ichthys!

Two quick things before getting down to details: 1) I have no doubt that you are my born again, born from above, sister in Jesus Christ, regardless of "how we got to this point"; 2) If the charismatics had special knowledge of this subject and were correct, that would be a first (color me skeptical . . . since they approach everything on the basis of emotion and not with close attention to what the Word actually says).

"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
John 3:18 NKJV

This is very clear – and it is the most important point. Those who NOW believe in Jesus Christ are saved; those who NOW do not are not saved.

The question of "did believe / then didn't / then did" is a theological one, I suppose, and I'm not crazy about theological questions. I prefer to see what the Bible says, and the Bible tells me that you are saved because you are a believer in Jesus Christ. So no reason to worry about the "did / didn't / did". I think if you will search what I have written carefully, you will see that I actually profess being agnostic about the "did / didn't / did". It comes down to a question of "REALLY didn't" vs. "didn't REALLY", and who can know that except the person in question? Indeed, given the ins and outs and ups and downs of what goes on in a person's heart – especially if that person is not walking close to the Lord, even reported self-knowledge in this case would be reasonably open to question.

You are convinced that you did apostatize and now have come back to the Lord. I'm OK with that. The SECOND part, after all, is the important part. Regardless of whether you are right or wrong about your personal experience, the point is that you ARE saved and are living your life now for Jesus Christ! In that I greatly rejoice!

So I'm not going to try to convince you on this since in my opinion scripture is silent on the matter. Scripture does present apostasy as seeming to be something permanent but scripture is also very big on the possibility of repentance.

"The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate."
Luke 15:21-24 NIV

Whether the prodigal son was apostate or "in reversionism" (as my old pastor used to call straying very far from the Lord), whether he was actually dead or merely metaphorically dead, the important part is his return, his repentance.

YOU came back to the Lord, and I rejoice with you in that return! Since you now belong to Jesus Christ, prior status means nothing. If someone wants to say "I accept that you became an apostate but I also know that apostates are lost so you are now lost", that person has fallen on the sword of his/her own false theologizing and needs to read John 3:18 again closely (along with the rest of the Bible wherein God's mercy is commended everywhere).

So the bottom line is that it doesn't matter – not a bit. Not unless you allow yourself to worry about this issue – something I would advise you NOT to do. You are saved. Period. That is enough of that. Looking backward on this issue is not different from others looking back at sins or behaviors in the dank, dark past that still trouble them. And looking backward is a very dangerous way to plow forward.

But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:62 NKJV

The Lord has called us to move FORWARD with Him and for Him as long as it is "called today", one day at a time, in hopes of our eternal future. That is what we all need to do, not look back.

(12) [It is] not that I have already gotten [what I am striving for], nor that I have already completed [my course]. Rather, I am continuing to pursue [the prize] in hopes of fully acquiring it – [this prize for whose acquisition] I was myself acquired by Christ Jesus. (13) Brethren, I do not consider that I have already acquired it. This one thing only [do I keep in mind]. Forgetting what lies behind me [on the course] and straining towards the [course] ahead, (14) I continue to drive straight for the tape, towards the prize to which God has called us from the beginning [of our race] in Christ Jesus. (15) So as many as are [spiritually] mature, let us have this attitude (i.e., of focusing on our spiritual advance and reward and not getting hung up on what lies behind: vv.13-14), and if in any matter your attitude is off-center, God will reveal that to you (i.e., assuming you are mature and are advancing as you should). (16) But with respect to the progress you have made, keep on advancing in the same way!
Philippians 3:12-16

Please do feel free to write me back.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hi Bob, just recently got a smart phone and having difficulty finding drafts, when I do can't get in to finish the reply. So I don't know if I accidentally sent you my beginning draft or not so I'm starting anew. Thank you for you prompt response last night and your words of encouragement. I went back to the question sections, the links and reread your teachings on apostasy. You say a mature believer would not apostasize and it would be a lukewarm Christian. I agree. In my many years as a believer I was not lukewarm but I was immature spiritually in that my focus was on surviving marriage to a believer husband who was physically abusive, adulterous and in the early years in prison for armed robbery, with the last 25 years of 31 years marriage being a caregiver for his kidney transplants and hip replacements. We suffered intensely due to God's chastising of his rebellion. When I had a health breakdown with rheumatoid arthritis I began a resentful hurt attitude towards God which worsened over the years when I was in emergency room and women's shelter, resulting in separation, his sentencing as a felon and his suicide leaving me and my daughter and two grand kids destitute. Things worsened intensely after his death. I began to feel God didn't care, started looking into alternative beliefs and "real history", listening to alternative programs on archeology, history, arriving at a type of gnostic belief through a book and website of one man that there was no historical proof of Jesus's existence, the Creator was an energy source and earth had within Sophia the female energy source of wisdom. Always being a nature lover this fit with me. Other factors of inadequate Christian counseling through the years, no teaching God brings more intense trials and tribulations for spiritual growth I only knew chastisement for sin, me dabbling in some new age practices all contributed to my apostasy. After four years of this belief reading on his extensive website and rereading his book listening to his online broadcasts, one day he said, "the truth is Sophia is Lucifer". I was shocked to my core. I had searched his entire website for that name, wasn't there, he had never said that on his broadcast. Had not been to his website for several months went there and it was the recent entry with an illustration of Sophia as Lucifer. I was Scared, knew I'd been duped, got rid of the book, deleted the website. I was lost, what I believed I knew was evil, I had nothing to believe in, felt I was in a fog. During the next four months hymns from all the years of singing in churches started coming to my mind and scriptures I had not thought of for years. When I saw online that the Pope might make an announcement there is alien existence and Regan was the first president to mention new world order, I thought the end times, preparation for the antichrist. I fell to my knees in fear, repented of my apostasy, asked Jesus to save me. I felt as if I woke up from a spell. Over a year I struggled was in torment , could I an apostate come back to God, would he accept me back? Found nothing on the internet for reassurance, only explanation was that person wasn't saved to start with. An Australian preacher who was a charismatic was the only one who said if one was convicted of their apostasy and wanted to come back Jesus Christ would not turn them away. I have related all this to you because I always believed OSAS and I Never thought this would happen to me and could God possibly use my experience to help someone else who has come back from the lie of apostasy? They will be hard pressed to find help and encouragement in the town's local churches with this topic. Thank you for your patience, I tried to make this condensed which is more difficult than relating in conversation. In our Blessed Hope Jesus Christ.

Response #24:

I did get that one email from you (and one other blank email), but this is only the second one with content.

Thanks for the background information. You have had a very rough ride, that is clear. Many people suffer not from their own actions but through being connected with others. There is "blessing by association" but there is also "cursing by association".

I also understand both in theory and observation and on a personal level (I'm sorry to say) about reacting to events in the wrong way. Especially in the early going of the Christian life, it is far from uncommon to turn away from the Lord when bad things happen – and even to blame God for it. This is always a mistake and always costs us, often years of trouble . . . until we finally come around to our senses. And God is more than capable of bringing us to that point:

"At the end of that time [seven years], I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation."
Daniel 4:34 NIV

"When he [the prodigal son] came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.' "
Luke 15:17-18 NIV

Whether the above are cases of deep rebellion or actually loss of salvation makes little practical difference (as I say, that would merely be a matter of not particularly profitable theological debate). The point is that they came back to the Lord. It is the coming back that matters, not the "whence" they came back – and the same is the case in your situation. Like Nebuchadnezzar and like the prodigal son you repented of your wrong course and got back on the right course – and the Lord healed and restored you. It was a journey (as in the case of the prodigal son), but that only served to confirm your determination of heart to come back to the Lord once and for all.

As to being a help to others, as you probably know from readings on this website there are many who struggle with issues of salvation, so that the confidence that you have now in being saved – in spite of all that happened – would be a great encouragement to many, of that I am sure. So I would ask your permission to post this correspondence (anonymously of course), in the hopes that it will give others the courage to turn away from bad decisions in the past, re-embrace the Lord, and move forward with Him and for Him in whatever time remains. This is a very common feature in every Christian's "biography" – because who among us hasn't made some mistakes in this life? Praise the Lord for His great mercy and forgiveness through the cleansing of the blood-sacrifice of Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior!

LORD our God, you answered them; you were to Israel a forgiving God, though you punished their misdeeds.
Psalm 99:8 NIV

But with you there is forgiveness, therefore you are feared.
Psalm 130:4 NIV1985

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hi Bob, thank you for your understanding all I shared. I especially appreciate the scripture from Daniel of Nebuchadnezzar coming to his senses and the father welcoming back the prodigal son. Both were me. Yes you have my permission to post my email. I pray what I went through, my journey will help others in their relationship with our heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ as they navigate through this corrupt world. The Lord bless you and your family, in Jesus name,

Response #25:

Thank you!

I appreciate you in the Lord – do feel free to write back any time.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Dear Dr. Luginbill, brother,

I came across your concise but well reasoned response to the idea that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written in Hebrew. It was helpful in ministering to a congregant of mine who was drifting, or should I say, “being sucked into” the Hebrew Matthew vortex. But, I just wanted you to know your work was used by the Lord and was very much appreciated by this pastor. God bless you and please, keep it coming.

In His service, by His grace, for His glory,

Response #26:

Good to make your acquaintance, pastor.

Thanks for letting me know!

Always glad to be of service my fellow believers in Jesus Christ.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #27:

"Christianity Today" is right!!! And, DEAD WRONG!!!!!!!


Response #27:

Nicely put, Fred.

Rejecting a false position (as in pre-Trib in this case) is a good step . . . but not if the result is to proclaim the truth unimportant.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #28:

Hey Dr. Luginbill,

I hope all is well with you and your family!!

Current events are certainly winding up to explode incredibly so. My wonder is about the youtube ministers that I enjoy learning from. They each have made the statement that they will take the covid shots as long as it enables them to travel and be able to preach God's Word to wherever God sends them. My take is these v's are not 'the mark' but leading up to it.
They are poison and interfere with the natural functionings of our bodies. I do have underlying health conditions and do not wish to volunteer for an experimental serum. The Federal Law also states that it is unconstitutional to force it upon a sovereign....This is confusing and against the Moral Law of God.

What's your take?

In Jesus name,

Response #28:

There is a great deal about the v-s in recent weekly email postings (you can start with "Eschatology Issues LXX" and work your way backward all the way to about this time last year!).

As to the legalities, Christians do have a "code of conduct" to follow (that's the subject of the latest Peter posting, #34 at the link). We're not doormats, but believers should think twice about violating the law under any circumstances (nuances and exceptions treated at the link).

Blessedly, we're not "there" yet in terms of v-ion in this country. My university has decided NOT to require it, not even of students. I have tried to continue normal life as much as possible throughout this (largely man-made) catastrophe. Lately, I've not had to put a mask on anywhere I've gone (though many and sometimes most were still wearing them), and no stranger has yet asked me whether or not I've been v-ed. So, so far, so good, in my view. The infection numbers continue to decline along with all the other "bad stats", and this is only the first week in June. So I'm hopeful that this "thing" will just up and evaporate – as has happened with virtually every other pandemic in world history to this point.

On the "v-s" themselves, I do have concerns along the lines you mention. As I usually tell people, this is not a spiritual issue – unless we choose to make it one. A person is not a bad person for getting v-ed or refraining from it, and there are many motivations and considerations in play. We Christians do not need to be fearful whatever happens – because the Lord is the One who is looking after us, our health and everything else. The things that are REALLY dangerous are the things that come out of "left field", things which no one could anticipate. He keeps us safe from those truly dangerous things; He'll keep us safe on this score as well, if we but put our trust in Him.

In terms of "the mark", there is a lot about that in prior postings too. Bottom line: you are right that this is NOT "the mark"; you are also right that the ethos of manipulation surrounding this whole episode is a good dry run for believers anticipating what the Tribulation will bring. All the more reason to double down on spiritual growth here and now.

Then Jesus said to them, "A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going."
John 12:35 NKJV

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #29:

Hi Robert,

I must confess that I have not studied all of your work! I mostly tackle the areas that I am interested in. BUT, I do believe that most of your work (those sections I have read) to be spirit-led and from your heart.

The reason I say most is that I do see some discrepancies in what my understanding of Scripture is and your interpretation of Scripture regarding specifics. Your guidance to make me better understand your reasoning and/or deduction will be helpful! As an example: Acts 1:23-26 assigns Matthias to occupy 'this ministry and apostleship', with the eleven apostles. Peter expressly says: "But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven..." (Acts 2:14a NAS), Paul is not yet chosen to be an apostle to the Gentiles and not for the circumcision. Further to this choice as referenced in Acts 6:2 "And the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples..." (NAS). Mattias is included as being part of the twelve. The Scripture rightly refers to the eleven (before Matthias was chosen), see Luke 24:9,33. A further observation is that only Peter, John, and James are specifically named in the Book of Acts. Yet, your study promotes Paul to this position as one of the twelve apostles. Scripture seems to emphasize the fact that Paul had distinguished himself from the twelve (1 Cor. 15:5) by saying that Jesus appeared to the twelve and lastly He also appeared to me (v8).

If there is other information that I have missed, please direct me towards understanding why Paul 'IS' one of the twelve apostles.

Grace be with you,

Response #29:

No worries – there is a lot of it!

As to Matthias, I have written about that issue before and will give you the links below. It's not a "make or break" issue, and I know good people who believe the opposite of what I teach or have questions.

Rather than rehearse everything anew here, I'd just like to leave you with a few brief thoughts (you can peruse the links at your leisure). First, in terms of the "eleven" or "twelve", it's not as clear as all that; for example, speaking of those who saw our Lord after He was resurrected but before His ascension, it says at 1st Corinthians 15:5, that Jesus "was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve". Needless to say, Judas had already hung himself at this point and Matthias had yet to be "elected", yet the disciples/apostles are called "the twelve" even though there were only eleven at that point.

Secondly, we know that it was our Lord Himself who personally chose and appointed the original twelve – after an all night prayer vigil (Lk.6:12-16; cf. Mk.3:13-19). And we know that He also chose Paul (Acts 9:15; 22:14-15; 26:16; cf. Acts 9:4-6) . . . but just who "chose" Matthias? If I flip a coin and it comes up heads, that does not mean I should take it as divine direction from the Lord. It's alright to flip a coin in football game, e.g., but casting lots for spiritual matters is divination – unless directly authorized by the Lord (such as for the scapegoat). No one authorized this weird exercise at the end of Acts chapter one – coming before Pentecost and before the baptism of the Spirit. So there is a reason why nothing is heard of Matthias again. There are twelve gates in the New Jerusalem with an apostle's name on each of the twelve. I guarantee you that one bears Paul's name – but none bears that of Matthias.

Here are those links:

The "apostle" Matthias

The Apostles

Matthias not one of the 12

Matthias and the Numbering of the Twelve Apostles

Are there apostles in the Church today?

The Deaths of the 12 Apostles of Christ

Other "apostles"

Paul is the 12th apostle

Paul the apostle

Capital "A" apostles

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #30:

Hi Robert,

You are right, good people may differ in their expositions. Thanks.

I have already started to work through the links and find them comprehensive. I will certainly measure the contents thereof against the Scripture to ascertain a better understanding. Your work is a great tool in my discovery process.

If I can make three observations about your last e-mail:
a) It seems to me that 1 Cor. 15:5 takes Luke 24:34 into consideration as if the appearance of the Lord was separate unto Simon and then on another appearance occasion to the twelve (1 Cor. 15:5b). Similarly, v7-8 speaks of "He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also." (NAS). Paul was certainly not yet chosen when the Lord appeared to the apostles.
b) Casting lots in Scripture under God's direction was an acceptable practice throughout Scripture (Lev. 16:8; Prov. 16:33; Acts 2:24 NAS).
c) Your explanation would then, therefore, surmise that the eleven partook in divination? The act of divination and rebellion is addressed in 1 Sam. 16:23. None of the disciples confesses or repents of this action as a fault of theirs in practicing divination.

Scripture on the casting of lots in connection to;
1) dividing of the land (Num. 26:5 etc.)
2) determine God's will for a given situation (Josh. 18:6-10 etc.)
3) offices and function in the temple (1 Chron. 24:5 etc.)
4) sailors on the boat (Jonah 1:7)
5) to replace Judas (Acts 1:26)
6) lots for Jesus' garments (Matt. 27:35).

This is meant to give a different perspective on interpretation and I trust that our discussions always to be to the glory and honor of God.

Thank you for creating a platform for discussion, I appreciate it.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you,

Response #30:

As mentioned, people have a right to their opinions on these things.

Two clarifications however:

1) The point of 1st Corinthians 15:5 is that at that time there were only eleven disciples/apostles including Peter – because Judas was dead and the Matthias incident was yet in the future. Therefore the disciples/apostles are often thought of as a "college" regardless of whether or not it is presently "full up", and as a result one can not draw conclusions (about Matthias) on the basis of the number.

2) The point is not that sometimes in the past (not, however, in the NT) lots were authorized by God for some purposes; the point is that Jesus Christ Himself personally picked out and appointed the original twelve, and that, following the same pattern, He Himself picked out and appointed Paul. But He clearly had nothing directly to do with Matthias. That is an objection which, in my considered opinion, can not be overcome.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #31:

Dear Dr. Luginbill (Bob),

I have just finished reading your latest work on Peter’s Epistles #34 and am hard pressed to express the impact it is having on me at a profound level. Your work is truly a “Believers’ Manual,” a crucial manuscript and guide in Christian behavior in what is before us.

I have to admit that my beginning response was that of a roller-coaster - accepting, resisting, objecting. “Evil flourishes when good men do nothing” was my initial argument. But every question my mind came up with was soon followed by your deep understanding of the Christian and God-loving approach to be taken. It is obvious you have given much time and reflection in compiling this outstanding work.

You have helped me to resolve this agonizing frustration I have had over the stolen presidential elections, to say nothing of the fraud and manipulation of the “scamdenic” we have been subjected to, and the annihilation of our God-given liberties. To quote you: “Whoever opposes [established] authority has taken a stand against God's [ordered] arrangement” and “No authority exists which has not [been established] by God.” My argument to this was “resist the devil and he will flee.” This objection too was undone when I read: “If we are the recipients of suffering which truly is unjust, that can only be the case because ‘this is the will of God.’”

You have alerted me to be cautious of any slander or sins of the tongue in bitterly criticizing certain individuals whom I have held accountable for our national and global situation - as opposed to objective and non-reactionary evaluation. By focusing on “events” I have missed the truly important test: “to reflect the love and mercy of Jesus Christ in all we say and do.” I begin to understand the importance of being a true witness of our walk in Christ, by remembering Who we serve, as a reminder to myself of proper Christian response and behavior. Setting a “bad example” will not be conducive to the redemption of those who have turned from God.

I especially appreciate your admonition against the “Jonah Mistake” of blaming God instead of trusting Him when trouble comes, when persecutions begin and Christians are judged according to misinterpreted Noahide Laws, possibly leading to the beheading of those who will not submit to their apostasy.

This is but a sampling of what your work has inspired in me. I remember writing to you years ago on the life-changing impact “Satan’s Rebellion” had on me. This chapter is also life-altering - and so timely. I thank you sincerely for your wisdom, your care for your brethren, and especially your love and devotion to Our Lord Jesus-Christ!

From a grateful heart,

May you be most blessed!
P.S.: As an aside, I have 2 questions I would appreciate your input on.
1) Have you looked into the Noahide Laws that are being promoted by the modern-day Sanhedrin? Will you be able to comment on those?
2) I’m trying to understand the relationship of ancient originating “tribes” to today’s Khazarism and Zionism, etc. - Especially, I am trying to understand what Jesus meant when He accused the Pharisees: (paraphrase) “Your father is of the devil... the father of all lies ...you serpents and vipers...” There had to be some reference there to an actual bloodline(s). Can you direct me to information that would delineate the lineage of ancient Canaanites to today’s nations?

Response #31:

Thanks so much for this thoughtful and encouraging email! It is greatly appreciated.

As to your two questions:

1) There are all manner of religious movements, groups and cults "out there", and plenty of splinter groups and the like within Judaism as well. I don't have any problem with the "seven laws" in terms of basic common sense. I don't see them as presented in the Bible as such in the way this movement presents them. It is true, that God has established nations and given humanity basic conventions which are essentially written on the human heart (cf. Rom.2:12-16); this was necessary to preserve enough freedom for human beings to survive and have the opportunity to use their free will to seek God (cf. Acts 17:26-27). My old pastor called these "the laws of divine establishment"; you can find my take on this at the link: "Law and nationalism as a restrainers of satanic influence".

2) It is absolutely not possible to ferret out racial/national strains of peoples from antiquity to the present day, so much intermingling and changing of habitations having taken place over the intervening millennia (see the link). This is especially true of the Levant which is, after all, the crossroads of the world. To be to the point, those who today identify as Jewish are so. Are there others who are of Jewish descent but unaware of the fact? It is possible, but I do not believe that would be a large number, given the resiliency with which the Jewish people have preserved their identity and culture over thousands of years in spite of many obstacles to doing so – no doubt God has had a major role in helping them do so. As to "your father the devil", our Lord was addressing unbelievers with this remark, unbelievers who had rejected Him who is the only truth. Anyone who rejects the truth necessarily will accept a lie in its place. So this statement applies to all unbelievers who have willfully rejected God's truth. It's a matter of choice, that is, a spiritual issue, not a material one based on genealogy. As our Lord said, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing" (Jn.6:63 NKJV).

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #32:

Dear Bob,

Thank you for so quick a reply and your commentary on the two questions.

My particular concern with the Noahide Laws is the penalty issued for any infringement of them. I refer to the Sanhedrin as they are the Jewish law-makers (not the general Jewish people); their new construction of an International Court does not bode well. The Noahiude Laws exist because the Sanhedrin does not believe the Ten Commandments were meant for "gentiles/goyim." The first law addresses having "no other God." The Sanhedrin does not believe in Our Lord Jesus as the true Messiah, and so to them, our belief in Jesus as Lord may well be construed as a violation of the first law. Punishment is beheading. This makes sense in light of the Book of Revelation's reference to persecution by beheading. For myself, I prefer to be forewarned of what future possibilities might be so as to be better prepared to respond.

The reason for my 2nd question is a result of readings I have done of late about the Bolshevik Revolution, WW1 and WW2, and Jewish manipulations in all these events. Again, I do not believe the majority of Jewish people are aware of the workings of the nefarious Jewish banksters and upper echelon, especially the adherents to the Talmud and the Kabalah.

Regardless of all of the above, as you so well described in Peter Epistle #34, it's important to not lose sight of Who we serve and to endeavor to be faithful to the very end, no matter how it comes about. I sincerely pray Out Lord will give us wisdom and understanding, strength and courage to be true to Him till the very end, whatever that is.

It is my belief that we are in the End Times, or very near them. I pray for your safety and for all Christians as well, for the salvation of souls, that all who can be redeemed be redeemed, that those who belong to Christ not falter. And so, I thank you again for the critical work you do, strengthening us in our walk with Our Lord Jesus Christ. I will be re-reading Peter #34 many more times.

God bless you and your family!

Response #32:

I certainly agree that the Tribulation is getting very close. While 2026 is an interpretation (not a specific biblical teaching), it has, in my considered opinion, much to recommend it.

1) There is absolutely no potential threat on the basis of this odd cultish interpretation since the people who are advancing it have absolutely no power or influence over anyone or anything of note. Antichrist, on the other hand, will be a threat indeed, but that threat will involve forcing the world to worship him and take his mark – or suffer the consequences.

2) There are "nefarious" people from all national and racial backgrounds involved in all manner of satanic operations around the world (including the heinous and anti-God Marxist ideology), and that has always been the case. It is a dangerous mistake, moreover, to see any particular "Jewish element" therein; when it comes to anything even seeming to flirt with anti-Semitism, believers are well-served to stay far, far away (Gen.12:3; see the link: "Israelology and Anti-Semitism").

"[I]t's important to not lose sight of Who we serve and to endeavor to be faithful to the very end, no matter how it comes about". Amen! We all have a lot of work to do to internalize and strengthen our determination to bear up during those difficult days, no matter what may betide.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

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